A to Z Blogging Challenge: C is for Chancla

The flying chancla, this one is yellow, can be any color or size.

Hello to the third day of the A to Z Challenge. Today’s letter is C and C is for “CHANCLA.”

Chancla is the deadliest word of the alphabet for those who grew up in a Mexican or Latino household.

A chancla looks benign, especially when on the foot. The word means flip-flop or slipper or sandal. If the chancla can easily slip off,  fly in the air and hit a target in one swoop, it’s a chancla.

In our house, it was a one size fits all tool of discipline.

There were warnings before the removal and use of the chancla:

1-The narrowing of Mom’s eye’s as she spied one of us acting up. You could escape or stop misbehaving.

2-The slight bend of the body to the right which meant she was reaching for the chancla. You can still escape or say ‘okay, I’ll stop.’

3-The swift removal of the chancla, thumb on the heel, sometimes a twirl before a blur of chancla flew through the air and hit its target. Usually one’s head, shoulder, or back. You’re a world-class runner if you escape during the execution of the third step.

Everyone I knew had a chancla wielding mom or grandma and no one thought they were being abused. Most of the time a kid didn’t pass number two above, “the bend” before they stopped misbehaving.

The chancla brandished by a mom was preferable to what a dad would employ, another C word, the cinturon (belt).

To make it super easy for one to understand the power of the chancla, and its widespread fame here’s a video about La Chancla

Many younger Hispanic households do not endorse the use of the chancla, for the reasons listed here.

I don’t endorse or not endorse the chancla, it was a reality in my household and used sparingly. And by sparingly I mean I outran the flying chancla most of the time.

I can’t run like that anymore.



Categories: Latina, Latino culture, Latino family tradition, Parenting

Tags: , ,

2 replies

  1. Mother used a variation, in which the offending child was held by the shirt tail while la chancla was applied to the backside. The key was to wriggle and writhe so much that escape could be quickly effected, and said offender could then run like, well, you know. Mother seldom got in more than 1 or 2 swats, and she was so busy, she’d never give chase, but would yell out, “Just wait until Daddy gets home!” All the offender could do was pray she would be too busy or tired too remember her threat. LOL! BTW, those Dr. Scholl’s chanclas were the ouchiest! (Mother was born in South Texas, and grew up in Corpus Christi y Mexico.) Oh, and by the way, Mother’s kids knew to behave themselves in public, or else!

    Liked by 1 person

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