I looked up the word discipline in the dictionary and I saw 3 things that stood out:
1 - Punishment
2 - Instruction
3 - Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.
Sadly instruction was considered an obsolete definition. The 3rd one is what I think of when I think of discipline. To disciple, to mold. This to me is what a parent does. They mold and shape a child. This should be done in love. There should be a heaping dose of mercy and grace. There should also be some punishments when behavior reaches the point of extreme.
However the world now equates discipline with definition #1 - Punishment. Spanking is looked at as corporal punishment. Spanking is also looked at as abuse.
I was reading the newspaper this week and saw that Canada is considering outlawing spankings...or making the conditions such that no one will ever be able to do it without fear of government crackdown.
I posed a question to a group I interact with online (both Christians and non-Christians) this past week and the consensus was fairly evenly divided. The question was simple: Spankings....good thing or bad thing? I am not talking about the unbridled abuse of children. I am talking about what my Dad use to do. My Dad would send us to our room to think about things....this was, I found out as an adult, so he could calm down and never strike us in anger. Then he would proceed up the steps and administer 1-3 swats on the butt....never bare. This was an infrequent event and only when we crossed the line in treatment of our mother or acted in such a way that we endangered ourselves or others. I never got one I didn't deserve and didn't get ones I did deserve!
Some I asked said spanking is always abusive. There are other ways to discipline was another statement I heard often.
So I went to the Bible. What does the Bible say? I found some Scriptures in the KJV and then looked those same Scriptures up in the God's Word translation...an easier to understand English translation. Interestingly this is what I found:
"Whoever refuses to spank his son hates him, but whoever loves his son disciplines him from early on." (Proverbs 13:24)
"Foolishness is firmly attached to a child's heart. Spanking will remove it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15)
"Do not hesitate to discipline a child. If you spank him, he will not die. Spank him yourself, and you will save his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)
"A spanking and a warning produce wisdom, but an undisciplined child disgraces his mother."
Pretty strong stuff! Just looking at the last verse alone, I have seen many undisciplined children kicking, cursing and screaming at their mothers in grocery stores and Wal-Marts while a frantic mother tries to soothingly appease and quiet the child, embarrassed by their actions. Usually they buy the kid what they asked for to shut them up. Sad....very sad.
Discipline can be done and should be done in love. It should involve nurturing, care, love and punishment. It should be fair and focused. The goal should be to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
When done correctly it is an act of love. When done wrongly it can be abusive.
So spankings...are they good? I believe so.
My name is Rick Apperson, I was spanked as a child and I endorse this message!