I was on the bus today…you know, minding my own business…paying attention to everything and nothing in particular. Suddenly, a young boy, about 3 years old or so, started yelling, “Listen to me, Mommy.” He repeated this phrase about thirty-seven and a half times. His mother was quiet the first thirty-seven times. She lost it on that extra half though, and yelled, “Be quiet.”
Ha…now I don’t know about you, but I could never imagine raising my voice at my mother, no matter what. Even now, at forever twenty-one years old, I cannot even dream of doing it. You see, I grew up in the go-ahead-and-prosper-in-your-being-seen-and-not-heard-situation-child era. So having a shouting match with my mother was simply out of the question. Back then a glare from a parent meant that you were acting a fool and you would pay for your foolishness sooner rather than later.
Parents never seemed to forget back then too.If you acted a fool in the presence of polite company or in public, they would have this your-future-looks-dim smile while committing your crimes to memory. After the guests left, or as soon as you were out of the public eye, you would finally understand why the sky is blue. Those were the days when every parent’s motto was spare the rod and spoil the child. Timeout for who!? Grounded for who!?
There was always the dilemma of whether to cry or not after being disciplined. Crying would earn you an extra can of ass whooping because of all the noise pollution emanating from you. The opposite was worse. A lack of tears was taken to mean that you were too disrespectful to even feel pain. The caught between a rock and a hard place idiom must have originated from such situations.
I remember once my sister tried to have a debate (argument really) with my mother. That must also have been the day that my sister forgot rule number one of the children’s playbook – the parents are ALWAYS right. Needless to say, things did not end well for my sister. All I remember is my mother telling the rest of us to leave the two of them alone. A few minutes later my sister emerged with red eyes as though she hadn’t slept in months.
It’s a different world though. Nowadays children can argue with their parents, yell at them, disobey them like there are awards for disobedience, and even call them names, among others. What happens to these children? They get grounded, put on timeouts, and have their electronic gadgets taken from them for a few hours. Punishments that some of us couldn’t even in our wildest dreams have thought possible.