Friday, December 14, 2007

Magic Stick

It’s a very common looking stick, made of rattan. Obtainable at most “pasar malam” (night market in Bahasa Malaysia) and readily found at most Malaysian household a generation ago. It is indispensable to most parents. You might have guessed it by now, it’s the rotan.

I first purchased and used the rotan when Joel was about 2 years old. That was 9 years ago. I never thought it was necessary to use it, being first time Mother. But now, its indispensable. I know that many Mothers may differ in opinion. Many books will suggest that I am damaging them permanently or teaching them violence.

  1. Proverbs 22:15 (KJV)
    Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

  2. Proverbs 23:13 (KJV)
    Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Just a few days ago, Joel came up to me and said “Thank you for giving me the rotan. I needed it”. With a smile that speaks a thousand words. It was a cheeky and knowing smile. You see, just a few days ago, I administered the rotan to his meaty bottom. He had failed to accomplish his work which I have asked him numerous times to do. We had an agreement. It was basically due to laziness, irresponsibility and disobedience.

We have been working on getting some discipline and character into his life. He has been struggling, I knew that. We have also prayed and asked God for help.

This magical rod has helped him to overcome a few tough character issues in the past e.g. lying, cheating, bullying his brother, etc. I understand at one point or another, all of us are tempted to sin. It starts very early. If its not nipped in the bud at the onset, it might be a lifelong character struggle. I can see that in many young adults, adults and even old people of today. The scary part is, it will cease to become a struggle and eventually become an accepted behaviour. There are many people who can tell a lie “without blinking”.

As parents we have the responsibility to help our children to stop doing foolish things. That is something which requires comprehension. How inflicting pain on their meaty bottoms can deter foolish characters?

I guess many of us do not speed on the road, kill, steal, etc. due to the fear of being caught by the authorities. Maybe it applies to children as well.

I personally believe that rotan has to be administered with a double portion of love and patience and never in anger or revenge. Its not easy to do that but if you succeed 80% of the time, then your child will realize that you are doing it for their own good rather than harboring bitterness, anger and injustice.

When I heard Joel’s comment, I tried to look calm but inside, I said a silent “Thank you, God”. At least I am doing something right. That my friend, is a rare occasion ;-)

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