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BOTD 4/17/13 "Don't Touch A Thing!" A Kalico Prod.

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David M. Katz

A Kalico Production

Your sister buys, refurbishes, and re-sells houses. You will occasionally help her with some of the projects. Your nephew, her fourteen year old son Hank, is very close to you and often likes to help you out when you work a project. If needed, you do have permission to spank your nephew and, yes, you have needed to give a sore bottom before.

HANK - 14
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Hank has come to visit this weekend and you are working on a house and you let him help. You are teaching Hank about the tools and safety and will let him use certain tools while under your supervision. Hank has been told he is not to touch a power tool unless you give permission and you are present.

You get a phone call and need to step away from the work site in order to hear the call better. You tell Hank, "Don't touch a thing, I'll be right back."

Hank feels he has the knowledge to properly use the power saw and so he sees no reason for the project to stop while you are away. Hank uses the saw and nicks his finger. Fortunately it is just a surface wound and Hank is not seriously injured. You get back and see Frank holding a rag over his hand and you notice the saw is moved. Frank shows you the injury and admits he was going to "help out" while you took your call. You assess the cut and determine it is minor and you use the first aid kit in your truck and fix Hank's finger.

Will any other part of Hank be needing first aid?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

John Boy

He will be working with a sore bottom yes, plain and simple. EmbarassedEmbarassed


Depends on his attitude. Hopefully the nip was enough to show him that I was right and he was wrong. If not, well then his finger will be a very minor problem.


Marshmallow me is tempted to say the cut was lesson and punishment enough. Of course, the wiser part of me knows this is the wrong answer, especially with a teen ager.

He's obviously a basically good kid and this probably scared the snot out of him, so.....

Some quick first aid and a hug. Following that, a medium grade spanking for the broach of the 3 D's (deliberate, dangerous disobedience); I don't need to roast him to get my point across but there will absolutely be some tears here. Some hugs again after and I'll let him use the saw under supervision to let him gain some confidence. Life will continue.


I was using a power saw without supervision at 14, and I was well noted for being among the least talented people on the planet mechanically.

However, the scenario says I specifically told Hank: "Don't touch a thing, I'll be right back." That he then did "touch a thing" and hurt himself into the bargain is a clear violation of the 3D's. I think Dimitri's nailed this one.

PS: How does one only manage to ONLY nick a finger with a power saw? I treated a lot of those injuries over the years, and they were usually VERY ugly. We used to say that God protects the young and stupid--I guess Hank was both.

Last edited by AFinch on Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:24 pm; edited 1 time in total


Perhaps it's our age we are betraying here but Doc is right about the age we used stuff like that. Of course for me, being a farmer meant having a very early working relationship with dangerous stuff. We were taught to respect equipment and its use at the peril of our rears.

I know today's kids are much more sheltered/protected and so I had no crisis seeing me say 'don't touch' and all that follows thereafter.

With my own kids I let Jeff work with power tools with me right beside him from just over 8 and I made sure Dave learned how to use stuff right away. He was 14 when we met so I could see some of Dave in Hank.


Agree with 1SB and AFinch. The nick was a good (and lucky) lesson but not enough. Boy also needs a talk about how lucky he was not to be missing a part or two. I'd still work with him with power tools, but with a lot more close attention and a lot more teaching.

Stone Man

Injuries, particularly minor ones like the one described, do not take the place of a punishment for misbehavior.

For what ever reason, don't touch means don't touch and Hank went beyond that to actual cutting and has earned himself a whippin' of some degree.

I'm supposing I said don't touch for two reasons. One is Hank's lack of familiarity with the tool as it doesn't sound as if he has been around and helping me but for a short time. The second reason, could conceivably be the intricacy of this particular cut or the need to be right the first time as there is no wood to replace what is being cut should the cut go wrong.

Dangerous and deliberate disobedience, Hank will be warmed up big time, hugged. and then its back to work for us.


We Can Finish The Job After I Warm Up His Bottom.


Editor Extraordinaire
I can't think of a better way to ensure that a fourteen year old loses interest in learning carpentry skills than to tell him not to touch anything as though he were a three year old. At fourteen, I wouldn't have stuck around long enough to cut my finger. As Hank apparently is less rebellious than I was at that age, perhaps he'll also take a spanking in stride; however, what is the lesson here? If it is safety, the injury has taught the lesson. If I want the sort of unquestioning obedience that stifles any spark of independence, then of course I should spank him. I'll either succeed in crushing that independence or destroying our good relationship.



I can't imagine I wouldn't have already discussed with him that because he's unfamiliar with the tools I don't want him to use them unsupervised until I'm sure he's got the hang of it. With that in mind, and the fact that I told him not to and he got a nick, I'm going to spank him. I'll clean and dress the wound, and then we'll go to my trailer or a secluded area and hand out a thorough enough hand spanking to ensure he understands that disobedience will not be tolerated when his safety is concerned.


