Writer’s Name: Charlotte Marshall Templeman
Title: It Takes a Village
Growing up in North Philadelphia during the mid-70’s and 80’s was a wonderful time. Children were able to play freely outside without fear of being hurt or even worse. Summertime was the best. You could always find a street blocked off filled with grills burning, music playing and people having a good time. These were the infamous block parties that closed a street from 8am – 8pm. Block parties in Philadelphia were as traditional as fireworks on the 4th of July. Everyone looked out for everyone like one big family.
During these times growing up, children were very respectful to their elders. Children would not use profanity in the presence of their elders, nor would they talk back. They would help them if needed and not look for anything in return. When speaking to an elder a child would say “hello Mr. or Mrs.” Children would hold the door open for their elders and give up their seat on the bus. They would run errands for them or maybe just sit and have a conversation. Neighborhoods were closely knit communities so the old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” was definitely visible. Neighbors were able to chastise a child they saw doing something inappropriately and take them home to their parents. Once there a child knew that they would further be reprimanded. This may come in the form of a beating followed by a punishment. The parent of the child would thank the other adult with no hard feelings being an issue. The two adults remained friends and respectful to each other. Unfortunately times have changed and people have as well. Disciplining a child today is very different than in previous years. Some methods may be the same but the outcome can mean a matter of a parent going to jail or having their child taken away from them.
Recently in the news we saw Minister Creflo Dollar who was arrested for allegedly hitting his daughter. There were many stories that surfaced as to what happened that day at their home but whatever the case we do know he was arrested. Many may not agree with his method of disciplining but shouldn’t it be his business and not the law? If a child is not being abused I feel the law has no right to intervene in the way a child is raised or punished for their disrespectful behavior. Some people may not agree with physical punishment at all, and that is their right. However, I am a witness that giving your child a beating on the backside with a belt is not detrimental to their raising and what they can ultimately become. As previously stated, children were reprimanded if they were disrespectful, sassy, or unruly and parents did not have to fear the police being called and they being arrested. Many children grew up from being raised with physical punishment to excel in their chosen field.
The key to effectively disciplining a child is to do it with love. A child should understand that there are consequences to their actions. Although I have no problem with a child getting a belt to the backside, I also believe there are other methods of discipline such as taking away their favorite toy, not letting them talk on the phone, or going out with their friends. Whatever the method used, it should be up to the discretion of the parent and not the law. After all, the parent is the one taking care of the child and making sure their needs are met.
Today’s parents are using the time out approach and talking to their child as a form of discipline. This could be a result of the parent thinking that giving a child a hit with a belt is ineffective. You may find parents who were given beatings as a child do not use the same form of discipline on their child. Some would argue giving a child a beating does not work at all. Once again that is up to the discretion of the parent. However you look at it, there needs to be some sort of discipline in a child’s life. While growing up discipline could come from my parents, a neighbor, a teacher, a family friend or relative. If I had to say what I thought was the most effective form of disciplining I would say it was when communities looked out for one another and when everyone had a hand in the raising of a child. So often today, neighborhoods are not neighborhoods. People do not look out for one another anymore and the task of raising a child is solely on the parents. As African Americans I feel we should get back to the village mentality of raising our children. It was more effective and it showed the children that family is extended beyond immediate family. Disciplining a child while they are growing up could be the difference between the law disciplining them or their parents. As long as anything is done out of love it can work and be effective. I am an example that a beating on the backside can groom a successful adult.