My grandfather had a few cows. He had a cowbell for the lead cow. It was a great way to know where the cows were when you have more woods than pasture on the land you homesteaded.
My mom got the cowbell when my grandfather gave up cows. She had followed the sound for years.
There isn’t much need to keep track of cows in suburban Chicago, but there is need to keep track of a son who played football and baseball down the street. Rather than hollering at dinner time or study time, mom rang the cowbell. It was the only one in the neighborhood. I knew it was time to go in.
It was a good system. No one needed to yell.
I don’t remember whether there was much yelling at kids in our neighborhood. There probably was in some houses. None of us, parents or children, exhibited any tendencies toward perfection. However, no one felt it necessary to do that yelling while standing in the driveway or on the front porch.
In our house it was because discipline was a matter within our family. There were rules, there were boundaries, there were spankings. But as best as I can remember, at least for me, public humiliation was not one of the forms of discipline. (I chose the lavender bellbottoms myself. I cannot blame my parents.)
But I lived before facebook became the new driveway, where comments between spouses, and between parents and children are now audible to the whole neighborhood. What you say publicly can be read and remembered by all of your friends. At least. What you write on a wall may ultimately build a wall. So learn to use messages.
We already are examples. We can be good examples. Like my mom and the bell.
Happy birthday mom. And thanks to Glenda Watson Hyatt for inspiring this post.