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Dhaka     Wednesday   04 October 2023

Encourage children – it’s senseless and cruel to beat them

Sir Frank Peters || risingbd.com

Published: 10:06, 6 March 2023  
Encourage children – it’s senseless and cruel to beat them

Parents often talk, even boast, about how much they love their children.

“I would do anything for my children.” “I would give my life for my children.” “I love my children more than anything else in the world.”
These are just some of the most hackneyed expressions heard floating about.

But wait a moment... if they claim to love their children why are they sending them to schools and madrassas where they know corporal punishment is prevalent and why are they, themselves, beating them?

The greatest trick the devil ever played on mankind was convincing the world he didn’t exist. Those of us who have had a little education, however, know that corporal punishment is the manifestation of the devil on earth. It couldn’t be from Heaven, because there isn’t a single religion in the world that condones corporal punishment.

On January 13, 2011 noble men of the Supreme Court, Justices Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif sought to outlaw the inhuman, ineffective, ignorant practice of corporal punishment in schools and madrassas throughout Bangladesh. In their summary they declared it to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom”.
12-years on it has yet to become law go through an Act of Parliament.

No law, however, should be necessary to protect children. It should come from God as a built-in paternal/maternal instinct and, thankfully, in many cases it does.

Protection of those whom you love should come naturally and fearlessly. It doesn’t matter who the offending party is. The parents’ duty is only to the child. Whether the offender is a teacher, Imam or whoever, it should not matter. The protection of the child must always come first.

Corporal punishment in schools, madrassas or wherever can be ended overnight, if people were to speak out and act against it.

Irish statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) once said: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".
We, individually and collectively, are responsible for allowing it to happen, whether we have children of our own or not. Corporal punishment is a blight on society and brings shame upon us.

What we allow to happen helps mould us into what we become and that may not be pretty.

Whatever twisted sense of good intent one gives corporal punishment there is no escaping the fact corporal punishment is child abuse, evil, cruel and wrong. Wrap it up in attractive gold foil, tie it in colourful ribbons, label it as discipline, and it’s still child abuse and wrong.
It’s evident; the one ingredient to success that’s missing in Bangladesh (homes, schools, madrassas) is ENCOURAGEMENT. There seems to be a national shortage.

If children fail to get something right in schools, madrassas and homes, they’re beaten as if they had committed horrific crimes. Yet we all know none of us is perfect (with the exception of this writer!)

We all make mistakes (with the exception of this writer!) and even our much beloved Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina makes mistakes and nobody beats her (to the best of my knowledge, anyway!).

Flippancy aside, it’s obvious to all that corporal punishment is wrong and totally unnecessary. Honey catches more flies than vinegar. Besides Niceness is Priceless and we should be nice to people anyway; especially the young, the vulnerable, and defenceless, and teach by example.

If a child gets something wrong, is this justification for beating them? Surely this is where God puts US on trial and judges our reaction. He observes if we deal with the situation intelligently, with understanding and compassion, or if we act like uncivilized morons and reach for the nearest stick.

We reap what we sow. In the eyes of God, the child isn’t the one on trial, but the adult. After all, the child is a child... novices in the world of learning. One cannot expect too much. They need to be shown what‘s right and proper and it’s our duty to God and society at large to show them.
That said, we all know how exasperating children can be at times. No one questions how difficult it is to raise them. The majority of children will drive you up the wall and many will measure how high they get you to go (!) but that’s no reason for beating them. Violence resolves nothing.

The moment you hit a child you lose part of yourself. ‘This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you,’ parents are heard to say. So why make two mistakes?

Smart wives inject confidence, and encourage their husbands to succeed in business because they, too, reap the benefits. Like I said, they’re smart!

Encouragement is the key. Implant the seeds of encouragement in the mind and just stand back and watch it grow. God planted the seeds of success in all for encouragement to germinate.

From time to time you may need to sprinkle it with a tiny booster of faith and belief, but the chances are it will perform brilliantly on it’s own.
There is no need for a teacher, parent or Imam to hit or even scold children. Children come fully equipped with implants from God that only requires human compassion and encouragement.

Encouragement produces amazing, if not totally incredible, results. It beats corporal punishment every time (no pun intended!).

Encouragement is an immeasurable superpower that should not be spared.

Make no mistake; the greatest gift any teacher, Imam, parent or friend can give anyone (male, female, young or old) is ENCOURAGEMENT – not an iPhone!

I pray Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Education Minister Dr. Dipi Moni will rid Bangladesh of the horrific corporal punishment curse soon. Any government that listens and bows to the wishes of its people is sure to consistently triumph.

(Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, royal goodwill ambassador, humanitarian, human rights activist Honorary Member of the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters and a foreign friend of Bangladesh. Three Bangladeshi boys have been named Frank Peters in his honour.)