January 10, 2014

The Gatekeeper’s Son…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:08 pm

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And at night, he stiffened with shame in his dark bed, ripping the
sheets between his fingers…He wanted to blot out the shameful
moment, unweave the loom.

–Thomas Wolfe
_____________

He called the office one morning last week. Asked for someone in sales. And Rosita told me. “A guy has some questions about some horse stall doors.” OK, I said. She transferred the call, and I spoke like I always do. This is Ira. Can I help you?

It was an Amish guy, I could tell from his voice. Couldn’t place an age on it, though. He might have been in his twenties. Or he might have been sixty. He was wondering if I stocked a horse stall door. A slider. And did I have a stall door that had a yoke, where the horse could stick its head out, if it wanted to? Yeah, I have a few of those, I said. How many do you need? “Three,” he said. I have them here. They’re not the standard door. Let me look up what they cost, I said. And I told him the price. He seemed to recoil a bit. “Well, do you have any regular small grills, so I can just make my own doors?” He asked. I have some of those, too, I told him. Tell you what. Why don’t you stop by when you get a chance and see what we have? You can choose then, what works for you. And he allowed that he might do just that later that morning.

And in the bustle of things a few hours later, the door bells jingled. I was on the phone, but I looked. A middle-aged Amish man. And his wife. That’s a little unusual. The women usually stay outside, in the vehicle they came in. It’s pretty rare, to see an Amish couple walk in like that. I heard the man ask for me. About a minute later, I got off the phone. And I rose to greet them as they walked up to my counter. The man smiled and introduced himself and his wife. She just stood there, smiling.

And I took them out to the warehouse. Showed them the yoke doors he had asked for. Explained how they were made. Galvanized steel. Then powder coated. “What about the smaller grills?” He asked. I showed them those. And they conversed quietly, off the side a bit. In PA Dutch. And it didn’t take long. “We’ll take three of these, and just make our own doors. Do you sell the wood for me to do that?” Yep, I answered. I got samples up by my counter. I’ll show you what I have, and you tell me what you want.

And that’s what we did. They stood at the front of the counter, and I showed him the Northeastern White Pine I stock. And we figured it out, what he needed. I wrote the stuff up on an invoice, and he wrote out a check for the total. The wife glanced about, and suddenly her eyes focused on the little poster I have taped to the back of my computer screen. Of my book. She looked at it, then looked at me. She had mostly smiled politely up until now. She glanced back and forth a few times, at me, then at the poster, then at me again. And all at once she got real talkative.

“Is this you?” she asked, mildly astonished. Yep, that’s me. I was a little astounded that she’d even noticed the poster. Most people stand there, and look right past it. And I never mention anything, if they don’t see it. Her husband, too, looked to where she was looking. And it took only a few questions for her to figure out that I was David Wagler’s son. “Is Titus your brother?” she asked, all intrigued. Yes, I said. “I read your Dad’s book about his accident. Through Deep Waters. I was just thinking the other day that I’ll need to dig out that book and read it again,” she said. The husband seemed about as astonished as she was. And he got to talking, too.

“We met Titus once,” he announced. “Years ago, back in the early 1990s.” And I just leaned on the counter and we visited about it all. Yes, I told them, when he asked. I can speak PA Dutch. It’s a little different from yours. You people are the blue bloods, when it comes to the Amish. “Blue bloods?” They looked a bit puzzled. The oldest group around. You all were here first. And you have a lot of words and traditions that I didn’t grow up with, I explained. They grasped that.

The woman smiled as we talked. She seemed pretty excited that they were making a connection, here. “I think I was born the same year Titus was,” she said. And then a thought hit her. “Do you have a copy of your book here?” she asked. Oh, yes, I always keep a few around, I told her. I stepped back and got a copy from the box by my desk. Right here it is. I handed it to her, and told her the price. I’d sign it, of course, too, I said. She read the back cover, then started paging and paging through the book. I kept right on chatting with the husband, as his wife pretty much absorbed what she could from the book she was holding.

And I told her. You probably won’t agree with everything in it, but I think you’d enjoy the read. The husband got to asking some questions, then. “How old were you when you left?” he asked. Twenty-six, when I left for good, I said. And of course that opened up the usual can of worms. Yes, I had been a church member. And no, I’m not excommunicated. They do things a little different, out there in northern Indiana. He seemed a little dubious, but he still smiled at me.

