Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Biblical Discipline

I just finished reading an excellent post (Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve) at Dulce de leche. The author criticized the common practice of corporal punishment among Christians, even for very young children. I am firmly in her camp. I urge you to go read her post.

I have always had a good relationship with my parents. I never went through a phase of being embarrassed by my dad, which supposedly all teenage girls experience. I never thought my parents were stupid or trying to make my life miserable. All my friends knew my parents, even in high school. I never drank, smoked, had sex, drove recklessly, or any number of other things that all teens do. I don't consider this to be a reflection on my own merit as much as a testimony to my parents' dedication to raising me well. I was a "good kid" because I wanted to please my parents.

Me, around age two.
Advocates of corporal punishment often state that a child must learn to respect authority. Allowing children to misbehave without immediate and harsh punishment opens the door to rebellion, disrespect, and a wasted life. I disagree. I don't remember ever being spanked. The punishment I remember most clearly happened when I was about seven, I would guess. I had been to a friend's house, eaten a snack although I had been told not to, lied about it, and gotten caught. My mom decided to take away my Blankey for the night -- not for the forbidden snack, but because I lied. At bedtime, however, she returned my Blankey and apologized to me for being angry with me earlier. She told me how Jesus had said we must forgive 70 times seven times and that she needed to forgive me. She emphasized the importance of telling the truth, but said I was forgiven and no further punishment was given.

It is this type of parenting that breeds respectful children. Children who can recognize their mistakes and ask for forgiveness, because that way of life has been modeled for them. Children who see how Christ's teachings were not only for people 2000 years ago, but are relevant every day. I hope I can raise that type of child.


  1. What a beautiful story! (I love that post from Dulce de Leche). Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Your post brought happy tears. What a precious story about your mom, and what a beautiful example you are! <3. Thank you so, so much for writing this.

  3. @Kelly, thank you, too. (((hugs))). I am so glad that we are able to share our painting journey. Having moms like you to learn from and grow with makes me smile. <3

  4. Glad you both enjoyed it. Another interesting piece to the story is that my mom doesn't remember it. It wasn't anything significant to her, just how she parented. So cool.

  5. I've been meaning to comment on this post to thank you. I grew up in such an extreme circle of "biblical corporal punishment" that I hardly know anyone who was not spanked growing up. When I first quit spanking, deep down I was still afraid that my parents were right and that my kids would end up on drugs and hating me someday. Reading stories like yours is so encouraging.