Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Woodshed Justice

Welcome to my blog, a public diary chronicling the writing and publication of my newest book, Daddy’s Little Girl: True Stories about Fathers and Daughters (HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

My purpose in keeping this diary is to give updates about the book’s progress to those who have shared their stories with me.

I am searching for inspirational stories about father-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom, teach moral and important life lessons, and give others insight into how to nurture and maintain a healthy, loving and fulfilling father-daughter relationship.

If you are a father or a daughter, I want to hear about your parent-child relationship experiences. For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page.

Now on to today’s diary entry…

I usually start the day with a web search looking for new references to me or any of my titles. It is a great way to add email contacts to my database, the source I use for sending announcements to readers. Today I found a neat link on YouTube where a fellow in TN named Paul Cummings filmed himself reading from my book Why a Daughter Needs a Dad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dHg-60y75M). Pretty cool; it made me want to buy a camera and start my own site for posting video about the books.

I’ve begun collecting stories for the new book, mostly from email I’ve received in the past. It’s time consuming going through the archives, but fun nonetheless reading what others have shared with me. I’ve chosen 24 so far to incorporate into the book.

A sweet lady I know in TX wrote to tell me she misses the old style of this blog, the one where I posted little vignettes of funny events in our family life. I sort of do, too, but after a most unfortunate experience, we decided not to put ourselves on display for a while. It seems too many people enjoyed taking cheap shots at us, even though they have no idea who we are. What motivates folks like that? Theories abound, but that’s a discussion for another day, best had over a pitcher of good beer and a plate of BBQ.

As you might know, I was rejected many, many times when I first began searching for a publisher – 62 times on my first book alone. And I’ve been rejected on at least three other books in the last eight years, so I suppose it’s true that getting published once doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get published again. Similarly, the AJC doesn’t accept everything I submit. Here’s one that won’t make it into the paper:

“Our pastor recently gave a sermon about parenting, making the point that setting limits and imposing consequences is how parents rescue their children from certain ruin.

To help make his point, he told the story of a son becoming upset with his mom, who as he retreated to his room, slammed the door in her face and then locked it. She relayed this event to a parenting advice columnist and asked how to handle it should it be repeated in the future.

The advice was this – back away from the door to defuse the situation, give the child time to cool down, and talk about it later, explaining that door slamming is rude. The mom was assured that after two or three conversations such as this, the son would no longer treat her in that manner.

Yeah, right.

I pictured my dad answering that mom’s question. He would have said kick the door down, demonstrate the alternative use of a good leather belt, impose a six-month embargo on everything he enjoyed doing, and make him pay for the new door.

I don’t think this intervention would have to be repeated for little Johnny to get the point that he was being unacceptable rude, defiant, actually.

As you might guess, I’ve had a few spankings in my lifetime, but never more than once for the same reason.

Yet, even though I think corporal punishment has its place, I can remember spanking my daughter maybe only six times. Have I spoiled her by sparing the rod? Have I really allowed her to believe she doesn’t have to pay consequences for her misconduct?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think she is a great, well-mannered kid. But I also think at times it took me longer to get the result I wanted than it did when my dad pointed to his belt or twisted my ear. I feared him then, but I love and respect him like crazy now. He kept me out of trouble. I hope one day my child will think the same of me.

What do you think about modern parenting? Are we parenting, or spoiling our children? Do we need to return to woodshed justice or keep our belts on and hope for the best?”

Enough for now, back to searching through the archives again for more nuggets of parenting wisdom.

Hey, thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody! And kiss ‘em, too, if you can get away with it.

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