Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Ruth takes on corporal punishment

Incredible as it seems, the corporal punishment of children is still legal in Canada, protected under an archaic law. But not if my dear friend and longtime writing student Ruth Miller has anything to do with it. Here's her editorial in the Star today. Hope you can access it.

My dad believed in whacking — slapping his kids on the side of the head when anything annoyed him. I know he was beaten by his father. I never hit my kids, though I can tell you, I was pretty close on occasion. Once my daughter pushed me so to the brink of rage that I raised my hand. She looked at me cooly and said, "If you touch me, I'm calling a lawyer." She was 13. 

In fact, as Ruth points out, thanks to Canada's dreadful law, her lawyer would have had nothing to go on.

Parenting is the hardest job, and doing it as a single parent, as so many do, is 100 times harder. But still, there's no excuse for hitting. None.

Dad was a veteran of WWII and as a Jewish medic in the American army had seen close up the horrors of the Holocaust. He made mistakes as a father, but he was a great man. However, if hitting us had been illegal, as Ruth suggests, he would have been even greater.

Tomorrow I will be remembering him, and my mother, who spent the war working on farms in the Land Army and cracking codes at Bletchley Park, with love and respect.

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