Thursday, November 4, 2010
In the last month a little child named Chacha has taught me a lot about how our actions can often be perceived by others. He has also taught me how simple it is to understand violence without the complication of the Just War Theory and nuclear armaments. Chacha is three years old, yet seems to have the mind of someone much younger. Since we work with orphans it is not uncommon for the full story of their lives up to the point of entering Angel House to be unknown. Chacha is one such child. Since Chacha’s communication skills is one of the things that has remained underdeveloped setting boundaries and discipline have been major problems for the staff. One of our steps of discipline after verbal instructions and discussion is a physical reminder. This is not beating, but can be anything from physically removing the child from a situation to a small spank to get the message across that an action is not good. This is used possibly more in Chacha’s case because communicating verbally with him almost never works. Chacha’s response though is the most interesting thing. He often times does not understand that he is in trouble or that he is doing anything wrong. He does not seem to have much of a sense of what a discipline system is so his response is often to spank back. I think this is a very telling response for a child that often acts on instinct more than any kind of fore-thought. He already knows at a young age that physical violence of any kind elicits a physically violent response. He is not old enough to understand that I am an authority figure whom he should respect or he does not have the forethought that I am bigger and could end up hurting him more than he can hurt me. He just goes on the instinct that you respond to violence with violence. I think this shows how much some things are a learned response and how much violence is being learned everywhere in the world. In fact earlier this week another child was crying and Chacha at first hit the other child and told them to be quite. He was much smaller and this didn’t hurt the child, but it was still disturbing. I came up seconds later and tried to sooth the child instead of using the “I’ll give you something to cry about” method. Chacha came up right behind me and copied my behavior of soothing. He, like most children, repeats what he sees. Children learn violence from abusive parents just as smaller communities learn violence from bigger, more powerful, abusive communities.
Posted by Eric and Liz Soard at 10:39 PM