Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yes, I Turned Out Fine, but Not Because Dad Smacked Us Around

I went to Catholic school. My teachers struck me? Oh yeah, with relish.

There wasn't a time I was beaten at school that I thought, "This is the right thing to do, it'll learn me!" But corporal punishment is pretty much finished in schools, except in the heathen states. Notice I didn't say "Southern" but I could have said "red," except for purple Colorado.

Thought experiment: Imagine a coherent reason red states permit teachers and administrators to beat kids in school. To extend and differentiate, imagine why blue states would decide differently.

Anyway, I was going to talk about my Dad, who passed away nine years ago. He was the model of the less involved parent, puffing on his pipe or cigar while my Mom ran the household (and held down a job, and reached a higher professional status, I might add, though my Dad did just fine). He did take over when it came to punishment. He mostly dealt in controlled blows, a painful swat in the bedroom for being late for dinner, etc.

It didn't add up to much, and we weren't in fear of Dad. My oldest brother got the worst of it, my middle brother got none of it for some reason, and I was smacked a few times. Dad did lose his temper, which accounted for the few times that we were smacked in full view. These were few but particularly shocking.

I assumed he was raised similarly in Euclid, Ohio, and I didn't take it personally, except for one thing: It permanently alienated me from having much, if any, affection for him. I loved my Mom, and, while not fearing him, at least I didn't have any warm feelings for him.

(...adding that, in the end, I've come to believe he did the best he could by us, which was not bad at all. He was a man of his day and age, and I can imagine many people feeling the same about their parents.)

Nothing good came of my Dad smacking me. I never even dreamed of striking my kids, and I can't think of a single outcome for them that would have improved had I done so. Not a single one. I will say that I ran against the grain, apparently. Kids who suffer corporal punishment tend to do the same. I consciously decided I would never do it. I'm happy I didn't.

So when I hear the chorus of "My Dad smacked me, and I turned out okay" from the usual suspects -- Hannity et al -- I assume that they're missing one aspect of this: They're not okay, and their assholery tends to prove it. If you've ever watched Hannity interview someone he constitutionally disagrees with, you see his rather violent tendency to bully. Where did that come from?

We don't need to ask. Anyway, don't hit your kids. It's unnecessary and nothing good comes from it. We hit our kids out of weakness, not strength.

Pretty much predictable.

No comments:

Post a Comment