Big problem I have is that if this were a building site and I allowed an employee to use equipment he was not qualified to use and got injured, I as the employer would be in trouble.I would have failed in my duty of care,I said he wasn't to use the equipment and he disobeyed me. He got a nick and we should both consider ourselves lucky it was only that.

For me this is the teen equivalent of the curious toddler dashing into a busy street. A frightened parent will naturally pick him up and swat him a few times. Trouble is Hank is not 3 but 14 and I think he needs his backside to be a lot sorer than his finger. It was dangerous disobedience. I hear people say but at 14 he can handle the equipment but Hank is a visitor and I haven't trained him yet. So I think if there is one of those heavy rulers in the workshop I think I'm going to let Hank have it over his pants and then he can have a more constructive lesson on using the gear.

Last edited by squarecutter on Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:13 pm; edited 1 time in total


I'm guessing that Hank is not my nephew via my sister whose house this is - if he is, then I'll probably defer to her decision (if she's around).


I am going to first aid Hank's finger, explaining how lucky he was, and how a power tool can 'grab' things and pull them in, vastly increasing the damage (true, that's mostly with belts, but it still makes a good warning).

I'm going to ask Hank if he know understands why I gave that instruction. Depending on his attitude (and assuming we're pretty private), he'll either be dropping pants and boxers to lean against the wall for a strapping, or I'll point out he disobeyed me, ask him how he thinks we should handle it, and I'll probably take his recommendation, as long as he's not too harsh with himself.

I'm also going to give him an intense course in using these things. I guess he's not around often enough to have picked it up, but there's no reason an average sized fourteen year old shouldn't be able to do this kind of work.


Kat wrote:If I want the sort of unquestioning obedience that stifles any spark of independence, then of course I should spank him. I'll either succeed in crushing that independence or destroying our good relationship.

Sorry, Kat, but as a parent, I DO want unquestioning obedience from my kids - at least when it comes to them trusting me about something being dangerous.


Editor Extraordinaire
Jack wrote:
Kat wrote:If I want the sort of unquestioning obedience that stifles any spark of independence, then of course I should spank him. I'll either succeed in crushing that independence or destroying our good relationship.

Sorry, Kat, but as a parent, I DO want unquestioning obedience from my kids - at least when it comes to them trusting me about something being dangerous.

You may want that, but you'll never get it. Kids of all ages must and will take risks or they won't function as adults. Sometimes punishment is appropriate; a toddler can understand a sharp smack much better than an explanation of why he shouldn't dart in front of cars. In this case, punishment is redundant. Experience has already taught the lesson. The adult in this scenario doesn't need to lecture or punish. Perhaps if I'd caught Hank with the saw before he got injured, a punishment might make sense -- though I think being sent home for the day or a fine from his wages if I'm paying him would be more appropriate than a spanking. As it is, I doubt I need say anything. I wouldn't give any sympathy about the injury -- just take care of it and move on.

I recently saw an old movie called The Four Feathers. There was a scene in which a group of elderly retired military officers were at a dinner, discussing old campaigns. One of them told about a terrified and very young soldier to whom he had said something along these lines, "Are you more afraid of being killed in battle or of me?" Then he laughed as he told how that young man had died that same day. As an authority figure, I would hate to feel that my authority rests on the premise that punishment from me is more terrifying than death or injury.



First off this really took place this weekend

all three of my girls and Bank took off on thursday after school to fortworth to my brother who lives there with his family. The girls were having a shopping/pamper weekend while my brother and bank were working on one of my houses. Bank has taken to my brother almost to the piont of idolizing him. Im not sure exactly what tool it was other than it was a power tool.

Back ground: Bank didnt even really know how to use a hammer much less a power tool. He has never been around anything like them. Bank is a very smart kid/young adult when it comes to school,computers, cleaning a house and watching his younger brother. Other than that he is still very imature. when he got moved from Thailand about 8 years ago he was put back 3 grades due to him not knowing any english. before he got to high school the teachers wanted to advance him (he was already doing advanced courses) but due to his maturity and social skills, they refused saying it would harm him more (bank is a junior (11th) this year) Banks step dad is an A** to put mildly, he never interacted with bank unless he had too so he never showed bank how to do anything. I've had bank about 2 years now because his step dad put banks head through the wall in the garage.

When I found out about what had happend this past weekend my "MAMA BEAR" went into action and I was actualy ticked off at my brother but after hearing that bank asked for the paddle swats from my brother I calmed down. bank then admitted he felt really horrible and was affraid my brother would not let him help out anymore (honestly I think my brother was try to put more scare/shock value than really saying he couldnt). Bank knew he screwed up and shouldnt have done what he did. after it was all said and done my brother is still banks Idol......and bank is heading over again this weekend to learn and help out.

hugs kal

John Boy

awww, I remember a time when I was six? maybe? I had a neighbor that I looked up too. He was actually our landlord, and I always called him Uncle. Well Uncle was doing work at his house and let me tag along, he had one of those small bobcat tractors he put me in a spot and told me not to move until he got back. Embarassed I moved he stopped me before I could get hurt and pointed out a stain because I didn't listen but of course upsetting him was more then enough for me to feel bad.

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