When I was a child and would do something wrong, a punishment I frequently received was to write. Yes, the humor of this is not lost on me, and while my mom did not let me write whatever I wanted, it still sparked something in me. And perhaps it led me to see that a way of relieving tension or anger was putting pen to paper, which led me on a lifelong pursuit of the craft of storytelling. Made it so that I feel compelled to write and can’t help but do it. In that sense I could see that maybe her punishment was really a gift. (If you know my wife, you know that this is something that she would say.)
Or, (and this is more something that I would say) it was really the ultimate punishment, like this quote I put on facebook a few days ago:
If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker
Or, it was just a tool that hopefully made me stop calling my brother an idiot.
Whatever the case may be, I figured out a creative punishment last night for my daughter who hates math. She had a bad attitude and was being defiant, and so I made her do a math worksheet.
Some of you may think that I’m ruining her future as a mathematician, but I can assure you that she’s more than likely not going to go that route anyway. And anyway, my mom made me write sentences, and look at me now! I write sentences all the time, and I really enjoy it!
So along that line of thought, maybe she WILL be a mathematician, and she’ll have me (and her bad attitude) to thank.
Creative punishments. Think one up for your kid today.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.