Spare the rod

I wasn't going to write about this issue, but haven't been able to get it out of my head since this morning's internet ramble with breakfast. I stumbled on a blog that linked to this site ironically called "No Greater Joy". The site amongst other things, advocates for physical discipline of children as the biblically mandated parental role. Specifically, it mentions using flexible piping and "switches" as implements on children even under one year of age. It is promoted as a means of training children, to defeat their will. It disturbed me, as it obviously has many other bloggers out there – eg Benediction blogs on. It hit the media in the UK recently in response to their books being made available. You can read one of the media releases here. It saddens me deeply to see the Bible used in this way, and unfortunately the broader Christian body is so readily tarred with the same brush. There is no escaping the fact that children need firm, clear and consistent boundaries to grow. But they do not need physical abuse, and using the bible to justify dominating children through using switches and bits of plastic piping is abhorrent.

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5 thoughts on “Spare the rod

  1. Thanks for the link. And you are correct, there is a great deal of difference between firm and consistent boundaries and physical abuse.

    This issue has touched a lot of bloggers, and I am impressed with how clear people are about their outrage and how willing they are to speak up.
    Thanks.

  2. I don’t like frequent spanking of children, but I don’t believe that physical punishment within a family is 100% evil either.

    Using the bible to require it is one of the silliest things I’ve heard today

  3. Thank God that there are many people like you out there who see the ignorance in the Pearls’ “wisdom.” I was handed Debi Pearl’s newest book “Created to be His Help Meet” the other day. My best friend, whom I have known since junior high, said this book changed her life. I had never heard of the Pearls before this. I eagerly took the book home, pleased that I could share this with my dear friend. After a few pages my jaw dropped! I couldn’t believe what I read. The new book is not the child-whipping manuals that I have since discovered that the Pearls write, but it is also repulsive in that it promotes spousal rape, mental abuse, and strict gender roles under the idea of King James Version-only Christian dogma that is psuedo-biblical. It is alarming that thousands of people, like my friend, who are searching for guidance on how to have happy marriages and children would stumble upon the Pearls and be satisfied that they found answers! It is criminal that this couple could incite violence in the home and get away with it!
    Thank you for paying attention and doing something about it, even if it is just saying your piece in here. It is something I can’t get out of my head either. I can only find peace that Jesus will give and end to all this one day. No child or wife should suffer by someone who claims that Jesus said it should be so. That is simply a dangerous lie.

  4. I don’t expect to sway anyone’s personal opinion on using “the rod”. But I do want to share what I experienced…When our first daughter (now age 4) was just turning 2 and entering what is commonly known as “the terrible twos”, a friend of ours loaned us a copy of To Train Up A Child. I also need to add that before we had any children, my husband and I thought we would eventually like to have 4 kids. As our daughter became increasingly difficult to handle, I found myself irritated and annoyed with her, and both my husband and I decided then that ONE child was all we wanted…and maybe even more than we bargained for.

    Within one week of receiveing the Pearl’s book–and IMPLEMENTING–some of their suggestions (yes, including spanking), I began to realize that I was ENJOYING my daughter immensely!! I began to take pleasure in the time we spent together. I was no longer dreading the ending of nap-time! My little girl was a JOY to be with! How can you explain this?? I will tell you: The Bible says, “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” (Proverbs 29:17 NKJV).

    Do you ENJOY your children? Do your children respect and love you?

    My sister and I (two years apart) were raised the same way and we both received spankings when we were young. my parents were never ( as I remember) in a rage when they spanked. And after it was done, they hugged us and reminded us they loved us. However, my sister grew up angry and bitter at being spanked, and I did not. The result is that she hates the idea of spanking and has never spanked either of her two children (now 8 & 11). I love my sister dearly, but the fact is that her children ar TERRORS! I love them dearly, too, but they are very difficult to be around without getting upset. I have seen my sister tell them “No” repeatedly until she gets so worked up and angry she spews words of anger out at them–to the point of belittling their character. I have seen her grab my neice by the leg and in absolute frustration and ANGER pull her out of the car ( because my neice was not listening to her mommy’s directions). I have witnessed mothers and fathers cursing at their children in tones of hatred. I have seen a mother drag her son by the arm, kicking and screaming the whole way, accross the park because he refused to come with her.

    Which do you think is more damaging to a child?? Unleashing your anger upon him/her, or calmly giving a rebuke followed by a couple swats??

    I believe one should NEVER spank their child if they cannot first control their anger. If you are an angry parent, then you need to deal with you anger first, or you will be guilty of abusing you child. I beleive verbal abuse is equally as–or even more–damaging than physical abuse.
    But may I suggest that most parents would not reach the “angry” stage if they would calmly and consistently spank their children right when it was needed. Instead, I see many parents waiting and waiting to take some form of corrective action with their child, all the while their anger is building until they explode. Is that You?

    If you were to read more of the Pearl’s writings you would find that they beleive it is more important to spend time fellolwshipping and bonding with your children–playing with them and ejoying things together–than it is to spank them. They really go hand-in-hand, but they make it quite clear that without the fellowship, the rod will be useless. Look into it for yourself.

    Oh, by the way, we now have three daughters and counting! Each one brings us increasing joy to make us want to have more!! Amazing isn’t it?? I am so thankful for the Pearl’s book as a guideline for raising sweet kids. Almost weekly someone tells me what “sweet” or “great” or “good” or “happy” kids I have! I love it! There’s one college-aged girl that repeatedly tells me my husband and I should write a book on raising kids and how she wants our help when she has kids! Well, the book has already been written by the Pearl’s, we just do what it says. Don’t get me wrong, we are not perfect. I still get angry at times–. My kids still do things that need correcting–they are born as sinners and need to be trained. But now I know how to deal with it: apply the Word of God. Try it sometime.

  5. Mara, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am reading Debi’s book on being a “Help Meet” – it is very hard to get through, b/c it is so dramatically different from all the other Christian books I’ve read. But if there’s one thing about Debi Pearl, it’s that she is frank. We may not agree with her, but I can totally see her heart in the book. I am still researching into the “obey your husband” notion, which she cites for Titus 2:4-5. Most of my translations say “submit” or “love” your husband, NOT obey – obey the Lord, slaves obey masters and children obey parents. But since when are wives to obey husbands and does obeying husband -even if he’s a drunk, an adulterer or a porn/drug addict- truly mean we’re obeying God? The whole thing with the King James version-only reminds me of the Jehovah’s Witnesses – they like to pick and choose from various sources (sometimes the Septuagint, sometimes not) to suit their theology and they also favor the KJV.

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