Spoil the Child

From one of my favorite essays, Geoff Dyer’s “On Being an Only Child”:

My mother often quoted with approval the maxim “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Unfortunately she thought this was intended as exhortation rather than warning. The mother’s instinct to indulge her only child was thereby reinforced by a higher authority. I was so spoiled that on the day my parents unexpectedly came to pick me up at primary school in the middle of the morning—I was about eight at the time—I told the teacher that it was probably because they wanted to buy me a toy. In fact it was to go to Shropshire where my grandmother was dying.