A Memory Man Production
You are an enthusiastic cyclist with an interest in both landscape and nature photography. Your son Tom was thrilled when, at five years old, you had had built a low back frame tandem that allowed him to pedal round the countryside behind you as he too learned to appreciate the outdoors. It was the start of a bonding process that has brought you very close together. Tom now shares many of your interests and you have supported him as he developed his own. Away from you he has plenty of friends and although basically a good kid he falls short of being an angel.
Today, at eleven, he hero worships you and he strives to make you proud of him. Even a note of your disapproval upsets him and a real dressing down can bring on floods of tears. Since he always listens to you and responds positively you have never seen the need to actually punish him.
Not so your spouse who frequently tells you "You are too soft on that boy." President of the local W.I. she obsessed with respectability and at home can best be described a "She who must be obeyed." Whilst she can do little more than be infuriated by your "Yes dear" responses to her demands Tom is in a less fortunate position and from time to time his reluctance to conform results in his bared bottom having a painful encounter with a wooden spoon or such.
Today you answer a phone call from the local newsagent who tells you he is considering calling the police after detaining Tom and three of his friends in a 'buy one pocket two' shopping expedition for sweets. You hurry down and with the other fathers persuade him to allow you do deal with your sons. "He's in for a good strapping" one promises. "You wont be sitting down for a week" another growls at his son.
When you get home Tom tearfully explains that it the first time he has ever done it, the others had done it before and they kept calling him a wuss for refusing to join in. The theft is so out of Tom's character that you believe him and you conclude that since it is a first offence the scare he has had on being caught is punishment enough and that he'll never do it again. You express your extreme disappointment in him and give him a good dressing down for succumbing to peer pressure before deciding to leave it at that.
Your spouse though is incandescent; you suspect more from the horror of the scandal arising from the possible police involvement than of the actual offence he committed. She demands that you give him a salutary hiding and says that if you don't she'll take the hairbrush to him herself.
You are aware that his more criminally minded friends will be getting well deserved hidings and can see some merit in her point, even if it is for the wrong reasons; but in her enraged emotional state you are reluctant to stand by and let her loose on Tom.
What will you do?