This Independence Day I thought we could quickly discuss one of the longest living forms of abuse — corporal punishment! Whenever this subject comes up some one quickly says, “Well, I was spanked when I was growing up and I turned out fine.” So the premise is that spankings did no damage to the receiver back in the day so it’s fine for today. Or it means that because of spankings we now have many fine citizens who had loving parents that carried out their Christian duty of “not sparing the rod as to not spoil the child.”
Many believe that the bible teaches the benefits of spanking kids. Does it? More on that in a moment. The earliest I could research the use of corporal punishment came around 1800 B.C. during Babylonian captivity. The Babylons utilized the death penalty for violation of 25 particular laws.
Of course we know that this was a learned behavior from England that followed immigrants here during revolutionary times. Slaves were beaten for violating the slave code. This became the dominant understanding and use of corporal punishment. It was used in schools and homes throughout America.
According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Education, spanking is not an effective way to discipline a child whether be it at home or at school. The worse part of spankings physically and mentally was when it was done to embarrass, out of anger, out of frustration or to intimate a child. Were you spanked for any of these reasons?
Further, the bible does not teach us to abuse our children by spanking them. Proverbs 13:24 has been taken completely out of context and interpreted by western standards. The rod in the text is equal to the rod of a shepherd who would use it to teach and guide the sheep with it, not ever to be used as a weapon. This is why Psalms 23 says, “thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
In addition, for me knowing that spankings were associated with slavery was enough for me not to introduce it to my children. Moreover, I was definitely more important for my kids to love me than fear me. I could come up with far more practical means of consistently convening my point to me children without subjecting them to a violent attack from the one who is responsible for protecting the home.
So, it’s Independence Day and we are celebrating freedom. Let’s give our kids the freedom to be loved, guided and encouraged instead of adding violence to our dysfunction and giving them a license to carry this barbaric behavior to our future generations.