Friday, January 19, 2007

The car would pull into grandma’s driveway. Dad always parked the car on the right hand side next to the garage. The car would stop and dad would shift it into park. He would then always, without fail, turn to the back seat before he would turn the engine off and would say, “now when we go in that house you take your shoes off, give your grandma a hug and kiss and then you sit down on the couch until I say you can get up and play…and once you are allowed to get up and play you don’t ruff house in grandma’s house or touch anything…you will play quietly…do you understand?” We would mumble “yes” and then he would turn the car off and we’d go in.

Now, let's just say me, my brother and sister had fussed or fought amongst ourselves on the trip to nanny’s house. Kids do that…I and my little sister would gang up on our brother Steve, which is funny because Sarah is the youngest of all three yet she would help me pick on Steve. You all know how it is. Never mind that we just got out of church and still had our church clothes on…dad knew his sheep and knew that we were already not behaving. During those times he would go through the same routine and give the same speech…except he would add one caveat… he would tack on this direct and serious warning at the end “…or else I will take you in the back and beat the living hell out of you…” then he would ask “do you understand?” Whenever dad used the words “beat”, “living hell” and “you” in one sentence we paid attention. Suddenly nobody could remember who pinched who or who ripped the GI Joes leg off… the only thing that mattered was not having living hell beat out us. So when we went to grandma’s we didn’t break things, we didn't touch her things or scream, run around, interrupt or fool with her tv. We just played quietly…if Steve and I wanted to play catch we took our mitts outside or we took the football. That always got my dad’s attention and most of the time he’d go out there and throw us “the long bomb” (we would make him “be” Bernie Kosar and me and Steve would “be” Reggie Langhorn and Webster Slaughter…we’d run the “long bomb” route and my dad would heave it…that was so cool cause none of our buddies could do that…) But we listened to my dads instructions. Rebellion was not a wise option, ever.

You see, my dad was intimidating. We didn’t obey him because we saw his point or we were concerned about his feelings…he intimidated us. We feared him. His power and authority in our lives was very much worthy of our respect. Our dad was the King of the Fox home. And buddy, if he told you that if you didn’t stop he was going to beat the living hell out of you…guess what? There was no “three count” or “I’m not going to tell you again”...if we did not stop doing whatever he said to stop doing, post haste, he would shoot up from wherever he was sitting, grab us and take us in the back…and then beat the living hell out of us. My dad was so fast that he literally did not have time to take his belt off…the time it would have taken for him to take his belt off he had already landed three sharp, stinging, painful and very memorable swats with his right hand. (he always gave us sets of three spanks, never more and never less…bang, bang, bang). There was almost no exception…it was like the law of gravity…my dad would let us get so crazy and then he’d have enough. If he said “stop it” he didn’t mean "kinda settle down for a minute"…he meant STOP IT. There was never a doubt what would happen if we didn’t stop… to keep on “doing it” was certainly a “death wish”.

So that is my story and now you can begin to understand how shocking it is for me to see kids scream “shut up” or “no”….TO THEIR DADS of all people! I have seen kids slap at their dads, hit their dads, kick their dads, stomp their feet at their dads…you name it. Totally disrespect their own fathers…to his face and in front of people...and the dads don’t hurt the kid! Words can not begin to explain the horror of the thought of attempting such a thing with my dad. The thought NEVER crossed our minds to spit or take a swing or kick at my old man…are you freakin kidding me? Are you CRAZY? It's not like we thought about it and refrain...the thought itself was anathema!

Of course these men will usually pretend to spank…but the kid doesn’t even cry! If they do cry it’s this fake cry stuff that lasts about one minute. I don’t care how tolerant of pain the kid is…I promise you…my dad would have made them cry real tears from real pain! With only three spanks mind you…all on the butt mind you. I watch in absolute stunned amazement as these men argue with their kids. Roy didn’t argue and he didn’t explain “why” more than once either. Roy sure as heck didn't tolerate for one split second OPEN and flagrant rebelion or disrespect of him or my mom. God help us if he ever heard us yell at our mom. Roy didn’t raise kids in a democratic system...we did not have a vote unless he gave us a vote…we had no rights. He was for the most part a benevolent dictator. He would ask us what flavor a cereal we wanted and he gave us the three choices…we didn’t tell him what to buy! My jaw about hits the ground as I watch these wimpy men debate with their three year old in the AISLES OF THE SUPER MARKET!!! Are you kidding me? Am I really seeing this? Is Huey really screaming at his dad like that…in the cereal aisle? Is Huey really running away from his dad? Does Huey really have no fear?

