Journal Proverbs 13 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son—but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” Prov 13:24
Observation: How many sons (and daughters) am I seeing on TV lately just to think, “I wonder if their parents and particularly fathers biblically attended to their souls through their gluteus maximus.”
Analysis: I thought I would write about something different. Proverbs is more than talk about illicit sex, wisdom, foolishness, transgressions concerning the mouth, etc.—so how about “spanking?”
To remember, I must go back to the “Fear of the Lord”—the beginning of knowledge, wisdom, insight and so much more.
Why, Solomon could have written “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of successful child rearing” and it would have been spot on. I can see the Chapter Header now: “Whacking behinds: Love in action.”
Of course, there is more to it. I remember having to get into the scriptures thoroughly to get my head on straight, my mind transformed about spanking. It isn’t about me or others: It is always “How do I love my son in a way God approves of? How can I obtain the max blessing for my children? At the end of my life how can I avoid being ashamed of what I did to raise my children?”
Some of the above statements are a little shaky theologically but essentially correct.
Recalling my early fatherhood, biblical child discipline wasn’t primarily about the child, it was about my own heart and conviction. I found a lot of child-rearing books, articles, examples, and such that I could imitate BUT it would have been just that: a check off list of proper technique.
What I found was that child-rearing, if not done in submission to God (in the Fear of the Lord) and only relying on “technique”, isn’t faithful to the Lord; it was in fear of the people.
I remember how embarrassed some parents were if their children misbehave in church. For myself, I tried to get ahead of that and remembered the fact that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” (Prov 22:15) and that could erupt anywhere and in any place. It was ok, I just needed to be diligent to love my son and ignore the folks around me.
Loving children isn’t primarily about their conduct or compliance to a parent’s instruction; it is loving them enough to care for their soul. Proverbs is full of instruction/education about being wise, conducting myself in wisdom, and being a resource of wisdom to others. Even in my older age and as a grandfather, I have a responsibility to point to the Throne of Love for my grown children so that they don’t resort to technique but to their own heart towards the One who is the ultimate Father.
Prayer: Ah, Lord: So many books about child rearing (Tripp’s book is one of the best), and I am typing out in 500 words about spanking. I don’t do the subject justice. Yet, lately it is a subject that I have been reviewing with my wife more often and with that need to review principles. I depend upon You, O God, to remind me of the good words of wisdom and truth upon this subject. Help me to fear You always, laying my life at the foot of the Cross. AMEN.