October 22, 2013 by *Onyi*
Do not withhold correction from a child,
For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
You shall beat him with a rod,
And deliver his soul from hell (New King James Version)
Many of us grew up hearing the English adage, spare the rod and spoil the child. Many believe that adage stems from these verses of proverbs. This is an admonishment about raising children. It states that one should not be scared to correct a child. What does it mean to correct someone? According to the dictionary, to correct means to:
a. To remove the errors or mistakes from.
b. To indicate or mark the errors in.
2. To punish for the purpose of improving or reforming.
How do you correct? You can indicate or let the child know when he/she is wrong or where they fell off the mark.You can let the child know what the standards of good or appropriate behavior is, so the child does not walk around confused and falls into the wrong thing. Setting up a standard is a way of strengthening conscience.
But, these proverbs in today’s world often misses the mark because of human behavior. These proverbs, assumes rationality and control of behavior in the parent but in today’s world, many parents miss the mark and beat a child into submission from a place of anger. So rather than correct a child to strengthen his or her conscience and straighten behavior, what they introduce is fear and a mental block. So many children do not know why they are being punished. So many parents punish because it is cathartic for them. When instilling punishment, ensure you remember that you are correcting a child, ensure that the punishment matches the crime and ensure that the child understands what they did wrong. Don’t just instill fear because you feel you can but rather work on creating other kinds of emotions like love. A child that loves his/her parents will not want to do anything that brings them shame or harm and as such they will ensure that their behavior at all times, is one that brings pride to their home. A child that fears or is scared of his/her parents will still go ahead to do what they want to do after calculating the potential punishment or they will do their crimes in secret.
Dear parents, remember the most important thing is to instill love and to correct from a place of love, rather than anger. Remember that punishment should be age appropriate. I am sure we are all tired of reading newspaper articles in which a mother or father beat their children to death.
Dear lord, teach us that one of the most important characters that we should have is self control particularly when dealing with those that are younger than we are. Teach us to instill correction with love. Remind us always that correction should be age specific.