Writer, Poet, Social Commentator
In Africa we beat our children…
I received my own fair share of the cane too and I can confidently say that there came a time during my teenage years when I could, without any emotion, pragmatically compare the juvenile act I wanted to commit versus the eventual flogging I would receive for it before I decided whether to perform the act. It is sufficient to say then, that I was a handful and I have no beefs for the canning.
One of the most beautiful things I learned whilst taking courses in Psychology was how the mind was adept at re-writing history through the use of Hindsight. It was fascinating.
An ordinary act, performed due to circumstance and exigencies, can be transformed 10 years later, and in the light of famous or infamous popularity, to become a well thought out and calculated act. This is the power of hindsight contingent on self discovery and knowledge. The same actions that would have easily earned you the well deserved title of ‘weirdo’ can be later hailed as the masterstroke that birthed your genius.
I have re-written my history many times and with each continuous retrospective self-discovery, I re-write what I believed were the true state of events.
One of such rewrites is my knowledge of mathematics which was at a time so bad that when I eventually received a pass in one exam, I went for thanksgiving. Till date, that remains my highest score in the subject of numbers. Perhaps it is for this exact reason that I write and have never ventured into any endeavour that involves mystifying or demystifying numbers (except my pay slip of course). You know how we all agree that people with physical and sensory impairments are always compensated by the Most High with other well sharpened abilities? Well, take it as my excuse for being bad with numbers.
The compensation for my mathematical impairments based on recent hindsight, is the ability to notice sequences and easily put together bizarre theories albeit with a Caveat. Again I believe this is the real reason why many mathematical formulas looked to me, illogical and unreasonable. My compensation has thus refused me to seek out any Almighty Formula to decipher the location of ‘X’ when it is staring me in the face. Of course this is an argument many people will be itching to take me on. I will think of a way to give them that satisfaction someday.
For the purpose of my solitary muse, however, kindly agree with me for a moment and let us consider a sequence:
What effect does beating have on a child? The formula in this case is (Beating + Child = X), where ‘X’ is the effect.
I will speak for my self and the ones I grew up with; the beating and the memories thereof have kept us sane.
As a child who bordered for a long time on schizophrenic* tendencies, my dearest mother’s renowned 13-Hit Karate hand and kick Combo were very effective in aligning all my illusory personalities into one. If I ever nursed any desires of being Rikimaru Tenchu during the day and Jet Li at nights, they were swiftly dispelled by the rod from which I was never spared. I do not also think I ever encountered any schizophrenic child during my childhood, as most of the mothers in the neighbourhood took dressing from my mum and had similar karate moves. In essence, ours was a society of prim and proper, straight-backed, elder respecting, curfew obeying, shirt tucked-in children.
Make no mistakes, we were a dangerous bunch of kids and if there was ever going to be a Nigerian replica of the Columbine High School Trench Coat Mafia*, it was going to come from one of us but we wouldn’t dare. The thought may have crossed our minds but our bodies knew better.
This is not an advocacy for brutal child beating or any form of child beating for that matter. I am also very well aware of the many negative effects of beating a child, some of them I can confidently speak about too, like why I am not the youngest billionaire in the world.
But, how does one deal with the rapidly spreading menace of modern-day, ill-mannered, stubborn, disrespectful children who are not being beaten or sternly corrected in any way by their parents in the bid to treat the children better?
Who the father loves he chastises? Right?
Perhaps we must resort to the wisdom of one of my favourite writers, Charles H. Spurgeon, ‘Never promise a child something and then fail to give it, whether you promise him sweets or a spanking’. This suggests a reward system as the best option for training a child wherein the child is rewarded with gifts for good deeds and swiftly dealt a Bruce Lee worthy Roundhouse Kick when the child defaults.
Whatever method you decide to employ in training your child, the trick is getting the right balance between being nice and being strict.
In Africa we beat out children and they are sane; Beating + Child = sanity.
noun [ mass noun ]
a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behaviour, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
* Eric David Harris (April 9, 1981 – April 20, 1999) and Dylan Bennet Klebold (September 11, 1981 – April 20, 1999) were the two American high school seniors who committed the Columbine High School massacre. The pair killed 13 people and injured 24 others, three of whom were injured as they escaped the attack. The two then committed suicide in the library, where they had killed 10 of their victims.