Spare the rod? Spare me!

I belong to many groups on Facebook – and the hot topic on one of them today was spanking. Should one spank? Should one not? What does everyone think..

I think it took about 4 posts before what I dreaded popped up – some mom posted “well it says in the Bible  “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. I grit my teeth and walked away from my compiler, hot steam pouring from my ears.  When I composed myself, I sat down and wrote the following, “as a matter of fact the Bible does NOT say this.”

Did you know this my darlings, this quote attributed to the Bible, the word of God,  for years and used as an excuse and as permission for Christian to not only spank, but to use a weapon to discipline their children is an error.

This line is actually to be found in a poem by Samuel Butler, Hudibras:
Love is a boy by poets styl’d;
Then spare the rod, and spoil the child.
Take a moment and research this poem and you will see that the statement has nothing to do with child-rearing at all! Isn’t that astonishing!

What we find in the Bible is the following:

13:24 He that spareth hid rod hateth his son:  but he that loveth him
chasteneth him betimes.
22:15 Foolishness is boun dint he heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest  him with the rod, he shall not die.
Thou shall beat him with the rod and reproof give wisdom.

You might read that and say, “Well whats your point Samsarah.  Looks like these quotes are really saying the same thing.  That a parent must hit their child – that hitting is in important part of discipline and the parent who doesn’t hit is not doing their job as a parent.”

Again,  I disagree.  And I ask you to take a walk with me to another area of the Bible, the 23rd Psalm and it is here that we read “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”  Thy rod and thy staff – COMFORT.

Who uses the rod and staff?  These are the tools of the Shepard.  The Shepard is one who would give his life for his sheep.  There are many passages in the bible wherein Jesus refers to himself as the Shepard, one who would lay down his life for his sheep. A good Shepard does not beat and frighten his flock.  He steers them from danger, he directs them to the best grass and purest water he can find – he protects them from danger.  In fact that rod was the primary weapon the Shepard used to protect his flock from predators, who wanted to take a bite out of them.

The staff and rod were  used to guide the sheep – to keep them in line – to keep them safe and together , moving in unison as a flock.

Thy rod and thy staff -they comfort me.

Reading this and thinking on this, I am left with the understanding that these quotes require parents to provide direction to their children, and this I can completely co-sign.  Of course , it is a parents duty to teach their child the rules of courtesy and consideration for others as well as to create and environment where in the child has a strong sense of self esteem and self respect.  Such a child is bound to do well, to make and keep friends and have the ability to feel satisfaction and peace in life.  Such a child can love God and love his/her community and with dignity and an open heart, serve both.

Striking one’s child breaks the sacred bond of trust between parent and child – it can cause the child to fear the parent.  It may work in t he short term, in that the child does what the parent wants – but it the child doing so because he/she knows that its the right action to take – or are they doing it  to avoid pain?  And isn’t it better for a child to develop a conscience?  Their own internal code which dictates their behavior.  I have witnessed and experienced that the bond of love between parent and child creates the environment in which a child’s conscience can grow – first out a desire to please a beloved parent and then on to become components of the child’s internal sense of honor.

Jesus was very clear on this topic:

Let the children come to me and do not hinder hem; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God.  Luke 18:16
Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.  But anyone who is an obstacle to one of these little one, who has faith in me would be better drowned in the depths of the sea with a great milstone around his neck.  Matt. 18:5-7

See? Very clear! Children have a direct line to the kingdom of heaven, actually it is required that adults maintain their child – spirit so that they will be worthy of the kingdom.. This doesn’t at all imply  to me that it is OK to beat children.

But what I read very clearly from both testaments is that parents are duty bound to provide safety , direction and affection to their offspring.  To love them as to good Shepard loves his sheep. And while doing so to maintain for themselves the open hearted trust and wonder of a child – so that the parent will be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven..

Makes much more sense, doesn’t it?

Be well.

momma sings the 23rd psalm while in labor – beautiful (YouTube)

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