Running next to our neighborhood block, separating it from the major Rec. Center, was the drainage canal; it channeled the annual rains from the nearby Laguna Mountains, to the ocean just about a mile from my home. The force of that powerful flow was thunderous and deadly. Adults and children were swept away each year, their bodies found in the ocean weeks or months later.
This terrified my mom: she forbid me to visit the canal during the rains (under threat of a whipping), a phenomenon much too irresistible to the local kids—myself included. The clincher: I only got spanked if I came home with wet feet—the indisputable evidence (other kids did not get spanked for this).
Of course I went to the canal every time; no matter how hard I tried somehow my feet got wet—they never dried before getting home to the inevitable. Sometimes I had to pick a switch from our tree, sometimes it was a belt. I was clothed, never got cuts or nasty welts and it was not drawn out. This was done to make a point that matched the level of offense (not reward her anger) and the only offense to draw such punishment; other offenses drew standard timeouts, or denial of some privilege—which angered me as well.
For me the point hit home: yes I did revisit that canal, but I thought about it like no child around me; I survived, unlike some friends (and acquaintances) baring lackluster attitudes.
I immensely appreciate my mom for those spankings. If media pundits were right my anger at her chastising distinction would have me transferring brutality (or emotionally damaged). Ironically because my anger at her was just as intense for “lesser” punishments, this should have caused the same media predicted disasters.
Here’s the difference: my parents and I had a beautiful relationship. Both were critically involved in my upbringing, endlessly striving to beautifully enhance it; they brought me nonstop torrents of intimate, loving behavior and social opportunity—greatly offsetting my attitude about any form of punishment for my childish offenses. They showed me affection and what that looks and feels like.
We knew families (mostly fatherless) at each end of the abuse spectrum and saw generational consequences—constantly pointed out by my father. Kids were beat for every little thing on emotional whims, by adults who showed little or no affection (and provided no broader social activity) which charged down generational lines. In turn they became bullies, dropouts and strong candidates to join gangs.
At the other end we saw kids who got no chastising for blatant offenses, or who were allowed to continue social violations (and aggravations) while parents merely purred, kindly asking the child to stop without lifting a finger; they flood society with bloated narcissism, self-absorption and senses of reckless entitlement—inundating the landscape with rudeness and underhandedness (so illustrated in the corrosive ranks of a corporate world); clearly another form of abuse.
And how ironic that physical scars from abuse can get caretakers arrested, while scars from decades of verbal and emotional abuse (shredding self-esteems) leave violators legally unmolested.
A thing unaddressed by media pundits, implying they deem suicide (from eternally beaten down emotions) less consequential than a spanking.
Such is a cultural issue alright: colonial American culture, not prone to locales or a certain race.