“Penelope, I don’t want you doing that…stop….Penelope…stop that now…stop that….stop…Penelope look at me…Penelope, no…no…stop that…I want you to stop that…Penelope…ONE….put that down….put that down…stop that…stop…stop…stop that…no, no, stop…stop….stop….twooo….Penelope put that down…”

It doesn’t matter if it is Penelope or Huey. I’ve seen this in Wal-Mart, Golden Coral, church, at the place I get my hair cut, the movies, the doctor’s office and at family gatherings…I see it everywhere and it totally floors me. What kind of life is that parenting setting their kids up for? There is no boss that is going to beg you to get your reports completed or try and talk you into meeting your quota on the assembly line!

Now, let me pull this all together and paint you the rest of the picture. There were very few times that “the hell” was “beat” out of me, Steve or Sarah. We didn’t get spanked very often at all. Just a handful of life changing times. There was no need for it…cause when my dad said “you had better stop it”…we did. We stopped it. And because we stopped it my dad did not have to fly out of his chair, grab us up and beat the fire out of us. That did happen, don’t get me wrong…and I’ll never forget those times…there were times when we pushed him and he proved himself faithful to his word. But it was not every day, once a week or even once a month. I’m sure we’d go months and months at a time before we’d tell our dad to “prove it”. You can ask anybody who was around us back when we were kids…we laughed and had fun…but we didn’t touch peoples stuff, we sure as heck didn’t break stuff…I can remember people remarking how well behaved we were at church and in public. That was not by accident. My mom did not “luck out”. Anybody who knows me, my brother and sister will tell you that all three of us are by nature very “strong willed” people…and we were strong willed kids. It’s in our blood. Imagine that...not one strong willed kid...but three. When it came to keeping his three strong willed kids under control my dad had three laws by which he ruled:

-he consistently spanked (my dad spanked, that was how he disciplined…there were no corners or time out chairs…he spanked)
-he was severe (he spanked sharply and painfully)
-he was fair (he gave three sharp swats at a time)

Those three things were always clear to us…we had a healthy fear of him because of these three unquestionable laws. And my dad never said he was going to "spank" us. No, no, no. He was never that gentle in his promises. No. He would vow to "beat the hell" out of us or worse. He didn't settle for "do you want spanked"...oh no...just the threat itself sounded terrible and invoked tremendous pause in our little hearts. Whatever he was going to do...it was going to be be terrible. And then if we didn't believe him or trust in his words...he proved how trust worthy and reliable he could be. So, because of that, our house had an order to it. We listened to our mom fairly well. We listened to our dad VERY well. We were happy kids. There were clear boundaries and a clear understanding of authority...nothing is more miserable for a kid than a tantrum...we didn't have those...not infront of my dad we didn't. So we were happier I think than these brats who scream and cry and flip out. We didn't argue with our parents...we had no expectations that things were about us...so we were happier kids. I wish people could grasp this. Sure, if you got strict and spanked with healthy severity on a consistent basis your house would be filled with crying for many days on end. That is your fault. BUT…slowly your kids will wizen up. Your life will be so much less stressful if you would instill some fear in your child’s heart. Healthy fear…the kind of fear that a kid needs to keep him out of jail when he is older. Kids need to know and understand that there is a greater authority than them…and that authority can and will put a stop to what they are doing… that authority will punish them. Being a wimpy parent that whines and debates with your kid is not good for your kid. It gives them the impression that life is about give and take and compromise…that is not the way life is.

Godly parents are strict parents who discipline consistently and healthy severity.

