Once I read a story:
One day, out of sheer pain, a child bravely confronted his parent: “Why do you always spank me?”
His parent answered: “I spank you because I love you!”
In return, the child said: “If that is the case, may I ask a favour?”
Surprised by the child’s reply, the parent enthusiastically asked: “What is it son?”
The child pleaded: “Could you please love me a little less?”
The reply of the child surprised me enough to reflect and replay the story in my mind. Then, it became like a mantra to me and I strongly felt the pain in the words of the child. Perhaps the experience of the child was too much to bear. It was more than being about bruises or broken bones in the worst case scenario. Physical assault is the most visible, but what is even more damaging is the emotional effect that leaves a deep and lasting scar. It damages the child’s sense of self, the ability to have healthy relationships and the ability to function well at home, in school and in society; which is supposedly developed with the help of those significant persons in the life of a growing child.
Undoubtedly, loving a child does involve disciplining that child but not through physical assault or offensive words that make the child feel unloved, unwanted, unsafe, uncared for and neglected. Precisely, this does serious emotional harm.
In our world today, many innocent and vulnerable children are crying for help. You can hear them anywhere on the street, in the market, in the park, in the mall and even in our own home. It is very easy to ignore them but very difficult to protect them. The children are tormented and confused because the person inflicting harm and pain are none other than their own mother, father or guardian. This is just one of the many sad stories that makes you cry.
This is a wake-up call for all of us! Remember, you are the most important person in your child’s world. It’s worth the effort to make a change. Let us help build their character in Christ. Let us preserve the social values of the family by simply listening to their plight as a growing child and treating them with love and care. Anyone and everyone can make a difference in a child’s life but above all you can make a huge difference in your own. Children need predictability, structure, clear boundaries, and the knowledge that they are loved and special.
Make a difference and improve the lives of our children!
Sr M Connie A Borjal fdz