Flashback: Red Beans and Rice

Home and School Discipline were pretty much one and the same for the Menter kids.

We were, after all, homeschooled.

But there were a few items distinctive to the school environment.

Items like Red Beans and Rice.

Flashback Friday buttonToday Linda asks… How strict were teachers when you were in school? What were common methods of discipline? No recess? Writing sentences? Being sent to the principal’s office? Were “pops” or “swats” allowed? …

We were mostly self-directed students after the first or second grade. We had the assignment sheets Mom gave us at the beginning of the school year and we were responsible for working our way through them day by day and asking questions if we needed help.

We generally started the year with great intentions of “getting ahead”, but we generally spent most of our time “getting ahead” in certain subjects that we preferred. Meanwhile, we “got behind” in all the rest.

And eventually, the novelty of “getting ahead” wore off and we’d “get behind” in everything.

Riding our bicycles or reading a book or playing with legos was immensely more fun than doing math problems or “reading” (the subject). And so we just ignored our work altogether.

Dad would end up coming home from work only to have to sit on us to do our work in the evening.

I’m sure Mom and Dad tried all sorts of things to get us to stay on schedule–but I only remember the one.

Red Beans and Rice.

My dad finally figured out a way to get us to do our schoolwork before supper. He issued an ultimatum. If our work wasn’t done by suppertime, no matter what the rest of the family was eating, we were having red beans and rice.

And I’m not talking the spicy Southern dish.

I’m talking kidney beans from a can or cooked on the stove. White rice. A bit of salt.

Dad made up big batches and froze it in individual freezer bags.

If we kids weren’t done with school when he got home from work, he’d pull out the appropriate number of servings and reheat them for the errant children.

We’d sit in stony silence, pushing red beans and rice around our plates while the rest of the family ate Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes…or lasagna and breadsticks…or meatloaf and baked potatoes.

The next day? We’d get our school work done before Dad got home.

For the record, allow me to remind you that my parents were NOT (and are not) abusive. We still got plenty of food–both through our other meals and from the red beans and rice themselves. Furthermore, no one chose to repeat the experience for too many days in a row. I doubt any of us had more than two or three meals of red beans and rice during even our most “behind” weeks.

Red beans and rice were a powerful disciplinary tool, let me tell you!

Read more at Mocha with Linda’s Flashback Friday Meme

9 thoughts on “Flashback: Red Beans and Rice”

  1. I like many bean dishes, but not kidney beans and not really from cans. I can see how that would get old quickly! Kudos to your dad for coming up with something different yet effective!

  2. Interesting answers. Your dad is pretty smart to come up with that as punishment! I always wondered what it would be like to be home schooled. I can understand why so many parents do this now.
    until next time… nel

  3. I believe this entry wins “top honors” for me today. I love the red beans and rice story and especially since here in Louisiana we love good ole Cajun red beans and rice. :o)

    Blessings to you!

  4. So interesting–the experience and perspective of a homeschooler.
    So funny–the ‘motivating method’ to get your work done in a timely fashion. :)

    My daughter found the ‘motivator’ that works: if son does not do well in school, get acceptable grades, she will shave his head. His long hair is his pride and joy!

  5. Beckah, I’m laughing and laughing here on our warm Texas morning. I know this red beans and rice idea isn’t funny to you, or wasn’t. That is a great idea though. Too bad my kids are all grown and gone or I’d try it.

    I had to read your post to check because we NEVER had read beans and rice that I know of. It was NEBRASKA, right? Now I love them, the Louisiana kind that Mrs. Jim makes for us. We have a ham bone right now with just the right amount of less desirable meat left awaiting for the pot with the beans.
    Oh yes, it will cool off this afternoon when our Pacific front comes through. It should rain and get down into the lower 30’s tonight.

    I hope the rain is through when it is time for the monthly Seniors dinner. Dr. John Bisagno, retired Pastor Emeritus of the 23000-member Houston’s First Baptist Church, is our speaker. He is a personal and professional friend of our new preacher.


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