Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mrs Parker's Electric Paddle

We Knew It Was For Our Good
When I was a kid there was discipline and order in the classroom. Teachers could actually teach, and kids could actually learn. We had a healthy fear of punishment, and we knew it would certainly come if we deserved it.  All of us kids instinctively knew it was not abuse, but a justified response to misbehavior and rebellion, or an attempt to prevent us from doing things that were dangerous or harmful. We knew our parents and teachers (generally speaking) loved us and were trying to educate us and train us to be mature and responsible.
Mrs. Parker's Electric Paddle
In my third year of elementary school, we moved from the old, white, wooden schoolhouse into a new brick facility.  When I stepped off the bus onto the new school grounds, the word was going around that our principal, Mrs. Parker, had an electric paddle installed in her new modern office. None of us wanted to face that mysterious and unknown instrument. Whenever one of the boys was sent to the principal’s office to be disciplined, the rest of us would be waiting for him when he came out. “Did Mrs. Parker use the electric paddle on you?” we would ask. The response was always the same, “No. She used the regular old wooden paddle.” The fellows actually seemed relieved to have experienced only the everyday wooden one. However, Sonny Bellamy claimed to have seen the electric paddle on the office wall. Looking back as an adult years later he realized what he saw was only the building's electrical system's breaker box. There was no electric paddle. But the threat of it kept a few young men on their best behavior.

We had the Cedar Switch And We Were the Least Violent.
One thing that annoys me in our contemporary American culture is the way political agenda and political correctness are over-riding and over-ruling science and common sense. One example of political agenda over-ruling fact is in the arena of child discipline. Some sociologists said, “Spanking encourages violence and produces violent behavior in children.”  This statement seems ignorant of and oblivious to history and contemporary culture. My question is: “If that is the case, can you then explain to me why my generation that grew up during the 50s and my parent’s generation before me who grew up with the cedar switch at home and the wood paddle in the principal’s office at school were the least violent, while the generation that has grown up without corporeal punishment, especially over the last 30 years, actually is the most violent?”  The least violent generation were the ones who knew going to the principal’s office could mean a spanking. Classrooms were orderly and teachers could actually teach. By contrast, there are too many children in our current generation who have grown up in a permissive atmosphere with no fear of real punishment and with little respect for elders, parents, or teachers. When there are no real consequence for bad behavior, human nature in youth becomes arrogant, disrespectful, insolent, and potentially uncontrollable. The generation without proper discipline will lack self-control and will be the most violent.
So Now We Call the Police!
As a consequence, schools are now calling police to deal with kids over simple issues that in my generation would have been solved quickly and without fanfare by sending the child to the principal’s office for a spanking. “Bullying” is now a hot topic. The TV is full of psychological rationalizations and discussions about how to deal with it. Back in the old days, either the parent or the principal would discipline the kid, and that would be the end of the matter.  

A Bigger Problem
The real issue is broader than the need for discipline. It involves the character and integrity of people in our society. For a healthy generation the rod of discipline is an instrument of love used to train children and help them learn self-control by providing consequences for misbehavior. Parents should train children based on what is best for the child. The child should not receive the discipline because the parent is angry, but rather because the child needs to learn obedience, understand the seriousness of his disobedience, and gain self-control and maturity of character.
By contrast, a self-absorbed generation of parents without knowledge of biblical values have followed Dr Spock instead of the Bible. They have employed permissiveness instead of discipline, and bribery instead of the rod.
As a result they now live in frustration with unruly children who think they are the center of the universe, children who curse and use foul language at their parents, who kick and scream throwing temper tantrums in public because it got them their way at home. In this atmosphere parents are more prone to child abuse. The real problem is the absence of good parenting. Bad parenting and an epidemic of unruly and untrained children are symptoms of a society unraveling, a problem larger than the issue of discipline itself. The issue comes back to a culture that has laid aside God and Biblical values.

Blessed are the People Whose God is the Lord
Complacency is defined as the self-satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers. Our society (at least those in charge of government, education, and media) laid God and the Bible aside, without thought of the real consequences. The “chickens” now are literally “coming home to roost.” The apostle Paul says that in the fierce society of the last days children will be “disobedient to parents” (see full list in 2 Timothy 3:1-5). He was referring to a prevalent mindset and tolerated practice. The prophet Malachi said, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”(Malachi 4: 5-6). These words tell us that the breakdown of the home and family is one of the marks of a society ripe for judgment…unless it turns to the Lord. Our only hope is for multitudes to give their lives to Jesus Christ so that His grace and blessings will once again fall upon us as a nation. Otherwise, we will one day wake from our complacency to find the “warning tremors” have turned into a major “earthquake.” In the Lord we can experience the joys God intended for family. The Psalmist said, "Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord."  Psalm 128:4.
“…that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style; that our barns may be full, supplying all kinds of produce; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; that our oxen may be well laden; that there be no breaking in or going out; that there be no outcry in our streets. Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.”  Psalm 144:12-15

 

 

2 comments:

Dr. Bob said...

A hard word to read but one greatly in need of writing. Thanks so much, Billy. Keep it coming.

Billy Long said...

(Here is an email I received from a friend. I copied and pasted it here.---Billy)

Billy,
Enjoyed the article. I am blessed to have been reared to have adults: parents, teachers, neighbors,etc. , who loved me enough to discipline me. Your assessment of the problems in America today is totally correct. The very fabric of our society has been lost because of America's disregard for God.
By the way, Iree (Mrs.Parker) put the board on me more than once!
Take care!
Mike B