Proverbs 13:24

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

This isn’t very PC, but I think it speaks truth. We can’t love our kids and not discipline them. I don’t know what your take on "the rod" is, but Solomon sounds pretty firm. And I’d have to agree with him… especially if you keep the “careful” part of the verse. I do believe in spanking. But if that is the knee jerk reaction to every problem, perhaps more consideration ought to be taken.


Angie said...

Well, my parents spanked me, and I turned out OK... except for this twitch in my right eye and my unreasonable fear of hairbrushes and fly swatters. But anyway...

This topic is so hugely debated. I think people swung so far to the opposite end of the spectrum (anti-spankers) as a result of how spanking has been misused (like you said... people have abused the practice by making it the answer to every problem).

When I worked at Kindercare (way different from parenting, I know...) we were forced to explore the alternative ways to discipline since spanking wasn't allowed.

And I taught a parenting course once (because I AM the authority on everything that I know nothing about!). It was an effort to prevent child abuse by giving unwed/teenage mothers additional life skills so they won't end up taking it out on the kids.

It really gave me a respect for those who choose not to spank... After all, every kid is different... just the threat of spanking worked on me, while others will push you to the very edge of insanity! Little kids, big personality!

IMHO "...but he who LOVES him..." has to be the main motivation for any type of discipline.

(Once I locked my grandmother out of the house when she went out to get a switch. I know she loved me... but I was SCARED!!!)

heather said...

The comment on how "today" this wisdom is is right on.
The irony is that most of the time, when we "spare the rod" - we don't do it thinking we hate our child... but fearing they might hate us. Decisions driven by insecurity can't be driven by love. And you are so right that discipline can't be a kneejerk reaction in anger either - it's just as thoughtless and destructive. I've lived both ends of parenting... and true, healthy discipline requires much of me. True, deep love of my children motivates me to work through my passivity, laziness and junk and continually strive to become the wise, humble, senstive, secure, intentional, disciplined, and merciful adult God intends me to be - and that they are deserving of because of His goodness.
I don't come close to being what I want for them... but love reminds me to stop making excuses and provide them what they need in His strength even when mine runs out.

Angie said...

Yeah... what she said!

James said...

Tim, do you really want that picture of Clark in the same line of sight as an entry on Proverbs 13?

Come on...you know you would have said the same thing to me...

Seriously, Heather, your comment was what I was needing to hear at the very minute I read it: "...true, deep love of my children motivates me to work through my passivity, laziness and junk and continually strive to become the wise, humble, senstive, secure, intentional, disciplined, and merciful adult God intends me to be - and that they are deserving of because of His goodness."

Thank you for that. I don't really have anything to say...still trying to absorb the aforementioned challenge.

James said...

Angie...my mother's weapon of choice was a ping-pong paddle. Left side of stove, third drawer down. Was at her house awhile back, looking for a screwdriver in that drawer...well...it all goes gray after that.

tim rush said...

James, I was actually wondering when someone would notice the topic connected with Clark's picture beneath. I almost skipped over that Proverb because of that.

Angie, my dad came at me onetime with a fly swatter. I scoffed. Then I cried... alot. In his defense, he was spanking me for trying to jump out of a moving car. Since, I've had more respect for moving cars... and flies too.

Heather, great words. Very challenging.

The Harris Family said...

We noticed the tie-in to the picture... Sure your kid "fell".

Angie's was a switch... Tim's was a fly-swatter... Mine (Jason) was a wooden spoon from my mom (belt from my dad)... Michelle's was a wooden spoon and switch...

We do spank but usually for outright defiance or disobedience that causes their lives to be in danger. Most everything else is dealt with by other forms of discipline. Although with a very stubborn 2 1/2 year old boy, the "outright defiance" and the "disobedience that causes his life to be in danger" happen quite often.

The key to the verse is not so much the rod. Anyone can beat their child. Anyone can spank out of anger or frustration. Anyone can punish a child. Anyone can use force or coercion to affect change in a child's behaviors.

The key to the verse is being "careful to discipline", and that being motivated by love. Discipline speaks to so much more than beating/spanking/punishing. Careful discipline motivated by love is done out of a desire to mold the one being disciplined. It seeks to methodically shape the one being disciplined into the man/woman that God wishes them to be. God told the Laodiceans that those He loves he reproves and disciplines. When God disciplines us, it is an act of love with the intention of bringing us closer to Him. Why isn't a parent's discipline any different? It shouldn't be. We are our children's earthly manifestation of who our heavenly Father is and what He is like!