It was time for them to head out to the yard to load up. And the wife still stood there, holding the book. I wondered if they’d take it. Then she looked at her husband. The two of them stood right there in front of me and communicated without saying a word. She kind of wanted it, she seemed to be saying. But we don’t really know anything about this man. Whatever you think is best. I’m good with that. He looked at her, and they discussed it some more without saying a word. And then he turned to me with a loopy little smile. “I guess we have enough books,” he said, as his wife handed me back my copy. That’s fine, I said. And it wasn’t awkward at all. You know where I am, if you ever change your mind. “Yes, yes,” they both nodded and smiled. And then they turned and walked out.

It was just a little bit strange, that whole experience. I can’t remember that exact thing ever happening before. And I made some random comment to the others in the office. My, she really wanted that book. The man wouldn’t let her buy it. But overall, I wasn’t at all upset. I come from these people. And they weren’t being disrespectful. They just made a choice, or at least the husband did. I don’t know if they’d ever heard of my book before. I think not. She had seemed pretty surprised. And maybe she’ll get to borrow a copy from someone, sometime. Maybe not, too. It’s none of my business what other people decide they will read, or won’t. And no, I don’t feel like I have a “ministry” to anyone. I’m fine with those who are in ministry. But to me, it’s always felt like you can’t talk to people eye to eye, if you’re consciously “ministering” to them. I’m just a guy who writes, now and then. If you want to read my stuff, great. If you don’t, that’s totally your business. It’s certainly none of mine.

I got to thinking about it all later, though, how the husband had turned down my book. Mulled it over, some. And I thought about it. I sure don’t blame him, because I came from where he is. And I think back, way back, to my preteen years, and how it was at home. Dad was pretty adamant about what he’d allow in his house. And he never would have let his sons read my book, not when they were young. Sure, he’s read it, and he has his own signed copy, because I gave him one when I went up to see him last June. But that’s now. Back then, he would surely have cast out that book as unfit for his children to read. He just would have. Not saying his sons wouldn’t have snuck around and got hold of it on their own. They surely would have done that, too.

And all that musing juggled loose a memory from way back when I was a child of twelve or so. A tough memory, in some ways. But still, it looks a lot different from here than it did when it all came down. It’s neither here nor there, I guess. No other reason to write it, except it happened.

We always had a lot of books around our house, growing up. Dad saw to that. We had no idea how unusual that was in the Amish world, especially back then. It was just our reality. His nonfiction stuff was generally pretty good. There was an old encyclopedia set. That’s always good stuff. But there were a lot of other real books, too. History books. Biographies. Reader’s Digest condensed books, there were plenty of those around. So many books that Dad built a bookshelf into the wall in the living room. A good-sized bookshelf, longer than half the room. And it was always chock full of books.

When it came to fiction, though, well, there he lacked a bit. Most of that was just mushy goo. Little didactic volumes he dragged home from the bookstore at the print shop, and presented to us with lots of good cheer. We generally didn’t act all that interested, though. Some of that stuff is fine, when you’re seven or eight. But not for much longer after that. And I saw my brothers, Stephen and Titus, sneak home contraband books they somehow had snuck through the school system, from the bookmobile. Freddy the Pig. Hardy Boys. Nancy Drew. Paddington Bear. Dad didn’t want books like that in the house. My brothers snuck them in and read them, anyway. I listened hungrily to their talk and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to read such books, too.

And soon enough, I did. Never got into Freddy the Pig, much. But the others I enjoyed. It’s all formulaic writing, but at least those stories had plots and twists and a little bit of violence and evil villains, unlike the preachy “Christian” books Dad brought home. I lost myself in a lot of real good children’s literature. And I loved it a lot, all of it.

You grow out of that stuff, though. And soon we did. I remember it as about the time Stephen was sixteen or seventeen. Titus was probably fifteen. And I was twelve or so. And this is just how I remember it. The westerns came around. Mostly Zane Gray stuff. I heard my brothers talking about the latest Zane Gray they’d read. And soon, I’d read my first one. These books were bought, and brought home. Right into the house. And there had to be some place to keep them safe.

