Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child
An old saying
“Spare the rod and spoil the child, “is an old saying which does not hold quite well in the modern world.
In ancient and medieval times, it was believed that children should be beaten frequently to make them learn their lessons and realize the significance of good manners and morals.
In the bygone days, every schoolmaster had a formidable stick in his hands, frequent use of which was considered an unavoidable necessity. No student was allowed to make even minor mischief. The stick was liberally applied on the hands of every naughty boy, every truant, and every such one who did not do his homework or did it carelessly. Sometimes, a student was punished mercilessly just if he was seen laughing or smiling in the class or if he was not looking at the blackboard or towards the teacher when the teacher was teaching. If a student forgot even a single line or word concerning his lesson in the class, he was beaten black and blue.
Parents’ and teachers’ role
Strangely enough, even the parents encouraged the teachers to beat their children with sticks and fist blows and box their ears. Sometimes, comes were applied even on the backs and other parts of poor delicate children’s bodies.
Excess of punishment often created some hardcore ones in all classes. Such students would not care a big for not fig for the teachers and the parents and would do whatever they willed. It was because too much of punishment made them give up all fears of the punishment and the perpetrators of such punishment
In the modern world, after the advent of the public school system, in particular, the old concept of punishing the children has changed.
It is not that the children are not punished at all. It is that they are not given any corporal punishment. Now, even courts forbid the teachers to give any corporal punishment to the taught. Gandhiji, even about a century ago, was against corporal punishment to children.
Now, such types of punishments are given to erring students:
- Writing of an error a number of times (sometimes 20 times or more)
- Doing their homework twice instead of once;
- Keeping standing (sometimes on the bench)
- Sitting and standing a number of times
- Standing (or sitting and standing) for some time while catching hold of ears with hands
- Being rebuked by the class teacher or sometimes by the Principal or director of the school, depending on the nature of mischief made or mistake committed.
Needless to say that, such kinds of punishment do not cause or are not likely to cause any physical harm to the student. Nor do they cause any sort of tremendous psychological depression or frustration to the student concerned.
As far as the parents are concerned, they should remember that over-indulgence can cause too much harm to their wards in the long run.
There is the case of a little girl studying in 8th or 9th class. She got psychologically so much upset that she had to be hospitalized.
It was discovered by the learned doctors that her parents had never refused to fulfill any of her demands, and she in her innocence, took it as a matter of right to expect anything and everything she desired. Once when she wanted to have a holiday for a period and was refused by the teacher, she felt a sudden onslaught of the psychological problem.
While it is admittedly good that now more and more attention is being paid to the needs of and for the happiness of children, yet, in the process, we are perhaps unwillingly also driving a wedge between the two classes of the rich and the poor, besides spoiling our children.
The children in the poor families hardly get a reasonable diet, not to speak of a balanced diet. They can never dream of having a choice in the matter of clothes, as they have to wear whatever their hapless parents have got in charity from their masters or bosses with whom they work. They can, of course, get the old clothes of their elder brothers, sisters or cousins.
The rich people, on the other hand, are spending luxuriously and even lavishly on the outfits of their tiny tots, many among whom are already a spoiled lot, dictating terms to their parents and later in life perhaps demanding docile or blind obedience from others their vagrant wishes which are, in reality, orders.
So, what conclusion do we draw? In short, we can say that while it may no longer be wrong to spare the rod, it may be wrong to be over-indulgent to children. We must adopt the proverbial middle path – be neither too harsh nor too obsequious to the demands of children. We should try to take hold of the persuasive, illustrative, and self-exemplary method to instruct and reform the children. We should talk to them politely and give up all had habits, if we have any to tell them not to take recourse to any of them. An example is better than precept and persuasion is better than the use of the rod.