Fighting Means Having to Say You’re Sorry

Laughter rang through the corridors of our home, but so did fighting.  With four girls, there was always fodder for fighting.  “Moooooooootherrrrrr.  Suzanne pinched me.” or “Moooooooooootherrrrrrrrr.  Nene has on the blouse I was going to wear to school today.”  we would whine.  “Girls!  Stop fighting this instant.”  Mother sternly laid down the law to which end we continued to fight, under our breaths.”

If Daddy was home, he stepped into action.  That wasn’t fun!  I remember the sound of the belt swooshing through the loops as he removed his JC Penny #32 from his pants.  We knew we were going to catch it, when that thing came off.  The howling and gnashing of teeth began before the first lick hit our padded tushes.  Believe me, we were kind to one another for quite a while after that.  Sometimes he would line us all up and whip us for no good reason, but for all the times he should have whipped us and didn’t.

I never viewed this as child abuse.  The fact was, I probably deserved most every spanking I got.  I also told myself I was running away from home that night.  That was until Daddy would come and sit down beside me, hug me, and explain why it was necessary to administer discipline.  I generally thanked him and went peacefully to sleep, vowing to be nicer to my sisters.

Mother had various approaches to discipline, ranging from a hair brush to the behind to child psychology.  Mother wasn’t a college graduate, but she was very smart.  One afternoon, Nene and I had been fighting.  Neither of us can recall why, but we both remember the discipline.

Mother heard us fighting.  She was sitting in the chair in their bedroom, reading her Bible.  This was a daily sight, and one memory of Mother that I cherish.  Anyway, she called us to their (her and Daddy’s) room.  She told us that we were going to have to stand there until we we told each other that we were sorry.  I can tell you that it was worse than any hide tanning!

“I’m not about to tell her I’m sorry.”  I pouted.  “Are you kidding?  I can’t stand her!”  Nene snapped back.  “Well, I guess you will be standing there for quite a while then.” Mother said as she glanced up from reading her Bible.  We begged and pleaded with her to change her mind.  “I’ll scrub and wax the living room floor, if you’ll just let me go.”  I implored.  “Okay.  After you and Nene tell each other you’re sorry, you can do that.”  No amount of coaxing worked.

The pleas got more and more ridiculous.  “I’d rather eat frogs than to apologize to her.”  I swore.  “She stinks!”  Nene’s smug face galled me. Back and forth we continued to insult each other.  Finally, one of us said something that made the other one giggle.  That’s all it took.  We started poking fun at each other and laughing louder each time.  We did say “I’m sorry.”, but it was more like, “I’m sorry that you are so ugly.”, or “It’s okay.  I’m sorry that your breath smells so bad.”  and so it was.

What I learned from the discipline that Mother and Daddy administered was:

1. A good belting will make you repent and do better for a while, but the only lasting impression it makes is on your hind quarters.

2. Taking ownership of one’s part in any disagreement is the bigger person thing to do.  Ending a disagreement with laughter is cleansing.

3. “Love means never having to say your sorry”, is the most stupid quote of all time!  Saying you are sorry, when sincere, heals lots of hurts, and let’s you off the hook, and out of your parent’s bedroom.

Explore posts in the same categories: humor, Love, Memories, Story

7 Comments on “Fighting Means Having to Say You’re Sorry”

  1. Your house sounds a lot like the one I grew up in. Not sure I thanked my father for the spanking, though. I’m pretty sure that never happened. LOL. make a great point about sincere repentence. Although I must say it was the spankings that eventually brought me to sincerity.

  2. Thanks Pam, you know I enjoy coming here for my blog reads. I see where you got such beautiful wisdom, and appreciate your honesty!

    You are ‘spot on’ about SORRY MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY SORRY!! I would trade a ‘sorry’, any day over some past pains.

    God bless mate 🙂

  3. Lynn Thomas Says:

    Great post! I am sharing this one with the couples we mentor. A sincere “I’m sorry” goes a long way to a healthy relationship.

  4. As always, this tale of growing up in your wonderful family is full of life lessons, warmth, and wisdom. Your memories are true treasures for your readers and will someday, if not already, be an amazing gift to generations of “little Pammys” to come.
    Thank you, Pam. Reading your Homespun Highlights always brings a smile to my lips and a glow to my heart!

  5. As an only child, I didn’t have the benefit of fighting with siblings. My spankings were all my own so I had no one else to blame and apologizing to mom and dad was a very hard pill to swallow after they just beat me nearly to death! 🙂

  6. Joyce Mason Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about that insipid quote, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” My experience of love is that “sorry” needs to be on the tip my tongues at all times and spoken liberally!

    My parents didn’t spank often, so when they did, it really packed a wallop, no pun intended.

    You were lucky to learn the power of laughter and forgiveness young in your family, Pam. I think they are two of the key ingredients to peace on earth, which might be the most challenging at times among siblings. I don’t know of anyone who could put me over the edge more than my brothers and sisters, especially my brother, rest his soul and LOL!

  7. Memories of my own childhood abound in your post Pam. Dad had a belt and I do remember it being used when we were young but not once we got to our teens. Mum never read a bible but she did use similar tactics to yours when getting my sisters and I to behave nicely towards one another or to our baby brother – how he coped with 3 older sisters I have no idea.

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