Working with the public has taught me so much. It has taught me to appreciate cleanliness, friends with their own pools and most of all, my parent’s discipline. There’s so many kids who constantly run, break the rules or just all around wreak havoc.

I can remember throwing a tantrum in the middle of my local grocery store because I wanted to eat Scooby Snacks for dinner instead of the vegetables my mom had picked out. My mom told me that if I didn’t stop acting like I was, she would not hesitate to spank me. I didn’t believe her, but I did when she swatted my behind.

When my sister and I couldn’t wait to play with our best friends across the street, my mom always told us to look both ways before crossing. After telling us multiple times, we proceeded to run without looking and narrowly avoided getting hit by a car, by way of mom picking us up around and pulling us back. We didn’t forget that, nor the spanking we received for not listening. My parents knew the line between discipline and abuse and they never crossed it, just made us grateful for what had by letting us know that it could be worse.

But our discipline did not stick to spanking; there were timeouts, there were nights were we went to bed without dinner because we refused to eat the dinner set for us.

My mom was also a fan of taking a page out of others' books, namely the directors of The Parent Trap. With four girls all within four years of each other, my mom had finally had it with bickering, shoving and the annoyance we caused. When she came into the house with a maniacal glint, we should have known that hell was upon us. Instead, we continued to fight with each other and continue the behavior that got in trouble in the first place. Much like Hallie and Annie begin to love each other and overcome their differences while stuck in their little cabin, four girls sleeping in one room turned from Satan’s daydream to afternoons filled with jumping on the bed (sorry, Mom), late nights staying up talking and a close bond that is still intact seven years later, despite moving off to different states for college.

My parents made us sit down and do our homework, and even helped us with it (hint: they are smarter than a fifth-grader). Now, I am able to attend a nice school in Florida and enjoy being admitted into my competitive program because my mom and dad and step-dad sat me down and helped me. Their explaining how photosynthesis worked turned into my explaining the process of blood pressure regulation all these years later. I am able to discipline myself now because I had the discipline from the start.

And perhaps most importantly, my parents teaching me right from wrong, and enforcing the difference through the timeouts, the spankings, the bed without dinner, is that I stay out of trouble. I have never been arrested, never done drugs, never wanted to walk on the wild side because I know that despite the fact that I am now the same height as my mom, she still can tan my hide.

7-year-old me would be aghast, but thanks for spanking me.