A girl, not yet seven years old. Lost her daddy not that long ago and is still trying to make sense of the world without a much-loved parent.  One day, she forgets to bring the materials required for her art class in school.  What does her teacher do? She beats the girl.

TRUE STORY.

The girl will be more careful next time not to forget to bring things in for her art class, I am sure.  The teacher could pat herself on the back for making the girl “more disciplined”. But what is she teaching? That the world is harsh and unforgiving. That you are punished and humiliated for making a genuine mistake. That we must FEAR.

For some reason, this little tale offends me a great deal, though I am of the view that children need to learn discipline. But we must teach it with kindness, so that children grow up modelling kindness rather than bullying and brutality (when you pick on someone smaller and defenceless, it IS bullying).

Let me present you with another picture.  My 17-year-old daughter plays football for BISP Cruzeiro Academy. Both the ladies and boys teams are very successful, because all the players are disciplined. But how is that discipline enforced? With kindness.

Last summer, when the teams were playing in Portugal, the boys’ goalie made a mistake and let a goal in.  The rest of the team and the girl footballers watching by the sidelines were gutted. But several of the players went to pat the goalie’s shoulder reassuringly.

The girls jumped to their feet and cheered for the goalie each time the ball entered the zone. “Good job, goalie!” They shouted encouragingly, clapping their hands. The whole team was right behind the goalie, because they knew how awful he felt about the mistake.  They worked harder, and won the match.

So you see, you can take the harsh route and kill your own humanity by hitting a defenceless child. Or choose one that is heart-led, kinder, more spiritual and makes you more human.

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Photo from ScienceBlog.com