David Alithum is a Form Three student. He is an introvert. He rarely makes friendship with people. He only forms clichés with few students who are also very much like him in attitude and behaviour. Students and even teachers do not like to cross with him, because he was considered to be touchy, easily irritable and bad-tempered. Girls and students of lower classes would not come near him out of fear. They leave him to live in his own world. Unfortunately no one bothered to know his mind and his background.
On a Monday morning when the rest of the school was busy with their lessons his father, a Corporal in the army was seen spanking his son mercilessly in the school’s assembly square. David was made to lie on his stomach and his father was canning him with very many strokes on his buttocks. The scene was watched by few teachers without any emotion. It was approved by them. The father came to discipline the boy at their call. The Headmaster who did not know any background to this cane administration came rushing from his office to stop this heartless act.
In his enquiry he came to know that on the previous Friday David punched a fellow student on the face and chest very many times causing internal and external wounds. It was an act of revenge. The victim reportedly kicked David during a friendly football match. Indeed it was one violent act giving birth to a chain of violent acts. Often a mild violent act multiplies into severe violent acts. At the end of the chain the root cause and the root event would have even lost its origin.
The Headmaster who was visibly annoyed asked the dad to leave the school premises immediately and called the boy for a friendly chat. The kind colloquy was an eye-opener to him. He noticed a scar on the boy’s forehead and on enquiry he came to know that it was caused by his dad while he was seven years old. The dad threw a bunch of keys at him after he had fought with his elder sister on a childish quarrel. Everyone thanked God that the boy’s eyes narrowly missed the keys, which were thrown spitefully and thoughtlessly, narrowly escaped the boy’s eyes. That is what anger is.
David revealed to the Headmaster that his father regularly beats him and his brothers and sisters for any little mistake. Mistakes of his and his siblings were according to him not so serious and often can be overlooked as his mother often does. He also revealed that at least once in a month his mother too gets slaps and kicks from his dad. This situation is never discussed within the family or even reported outside their family walls. His grandparents and other relatives paid little attention to them and sometimes even advised them to adjust their behaviours according to their father’s moods. They never liked the family commotion to be brought to light.
The wife and the children know him as a person who never knew how to control his anger. He was a man of displaced feelings and often gave vent to them on innocent children. The children carried their scars that he imprinted on them, which were visible for everyone to see. They also carried numerous scars hidden in their minds and hearts which were not known to outside world. They silently regretted those scars and they would live with them for the rest of their lives. But unfortunately it is likely that they too will inflict those same scars on others if not treated now.
Later the Headmaster came to know from the School Disciplinary Committee that David too is a photocopy of his father. Like father, like son. He has been involved in fighting spree almost every term. He was commonly called “Mike Tyson” and of late he is renamed “Golola” after the Ugandan celebrated boxer. Though he was good at football, the team was always afraid of having him in the school team, because he always abused the referees, fought with opponents and fellow team-mates. In fact he has been banned from playing football in the current term for injuring a fellow player.
Violence is often domestically bred. As children learn good morals and good mannerisms from their parents they also learn violence and aggressive behaviour from them. School and social environment should pay attention to children when they use abusive words, or easily provoke others and are easily provoked. Adults and those in charge should watch out for their unkind words, failure to be charitable even in small acts and giving into fights easily. They are only tip of an ice-berg. They are volcanoes waiting to erupt in the future. When they are not moulded into kind children they become aggressive adults.
Children need to be taught in the environment of kindness and friendliness. Recourse to corporal punishments unconsciously builds into their tender minds that inflicting physical pain solves problems and brings desired order. Counselling, showing parental concern and reimbursing unkind acts with kind breaks the chain of violence that originates from home or hostile environment. Exercise in silence, quiet time and prayer can also build a tranquil mind. Cultivating good and healthy friendships is also a lasting solution to serenity and peace.