I just finished reading an amazing book called “Biblical Parenting” by Pastor Crystal Lutton. There are many wonderful take-aways from the book, but one of the interesting things that the author brought up is the misinterpretation (according to her view) of “Spare the Rod” (as it relates to parenting). Essentially, it appears that many Christians have concluded that if one is not “spanking” their child, then they are doing them a disservice as a Christian parent. However, the author goes on to note (and provides much evidence supporting her view) that the appropriate translation of “rod” was probably supposed to be more of something akin to “authority.” While she provides much Scriptural support in the Appendix to her book, one non-Scriptural example noted in her book really hit home with me…
She stated that toddlers and children get overwhelmed just like we, as adults, do, and rather than needing “spanking” or “time outs” what they need is grace. She gave the following example: on days when you feel overwhelmed and at your wits end (on days when I tell my husband “my nerves are shot!!!”) which is more helpful to you – 1) having your husband smack you across the face and tell you to get over it, 2) having your husband send you to your room for isolation 1 minute for every year of your life (so, for me a total of 32 minutes) and think about how awful you’ve been (this is the modern day’s version of a “time out”), or 3) having your husband say – “You know what – I think I’ll take the kid(s) out for a minute to get them some ice cream and give you some down time because I can see you are overwhelmed.”
I don’t know about all of you – but 1) would frustrate/anger me to no end (and cause me to want to slap him back!!!), 2) would also anger me and make me want to give him the “silent treatment”, but 3) would make me remember just how much I love him and be so appreciative/grateful (and would make me want to do things to serve him to show him how much I love him after I calm down)
Then, totally unrelated – I was just reading my Bible and was reminded of the following from Psalm 23 – “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your ROD and Your staff, they comfort me.” Wow! It certainly seems to me that the “rod” in Psalm 23 relates to the “Authority” of Our Lord and Savior. Would a “rod” used to physcially punish you typically be something you picture as “comforting”? Probably not – at least not for me!
At any rate, I cannot recommend the book “Biblical Parenting” enough. Even if you decide you do not agree with the author’s interpretation of “spare the rod,” I still think you will find the book helpful on many other levels as far as ideas to help you “shepherd your child” and rear them Biblically. The book is chock-full of “golden nuggets!”
Happy reading! (P.S. – the link to “Biblical Parenting” on Amazon can be found at the bottom of my Prodigal Parenting page)