Growing up, my mother had a pattern for discipline; she would say, ‘I’m not your mother!’
This establishing statement had the intended effect of mentally separating our biological connections. That done, she would chant repeatedly while delivering powerful strokes of the cane on every exposed part of our bodies, ‘to omore koba le fun e nisimi.’ Meaning, train a child properly and he/she will give you rest in your old age.’
We were never exactly sure who the message was addressing, us or herself.
And while the cane ascended and descended, we DARED not run away!
Who born you? That was part of the discipline because running was interpreted as defiance, rudeness to the parent meting out the punishment and this would incur a more severe form of punishment.
Those days, we didn’t need to behave too badly like kids these days before we had quick slaps or sharp knocks raining down on our head; these blows immediately reset our brains to resist the temptation to ‘disgrace’ our parents outside the home. God help you if your parents were summoned to school for a telling off simply because you behaved badly.
I recall watching an old drama on NTA, many years ago. It was a boy who was jailed for stealing and condemned to die by the judge. His final request was to whisper something into his mother’s ears.
As she leaned close to him, he bit off her ear!
When she asked why, he said she never corrected him when he did wrong; same mistake I see many parents blindly making today.
Many parents don’t believe in corporal punishment, though they were beaten black and blue growing up; they don’t think a good spanking works; though they got so much of it from their parents they cried for days and their ears still sting; they don’t think depriving their kids of certain benefits will help the kid later in life so they negotiate with their kids and ply them with more gadgets.
I’ll never be judge over how other parents raise their children; however, there are extremes, and as in the FGGC Calabar case, where teachers were beaten to a pulp and flung into jail by DSS operatives before you could finish spelling Asuquo! Now, I won’t even rehash the FGGC Calabar story but suffice to say that as a parent, I refrain from jumping to conclusions based on one-sided complaints from my kids about school.
I’m an alumnus of a Federal Government Girls College and though my college days are eons behind, at no time do I recall a teacher getting as much as a reprimand from the principal, or parent because the teacher flogged a student.
The school was a levelling ground; there were children of the rich and poor and all were treated equally. We were all flogged for offences but our parents didn’t burn the school down because of this.
Usually, chances are the parents would scold the child for getting punished by a teacher; because then the reason would be out, like the FGGC Calabar case: ‘I sent a junior student on an errand when I had been warned not to’
Our parents would have been like – ‘Ehen! You disobeyed school regulations? You want to disgrace me?
Keeping to school regulations was important to our parents back in the day. If you flouted it, there were dire consequences at home and at school. I remember telling my kids I would disown them should they ever be found to have flouted school rules. It’s just not acceptable and if I find out they were in the right, beating up a teacher will never be on the list of my options.
A teacher has the ability to reach the heart of a child better than many parents. I’m a classic example of such. My kid opened up to his teacher about being bullied in school. Why he chose not to tell me is a mystery; I’m guessing he knew I’d confront the bully and that may have spooked him to silence but I’m glad he confided in his teacher, who called me and together, we addressed the situation.
If we all agree teachers spend about 70 percent of the day and formative years with our kids, shouldn’t we then have some respect for the people speaking into the lives of these children? I’ll forever be grateful to the teachers who fought for my kids.
Let’s be clear here, I’m standing up for teachers who are truly holding their own out there; not the category of those who take advantage of kids and sexually prey on them. Not those.
Since I have not come to the point of establishing a school, nor plan to home-school my kids, settling with an offending teacher is always the more practical option, otherwise, I’ll soon have the rest of the teachers ganging up against my child if I begin to kick dust. And in order not to isolate my kid, I’ll pally with the teacher and hopefully, my kid can be comfortable once more in school; should that line fail, I’ll escalate to the head of school; should that line fail, then I’ll pull my kid out! Jejely.
My kid has got to know I have his back without me resorting to violence.
Now, do I have the one size fits all solution to how parents manage their kids’ teachers?
I’m simply saying when it gets to the point where a parent invites DSS operatives to go beat up teachers that is not a show of power or demand for respect, it’s a show of shame!
That shame also reverberates when parents call out teachers to ‘disgrace’ them and threaten them. At a PTA meeting, I’ve witnessed a parent call out a teacher, slap him and spit on him repeatedly!
Other parents had to demand the woman pull her child from the school.
Our need to protect our kids isn’t in question, what is, is our ability to be rational when our kids are being corrected by outsiders.
A child that isn’t trained at home will be trained outside, so our people say and the child that refuses to learn life’s lessons because mummy and daddy will call out the dogs, will go back home and bite his parents!
Call it karma, call it whatever you wish, when you fail with your child, you will never have rest in your old age!