We are failing to teach our children right from wrong.
My nephew spent 15 minutes the other night describing the state of anarchy in his sixth grade classroom located in a well-to-do suburb of San Francisco.
By the time he finished it was obvious to me that what each of his classmates needed was a good paddling to set them straight about their status as kids. No one under five feet should ever have the right to speak disrespectfully to an adult.
Especially not their very own teacher, the person responsible for guiding them out of a state of ignorance into one of knowing. Traditionally, teachers were always given immense respect, and a child would never have dared speak with less than reverence to his schoolteacher.
That was the world I grew up in. But now, an eleven-year-old can disrespect his teacher in front of the entire class, and it's considered normal. Instead of being shocked and appalled like a child of fifty years ago would have been, today's children just laugh and consider it entertaining.
Bring back the paddle, I say.
Surprisingly, there are still 19 states that allow corporeal punishment in public schools. California is not one of them, or I would have applied for the paddling job for my nephew's sixth-grade classmates.
Why are we tolerating this behavior? Since when did we hand over the reigns of adult authority?
The kids think parents and teachers are dumb and, quite frankly, from a child's perspective, they're right! Any adult who cedes his authority to an ignorant, ill-mannered child who's half his size would appear to be lacking a few marbles. At least from the discerning eyes of an eleven-year-old.
The crux of the matter is that many parents and teachers are failing to lead with authority. And when a teacher does try to discipline an insolent child, many times the parents throw a fit.
Foolish parents! Do you think your child is going to respect you when you teach him or her to disrespect authority, and when you demonstrate that there are no consequences to his/her rude behavior?
I taught in a classroom once for a short time. I expected the children to be well-behaved, but they slowly disintegrated into rudeness because I had failed to establish a clear boundary between teacher and student.
Until one day, following parenting guru John Rosemond's advice, I took the wind out of their sails. I let them know who was boss and what the consequences would be if they failed to remember it again.
It was the end of my attempt to be their friend and the beginning of my assuming leadership as their competent teacher. We had a much more enjoyable time in the classroom after that and, by the end of the term, they told me I was their favorite teacher.
Bring back the paddle and bring it back fast.
Let it serve as a reminder of what's to come when the rules of civil behavior are violated.
Before you start screaming child abuse, I'm not advocating the cruel punishment of children. But I am pointing out that there is nothing kind about spoiling a child or becoming a passive observer while you watch his or her character go down the drain.
I'm not a big advocate of spanking, but I'm not against it either. Like all things, it too has it's place. According the The College of Pediatricians, the research on spanking has been severely flawed. Out of 75 studies, only four studies met the criteria for being scientifically valid.
The College reported that "Better constructed research has found appropriately administered disciplinary spanking to be effective in correcting defiant behavior that fails to respond to milder disciplinary measures without causing long term harm."
Adjusting to reality never hurt anyone. We all suffer consequences when we ignore natural and civil laws, but we are raising our children to think the world bends its rules for them by failing to lead our children and train them up in the ways of moral and civil behavior.
The rules bend for no one. If we don't teach our children this lesson early on, they may learn it later in less benign ways.
There's anarchy in the classroom, and there's anarchy in the home. Teachers are complaining about it, parents are frustrated, but no one seems to know what to do. The answer is simple.
Take back the reigns. Authority is a good thing when its tethered with love. It supports order rather than chaos. Someone will always assume the position of authority—it's a question of whom. For families and schools to function well, that someone cannot be the little guys.
The family unit was the mainstay of society when I was young; it is all but broken now. The 50 years deluge of faulty parenting strategies have resulted in a social fabric that's been slowly wearing thin, and children who's mental resilience is as strong as straw.
When children have a sense of order, when children know their place, when children know what's expected of them; they're happier kids. Happy children thrive. You won't crush your children's spirits with a little loving discipline, on the contrary, you'll give their spirits room to soar, and you'll build families and communities that will provide a solid basis for a burgeoning society.
Bring back the paddle.
Well, maybe not the paddle, but you catch my drift.
If you enjoyed this, you might like my free download Ten Books Every Well-Educated Child Should Read.
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