So there I was this morning---in the bed at 4:00 and wide awake. As I debated whether to get up or try to go back to sleep, this old song came into my head:
Will Cobb and Gus Edwards, 1907
School days, school days,
Dear old golden rule days;
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic,
Taught to the tune of a hick'ry stick.
You were my queen in calico;
I was your bashful barefoot beau;
You wrote on my slate
"I love you so!"
When we were a couple of kids.
As I pondered the words to this delightful old song, I started realizing just how much things have changed in our recent history. The term "hickory stick" in the song refers to the preferred method of disciplining at the time. Eventually, the hickory stick gave way to paddling; and, over the past 40 years or so, it has become illegal in most school systems to employ any type of corporal punishment in schools---or even at home.
And, that got me to thinking about how impossible it would be these days to raise a child. Not that I think corporal punishment is a wonderful thing---I don't. But what does a parent do when the child purposefully and deliberately disobeys and becomes defiant?
We have all read stories about parents who whacked their little Johnny on the seat of the pants to get their attention, and were hauled off to the hoosegow. We have all heard about Child Protective Services seeking to remove a child from the home of loving parents because the parents believe spanking has a place in the overall disciplining of their child.
If a child flips the parents a figurative (or literal) finger, what can be done? If little Joanna decides she is not going to school ever again, can the parents make her go? How?
My dad used to use his belt to get my attention. I didn't like it, but it did get my attention when nothing else would. Now, looking back, it seems like I was raised the right way.
The bible is a pretty darn good book. Proverbs 13:24 and 23:13-14 both encourage corporal punishment by use of "the rod". Hmmm.
Many people these days consider it to be child abuse if any kind of corporal punishment is employed. Many others consider it child abuse if any kind of discipline is used on a child. The bible seems to indicate that it is child abuse if punishment and discipline are NOT used.