“We’re going to raise a lost generation of children unless they are properly disciplined and properly spanked.”  -Charles Eddie Wiseman

         For those that may not know, in addition to my occupation as a professional photographer, I also make a living working with children in various schools (Hey…a Brotha’s gotta pay the bills). My specialty? Counseling for children who have psychological, emotional and neurological disorders. In most cases, within hours of meeting with my clients, I come to the conclusion that the various diagnosis that the respective psychologists and psychiatrists find are mostly embellished-and we’re dealing not with a mentally unstable patient…but simply just another bad ass kid. Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or ADHD, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder are some of the more common things that doctors will tell you your kids have as an excuse for their costly services and various medications. Once you meet the family, it’s clear where it comes from. It’s almost always the same story. A child, or one of many children, groomed in a single-parent home with very little or no discipline at all. It’s a recipe for disaster and sometimes I look into the eyes of today’s youth and in many of them…I see the felons of tomorrow.
         I was born in 1979. That would make me a part of the last generation of kids who truly knew what discipline was. Trained in the deadly ancient art known as the ass whoopin’, and a firm believer in the benefits of its use. Now don’t get me wrong- there’s a huge difference between disciplining a child and whooping a child’s ass. The key in my opinion is combining Nature & Nurture. Constantly dishing out a well-deserved ass-whoopin’ to a child without any form of nurturing or explanation is sure to have bad aftereffects. Too much nurturing to a bad-ass kid with the absence of discipline will surely come back to bite you in the ass sooner or later. In my opinion, if one wants to raise a well-mannered child, there must be a good distribution of both. I say “in my opinion” because many professionals and non-professionals believe the stigma that different races raise their children differently. The stereotype is that African American families will physically beat their children as a means of discipline, while White families refuse to beat or spank their children; they say the form of discipline that we’ve been using for generations is really abuse. So which philosophy is right and which philosophy is wrong?

“Spanking is simply another form of terrorism. It teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak.”  -Dr. Anon

         Growing up, I was on the receiving end on what must have been a thousand ass-whoopings…courtesy of my insane father. I say insane because I’d get beatings for trivial things-which ranged from getting C’s in school to Sports. Ronald Gray Sr. always wanted to play Professional Basketball, but his height and weight kept him from fulfilling that dream; and so he decided that he’d try and live his dreams through his only son. I recall our home being adorned with innumerable trophies of his accomplishments-some as tall as me. He pushed me towards sports the way that many fathers do with their sons- however as a youth, I wasn’t interested in dribbling a basketball, but rather expressing myself through art. I had a gift that needed to be cultivated. My drawings were referred to as “monkey men” and destroyed. My vast collection of toys got thrown away and he gave me a basketball when I was six years old. The only fatherly advice that followed was to “go down the street and play ball.”
         At that age, I wasn’t interested in basketball. Going down the street to the John F. McCloskey playground in Philadelphia and playing Basketball with kids-some twice my size-I’d sooner venture down into the basement to play freeze tag with Freddy Kruger. Eventually, I was forced to go and practice on my game. After all…every male in the Gray family played basketball, and my insane father would not let his son be the exception. So there I was; an awkward, skinny kid… struggling against older, taller kids on the basketball courts, with the embarrassment of my father on the sidelines screaming instructions with promises of what would happen when we got back home if I didn’t play better defense.
         The licentious beatings that I sustained at the hands on my father were nothing short of abuse-and I understand the need for children today to receive the nurture that I never did. I grew up an emotional wreck and someone who missed out on many things from his youth- a socially awkward kid that continued on that path until college. Was I a bad child? No. But I remember talking to my Mother teary-eyed and wondering why after beatings, which left marks and bruises all along my back, Chest, arms and legs. Can’t forget my father’s heavy hands or the way I would be kicked if I fell to the ground. The phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child” is often incorrectly attributed to the Bible, however I read that it first appeared in a poem by Samuel Butler in 1664. Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible (The Old Testament) speak on corporal punishment for a child and Christians often quote those scriptures to this day:
Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)." ulletProv 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." ulletProv 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." ulletProv 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." ulletProv 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."
ullet      Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

