Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hell Hath No Fury As A Southern Mother's Wrath

There is something to say about being raised reared southern. When we were coming up if we got caught doing something wrong we knew there was Hell to pay. As my Daddy used to say, "You may as well give your heart to God because your bottom belongs to me" - as in spare the rod and spoil the child. Now my parents never "beat" me and I was never abused. Nor were any of my friends, but we were reared with the power of the "switch".

This all came to mind watching the events in Baltimore last night. A young mother was caught on camera grabbing her son, who was dressed in a hoody and out on the streets where his mother did not think he should be, slapping him across his face, dragging him away from the crowd, and giving him a piece of her mind. Comments were made by the pundits saying everything from she was abusing him and she was out of control, to this was just another example of the chaos going on in the streets, to the amazement that the mother would take control of the situation. 

One thing was obvious - this was not the south. Southern pundits would have never thought a thing about it. In fact most would have been able to relate to it. When I came along, mothers down here did not fear their children. In fact a good mother did not even need to raise her hand, she could just give "the eye". And, failure to heed "the eye" could bring on the wrath of God or worse - Mama's wrong side.

As I watched that mother take care of her child, it dawned on me that America's reaction was indicative of one of our major problems. Her reaction should be the norm not the exception. The idea that the morning programs were filled with comments about how she "saved" her son. Yes she did, but she was just doing what all good southern mothers (and fathers) did when I was growing up. 

My parents did not hesitate to "jerk a knot" in my rear end if I did something I knew better of. It most likely would not have been on national TV, but if that had been what it took so be it. Like a mother duck trying keep her little ones in line, Mama was willing to reprimand me loudly when I strayed. But I also knew she would loudly make a fuss at anyone who bothered me.

The power of the switch kept me in line, "the eye" kept me straight, and my parents' love made me feel safe. 

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