A school in Georgia has decided to bring back spankings.
I can hear the comments now.
“Good. Back in my day we had spankings and we didn’t have the problems that we do today.”
“It’s about time. Kids today could use it!”
I understand the sentiment but it falls short.
The Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics in Hephzibah sent letters home a few days ago asking parents for permission to spank their children should they step out of line. And this will be an old fashioned spanking. An administrator will use a wooden spoon. The child will bend over and put his hands on his knees. It will hurt. There’s nothing figurative about this.
You can almost smell the nostalgia.
But before you start thinking about Norman Rockwell paintings, you should remember something.
Times have changed. And by times, I don’t just mean kids.
Parents have changed too.
In a lot of instances, the parents are in just as much need of discipline as their children are. I’m not denying that the return of spankings might make life easier for teachers at the Georgia school. And I’m certainly not denying that there are kids at the school who could use corporal punishment. All I’m saying is that this is just another example of government stepping in to do what parents should have been doing all along.
I once talked to a teacher about the parents she’s had over the years. More and more, they just aren’t showing up. They don’t come to conferences. They don’t help with homework. They never communicate with the teacher unless it’s to defend their child from something that he got in trouble for.
If parents are undisciplined, thoughtless, and disengaged, why should we be surprised when their kids turn out the same way.
I’m not suggesting that we spank parents. And this new policy at The Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics could turn out to be a good one. But before we convince ourselves that simply bringing back spankings is going to somehow bring back the good old days, we need to pump the brakes.
I know of small children who watch vile, crude, and borderline pornographic content on TV. It’s not that they’re looking for it. They’re just in the room while their parents are watching it. And when they go to school, they act it out. A school can provide all of the discipline that it wants but if the child returns to a home where there is no discipline, it’s all for nothing.
I can understand the school’s position here. They’ve got to do something, even if parents won’t. But my heart breaks for our culture.
We expect everyone, from a coach to a principal to guide our children. And many times, these men and women offer excellent guidance.
But parents, the one group specifically designed to guide children, is offering that guidance less and less.
That’s what we’ve come to expect.
And it should concern all of us.