Yes, I’m going to talk about the physical component to disciplining a child. I do hope you hear me out, however, because this might be a little different than you are assuming…
First things first: I am not telling you to beat your children. Please don’t misunderstand me on this. I worked with abused and neglected children intensively for several years and still do on occasion as a public school employee so I am professionally trained in how to deal with misbehaving, disrespectful, disobedient, rebellious, strong-willed [enter your adjective here] children first on a verbal level and then on a physical one if need be.
As a parent, the big picture I must address is this:
Your children’s souls are in danger of death – spiritual death…the use of the rod signifies a faithful parent recognizing his child’s dangerous state and employing a God-given remedy. The issue is not a parental insistence on being obeyed. The issue is the child’s need to be rescued from death – the death that results from rebellion left unchallenged in the heart. (emphasis mine)
Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart
In the following few posts, I will break this out even further but I wanted to start by laying out what the rod is and what the rod isn’t…
What The Rod Is
- The rod is one element of discipline, not the only element
- The rod is an expression of confidence in God’s wisdom and counsel
- The rod is an act of faithfulness toward a child
- The rod is a responsibility a parent must undertake because it is what God told them to do
- “The rod is the careful, timely, measured, and controlled use of physical punishment” (direct quote from Tripp)
- The rod is a rescue mission
- The rod is used in context with correction and discipline
- The rod shows God’s authority over the parent
- The rod is a private, 3 way event: God, parent, child
What The Rod Is NOT
- The rod is not a venting of parental anger
- The rod is not for exacting retribution for the child’s wrong
- The rod is not a child’s payment for something he owes
- The rod is not the right to hit our children
- The rod is not the same thing for every family or every child within a family
- The rod is not spanking necessarily
- The rod is not child abuse – it never physically endangers the child
- The rod is not used alone – it is used alongside communication, correction, and a loving, humble spirit in the parent
This is not the Pearl’s philosophy
To be extremely clear, I do not advocate the extreme corporal punishment philosophy (and claimed theology) of the infamous Pearls. Tripp does not either in his treatment of this portion of biblical parenting. Whereas the Pearls advocate use of spanking as often as necessary – which they and their proponents would say is quite often – Tripp explains that any form of physical correction is to be used sparingly at most and should be used with restraint, control, and careful consideration.
Stay with me, friends. There is much more to delve into.
In Christ, Rachel
This is part of a 31 day series of shepherding a child’s heart in 5 minutes a day (click here for the series intro). I pray this series edifies you as much as reading Tripp’s book has encouraged and challenged my husband and I in how we raise our children. Subscribe to the blog in the side bar if you’d like to get posts emailed to you in a weekly digest or subscribe on your favorite blog reader.