Friday, November 5, 2010

Discipline and the Bible

HONOR your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Deut. 5:16
The page on the bible where this verse is located is often paid a quick visit during our night time prayer session, most especially if I feel that the kids have been difficult far too often than usual. C, who always leads the session, usually starts with a Bible story and ends with any of the parenting verses from the Bible; and I, just for good measure, always emphasize on the promised benefit … so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

For parents who wish to raise their kids with obedient hearts, this above mentioned Deuteronomy verse can be the center force of their discipline routine. In my case, I make it a point to stress that this is the only one among God’s Ten Commandments with a promise - the only one. The verse says, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Go ahead, get your bible and look it up.)

While this verse surely tow-in my kids in for a few days, I certainly hear grumbling in the next few days that follow about how it is unfair that he/she is the only one who is obeying.

I constantly remind them that each one of them is accountable to God and to a lesser degree - me. I tirelessly remind each one that God will bless their obedience. And true enough, God convicted their hearts; coming out of the Sunday service a few Sundays ago, B blurted out that they discussed the verse: “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the right time.” (Galatians 6:9)

The Bible also says, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him," and plenty of Christians interpret the passage literally. Our senior pastor at CCF believes that spanking is OK when it's done right.

Yes, I believe in spanking. In my household, disciplinary spanking was effective and beneficial when my kids were younger, around ages two to five. A quick smack on the butt was given after a short discussion with the offending kid. We always assured them that the reason we are spanking them is to discipline them because we are motivated by love to keep them from future harm. We use a flat wooden stick that we called “spanking rod” which we bought at a Christian bookstore.

There are numerous opposing views about corporal punishment. One of them being that spanking promotes aggressive behavior in kids. I believe this only happens when the spanking is done as an overly severe punishment by a parent who is angrily out of control. As opposed to appropriate spanking wherein the parent only takes one or a couple of controlled taps on the buttocks, and never done in anger. It is important that disciplinary spanking is used in the context of a nurturing parent-child relationship. We discipline them because we love them.

Nowadays, we have kept the rod out of sight; mostly because the kids are already of the age where reasoning with them is better than corporal punishment, but also because there is less need for it. A quick look from me is all they usually need to behave themselves. Still, they are not perfect. During times when they do need to be disciplined, punishment comes in the form of with-holding privileges, like the use of the DS or Ipad/Iphone. And for the tech-savvy kids of today, that is the worst punishment of all.