I have been reading, reading READING.... and have had a hard time sleeping with all the things going on in my heart and mind.
So I thought I would share a few of them.....
One of the books I am reading is called "Spare the Child" The religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. by Philip Greven
Something that was blaring on the radar screen of my mind was the idea of discipline=punishment.... all the Harshest of punishments which were hair raising in this book did not seem to cause the recipients to change.... only to suffer.
While much of what I read was outright severe abuse against children, mixed with confused religiosity, I was continually shocked at the blindness of how parents couldn't see the damage they were causing their children. Many of these famous preachers of their day who were featured children in this book had other siblings and I wonder what happened to them?
As I have been reading this, the big part glaring in my mind has to do with true DISCIPLINE..... discipleship. Not memorizing catecisms, which is a good thing, not standing over and directing every move, not punitively looking down our glasses while our children wait for the next blow.... but teaching true discipline, true SELF discipline.
This doesn't happen in a session where a child is spanked for every infraction, having their will broken and spirit damaged, and then taught how to think.
What it can happen is in dialogue. Talking to our children, getting to know how they think, what they feel, how they understand the world around them, and then gently guiding them in conversation, and presenting new ideas for them to grasp.
If you are at a store and your child asks for something and you need to tell them no; and their reaction is one of sadness or disappointment, that isn't a bad thing. It is NORMAL.... I get disappointed sometimes too. So what is so wrong with acknowledging their disappointment, and then using that moment as teaching moment to help them see that the world doesn't revolve around their wants, that money must go for clothing and food, and that God is our gracious provider. Then, having them help pick out foods that we can truly be thankful for, and teaching them that if they work extra hard, earn a little more money, they just might have enough to buy that thing they want so badly.
Come up with ways for them to earn extra change, and make a positive experience of it.
Later during other conversations, you can come up with stories of children who were actually selfish in their thinking, and the outcomes of being too self focused.
This child will learn self discipline. They will learn thankfulness, they will learn that we must work hard for things we desire to have. And... they will learn that sometimes, they really didn't want it that much. I can't tell you how many times, after our girls earn money for something they have wanted, they wind up changing their mind, as that money has true value to them now.
Let's go back to the original example: The child disappointed about not getting what they wanted.
What if the parent were to tell the child they were being selfish. Tell them selfishness is sin, and they are going to be spanked for their sinful attitude?
How is that going to help a child understand what to do next, other than hide how they really feel so they won't be struck next time?
These are just thoughts coming to mind as I am processing all the info in my head.
Some might say, why not combine the two.... teaching and punishing. I would say, if you can have results in the first place, it seems punishing is not relevant....
And if you don't have immediate results that you want to have.... well, I'm not so sure punishment will make any difference. It seems more discussion to help a child understand would be in order. More coming alongside, more relationship.....
What I have seen in regards to spanking, is that spankings don't seem to do anything other than hurt. If they really worked well, wouldn't children cease behaviors that would cause parents to think they needed one?
My point is that spanking is not discipline. Spanking is punishment. It is a tactic used by some to get external control through fear. Thus creating the illusion that quiet, fear filled children are cheerful, obedient, reverent children.... and the only thing that might be true in the above statement is the fear filled part.
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)