17 MAY 07
Editors Note: I’m letting out a poorly guarded secret here. The radio host, author, occasional commenter and guest poster Hunter Silvastorm is also my dad. Here he responds to my post from yesterday regarding child rearing. Enjoy.
Dear Dr. Chako,
Guilt, Corporal Punishment, Family Values, Child Rearing, Priorities, and Jerry Falwell. One has to admire the diversity that you manage to cram into a single blog.
The folks who respond to this blog might, therefore, represent an equally diverse mind set. I wouldn't be surprised to read comments from psychologists, Baptists, secular progressives, clergy, teachers, Ellen Degeneras, Neils Bort, Terence Satherwaite (creator of the Tele-Tubbies), Rosie O'Donnell, Rudi Guiliani, and Martin Sheen.
However, if you were to tier this list into a hierarchy of "who-might-come-closest-too-hitting-the-Bulls-Eye," I would have to place myself at the top of the heap. My reason, of course, is simple.
I am your Father and, by extension, the Grandfather of Jared, who, to remind the readers, is the young man who was subjected to the humiliation of having to call home to explain his classroom disruptions.
Similar to a belt, a switch, or locking a child in a closet for 3 days, humiliation is just another tool of discipline. Although the child may view it as a fate worse than death, it is far more effective than physical torture. (Just look at the poor Muslims of Abu Ghraib Prison who were forced to disrobe in front of a woman). Far from The Rack or the old Buried up to your Chin in the Ant Hill routine, psychological punishment is still most effective. Consequently, my grandson learned a valuable lesson without the need for Band-Aids, stitches, or emergency organ replacement.
And speaking of psychological punishments, I would like to share a tale of my child rearing experiences that involved the author of this blog, Dr. Chako.
When he was merely six-years old, he broke one of my Rules of the House. Specifically, he missed a dinnertime curfew by one full minute. Hence, I needed to come up with an appropriate punishment. I thought about locking him in that special part of the root cellar, the one with the really big spiders and their funnel webs, but I knew that his blood curdling screams wouldn't do much more than keep me up through the night. I thought about hog-tying him and hanging him upside down from one of the rafters on our front porch, but that would only serve to upset the neighbors. Ultimately, I made the decision to let 6-year old Dr. Chako decide his own fate.
"Do you have any idea what's going to happen to you now," I said sternly.
"No," blubbered Dr. Chako, tears streaming down his face.
"Well," I said, "you go into your room, close the door, and think about what sort of punishment I should give you."
Nodding his little head, he went into his room and closed the door. In a few minutes, there were heart-wrenching wails of deep anguish coming from his room. I, of course, nodded confidently, knowing that this psychological tactic was perfect. Soon, he emerged and stood before me.
I said, "Have you decided what punishment I should give you for being late for dinner?"
He nodded affirmatively, but was crying so hard that he could not yet speak.
"Then tell me. What should I do to you?"
Mustering up all his strength and trying desperately to stop his frightened quivering, he said, "You're just going to have to kill me, Dad."
Putting Jerry Falwell aside for just a moment, perhaps we should think twice about the long term effects of psychological punishment. Of course, if you have read Dr. Chako's blog, and his sister's comment, you will also wonder about the long term effects of a father's mantra, "School is the single most important thing you have to be concerned with."
P.S. to view a photo of Dr. Chako, his family and his sister, go to or click on the following website: