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A Dad's thoughts on Proverbs 13:24

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by stillsmallvoice, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. stillsmallvoice

    stillsmallvoice The Narn rule!

    +173
    Judaism
    Married
    Hi all!

    I find this very interesting & would like to share it.

    Proverbs 13:24 tells us, "He who spares the rod, hates his son..."

    I've seen this distorted in all kinds of ways by all kinds of people, some of whom cite to justify systematic corporal punishment. Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau (<http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH00fy0>) notes that the (original) Hebrew word translated as "rod" is "shevet", which may also be translated as "sceptre" (as it, in fact, is in Genesis 49:10). He points out that in the Biblical usage, rulers carried rods/sceptres as symbols of their authority; they didn't beat their subjects with them. Rabbi Lau says that Proverbs 13:24 must be seen in this context, i.e. that a parent must provide authority for, and be (inter alia) an authority-figure to, his/her children (King David was guilty in this regard, see I Kings 1:4); the verse is NOT a wholesale license to beat children.

    Be well!

    ssv
     
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  2. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

    +412
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    ssv, I was wondering, as I don't speak Hebrew, if you could tell me how you would interpret the following:

    Prov 23:13,14
    Do not withhold correction from a child,
    For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
    You shall beat him with a rod,
    And deliver his soul from hell.

    FYI, I don't think this is advocating "beating" as most define it, but rather that that "corporal punishment" is one of the biblically acceptable methods of dealing with a willfully disobedient child. I believe a child, up to a certain age, has not fully grasped the ability to reason through certain situations, nor do the "I'm disappointed in your behavior" talks have much affect up to a certain age (speaking from experience as a father of a 6 and 4½ year old. LOL! ;) ) For me, I try and impress upon my children that, while they must accept the consequences of their behavior, the reason I spank them for their wilfull disobedience is because I love them, not in spite of it. Also, I want to teach them respect for those in authority over them. I believe there to be a huge difference between understanding there are consequences and not wanting to incur those consequences and actually being afraid. One is a healthy deterrant, the other is not and is due to the parent not showing their child the proper level of physical discipline.

    Looking forward to your insight on the Proverbs passage (and the rest of the post).

    God bless.
     
  3. stillsmallvoice

    stillsmallvoice The Narn rule!

    +173
    Judaism
    Married
    Hi Reformationist!

    Thank you for responding to my post. Lessee...

    Regarding your remarks on Proverbs 23:13-14, I agree with you that it is not "advocating 'beating' as most define it, but rather that 'corporal punishment' is one of the the Biblically acceptable methods of dealing with a willfully disobedient child." If we appreciate Proverbs 23:13-14 in accordance with the plain meaning of the text, I would agree with your take. Proverbs 23:13 seems to tell us: Don't worry, a(n occasional) smack on your kid's tush won't ruin his life! But if you try to appreciate Proverbs 23:13-14 on a more allegorical/metaphorical level, I think it supports my original post regarding Proverbs 13:24, i.e. that a child needs authority & authority figures & that these are crucial to his/her development.

    God has blessed us with 2 boys, just over 1.5 & just over 5.5, respectively. DW & I do occasionally (!) resort to whacking our older boy on his backside if we feel that what he has done warrants it & if we feel that this is the best way we can make our point & get his attention. But we use the whack-on-the-tush as a last resort & we try not to make a habit out of it. We do not want to give him the message (even tacitly) that it's OK to act violently (other than in self-defense, of course).

    We also use time-outs and withholding/revocation of privileges to get our point across to him. You'll forgive me, but I've got to tell you one very cute story. On Yom Kippur 2000, when Yohanan was almost 4, we were walking to afternoon prayers at our synagogue. I had him on my shoulders. The Book of Jonah is read during Yom Kippur afternoon prayers & we were talking about it (he went to a religious nursery school). We talked about how Jonah tried to run away from God & how God "got very angry" and put Jonah, "in the fish's tummy." Yohanan was quiet for a few seconds & then said to me, "Daddy, God gave Jonah a time-out." Oh, how we love that kid!