Stephen came up with the idea, I think. He made a sturdy little wooden box. We called it a trunk, but it was a box. Not real big, so the box itself could be stuck away somewhere, out of sight. Maybe eighteen inches by eighteen inches, and maybe six or eight inches deep. He mounted the hinges and the hasp latch from the inside, so you couldn’t see the screws. And so no one could just back them out, and open the box that way. And he got a cheap padlock and locked it all up. And soon Titus had made his own “trunk” too. I think my brothers kept more than just books in their trunks, other contraband. But I never did. And I never made one out of wood, either. I settled instead for a little plastic box that had come with something, maybe a torch or some sort of tool. It had a handle built right in, and you could lock the handle. My trunk was the least secure of all. Because you could pry up the front corners and see what was inside. We stored our treasures in those trunks, and we kept them in the dark little closet upstairs in our room.

And I’m not sure of the exact sequence of events, but at some point in there, my brothers discovered Steen’s Cigar Store in Aylmer. On the north side of the street, toward the east end of the block. I suppose they sold cigars there, but we never paid that much mind. I know there was a pool room in the back. And we never paid that much mind, either. The thing that pulled us in was the vast, glorious magazine rack against the west wall. The place had hockey magazines. All sorts of magazines. And it had something else, too, a thing that always pulled us back like a magnet. A huge rack of comic books.

And it was just magical stuff, we discovered, those comic books. After Stephen got up the nerve to buy his first copy. Glossy covers in full color. And beautiful, full-colored pages. And all kinds of exciting, chilling, and hilarious plots. We got a bunch of them, eventually. And I can still see it clearly in my mind, some of the scenes and the dialogue. Mickey Mouse and Goofy. Archie. Some more sinister stuff, pulp fiction. (As he drifted toward the rapids to his death, Richard (Rob, Dave, any name fits here) realized that the wail of the Banshee was for him.) I absorbed it all, thought about it. There was so much life and color in those pages, such as I had never seen before in the world I was in.

And eventually I bought my most treasured comic book of all. Tarzan. It was full-sized, and so thick, the spine was square. I’m sure it cost more than I could afford. But I bought it, and snuck it home. And stored it in my little plastic trunk. I can still see and read scenes from that book, as clearly as if I were standing back there, holding it in my hands.

And we sailed along for a while, all smooth and happy in our lives. It could not last, of course. Because Dad knew more than we gave him credit for, I think. He knew we had our little trunks. And he knew we had stuff in there that we weren’t supposed to have. I don’t know what made him decide to do something about it. Maybe he held off until he figured he couldn’t anymore. Or maybe he finally took the time from his busy schedule to do what needed to be done. I don’t know. And from here, it’s hard to judge him, knowing the world he was in and what he represented in that world. He was standing at the gate of his own household, now. And he knew some bad stuff had slipped in. It was time to call an accounting.

It all came down one Sunday evening. Stephen was at the singing. Titus was not, so he couldn’t have been quite sixteen. And he was already upstairs in our room, reading. Not hanging out with the family that much. And around 8:30, I headed off to bed. As was a very brief habit in my childhood years, I walked past where Dad was sitting in his rocking chair. I said “good night” to him, for just a few years there. And that night, I said it. But he didn’t say it back, like usual. And he spoke, and it was a hard voice. I froze where I stood.

“Would you bring your trunk down and open it, so I can see what’s inside?” he asked. “And tell Titus to bring his down, too.” And just like that, a moment of sleepy peace turned into a dark nightmare of extraordinary turmoil. I’m sure he saw the fear and panic in my eyes. I gulped and nodded. And then I fled upstairs. Burst into our bedroom. And I told Titus. Dad wants to see what’s in our trunks. Right now. He’s waiting downstairs.

I don’t know what all Titus had in his trunk, and I can’t remember how it all went down with him, what he did. I know what I did with mine. Opened it. Took out those damning comic books. And replaced them with some books and little knick knacks. Acceptable books, of course. I couldn’t let Dad see I was reading comics. That would mean a whipping, for sure. And I traipsed downstairs slowly. To where Dad was waiting for me to open up my little blue plastic trunk.

I spun the lock and opened the trunk. And it was all just harmless stuff, in there. Dad pawed about a bit. “Is this all you kept in here?” he asked, frowning. I looked at him in fear. My choice had been made upstairs. And I just flat out lied. Yes, I told him. That’s all that ever was in this trunk.

