An early Sunday lunch time pint,in the Club garden over looking the Thames. The usual suspects had not appeared so I had the place nearly to myself. A family, grand parents, parents and two young boys played at the other end. Something happened, suddenly the father had dragged a boy behind a hedge and was beating him, Dont ever do that to your grandma again, smack. Ouch. I looked up, he caught my eye and looked away. Within a few minutes they were playing happily again, the violence quickly forgotten.
But,but,but…. My space had been invaded. I have nothing against fathers beating sons or daughters for that matter,but in public, this forces me to make a decision. If he had been beating his wife would I have stood idly by. If he had been beating MY child would I have been so permissive. No because I am the only one who can beat my child so I understand his rights. If the beating had been prolonged or repeated I would like to think I would have acted.
If it had have been wife beating husband my first reaction would have been amusement, in the past I have intervened when two men were fighting-often they are grateful. This may be a law and order tendency.
But beating a child is an intimate act, like French kissing, intercourse, being naked, having a shit, a piss, masturbating. None of these acts is is illegal, immoral or unnatural but convention, good manners, public decency demands that they be done in the privacy of your own home. Letting it hang out in public shows a lack of control, a lack of sensibility which is objectionable.
So is beating a child like having a shit in public? Maybe,both are offensive but for different reasons. We fudge some of these no cans. It is now seemingly acceptable to be intimate, to say love you lots, love you, love you in public on your mobile. If you see someone coming out of the bushes obviously just having had a piss, you realise they were caught short and these things happen. Like wise if someone is changing on the beach and is momentarily clumsy then its probably more your problem than theirs.
Maybe I haven’t really worked out why that smack has worried me, but it has.