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Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child?

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  • Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child?

    I am an AP mom with a strong Christian faith. More than once, I've had other Christian women in the community quote the Proverbs "Spare the rod, spoil the child" verse in the Bible. It is my firm belief that the "rod" refers to discipline, which I find to be very important in raising children -- but that Christian parents do not need to be spanking to be disciplining in a Christian way.

    I have two children, ages 2 and 1 years. I do not spank. And I receive criticism here and there for it. Staying right with my Christian faith and the Bible is important to me.

    I guess I am looking for reassurance that the "Spare the rod..." is referring to discipline, and that Christian parents do not have to spank to be obeying God.

  • #2
    hi rita,
    thanks for your ?. it is one that lots of christians ask. there is plenty of good hermeneutical information out there already, so i'm just going to give you the links as to the inaccuracy of this quote:

    http://aolff.com/?page_id=9
    http://www.stophitting.org/religion/christian/

    in addition, it is my personal opinion that christians who quote the old testament for guidance as to how to live their lives must be very careful. we are not living under the old covenant, but the new, christ-driven life. christians should be viewing their parenting through the grace and mercy of jesus. study 1john 4:18 for a more appropriate understanding of discipline.

    hope this helps, kids are callin', gotta go!
    Last edited by PaxMamma; 10-29-2008, 06:01 AM.

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    • #3
      Spare the Rod

      From my understanding, a shepherd used the rod to direct the sheep. He didn't hit his sheep with it. So it was kind of a..."We're going this way..." type of leadership. He took the rod and gently directed the sheep in the direction he should go. I know sheep are stupid, but if a shepherd hit them or hurt them in any way I do not think they would stick around too long. Oh, a smart sheep.

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      • #4
        I agree with your interpretation, that the rod means discipline. I don't believe any religion truly preaches violence.

        The Sears have discussed this quite well here: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/t062100.asp. Specifically, item number 6.

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        • #5
          My 2 cents

          I was raised in a southern Baptist church and spanking was very common place. Now I completely don't believe in it at all. As a child I learned early on from the spanking to fear authority in many ways. Now as an adult I still have a very strong bad feeling when it comes to any kind of authority. I don't want my son to develop this and will do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't happen. I believe that positive discipline has effects that go so much farther than just the not fearing parents like I did for so many years.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by amanda View Post
            From my understanding, a shepherd used the rod to direct the sheep. He didn't hit his sheep with it. So it was kind of a..."We're going this way..." type of leadership. He took the rod and gently directed the sheep in the direction he should go.

            This is my understanding as well. In addition, from what I have learned on this matter, is that sheep's fertility is EXTREMELY FRAGILE & they must be taken care of VERY gently. So no way was it used to hit them.
            Last edited by blessedmama; 10-30-2008, 07:41 PM.

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            • #7
              4. The phrase "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is not from the Bible but from Samuel Butler's "Hudibras", a 17th Century satirical poem. The poem, like his novel, The Way of All Flesh, was written to expose and denounce violence against children.

              There is more info about this on Jan Hunt's site.
              http://naturalchild.org/

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              • #8
                The "spare the rod" thing is found in a book of poetry in the old testament. Poetry - not in the law of Moses, old testament - not an example given by Christ.
                It drives me nuts that Christians support spanking with this! we are to follow the example given by Jesus, and he most certainly never struck another person. I always think of when He walked on the water out to the boat where his desciples were, and one of them came on the water, too - and sank. Jesus didn't rip into him with harsh lectures, he just said "Oh ye of little faith" and helped the guy back into the boat.
                Positive Discipline is most definitely Christlike.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by amanda View Post
                  From my understanding, a shepherd used the rod to direct the sheep. He didn't hit his sheep with it. So it was kind of a..."We're going this way..." type of leadership. He took the rod and gently directed the sheep in the direction he should go. I know sheep are stupid, but if a shepherd hit them or hurt them in any way I do not think they would stick around too long. Oh, a smart sheep.
                  I was also going to point this out but you beat me to it

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                  • #10
                    hye! well i am still unable to get you.

                    please let me know that! what do you want to tell?
                    what is your over all expectation about sharing this knowledge in detail.

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                    • #11
                      i found some great information and links on rod studies at gentlechristianmothers dot com
                      and motheringbygrace dot com.

                      I come from a very punitive background... i totally feel the need to refrain from spanking at all, just because of my own "stuff."
                      but mostly, the few times i have spanked I have found it not to be "training" her in the way she should go at all - as I feel my discipline should be doing. i find it is quite disruptive to her ability to really think things through, and only creates a strong fear of what i might do next, rather than enhance her ability to creatively think about an alternative solution.
                      but it's been a long journey to come to the non-spanking belief. it really is ingrained in much christian parenting resources.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ajones View Post
                        it really is ingrained in much christian parenting resources.
                        It really is, I agree! I still find it very annoying to have people from my church "come down" on me for not spanking, but I think a great deal of our differences is our generational gap. Most of these outspoken pro-spanking people in my church are of a much older generation...who, unfortunately, tend to be a little narrow-minded on many topics, not just AP. For example, some of them have told me that to be a good Christian wife I shouldn't be working (I work from home) and that I must do everything my husband tells me, even if it's unfair to me -- a view that, thankfully, my husband does not share! So, I figure with the spanking stuff, these people are coming from a generation where most people spanked, most people let their babies cry it out, etc. ... and that it really is unfair for me to "judge" them on this, because frankly, they don't know any better and have no real interest in expanding their thinking.

                        So, I end up ignoring any comments, knowing that if I was to say anything, that's just a way for them to pull me into a lecture.

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                        • #13
                          All the verses that speak of beating a child with a rod comes from the old testiment.this same old testiment says after that doesnt work to take the child out into the street and stone them to death. deut.21 18-21. one simply cant live by the beating part and ignore the stoning part. the old testiment was also for the beatings of adults. However we were delivered from all this violent chastisment when jesus took the physical,violent,chastisment for us on the cross. "the chastisment of our peace was upon him" this is the reason ,christ took all the beatings before his death. He took the brutal chastisement for everyone once and for all so we can be at peace. So continuing to use corporal punishment on anyone ever is saying christ beatings were in vain.

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                          • #14
                            I don't see that part there. Nothing about a rod, or a child?
                            Last edited by naomifrederickmd; 03-24-2009, 01:57 PM.

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                            • #15
                              there doesnt have to be anything there about a rod or a child, what christ did was for everyone regardless of age.

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