Baseball & Discipline in the 1950s

by Jim on November 28, 2013

Methods & Freedom of Kid Discipline!

In an earlier article I mentioned the movies “The Sandlot” and “A Christmas Story” reminded me of the 50s. Discipline for children was unrestrained in the 1950s and very effective and memorable. It was fear that kept us from making intentional mistakes. One method used to cleanse me of a dirty word was washing my mouth out with soap. (I especially disliked the taste of Lifebuoy soap. Yeech!)

Mom used a 3”-long hat pin for discipline. When she wanted me to change my attitude/actions, she simply said, “Where’s my hatpin?” Man, did I ever move and QUICKLY! Then, she’d always smile, because she knew all that was needed was the threat. (She never said, “You’re going to bed without dessert,” because she wanted us to wash the dishes.)

The Milkshake after the Game

All of the kids in our family at one time or another felt the sting of Dad’s discipline – me more than my sisters. I was spanked with a ruler, then a paint paddle; whipped with a belt and sometimes a thin, flexible tree branch called a switch. The toughest discipline was with a tug which was a thick leather piece designed to secure a horse harness to a wagon or sleigh. MAN!  I learned not to get on the wrong side of Dad or Mom. The penalty was always harsh and meted out by Dad.

Once before leaving for a Little League game late in the season on a cloudy day, my Dad instructed me to “come home IMMEDIATELY after the game. So, when the game ended, I jumped on my bicycle and headed toward home passing Adams Drug Store in the little town of Northbrook, Illinois.

Now, it was well known that Adams Drugs’ soda fountain made the very best milk shakes in town – and I happened to have 25¢ burning a hole in my pocket. The soda fountain beckoned me – “come in you tired – and – thirsty and I shall give you . . . refreshment. You’ll love to savor the rich, sweet flavor . . .”

I couldn’t stand it. The thought of the cool – smooooth – sweet, chocolate milkshake drove me to jump off my bicycle and like a mesmerized slave – step by step – following the soda fountain’s calling. My eyes didn’t miss a move as the concoction was prepared. The 2, long, sugar-filled wafer cookies were placed on the plate, next to the base of the glass. Closer and closer it approached to my drooling mouth. Finally, it arrived and I savored the thick, rich milkshake’s wonderful flavor and nibbled on the crisp cookies. I was in heaven. SUDDENLY – -

I felt an ominous, hulking presence behind me. Fear struck me, because I knew it was Dad, and he was VERY angry. I never checked to see if it was him, but immediately the desire for the unfinished milkshake vanished. I raced to my bike and rode fast as the wind home, seeing Dad’s telltale car headlights shinning my path on the sidewalk. After “ditching” my bike, I headed directly into the house and up to my room and jumped into bed.

Dad didn’t come into my room, nor did he ever say anything. I was never punished further. But, I knew I had “dodged the bullet” of my Dad’s wrath!

Thoughts on Punishment in the 50s

It was easier being a kid in the 1950s, since immediate discipline established our boundaries. It came from fear and family pride. Now, due to lack of family time, combined with restrictions from the legal community on discipline, parents aren’t able to properly able to set guidelines for their children.

Who designed the new rules and why is spanking no longer legal? People who don’t have kids are often free with advice to parents who have them 24/7. We hear much wisdom from vocal experts who never have successfully raised children and researchers who have based their findings on faulty or incomplete research. These experts have determined and legislated what is acceptable. They say spanking isn’t, because it damages the self-respect of the child.

How about abuse? There ARE a tiny percentage of instances of child abuse. But certain vocal psychologists feel any spanking damages kids mentally. This faulty premise with gutless legislators has created intolerant laws. Normal busy parents can’t easily incorporate these. So, their children are denied the redirection to make them productive members of society.

Be A Fruit Inspector

As I look back at my experiences, the discipline I received was shocking to me at the time, but wasn’t bad for me. It kept me from getting into more serious trouble by immediately showing me exactly what wasn’t appropriate. It put me in a position to pay attention and learn in school. Finally, it kept me safe from outside influences and from kids whose parents let them run wild.

Instead of blindly accepting the advice of so-called experts, it’s better to be a “fruit inspector.” What do I mean? When purchasing fruit, the intelligent carefully inspect it for bruises, firmness, fragrance, worm holes and freshness. Before listening to the so called “experts,” one should look at the fruit born in their adult children’s lives. Only accept advice from those whose children are exemplary!

Use Wisdom and Common Sense when Disciplining

The Bible book of Proverbs states the Lord gives wisdom and stores it up for the upright. It is a shield. However, it says But fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. – Proverbs 1:7a-9

Here are 13 quotes to help shed light on proper discipline.

1) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it – 22:6.

2)       Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him – 22:15.

3)       Chasten your son while there is hope And do not set your heart on his destruction – 19:18.

4)       He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly – 13:24.

5)       The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother – 29:15

6)       A foolish son is a grief to his father, And bitterness to her who bore him – 17:25.

7)       Correct your son and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul – 29:17. (If you don’t discipline kids when they’re young, you’ll spend sleepless nights when they are older!)

8)       Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored – 13:18.

9)       Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid – 12:1.

10)   My son, (or children) do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights – 3:11-12. (Chastening is not breaking a leg, for God wouldn’t do that, but firmly disciplining.)

11)   Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die – 15:10. (Think about those who are in prison or jail. Do you think they paid attention to correction?)

12)   Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil . . . – 6:23c. (As an employee at 70-year-old, I still receive instruction from my bosses, my customers, pastors and wife, because they care about me and doing a good job. These corrections are fewer and fewer, but I pay VERY close attention and learn from them.)

13)   The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul – 15:31-32.

There are 31 chapters in Proverbs; one to read each day of the month. Start reading them and you and your children will be richer and wiser!

Be Sociable, Share!
Line Break

Author: Jim (103 Articles)

Jim Edwards has authored numerous articles, developed 2 extensive pamphlet series and written brochures and numerous sales training documents. He earned a BME from Illinois Wesleyan University and Master Degree from Northern Illinois University with post-graduate studies in strategic marketing and product planning.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: