I think I actually remember once when my dad spanked me. I know that it tortured him to do it – and I remembered it smarted but didn’t bruise. The bruises usually came from my daily falls down the stairs or my sister and I chasing eachother around the house and ramming into the sharp-cornered coffeetable – or she’d slam her door shut as I chased her and catch my head in the door. This was usually when mom and dad were out getting groceries and they would have us agree to babysit eachother. I’d start crying when I was hurt, Heather would start crying and we’d grieve that mom and dad were going to give us away and we could never ever tell them that one of us got hurt. Ah, childhood pacts! For physical discpline the one thing that really worked was a little tap on the cheek – not a slap – but a little annoying What the hell are you doing? tap. Catholics know that physical abuse only lasts so long – telling a child you are disappointed in them lasts so much longer and can be used to leverage more effectively (Erma Bombeck called guilt ‘the gift that keeps on giving’).
Which brings us to The Rod – currently tearing up the blogosphere. Evidently belts and tree branches just aren’t elegant anymore for child beating. I forgot who told me the story but that the worst part of a spanking was when his dad told him to go out in the yard and choose his switch. The ad promises:
Chastening? Give me a break – you’re beating your kid with a stick. And from the product instructions (do parents have to be told everything these days?):
View the use of the rod as chastening to promote godliness rather than punishment for failure. Examine your heart: Are you disciplining in love? Always avoid the rod while angry.
Do you dare to discipline?