A Better Concept of the Disciplinary Committee.

Worried by the moral decadence in her school, a meeting of the management team of a secondary school was convened. One of the strategies adopted for improvement was the constitution of a disciplinary committee. The deliberation took an interesting dimension during the recommendation and consideration of teachers for inclusion in this committee.
The principal set the tone for this session with his announcement:
“You have all seen how stubborn our students are. So we don’t need teachers who are afraid to flog in this committee.”
“That means we need more of male teachers.” The vice principal administration quickly added.
The suggestion by the school counselor, a lady, that she and the chapel mistress should be included in that committee was immediately rebuffed by the vice principal academics.
The principal concurred with the vice principal academics by stating that the committee should be “focused on instilling discipline in the erring students, and that the long stories from the counselor and the chapel mistress would be a distraction.”
The school counselor expressed her disappointment that they were getting it all wrong. She struggled to make explanations but could not achieve much.
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A Better Concept
It is a common practice for schools to set up disciplinary committees to assist in the achievement of discipline. In addition to supporting students to ensure that they do the right things at all times, this committee should also ensure that teachers apply discipline in their relationship with students. Since the psychological and emotional balance of students are essential in the maintenance of real discipline, this committee should play active roles in monitoring the school’s students’ grievance procedure in respect of offences by fellow students, teachers and other workers in the school.

The committee should note that each disciplinary case should be uniquely approached. A general approach will usually include the following:
 Invite consistently non-complying students for discussion. This discussion will enable the committee members acquire wide understanding of the child and the problem he has presented.
 Allow such students to express their anxieties, confusion and challenges.
 Provide support and guidance where necessary.
 Bear in mind that students deserve respect even when they have broken rules. Debasing a delinquent student may make his case worse.
 Demand for compliance without threat of punishment.
 Track progress, commending every little improvement patiently.
 Encourage self-appraisal and self-generated strategies for improvement.

Considering the delicate function it should perform, this committee should ideally be made up of emotionally stable, disciplined, fair, objective, firm and mature teachers who have understood and effectively keyed into the right ideology on discipline and the school’s policy on it. Some mature students may also be include:
It is regrettable when the activities of such an important committee are driven by people who operate on the narrow perception that discipline is maintained by inflicting on students physical and emotional torture. This is the philosophical basis of the principal’s announcement above, and I am of the opinion that he is in the process of ignorantly laying a faulty foundation for discipline in his school. The teachers in schools that operate on the wrong and narrow philosophy of discipline in countries where there are not yet child protective regulatory provisions would be seen carrying canes to scare children. Unfortunately, teachers struggle more to contain delinquency in such situations!
All who are worried by the increasing dimensions of insecurity due to crime perpetrated by human beingswho for one reason nor the other, have not been nurtured to be conscience, love and logic driven, should key into the efforts that are aimed at improving parenting skills at all levels of child care and education.

-Uchenna N Nduka

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This is what happens when family values are effectively communicated early.

I was at a school’s graduation ceremony which featured many educative and entertaining activities. There was one competition which was packaged to assess closeness between parents and their children. The competing parents were required to provide answers to some selected questions. Points were scored each time a parent’s answer matched with his or her child’s answer.

When a parent on the ‘hot seat’ was asked to mention her child’s favourite meal, my thirteen-year-old child seating beside me asked me what her favourite meal was. I hesitated for some minutes, while she kept watching me. I was still searching through my mind for events that will provide a clue, when she said that I may never get the answer.

I still went ahead and mentioned one meal. She shook her head in disagreement and said,“I actually have no favourite meal and you are responsible for it!”

This statement took me down memory lane. I recalled the efforts I made at communicating the family value that food selection is not allowed, and everybody should eat whatever food that is provided on the dining table at any point in time.

I consistently applied various strategies at different times to communicate this value with so much zeal and commitment that it etched deeply in my children’s minds even before the age of five years.

  • At the time of introduction into adult foods, I would only stop at letting the food touch the baby’s tongue each time food was served.
  • At the toddler stage, I would always take time to feed the child each time an unattractive meal was on the table.
  • There were times I had to give our native dishes sweet names to make them attractive.
  • It was necessary, sometimes, to make finishing an unattractive meal a prerequisite for drinking a favourite fruit juice.
  • I had to tell fictional stories of children who died of symptoms related to malnourishment because they preferred particular meals and insisted on eating them all the time or those who became chronically diabetic as a result of wrongly guided food selection habits.
  • I also held some informal teaching sessions on balanced diet during which I persuasively presented the nutritional values of our local foods to them.

Interestingly my children embraced my teachings with childish minds.

