Bright, young doctoral candidate and single
mom, Fiona, assiduously took notes as her
sociology professor and mentor delivered his
lecture on family violence.
"All forms of family violence are
connected," her professor intoned,
gravely. "And underlying them all is
what I call 'the virtuous violence,' which
goes by the euphemistic name of
'spanking.' Study after study, has
linked so-called 'spanking' with
higher rates of child abuse and spousal
abuse later in life, higher rates of
substance abuse and depression, as well as
sexual obsessions." Pausing to give
the scribbling students time to transfer
this to their notebooks, the professor
then concluded, "It is clear by
now. The evidence is in.
Any well-informed parent who truly
loves their child will never, ever spank
them. That concludes today's
Fiona's brow knit with worry as she packed
away her books. What would her
revered mentor think of her if he
discovered she routinely spanked her
strong-willed little daughter,
Kayla? Since Fiona was having the
professor over for dinner right after the
lecture, she certainly hoped Kayla would
be on her best behavior.
As Fiona and her professor walked across
the campus she listened respectfully while
he expounded further upon the evils of
spanking and summarized the growing
mountain of peer reviewed studies in
prestigious journals all showing its many
negative effects on the child.
Approaching the graduate student
housing, she saw her daughter
looking up at one of the workmen who was
building the new concrete bike path.
The workman looked angry as he jabbed his
finger in Kayla's direction, then pointed
at the fresh concrete which had just been
poured, then back at Kayla, who stood her
ground, her face a defiant pout.
"Hello Darling," said Fiona to Kayla, then
turning to the workman, "What seems to be
"Is this your kid?" demanded the
workman testily. Not waiting for an
answer, he continued, "She keeps drawing
pictures in the concrete, and when I
smooth them over, she goes right back and
does it again when I am not
looking!" Kayla made no attempt to
deny this charge, but looked sullenly at
her mother to see what would happen next.
Vexed, Fiona pulled her hairbrush from her
purse. "I am very disappointed in
you, Kayla!" Fiona scolded, waving the
all-too-familiar brush at her daughter's
eye level for emphasis. "You've been
a very, very bad girl and for that I am
going to give you a good-" Suddenly Fiona
remembered herself, glanced self
consciously at the professor, then back at
her daughter, and stammered, "a-a good, talking
She brushed back a wisp of Kayla's hair
which had come loose from one of its
pigtails as if that had been the
hairbrush's original mission, then quickly
replaced it in her purse. With a
look of disgust, the workman snapped,
"Just make sure your daughter doesn't do
it again, lady!"
Humiliated, Fiona watched as the workman
turned on his heel and stalked off without
another word, shaking his head to
himself. Then she glanced
downward. There before her
astonished eyes squatted Kayla, beside the
freshly poured concrete, beginning yet
another new picture.
Mountain of studies or not... enough was
Retrieving the hairbrush from her purse,
Fiona said grimly, "Professor, will you
please excuse us for a moment?"
Seizing Kayla tightly by the arm, Fiona
marched her protesting daughter to a
nearby park bench and bent the struggling
child across her knee so that the fabric
of Kayla's cordouroy overalls stretched
snugly across the plainly visible outlines
of her two pert, little
buttocks. Then, as her mentor
looked on aghast, Fiona began to swat the
plump cheeks of Kayla's bottom
repeatedly with the back of the brush - a
procedure which soon had her child roaring
with pain. Fiona did not relent
until Kayla's stinging backside had
received sixteen solid smacks.
While Kayla continued to bawl across her
mother's knee, Fiona returned the
hairbrush to her purse, then stood
Kayla onto her feet and marched her
directly to the now-smiling workman,
and made Kayla apologize to him as best
she could manage through her tears.
Then came the part Fiona dreaded.
Leading her crying daughter by the hand
she rejoined her mentor, his face ashen
with shock. With a look of profound
sadness, he glanced down at Kayla as she
wept miserably and rubbed the seat of her
overalls, then up at Fiona. At last
he murmured, "How could you,
Fiona? How could you inflict
pain on your very own child? Don't
you love her?"
Taking a deep breath, Fiona replied,
"Let's just say that
my daughter very much in the abstract...
not in the concrete."