A few weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled “Stop naffhousing the kids!” I had some questions regarding where is correction dealt with in the bible, so here we go.
I have been reading a book by Larry Tomczak called God, the Rod and your child’s bod, and I have been greatly encouraged and stretched and educated and, and and and…
I believe in smacking, but have been enlightened and encouraged by the fact that, it’s not really about smacking at all, it’s about biblical correction in the context of a loving relationship between parent and child. All who see and have experienced “smacking” and have become resentful, angry, disillusioned, frustrated, hurt, abused etc, must understand that their experience is not biblical correction but being at the receiving end of someone who had authority over you, expressing their idea of correction, not in love, but in hurt, retaliation and anger.
So, let’s get into it. I have taken many of the ideas below from Larry’s book, so get hold of one!
“IT’S BETTER TO BUILD CHILDREN THAN TO REPAIR MEN!”
I have seen and experienced two extremes of Biblical correction, the one Disciplinarian side, presents itself as an over reaction, unbalanced to the action requiring correction. It is militaristic, cold and stern. At the other end of the spectrum is Libertarian correction. This stresses the inherent goodness of the child, allowing him/her to express their feelings in whatever manner, it embraces the idea that tantrums will be outgrown if ignored, parents must never spank as it inhibits growth and encourages violence in society.
Interestingly, as adults we sometimes twist any wisdom, even biblical wisdom, in the event that it does not fit into our exact idea of what wisdom should be. Remember, any truth extended becomes false. Romans 1:22 encapsulates us brilliantly, it says “Claiming to be wise they became fools.” And parenting is no exception!
L. Tomczak says “The primary goal in loving correction is to produce godly character so that God will be glorified, not merely to find a little peace at home.” Brilliant! We have a goal by which to measure our actions, agree with me or not, ask yourself, will your methods end up producing godly character in your child so that God is glorified?
Proverbs 19:20 reads “listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.”
Punishment is what you do TO your child, discipline is what you do FOR your child. So the question is begged, why do they need either? Proverbs 22:15 states “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him”. The rod refers to a thin flexible branch from a tree used for smacking. Psalm 14:1 says “Only fools say in their heart there is no God”. So basically children have foolishness inside them, and one of the expressions of foolishness is that God is deleted from our lives. So basically, loving correction prevents the inherent foolishness, that exists in our children, from causing them to never know and live in relationship with their loving God and Father. That’s a pretty solid inheritance to leave them.
One scripture often used in Christian circles is Proverbs 22:15 and most translate it as “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old (approaching maturity) he will not depart from it.” What is interesting about this passage is that the original Hebrew doesn’t include the part “in the way he should go”. It actually says, according to L. Tomczak’s research “Train up a child in his way, and he shall not depart from it” Basically, it is more of a warning than a promise and bolsters the caution mentioned in Proverbs 22:15. If we leave them to their own natural tendencies they will not depart from them, but ask yourself, is that what you want considering our inheritance from 1st Adam.
The word “train”, describes the process of creating a desire. So as parents, its not about simply smacking, but using various tools, including a possible smack, to disciple our children in such a way that the foolishness of man, that says there is no God, is destroyed and so that who remains is a man/woman, with a love and passion for God, a desire to seek his will, serve Him, love His people and extend His kingdom. Quite a responsibility wouldn’t you say!
Dorothy Law Nolte writes:
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing, he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness, he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If you live with serenity, your child will live with peace of mind.
With what is your child living?
Well then, what about shouting and offering incentives for correct behaviour? Proverbs 29:19 says “By mere words a servant is not disciplined , for though he understands, he will not give heed.” Yelling or telling a child exactly what they have done and sending them to their room is not enough. Firstly, nowadays with all the technology that parents unwittingly throw at their children (another topic on its own), being ordered to ones room is more of a reward than a punishment, secondly, yelling may give the Devil an opportunity to sow bitterness, anger and resentment, feelings that are the reasons why some parents don’t want to discipline their children in the first place. They don’t want them to feel what they did, but as noted previously this is not loving biblical correction. Incentives, no wait lets call it what it is, bribing! Bribing promotes a selfish focus in that it encourages a child to obey if the reward is more beneficial than the action in question. This is not a good seed to sow, because amongst other things, they need to learn that good behaviour is not rewarded, it is expected!