When I was three, I wanted piano lessons. The only place I would have gotten this notion was church. I was not allowed to watch any TV at that age. Our church had a pianist and an organist. My mother felt that I was far too young, but I was persistent. I asked daily for weeks. Reluctantly, she started asking around. No teacher was willing to take a three-year old.
She remembered an old friend from another church who was a long time piano teacher. She called hoping for a favor. Her friend would not take a student under the age of five. However, her daughter, sixteen-year old Michelle, had been talking about trying to give lessons to a select number of youngsters to earn summer spending money. She had been learning under the tutelage of her mother since the age of five. Her mom thought that she was ready for entry level teaching. Michelle was eager to have me as her first student. No one else thought I would last more than 2-weeks. Michelle had the optimism of a teenage girl, who can only see the promise the world has to offer.
I lasted three-years. One lesson for one hour each week. One hour of practice each day, seven-days a week. I played in every recital beside her mother’s students. I would have stayed longer, but Michelle went off to college. I moved on to other teachers. Three total, until I was nineteen.
When I was four, I wanted to go to school. All my friends were in school. I felt left out. I told my mother that I was ready. I do not remember thinking that I won a victory regarding the piano lessons and therefore would win this. Nevertheless, I am sure that I did have that in my mind. She told me I was too young, I persisted that I was ready. Finally, she went to a private school, Saint Paul’s Lutheran, and talked with the administration. She told them that I was far too young, but would they agree to let me attend kindergarten classes for the last two-months of the year. She again believed that I would last a few weeks.
Never in my life had I seen a worksheet. My mother read to me all the time. She would occasionally let me listen to phonics records. She never pushed any kind of formal learning on me. Still, I took to the worksheet like a duck to water. I worked through every single assignment faster than any other child. At the end of the two-months I completed more that ¾ of the entire years’ work. The school offered me a position in first grade.
Towards the end of first grade my mother approached the local elementary school to see about getting me into public school. My parents were supporters of public school. In addition, the school was very close to our house. The private school was all the way across town. The school said there was no way I could start in second grade. They proposed putting me in kindergarten. My mother was opposed to this and fought the school board to test me. The school agreed after much arguing. I honestly think they agreed just to shut my mother up.
However, I tested out extremely high in all areas except math. My reading compression was at a high school level. I was five. There were not many gifted programs around, but even if there were my mother would have put me in public school anyway. She wanted me to have a childhood. So, despite testing at high levels, I started public school in the second grade.
I continued through a normal school experience, except that I was more than a year younger than my peers. I continued to excel and test well in all subjects save math. Math was, and still is, my nemesis. Sometimes, I got lazy and did poorly on an assignment. In collage, I did not do well in a few classes. For the most part, I was an excellent student.
I was also involved in choir, band, drama, pep club, school paper, school poetry and short story publication, yearbook, and tall flags. I had a large group of friends from all walks of school life. I was the social butterfly. Friends with everyone. Broke up with your boyfriend, need to cry, find Bridget…she will get you through. Gay but don’t want to come out….need to talk, find Bridget…she will listen, not judge, and never tell.
Why am I telling you this? Did I wake up with the burning need to brag? Nope. I am telling you all this because of this.
This story was all over the news last week. I have read conflicting information from one source to another. Several stories said that the 806 children in the study were all from low income families. But, many other articles do not mention this. There is also an insinuation that spanking your child makes them socially awkward.
I was spanked as a child. Clearly, it did not effect my performance. Suggest to my friends that I am socially awkward, and they will laugh themselves silly.
I am upset by the fact that this study was presented at the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma conference. If we are talking about TRUE spanking, there is nothing violent, abusive, or traumatic about it. It was a punishment, therefore it hurt, but it was NEVER painful. Hurt is probably even to strong. Sting is more accurate. I always new exactly what I had done, and if I didn’t know my mother would discuss it with me calmly and rationally. She NEVER EVER spanked me when she was upset or angry.
I am upset that the researcher starts by talking about spanking then moves to calling it corporal punishment. In my mind, there is a difference between a few whacks across the behind and corporal punishment.
The researcher is the author of “Beating The Devil Out Of Them: Corporal Punishment In American Families And Its Effects On Children.” There is a huge difference between a true spanking and beating a child. Yet, it seems to the researcher that there is no difference. At least he never talks about a distinction.
I want to know more details of family life and outside trauma that happened to the children in the four-years of the study. You cannot tell me that the only factor was spanking. Well, you can tell me, but I am not going to believe you.
The researcher makes the following bold statement.
“It is time for psychologists to recognize the need to help parents end the use of corporal punishment and incorporate that objective into their teaching and clinical practice. It also is time for the United States to begin making the advantages of not spanking a public health and child welfare focus, and eventually enact federal no-spanking legislation,” he says.
There are so many issue facing our children. This man wants to make spanking the focus. I can think of many huge issues that face our children. Three being healthcare, education, and the environment. The United States need to focus on what is really important. Spanking is NOT it!
My final word, spanking is a personal decision. I have many friends who are very much against it. I have friends who believe in it. I have friends who can’t make up their minds. It is for the parents to decide and no one else.