Tuesday, September 19, 2006


There was a baptism at church on Sunday - infants, by sprinkling. I won't get into a debate on that, but suffice it to say that I love Perimeter in spite of it! Randy Pope, our pastor, gives a little primer on parenting every time he does a baptism. The gist of it is that as parents our responsibility is to give our children what they need, and what they need isn't always what they want. Specifically, he says, our children need discipline. Without using the actual words, Randy alluded to the necessity of spanking. Their most important need is love, but but if we truly love our children we'll discipline them well - lovingly but firmly.

I've never spanked my kids, but I'm not entirely opposed to it. I know plenty of parents whose 'dirty secret' is that they've spanked their kids before and still use the threat of it to keep their kids in line. I've never had to do it with mine - Liam's too young, and we've always been able to persuade Sofia with rewards ('reward' sounds better than 'bribe', right?) and time outs. I haven't ruled it out, but I'm thankful that I haven't been in a position yet where it was called for (I'm not saying 'appropriate' because the very term 'appropriate' when used in the same sentence with spanking is debatable). Proverbs 13:24 specifically refers to spanking. The OT --> NT theory that God is more lenient and doles out grace more abundantly in the NT doesn't work either. First of all, God doesn't change. The OT God is the same as the NT God. The only difference is that we're now made righteous by Jesus' work on the cross. But that doesn't mean God won't discipline us. Ephesians 6:4 promts fathers to rightly discipline their children. When we look at the character of God we see that He disciplines us, and expects us to do the same with those He's given us charge over. For the benefit of discipline, look at Hebrews 12:11. It's just like a grapevine. Let wild, it produces few grapes, and they're sour. But prune it well and the harvest will be richer and sweeter.

I don't know when spanking would be 'appropriate'. But I do know it has to be done in love. And, all kids are different. I've never had to spank Sofia, because when she finds that we're disappointed with something she's done, she's mortified. She's so sensitive, and the mere threat of upsetting her parents keeps her in line.

And, when you bring something like love languages into the equation, what does that do? For a child whose love language is touch (and it absolutely is not Sofia's, but we'll have to see about Liam), spanking or any type of physical punishment would be absolutely wrong - because it would be using the way they express or receive love against them. So perhaps different children necessitate different means of discipline and correction, based on their personalities and character. But we, like God, should be more concerned with our children's character development than their comfort level.

Sofia is starting to show us some attitude - when she doesn't get her way, she shoots me a look to kill. I think she probably got it from me, but let's pretend she didn't... And today when I picked her up from preschool, her teacher told me she was 'mad' - she didn't get to have a job today. There are several jobs that different kids get to do each day to help the teacher, and when they get a job they wear a special star. Sofia wanted to wear a star. So apparently all day long she was mad, even though she'll get to have a job (and thus, a star) on Thursday when she goes to school. So where is this new attitude coming from (please don't say me) and how do I curb it before it gets out of control?

No comments: