Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Observation in parenting…

“Mama, please don’t give me back to the Indians.”


Picture this, me not two watermelons tall saying this to my mother when I misbehaved. You never know how things like this stick with a child until you yourself grow up, and have probably already done damage to your own kids.

I am not sure just how much I believed this empty threat, but I do remember wondering more than once what it might have been like to live with the Indians. Our family would often go to the Smokey Mountains on vacation. We visited all the memorials telling the story of the Cherokee Indians and the Trail of Tears and saw their descendants, so I knew full well that they existed and there was a real possibility that one day I was screw up just enough to get shipped off to live with them.

Now before you judge my mother too harshly, please understand, my mother was lucky to survive my brother and me. Trust me when I say that we gave as good as we got. Those were different times, growing up in South Georgia in the 60’s and 70’s. Parenting was different back then; whether you view it as good, bad, or indifferent. Parents whooped their young’uns, if you’re not from the South that would be young one’s, but it was one word where I come from.

They, the parents, bound together too. They were not limited to whooping their own kids. It was not an uncommon site for a friend of the family to join right in. “Here”, one would say, “I will get this one while you whoop that one.” I kid you not people; there was no safety in numbers as a kid in South Georgia. The worst of this was if you were staying over at a friends house and got in trouble and you got a whoopin’, you prayed that your parents didn’t find out, in fact you begged the other parents not to tell them. This was a certain way to get yourself another whoopin’ when you got home for embarrassing your parents.

Some would argue that all that whoopin’ didn’t fix anything just damaged the kids. But thinking back now, I realize that most of the pain and suffering came thanks to our own devilment. It seems that we were punished on a daily basis for one thing or another. For the life of me I can’t remember why now but I do remember some of the things we did that we didn’t get a whoopin’ for and probably should have.

I set the carpet on fire once, playing with a lighter and sheets of paper. Instead of telling mama I just ran and hide behind the couch. She had to pull me out and ask me what I had done. I never told her though. Thankfully she had the good sense to go where I had ran from and found her bedroom on fire. Then there was the time Scooter and I would catch garden snakes from the water meter and place them at the front door. Then we would call mama and tell her there was a snake at the back door. We would run off and hide, waiting for her to open the door and step on that snake and scream. We just laughed and laughed.

Of course you just can’t beat the young’uns any more, and maybe rightfully so. I do wonder sometimes though. When I see kids disrespecting their parents as well as other adults it makes me cringe inside. If there is one thing I did learn from all those whoopin’s was a healthy respect for my elders and other people. For that reason I do not regret my punishments and the hard lessons I learned. I am sorry about the snake though mama and thanks for not giving me back to the Indians.


Just an observation…

Craig

11 comments:

scot said...

Wow, What did you do wrong? The only time you have this memory is when you have done something wrong and are afraid.

Mama is a trooper. You catching the house on fire, me throwing knives at cars and screen doors. Who set the tractor on fire?

She would wup us as hard as she could, but the harder she did the harder we laughed. Then came the real threat: "I'm gonna tell your daddy!!" "NOOOOOO, Please dont, we promise we will cry, we PROMISE!!"

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Scot, you must be the brother Craig mentiones?

Craig it seems like you were a naughty little devil?

Being older, I think a whoopin’s the best things we ever had in our lives. It brought us up to be decent people not like the children today which I have no time for. We were taught values ans so could pass this on to our children. I fee sorry for the school teachers in these modern times. An excellent article Craig and it bring back many memories for me too.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I love you stealing my idea Craig and dont mind at all even though I am a "meanie". LOL!!

My guess would be a tortoise. I wish I could post on it though. I just tried and it is still not working. :(

david mcmahon said...

You did WHAT? You set the carpet on fire!!

scot said...

So I laid awake last night thinking. All those summer vacations to the Cherokee Indian reservation as kids. You must have been horrified.

No wonder you never got out of the car. Poor guy!!!

hahahahahhahahhaha too funny!!

Craig Glenn said...

Yea I just hope mama never reads these blogs, we will never hear the end of it.... airing our dirty laundry... LOL

Craig

Braja said...

Child abusers will always find a way to abuse children. But not being "allowed" to whack your kid? Too far, I'd say...

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Over from Davids on your POTD...congrats

crikey l thought I was hardwork...is this really all true? perspective and all that...wow what lives we've led eh?

CrazyCath said...

Over from David's - congrats on POTD.

You make me look like a true angel...

(Thank you!) ;0)

GutsyWriter said...

Great story Craig, and thanks for following my blog. I do think you write very well and should consider writing short stories or a memoir of growing up, if you have enough material.
I return to Paris, almost yearly as my Dad, 83, lives there. I see the way French kids are spanked in a store, if they don't listen, and it's so different from where I know live in Orange County, California, where everyone is scared of what others might think of them. Life is definitely different and interesting all over the world.

Craver Vii said...

Great story, Craig! Oh, that brings back memories!! One time I told my grandmother, "You can't spank me; you're not my mother." That was a mistake I never repeated. That communal spanking privilege is definitely a thing of days gone by.