He had me. And he told me. He’d pried open the front corners, earlier that day. He’d seen those comic books. I needed to go upstairs and get them all, right now. And so I did. I handed over that precious Tarzan copy. And a few others I can’t remember. But I remember Tarzan. Dad took them from me, and told me to go to bed. As if there was going to be any sleep for me that night.

My sister Rosemary and her husband Joe Gascho and their family were on a little trip to somewhere, right over that time. And Dad and I drove over the next morning, to do their chores. We milked the cows, and did what all else needed doing. Dad wasn’t himself, not like normal. And of course, I wasn’t either. Just as we were winding down and getting ready to leave, he brought it up. He stood there, with a sturdy little branch switch in his hand. “You lied to me last night,” he said. “And I need to give you a whipping.” Well, it wasn’t quite that blunt. There was a lot of admonishing mixed in there, too.

It’s brutal, when you’re twelve or thirteen, to be confronted with such a thing. And no, this is not a rant about how the Amish raise and beat their children. It’s just a story. And I got nothing against what’s called “corporal punishment” these days, anyway. A good old fashioned spanking. I’ve seen a lot of little kids who needed it, bad. Not applied in anger, but as a boundary. Society would be a lot more polite, if that happened more often. But not when you’re older, not when you’re approaching young adulthood. At that age, a whipping ain’t gonna do a bit of good. And it’s probably gonna do a whole lot of harm.

And in all honesty, I can’t remember more than a few at around that age. Maybe three or so. I just didn’t get whipped much. None of us did, not like some of our friends who got yelled at and smacked for every little mistake. Dad never had a habit of doing such a thing. But when he did, it was just downright humiliating. You had to lift up your arms, above your head. That way, it didn’t hurt so much. Actually, it barely hurt at all. No whipping I can remember ever did. But still, I remember the choking sobs I tried hard to hold back. I just couldn’t do it, not that time. I got my last ever whipping when I was thirteen. And that last time, I made it. I didn’t cry. And that was the most dangerous whipping of all.

We got it over with, right there in Joe Gascho’s barn that morning. And then we drove home, in total silence, in his horse and buggy. I wasn’t hungry for any breakfast. I brooded and seethed. I swore in my heart that one day I would run away from home. And yeah, even a twelve-year-old can make some pretty strong vows.

The thing is, it’s a lot harder to judge Dad now than it used to be, for the way things went sometimes. That’s from where I am today. It’s harder, because I have some small grasp of how flawed I am, myself. I got my own issues, my own idols. And they’re just as bad as his ever were or could have been, just in different ways. I did judge him quite harshly back then, of course. I nursed them in my heart for years, a lot of those wounds. And for the first time in a long time, I just now went back and saw it all again, what this particular scene was, and how vividly I felt it as a child. But from here, trying to understand what he saw from where he was, he was just doing what he thought was right. As a flawed man, disciplining a son who wasn’t walking exactly as he should be walking. And, yeah, a son who had lied to him, that too. He did what he did, so his son would learn to walk the right road.

It didn’t work, of course, the way he went about it. It never had a chance to work. Not saying he should have known that, because obviously he didn’t. And it’s neither here nor there, to focus on that point now. But it didn’t work, because it couldn’t. All it did was this. I never said “good night” to my father again, not while living at home.

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(19 Comments) »

  1. You’re absolutely right, and that only comes with age. He was doing what he thought he had to do at the time. I did hear one time that parents that are suspicious like that of their kids, usually are like that because they hid things themselves. Not that that’s so horrible, everybody needs privacy I’d think. Makes you wonder if he had a box and what he kept inside. Of that, you may never know. You’re dad still sounds like such a neat guy and knew so much. I remember coming home from school more than once and my mom telling me how she was helping me clean my room by cleaning out my drawers that day. UHHH, (no) thanks mom!

    Comment by Beth Russo — January 10, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

  2. SO good. And a poignant reminder to those of us with children that it’s very hard for a child to feel respect for, or bond with a parent who does not treat him with respect. You can do that, even when disciplining them. And they know the one from the other.

    Comment by Rhonda — January 10, 2014 @ 7:24 pm

  3. My father once laughed awkwardly and said parenting was an experiment on the older kids in the family.

    My heart went out to both of you – as a kid who hid the proverbial comic book and as a mom who was committed to rules I often wanted to change midstream.

