Kids These Days

I love arguing with someone who isn't listening, don't you?In New York City, a former football player plead guilty to using excessive force in disciplining his son. He reportedly hit the 12-year old boy with an electric cord because the kid got bad grades in his private school. It always irks me when people who basically have everything in life do something so irresponsible. I tell a coworker about my feelings, and I get this response:

“You know, there’s nothing wrong with a spanking.”

Um…okay. I’m not saying that spankings aren’t acceptable punishment. I personally don’t plan on spanking my kids, but I’m not going to villainize those who do use that as a form of punishment. Heck, my dad used to spank me when I did something wrong as a kid. But there’s a world of difference between a parent smacking a kid on the ass with his hand and an enormously large, very strong man whipping a child with an electric cord. It’s like comparing my credit card debt to the national deficit.

“If more people spanked their kids, this world wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in today.”

Really? So the fact that gas prices are flying higher than Tom Cruise’s ego, that the Balkans are being torn up by guerrilla warfare, and that drug trafficking is tearing Central America apart is all because kids aren’t getting hit enough? That’s seriously the problem?

“Kids need discipline.”

Okay, I agree. But once again, we’re back to the basic difference between a spanking and child abuse. Parents are supposed to know when enough is enough. There’s a world of difference between my father giving a kid a spanking and a very large, muscular athlete going to town on a kid with an extension cord, all over a bad report card. I mean, we can see a line somewhere, can’t we?

“My old man used to go to town on me with a switch.”

Ah…and I see that you turned out as a model citizen. You are now gaining weight and losing hair while rotting away in a middle management job that you’ve hated for 15 years, bitching about politics but knowing deep down inside that your middle class, non-voting ass hasn’t mattered for years. If only your pop had cracked you over the head with a two by four, you might be president right now.

“I’m just saying, you look at the streets, and kids are out of control these days.”

Really? Kids are our problem? Kids who didn’t get spanked are the reason that the folks who built New Orleans didn’t realize that putting a city below sea level right next to the sea might result in major flooding? Some unspanked child is the reason that we invaded two middle eastern countries without an exit strategy? A kid who didn’t get smacked by nuns with a ruler is to blame because a bunch of rich rappers shot themselves while trying to make themselves look like gangstas?

Here’s a little news flash: spankings don’t make that big a difference. Sure, that kind of discipline might help some kids, and it might hurt others, just like going into the military might. But a lot of the policy makers, the celebrities, and the politicians – the people who actually make this world run – grew up in that same generation where spanking was the standard form of discipline. These kids today whose parents give them a time out instead of a trip to the woodshed won’t be running the world for another generation or two, at least. We’re still forty to fifty years away from a society run by these undisciplined whelps that are supposedly tearing the world apart. Today’s world is largely run by people who got spanked at least once in a while as kids. Some of them are doing worlds of good. Some of them are absolute scum.

“All I’m saying is that we didn’t have these sort of troubles when I was a kid.”

No, there were entirely different troubles. Kids in your day didn’t have to worry about terrorism. They only had to worry about, I dunno, the entire world being obliterated in a nuclear holocaust because the Soviet Union and the United States couldn’t get along.

Let’s take this whole spanking = a better world model a bit further.

Remember the good old days on 1907? We didn’t have any of the problems of these later generations then. Sure, parents spanked their kids, and that might be what kept everything in perfect working order. But you know the real secret? Woman couldn’t vote.

Just think about it: before women could vote, there was no Nazi party. A few decades afterwards…Holocaust City. Did anyone know the name Osama Bin Laden in 1907? Of course not. Did pedophiles seduce children over the Internet? Not even once. Why? Because there was no women’s suffrage.

“So you’re saying women shouldn’t be allowed to vote? What kind of bigot are you?”

I’m not saying that at all. I’m simply taking one aspect of that generation and expanding upon it, suggesting that all of society’s problems spawn from our negligence of this one little piece from the good old days. You know, sort of like what you’re doing with this spanking thing. Is it accurate? No. Is it even logical? Of course not, and that’s my point.

“I’m just saying, spankings aren’t the problem.”

Well, since you obviously haven’t listened to me through this entire conversation, my original statement had nothing to do with spankings. The thing that makes me angry, as I said before, is that someone would beat a kid with an electric cord. That’s completely unnecessary.

“Kids need discipline.”

Yeah. I know. I’m going to go talk to my coffee mug now. I might have a more productive conversation.

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