Of course, the Bible is clear on this. I believe that my dad had it about 80% right…he lacked some grace and I will try to correct that with my kids. But my dad was not totally off track. The Bible does not teach time out chairs. The Bible teaches spanking. The rod is what was used back in the days of the Bible…they would spank with a rod.

Here is what God says to do with your unruly children:

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24 niv

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15 niv

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death. Proverbs 23:13-14 niv

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15 niv

Ps

Lest any of you are tempted to say, “what does he know…he doesn’t have kids” let me remind you of this. Number one, I’m right and the Bible supports this. Number two, Naomi’s little sister and brother lived with us for a year straight and since we’ve been married, if all the time the have lived with us was added up it would equal over two years. So my experience is in dealing with kids 3-12. I’m not talking about something I have not tested personally and seen proved first hand…not by a long shot. They are not our kids, but they lived with us for long periods and stretches of time, we discipline them and they mind our rules just fine. I am not speaking from ignorance or from unproven theory.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I 100% agree with you! An unruly child not only is bothersome to the family they are in, but also to EVERYONE they are ever around. Children should be taught to respect other people's things and all adults. It bothers me so much these days, I think 80-95% of parents have it TOTALLY WRONG!!

irreverend fox said...

thanks anonymous! I'm not sure the number is as high as 80-95% lol...the reason it might seem that way is because the kids that get noticed the most are the rotten and spoiled "bratty" ones. disciplined and well mannered kids don't stand out usually (and when they do it is for reasons to be proud of most of the time).

but I'd dare say it is in the 40-50% range of parents...you are basically right in that the number is very, very, very high.

Anonymous said...

I love the name Penelope!

Anonymous said...

Doesn't maturity change your view of the parent/child relationship drastically!
As a child/teen the thought process is so different ie... My parent is horrible and treating me wrong. Disipline is looked at as abuse or mistreatment.
We "grow up" and it changes to I realize why my parent did what they did and they raised a really great and obedient child (me).
What a difference God, growth, maturity, realization and a few years can do to change our view point of our childhood.

irreverend fox said...

anonymous #2

yes it is! especially when it belongs to a little brat, lol!

anonymous #3

you are exactly right...nothing more to add to that...great thought! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... perhaps a subject we actually agree on??? Miracles do happen ;-)

irreverend fox said...

amen!

Crystal said...

I so appreciate this blog. Like your parents we have been blessed - every child we have is strong willed! I'm almost too frightened to have any more. I wasn't strong willed at all so it was hard for me to learn disciplining, but the best book on the subject is called, "To Train Up a Child" by Michael & Debi Pearl. Get it and give it out to your church for mothers or fathers day. You can buy them from their website: www.nogreaterjoy.com

irreverend fox said...

thanks Crystal! and are you sure about this whole notion that you were not (and are not now...) strong willed? I'll have to double check with your brother Rob about that one...lol...

thanks Crystal!

And for the dozens and dozens who read this blog...please pray for Crystal's little girl...she is sick and doctors are trying to pin point the problem...Crystal and her husband are missionaries over seas...so please pray...

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with you on this. And I know you said you had children around you for about 2 years but now adays it is so different then when we were children. People will get in your face if you correct your child in public for that embarassing fit they throw in the middle of Walmart. They all stop and stare at you waiting to see your reaction. Then if you wait till you get to the car, the smacks are caught on security cameras and broadcast on your local 6 o'clock news for all to see. Granted, you dealt with some kids for 2 years. But untill you are around them 24/7 and they are your own, it makes a big difference. I was corrected with a belt on my behind as a child as were my brother and sister and yet today that is unexceptable. They have found different ways to deal with children and their "pschy". Each child responds differently to different punishment. Now kids can tell a teacher they are beaten at home (what they consider beaten and you consider the same kinda swats you got as a kid) and you have children services knocking on your door, inspecting your home and lifestyle, kids and everything else. You are now forever on record with them. Just because you corrected your child and your kid thought it was wrong or said something to the wrong person that does not agree with you and how you discipline. Once you get the county into your home it is hard to get them out. They make random visits whenever they feel likle it just cause you swatted your kids and someone found it wrong. It is not ok in societies eyes to physically correct your kids anymore. You will see when you do have your own. It really does make a difference.

irreverend fox said...

anonymous,

a couple things.

first, my brother and sister in law were under my care and authority 24/7 for a total of 2 years.

second, I'm not suggesting spanking a child in public...a parent waiting until the family gets home is more than fine...if the child has any respect and fear the threat of "wait till we get home" will suffice.

third, I think your assessment is exaggerated. I know MANY parents who spank regularly and with appropriate severity right now in 2007...and guess what? their children behave and don't need spanked very often.

