By gayle lagman-creswick
(In a recent column, a reader was worried about the way her great grandchildren were being raised. She was instructed never to say “no” to them, but to redirect them. My answer told her how I had stolen a tricycle when I was 5, and I received the peach tree stick to my behind all the way to returning it to its rightful owner. I also raised a doubt as to what kind of adults these undisciplined children may grow to be. If they want to rob a bank, you just redirect them? This is a reply from a professional):
Dear Gabby Gayle:
In one of your replies, attempting to be helpful, you mentioned how a “peach stick” was at your rear, when as a child, you were sent to return a tricycle that you stole. There are many ways to correct a child and instill ethics and morals – and a peach stick at the rear is not a good one. Please don’t suggest that any form of physical punishment is a good way to teach a child the difference between right and wrong. Physical punishment can instead instill fear and insincerity among other unproductive traits. You offer much appreciated help, but this reply was not one of your better ones.
Regards from a psychotherapist and children volunteer/advocate.
Dear Children Advocate: Thank you for writing. I want to make it clear to my readers that I am not a therapist. I am a mother of seven, the youngest child of 12, the confidante of seniors for 40 years, the foster mother of 18 children, grandmother of 23 and great-grandmother of 15. Now I am a senior and my wisdom was gained from the school of hard knocks. (Also, I was a registered nurse and I have a BS in psychology.) In my lifetime, I have read about many methods of raising children. My early children received an occasional swat if they lied or were doing something unsafe. My later children didn’t get the swat. In fact, my last child told me that I could not swat her because it would be child abuse! I lived through Spock. All I can say is that I would not trade my childhood for anyone’s. I never doubted I was loved and cherished, which was very high on my list of priorities for my own children. And I always had a clear conception of what was right and wrong. I suspect the pendulum will swing again in the future as more data is collected. Thanks again!
Dear Gabby Gayle: I have a question for you. How young can you be and still die of old age?
Dear FND: While I am not certain I understand your question, I take it to mean, “Can you die of old age when you are young?” I do not believe people die of old age. They die from disease. Some of these diseases are in their genes and some are brought on by the way we live and take care of ourselves. If, at age 50, you are sitting around, not involved in life, no exercise, eating unhealthy diets, have no interests, etc. you might be considered old – and you are inviting disease into your life. And you are no doubt shortening your life. I hope this answers your question!
Dear Gabby Gayle: I am a senior and an observer of people. When I look around, I find I have been mistaken about aging. I always thought as you grow older you become nicer, wiser, sweeter, etc. Not so, my observation is that people often get belligerent and illogical, etc. What is your take on this?
Dear DH: My take is that people pretty much become more of what they are. If you are sweet and wise and logical as a young person, you will probably become more of that as you grow older. If you are a nasty young person, you may become nastier. If disease interferes with your healthy aging, a sweet person may become the opposite. Message: If you are young and have a nasty disposition, better change it while you can. Smile.
If you have questions for Gabby Gayle, please send them to “Ask Gabby Gayle” at email@example.com.