Schooling for Body and Spirit

By Majid Gafoor

There is a saying, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. That is the maxim that my parents and those of previous generations had followed. Indeed, it was carried over to teachers of the old order who felt that a caning now and again was necessary to get the message across.

I can bear witness that those who had grown up under that system had taken the treatment in stride and they, for the most part, did not suffer from it. It neither turned us into monsters nor criminals. On the contrary, it impressed upon us that in life, there are such things as punishment and reward. Do well, and you get a pat on the back. Do badly, and you earn a slap on your bottom or, in later years, a rap on the knuckles.

It was not a mean system, but the meaning was clear and we accepted it.

Nowadays, we frown on such treatment. “Rights” of individuals take precedent and give excuse for all sorts of behavior. Parents very quickly lose their authority to lead their children to a better life. The children “know better”. Teachers are afraid even to raise their voices for fear of accusations of “assault” or “prejudice”. Students think they know better.

The result? A generation of young people who are not mature enough to make good decisions are released into a world which requires practical choices to be made every second of the day. They make poor choices and then blame the whole world for not listening to them.

I am not an advocate of corporal punishment just for the sake of physical application per se. However, I do see a need for it in some circumstances where logic and persuasion meet with obstinate disobedience.

Access to a good education system usually results in a community of forward thinkers – people who can understand the difference between what is good for the people in general and what is only catering to special interest groups. Politicians and focus media usually appeal to the middle class or grassroots audiences who wish for a better life – so they make all sorts of promises. The intelligent can sort through the wheat and the chaff, but some others will look at it as manna from heaven and blindly follow.

That is why education for body and spirit is important. It gives us wisdom to make good decisions in life and leads us to places we had dared not venture before. Education is not easy. It requires effort. For the young and the immature, sometimes persuasion and logic is not enough. A spanking is called for.

Majid Gafoor is a former journalist from Hong Kong. He now lives in Canada.



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