Here is a memory of mine from when I eight years old – I was reminded about this story the other day when visiting some friends, and their three-year-old had a hard time listening to what her mom told her.
As you know from my previous stories, I was raised in a devout Christian home. That meant going to church every week and my parents raising me and my siblings according to the Bible, which in turn meant spankings when misbehaving or disobeying them.
Each Sunday, after the opening hymns, those of us children under 10 years old were taken into kids’ church. We were told Bible stories and then generally would do some arts and crafts based on the stories we had heard. For example, we drew tablets with the Ten Commandments after hearing about Moses and the Jews fleeing from Egypt. I wasn’t exactly the best at these projects, but I was still proud to show my parents what we had done afterwards.
On this particular Sunday, I can’t remember exactly which story we had been learning, but I do remember that after kids’ church I was eager to show my mother my efforts.
I found Mom in the lobby of the church, talking to another lady named Hannah. I ran up them, saying: “Mom! Mom! Look what I have done!” Mom turned to me and said firmly: “Morten, I’ll look at it later. I’m talking with Hannah right now.”
“But mom…” I protested. My mother now looked stern and said firmly: “Morten, I already told you I am talking with Hannah. When we are done, I will look at what you did. You need to be patient, and do as you’re told.”
I tried being patient but soon grew tired of the adult chit-chat. I began to pull my mom’s arm. “Will you be done talking soon?” I demanded. Now my mom really did look angry. She apologised to Hannah for the interruption. “I’ll call you later once I’ve got this naughty boy home. Morten, I want you to say sorry to Hannah for being so disruptive!”
By Mom’s language, I guessed that I had crossed a line and was in serious trouble. I apologised to Hannah sincerely, hoping it would get me out of my predicament, but Mom’s disapproving expression didn’t soften any. She just took me to the car and began to drive us home.
On the way, she lectured me sternly. “Why must you be so naughty? When I tell you to wait, it’s very disobedient to then keep interrupting grown-ups.
“I’m very disappointed at your behaviour, Morten. You are eight years old, and you should be grown up enough to understand that when I tell you to wait, that is what you must do. I love you very much but it’s my job to discipline you disobey. So, when we get home, you and I are going to your bedroom and you’re going to get a spanking.”
Tears welled up in my eyes– but I knew not to argue as it would have made the punishment much worse. Normally it was Dad who did the spanking in the house but this weekend he was away working. So after she had parked the car and opened the door for me, Mom took me by the hand and led me to my bedroom.
“Take off your shoes and your jacket, young man!” I obeyed. Mom sat on the bed and drew me towards her to look her in the face. “Well, Morten, do you understand why you are going to get a spanking?” “Because I was disobedient, by not listening and waiting for you to finish your conversation.” “That’s right. Now, come here.”
Mom put me over her knee and adjusted me into the right position. Us children were always spanked on our clothed bottom, although if we had lied it would be on the bare.
With my bottom up and my eyes gazing at the carpet, Mom raised her hand and stated to briskly smack my bottom. Even though it was over pants, I soon began to cry. I was given a smack for every year of my age and by the conclusion of the punishment I was bawling like a toddler.
When it was over Mom helped me up and sat me on her lap, my bottom buzzing. She rubbed my back comfortingly while I had a good cry, then we prayed together that the spanking would help me be more patient in future.
Finally, a smile back on her face, Mom asked: “Now – what was it you wanted to show me?” I went to the living room and retrieved my picture. I showed it to Mom and she praised me for my effort, hugging me and telling me that she loved me.