In life, there are two types of parents: 1) Spare the rod and spoil the child, and 2) hitting children is child abuse.  My parents were a happy medium.

They reasoned with us and often used words to make more of a lasting impression.  However, when it seemed like we just weren't getting the message, we did get the occasional whooping.  They weren't frequent or extensive enough to be classified as overkill, but there's something about certain whoopings that make them more memorable than others.

For instance, I can remember being popped in the mouth the first time I cursed in front of my parents.  I was 9 years old.  I'll never forget it.  We were in the yard playing catch.  Dad tossed the softball to me a little too hard.  As the impact hit my hand, I exclaimed, "S#|+!"  As soon as it left my lips, I knew I was in for it.

My mom started walking towards me, talking as she walked.  "What did you say, Jade?"

"I said 'SHOOT'!"

"No you didn't." Wham! Pop in the mouth.

I ran in the house, crying.  I had a few neighbors outside at the time. So, I was pretty embarrassed.

Other than that, the most memorable whooping I ever got was when I was in high school.  And it's that fact that makes it so memorable.

By this time, our parents had divorced.  Mind you, it's five of us-- all born between 1978 and 1984.  Can you imagine a house full of teenagers EVERY day?  Our mom worked two and sometimes three jobs to provide for us. So, there were times where her patience wore a bit thin.

This one particular morning, one of my brothers (I don't remember which one) and I got into a fight.  Yeah, I was a fighter back in those days. Anyway, Mom was tired and she wasn't having it.  She walked into the room where we were and went IN on us.  When she finished, we finished getting ready for school and off we went.

In the years that followed, my classmates would have these conversations.  One day, the subject came up...

"How old were you when you got your last whooping?"

By this time, it had been maybe a year and a half.  But I couldn't tell them that.  I acted like I had to REALLY think back. "Ummmmm..... I had to have been maybe 10."

Lies! I was like 15. And this is a story I'm sure I'll tell my daughter at some point.

The thing is I don't think corporal punishment leaves lifelong scars, but I do think it leaves lasting impressions.  Abuse is what leaves scars.

Joe Jackson was accused of abusing his children, and that may have been the case.  But one thing we can certainly see is whether it was driven by fear or subsequent success, his children have a certain level of discipline that is almost extinct.

Rest well, Papa Joe, and hang your belt on the nail for old times sake.

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