From personal experience: discipline works


“There are three things I remember about Mr. Young’s class: building a crystal radio, hearing about the assassination of President Kennedy and getting three licks with a paddle for doing something I shouldn’t have been doing in class,” says a former student.
I recently spent time with Bill Young, who was one of my all-time favorite teachers. I remember a lot about him during junior high, but what stands out the most is that he was a disciplinarian. I don’t recall ever having another teacher with his reputation throughout my 12 years in the Opelika City School System.
While he never broke the paddle out on me, he did lock me in his office one day. I can’t remember why, but it was all in fun. I did get a lick on my hind side that year from Mr. Dudley for being late to P.E. I had the option of getting a lick or staying after school. I chose the former because it was too far to walk home.
I’ve been at Ft. Eustis, Va., for the past two weeks conducting my annual training for the Army Reserves. I’m an individual augmentee assigned to an active duty unit. I miss a great deal about being active duty Army, particularly the discipline. As with anything and everything, the Army doesn’t have the ability to be as disciplined as it once was, as it is now much gentler, and it shows.
It is, however, still much more disciplined than the general population.
Saturday I was having lunch in Williamsburg. There was a family with a young child in close proximity to me. The young boy was becoming unruly, so I started looking for Mr. Young – or at least his paddle. Fortunately, the father escorted the kid to the bathroom to administer much needed discipline. “I don’t want a spanking,” the boy cried. Upon his return, the kid hugged his mother and told her that he loved her. I’m not sure what happened in their absence, but it worked.
I got spankings from my parents all the time when I was a kid. I’m sure I deserved them and more. My mother was very good at them. “Don’t make me take my belt off,” was often said, pillow or something. I know that I ought to be ashamed, but I did what I had to do. I’m sure he’s looking down from heaven shaking his head, but I’m sure he understands, too.
Last night, I had all you can eat sushi here in Newport. I hadn’t felt that bloated in over a year. I was miserable all night. I needed discipline, but that’s self-discipline. No spanking was needed, however, as I more than learned my lesson.
At the end of one school year, toward the end of Mr. Young’s teaching career, he realized that he hadn’t paddled a student the entire year. He pondered as to why that was and posed the question to his students. “Because our brothers had you, Mr. Young. We knew better,” said one student.
Discipline works.
Jody Fuller is a comic, a speaker, and a soldier.


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