Hitting is not Okay

Can Margaret Make her Point?

Margaret lived in a dirty, tumble-down, two-room shack just south of Lexington, KY. Before that she lived in an apartment in Dayton, OH with her now-divorced husband. After the break-up she hitchhiked with her infant son to this hovel, which she shared with her aunt and grandmother.

Margaret's main problem was that she didn't believe in spanking. Aunt Gail did. No matter how many times Margaret asserted that Jeff was her son and she would do the disciplining, Aunt Gail found reasons to slap Jeff. "Jeff bit me." "Jeff spit at me."

Margaret told Aunt Gail to put Jeff in the back room alone for a few minutes when he did something objectionable. Aunt Gail didn't seem to be able to process this. Hitting seemed automatic. As much as Gail hated hitting, she wanted to clobber Aunt Gail.

Jeff spat again. Aunt Gail slapped. Margaret screamed, "Soul-murderer!"

Aunt Gail returned, "Spare the rod and spoil the child."

Margaret chided, "Don't you think the human race has learned something in the 5000 years since that was written?"

Aunt Gail escalated, "So you're smarter than God?"

Margaret calmed, "Let's not go there. All I know is, kids that get hit are more nervous and angry than other kids. I don't want that for Jeff."

Aunt Gail pondered out loud, "Nervous? I sure am nervous around new people. No, it couldn't be because your grandma used a yardstick on me. Or could it?"

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