THEY MADE SENSE IN “THE OLDEN DAYS,”
“Y’all hush up now: Y’hear?” This order was issued to children who were getting a mite rambunctious in their eagerness for the enjoyment of whatever game in which they were involved. Long suffering parents tolerated the squeals and/or laughter for a time, but when it reached the point that it was distracting; this one command was all that was necessary to bring about complete silence. No one had ever heard, or for that matter; never thought that this command could possibly bring about a complex. Children were taught to obey the parents, period.
Disobedience was certain to bring about either a trip to the; “Woodshed”, (and-or), “The Belt.” Every child was positive that the dreaded “Belt,” was the intimate in punishment for their body. In most instances, only the threat of using “The Belt” was necessary to bring about perfect behavior.
“Make haste, now!” was another order that could be justified. What child has; “Not at one time or another”: Loitered when dispatched to perform some chore? In the days of growing up on a small farm; there were many chores that were required of everyone; including the children.
Dawdling while attending to one chore simply meant that another one would be left undone. In some cases, the chore that was not taken care of; resulted in another command: That of: “Go, cut me a hickory!”
“Get in the house, right now!” Either you had done something to be punished for or there was a chance of: “It’s coming up a cloud.” During a thunderstorm was definitely not a time when you volunteered to remain outside some form of shelter. Vivid tales of people getting struck by lightning were reasons enough for the young minds to obey instantly. In extreme cases, one was required to; “Wash bare feet, and lie on a bed until the storm passed.”
“Watch out: you don’t fall!” Children everywhere have a desire for climbing. Whether it be a tree or the top of a building. They feel that they must explore the heights if for no other reason than simply to find out if they can do it. Knowing full well that they could not protect every child from the bumps and scrapes of life, the parents merely cautioned them and expected obedience.
“Act like You’ve had some raising!” This was very important if a child was to visit another household or attend a party away from home. It was felt that their actions reflected on the teachings in which they had received from the parents. Good behavior was a factor that could bring about the ultimate compliment, i.e. “Now; Them young’uns have had “a heap” of raising.”
“You know better than that!” This denotes that you have made some foolish mistake that resulted in things going awry. The fact that you had temporarily forgotten was of no defense. You had been taught the right way and were expected to remember.
Instances that involved the visiting of another family in the home could very quickly prompt a command of, “Y’all go play now!” which let the children know that the grown-ups needed to discuss something not suitable for their hearing. If it was forgotten that there were children present, one of the grown-ups would remind the others that; “Llittle pitchers have big ears.”
Perhaps there was a different approach toward the training of the young in different parts of the country, but the outcome was the same all over. Everyone wanted their children to be taught the correct way to make their journey through life, and they did it in the way that they themselves had been trained. The only major difference was in the choice of words.
If the parents of my childhood could observe the actions of a few of today’s children it would surely bring to mind that; “The rod had been spared:” Or, “They just ain’t had no raising.”
While different parts of the country used a somewhat different method, they all amounted to the same things…
They simply used the commands that made sense to them.