Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Willow Tree by the Middle Pond

This will be controversial, but remember that this is a recording of actual events. The ranch house where I lived growing up had a unique placement. The view to the valley and lake was spectacular. The middle pond, not more than 50 feet from the front door provided trout for dinner when that was on the menu, and by water's edge grew a graceful willow tree.
Now this willow tree provided twigs for flower arrangements, marshmallow roasting sticks, and switches for spankings.  Yes, I did say spankings. If we were very naughty we had the priveledge of cutting our own switch.  At first we would try and find the thinnest branch on the tree, but we soon learned that the smaller they were, the more they hurt.  Mom had to administer most of the punishment because Daddy was gone so much, but he told us if Mom had to punish us, when he got home, he would also punish us for not obeying Mom. 

* Most of us didn't need to visit the tree very often.  But two of my brothers were ornery kids. When punishment came their way, they would put a Reader's Digest they had stashed away, into the seat of their jeans.  Now the oldest brother would start to cry before the switch had even landed.  He knew the sooner he cried, the sooner the swats would end.  But my other brother was a stubborn rascal.  He wouldn't cry for anything.  He figured he could take it until Mom felt sorry for him and quit.
The punishment was always appropriate for the infraction.  Now, I know in our current society, that this is not allowed.  But we learned to respect our parents, and authority.  We also learned that bad behaviour resulted in painful consequences.  And we seem to be the better for it.
*NOTE--These were spankings, not whippings.

My folks believed in the Bible teachings regarding discipline.
God loves us too much to indulge our every whim
Hebrews 12: 5-7   “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.  For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”  As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? (NLT)


  1. Marti ~ great post. My friends (being of first generation immigrant families) and I would joke as we became adults that we would all be orphans if our parents were raising us today ... as they would, according to the laws today, be in jail. But each of us grew up just fine, respecting not only our parents but adults. I think your choice of the words "painful consequences" is a good one... xo HHL

    1. Good post, Marti! It made me remember when I would be told to go get my own lilac switch. I always chose a short, dead one, hoping that I could prevail upon my mother's sense of humor to get me out of a switching. It usually didn't work, but I kept trying. lol Today, when I see children hitting their parents or yelling at them, I wonder what our society will be like in another generation. Allowing children to behave like that certainly doesn't make them into better people.

  2. Marti,
    I often wonder if the reason so many kids today lack respect for authority and are out of control is because you simply can't discipline kids like that anymore. If anyone raises a hand to a child now, they get charged with child abuse. Very different times we live in.

  3. Good post ... Spanking is not politically correct these days ... but it still works for my children!! (like you said, spanking - not whipping)

  4. Well Marti, That was well said, one of the things I admired about my Mother who gave us spankings she was consistent, She waited until she was not angry and she loved us afterward.
    I tried to do the same with my own children. None have written any tomes about me being Mommy Dearest yet, but they do discipline thier children with spankings too. My grand children are a joy to be around. So I think by showing that you show your children you love them.
    I once over heard two women talking, if you don't discipline your children when they are young, they will grow up and someone will, whether it be cops, or prisons or whatever they will be disciplined.
    Very nice post and I love the picture of where you grew up, what a view!

  5. Children act up to
    test boundaries and
    limits. What "works"
    with one child does
    not always work with
    another. My dad also
    remembers selecting
    the switch!!!

    xx Suzanne

  6. My mother's disciplinary weapon of choice was a rubber scrapper. I don't recall the incident but she told me that once I got swatted on the butt twice because of what I did and because I'd tried to hide the rubber scraper.

  7. I find it interesting that today spanking is 'outlawed' per se and we all managed to live through them!

  8. Eek! Well, that took me back, miss Marti! My Dad used his belt in lieu of a switch. Unfortunately, at that time, it was administered unjustly and justly, in equal parts. I feared my father to a great degree, in my childhood, as a result; dreaded him coming home from work, because I never knew how things were going to go... It sounds like your experience was significantly different, and I'm glad for that. :-)

  9. My mother used her wooden spoons. She tells the story of never being able to find her wooden spoons and was constantly buying new ones. One spring she moves the couch to clean behind it and finds the "lost" wooden spoons. I apparently would hide the spoons so she couldn't spank me! Nothing wrong with your story!!!

  10. From my past - I say no. I do believe in other types of punishment though. sandie

  11. Hi Marti, first of all let me say that I've had trouble commenting on a few blogs and this is one of them. I downloaded Chrome and that seems to have helped so far.
    Loved this post, our backgrounds are very similar in many ways. As kids, my brothers and I were punished with a switch too. I remember a time or two having to get my own! In my opinion, too many kids are the way they are today because of the lack of discipline. I don't mean beatings, but good old-fashioned spankings as discipline. I spanked my own children when they were young and needed it and was often asked how my kids were so well behaved!

    Your home had a wonderful view. I'm sure you have many fond memories of it.