    Comment by Margaret — January 10, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

  4. This touched home on so many levels. Having grown up in an Amish home very similar to what you describe. My last whipping happened when I was fourteen, and did way more harm than anything.

    The last line made me cry, it was so real and brought back a flood of feelings and emotions I thought I had buried and gotten rid of a long time ago.

    I wish I could go back and live my teenage years again, from where I am now. I can see my parents wanted only the best for me and did what they thought they had to. But for years I felt they were basically my enemies and treated them as such.

    Comment by Alice — January 10, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

  5. Some Friday nights I check to see if Ira has a new posting. Ironically when I do there is none. I am more than a bit disappointed. Tonight while working diligently on a project not thinking about the post I got the message of a new post. A sudden rush of happiness overwhelmed me.

    I love the tender heart felt blogs and the rough and raw ones just as much.

    When I scroll down and my eyes catch the Facebook share button I’m always saddened as this indicates the writing will soon stop. I always seem to want more.

    Twenty, thirty years ago I’d be excited at the plans for my Friday night. Now I await in hopes of reading whatever. It’s always honest.

    Comment by Laurie LaBella — January 10, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

  6. As usual I enjoyed your reading tonight. I do so look forward to your readings. Don’t always agree with some of the things you say, but, still enjoy your way of writing.
    God Bless you.

    Comment by Linda Morris — January 10, 2014 @ 11:10 pm

  7. first, the father says to his child “this will hurt me, more than it will hurt you”. unfortunately & in obedience, the child remains silent. seconds later, both have lost something for eternity. one has to ask, is there not a better way. far too many sons & daughters lost because of this manner of parenting.

    Comment by peter klassen — January 11, 2014 @ 1:05 am

  8. Violence begets violence. When we spank children, we teach them that violence is acceptable. I had an uncle who used to beat his son, even until he was an adult. One day the son hit him back, and the father never beat him again. Some of the things that parents did years ago would be considered child abuse today. I am glad we are changing in this area. Excellent post, as usual, Ira. I am sorry you went through what you went through.

    Comment by Rosanna — January 11, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  9. I found this blog deeply touching. I can understand your feelings when you got punished for what you had done. I was the oldest daughter in my family and my mother was the one who did the punishing and she was raised in a strict amish family. My father was also raised amish but he wasn’t at all strict and he had a much kinder way of keeping his kids in line. My mother would do her punishing when my father wasn’t around. This really complicated things. I was 17 when I finally took the stick my mother would use to whack and I said “NO MORE” and it stopped. I feel so sorry that my poor dear mother had no other way to use to express her concern. Her world was so small and she had been taught that the parents are responsible to raise their kids according to what the church said was the way.

    Many many years later I could look back and see what had happened in a completely different perspective. I cried many a tear and now I don’t cry anymore and I understand where some amish people do think and sometimes can’t get over it.

    Comment by mary maarsen — January 11, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

  10. Ira, honestly you’d have to tease this out for me to help me understand it. Other than the use of corporal punishment late than it should have been used, his desire to guard his children and apply some kind of discipline to teach them is little different (as far as it goes) with what I try to do, and feel responsible before God to do, in my own household. I can try to read between the lines from other things you’ve written and much you’ve implied in an unspoken way, but just from the story written, I would not understand why you would still feel justified by doing what was so obviously wrong, in that it was disobedient to your parents.

    Comment by LeRoy — January 11, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

  11. I am sorry this happened to you. Many of today’s parents would be delighted if their sons read anything at all, if it meant giving up video games for awhile. How someone could have a problem with Paddington Bear is a little beyond me.

    Comment by cynthia r chase — January 11, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

  12. Such a powerful message of youth vs. parent….I can so relate to the punishment vs. the ‘crime’ and how our parents just didn’t get it. I, too, suffered so severely from my mother and dad’s verdicts of how bad I was, when growing up was all I was doing. It touches home for me, because of the whipping I received in the bathroom for doing nothing really ‘wrong’ because it was my life and my decision. But, for some reason, our parents feel they ‘own’ us and can ‘teach us a lesson’. You are so right, Ira….the only lessons taught are bitterness and mistrust for our parents from that moment on. I can’t forgive my parents’ acts and wrongs, but I can forgive their inability to understand that even a child has free will, and, if his action hurts no one, then it shouldn’t be punished…..ever…..destroying a child’s free will destroys their ability to love the parent freely, too. Thanks for the blog, Ira.