I do appreciate your thoughts but I just simply disagree with them.

Anonymous said...

I figured you would since you do not have kids. It makes a difference when they are your own. Not exaggerated... very truthful now adays. People do not see spanking as a form of useable or should I say acceptable punishment. They see time outs and taking things away as enough when you are bad. Most people who are parents now frown upon it and frown upon people who do it. I am not saying it is bad to do once in awhile... we would not have all the crazy ass kids on Maury having sex at 11 with 50 men and slapping their moms around. But I know most people do frown upon it. That is not the best way for all kids and sure is not the only way. You have to watch it nowadays. It is not that easy anymore. You will see one day.

irreverend fox said...

thanks again anonymous...but there is no "one day I'll see..." about it. I see now, my kids will fear and respect me. It's that simple. they will be spanked with appropriate severity...and because of that they will not need disciplined as often as they would if they were not spanked with appropriate severity. no matter how strong willed my kids will be...if I don't spank with appropriate severity their behavior will be worse than if I do.

the fact that I have no children from birth does not make me some how ignorant or blind. I have a great deal of personal experience with raising kids, have read much and I can actually remember my childhood…so I have first hand experience at being a kid and I can remember how my parents handled me…which speaks volumes about their wisdom because I am very strong willed…but guess what? I didn’t pitch fits at K-mart, I didn’t swing at or kick at my dad...ever...even when I was real little, I never ran off and neither of my parents EVER had to chase me…I didn’t turn their TV’s on or off…I didn’t touch other peoples stuff…I was good. I'm not saying I rarely did those things...I'm telling you I didn't EVER do ANY of those things...even when I was 2 or 3. All because I respected and feared my dad…he earned that fear and respect. I will pass on that wisdom to my children, they will have a healthy fear and respect for me because I will earn both from them.

Anonymous said...

ok we can play it that way. what are you going to do if you have a child whom this kind of parenting does not work on? who does not fear you or your threats? what then? you make it sound like kids who are not corrected to your standards are the ones who act up and out. kids are kids. they will push and push sometimes no matter what you do. you can not remember what you did as a 1, 2 or 3 year old. you sound as if you were the perfect child because you had boundries. get real now. there is no such thing. a spanking might make a child think twice but it sure as hell is not going to curb all bad behavior just because you said not to do it. it just does not work that way. granted, fear in a child is stronger then love but not all kids are that easily corrected.

irreverend fox said...

anonymous,

I don't think you are understanding the point so I'll not continue going back and forth...

Cecdaddy said...

I realize this post is probably long over, but I found the phrase, "beat the hell out of you" a bit harsh at first. However, after some consideration, I think there is something theologically sound in "beat the hell out of you." It sounds quite loving after you think about it. Of course, most people would use it in a very derogatory way these days, and I would probably be misunderstood if I used it in public, but I certainly do hope I "beat the Hell out of my children," for their sake!

Good Post!

Just a caveat: I do use time outs, as well as spanking, with my son, who is strong-willed. He currently uses biting and head butts quite a bit, and I find that time outs can disperse the hell from him when a spanking leads to more physical responses from him.

Although God does not directly encourage time outs, when we sin, we do experience the loss of his presence, which is how our time outs are punishment. He is removed from our presence and experiences the loss of our relationship.

My son is only 2, and I am sure that time outs will not always work with him. And, like I said, we do spank when it is appropriate and sufficient to discipline.

irreverend fox said...

thanks Cecdaddy...and I'll pray for you, lol!