         We’ve all seen those TV shows and episodes of Maury with out of control kids who are disrespectful to their parents, essentially stressing them into early graves. So why is it that some parents absolutely refuse to whoop a bad kid’s ass? Are they afraid of being investigated for abuse? Are they afraid of their children? Or do they think that behaviors of non-compliance from small children are in fact normal behaviors? I read an interview on the web from Dr. Ralph Welsh, who has given psychological exams to over 2,000 delinquents. He says, “Spanking does for a child’s development what wife-beating does for a relationship.” Dr. Welsh also goes on to explain that as the severity of corporal punishment in the delinquent’s developmental history increases, so does the probability that he will engage in a violent act.
         Alvin Poussaint, M.D, who is a Professor of Psychiatry and Harvard Medical School said, “Researchers have also found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence towards a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. None of this is what we want for our children.”
         But I wonder how many of these professionals have children? And even more importantly, how many of these professionals have bad children? And I know some of you guys out there are thinking, Ron…there’s no such thing as a bad child. Fuck that. I’ve worked at schools in North Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia and now suburban Pennsylvania at predominantly white Schools. There is such a thing as a bad-ass kid and these parents are acting as though they’re children are allergic to leather the way they refuse to beat these damn kids.  I’m actually beginning to see more and more black families that refuse to beat their kids. Sheeee-it…when I was growing up, if you were disrespectful to a stranger who was an adult, they were likely to give you some belt action-then you’d go home and get beat again by your parents for disrespecting adults. Today, when teachers call parents with reports of their children misbehaving, you have parents who come up to the school irate, ready to confront a teacher for calling their cell…totally negating the fact that their out of control kid was running amok at school like the antichrist.
         Today we’re witnessing a generation of children who are on various medications to control aggression, when all they need is disciplinary action. Children take drugs like Ritalin, which may decrease impulsive behavior, but in turn makes them so lethargic in classes that they often struggle to stay focused and awake-the very same things they are in school to do. It’s like the man who takes Viagra for erectile dysfunction, but the side effect is loss of hearing and sometimes problems with sight and a racing heart. So now you hafta decide if you wanna be able to get some ass…or be able to see properly and hear. (shaking my head)
         Merely days ago, while conducting a home observation, I witnessed a small child displaying a tantrum when told to complete a homework assignment. The Mother (who has no control of the situation) began to count backwards from five. I shook my head and thought about my childhood for a moment. The only counting my Jamaican-American parents would have been doing for me would have been a Boxing Referee’s ten count because I was on the floor knocked unconscious for acting up. I focused in on the situation at hand-a Mother was preparing dinner for her three bad-ass kids while one was giving her hell and refusing to do homework. I watched intently and recorded how she would choose to deal with the situation. One of them walked over to her, voicing his displeasure and telling her that he “wasn’t gonna do it.” He instead he wanted to go into his room and play with his PlayStation 3. She informed him that she was cooking their favorite meal and attempted to be stern (probably because I was there), telling him that he had until the count of five to do the homework. With a devilish smirk on his face, he turned to the stainless steel pot of simmering dinner…and spat in it! Time itself stood still, as I wondered to myself if I was dreaming or did this little bastard just do the unthinkable! His actions shocked me, but what was more shocking was the Mother’s reaction. Nothing. All I could think of was a kid who received ass-whoopings would have never have done that.
         I was once told “A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn’t like the tune.” If I were against beatings for children, the sight of that would have make me the enforcer that Joe Jackson was to the late Michael Jackson. There are idiots out there that feel as though taking a kid’s pants down and beating them across the butt is degrading. There are those who believe that it’s abusive. Some say that spankings on the butt cause psychological problems, and it doesn’t work-it just scares them into listening. But what about a parent that refuses to do it and becomes fearful of what their child may one day do to them? What about the Psychological aftereffects that Mother will probably have now? The issue isn’t a father who is spanking a 16-year-old female on the buttocks (which would be really weird) but rather spoiled brats who do not understand the concept of authority. In life, we must assume responsibility for our actions.
         I always read about young killers who evade police for weeks and sometimes even months and are found at their parent’s home. There will be rewards offered and notices in newspapers and various forms of media seeking their capture, and somehow their parents allow them to stay in the home, eating a bowl of CAP’N Crunch, and playing videogames. These were once children who never had to accept responsibility for their actions. In the parent’s eyes, it was always someone else’s fault. It was the white man, it was the school system, it was racism, the teacher, the other students. It was always anyone but them. Their child never had to face the music and accept responsibility for anything. They refused to administer the proper discipline, so the Police Department will. They refused to make them responsible, so now a Judge will. They refused to oversee their growth, so now the Warden will. If you’re never forced to accept responsibility as a child, it becomes easy to one day take a life as an adult and blame someone else. Someone once said, “The trouble with children is that they’re not returnable.”
We can’t return them or exchange them, but we can damn sure instill the proper morals in them, and if they get outta line…we can whoop that ass before it’s too late. Start beating these bad-ass kids.

"At this time in the United States, the only people who can smack someone on the buttocks as part of their paid professional duties are schoolteachers, prostitutes and performers in the pornography filming industry." –Unknown

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…

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