When are we going to stop beating our children?

I was having a conversation with a neighbor’s daughter once in the kitchen as I poured myself a cup of coffee.

“What’s that”, she asked.

“Coffee”, I slurped.

“I can’t take coffee”.

“Why not?”, I wanted her to answer the question very very badly coz like, I’m always seeing on TV that kids shouldn’t drink coffee till they’re like 34, and I’ve always wanted to know why.

“Mummy will beat me if I drink coffee”.

“Why?”, I asked her.

“She’ll just beat me”.

So child doesn’t know why she can’t take coffee. Mummy has more time to beat child over and over than explain why coffee is bad for her. And I guarantee you child is drinking coffee.

See, this is what beating ever did for me. I learned to lie, cheat, steal, evade responsibility for bad behavior, frame others for my sins and breathe a sigh of relief as they got punished for it…

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Oh dear. I was a very naughty girl.

The worst effect though was academic. Before the environs of school I was beaten for having a literary and not mathematical head. Ironically it turns out I do have a head for numbers but my brain just preferred literature more.

Enter school where I was beaten for failing damn near everything except English and Composition (God bless you, colonialists). The more I was beaten, the worse I got. By the time I finished school I believed I had an I.Q of (sssshhhhh) and made no attempt to see if I didn’t.

This beating thing is evident as children mature into adults. We don’t talk, negotiate or compromise. Punitive measures are the easiest ways to get results out of people and that, I assure you, is one of the reasons we are backward. We think backward, we act backward, we stay backward. Period.

To wrap it up. A few days ago, I rescued a little duckling which I kept for a few days while I canvassed the neighborhood looking for who had lost a duck. Upon finding the owner, I was returning the little darling back home when I was besieged by neighborhood children who wanted to hold it. Then it happened.

“When it pupus in the wrong place, do you beat it?”, asked a victim of domestic abuse.

“What?”, I exclaimed. “Why would I beat it for anything?”

All the children were suddenly attentive.

“You mean you never beat it?”

I adopted a look of shock and horror on my face.

“Why would I beat it? I mean, why would you even ask me that? Beating is…beating is….my goodness, beating is just…”.

A light bulb flickered in the mind of one of the children.

“Is beating bad?”, he asked me.

“Yes. Beating is very very bad”.

“But Mummy-”

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Oh, fuck mum

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