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Paddling questioned by some, but my Mom was a believerPosted Monday, August 1, 2011, at 1:23 PM
I ran across an interesting item that was published in Sunday's Evansville-Courier and Press newspaper's website that made mention of a then-14-year-old Linton boy.
The small item was in the 75 years ago column dating back to 1936.
The article read: "Joe Lucas, 14, of Linton, took 10 lashes with a leather whip today as punishment for his third conviction for petty larceny. He pleaded guilty to having stolen 10 sacks from a mill.
"Given a choice between a jail sentence and a licking, he took the latter, which was administered by his father."
Now this might be a bit extreme. Dishing out "lashes" does sound a bit harsh on the surface, but it illustrates the importance of discipline.
A local judge realized that fact and probably saved young Joe Lucas from a more serious life of crime in his future.
I don't know if the Joe Lucas in this story is still alive or not. He would be about 95 now, but the short story rekindled some thoughts I have about corporal punishment and the effectiveness of this form of discipline.
I know spanking is a personal decision and in this lawsuit-happy era we live in, I realize that many parents don't have a very high opinion of paddling their children.
I was raised for the most part by a single Mom, who didn't hesitate to whip my backside with a belt or swat me on the legs with a fresh cut maple switch that I had to go chop from the tree myself.
She hadn't heard about the modern-day version of discipline called "time-outs."
When I disobeyed -- which was often until I realized the sting of the rod was not too pleasant -- I was dealt with appropriately.
My mother preferred to dish out a good, old-fashion form going to the woodshed "whoopin'."
I wasn't mistreated or just beat on.
When I got whacked it was for a reason.
But when the rules of the Schneider home were broken, my Mom was the prosecutor, the judge and the jury when it came to handing down punishment.
There was no defense testimony taken.
Through my mother I quickly learned what my boundaries were, and knew what would happen if I crossed that invisible, but understood line.
Those boundaries were reinforced during my elementary school years at the parochial school I attended.
The staff at St. Paul School didn't hesitate to use the paddle, if it was necessary.
I remember vividly the routine when you got sent to the office for disciplinary reasons. You usually got a paddling.
The old school had polished wooden floors and you could hear every step by the student heading to the office. They always left the classroom doors open I think so we could hear the fateful march to the office.
I only received paddling at school one time to my recollection.
It was nothing I did. It is for what I wouldn't do.
I refused to snitch on a classmate who put a tack on someone's seat.
The reason for not telling was a sensible one. The kid that put the tack on the seat was big and he was a bully. I figured three licks with the wooden paddle from Mr. Evrard would be less painful than the beating I and four others would have gotten from the big, muscle-packed classmate.
Perhaps the most memorable whipping I ever got was administered from the mother of my best childhood friend.
I was about 12.
It seems we weren't very smart and didn't fully analyze the consequences of smoking a cigarette while perched up in a peach tree in my friend's backyard. His mother smelled the smoke and that turned into big trouble for both of us when we landed on the ground after she ordered us out of the fruit tree.
Grabbing each of us by an arm, she took us in the house and whipped us with a wide brown colored belt.
I don't really know how many whacks I got, but afterward she told me to go home.
Well, when I arrived at my house about a block away my mother was standing on the porch wide-eyed and holding a belt.
My friend's Mom had relayed what had happened and the consequences were memorable.
I got another good whipping on an already seared backside and I can tell you, I didn't even think about smoking another cigarette until after I was in college. It made a lasting impression.
I don't think a simple "time-out" would have been near as effective when it came to giving me the kind of discipline that would have changed the way I was thinking.
When your backside is hurting, it has a lasting way of reminding your brain why it got into that predicament.
I'm sure 14-year-old Joe Lucas from Linton knew exactly what I'm talking about after he took his 10 lashes with a leather whip back in 1936.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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