It was a summery Saturday afternoon and I was 5 years old. My Mum was away ushering people to their seats at a matinee performance. My Dad was tinkering around somewhere outside. I was sitting in the gutter throwing stones at passing cars. Suddenly a witch in one of the drivers’ seats slammed on the brakes, exited the car and strode up to our front door. She rang on the bell and potted me!!
I don’t recall the punishment that was meted out for such a heinous crime. I know that my stone throwing days were over before they had really begun; my capacity to amuse myself severely daunted; terrorism nipped in the bud………. And I also know that I wasn’t driven to the hills and left there because in those days we didn’t own a car. Simple!
Now forward wind 60 years to Japan, June, 2016.
A Japanese couple left their 7 year old son on the side of a mountain to punish him for throwing stones at cars. Gosh! When they went back to look for him 5 minutes later (they said), he was gone. Gosh! They called out the army, the air force and the police to search for him. Gosh! He was found a week later in a military shelter. Gosh! He said he was very hungry. No Kidding! The story went viral and the father could be heard, bent lower than his knees, begging forgiveness from the entire nation that apparently wanted to lynch him. Japan doesn’t do that sort of thing to its citizens. They are expected to do it to themselves I believe. Complex!
This latest viral tidbit triggers some fascinating thoughts which will NOT change the world.
First: Can you imagine the absolute horror of returning to the spot and finding the kid had actually disappeared?
Second: Abolishing capital punishment has caused parents to become more creative in their disciplinary actions.
Third: If you haven’t understood the sacrosanct relationship between man and his property you deserved to be punished anyway.
Forth: Let anyone who has never harbored a secret, perfectly shameful desire to sell his kid on EBay cast the first stone (not at a passing car though).
Fifth: I promise NEVER to ACT on any nasty thoughts that MAY happen to cross my mind. Cross my heart and hope to die.
Sixth: Surviving childhood requires fortitude, imagination and lots of luck.
But what WILL change the world is the way this particular story ends. A week after its initial report which apparently left Japan in a state of shock and anyone else hearing that particular piece of news incredulous, the BBC reported that the boy had forgiven his father. He is said to have blessed his father on national news with the following words, “I forgive you. You are a good Dad”.
Now this sort of statement from your seven year old would seriously make you feel guilty for even entertaining the idea of EBay as a possible outlet for your pent up parental frustration.
Enjoy the fun of the European football competition this month. There are no hard and fast rules about exporting football hooligans to a Japanese mountainside or, for that matter, to outer Mongolia. Guilt shall be kept to a minimum and forgiveness is not required.