What misbehaviors on your part were certain to bring a reprimand from your parents as you were growing up?

Early on I learned not to "talk back" when I was being lectured about something--just listen in silence and react by doing, or not doing, as the case might have been.

I doubt that my mother had to tell me more than one time, "Don't you sass me!" Yet I can still hear those words ringing with emphasis. If I wanted to retaliate, I kept my mouth shut until those inner feelings were gone.

Neither was I to contradict my parents when we were in public. They counseled me that it was not respectful nor was it good manners. They let me know that they welcomed a discussion of my difference of opinion, but bring it up later in private.

There were words they didn't want me to use. Neither parent had habits of their own that included cursing or crude words that I might copy, but there were other words that they personally did not like to hear.

To call someone a fool was totally unacceptable. They didn't like the word lie either. Certainly, they made it clear that one was not to tell a falsehood but substituting the positive, they said, "Always tell the truth."

If I related something that appeared suspect, they would ask, "Are you telling me a story'?" rather than to accuse me of telling a lie.

Actions of mine that warranted reprimands were probably far more numerous than I choose to remember. At the top of the list might have been hiding out of sight and not answering when they called. Of course, they were frightened, but their relief quickly turned to anger when I finally decided to reveal myself. It took a while for me to get up the nerve to hide again.

Another no-no was borrowing tools or utensils and not returning them to their proper storage place where they could be grabbed quickly when needed. Totally forbidden was to use the sharpest blade of Papa's pocketknife to whittle, or Mama's sewing scissors to cut paper dolls, but I would try to get by without minding every now and then.

Reprimands varied. Sometimes a look, a facial expression, was all it took to make me straighten up. The tone of voice in the question, "Who did this?" told me I'd better admit it, accept a tongue-lashing, and get it over.

A limber switch pulled from the peach tree overhanging the garden fence and applied to my bare legs got the message across satisfactorily.

One punishment that I never received was being put to bed without supper. I knew that the thought of a hungry child put an ache in my mother's heart, so I was not surprised that other choices for my direction were made.

I reflect with gratitude on the lessons of life that I was taught with the occasional emphasis of mild discipline. I realized that discipline was administered for my own good, not primarily for punishment.

I believe that I would have gladly gone to bed without supper, as I was sure that the loving guidance of my parents would still be there the next morning at breakfast.