We have finally come to the Proverb that most people, even those who might not be able to locate the book of Proverbs, have heard and may quote: “Spare the rod – Spoil the child.”
In the New Revised Standard Version of Proverbs 23:13-14 it comes through like this
Do not withhold discipline from your children;
if you beat them with a rod, they will not die.
If you beat them with the rod,
you will save their lives from Sheol.
When we go back three thousand or so years and talk about parenting, it seems that the rod and corporal punishment were part of the process. (If I go back half a century to Silver Street Elementary School, we all knew that the Principal had a paddle and that he was ready to use it to enforce discipline.) I’m not going to let this one scripture dictate the method or means of discipline that we need to employ in our own parenting. But there seems to be a call here for discipline.
Some social commentators call many of today’s children “snowflakes.” That term suggests that they have been taught that they are delicate, unique creations (I think it is good to celebrate our wonderful and unique nature as God’s creations) and that if they are exposed to any heat or pressure they will melt (I think we all need to face the challenges of life so that we can learn to deal with them.)
The writer of Proverbs suggests that discipline won’t kill a child or destroy their spirit –it will save them from destruction or nothingness. Let’s apply the proper pressure to help those who are following us in the world to find and pursue the proper path.
Wonderful God, help me to be the type of person who can properly nurture those younger people who have placed along my life path, showing them the grace and guidance that we find in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in whose name I pray. Amen