Christian holding a paddle from our school district.
I'm confused. I thought it was WRONG to hit people! But I guess it's okay for teachers. This paddle was given to a boy by his teacher at one of our elementary schools when he graduated from 6th grade. Why? Because she used it on him so many times she thought he should have it. I hear she still works there. I wonder how many other children have received such a prestigous trophy?
Friday, January 18, 2013
I opened this book again yesterday. It is one of my favorite books on parenting that I have ever read. The book is titled "Liberated Parents, Liberated Children" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish and it was written over 35 years ago in 1974. I can't remember where I got the book probably on the dusty shelf of some thrift shop as I have a habit of encountering important books in the most unlikely places.
Today, I’d like to share a short but important excerpt from the book...the scene comes from a parenting class that Dr. Ginott is teaching.
"Dr. Ginott listened quietly to these comments, and then posed this question:
Another said, "To find better ways of communicating with our children."
Still another woman glibly said, "To produce children who are among other things, brilliant, polite, charming, neat, and well-adjusted of course."
Dr. Ginott looked solemn. It was obvious that this last comment had not amused him.
He leaned forward and said, "This is how I see it. It seems to me that our large goal is to find the ways to help our children become humane and strong."
"For what does it profit us if we have a neat, polite, charming youngster who could watch people suffer and not be moved to take action?"
"What have we accomplished if we have reared a child who is brilliant-at the top of his class-but who uses his intellect to manipulate others?"
"And do we really want children so well-adjusted that they adjust to an unjust situation? The Germans adjusted only too well to the orders of the Nazis to exterminate millions of their fellow men."
"Understand me: I'm not opposed to a child being polite or neat or learned. The crucial question for me is: What methods have been used to accomplish these ends? If the methods used are insults, attacks, and threats, then we can be very sure that we have also taught this child to insult, to attack, and to comply when threatened."
"If, on the other hand, we use methods that are humane, then we've taught something much more than a series of isolated virtues. We've shown the child how to be a person- a mensch- a human being who can conduct his life with strength and dignity."
We are the last industrialized nation that has yet to ban corporal punishment in schools. Are we also the next nation to raise a generation of Nazis? In all of the wars that the United States has been involved in how many people have we murdered already? Is it any wonder? I will not only contend that we are raising our children to be violent perpetrators of unspeakable crimes against humanity, I believe that we ourselves are the product of this violent upbringing and our nation has been acting out that violence since we first arrived here.
Both of my own parents were born and raised in Germany and they brought the values they learned with them to the United States...but Germany itself is evolving. It banned school corporal punishment completely in 1983.
Are we, the American people, so well adjusted that we have adjusted to an unjust situation? Situations? What other situations will we adjust to in the future?
I have personally reached out to thousands of people over the last year and a half concerning the suffering of children at the hands of school corporal punishment (typically the striking of a child on their backside with a heavy wooden board fashioned with a handle) and I can literally count with my own fingers on only one hand the number of people who have been moved to action. What does that tell you?
Here's the deal...it's time to face our violent tendencies to inflict pain and humiliation on innocent children. It's time for the U.S to stop manipulating people and other countries for its own selfish ends. Is this country in grave danger of being the next human mass exterminator? Or have we already achieved that status?
I believe we have albeit in a more subtle way. U.S. foreign economic policies for instance are responsible in many ways for the systematic starving of millions of people including children. Recent drone attacks that claim to target terrorists have also been revealed to kill women and children in their path without the least bit of concern or remorse. The list of casualties due to the actions of our country are grotesquely numerous.
If we don't make some changes, starting with how we raise our children, it's only going to get worse. Isn't it bad enough already? What are we waiting for?
Parents and educators need to get on board and change their ways. Not only has the information been around long enough but thanks to the internet the information is readily available at the click of a button. It’s long been said that the children are the future. What kind of future do you want? One where we continue to regard our planet and human life as dispensable or one where all beings are treated kindly, compassionately, and with concern for others?
If we want a better world, the place to start is by treating our children better and that means NO MORE HITTING THEM.