Heated Response to Hot Sauce

Reading "Feeling the Heat" [Aug. 10] actually gave me a feeling of physical nausea. That feeling made me realize that disciplining a child by placing hot pepper sauce on the tongue involves prying open an orifice on the child's body and introducing an injurious substance into that orifice.

Little children cannot defend themselves; they must accept what their parents say and do. Do we want to teach our children to inflict pain on others when they want to "teach" them something? And can any parent really perform such an invasion with a clear conscience?

Parents should try a timeout -- and give themselves one until they come to their senses.

Judy E. Coughlin

Leesburg

A toddler does not reason that because he was verbally defiant, he gets his tongue burned; he only knows that Mommy is hurting him. Using this line of reasoning would allow me to burn my child's finger with a cigarette if he pinches someone one too many times.

A toddler can be very challenging -- not to disrespect your parental authority, but because it is a normal developmental stage in learning to be separate from his parents. The foundation of the parent/child relationship is built in the early years. What will the teenage years be like?

Kim Frey

Alexandria

These parents find basis for the practice in the Bible, and one parents states that, as a Christian, she believes that "children need to respect and obey [parents] or they won't learn to respect and obey God."

The Bible is misused by many people to rationalize what they do or believe. I think the true test for Christian action is, "Can you picture Jesus doing it?" Is torturing children, for any reason, Christian? No.

David Cooper

Centreville

Kim Crosen suggests that any parent who disapproves of her putting hot sauce in her child's mouth as punishment should "walk a mile in my shoes first." Well, as the mother of two especially rambunctious boys who have grown into kind and respectful young men, I've run a marathon in your shoes -- and I did it without hot sauce.

Any way you look at it, saucing a child is appalling and borders on abuse. What's even more appalling is to do it in the name of God.

Jody Jaffe

Silver Spring

Forget Those Euphemisms

Having just read "Who Are You Calling 'Senior'?" [My Time, Aug. 10], which asks, "If You Build a Senior Center, Will Anyone Come?" I feel I must respond with a resounding yes!

In fact, you have a more applicable example approximately 35 miles away than the one that you described in Chicago. About 12 years ago, a small group of citizens of Loudoun County decided that it was time we had a multipurpose senior center.

We started in 1992, began fundraising and educating the electorate and the government in order to convince the Board of Supervisors that we were serious. We got a bond issue for $2.7 million on the ballot in 1997, which passed with a rousing majority in all but one voter district.

We celebrated the fifth anniversary on May 18 of this year. Membership is required, with the dues for Loudoun County residents being $10 per year; nonresidents pay $15 per year. For the past several years, the membership -- age 55 and older is required -- has exceeded 1,500.

And, yes, they will come, and frankly out of the entire 1,500 paid members, I doubt if you could find a dozen who believe that changing the name would make a tinker's damn. It certainly wouldn't make them younger.

Gene F. Gould

Sterling

As an "advanced" senior, may I suggest the term "senior" should be kept -- and gladly referred to.

I think the problem began with the AARP (an organization I've declined to rejoin) when it lowered the boom -- uh, make that "age" -- to 50. I tend to think seniors should start at 55 at a minimum. At 50, you're not a senior by any means.

The problem is not in the name "senior," but in the eye of the beholder. If people prefer euphemisms, fine and dandy. We hear sugarcoated designations all around -- and I'll bet you can make up a column of such circumlocutions. In my area, senior centers and senior programs have no trouble in attracting people. The Wednesday senior movie program is well-attended.

I'm 78 and unfortunately not "wise" enough to learn from others' experiences. Give me a few more years . . . maybe.

Bernard Katz

Reston

Losing Is Good for Your Health

As a physician and person who lost his adult sister to the ravages of diabetes, I applaud your piece on Mike Huckabee's tremendous achievement to lose weight and reverse his diabetes ["The Governor Is a Happy Loser," Lean Plate Club, Aug. 10]. You have done your readers a great service and no doubt have saved some lives as well.

David Sherer, MD

Chevy Chase