Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Dicipline does not mean inflicting physical or emotional injury.
The old maxim "spare the rod and spoil the child" has been widely misinterpreted. Would shepherds beat their sheep when they go astray? Certainly not! If for no other reason, they would not want to damage their valuable property. While our children are not our property, most of us don't want to damage them. If we damage them, it is generally done inadvertently by following the examples of our parents who were following the examples of their parents. Most of the examples passed on to us by our parents are very beneficial, yet some of them cause us real pain and cause us to inflict real pain on our children. The inappropriate use of a "rod" is one way we can unintentionally harm our children by following the examples of our parents.
A rod does not have to be used for inflicting or threatening injury. It can be used as a prod to gently encourage a sheep or a child in the right direction. This kind of rod may take the form of a non-injurious single spank to the bottom or the hands of a toddler, or it may mean losing the privilege of using a car for a time for a teenager.
Trying to humiliate children in order to get them to behave differently is never appropriate, for humiliation causes injury to the spirit. This always makes a problem worse rather than better.