    Be well!

    ssv
     
  4. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

    +412
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    I don't see anything relating to frequency in either chapter 23 or 13. I think the determining factor in frequency of correction is the frequency of your child's willful disobedience. Obviously, as the child gets older and more able to sort through the various available choices, the need for spanking will hopefully become less and less because their increased maturity will help them make the correct choice. Also, I agree that spanking should not be the only tool you utilize. However, when you understand that you should spank your child because you love them and you are willing to do it in spite of the negative feelings you experience, like guilt, only then will you be doing it for the right reasons.

    There is a process for establishing when your child is being willfully disobedient and therefore in need of a spanking:

    First, you must set the standard. There is no specific timeline for this step. Only you, as the parent, can decide when the child fully understands what the acceptable behavior is. For instance, you tell your child to clean their room. At first your going to show them how to do it. This may take a few times. Then, you are going to let them do it and watch while they do it and point out if they miss something. This step is probably going to take a while. Then, as you have to point out the things they miss less and less, you start just checking on their progress and then leaving them to it. Once you determine that they know what level of cleanliness you expect (important note: Be understanding about this as they are still children. If you see them really trying remember, they'll probably not do as good of a job as you.) and that they will clean it to the best of their ability whether you are there or not, then you can tell them to clean it and only go check it when they're done. This may take a while for them to learn they will have to redo it to your satisfaction if needed but at this point, you have set the standard. Now, as they get older, you can set more rules like, "you will clean your room on Saturday morning, and on Wednesday after school." Again, give them a chance to learn to clean on the days you've specified and once that standard is set you get to the second part.

    Once the standard is set you must deal with the disobedience. As you know, there will be some. But, remember, you are dealing with their disobedience out of love, out of a desire to teach them consequences and to help them learn to desire to obey you and repent when they do not. If the child knows what you expect and they do not do it, i.e. they don't clean their room Saturday morning, they are being disobedient. Pure and simple. It doesn't make your child bad. It makes them rebellious, which ALL children are, and for that matter, most adults. Rebellion comes in numerous forms. My daughter is outwardly rebellious. IOW, it's very easy to spot. My oldest son is passively rebellious. Much harder to spot. If my wife tells our daughter to put her dolls away, she might just sit there and ignore her. If she tells my son to come inside from playing he will probably say, "Yes ma'am" and continue to play outside. As you can see, one is very easy to spot, the other, easy to overlook, but both are rebellious.

    I think the two most important things to remember are to praise your child when they do well, not just correct them when they do wrong, and, consistancy, consistancy, consistancy.

    I agree that teaching your child to respect authority is very important and part of this is setting the example. Too many parents don't take the time to apologize to their children when they do something wrong to them, like deal with them out of frustration or anger, and that teaches the child the age old, but undeniably ineffective, addage "do as I say, not as I do."

    As far as the actual punishment, that too should be handled a certain way. Your intent should never be compulsion by embarrassment, so, spankings should never be administered in front of other people. Also, before the spanking you should teach your child to ask for forgiveness for the offense and we should let them know that we forgive them, before the physical portion of the punishment. All of this sets the standard for later in life when they will put to use the process of repentance when mom and dad are not their to "punish" them. One last thing, I believe the person who administers the punishment, if possible, should be not be the one who has been dealing with the disobedience from the start. IOW, if my wife has told our daughter to pick her toys up 2 times already and now she is going to get a spanking, I should be the one to administer it. That way, our personal feelings of "frustration" are never the source for the spanking.

    A spanking should never be a violent thing. Hopefully, by violent, you did not mean physical. There is a huge difference. A spanking should hurt, but only because one of the reasons it's administered is as a physical deterrant for disobedience. It should never leave a long lasting mark, like a bruise.

    That was a very cute story about your son. Thanks for sharing. Kids are the greatest. My pastor told me something I think all parents should remember. He said, "Your children are not really your children. They are God's children. He gave you the responsibility of rearing His children. And eventually, He wants them back. Make sure you do a good job in raising His kids."

    God bless.
     
  5. Auntie

    Auntie THANK YOU JESUS!!

    +603
    Christian
    Married
    Great post, Reformationist. You sound like a good parent. Just wait till you become a grandparent.:D


    stillsmallvoice: That was a cute story about your son and Jonah!:D Isn't it amazing how much kids DO understand? btw, take care, I worry about you being in Jerusalem. Yet I know God is with you always.:pray:
     
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