This is where this gets good. Right now half of you are shaking your heads “No, no, no,” while the other half are shaking your heads “Yes.” Let me start with my critics. I have had this discussion before and in the wake of the tragedy in Arizona, they would use this example I have given to explain that “violence” on that little kid leads to later violence in life. Yes, for the most part I would agree. If you beat that child, then when he/she grows up they in turn will victimize someone else. But I did not say “beat” that child. I say spank (discipline with force) that child. Beating a child means you are trying to physically hurt them using violence. That concept is based in irrational reasoning. Spanking a child is the use of a physical reinforcement, in a loving manner (you are not trying to harm the child) to deter negative actions. There is a huge difference between the two. Trust me, that is where the funniest part of my spanking stories would come from. I used to get in trouble a lot, and when my mom or dad would spank me they would always say, as I am sitting across their lap crying and kicking my legs, that this was hurting them more than me. And I would always look at them with that incredulous scrunched up face as if to say, “Yeah right, then why don’t we switch places.” But you know what that discipline taught me? It taught me there were swift and tangible consequences to my actions. If I do A, then I should expect consequence B. So the next time I went to do A, I would have to stop and consider whether doing it was worth the punishment I would receive.
Once again, my opponents will argue that that particular lesson could have been accomplished by explaining to the child that his/her actions were wrong and shouldn’t do it again. “EHHHHHH, wrong!” A child of that age lacks the necessary contextual framework to allow the understanding and rationalization of those principles. It might work to momentarily deter their actions. But what they figure out is that if they do A, mom and dad get red in the face, they lecture me, while I pretend to be sad, they take my favorite toy for 15 mins, then I get it back, and I am free to go. That is not a deterrent. That is teaching them that they can manipulate a system. They now know that the punishment is so laxed, that it is worth committing the crime. Then later in life, as teenagers, when they are grounded and sent to their rooms with their Internet and flat screen TV’s and mini fridges, they have this lesson once again reinforced, “Crime does pay.” The punishment is worth committing the crime. They are not being punished; you have been tricked by Br’er Rabbit into throwing him into the Briar patch, which is exactly where he wants to be. Punishment should be getting sent to the backyard for manual labor. Raking leaves, and then raking the neighbors leaves everyday for a week. Regardless of cheerleading commitments and sports schedules. See how they like losing out on the things they care about in life and then, they understand that in society, when you commit a crime, what you lose out on is your life if you are convicted. The punishment should deter people from committing the crime.
But in order to teach that to a child there needs to be a “teacher” present. And those “teachers” I speak of are called Moms and Dads. I hate to agree with Dan Quayle, but he was right when he said it in ’88, and he is still correct today. Family values in America have deteriorated. If the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is to be believed, then doesn’t it make sense that it would take at least two parents to start that child rearing off correctly? If took two people to make it, shouldn’t it also be advisable to have two people to raise it. I am not saying that you cannot successfully raise a well-adjusted successful child in a single parent home. I am saying that you are starting that child off with two strikes against him/her. It will be an uphill battle. And every example you give me of a successful single parent, I will say that is the exception, not the rule. I can produce 100 “failures” for every one success. I am also not saying that just because you have both parents that the child will come out well either. You need two individuals (meaning man/woman, man/man, woman/woman) who are going to be involved, nurturing, caring individuals who will take the time and responsibility to raise that child properly. And then you need a support base around the child consisting of grandma and grandpa, sisters and brothers, extended family, friends, priest/pasture, and schoolteachers. You need to surround that child with a support structure where there are multiple levels of redundancy, so that the child knows he/she is cared for and that there are always people looking out for their well-being.
All three things are needed to raise a child, attentive parents, discipline, and a loving nurturing, supportive environment. A mom and dad who take an active role in their lives, and aren’t afraid to discipline them when they step out of line. A support structure made of multiple levels of people who care about that child. It is time for people to take responsibility for their children. I am sick and tired of watching kids on the bus, kids in the stores, and kids anywhere run all over their parents. It shouldn’t be my place to step in for you, and then later societies burden to do what you couldn’t do. You brought them into this world, now step up and take responsibility and RAISE your child!