Friday, April 29, 2011

Proverbs 19:18 commentary

18 ¶ Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

This verse written under the Law doesn’t specifically demand physical discipline such as spanking but other verses do recommend it which we’ll see later on in Proverbs. I would say, as I’ve said before, that if you do choose to use physical discipline you must never do it while you’re angry. Cool down, do it for the child’s benefit, and explain what you’re doing and why. Don’t do it for punishment or because you’re annoyed or embarrassed.

Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

It is important that a parent be consistent and not cruel or seeming to answer every problem with violence. This is not teaching a child anything good. I wish that the parents which cling so tightly to the permission to spank would cling as tightly to these verses given under the doctrines of grace specifically to the Christian.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

I do disagree with letting anyone other than the parent physically discipline the child. I’m not for letting some sick sadist beat your child mercilessly under the pretense of “Godly reproof” for some minor infringement.

With regard to those who will not discipline their child other than the time out chair, good luck with that. I hope you have a reasonably compliant child because you are in for a world of hurt when they are a teenager if your child has a rebellious streak in them.

At the very least, we can agree on this verse that people who don’t correct their children, however they choose to do it, will suffer for their irresponsibility as parents when that child gets beyond the age where, as this verse says, there is still hope. Children need boundaries. They crave limits. If you don’t put limits on your child’s behavior, if both parents aren’t on the same page, and if it’s done inconsistently there will be huge problems in the child’s life.

The biggest problem with raising children in today’s age is the marketing phenomenon called ‘teenager’. This word was invented in the early 20th century as a ploy to create and identify a market to sell products to, and had no real meaning before that. At one time, being an adult was better than being a child and the idea was to raise a child to want to be an adult. Now, parents have cluelessly been deceived into creating an artificial age called adolescence where these people whose minds are not fully formed are suspended in time, sharing some of the privileges and pleasures of adulthood but little of the responsibility. This unnatural and hideous situation is mirrored in so called church “youth groups”.

Instead of teaching children by example and reproof to be adults we treat them like pets until at a certain age we suddenly expect them to act like a responsible adult even though they’ve had almost no training in the subject. This is far more cruel and devastating than the occasional spanking. We have invented a new creature; the transition between a carefree child unencumbered with sexual desires and a sense of independent self apart from parents and siblings and a responsible adult who takes responsibility for themselves and others, as well as lives with the consequences of their actions. We’ve elevated this marketing based, transitory stage to the level where actual adults keep trying to turn back to it even when they’re old. It’s amazing how people are so brainwashed by the assumed “joys” of the state of being a teenager that the media and movies hype that they can’t seem to grow out of it.

There are teenagers in Christian families without any chores or responsibilities whom the parents bestow continual, expensive gifts on and expect nothing further from them than to “enjoy being a teenager”. This is insanity and irresponsibility and can only have a good outcome if the child has a superior character and God delivers them from themselves. Teaching a child to worship “self” is far more cruel and mean than a spanking or denial of privileges or temporarily confiscating a favorite possession.

So called Christian parents who don’t hold daily devotions with their children including prayer and Bible reading, and who don’t dare discipline their children consistently however they choose to do it or expect anything out of them other than not to embarrass Mom and Dad, are treating Christian parenting like a game of Blackjack in gambling casino. I know this is true. I’m paying a horrible price for not knowing it when it mattered.

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