By: SHEILA M. CORPUZ, Master Teacher I – M.Delos Reyes Memorial Elementary School
As it is written in the bible, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Today, the hands of every parent and teacher as well are tied because of the “Child Protection Policy.” I don’t mean to sound negative about this, but most people, if not all are clearly misguided. They view the said policy as “children’s immunity to any form of punishment or discipline.” By writing this, I am trying to convey that giving punishment as a means of discipline is not always bad. Please do not get me wrong or think for a moment that I don’t recognize the significance of the said policy, after all who wouldn’t want their child to be protected? I understand that not everyone is a parent who has a child, but surely, we have brothers or sisters or nephews and nieces who will benefit directly from the said policy.
Decades ago, I was a student as well. Back then the use of punishment as a means of discipline was a big part of my elementary years. I can clearly remember my writing class. We would write as if our lives depended on it. We were very careful not to go beyond the red and blue lines on our journal. We were very mindful and focused because we need to finish on time or else, we would squat for an hour with books on our heads. Every day, we must be in school as early as we could. Failing to clean the part of the garden where you were assigned was a big no, no. Our teacher, getting upset over the things we failed to do was the last thing you want to see. She would always say, “you are here because you need to learn, and I am here to teach you, but learning and teaching will not happen without discipline.”
“The rod of discipline”. A one-meter stick with a width of four inches served as our daily reminder to do our tasks every day. It is the thing behind our eagerness to learn, to not underestimate the power of discipline, and to always think of the consequences of our actions.
Recalling those experiences does not give me a bitter heart, but a thankful one. If I could go back to those years, I would gladly run over the whole cycle again, changing nothing because every bit of experience I had, contributed to my success today.
Today, most children are stubborn. They lack discipline. They do what they want. They hardly listen to their parents. Teachers are having a hard time imposing discipline in school. How can you act when your hands are tied? Eliminating punishment as a means of discipline was really a bad move. We could have done better. Lawmakers could have put modifications to the type of punishment or discipline to impose instead of eliminating it and educating people about the thin line that separates punishment from abuse.
If you impose punishment with the intention of harming a child or an individual, then that’s abuse. But if you impose it with the intention of correcting, guiding, and teaching a child or an individual, then that is not abuse but love in disguise.