A Can in the Corner

We had rules growing up.

  1. Don’t talk back to your mother.
  2. Don’t touch anything in a store.
  3. Keep your hands to yourself.
  4. Always say Mam & Sir
  5. Don’t spit. Ever.


We were not to spit, especially in public. It wasn’t cool or attractive. It was common and uncouth. It lacked couth.

However, I once spat at my brothers. One of them spat first, I just didn’t know which one, but it happened. Maybe they both did? Maybe there was a second spitter?

I retaliated and the retaliator got caught.

My punishment was standing in a corner and spitting into a can until told otherwise. It went on and on for hours, deep into the night, until no saliva was left. Yet, I was forced to continue, for such was the nature of my grave indiscretion. I spit, spat, and splattered. I was a splattering spatter.

Honestly, it was probably less than 15 minutes and I may have exaggerated just a bit. But it seemed longer. And guess what, I haven’t spat in public since.

The rule remained with me.

Today, kids have more rules, or different ones:

  1. No walking to school without a parent.
  2. Not riding your bike beyond your own block.
  3. Keep the doors locked and the alarm set.
  4. Stay off the internet, especially sites you shouldn’t see.
  5. Don’t use your phone, tablet, or computer for inappropriate uses.

When I grew up, we didn’t have cell phones, tablets, or computers. The internet didn’t exist. Things like inappropriate reading material was hard to find. Inappropriate magazines were unavailable, there was nothing digital. And we escaped the 24/7 news avalanche of all the bad and wicked things in the world.

We didn’t know about the abuse, pedophilia, shootings and hate crimes. If reported, it was done on the evening news, which we didn’t watch, or in the newspapers, which we didn’t read. We didn’t know. If ignorance is bliss, then we were happier children.


I don’t know if we were any happier, but life was definitely simpler.

To Close

For parents trying to raise Godly kids in a culture that crams pornography, bullying, and evil down their throats, well, you have my prayers, support, and my sympathies.

Not spitting was the biggest challenge of my childhood. I guess things have changed.

God bless you.

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