Lessons from being ‘naughty’

Little Jimmy Dickens, who is still alive today, I think, and 92 years old, was a regular for many years on the Grand Ole Opry!  He was four feet eleven inches tall and that earned him the word ‘little’ as people addressed him or introduced him on the Opry shows.  He sang this song and I’ve heard it many times – even sang along on occasion.
    I know there must be some kids somewhere who never did anything a bit naughty in those growing up years as they moved from year to year, from group to group, and from place to place.  I’m also quite confident that most young people at some time in their lives have been naughty.  And, at this advanced age, I know that the importance of a warm, loving and transparent relationship between parents and their kids can serve both well in helping kids move into adulthood with memories of those little transgressions, the lessons they taught, and the knowledge that they too, when they become parents, will need to work through those kinds of things with their own children.
    So, let’s take a short walk through these times to see if there might be a few lessons here for us all.  The lyrics:
My pappy used to tan my hide, Out behind the barn
He taught me to be dignified, Out behind the barn
But when he took that strap to me, and turned me down across his knee
He sure did hurt my dignity, Out behind the barn.

(So, this spanking issue will go on for many more generations and people will argue on each side its value and its detriment.  I don’t think I’d use spanking, now, as a control technique, as it may teach my children that it’s OK for ‘big’ people to ‘hit’ little people – I wouldn’t want to run that risk.  That doesn’t make my position right and all opposing views wrong.)

I got my education, Out behind the barn
Passed each examination, Out behind the barn
And i’m not foolin’ no siree
But it almost made a wreck of me, Out behind the barn.

(I am a firm believer in parents’ obligations to provide pathways for learning for their children – and that they do the controlling of inappropriate behavior in a loving way.  I would not want my children to grow up thinking those intersections in life containing conflict and/or disagreements would make a wreck of the kids, but rather that the parents would, could and should handle these moments in such a way that the children can learn how we resolve differences and keep our lives within appropriate boundaries.  I’m confident that our children learn to respect others and themselves when they are given a chance to learn from their mistakes and know that those mistakes in no way are determinants in what they will become – with their dignity intact.)

I smoked my first cigarette, Out behind the barn
And that’s one day I won’t forget, Out behind the barn
I got so sick, you should’ve seen, How that tobacco turned me green
I almost died from nicotine, Out behind the barn.

(The literal interpretation of this verse has little meaning to me – I have never taken even one puff off a cigarette.  I have listened to many of my friends while growing up describe their ‘first’ experience with this smoking – something which for some would become a very troublesome addiction – and many of them at some point learned the lesson that this is really a nasty habit and need not become a part of our behavior.)

I met a pretty girl one day, Out behind the barn
She wanted me to stay and play, Out behind the barn
She taught me how to kiss and pet, And that’s a game I won’t forget
Cause we still play the same game yet, Out behind the barn.

(In America this whole business of establishing and maintaining permanent relationships with the opposite sex (or with the same sex in some cases) is laden with potholes.  As time has passed and I’ve observed many changes in this dating, courtship, marriage process, and, I’m going to continue to advocate the traditional mores surrounding this process for those over whom I have any influence.  At the same time, I really want to respect the views and beliefs of those whose values differ from mine.  While I realize that there is really no such thing as a ‘test-of-time”,  I also know that as time passes, we’ll have multiple opportunities to examine and re-examine new methods in sexual and relationship areas).  

I wish I could go again, Out behind the barn
And do some things I did then, Out behind the barn
Now you think it ain’t no fun, To be a poor old farmers son
You just don’t know what all I’ve done, Out behind the barn.

Finally, I think we have all had private places where we had a chance to test our wings as we moved forth into new times-of-our-lives.  I, personally, will always be grateful for the influence of my grandmother who I’m sure didn’t approve of all the things I did (figuratively: Out behind the barn),  and through that loving relationship and openness I think she did me many favors and directed my life gently into many successes.  I’ll be forever grateful to her and to all who kept my eyes fixed on positive goals – and there have been many!


One Response to “Lessons from being ‘naughty’”

  1. Christine Rademan Says:

    This song is new to me. I’m a city girl, but I’ll bet nearly every child who grew up on a farm can relate to one or more stanzas in this song. Thanks!

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