Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To beat or not to beat?

Ideas for blog pieces surface in the spaces of my mind and they are there working themselves out for future entries but for now i share an aricle i wrote for a grenada newpaper and will follow up with writings on personal and other global perspectives on child honouring, a revolutionary path to changing this world around!!!

To Beat or Not to Beat?

I applaud the woman who recently phoned George Grant's Sunday morning show and courageously made her view that we should start looking at other ways to discipline our children and youths besides beating them. She expressed her view despite it running counter clockwise to the popular view that beating kids as a form of discipline is necessary. She said our Grenadian culture is becoming more and more violent and disciplining our kids through flogging is creating more violence. She felt there was more we could do for our kids other then beating them as a form of discipline. She felt that parents should spend more time with their children encouraging and teaching them more peaceful ways of dealing with conflict. She talked briefly about the cycle of violence beginning with master beating slave, man beating woman, and parents beating children and thus creating further a culture of violence. George Grant interrupted her throughout the call, disabling her from making her point clearly. George Grant seemed weary and frustrated with the state of the youths in Grenada today. He felt teachers should be given more authority to discipline their students through corporal punishment.

I can’t help wonder what is missing in this on-going debate. Is the debate only about whether our kids need more physical discipline in school? Is the debate only about whether to beat or not to beat in school? Is the conclusion being made that kids who are disrespectful, rude and violent are kids who need more hard lash?

I believe the debate needs to move to a deeper level. I believe other questions and issues need to be addressed such as: Does discipline mean corporal punishment? What is the difference between discipline and abuse? Is whacking a student in the back of the head with a text book discipline or abuse? Is calling a student stupid and/or too "hard headed" to learn discipline or abuse? Is beating a student until she falls down discipline or abuse?

Is the question really about “to beat or not to beat our children?” What about questioning the other factors contributing to children becoming more disrespectful and violent? What do our children and youth need in order to grow up better adjusted to the changing world? I hear over and over from successful adults that they are better people today because of the hard lash they received as children. I can’t help wonder what other factors made these same people successful? And why aren’t we discussing these factors? I want to know what other factors made George Grant the successful man he is today other then the hard rap to the knuckles he received in school.

I hear regularly on the block, call in programs, and local television that American youth are out of control because parents and teachers are not allowed to beat their kids, “You don’t see how those kids turning out. They walking to school with guns. They out of control over there and then they want to come here and tell us how to discipline our kids.” Again I believe the debate needs to move to a broader analyses of why North American kids are spinning out of control and thus why there are more examples of violence in American society today. Seems too simplistic a view to say it is because parents and teachers are not able to beat their children and students. What more should we be questioning in relation to why kids in America are becoming more violent? Why isen’t there more debate on other factors affecting the youth such as violent media images that are shoved into both our Caribbean and North American youth’s minds through tv, video games, computers ect.. How is violent media affecting our youths? Why is providing our kids material wealth more important then spending quality time with them?

Other questions I believe need to be addressed within a Grenadian context are: Are our teachers trained professionally in classroom management? Have they had the opportunity to look at alternative means to disciplining? Are our teachers trained to recognize and deal with children who have learning and emotional disabilities? (You cannot beat out a learning or emotional disability)? Are we parents spending enough time with our kids teaching, affirming, respecting, and acknowledging their talents and potential? Where and how do kids learn love, respect, responsibility, compassion? Is it enough to provide our kids with food, shelter, pretty clothes to walk down the road in? Why are our young women making babies at such an early age? Why are older and young men impregnating these young women? How does this contribute to the cycle of violence? Are we providing our adolescent mothers and fathers parenting training? How are we as a nation and individuals contributing to the cycle of violence that is prevalent in our society today?

I believe this on-going passionate debate on disciplining our kids has to go much broader then simply debating whether kids need more lash?

Friday, March 12, 2010

feeling no pain! community shines

Economic, social, political and physically hard times take back seat for the evening as the Tivoli Drummers take centre stage in Harford Village. The drums beat out their invitation for community to come:

Come out from behind your tv screens, your dvd movies, your grievances towards neighbours;
Come out from your worries of a next day, your pots to be scrubbed and clothes to be washed;
Come out from the who said what and where and when;
Come out and join the rhythm of the drums,the chanting of old time songs,
the playing of circle games, the healing testimonies of music and laughter;
Come out and feel what it really feels like when the “music hits you and you feel no pain!”

The whole of Harford village gathered at the junction last Tuesday evening to listen, feel and witness the power of drum, the power of conscious music to soothe the soul and give birth once again to community spirit. By the end of the evening the whole of the village had arrived from the elders to the infants bouncing on their mother’s swaying hips.

Timvoli Drummers, one of Grenada’s most popular drum groups accepted a recent invite to come and play in our community! The drummers are a source of cultural pride not only nationally but also for the big parish of St. Andrews, the community of Tivoli where the group was conceived and now Harford Village! As one Village man said on the night the African drums arrived: “I can’t believe Tivoli drummers are playing for the Village, We special or what!” Clapping, chanting and dancing to African drums is a recipe for community spirit at it's most! Their was no time for: “fussing and fighting”; idle chat about “who say what”; loud talk of which political party “killing de country”, or “who ‘thiefing’ what from who”. There was only time to play old time games, sing rhythmical chants, laugh and encourage our children in the dances they danced, the games they skipped and the bent back limbo they performed.

One of the youth leaders leaned into me in the middle of a beat and says “I cant remember the last time village people come out and really enjoy one another!” Another friend commented : “so much negativity, gossip and divison between we people however on a night like tonight, when music take your soul we all one, we all feel our togetherness!”

I reflect on the power of music, in particular drum and dance in healing our bodies and minds; in providing a sense of hope and courage; in transforming hardened minds and bodies into soft flowing forgiving beings. I reflect while extending a wide open thank you to Krumah Livingston Nelsonand the rest of the Tivolli Drummers for creating, provoking and illuminating community spirit!!!

So when you all coming back!!!!!