While shooting free throws last Friday in my village, I witnessed child abuse. Some Chinese-ish dude around 40 was with his pre-adolescent son, and he was making the kid run the length of the basketball court over and over. And when the kid wanted to stop, with a little bit of pa-drama to show his exhaustion, the dad would admonish him not to be “bakla,” essentially forcing the kid to continue. What a father-son moment.
It is rare for a 10-year-old to see a parent as a fallible, possibly wicked person, and the parent’s command is akin to coercive law. In this sense, the parent has quasi-state powers. Of course, in an actual free society, the kid has a choice to seek guardianship elsewhere, but this idea does not normally occur before adolescence.
RULE BY FORCE = STATISM
You would think that a parent would take this pedestalizing more responsibly, but I guess for some, it’s just easier to vent one’s frustrations, disappointments and traumas on the next generation.
Such behavior, of succumbing to and making use of threats and insults, is reflected elsewhere, in subservience to and rent-seeking through the state.
I don’t deny that there are certain things a parent must do against the will of a child that could be classified as ‘coercive.’ For one, a child can’t be allowed to just run across the street, or touch hot surfaces, or whatnot. And due to the absence of an alternative instructor (least of all a centralized one such as the national government), such ‘coercion’ must be carried out by the parent or guardian.
BEING A ROLE MODEL INVOLVES ACTION
And sometimes, tough love is needed to motivate kids into overcoming the resistance of unproductive leisure. Let’s look back at the parent I mentioned above, who wanted to improve his kid’s stamina. How inspiring is it to be told to run up and down the court by a lazy fuck who calls you names and probably couldn’t even do two laps without collapsing?
Teaching by example is far more effective. If you want your kid to run a mile, run the mile with him. If you’re not in shape to begin with, why should your kid listen to you?
(This also shows how there is so much useless crap we’re taught in schools, so much so that we are of no help if our kids want our assistance in, say, algebra. Not to put down algebra; my point is that lessons ought to be relevant beyond graduation. I, for one, still make loose use of algebraic equations for all sorts of purposes.)
Kace-celebrate lang ng Mother’s Day so I guess my above rant is quite timely. And I have to thank both my mom and dad for somehow inculcating in me a healthy aversion towards the state and other rigid, counterproductive institutions (a little bit of youthful rebellion may have played a part in my political leanings, but hey, all’s well that ends well).