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Confusing definitions

Dear editor:

Words have definitions. Those definitions sometimes affect the very morality and ethics of life. When the definition of one word becomes confused with another, much damage can be done.

Consider the words "punish" and "chastise," and then the word "chasten." Dictionary.com defines "punish" as "to subject to pain, loss, confinement, death, etc., as a penalty for some offense, transgression, or fault; to inflict a penalty for an offense, fault, etc." I define it as "to inflict mental and/or physical damage or death for a supposed crime that cannot be rectified."

The word "chastise" carries the definition "to discipline, especially by corporal punishment; to criticize severely," and archaically, "to restrain; chasten; to refine; purify." The related word "chasten" means "to inflict suffering upon for purposes of moral improvement; to restrain; subdue; to make pure in style; not excessively ornamented; virtuous." I define both "chastise" and "chasten" as "to teach how to do and speak right, and how to avoid doing wrong." This is best done with joy and using sorrow only when necessary.

Proper schooling of children must include preparation for work in the labor market, working with and for others socially and for bosses, beneficially and constructively thinking, and what constitutes business ethics. If these things are not taught, and education focuses on test-taking, it is almost totally worthless in society and should not be funded.

"Patriotism" is defined as "devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty."

"Love" (by a biblical definition) is "seeking the highest, best interest of and for another without regard to self."

The most important "natural resource" of every country is its children. They will mainly be of what the country will consist in the future. If anyone is a true patriot, that person will seek the highest, best interest of and for the children of the future, supporting them in their education, defending them from punishment, so that they will be properly chastened to be good workers.

Schoolteachers work directly with a country's most valuable natural resource. They should be the most highly funded and they should be held to the highest standards of conduct since their work must include chastening (teaching students to do and speak constructively in social and work environments). If instructors and instructresses are not permitted to chasten, they are not permitted to properly educate.

When it is necessary to correct wrong behavior, some youths respond well to a momentary sting on their "tokases"; for others, a verbal correction is enough, and for others, a public "time out" is necessary. Children must be corrected; they must never be punished. (This is not splitting hairs.) Punishment is vengeance; chastisement is never punitive and is for learning to do good.

If a state of the United States truly values life, that state will provide the highest funding of all states, teaching its teachers to instruct by the highest standards and enforcing those highest standards, excluding teachers who do little to teach and who do harm to students.

James Wilson

Hot Springs

Editorial on 05/13/2018

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