By Judy Reiss
I am hoping that by the time you read this I have already left to spend the summer on the Cape. Seldom do I write something that I think people will not only hate but have to let me know what a terrible person I am, and this is probably one of those columns! But I just can’t help myself, so here goes.
A few weeks ago when the news was all about the terrible killing of an African-American young man in Baltimore, I, along with most everyone I knew, was appalled at what the police had done. I certainly agreed with any and all those of his community that were frightened, upset and demanding justice. But what I don’t understand is not the marching and shouting, but the burning of the stores in their own neighborhoods and the looting. I am sure that there are some of you who will think I am wrong, but that is what I feel. But more strongly, I think that the mother who was caught on camera smacking her son, pushing him toward home and screaming at him to behave himself and not hang out with those other boys was definitely right! I think she should get the “Mother of the Year” award. And I also think that if there were more mothers like her, there would not have been as much looting and as much destruction as there was.
But do you know that there were actually people who thought that she should be prosecuted for child abuse? And it is that ridiculous idea I just have to address.
How many of you were spanked when you were young? Now, I am not talking about beating but a smack or two on your rear-end. And if you are really honest, how many of you gave your own children a whack now and then when they deserved it? And my last question is how many of you have turned out alright? And how about your kids? Be honest now
Well, I don’t know about you but I was spanked and I also spanked my children until they were about 9, I think. After that, I figured out they were old enough to know right from wrong and if they needed to be punished, there were other ways that were more effective. And to be perfectly honest, I also spanked my two older grandsons. My daughter and son-in-law both worked so the boys spent a lot of time with me and discipline was up to me. I thought then and I think now that a “time out” is the stupidest thing I ever heard.
I know there of those of you who think that I am absolutely wrong. And I respect your opinion as long as I don’t have to be around those children. Have you noticed how children are no longer made to behave? And if you don’t believe me, just watch a little television news at night! Or worse, talk to a teacher these days. I know several teachers who have been teaching for many years and they are scared to death these days. Kids are not only disrespectful, they are actually dangerous. Of course, in my day and probably your day, parents never ever went to school to complain about anything. And if you got in trouble in school, it was nothing compared to what would happen when you got home. You knew it, the teachers knew it and the principal knew it, too. Today, many mothers hardly have time to work because they are monitoring the teacher and spending much of their day in the classroom! Can you imagine your mother doing that?
I would not mention a thing about disciplining a child if today’s method was working. But think about it. You and I both know that our children and our young people don’t have to do anything that they don’t feel like doing. And of course, many are just running wild. As far as respect goes, most don’t even know what that word means.
Do you think that the pendulum will swing back and children will learn that they are children and not in charge? And perhaps when and if it does we will be able to have safer streets, less crime, less drug abuse and our prisons will be reserved for the serious criminals.
I know we probably will never go back to the days of children should be seen and not heard. But it would be nice to go back to where parents and teachers are given the respect they deserve. Whether you agree or disagree you can always tell your child or grandchild that although they might not like to be told what to do, they should remember that one day they will be the parent or the adult and then they can let their child run wild around them.