… And spoil the child.
My two boys understood that Dad was a strong believer in this saying. I kept a switch cut from our plum tree stored for quick deployment if needed. It was a little over two feet long and very limber. When swung, it made satisfying “swishing” sounds as it cut the air, and that was usually enough to strike fear in the heart of the most delinquent kid. With a couple of “air swishes,” they usually begged for forgiveness and promised not to misbehave again.
I know the above makes me sound like some like of an evil person, but all they ever got were a few swishes across the back of the legs, and since they would be “dancing” at the time, most didn’t hit very hard. Like I said, usually just making a few “air swishes” was enough to get the message across.
I kept my switch in the kitchen stuck in a crock jar that displayed some sprigs of eucalyptus of about the same length. It was ready to switch. All I needed to do was grab it. The boys knew where I kept it of course, which was part of its effectiveness.
One day I needed to deploy my switch. With the offending delinquent son in one hand, I dragged him over to the eucalyptus jar. With my other hand, I reached for my switch, and with great fanfare, I withdrew it from its crock jar holster and made a few demonstration “air swishes” for effect. To my utter dismay, it made no intimidating swishing sounds. I looked at my switch to discover it wasn’t two feet long anymore! “Someone” had cut it down to about four inches long, just long enough to stick up among the eucalyptus branches and look like it was longer!
The delinquent child laughed; I laughed … and went out and cut a new switch.