Beating is the common mode of discipline amongst the Zulu population in the township where we work.  Children come to expect it.  They do something wrong, they prepare themselves for the whip, stick, hand, or whatever implement their disciplinarian chooses to use…  It came to our attention that one of the little boys in our child support group was getting more than the normal amount of beatings.

This young man lives with his auntie as he is an orphan.  His auntie was beating him severely almost daily.  She could not handle his behavior and that was evident.  He is approximately 9 years old and as the SOH staff say, “he is a naughty one.”  The auntie knew only to “beat” the evil out of him!

One of our community health care workers, Jabu, spent a long time with the young auntie a couple of weeks ago.  Listening to her struggles, empathizing with her pain, and encouraging her to be the best “step-in” mom that she can be.  Jabu provided her with some alternatives to use with her troubled nephew when he was “naughty” so she had some options other than the stick!  Jabu also prayed with her, encouraged her to spend time with her nephew and get to know him and get involved in his school, etc.

This may sound like small things, but being an involved parent is almost unheard of in our township.

I am thrilled to report that this week, the auntie came back and she is overjoyed at how well this novel concept of “talking to your children” is working!  Her nephew is responding to her in such a new way.  Not that he isn’t still naughty.  On the weekend, he stole money out of her purse.  Instead of yelling at him and beating him, she quietly went up to him and asked him if he took the money.  He confessed and returned the money!  No yelling, no beating, quick resolution.  She then sat down with him and explained that if he needs something, he is allowed to ask her, NOT take from her.

We have seen them walking down the road together laughing, singing, and enjoying each other!  What an incredible difference from before!  She reported to Jabu that she feels so much more equipped and confident in her ability to raise him well.  Awesome!

Parenting is something we are putting a lot of focus and prayer into this year.  We see such a need for parents to become more involved in their children’s lives.  We just finished a pilot 3-day parenting course at SOH, and it yielded fantastic results.  We are seeing families healing in amazing ways – even among our SOH staff… and we are confident that this is going to translate into the families in the community as our staff trains, teaches, equips and serves Bhekulwandle!

The picture above is not the little boy in the story to protect the identity of our clients.

One Response to Beatings
  1. Taryn Reply

    So proud of how Jabu has flourished in her role on the health team! I knew she was destined for great things in those few weeks working with her. Love hearing the updates and how Bhekulwandle continues to grow and change with the help of SOH and its dedicated team. So encouraging! May God continue to heal.

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