Monday, July 16, 2007

Spare the Rod

Teachers and the cane.

I think we'll have this particular thorny issue plaguing us for the next little while as our presumably learned lawmakers battle it out over the proposal to spare the rod in schools. You know the rest of that controversial idiom.

Man with a rod
Hand me that rod, baby...

Me, you know I'm a strict disciplinarian. Surely child activists would balk but I'll probably be an infamously monstrous domestic tyrant not seen since Attila raged across the central asian grasslands. I doubt I'd allow my children to run wild amuck around the household - and even less so out of the house. They might be used sparingly as a last resort but canes would still be easily accessible near every main door in the house ( even in the car since uncivilized baboons leaping around in a moving vehicle frequently rouse my ire ). And like my ancestors did before me, I'd be the first to bring my child to the teacher and present them with a light cane, adjuring them to treat the child as their own.

Look, I don't advocate excessive violence in dealing with juveniles but I don't believe that non-punitive approaches works all the time as well.

Spare the rod and resort to psychological approach? In the long run, has that actually been proven to work? I seriously doubt chidren these days are becoming more disciplined and well-behaved. Just look at what positive reinforcement has done to spoiled kids raised wild running rampant in urban communities. Teachers have become toothless, parents have become spineless - so these Home Alone Rugsrats grow up without any authoritative figure to speak of careering madly through the marble halls of suburban malls.

As a child myself, I doubt I'd have listened to positive reinforcement of good behaviour such as praise, love, tokens for younger children, recognition, rewards and treats. Sure I'll have taken the treats ( who wouldn't? ) but I'd probably roll my eyes cynically afterwards as well. Positive discrimination such as removing benefits such as television time and pocket money wouldn't work as well since I'd probably find a way around that in time. Please, I'd probably have scoffed at such pathetically lame-o attempts at ensuring good behaviour.

Teacher : Do you believe you did the right thing?
Little Paul : It wasn't right but I like breaking things.
Teacher : Did that solve your problem?
Little Paul : No, but it was fun. Should I break more?
Teacher : No. That was very naughty. What did the other boy think of you breaking his things? Maybe you should apologize?
Little Paul : Like I could give a shit. Maybe I should punch him too.

By then of course I'm sure the well-meaning teacher would have been driven maddeningly insane - possibly requring intensive psychiatric help. But seriously, how do you deal with that then?

I know what the trained psychologists and counsellors would say. Stick Little Paul with community service, you say? Go tend to a neighbour's flowers and plants as punishment? Come on, have they been watching one Hallmark Presentation too many? That might work with remarkably unimaginative biddable children but have they thought of crazed mischief makers?

No, Little Paul won't be as rash as to uproot all the plants but in the next few weeks, I think the neighbour shouldn't be surprised to find a whole new plague of tenacious weeds growing wild between the beloved rosebushes.

Won't you be searching for that rod by then?


danielhenry said...

oh... i like the picture...
mmm... and little paul too... HAHAHAHA

jay said...

Moving from back home where this is common practice to the USA where it is not, I don't know where I stand on the issue.

Anonymous said...

hehe, i'd say, just cane those who needed them and spare those that dont.

definately voting for having the cane around... :)

tea la waiting

Ryan said...

"Oh, that's very naughty, little Paul. You know teacher will smack your butt butt if you misbehave. You like being smack at the butt?!"

LOL... I am no good in educating children. I'd lose patient and I would just walk away if they mis-behave. Ain't gonna friend with naught kids. That's so not cute anymore. :p

mstpbound said...

my mom used to tell me 'hitting you is loving you.' i used to yell back, 'then DON'T love me anymore!' somehow, that never spared me the broom handle... :/ but looking back, it was all for good reason...

Anonymous said...

Oyyyyyy where to start? I am a mom and a teacher in the US. Thank goodness this is NOT practiced here. Not only is it not practiced, it is against the law. But aside from that, I have never raised my hand at my own kids, ever. i can tell you without prejudice that they are kind, and polite and hardworking. They were not and are not angels. Bad behavior has consequences just not the physically abusive ones. What the heck does hitting with a cane teaches? That the one with the weapon is stronger?? Isn't it more important that they understand why a behavior is or isn't desirable?

The parents of my students (and I teach kindergarten) are always amazed that their children or so much better behaved in school than at home. That's not the children's fault, they are capable of good behavior (not counting those who have real "issues"), their parents lack good parenting skills. I do not ever need to hit, nor would I want to, to elicit proper behavior.

I know there is a cultural element to this but I hope that when you and your SO decide to have children, you will consider all options and not resort to the quick short term solution.


Jason said...

Ah... reminds me of the bad ol' days.

ikanbilis said...

i've always remembered being the good one and the only notable time i had been caned was on me palm and it was when i was in darjah 6 and form 2, both was because i didn't complete me homework.

not sure if i've ever been caned on me butt. perhaps i had been a little bit naughty, lol.

speaking of which, if only there's a rainbow mag you definitely should be a columnist and too bad that wouldn't happen, at least in this lifetime

Ah-Bong said...

definitely go with the cane... teacher's gonna be so sexy. LOL

but hey, kids nowadays are too pampered. orientation at school was like, u raised ur voice a bit, and they'll complain to the office, and u get warning letters. paul, u know what i mean right? presuming u're my super duper senior?

Anillynnette said...

Why do they even want to spare the rod? Have they taught in a school before? Them being the angels at school at that particular time in the country's history does not make them the experts, does it?

