Let me say up front that children are a gift from God. They are not ours to beat in the streets with planks, gyrate on at Crop-Over or even believe somewhere in our sordid minds and sinful hearts that “I brought you into this world and I will take you out”. Nonsense!
We clearly have mistaken disrespect for discipline.
A few weeks ago, a mother brutalising her daughter with a wooden plank was the rave on social media. I was in shock. I watched the video about 20 times and I still cannot believe what I saw. The first few times I watched it my body felt funny, like when you get that adrenaline rush in a bad situation.
Nonetheless there is nothing like a good “skin of lick” to set a hard-ears child straight. At least that is what we advocate. The Christian in all of us pops out sometime to preach “spare the rod and spoil the child”. But it makes no sense using the rod if we are still going to spoil the child.
We have lots of people on this island beating children and doing the same things they are telling their children not to do, sometimes worse. Or simply inflicting the rod but setting a horrible example for their children.
One of the things I eventually noticed in the video was that no one came to the rescue of the child, no one dear to pull the mother off her. Then it became clear. This child is a product of her environment, a victim of an unfortunate circumstance.
It was as if the people around were glad that she was finally getting what she deserved. I believe it all comes down to how we see children and how we teach then to value themselves.
As a person who was flogged as a child, sometime for what I believe to be trivial matters, I can honestly say that the flogging did nothing but instil fear in me. I did not do certain things because I knew and understood it to be wrong, I did or didn’t do certain things because I did not want to “get beat”.
I used to think there was nothing wrong with flogging a child, especially if the child could say what was the wrong doing. I saw flogging as a last resort that was implemented after all other methods had failed. But the more I think about this the more uncomfortable I am.
If other methods have been tried, and seem to have failed because the child is still doing the “wrong” then I do not believe the “last resort” flogging will be calm and laid back. There is a certain venom that comes along with beating someone. Beating anyone degrades them, it takes away something from them and give to the person inflicting the beating a false sense of power and control.
It is when we are at our wits end that we beat children. But it is when we are at our wits end that we should walk away.
It befuddles me as to why we want children to be adults. There are things children will do, they will lie, they will be selfish, they will take things they like; it is our job to teach them what they should be doing. Not by telling them, not by cursing at them, not by threatening them or beating them with a cricket bat, but by showing them.
How are we going to beat a child every time it does something wrong but then tell a young woman she should get out of an abusive relationship because it is not love if he is beating her? My question is: When does it stop being punishment and become abuse? Is there an age limit?
It is time for us to take our children from the arms of the world and nourish them with virtues.
We don’t just have ungodly children. We have ungodly children because for the most part, they have ungodly parents. Beating does nothing but make a bad situation worse.
After seeing the lengths to which some people go, I am very uncomfortable with corporal punishment.
Children are a gift from God, consider all the people who would love to have children and cannot. Consider those who died in child birth. Children are a gift for us to care and eventually release into the world as productive individuals, not broken dolls that need fixing.