Last Wednesday night at Bible study, I met a 4-year-old boy who was being fostered by a friend of mine. That night was his first day with the family. While he was eating his food, my friend noticed the bruise on his forehead. She asked him what happened.
He confidently responded, “my dad punched me on the forehead. He did it.”
He repeated it a few times. I choked up just hearing his answer. All it did was remind me of the time in 5th grade when I asked my classmates if they could check my back because it was hurting. I lifted my uniform so they could see. All they saw were blues, reds, and purples.
My heart aches for Dakota and for all the children who are being abused by their parents. I believed him. I believed he was telling the truth. I know because I have been there. No one would lie something about that. After my classmates saw my bruises and welts, one proceeded to tell me I should call the police. I refused because I didn’t want to lose my birth mother too.
My thinking at that age was that I would rather suffer blows from a leather belt until I was covered in blood than lose a family member. I was taught that the beating was a form of discipline so I didn’t mind.
I thought my bruises were well deserved. I blamed myself for them…because I wasn’t a golden child after all. Maybe I deserved them, but not Dakota. I do not care how well some of us say we turned out to be. It’s not right. Some people turned out well enough without getting disciplined with a belt.
I agree with disciplining children, but there is a fine line between a reasonable punishment and hurting your own child. Parents are only teaching them that it’s okay to hurt other people when they deserve it. Children follow their parents and as they get older, it impacts them differently. According to Proverbs 22:6,
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
I went on a date with a guy once who stated that he wouldn’t have turned out the way he is now if it weren’t for his uncle. He said he wouldn’t have become an engineer if his uncle didn’t hit him every time he got his answers wrong on his math homework. Then he added he didn’t have a problem doing the same to his children…and he wanted ten. Let’s just say there was no second date after that.
After that night at the Bible study, I went home and cried myself to sleep. Not for me. But for the children who are still suffering from them. I am very grateful I am now free from it. The Lord blessed me with adoptive parents who are against these types of punishment.
I will never be powerful enough to change the heart of evil, but I pray to God the children who are suffering from them may be freed.