While David was at my parent’s over the weekend my mother paid — PAID! PAID!! — him one dollar for behaving during Sunday morning church.
Do you know how many weeks, over how many years my parents took me to church? Not just on Sunday morning. No. We were there on Sunday night, Wednesday night, and any other time the doors were open.
Unless you were prostrate with a life-threatening illness you went.
And were expected to behave.
Not once — NOT ONCE — did my mother in 18 years ever — EVER — offer any form of compensation for my cooperation in the pew.
I behaved, because it was my father in the pulpit. And I was under threat that should I get out of hand I would have to, in front of God and the entire congregation, climb the stairs next to the alter, and take a seat in one of those ornate chairs on the platform that no one ever sat in. It was suggested to me that I would remain there, seated behind my father, until the benediction was offered.
I was never subjected to that punishment. I never behaved badly enough to discover if my parents would make good on their threat.
I really did not want to find out if they would.
Now some 30 years later the same woman who quite effectively coerced me into behaving with fear of public humiliation, gently bribed my son into obedience.
Where are my parents, and what have you done with them?
Apparently adding Grandparent to their resume made them go soft.
If only this sea change in their disciplinary tactics occurred in the mid 70’s.
Based on the estimated number of times I attended church as a child, I would have racked up $2988 before I left for college.
Give or take a pot luck or two.