Love you Tim. You know that we are brother-in-law's in spirit because your wife's sister (KLC) and my wife (Maggie) might as well be sisters.

Dusty said...

I'm with you guys. I don't think it's right to discipline out of anger - whether it's spanking or yelling - or ignoring...

But (here comes a big BUT)- I'd like to defend anger and frustration. I think they get a bad rap. Anger and frustration are emotions, just like fear and worry. Their presence in the home is not wrong. What can be wrong is what you do with them.

I think some parents work so hard at removing any evidence of anger or frustration, that the child fails to appreciate some dynamics of community. Discipline isn't just about what is best for the child. It is also about what is best for the community. Every child needs to learn that not only are there personal consequences for his/her actions, but also community consequences.

A child needs to know that when he/she behaves selfishly, it might cause others to be frustrated or angry or disappointed... That's life in community. I guess I'm arguing that a calm, monotone, gentle response to every misdeed is not a realistic or healthy picture of how life works - even life in the Kingdom of God.

I know there's a balance here - and that many people lash out at their kids - which is certainly not healthy. Just a thought. Gotta run. I need to go yell at my wife!

The Harris Family said...

Right on Dusty! We're saying the same thing (I think.) Several times when I've disciplined our girls I've told them that what they did makes me (us) angry... and they've seen that anger. But what I think we're both saying is that the discipline isn't done in anger. I've disciplined out of anger before, and it wasn't healthy for me or my kid. The anger overshadowed the discipline and I think the benefit of the discipline was lost. Sam, on the other hand, isn't old enough to quite grasp all the words or concepts... He gets that if he touches the electrical plug then he gets his hand slapped. 2 year olds! They are great and unique.

I'm still noodling through the concept of community... I think discipline is primarily for the child. To the extent that the child is improved then community benefits, but I think that is a secondary benefit not a primary one. This kind of ties into the next post. We cannot affect major, nationwide changes in righteousness without our primary focus being first ourselves, second our family and third those we come in contact with.


tim rush said...

Dust, that is very interesting. I've never heard it worded like that before, yet, when I see some rebuking in a way too gentle mannar, I've known something was wrong.

Interlude: Quincy says, "I love you uncle Dusty."

Back to our story: There is such a thing as overprotection and I guess that can be said for protection from our own emotions in our own home.

I don't think anyone is saying gentleness in discipline is wrong. But just like the rod, can it be overplayed as well?

Harris, did you know the James on here is James Kinnaird. And James did you know this is Jason Harris.

I feel I should do some introductions as you all know each other... except for maybe Dusty. Even though he's met most of you.

So welcome Angie Burns and Heather Thornton.

There, now you're all outed.

But Harris, you're right... getting back to the key of being careful. Still, we as parents will make mistakes. But I think that if we have a habit of taking care in the matters of discipline, we will more quickly recognize those errors. And then, I think one of the hardest parts of parenting... apologize to our kids.

Kim said...

Hey guys, I was just going to share some creative discipling from my mom (you know besides the standard wooden spoon.) She once tied my brother's leg to mine three-legged-race style because we were fighting so badly and made us work together for an afternoon. Shaylee Harper put vanilla on Sage's tongue when he was speaking in a really ugly way, explaining to him that he probably thinks those words will be sweet to say, but their overall effect is very bitter to everyone else. I thought that was pretty smart. I think I remember Tim saying that he would have liked the taste, so for his own relatives that might be a bust. One of my friends here tells her kids if they are whining for something that they can't get it that way, and now they have to wait 2 minutes and ask again. Also very effective. I'd like to hear other original ideas.

About the community conversation, although it may be a secondary effect, I sure feel more sane and everything about the day goes better at the times when we have disciplined well, by that I mean not ignoring things and then getting really frustrated and being really short with the kids and probably in need of a spanking myself. I have really been tested with the little two in ways I never was with Quincy. I guess that is God working on my patience and self-control.

The Harris Family said...

Hello everyone... I followed the links from the people's names and figured out who James & Heather were. What's up peoples?

Ask Michelle... I've done my share of applogizing to my kids (and my wife) for acting out of anger. I asked someone once what you do when you mess up like that in disciplining your kids... The best advice I've heard is that you can't change it so you just appologize, don't swing the other way and thereby become inconsistent, learn from it and then move on. I struggle not to feel guilty in a way that makes me become inconsistent. Good thing I've got a good wife that helps me be stable.