Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Anything But That!

It's time for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop again. This week's prompt? Describe the most creative punishment you ever ever experienced.

I was a good kid...most of the time. But I had my moments. I fought with my brother, talked back to my parents—all the usual stuff. On one particularly memorable occasion, my brother and I took hot wheels cars off someone's porch.

That resulted in one hell of a spanking.

Yep, back in the day, it was still okay to spank. I also spent my fair share of time staring at the wall in the kitchen, stuck in the dreaded time out. I even got grounded a time or three (hundred).

Still, all those punishments were quickly recovered from. Sure, I cried when I got spanked. Pouted when I got put in the corner. Threw a hissy fit when I got grounded. But through it all, there was one thing I could count on to comfort me.

My books.

To say I was a bookworm would be an understatement. I always had a book in my hand. I ate with a book. Slept with a book. Even walked around with my nose firmly stuck in a book (not a real good idea when you're as big of a klutz as I am).

So what did my parents do when they really wanted to punish me? They took away my books.

I was in fifth grade. I hated my teacher and was doing really poorly in school—culminating in my first  "D" on a report card. My parents were beyond frustrated with me.

So they forbade me to read until my grades improved. They confiscated my library card, packed up the books in my room and even denied me access to the boring old books in our bookcases.

It was torture.

I don't remember exactly how long it lasted (I'd call my mom and ask, but she always seems vaguely embarrassed when it comes up). But I'm sure I was a pain in the ass for the entire length of the punishment.

I didn't know what to do with myself. I had far too much spare time on my hands. Time that was usually spent in the alternate (sometimes preferred) universe that books opened up for me.

Did I mention it was torture?

But it worked. I did my homework. My attitude improved. And soon, so did my grades. When next I brought home a report card, there was nary a D in sight.

Thankfully, my books were returned. I welcomed them like long lost friends—there may even have been a few tears.

And you know what? I never got a bad grade again. From then on, my report cards were chock full of A's and B's. I wasn't about to risk losing my best friends again.

So I guess it was the most effective punishment my parents ever came up with. Here's hoping I can be half as creative when the situation arises (and I'm sure it will).

Now head on over to Mama Kat's and see what the other entrants have to say!


  1. I loved books too! Had many a reading light that went dead on me while reading in bed. Thank heavens I never had my books taken away!

  2. mom said that when I was in trouble, she never would send me to my room because I would just read. She always made me do my punishents away from reading materials! :)

  3. My parents didn't have much trouble with me. I lived in fear of getting punished, so I was a good kid... most of the time.

    When I got older, they would let me choose my punishment. It was great.

  4. Oh my god I think I would have died.... and done a lot of homework. Your parents are pretty smart!

  5. Who punishes a kid for bad grades by forbidding them to read? haha....It just seems... counterproductive at best.

    Did you have Book It! at your school? Many Friday nights were spent with my family at Pizza Hut redeeming our free personal pan pizzas. I guess getting kids to read with greasy pizza was a thing back then.

    I read a lot of VC Andrews and Sweet Valley High books that year...

  6. I was a book kid too! Had one everywhere I went. I can't even imagine how crazy I would have gone if I'd had them taken away!

  7. I try to be creative with punishments, I don't want my kids to fall back and say "I'm not worried about Mom will just _______."
    Which is what I would said at their ages.

    The punishment in which I remember the most, was when my Uncle would make us stand on our knees, eyes pinched shut, hands behind our backs. Not to move.

    I think it's safe to say he placed me on my knees plenty as a kiddo. Now, at family gatherings I look around and think, "If my Uncle shouts DROP! I wonder how many grown women are going to drop to their knees and assume the dreaded position?"

  8. Oh my! To say I was a book work would be an understatement as well! The family had a joke that if i was crabby, go buy me a book. That would've just about done me in!

  9. Oh, what a great punishment! And it totally helped you change. I love that : ) Books are still my problem even as I age : ) I could just read a good book all day long!

  10. Wow! Smart thinking...I hope I have a book reader and discipline is that easy in THIS house!!

  11. That was pretty smart of them! And it worked. Glad you got our books back though :)


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