Spanking is not an activity I participate in. It is not a form of discipline I embrace. It is simply not in me because in the deepest part of my core I just can't imagine motivating my children with physical punishment.
But, that doesn't mean that I'm not aware of the moments when I might spank...if I did.
Here are a few examples:
1) If I were a spanker, the day might begin with spanking. When I look at the clock and realize that the school day begins at kindergarten in exactly 13 minutes (ten of which is taken up by our drive) and we don't even have shoes and coats on and the boys aren't moving when I say move or in the manner that I want them to...then I might spank.
2) If I were a spanker, there might be spankings in the car. After all, when I get on the phone (you did know that my car is my phone booth, right?), having asked the children to be quiet, having turned down their favorite songs on the radio so I can hear my phone conversation, and then they end up not only talking but talking loudly or worse off fighting and yelling and I realize how easy it would be to reach back and slap (btw - I consider spank, slap, swat, any way of making harsh contact between an adult's hand or object and a child for the purpose of discipline or punishment to be synonyms) a flailing leg...then I might spank.
3) If I were a spanker, spankings might be part of our evening routine. When we are heading home from meetings or errands and it's already past the children's bedtime and they haven't been home since early morning and they haven't had time to play with their toys and did I mention it's past their bedtime so they are tired...when this is happening and we get home and I want them to hurry and get their pjs on and teeth brushed and get in bed, but they want to play for a moment with a new toy or have a snack or watch the last few minutes of a cartoon and so they don't move fast and they aren't eager to get pjs on...then I might spank.
4) If I were a spanker, our day might end with a spanking. When I've put the boys to bed and I've said good night and I've hugged them and tucked them in but then I hear the pitter patter of little feet (which I hear right now as if on cue) and the three-year-old says his throat is making him get up (which he did just now) or he says he wants to sleep somewhere else or wants me to lay down with him or it is too dark...and when I've responded once or twice or three times and there are still footsteps coming down the hall...then I might spank.
I could go on and on. In fact, it's not unusual for me to be in these or other moments and actually think - if I were a spanker, I'd be doing it now. I'm aware of many situations that while being in the midst of them spanking could seem like an appropriate or effective response.
I'm also aware of how glad I am to be highly committed to not spanking. Because as I look at this list and as I think about other moments when I might otherwise spank (or at least threaten it) I see how easy to would be for spanking to be as routine as hugging...for swatting to be more common than speaking...for slapping to become the regular physical contact.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if I am more often late than my spanking counterparts...more often sucked in to that one last pre-bedtime question...more often seen in public with "free spirited" children. And yet, I won't apologize for these.
After all, I dream of a world where we raise a generation who is not motivated by fear or threat. I dream of a world where we raise a generation who has not witnessed force or intimidation being used as the answer to the unknown or the out-of-control. I don't get to raise this generation, but I have the privilege of raising two of them and, although my voice does raise and on occasion my head spins, I will do my best to raise them with love and listening, with tenderness and understanding, with the respect I hope they will give to others.