箴言 22:15 愚かさは子どもの心につながれている。懲らしめの杖がこれを断ち切る。

In America, at least, the small percentage of parents who abused this verse have caused the vast majority to abandon it entirely. The very idea of “corporal punishment” is anathema to many parents who are otherwise logical, thoughtful people. The problem is, there's a lot of truth in this verse! Infants by definition know nothing of the world, and their ignorance can cause them to act very foolishly. The first time or two, gentle but firm correction is certainly the best idea, but if the behavior persists, stronger measures are certainly called for. As children age they gain intellectual prowess in figuring out what is dangerous and what isn't, what is acceptable and what isn't. The problem is that many parents punish their children in anger, rather than objectively, and that can create a host of problems. What needs to come across is, “you are my dearly loved child, but that behavior isn't acceptable.” Parents sometimes feel so guilty about their mistakes that they become paranoid about punishing their children at all, and the fallout from that reverberates through society as a whole! There is no such thing as loving your children too much, but that is not at all the same thing as indulgence. Proper parental love will express itself in correction and punishment as needed, as well as in many other ways.


This is an issue that is dear to my heart because I see it all around me. So many people carry severe emotional and developmental handicaps because of failing to be loved properly as children. I tell couples in premarital counseling that the opposite of love isn't punishment, it's indifference, but I wonder how well that gets through to them. I am blessed to have that opportunity to make an impact, and I must not give up. Right now my own children are in the throes of raising my grandchildren, and they are no more perfect at it than I was. I am not to meddle, but I am to be available for advice as it is sought. The difficult thing in giving such advice to anyone is that the children involved aren't mine, and I'm not involved with them day in and day out like the parents are. I need to pray for parents and children alike and be available, and restrained, when God wants to speak a word or two through me.


Father, thank You for being the perfect Father, and as such the perfect example for us. Help us recognize Your discipline and mend our ways, walking in the way You know is best and leaving foolishness behind, for our blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


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