Parenting Lessons

  1. Parents should decide and take a position on all issues.
  2. A solid foundation on discipline would be laid if family values are firmly communicated using various strategies so that the children will willingly embrace them.
  3. Parents should make efforts to ensure that children eat meals that contain essential nutrients.

 

Uchenna N. Nduka

 

 

From a teenager’s diary

There was something strange about the look on my mother’s face when I came back from school that day. I quickly searched through the house for the letter I misplaced in the morning, but could not find it. My mind could not just get off it. The thought of the possibility that it might have dropped off somewhere in the house sent cold shivers down my spine. I tried, but could not just wish it away. Then three days after, mum told me on my way to school that she would discuss something very important with me in the evening.

Her misty eyes were very noticeable when I entered her room for the discussion. When I asked whether she was crying, her tears flowed and she looked up with a sad expression on her face. My heart skipped! She opened her drawer and brought out the letter. So she had discovered my illicit sexual relationship!

I can still hear her sobbing and asking me what went wrong that I forgot so soon, her teachings and advice on the dangers and risks of illicit sex. She wanted to know what made me throw caution to the wind and treat her guidance and warnings with disregard. I was too dazed to give a response when she asked if I had asked God to judge my actions. She said that she had been crying since she picked up that letter, asking for God’s forgiveness and help.

Images of my wrong actions flashed through my mind in seconds. How could I have done all that at just fourteen years? How could I have brought such sorrow and pain upon my mother? I asked myself over and again what went wrong. God indeed judged my actions! I realized how foolishly I had acted by engaging in an obviously wrong and risky action just because I understood that everyone was doing it.

I broke down completely with deep sorrow, knelt down before my mum and wept on her laps. I held her two legs tightly and asked her to forgive me. The weight of guilt on me was so much that I doubted if I would ever forgive myself.

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Generally, sorrow is excited by remorse or fear of punishment. A child usually communicates sorrow by countenance, weeping, crying or screaming.

In fact, sorrow caused by fear of punishment, flogging and actual acts of torture produces the loudest of screaming and overflowing rivers of tears. This is described as worldly sorrow in the bible. It is just carnality and usually aggravates parenting issues.

Remorse is described in the bible as godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10). It leads to repentance unto enduring discipline. When remorse is excited by love for God, parents and self; and issues and instructions are clearly explained, the right actions are understood and genuinely preferred to the wrong action.

My prayer is that God will guide all parents on the best correction process and technique to adopt on each occasion so that godly sorrow will always be achieved.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

The Power in the Names we call them.

These pairs of words;’Creative and dynamic’, ‘Diligent and Lovely’, ‘Golden and Peaceful’, ‘Unique and Focused’ and ‘Smart and Godly’ distinctly refer to respective individuals among the children I closely nurtured. It was a dimension of the application of praise in parenting. Those words describe their salient personality traits respectively. Each pair of words encapsulated my perception of a particular child’s unique natural endowment, attitude-wise.

Can you imagine how much my little daughter embraced love in her personality formation each time I called her ‘my lady with a lovely heart’?

Interestingly, these words of praise, which I consistently used in my interaction with them have worked marvelously well in forming their personalities along the desired line.

This is not implying that children are angels. No, they are not. But it is a parenting blunder to call or describe children by their faults, weaknesses or past mistakes. It will yield no positive result, but would rather worsen any parenting case since children usually develop into what they are called or how they are described. For instance, a child who is always called a dunce because he failed an examination would likely not make good grades as long as he is called this name.

It is proper that in parenting, faults are skillfully corrected while virtues are reinforced and emphasized.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

A mother’s testimony – “Our children now obey us willingly and with love.”

I am a mother of three children aged between two and six years. I met Mrs. Nduka about two years ago as a colleague in the office. I immediately noticed that her passion for proper parenting was obvious in almost every discussion we held during our leisure times. I carefully put to good use the bits and pieces of parenting skills that she mentioned.

Previously my parenting approach was based on the handed down traditional practice and belief that children should necessarily be flogged for them to be wise. I therefore employed the parenting techniques I saw in my environment. I shouted, coerced, flogged, and was harsh with my children.   Although my husband was skeptical initial I when I mentioned the idea of excluding the cane completely, we decided to give it a try.

The futility of the wrong methods is now obvious after we adopted the improved approach. We now patiently talk and listen to our children with love, praise them for good works, correct them with compassion, explain instructions carefully and create adequate time to chat with them.

We cherish the closeness we now enjoy as a family. Our children now wash dishes, sweep the house and perform other house chores with impressive results. The greatest of it all is that they now obey us willingly and with love, and this has laid a good foundation for a struggle-free parenting process.

 

  • Mrs. Rose N Nwafor, Anambra, Nigeria

 

We hope to read many more great testimonies!

Please send your testimonies to passioninparenting@gmail.com