    Comment by Pam Moore — January 11, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

  13. The human story. People trying hard to know what they believe and apply it to living. My emotions went all over the place reading this. One sentence, I didn’t like what I was reading, then the next, well, okay, he’s got that right. You know we talk about you, here in Ohio. Like this:

    “Ira.”
    “Yessss.”
    “That’s just who he is.”
    “Yessss.”

    Good post.

    Comment by Dee Yoder — January 12, 2014 @ 1:26 am

  14. With out getting into my own personal story, I know what you are speaking of Ira. I have often wanted to ask you how you have such a great relationship with your father and your siblings. My wife and I were married 18-years before we had our daughter, we never discipline her physical. Our daughter finish high school and is now attending Messiah College, and has a wonderful boyfriend that is in a 3rd generation farming operation and both of them have a relationship with our Lord and Savior. Only by God’s Will and Grace, I the second to the youngest of 5-children am now the care taker of my 93-year old father. If you knew my relationship with my father earlier in life you would understand what I mean by God’s Will/Grace.
    Take Care and Thank You

    Comment by Warren — January 12, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

  15. “It’s harder, because I have some small grasp of how flawed I am, myself. I got my own issues, my own idols. And they’re just as bad as his ever were or could have been, just in different ways.”

    Reminds me of what Chesterton said: “the depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable and intellectually resisted argument that we face.” It’s good when God opens our heart to acknowledge that truth, because receiving grace is never far behind acknowledging that truth.

    Comment by Jay — January 14, 2014 @ 9:53 am

  16. The books that came into my home were never a problem. My choice of radio music was. I will never forget the evening I was taking a shower and had my transistor radio on, there was a Beatles song playing and my mother came in and took the radio. I was angry. I never did get over that.

    Comment by Marilyn Romancky — January 14, 2014 @ 11:47 am

  17. My older boy is 12. Just this afternoon he reminded me that he was soon to be a teenager as I was explaining some school topic to him and he didn’t want to hear it. We talked some about this new season in his life and what it meant to be a teenager. As we talked he fussed a bit, probably embarrassed though I told him there was no need for that, that I too was a teen at one time. He was listening, though he did not want me to know it. Through his shifting about (we were sitting on his bedroom floor) I could see his eyes focusing in on one area which meant he was processing what I was saying. It was important to him that I not treat him like a child anymore. It was very important to him. As it should be.

    You wrote, “And that was the most dangerous whipping of all.” My first thought was that you were too old for a whipping and your dad knew it. He was losing a boy and gaining a young man who thought for himself. To him, that was a great danger.

    Ira, how I wish you would have been encouraged to be you and seek out your dreams. Truly, I wish it for anyone who was not told how wonderful they were as a child. I think you were, from what I’ve seen of your writings, a fine, decent, and good young man; intelligent, kind, and respectful. And I expect you still are.

    Comment by Francine — January 15, 2014 @ 8:49 pm

  18. As an insecure Amish child growing up in central Illinois books were my life.At the 5 schools I attended until it ended at the 8th grade the library was very important.All but that Amish parochial school the last 2 years.At one point a public library card was allowed and The Hardy Boys ruled!My dad would grump and grouse about our reading choices,my mom was a bit more tolerant.Tarzan was not allowed in the house. It was deemed unseemly to have that half naked man gracing any magazine or book cover.And I liked Tarzan.He was every thing I wasn’t.The solution was our old barn.A hay tunnel ending in a cave was built on the north end.The wide cracks in the siding allowed enough light to read and I could see if my dad was heading to the barn to see if my chores were done.For that seemed to take a long time sometimes.I never heard Tarzan and the other characters with him complain about where they had to live.

    Comment by lenny — January 28, 2014 @ 11:46 am

  19. Excellent. Am glad you did not make an excuse for whippings, in the end. As a born-again Christian i am totally against whippings except possibly where outright, unjustified rebellion is present (some rebellion IS justified!). I was whipped almost daily, for petty, and unfair stuff more often than not. And all it did was harden my heart into bitterness and hatred rooted so deep it took decades to begin to forgive. I came very close to being one of those teens that murders their parent; but for the grace of God go i. Anyone who can’t figure out a better method of discipline for their kids is very lacking in creative thought.

    Comment by Cy — February 3, 2014 @ 4:49 am

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