Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Look

From "Thinking Out Loud", a guest post by Loys Gilley Bolduc

My mother was the disciplinarian in our family. She did not need advice from Dr. Spock or a child psychologist. Nor did she believe in “wait until your father gets home.” Her method was to administer the punishment while the misdeed or behavior was fresh in mind. She was fair and just and made sure the punishment fit the crime. Usually, all it took was a look to get us back on track. It was difficult to believe her beautiful blue eyes, usually so gentle and compassionate, could produce such a scathing glare. If the look failed to get results she resorted to verbal tactics. Rarely did she administer physical punishment.

I do recall Mother being pushed to her limits. Since this particular incident involved me, I can relate to it with total recall.

My brother is four years older than I. We were best buddies as kids and we still are. When I was about seven and he was eleven, I idolized him to the point of imitating his every word and movement. This annoyed him and the more he objected, the more I teased. When his patience finally wore thin he resorted to angry words and eventually a little physical contact. Enter our mother! This behavior went well beyond ‘the look’. After separating us and verbally setting us straight, she instructed us to go to the bank of the river, where the willows grew thick. She told us each to cut a willow branch the thickness of our little finger. Switches in hand,and already humiliated and contrite, we marched back for our punishment. Each, in turn, were given several lashes across the behind and upper legs. It really smarted, but did no damage except to our pride.

Did the punishment fit the crime? The real punishment wasn’t the switching, but the humiliation of having to supply the means of punishment.

Did we learn our lesson? Yes, I think so. I lightened up on my teasing.

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