To Spank Or Not To Spank
Unpopular. When the discussion turns to the discipline of children, society turns a dim eye on anyone who would lay a hand on a child. Changes happen in cultures for good and for worse. What was once considered acceptable is no longer viewed with the same concern. There was a time when the majority of Americans smoked. The diligence of health experts and the people’s desire for a better life has reduced smoking to a very low percentage. How did that happen? Culture changed. This was a good change but it shows the power of how what once something was viewed as a normal part of life is not as accepted as it had been. The same thing has happened to spanking children. There was a time in our country when discipline was a part of life. If you misbehaved at school, you would face the consequence at home. In today’s liberal society, if a child misbehaves in school the teacher is punished. There is a fear to correct children in public for fear of law enforcement being called.
The whims of society dictate the culture of character. History bears the scars of every generation trying to improve upon the principles laid forth from the word of God. The Bible is the mind of God revealed to man showing him the only path of truth. There has never been a time in the history of man the Lord has approved of child abuse. Paul warns fathers not to bring their children up in an atmosphere of wrath. Love is the foundation of a parents relationship with their children as they teach them, correct them and admonish them. But then we turn to the wisdom literature where God tells parents to beat their child with a rod. Another thing that changes in society is the meaning of words. When someone reads the words “beat” and “rod” images of horrific child abuse emerge. Is this what God intended? No. What the Lord does mean is that pain is involved. Children need to understand the consequence of their actions can bring about the punishment of chastisement. It is not to inflict pain for pain’s sake but to impress upon the mind the seriousness of their actions.
There are many dangers in life. If a child wants to stick their finger in an electrical socket, are mere words going to impose upon their will the danger? Not likely. When a child is running through the parking lot and does not see a car approach, will kind words of love stop him in his tracks? Never. There are times something more forceful must be done. Inflicting pain to teach a child the dangers of electricity is prudent. Being able to forcefully shout a command to stop may save a child’s life. Everyone needs corrective discipline from time to time. Children who grow up without the infliction of painful disciple will be a ruin to themselves and to others.
When parents spend a lot of time with instructive discipline, it becomes less likely the use of punitive discipline is necessary. But there will always be a time to choose the rod instead of the word. Consider this parents: if you believe the Bible to be the word of truth and you believe the word of God tells you about the Son of God – how can you deny the proverb of today? Our loving Father tells us that children need the rod from time to time. If we refuse to do that, we have refused to follow the plan God intended for the family. There are many passages that tell parents to teach children the way of truth in love. Understand that God also requires you to exercise punitive discipline when needed.
A good home is authoritarian, for if a wise mothers sees her young son about to eat poison berries, she stops him. She does not say: “I must not coerce him. He must make his own discovery of truth” … but a good home is also … an honoring of personality. So any sound education is both authoritarian and free. (George A. Buttrick, Christ and Man’s Dilemma, 1946)