A few days ago, I read an interesting story in a group chat.
“When I was about nine years old on a Saturday morning, my mum travelled and my siblings weren’t around. It was only me and my dad that were at home. I decided to do something great, first to make my dad happy and second to make my mom ask who did this when she returned. I decided to mop the house to make it clean. I took the rubber bucket in the house while my dad was in his room, put some water and was carrying it to clean the room. Suddenly, the bucket slipped from my hand and broke… I was sad, but I felt bad more because I couldn’t fulfil my dream … I had to first clean the spilled water… So when my dad came out and saw the splashed water and broken bucket … I was still explaining… He flogged me… I wept and so much bitterness filled my heart… As I was crying, I vowed that I will do evil… The experience is still fresh even after two decades”
The correction process was already on course…
The ‘rod of discipline’ was obviously available and staring the boy in the face – to first clean the spilled water. That would have been an opportunity to improve his problem-resolution skill and his dexterity at mopping. He was lucky that he didn’t fall because of the slippery floor.
The grief of disillusionment, remorseful sorrow, was being excited to spur him to take corrective actions and work towards doing it better in the future. The correction process was almost completed before his dad arrived at the scene. The application of effective parenting skill was all that was needed from him to consolidate the correction process. He should have listened to his child, supervised the mopping and skilfully provided a guide that would help the child act with more wisdom in the future.
But no! His dad truncated the correction process ignorantly. His dad “spared the rod”. He just replaced godly sorrow that was correcting with worldly sorrow that was destructive (2 Cor 7:10). The child ended up in confusion and sorrow. I doubt if nothing much was achieved in terms of learning on the child’s part.
This story is a good illustration of how the cane, misinterpretation of intentions, condemnation, disregard for the feelings of children and punishments are applied to frustrate the proper development of children. Ironically, many adults mistakenly see these as necessities for good upbringing. This approach excites anger and rebellion in children, and develops adults who are strangers to themselves, cannot achieve much with their talents but merely exist.
It is becoming clearer that parents shouldn’t just quickly reach for the cane whenever the child is being corrected. Enduring discipline in children is achievable with the right parenting support. There is need for parents to keep learning for improved results.
Uchenna N. Nduka