I’ve received some comments from parents of late, related to my blog on “Old School Parenting.” There are those who have interpreted my account of this story as judgment around “spanking.” People attached to spanking, remember with fondness their own childhoods where such techniques were employed. They feel convicted that this is the “right” way to parent. They feel judged by those who don’t spank and worry that without corporal punishment, children will run amuck, out of control.
When my grandparents were on a farm in South Dakota, life was hard. Water was carried from the creek a mile away, washing and cooking were all done by hand, the crops and livestock required constant attention. I have heard stories about lazy horses or dawdling children being whipped. I look back with respect and admiration at my grandparents who reared 16 children; old world immigrants who knew how to work hard and provide for themselves. Even though I look back with great nostalgia, I understand that times are different now. They did the best they knew how in a world that no longer exists.
Today, I would not beat my tired horse to get him to take me down the road anymore than I would use a whip on my children. I throw my clothes in the washer, shop at the nearest modern grocery store and drive all around town running errands. Life is both easier and more complicated. It doesn’t mean that I judge what happened back then, I merely understand that today the circumstances are different. Just as I have a variety of choices in life when it comes to selecting a spouse, an employer, a neighborhood, internet providers, or phone companies, I have a variety of choices when it comes to childrearing approaches. I count myself as fortunate, living in these times. No longer limited by the struggle to survive, parents can enlist the many resources available to help creatively and thoughtfully parent.