More On Spare The Rod

Q. I love most of your articles and fully agree with about 95 to 98% of what you teach, but I have to say I disagree with you on your conclusions on this topic. I don’t know about how biblical it is or isn’t, but punishing a child for wrong doing is essential, in my humble opinion, and in many cases physical punishment is the most effective way. One of the major problems facing our society today, is children are not held accountable and appropriately punished for their wrong-doings at home or at school for fear of law suits or arrest on the parents and school officials’ part. This has produced adults who have a hard time understanding the consequences for disobeying authority or the laws of the land.

Now, beating and spanking are NOT the same thing, and never have been, but advocates of “Not-Spanking” always call spanking, “Beating” to exaggerate the circumstances and garner favor for their position, as most folks will agree that “beating” a child isn’t right, regardless of what they did. But children must learn that there are consequences for their actions, especially when they choose to break the rules.

In conclusion, as Christian parents, the scriptures should be taught, and love and encouragement should be free-flowing in the home. But, when the child breaks the rules, out of malice or in full knowledge of knowing what they did is forbidden, then a spanking is often a necessary means to convey what disobeying authority means. After the punishment is dispensed, then it is important that the parent(s) sit down with the child and explain why the punishment was carried out and how to avoid future spankings.

A. The reason we use the word beating is because that’s the word the Bible uses. The word spanking does not appear anywhere.

Our problem is that we’ve been ingrained with the idea that children are naturally evil and have to have that punished out of them so they’ll be fit for society later. As my article states this began with the Catholic Church and really took hold during the Victorian era. But the Bible never says that either, only that all children belong to God and we have to become like them to enter the Kingdom. That means we have to become as naive and innocent as they are in His eyes. This the opposite of how the world has taught us to see them.

The main thing that spanking accomplishes is to instill a sense of fear in our children, but not a fear sinning. It’s a fear of misbehaving, of angering or embarrassing us.

As adults, we all have to learn that we don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way we are. In other words our entire view of the world is distorted by our attitudes. So we impute our motives to other people’s behavior. We’re manipulative, rebellious, deceptive and any one of 100 other adjectives I could name so we think our children are too. We dislike most in others the behavior that we dislike most in ourselves. Yet we want our kids to act like we do, never considering what horrible examples we are of what people should be like, and punish them when they don’t.

We also confuse training and punishment, neglecting the former and emphasizing the latter. We’re three times the size of our kids. I wonder how we’d feel if some 18 footer went around whacking us whenever we did something he didn’t like without ever training us to do what he did like.

I think it’s a rare parent who follows the pattern you describe in your conclusion. For the most part even Christian parents think that teaching is something that the schools are supposed to do.

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