Historian Jennifer Michael Hecht is perhaps one of the best demonstrations of the usefulness of history in counteracting erroneous beliefs about the world, past and present.
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Licks or no licks?
Once again the perennial great licks debate has cropped up, pitting those for or against corporal punishment against each other. One thing both sides share in common though is the need for disciplining their charges particularly at this time when juvenile delinquency at home and at school has assumed almost epidemic proportion. Not to mention the national outrage over the spiralling rate of serious crime, especially murders, committed by trigger-happy hit men and other criminally-minded crooks.
In one corner are the pro-corporal punishment lobby and in the other the anti-corporal punishment lobby, both expressing strong views to support their respective positions. I am not going to pronounce one way or the other on the opinions voiced by the protagonists but I will be dealing mainly with my experience on this hard-hitting topic.
As a child growing up in San Juan a good cut-tail was a natural fare in our household whenever we fell out of line and we, including myself, knew in advance what to expect for committing an infraction, although verbal warnings were also part of the disciplinary menu. I cannot recall, in fact I was not what I would call a badly behaved lad. I just did the normal mischievous things children do and just the thought that a cut tail was on the cards kept us on the straight and narrow road most of the time.
We never thought of being physically abused and in fact that term was non-existent at that time. We never thought that we were being taken advantage of or abused in any way. We knew what to expect when we played truant. Straight and simple.