Did they have pirated vcd's with all kinds of violence back then? Did they have easy access to pornography? Did they have MTV, for God's sake? Did they have magazines and lingerie brochures with half naked women left lying around the house back then? Was there broadband connectivity? Augh!!!

I might be wrong, but then I think caning is still constitutes as positive reinforcement in psychology. I have forgotten what it was, but I remember in one of the classes I had at uni that says a baby who'd giggle and can't wait to grab a white fluffy bunny rabbit turns hysterical whenever he sees anything white and fluffy after a few sessions where the vision of the cuddly bunny rabbit is accompanied by a loud clanging noise made by hitting metal against metal.

My point is, what I have written up there, when translated into child bearing terms, means when we cane them we do not cane them out of hatred but out of concern; to create in them a subconscious notion in their minds that every bad deed that they do will bring with it a painful punishment. This is just a guideline for them to grow up along. Not total punishment and abandonment.

As you may have guessed, I grew up in a household where the parents were not hesitant to give me a whack on the butt or even more than that when the need arise. But I never hate my parents and I never hold a grudge on them for doing what they did to me. I deserved every swing of the cane. The pain goes away, but the thought that they did it for my own good was what had stayed with me.

Dad did the 'no tv' trick with me. He took out the fuse out of the plug. But when he had to go to work, I got the screwdrive and found another fuse and put it back in there myself. I'd take it out again when it's close to the time he returns from work. And I was just a 7 year-old girl back then! I'd steal the front door key from underneath my mom's sleeping body when it was nap time, so I can go out and play with my friends. Can you imagine what kind of devil I could have turned out today if they did not wield their rights as caring and concerned parents way back then? And I did not in any way grow up into a meek little wallflower. Looking back, I feel so sorry for my late dad. How he wanted to be gentle. But I am glad that he came to his senses and the cane came back soon after.

What turns them into monsters are adults whose authority to mould them in the first place has been taken away and the liberation that is given at too early an age by parents who didn't know better.

Believe me. It is not the caning that turns these little people into monsters. It is absent parents who are fooled by their angelic antics and teachers who can't have a say in their raring for their opinions are deemed unworthy.

Liberty in the hands of immature, irresponsible, inexperienced and unguided souls USUALLY leads to very bad consequences.

We are not Americans. We are not Swedes. We are Malaysians. All the cultures and different faiths here have different kinds of prohibitions and we have all grown up with one kind or another. Did we all grow up scared? I don't think so.

My point is, different cultures, different mentalities. Don't be too eager to emulate them when we still don't know why some normal kids still can't read by the time they reach their teens. The US is nothing but a big bully anyway. A young country with too much money and power for it's own good. Do they listen? Please someone, smack some sense into that country already!

I am not saying that EVERY young child is a devil in disguise, but really, how can any one know for sure what their children is up to once their backs are turned?

I am a teacher and a Senior Assistant in charge of Students' Affairs at my school. While I love each and every one of them (my students/clients/kids) to death, I know them. They are one thing at school, but once they are called into my office with their parents waiting in there with me, they turn into totally different human beings. They never cease to amaze me.

I may not have a PhD in Child Psychology, but please, sparing the cane is not the answer. I was a child myself once and a very mischievous one at that too, but I know that the cane works and it works best when wielded with genuine concern and love from a parent of a caregiver.

I know, I am not a parent yet, but I will be one day and I for one, will wield the cane when the situation necessitates its use. Because I do not want to be the so-called liberal-minded parent who has no clue what-so-ever about the reality of my child and the world around him, who'd storm into the principal's office, exclaiming "Aku pun tak pernah rotan anak aku, tahu tak?" and heard in reply, just under someone's breath, "Patutlah anak kau macam syaitan..."

Anonymous said...

This thread is interesting and scary for me in America. But here is food for thought: A society that deems a cane necessary is most definitely a society that will not have a rainbow rag in our lifetime. When you contribute to the rigidity in thinking in one area, you support rigid thinking and attitudes in other areas.

William said...

I vote for behaviour-altering drugs.

Jonzz said...

When kids are small, innocent/ignorant and rebellious, I think the cane can do wonders in telling them bad behaviour has consequences.

But as they get older and start to reason, I think the cane doesn't have much effect anymore.

Anonymous said...

when kids are small and innocent, what exactly does a rod teach them? That they are powerless? They know it. Does it teach them how to tell right from wrong or does it teach them that they did something YOU dislike? It will teach them to avoid behavior YOU dislike but not necessarily avoid it if you are not going to find out about it....

FamezGAY said...

Hit Me Baby One More Time.. I enjoy the rod.. uhmnn! Ooops Pain gives me pleasure! Ooops

Anillynnette said...

Whoa... who was that lunatic who wrote such a long comment?


Was it me? I beg your pardon, Mr Sung, for being such an eyesore on your blog comment board.

Anyways, I didn't say it is for everyone and I never said that is the kind of thing you should do on EVERY level of age. There are pros and cons of course, just as everything else in this world has its pros and cons.... But you know, I'd rather not wait till my son or daughter to start having the balls to call me B*TCH whenever I ask him or her to do simple chores just to get them involved in the care-taking of the family home for example. And I most definitely do not want to see my son zooming past the TV3's Buletin Utama camera lense like a bat out of hell on his 'kapchai', 'rempiting' his way through KL, precariously perched one-legged on the seat before I will start believing what the teachers at school say about him.

Bah, I don't have kids to brag about. But my parents had four of us, and none of us ended up like most of the kids in our neighborhood. They must have done something right.

charming.calvin said...

I would say use that cane.

But with the boyfriend already so keen on it, I'll be the gentle and kind and friendly Daddy. :-)