Corpun file 20026
The Times-Journal, Fort Payne, Alabama, 5 February 2008
Sparing the rod doesn't seem to work
By Greg Purvis
I always know when an infant has been brought into the
Times-Journal offices. All normal conversation stops and there is
a simultaneous "Ahhhhhh," from people, jostling their
coworkers as they crowd around the little darling. Suckers.
I can't recall who said it, but I've read somewhere that God
makes little babies cute so we won't forget to feed them and
we'll make sure the dogs don't carry them off. Please don't
misunderstand. I am not immune to cute just because I'm a man.
Who among us could stand up to the juggernaut of preciousness
evidenced in oversized heads, constant slobbering, and little
sausage-like fingers and toes?
But cute babies grow up to be smart-alecky pre-teens who don't
mind sharing their absolute conviction that they are smarter and
cooler than mom and dad will ever be. They have it all figured
out, and any attempt to save them from a little pain by sharing
our own experiences will likely be met with a wall of icy
Of course, all of this is payback for the anguish we caused our
own parents. And the only joy you can take is in knowing our
grandchildren will one day serve up this same attitude to our
children. Welcome to the wonderful world of intergenerational
But society should step up to the plate and share some of the
blame. For the last 20 years, nearly every sit-com on TV has
featured teens giving parents plenty of smart-mouthed one-liners.
Our children learned to interact with us largely from the idiot
box we sat them in front of for hours every day.
Add to this the sudden widespread belief corporal
punishment is one step removed from child abuse
and suddenly the patients are running the loony bin.
A friend told me recently his 12-year old son had threatened to
call child protective services when my friend quite naturally
attempted to discipline him after he used a four-letter word.
I tried that same move on my father, once upon a time. He told me
to go ahead and call whomever I liked.
Perhaps I am a cynic, but I believe sparing the rod has
definitely spoiled the child. Though I am not advocating
excessive discipline, I do think a little more corporal needs to
be mixed into the punishment. Disagree? Take a walk through your
friendly neighborhood megamart. You'll find plenty of cases that
may change your mind.
Copyright © 2008 The
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