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Mother could wing wicked tennis shoe

Local columnist

link Karl Terry

My parents probably wouldn’t make it with a career in pro football today.

That’s not because my mom didn’t have the arm for it. On the contrary, she could nail you in the side of the head with a tennis shoe all the way down the hall from the living room if you left your shoes out.

No, it’s because my folks bought into the age-old axiom of “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

Yes sir, I got whoopin’s growing up.

The best (or worst, in my point of view at the time) came from my dad’s belt.

Recently, National Football League running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings has been under indictment in Texas for what he says was whooping his 4-year-old son with a switch. He said he was just using the same form of punishment he received growing up in East Texas.

As kids, we knew and dreaded the sound made when Dad’s belt came off. The clanking of the buckle and the sound of the belt moving through the belt loops — I came to learn he figured out how to emphasize those sounds just so we would stop what we were doing or go to bed as instructed.

The best thing about corporal punishment from my dad is he didn’t own a thin dress belt; his belt was wide and would sure enough warm your fanny but not leave any welts unless you got cute and tried to move away mid-swing.

He also never worked any of us over with baling wire even though the thought probably crossed his mind and there were probably times we deserved it.

I only got licks in school one time, from my assistant principal in high school, who I had known all my life. He gave me the choice between paddle and detention and I felt I had to show him I was man enough to take it. He made sure I knew I wasn’t getting any favors from him that day. I think we both went away with a greater respect for the other.

A junior high teacher who taught both my dad and me used to say to teach a mule something, sometimes you had to get his attention first. Oftentimes that required a green two-by-four.

I was stubborn as a mule more than once in my childhood, but I don’t think their attempts to “get my attention” did me any harm. Once they had my attention the corrections sank in more quickly.

Punishment at our house wasn’t strictly limited to whoppings. In fact the punishment that stuck with us all the longest was the day my mom taped all of our eyes shut after we were caught engaging in a BB gun fight.

I guess taping a kid’s eyes shut could probably land a parent in court these days.

Love your kids, discipline them through love and let Adrian Peterson have the pigskin.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: [email protected]