Editor's Comment

Don’t hurt the children

A REPORT that a 30-year-old woman of Livingstone allegedly assaulted her seven-year-old daughter, by dipping her hand in hot cooking oil after the child got a 50 ngwee coin, is deeply shocking and raises questions of safety for children within their homes.
What is most saddening is that a mother who by nature is expected to protect the child is the one causing harm.
In God and society’s eyes, mothers are compassionate and loving beings who care for their children more than their own lives.
A mother by her loving and selfless nature is able to sacrifice her life just to save her child.
We are reminded of a story of a woman in some rural parts of Zambia who killed a lion which threatened the life of her child.
It was either her child or her life. Instead of abandoning the child and running for safety, she faced the lion head-on and conquered it.
That’s what we know mothers for.
It is therefore disturbing to hear that a mother has assaulted her own child in such a savagery manner.
What kind of a mother, no matter how upset, would allow the cooking oil to heat up before dipping her child’s hand in it?
It is not only barbaric but it surely raises questions of one’s mental state.
It is inconceivable that a mother in her right frame of mind would be so cruel to her own child.
It is not even expected for a mother to hurt another’s child. This is because any mother worth her salt takes every child as her own.
What is even more baffling is that the woman in question assaulted her child over a 50 ngwee.
Seriously, can the damage caused on the child be equated to a 50 ngwee.
Depending on the degree of burns, the child may never have an opportunity to use her hand again. She may be crippled for life.
Even in the case where she heals, the pain she is enduring now is excruciating and tormenting.
The family now has to incur medical costs way beyond the 50 ngwee.
Needless to say, what can one buy from a 50 ngwee if not a sweet or a few leaves of vegetables?
Even if it were a lot of money, no amount can equate to human life.
It is sad that some parents have devalued the lives of their children to such levels.
The woman in Livingstone is not the first one to commit such a heinous crime against her own child.
We’ve had stories of mothers using hot water, hot pressing irons and braziers against defenceless children.
No matter how grave the offence the child may have committed, assaulting a child in such a manner is not discipline but criminal.
While the Bible teaches parents not to spare the rod in efforts to discipline their children, it does not mean parents should injure or indeed kill their children.
Discipline entails pointing the child to the right path as opposed to causing harm.
Discipline is done out of love and not rage.
It is therefore important for parents to ensure that they calm down before meting out any discipline on a child if need be. This is to avoid doing things that they may end up regretting.
Why should a parent risk going to prison over a mistake made by a naïve and defenseless child that can easily be talked to and corrected?
Moreover children are still in the process of building their moral fibre in distinguishing between right and wrong. Most of them barely understand the implications of their actions. That is why they need to be guided in love.
However, in cases where parents cross the line and assault their children, the law is there to protect them. Assault against a child is an offence regardless of who commits it.
Being a parent is not a licence to injure a child.

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