One of the most often discussed topics at the End Stool is discipline and the perceived lack of it today.
We had discussed it the day before the news showed a mother collaring her son, slapping him to his head and yelling at him. There was no resistance other than an attempt to run, knowing he had done wrong and was about to be punished for it.
Among the admonishment was, “I didn’t raise you to behave this way.”
It was an act of ultimate mother love. Something only a mother can understand. Her concern was about keeping her child safe and he was in a very dangerous circumstance – the midst of a riot in Baltimore involving mostly school age kids.
She recognized him despite the hood and ski mask to conceal his identity.
“I told you I would come down here. Didn’t I? Didn’t I?” Toya Graham admonished her 16-year-old son.
“That’s my only son and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a victim,” she said in an interview.
“Is he a perfect boy? No he’s not. But he’s mine.”
“My intention was to get my son and have him be safe. I knew the whole thing was not safe.”
It is what a concerned parent would do.
It was an example of the discipline discussed at the End Stool.
There is a definite generation gap as most of the regulars are my peers and in a 55 to 80 years range. This group remembers days of repercussions for misbehavior, including various means of being at the receiving end of a spanking.
To a person we all believe we were the better for it.
It may have been a painful moment, but the lessons we learned lasted.
It doesn’t take much to push the memory bank replay for reasons of the discipline. We often rejoice over the fact we got away with a lot – some much worse than what we were punished for.
Two things my parents expected were to respect others – especially the elderly and people in authority like teachers and police.
They stressed the golden rule: “Do unto others….”
My peers didn’t grow up in similar circumstance to many of those protesting. We grew up in mostly rural areas – even those living in New London and Clintonville. We mostly had two parent families. We were expected to go to school and graduate. We were expected to treat others with respect. We were expected to be good citizens and do the right thing.
Most of all, life was less complicated. It was a simpler time when there were less distractions and everybody made do with what they had and could afford. There was debt but it was for a home or the one family car.
Often the seat of education was the target for violating those expectations.
Few of the peers show residual effects of discipline as kids.
Cheryl is a cheerful care giver. She says she didn’t get punished often, “but when mom got mad, you knew she was going to get the big spoon out.”
Tom is an active Samaritan serving his church and community and people in need of a friend or help. He unhappily recalls getting a ruler across his knuckles while attending parochial school.
Cleaning erasers was both an assigned and punishment in the two-room eight grade School in Amherst Junction. My friend Leon and I had that duty at the end of school day and erasers have two purposes – cleaning the black board and throwing.
While engaged in the latter, Mrs. Wandke came down the enclosed stairs and was struck full frontal by an eraser. Leon and I paid the price, as she grabbed us and bounced us off the enclosure and outer wall of the school.
We did not resist and we did not complain to our parents. We knew it was well deserved.
You did not complain about discipline to your parents. Double jeopardy was often a worse punishment than the original.