Wiping the slate clean

After I moved to the United Kingdom, I got to know Georgia, a tall and slim black woman with three children. Georgia was an high-earning academic and a determined single parent. Both at work and at home, she carried herself with a ‘no-nonsense attitude’ and had a natural inclination to be dominant and strict.

Georgia was a stern disciplinarian to her kids and demanded the highest standards. She had a specific method of disciplining them. She hung three whiteboards in the kitchen, one for each child. When her children did something wrong, she would take them to the kitchen and have them record the mistake on their respective board.

Every Saturday night, the children would be punished. Georgia would have an early dinner with the kids, and then go and wait in the ‘punishment room’. This was a small box room containing just a cupboard, a couch and a straight backed wooden chair. Each child had to come in, one by one, from eldest to youngest, holding their boards with the full list of mistakes for the week.

Georgia would sit on her chair, make the child stand before her and discuss each mistake at great length. Her stern lectures and scolding would leave the children sobbing even before the actual punishment began. Based on the number of mistakes made and the nature of the wrongdoing, Georgia would then tell the child to get either the brush, strap or cane from the cupboard.

After baring the child’s bottom, Georgia would put them in one four punishment positions – over her knee, bent over the chair with hands on the seat, bent over the side of the couch or lying flat entirely across it, with a couple of pillows beneath the hips.

A sound thrashing would follow. Georgia did not hesitate to leave marks or welts. In fact, her punishments always left the kids with sore, well-marked bottoms. She expected the children to take their punishments without much fuss. Throwing tantrums, moving out of position, and anything other than quiet crying would result in extra strokes.

After being punished, the child was made to sit on the hard chair and clean the board of its sins, all the while feeling his or her bottom stinging. They then had to apologise to their mother, put the disciplinary implement back in the cupboard and put the board back in the kitchen – until the next time.

Contributor: Vinay

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