The words “wooden spoon” used to be whispered in my house among my brothers and me like an incantation to summon a demon.
Long story short: I was spanked a lot as a child. I grew up knowing the most serious consequence to breaking a rule in the house was the stinging whip of a wooden spoon on the behind. And I broke those rules often. The punishment seemed cruel at the time, but here’s how it had good, long-lasting effects on my life.
I’d be lying if I said my childhood wasn’t full of love and fun despite the fact. My parents somehow found the balance between a strict discipline and a compassionate way of raising us kids. We always knew we were loved, but we took something incredibly valuable from all those hits on the bottom: respect.
There are many good and bad methods of disciplining children. There is even more good and bad evidence to show that these methods are indeed effective, but the decision to discipline a child should not be up to anyone but the parents.
Spankings were an acceptable method of discipline in schools not so long ago. My grandpa, who used to be a teacher, told me how it used to be back in the day. Teachers could humiliate a student by having him or her stand at the front of the class with an extra thick ruler and take a swing at the cheeks (and I’m not talking about the face).
As queasy as my stomach gets imagining what schools would be like now if this was still acceptable, I am also grateful public school systems do not practice harsh punishments anymore.
Although, there has been talk among Utah lawmakers that legalized spanking could be in the near future. I’m surprised this is even being brought into consideration given the history of controversy surrounding public school punishment. Many have driven their opinion that spanking, in the home or in school, leads children to be more violent in their adult years. In truth, this is an outdated and illogical reason to not discuss the matter at hand.
Teachers aren’t the masters of discipline. And it’s wrong for parents to treat them as so. I don’t agree with leaving the behavior and respect lessons on the teachers’ shoulders. Spanking and other similar punishments should not be administered in schools. That job is for the parents.
It’s silly to think I enjoyed making my parents angry and suffered the consequences for my wrong-doings, but I’m grateful for the greater lessons I learned from it. Being an adult means taking on a huge chunk of responsibility for myself that once belonged to my parents. I have to discipline myself in all aspects of my life. From school to money to relationships, distinguishing what’s right from wrong based on the consequences of those actions has been my most valuable tool.
I still consider myself and college students as youngsters. We’d be doing a severe injustice if we don’t take into consideration how discipline has shaped our lives. Education majors especially who have to face the issue and decide how they will handle punishment in the classroom. What we do now will translate into parenthood when we have our own youngsters to spank when they eat all of our stored away Halloween candy.At the end of the day, it’s up to the parents. Controversial or not, strict punishments play a part in raising a child to be respectful of others and themselves.