There was a time when I didn’t believe in beating kids. People used to ask me all the time, “Ron, are you going to beat your children?” to which I would reply “Would you eat a newborn puppy?”. Growing up in a black family with roots in the South, it wasn’t uncommon to get punished by means of a old leather belt or “switch” (a thin stick with the leaves removed) rather than scolding words and time out. All that left a bad taste in my mouth, and I could never imagine why parents would resort to that instead of trying to talk it out first. That was until I became a teacher in the Japanese school system.
Asian kids always get stereotyped as the model that all other kids should aspire to. They’re always portrayed as the straight A types who’d rather jump off a cliff than disobey their parents. Siiikeeeee. In Japan, anyway, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure you’ve got your well behaved kids you’re proud to say, “this is my student”, but I’ve met more even more that make me wonder if they wouldn’t be better off in a juvenile detention center somewhere. And I place the blame squarely one a new generation of young parents who refuse to beat their kids.
You know how parents say, “I beat you because I love you”? It sounded hella sadistic when I first thought about it, but now I see the light. My parents beating me after I did something wrong made me afraid to do it again lest I get my ass spanked worse than a dude in a dominatrix club. Japanese kids, however, don’t hate that kind of fear looming over their heads. They do the hell what they want without repercussions. As Charlie Murphy would say, they are “habitual line steppers”. Some of my own students regularly try to test me to see what they can get away with. Some of them even try to give me kanchos, where a kid tries to ram their fingers up your butt. I mean damn…I don’t even let my girl do that kind of stuff. Recently a kid was acting up so bad I kicked him out of class, and when his mom got pissed at him for misbehaving he actually had the audacity to try and slap her in the face. She just shrugged it off and acted like it didn’t happen, but what she needed to do was beat his behind raw. If I had tried to do that to my mama, I wouldn’t even be alive to write this column.
Whatever qualms you may have about beating kids, throw them out the window now. You’ll be thankful when your child ends up nice and respectful instead of inside a Japanese prison breaking rocks for 20 years.
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