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Fearful children become fearful adults

Frank Peters || risingbd.com

Published: 22:14, 4 May 2023   Update: 11:49, 15 May 2023
Fearful children become fearful adults

Photo: Collected

Corporal punishment isn’t new. It shares birthday celebrations with the weather.

Deploringly, corporal punishment has been taunting and punishing good God-loving, God-fearing young people – the future of all nations – for centuries. Very few have escaped its demonic evil wrath and destruction.

There is no doubt there is evil percolating among us and Irish statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) once remarked: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

As you know, it is often said God works in mysterious ways. The same could be said for the devil and one can’t help, but wonder who’s winning the battle for our souls.

Our loving parents’ parents, their parents, and their parents before them are likely to have been both subjects and purveyors of the corporal punishment evil, but they, in their ignorance, didn’t classify it as evil. They liberally coated and camouflaged it with kind words of love, affection, and erroneously described it as discipline. God love and forgive them, the ignorant fools.

It may seem wrong and unkind of me to describe them as fools, but those who perform foolish acts are usually fools, even if they are the people whom we love, which does not disqualify them from the description.

Sadly, they’ve passed the foolishness down the family tree without giving it attention or readdress and because the action was deemed ‘natural’, ‘normal’, ‘cultural’ or ‘the thing to do’.  As a result, many innocent and beautiful lives have been damaged or completely ruined because of this unadulterated ignorance and cruelty and this has to stop.

The most appalling sight in the world to witness is ignorance in action and it doesn’t get any more ignorant than corporal punishment. Not only is it senseless, but totally ineffective, as a mountain of evidence will testify.

Hapless children are committing suicide when subjected to corporal punishment especially at schools and madrassas, partly because of the embarrassment, loss of dignity and shame they feel among their peers. They feel unwanted, unloved, of lesser value, if not entirely worthless, and not knowing where to turn for help. They struggle through hell on their own and hate those who put them there. In all environments children need to be taught Love and not Hate.

Fearful children become fearful adults, who find it difficult to trust anyone. The damaged child of today is the broken adult of tomorrow and an immeasurable loss to society.

Any kind of corporal punishment, however seemingly small, puts children’s integrity and dignity at risk. Why take the unnecessary chance with those whom you (allegedly) love or position them in a school or madrassa where it’s likely to happen to them? It’s immoral, cruel, unjust, unacceptable, and just doesn’t make sense. And knowing the possibilities of such danger, it’s most definitely not an act of love.

Corporal punishment infers and psychologically underscores in a bold red line that violence is power and a way, if not the only way, to solve problems.

It damages children’s self-esteem producing depression, anxiety, and can lead to cancer... yes, cancer... the evidence exists.

It causes mental and severe physical harm, often maiming a child for life and transforming a beautiful God-loving youth into a mini-monster who forms abusive unacceptable behaviour that is despised by society, but who cares? That is what he/she is taught.

Who is to blame? Most certainly, not the child! Children mimic what they see adults do.

Parents and alleged ‘teachers’ use corporal punishment as a convenient means of addressing social situations, minor misbehaviour, non compliance with rules, because of a lack of skill in addressing the situation; or the failure to control their own emotions.

It’s their lack of skill and ignorance that exacerbates the situation, not that of the child. The child is awakening, developing, exploring and trying to discover the parameters of his/her boundaries. He/she requires discipline, not punishment. Discipline is always served best with a generous helping of understanding and compassion.

Famous son Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) who abhorred corporal punishment, said: “Discipline means to teach, not to punish”.

There’s no point in telling a child Allah/God loves them, if His representatives (this includes parents) on earth, whom they trust explicably, are mistreating, beating and abusing them. The same applies to their parents. Those who say they love them with your tongue, but beat them with their hands or sticks really confuses them.

It’s difficult for a child to comprehend when someone is beating them with a stick, while screaming ‘GOD LOVES YOU!’ in their face. They have yet to learn about the hypocrites and nitwits in the world.

Mohammad and Jesus never advocated or used corporal punishment. They taught with love and respect. It’s impossible for an abuser to attain respect from a child who is being beaten, disrespected and mistreated by them – IMPOSSIBLE!

The child may feign respect to avoid getting another thrashing, but any love and respect that may have existed between them prior is lost. Anyone slapped in the face is unlikely to forget the sordid incident in ten life-times. And NOBODY (in their right mind) respects those who slapped him or her in the face.

ALL children are the children of God. They belong to God and will eventually return to God. He didn’t send them into the world broken, so He will not expect them to be returned to Him broken or damaged: similar to you loaning someone a work tool.

In Allah’s eyes ALL are equal under the different shades of coloured skins that keep them protected, weatherproofed, and neatly packaged.

While an attempt to ban corporal punishment in Bangladesh by Supreme Court justices Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hassan Arif has been hailed and praised from the rooftops since January 13, 2011, it still has not been passed into law, but deafening cries of "our children are our greatest resource and the future of Bangladesh" continue to echo profusely throughout the nation.

(Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor; an award-winning writer, royal goodwill ambassador, humanitarian, human rights activist and an Honorary Member of the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters.)

Frank Peters/Nasim