Monday, February 22, 2010

Go Get A Switch From That Tree!

I remember the old days when kids revered and respected their elders.  Remember those days?  When Mr. Sam or Mrs. Esther down the block could tell you to behave, hey, they could even spank you if you were out of line and then tell your parents before you could even wrap it around your mind to sassy-mouth them and say, "I'm gonna tell my mama!"

 Remember those days when kids were respectful of their elders and understood the meaning of discipline, honor, respect, and just plain behaving?

I wanted to tell not only my daughter, my son, but my grandson's mother to go out back and cut a switch down from the tree so they could get an old fashioned spanking!

You remember the ones that left your behind a little stingy and your eyes a little misty but you tried your hardest to not cry.  The ones where your mother was out-of-breath from preaching to you about the evils of disobedience while you two did this funny one arm dance around the family room.  You know the ones you went upstairs to your bedroom and padded your bottom with extra layers of clothes to cushion the blow.  The ones where it was really not about them hitting you because as a mother, I know what they meant when they used to say, "this hurts me more than it hurts you."  As I kid I just thought they were tormenting me with that taunt.  They were teaching moments.

Remember the saying, "spare the rod, spoil the child."  It is so true.  Even as every modern mother I know probably swore to herself that "when I get big, I will NEEEEEVVVVVVEEEERRRRR spank my child."  And then they grew up and had a child!

I wanted to get that switch more times than I can count this weekend.


I have an eight year old daughter who has already managed to develop her pouty teenager stare and slow move to commands that "made me want to snatch a knot in her head."  That girl moves like molasses in the heat of a Mississippi summer.  Getting her to go to bed on time is like trying to get the bankers to stop taking money from the US consumer.  Then the girl is like dead weight in the morning.

Her father will tell her, "listen to your mother."  And then she pontificates on how it is so "unfair" that we are making her got to bed at a decent time or wake up to go to school.  Made me wonder why we were in the suburbs,  "girl, don't start with me!"

Today, I got down on her level, held her fat cheeks in my hands, looked her in the eye, and told her she would not be disrespectful.  I told her she better watch her mouth or find herself on the other side of a Mississippi butt whooping in the upstairs bathroom.

She looked at me, lowered her eyes, and sat down quietly, "yes ma'am."

We do not spank our children as a rule, certainly not as much as I got growing up.  But I do believe there are times when they need a good old-fashioned reminder that they are children and not grown. They do not have rights to be disrespectful or disobedient.  That is some mess that came up in the last twenty-five years from members of Generation X who were just pouty and disobedient teenagers.  What do you mean you can't spank a child anymore?  Hmpf!

And the results of a bunch of undisciplined children?  Metal detectors in the schools because they want to bring weapons to school, pregnancy pacts among both black and white teenager girls, and little girls calling grown women a "bitch" because she didn't like the reprimand.  Kids speaking to their parents like the parent is the child.  And for what?  Because we want little Johnny to feel like he has a voice?  Please, the only voice he needs is to say "Yes sir" "Yes Ma'am" or "No sir" "No Ma'am."

What happened to society?

I thought it was just a low class thing, it was a shock to my system when this girl called me outside my name because I told her we wanted a paternity test.  She text that to me in all caps.  Lucky for her I was not in her city.  She called herself trying to make a threat or something because she wanted money for the baby.  She just doesn't know what is behind this nice exterior.  I dialed the number and instead of her answering, she hid behind her mother.  I had to have a talk with her mother and no more disrespectful text messages have come my way.  Sometimes we just have to go mama-to-mama on these kids!

Then my teenage son decided he was not going to do his chores and act like little lord fauntleroy and not do  anything.  I reached down and grabbed the first thing I saw - a plastic hanger - and popped him on his arms. "Ouch mama!"  I had to remind him that he was still a kid, even if he is almost taller than I am.  "Yes, ma'am."

Again I thought, where is my switch?  There would have been sore behinds around here last night.

Instead, my daughter went to bed, my son cleaned the toilet, and the girl, well, I will see her next week,

Maybe I will find a tree along the way and bring it with me, just to remind me of the good old days.

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