So over the past 40-odd years we’ve banned corporal punishment and evolved into the most violent of the industrialized societies. Various types of attention disorders have become the rule rather than the exception in most of our schools, particularly among boys. New methods are continually found to coax kids instead of discipline them. If teachers and parents could administer a quick whack with a ruler (not with a hand, I’m not advocating skin-to-skin contact god forbid) to a rambunctious kid, respect for authority and the ability to sit still and listen could be restored. And what is there to lose? Could we get any more uncivil, undisciplined, and violent as a society than we already are?
I once worked for a brilliant, shambling character who, based on the stories he told of his schooldays, would have been classified as ADHD the second he walked into a classroom of today. What happened instead? When he got restless and started to become disruptive, his teacher would call him to the front of the room, give his hand a smack with a ruler and tell him most firmly to “sit down and shut up”. So what happened? I asked in shock. “I sat down and shut up,” he said. And he grew up to be a successful professional with a healthy family life who loved his work and his hobby and also was probably one of the happiest guys I’ve ever known.
I’m aware that anecdotes don’t prove a thing, but still I’ve never forgotten his story. I doubt he’d have done any better in life if he’d been medicated and coddled. But he could have done a great deal worse.