Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spanking didn't kill me either

A couple of days ago, I came across this article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was about the author's confession on how she got punished for her childhood mischiefs. The article was entertaining that I caught myself bursting into boisterous laughter while reading it.

It also made me remember the share of spankings I got from my parents when I was yet a kid. Like that author's father, my father also has a temper. He is the disciplinarian in our home and although my father did not go to military academy, he ran the house more like a military general would. He usually prefers the belt when he punishes me and usually it was done in a ceremony. I suspect this ceremony was a part of his being obsessive-compulsive. Before I felt the belt on my behind he would explain that he was doing that because he loves me, then the spanking would commence.

My mother was more resourceful in using what to spank me. She would use a hanger, a piece of broomstick - the tip of that really stings when it hits you -, a slipper, and beat this, chopped wood. You could just imagine how mischievous I was when I was young.

One memory I could not ever forget was when I was about six years old. My mother just arrived from a business trip and she brought home with her this body length mirror which she placed on their bed. I missed my mother badly that time so being around her was enough then. I went to their bedroom where she was, still busy moving about, doing things that I really could not remember vividly now. All I know is that she was busy then. I was contented with her around and so I did not bother to catch my mother's attention but the mirror on the bed caught my attention indeed.

I do not know what I was thinking then but while I was trying to entertain myself I decided to just step on the mirror, and walk on its whole length back and forth, while singing Sharon Cuneta's "Pangarap na Bituin". (And don't ask me why I chose that song. My mother is probably a Sharonian and all we got to watch on television then were the Megastar's shows. Thus my mastery of that song at such a young age.) Anyway, there I was, walking on the mirror, singing that song, "Unti-unting mararating, kalangitan at bit --" when suddenly right after I took my next step the mirror broke. Oh no! My mother turned and was shocked to see what happened. That was how I got spanked with a chopped wood. I think there was some amount of pinching too. Now that I am older , I understand that maybe that was only her reaction, her way of manifesting her shock and fear that I might have been wounded by the broken glass. That was the day I last sang that Sharon song too.

A girl cousin who lived with us also got a taste of Mama's pinching abilities. But she was so good at avoiding it or stopping Mama's hands, that you would think she studied Kung Fu. The chants of "Yah! Yah!" would be replaced by, "No, Ma. Please Ma." Now when I remember that, I could only say, "Move over, Kung Fu Panda.

My mother mellowed down in her spanking methods when we were growing up. Although my sister did not go through all the spanking I got, (now again, a testimony to a naughty me), she also had her share of punishments mainly in the form of not being allowed to watch hers or our favorite television shows or not getting some stuffs that we wanted. There were even times when punishments were not in mode anymore, only sermons. You know how mothers do that. It could take hours and even days, that you wished you were just spanked.

I could remember exchanging notes (read: punishment strategies of parents) with my playmates then, and other ways of punishment included the most popular kneeling on rock salt, or even on monggo beans. My father would also recount how his parents would punish them. They were made to get inside a sack and the sack with them inside it will be hanged on the ceiling of their living room. Other punishments were more on the mild side like being made to kneel and pray in front of the altar, and being spanked with a pillow. Wow! I would have loved that!

I was amused recently that some forms of these punishment are still being practiced and are even undergoing uhm, improvements. Modifications would be the right word. My girl friend's cousin was made to kneel in front of the altar. No monggo beans or rock salt were under her knees but she had to wait until the lighted candle on the altar would burn out all the way to the tip of its wick. Maybe one candle would be bearable somehow, but the mother lighted two candles.

I am sure we can only laugh now as we look back at those experiences. More likely, there are no more traces of the skin redness caused by the pinch, or pain caused by the belt buckle or leather, or the tip of that broomstick, or the roughness of that chopped firewood.
Each parent will have his or her own way of instilling discipline on their children. Others spank their children a lot, believing that sparing the child of the rod would spoil the child. Others are not so comfortable with spanking their kids and thus prefer other methods of disciplining their kids. Well, each to his own. As for me, and maybe for most of those belonging to my generation (Am I really that old? Uh-oh!), I'm just glad I got a little spanking from my mom and dad. And most of all, I thank God, I got out of that little spanking alive.


  1. hi shing, if you noticed kids are really different nowadays... unsay term anang something like "attention defiency syndrome" ba ron...grabe ka mga langi...lisod bantayan... lahi raman gud sa ato na time noh...:) naka=agi pud ko anang bitay sa kanal, bitay na gbutang sa sako, luhod ug asin...hehehe pero we didn't grow up violent ppl man...:)

  2. hello jeff! musta na ka?

    hahahaha!! as in jeff? exactly, jeff, you're right, we did not grow up to be violent people..hmm, i haven't thought of that...

    i think there is a thin line man pud separating between punishing the kid and abusive violence.. but ambot lang pud kay d ba bayolente man gyud ang ways sa pag punish sa ato generation sa ato parents jeff noh... hmmmmm :-) that's something to ponder on :-)


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