Many traditional Chinese families use corporal punishment to teach their children. They believe that once the pain is over, the lesson will be engraved on the child's mind and the mistake will not be repeated. It's an easy way of 'teaching' children right from wrong.
Yet a child that goes through corporal punishment really doesn't understand what he did wrong. The only reason he might avoid repeating the mistake is to avoid being smacked. He doesn't know why he shouldn't have done whatever he did. It could lead to children being afraid to try anything new.
I believe we all need to be creative. If corporal punishment were reintroduced to schools, creative minds would be destroyed.
Think about it. Do we want to stop children doing from something wrong, or do we want them to learn why something is a bad idea, and how to think of a creative reason to avoid repeating such mistakes?
Melody Koo, Maryknoll Fathers' School
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Melody. That is a very interesting point that you raise. Children that are physically punished seldom learn the lesson they were supposed to learn. Instead they learn that violence is a way to solve problems. They learn that violence is a way to express frustration and they don't learn to think things through.
Yet there is that old English expression of 'spare the rod and spoil the child', a rod being a stick used to beat someone. And it was that saying that kept corporal punishment in homes and schools for such a long time. These days, however, it seems that parents prefer to use bribery to get their children to co-operate. But is that a good idea, too?
Bribery teaches us that we have to be rewarded for everything. If we don't like something, when we do it we will get a bigger reward. Sadly, real life is not like that. Sometimes we have to do things because they are good for us, or because they are the right things to do.