Thursday, October 9, 2008
Christian culture endorses spanking as a means of disciplining children. They say they do this in adherence to Proverbs 13:24 which says "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." (NKJV) But the original Hebrew word for rod, shabat, means a shepherd's staff which guides the sheep. A shabat wasn't used to hit the sheep but it was tall enough for the sheep to always see where the shepherd was and the shepherd used it to pull sheep back from edges of cliffs. It lovingly guided the sheep in the same way discipline, by definition, lovingly guides a child.
However, members of Christian culture won't hear of this. They don't feel that spanking is the same thing as hitting. They will defend it to their dying breath. Christian culture is very concerned that the government may take away their right to spank. Admittedly, patient guidance and giving a kid needed attention and emotional nurturing is extremely time-consuming, especially when you're a busy mom who's had an awful day and you feel like fried hell. But if parents were to give their kids enough individual time, patient guidance and a non-spanking type of consequence, could this possibly be the actual Biblical definition of discipline?
Lots of times children will act up to get negative attention if they aren't getting positive attention. Grown-ups do it too. It's better than nothing. Because most Christian culture families have several children, it's more difficult to give each the necessary attention as the family grows. Possibly because of this, you will not find a Christian culture family of 3+ that does not practice spanking. At the same time, you will not find a Christian culture family who does not have a grown child who has "wandered away," doesn't attend church in their adult life, has a good deal of self-contempt, or suffers from depression. Is it possible that the means of discipline used and the amount of emotional attention given (as they are closely entwined, per the definition of discipline) could be somehow correlated to this?