A little thanking for some spanking

A proposed bill in the state house would allow each school district to choose whether or not it would like to instill corporal punishment in its schools. If a district decided to enact the right, parents would then have to give permission for their children to receive discipline by way of the paddle. Wow, all this talk of heiney-targeted discipline makes me nostalgic.

Was I spanked or paddled as a youth? Well, let’s just say that if my mother ever ended up missing under suspicious circumstances, investigators could get a sample of her DNA from my bottom. I was also educated by nuns and Christian Brothers during my Catholic school years, so you do the math. Yup, this rear has seen its share of action.

Wow, that was a line I wish I never typed.

Regardless, the issue at hand is whether or not discipline-by-the-paddle is going to fly in Delaware. The politically-correct times we’re living in these days would seem to scream that there is no way a populace would allow such action in a society where fixing your child’s cowlick or sternly saying “No” in a supermarket when your hyperactive child is winging Twinkies at unsuspecting shoppers is considered borderline child abuse. But let’s get serious.

We’re raising soft kids. In fact, we’ve been doing it for a while now.

Oh, there are definitely some glaring bright spots — just look at the young men and women in our armed forces, and many of the young people we all know individually. However, take a look at the forest through the trees and you’ll see a disturbing trend of underachieving and lackadaisical attitudes. Am I just getting grumpy as my years advance? No doubt. But I also see that we’re raising generations of me-first, self-absorbed individuals who share a common sense of entitlement.

Once again, our mailing address is P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970.

Am I encouraging spanking or paddling? Well, I can certainly tell you it was an efficient method in disciplining me as a child. One crack on the backside kept the threat alive in my heart and mind — as the mere prospect of another was usually enough to dissuade me from trying to spread the butter on my ear of corn with the side of my sister’s face. But, looking back, I’d like to suggest to my mother that the question, “Do you want me to give you something to cry about,” is not one that should even be asked. However, her pearl of, “You just wait until we get home,” was usually enough to quiet me down the rest of our trip through the store and subsequent ride home — hoping against hope that if I just disappeared into the background she’d forget all about me trying to slip 17 boxes of Fruit Loops into the cart when she wasn’t looking or ...

But I digress.

See, if there’s one thing I learned in my life, it’s that an attitude adjustment can go a long way in regards to building personal character. There’s nothing as humbling as getting cracked by a teacher in front of your classmates or being chased out the front door by your father while your friends rolled over each other laughing on the sidewalk. You tend to lose that smirk when you know the threat isn’t hollow, and you start searching for ways to avoid it ever happening in the future.

Now, the world is a different place these days, and I’m not endorsing beating children. I once heard the advice that a parent shouldn’t spank a child when he or she is angry because it can get out of hand in a hurry. That seems pretty logical to me, though I’d suspect that if I was a parent that’s exactly when I’d be most eager to participate in a spanking.

But, as is often the case, I’ve spun the wheels of my consciousness off track. This is about paddling students in our schools, with the permission of the parents and the school district. Does it contain a snake pit of possibilities for lawsuits down the road? Absolutely. Some parent is going to give permission, then say that little Timmy or Cindy was paddled too hard by an over-zealous teacher and paperwork and costs will begin to pile up in our judicial system. It would be naive to not see that coming.

However, if the grand plan of our school districts is to educate our children then they have to be willing to stare these things in the eye and keep moving forward. You say you don’t want your kid to be paddled? Don’t sign the slip. It’s simple.

However, teachers have enough on their plates in just educating their students without having to worry about only having timeouts and detention at their disposal in maintaining discipline and interest in the classroom.

Let them do their jobs — and they’ll be doing all of us a great service.