The other weekend I got a ride home with a friend for a quick weekend home with my dad. I needed it. On the trip home I was talking about my childhood and it really got me to thinking about how I was raised. Now, let me tell you, I had one of the best possible upbringings that any child could have. I had really easy going parents who weren’t overly strict, but at the same time really established a decent set of boundaries with my sister and I. Not only that but without really doing anything serious, they helped us learn the difference between right and wrong. Of course there were other people in our lives who helped us to grow, but the bulk of it was my parents and…I really don’t remember the presence of discipline in my life. Plus my parents did a great job at either allowing me my privacy or giving me a great illusion of privacy.
Oh wait! I lied. I remember two times in my entire life where my dad had to discipline me, specifically. The first time was when I spat in a guys face. Yes, I spat in someone’s face, but that was after he’d hocked up a huge boogie in my face. Obviously an eye for an eye wouldn’t work in this case…so dad grounded indefinitely. I went to my room, read a book, listened to music, regretted my actions and then the next day all was forgotten and I went outside to play with my sister and our friends. This was the only time that I’d ever gotten grounded and it really struck home for me: Dad was willing to slam down the hammer and actually ground me! Believe it or not, that lesson stuck with me until I was about 17. The other time that dad had to bring on the discipline was a couple years later when I was 14 and got a set of C’s. You see, I was allowed to get C’s, but not in Math, English and Science all at once. This time I lost my CD player, my CD’s and wasn’t allowed to watch TV until I fixed my grades. So what did I do? I read. I love and have always loved to read, so after dad dropped that hammer, I hung out in my room and read. Again, it didn’t matter that the punishment wasn’t the greatest of punishments, it was the fact that I was getting punished that put me back in line. I knew I did wrong and I tried not to do make that particular mistake. In fact the next time that I got a C was three years later in Math 11. I tanked trigonometry.
Outside of those particular incidences…I didn’t have a lot of rules that I had to live by. Here are come of the bigger rules my parents generally reminded my sister and I of:
- Every time we went anywhere alone would tell us “No drinking, no drugs, no boys and no ritualistic killing of animals.” Then she would normally yell at us “MAKE GOOD CHOICES!”
- Mom had the classic rule of “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I would later amend that by saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all…unless you can make it funny.” Mom laughed at that one, so it became the official rules.
- There was also a limit on the amount of swearing I could do around my mom – My sister couldn’t curse as much as I could and there were certain words that were forbidden in our world.
- If you hit them and they get back up, you didn’t hit them hard enough – As bad as this rule sounds, it was a rule I lived by through most of my childhood. Normally the only time I really hit a girl playing sports was if she was playing dirty and picking on my teammates, or if she was really irritating me. In which case, yeah, I played dirty back and it rarely turned out well for the other girl.
- Dad also made up the rule one day that if he ever caught me smoking, drinking or getting jiggy with it that there would be consequences – If I got caught smoking, he’d make me smoke a whole pack or baggie of whatever I got caught smoking. If I got caught drinking I’d have to drink an entire 40 of the cheapest tequila Dad could find. If I got caught getting jiggy with it or doing drugs, I’d have to move in with my Nana…ya know, he’d kick me out of the house for those offenses.
- I also had to look out for my younger sister no matter what we were doing. I remember one time that she got hurt and I got into trouble for it because I should have been looking out for her.
Besides all of that, my parents were perfectly ok with the fact that I tended to moon just about anyone and everyone, cursed a little too much and tended to laugh at horrible things that I shouldn’t laugh at.
I’m not going to lie: I sometimes didn’t take my dad seriously. I never actually called him on his BS because I’d tried that in my younger years and it never turned out in my favor. So I barely drank until I left for university and when I did, I tried to be darn sneaky about it. I never wanted to test my dad, his rules and especially his punishments.
I think most of my growing up years were a fine balance of my sister and I picking our battles with our parents and vice versa. Sure, I mooned a lot of people and my mom as a result had to see more of my ass and more of the return moons than any mother should have had to deal with, but I didn’t dress like a prostit-tot or act like a raging hormonal skank. I may not have acted like a respectable person at times, but I think it was a win in my parents favor that I at least looked like a disease free human being that wouldn’t start the next plague.
Instead my sister and I are most likely to incite a riot of some sort just for shits and giggles…but that’s because we’re adults now and think as long as we make it funny, it’s ok.
See? We were raised with an excellent sense of morals!