Since I had to stay home from work due to this cold kicking my entire ass, I decided to give my father a call. We talked about the Mayweather fight, the NFL, the Atlanta Hawks, and even DC politics. But we spent most of the time discussing Adrian Peterson, and the trouble he's gotten into after beating his 4-year old son.
My father spanked me (and my brother to a much less extent) from the age of 5 until 12. He primarily did his damage with the belt, although he was equally skilled with the palm of his hand on my naked flesh. I was a sneaky child, and my father felt like words at that stage of my life weren't nearly as effective as a good, old fashioned ass-whipping. Most times I was just sore as hell, but there were many times when I went to school, soccer and basketball practice with visible marks on my legs and arms. I had no problems telling people my father had spanked me, but in those days, people just looked at me like "What the hell did you do?" rather than, "Call the police on your dad".
Once I was 13 or so, my dad abandoned the belt and most physical intimidation (I still got in the chest via his fist from time to time), and he switched to mental warfare, which was way more effective. He didn't have to beat me, he would just stand real close to me, or mildly hint around hitting, which made me want to get my shit together. In his mind, the early ass whippings laid the ground for the mental domination in my teenage years--right up until I went to college.
I asked my father today to reflect on both the Adrian Peterson situation and the way he used to beat me, and he was in full mea culpa mode, which caught me a bit off guard. He said he regretted hitting us as much as he did, and acknowledged that distance from that style of parenting has taught him ways he could have been smarter. He also said that his parents used to beat him relentlessly with switches, belts, extension cords and their hands. And considering he had me at 25 years old, he simply did not have time to re-evaluate that style of parenting, so he just repeated what his parents had done with him. He absolutely understood why Adrian Peterson did what he did, but my dad did not condone that level of beating for a 4 year old. He also admitted that what he did to me in the early 80s simply does not cut it in 2014. My ass, arms and legs appreciated this 30 years late apology.
I didn't have my 17-year old son with me on a daily basis, so I didn't have to dole out too many ass whippings. I have popped my two-year old on his butt and hands, but it is never done hard or with bad intentions. It startles him and he magically starts to listen, which is all I'm really trying to accomplish. I hope my wife and I keep each other in check so we never go overboard the way Peterson did, but that can be a tall task since as my father says, "Children test your patience and grind your nerves". So far so good though.
Happy birthday to me mother-in-law, who sent me this link to celebrate the life of Joe Sample: