I’ve written a couple of blogs recently on this old adage. It is a complicated and contentious topic to be sure. “The rod” applies to so much more than corporal punishment (spanking). But used properly, a nice whack to the posterior can have a tremendous value. Here’s an example from when I was in grade school.
Far and away my favorite and most effective teacher was Emma Kolb. I was in her classes for both the 2nd and 3rd grades. She taught us as individuals, not a mass. In the 2nd grade, I began learning advanced set theory and using Venn diagrams among other things. These are common subjects in 2nd grade today, but sure were’nt when I was a 2nd grader. What I learned from Miss Kolb shaped my thinking and how I address problems that are still critical to me today.
I have many fond memories of Miss Kolb and what she taught me. But far and away, the most vivid memory occurred in the art room during 2nd grade. We were lined up to leave the room as a class. I was standing by the paper-cutter. Miss Kolb, reading my mind, admonished the group to NOT touch the paper-cutter. Her eyes, however, were focussed on… well… ME!
You know the very distinctive sound a paper-cutter makes when being used? Miss Kolb had barely turned away before that sound thundered through the room. That sound was immediately followed by the sound of open hand landing on a backside. As I recall, it didn’t hurt at all. But it established without question, for me and many classmates, who was in charge. For the better part of two years, I never challenged that authority again.
That, of course, could not happen in a public school classroom in this country today. Lawsuits would follow and a career would be over.
Public education ain’t what it used to be. What a pity!
On a related note:
Shortly before they came to visit, my younger granddaughter (Lauren, age 4) announced to me: “When we come to visit, I want you to smack your son (her daddy).”
“Because he was mean to me and (sister) Rachel. He separated us. I want you to SMACK him!”
“Where should I smack him?” I asked.
Usually Lauren would just blurt out a response, but this time she hemmed and hawed for a bit. Finally, she said “Where his underpants are.”
Lauren wasn’t looking for grandpa to hurt her dad. She was looking to a “higher authority” to right what she saw as an injustice. I don’t know if she’s ever been really spanked. I suspect not. But she knows the value of establishing the pecking order within a family.
After they arrived, I asked Lauren if she still wanted me to smack her dad. “Nope. He’s been good” she responded with that mischievous smile she has. My son just chuckled.
Alive in The Word