This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Five)

If you have not read the previous entries in this article start here.

Part Five

My brother was a stubborn child. Okay maybe I was too but this story is about him and not me. One day we were at my aunt’s house and she had a gas stove. He was tall enough to reach the knobs and kept trying to turn the stove on. Each time I did my aunt would smack his hand. Yet he continued to try and do it till finally he decided whatever pleasure he was getting from turning that knob was not worth getting his hand smacked.

My aunt was not a child abuser but she knew that if he turned the stove there could be problems.  If he kept turning the stove on, for example, and the burner ignited my brother was tall enough to get his hand into the flame. Or if he continued to play with the knobs and no one was around the house could fill with gas and result in an explosion. She was not smacking his hands for her pleasure but for his benefit.

My friends related a similar story about their little girl. They were actually cooking dinner and she kept trying to get her hands on top of the stove. They kept telling her no but as soon as they turned their backs she reached up and laid her hands directly on the burner which had just been turned off.  You can imagine that did not work out well. For the record my friends are not against smacking a child’s hand I only tell the story to show what can happen when children let their curiosity get the better of them.

One day Elijah and I were at home alone. He was doing something he was not supposed to do. He was trying to open the bunny cage. Well, he was playing with the latch not sure whether he knew that would let the bunny out or not. Either way I did not want him doing it. He might let her out and she could get into the basement where she is not supposed to be.  Or it is big enough he might crawl into where he is not supposed to be.  He had already eaten bunny food once and I did not want him to repeat the experience.

I had told him no several times and it just was not getting the job done. So I went and stood right next to him and waited for him to reach out one more time. He did. I slapped his little hand. He looked up at me with his big blue eyes with tears running down his face. He started to cry. His expression seemed to suggest I had betrayed him in some way. I picked him up and cradled in my arms and told him not to do that again. It was all I could do not to cry with him.

Some people, of course, do not think it is appropriate to punish a child by slapping their hand or spanking their backside when necessary. Books have been written about the subject. Most famously perhaps was Dr. Benjamin Spock, who taught that children should never be spanked.  I am neither an expert on raising children nor a doctor but God disagrees.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 13:24 KJV

Our primary responsibility as a parent is to teach our children how to live for God. If we love our children we will make it our purpose in life. If we want to do it right then we will follow the instructions God has given us. After all, he is not only the ultimate Father he is the all knowing Father. I would hate to second guess God.  Pay particular attention to that word betimes. Betimes is the old fashioned word for a lot.

What my brother was doing and what my friends’ daughter was doing was not smart.  Of course they did not know better. Children have a lot of ideas that are not good ideas. They will quickly form ideas that are not good ideas. The Bible tells us how to react to them.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 22:15 KJV

This does not mean every time a child does something we do not approve of we need to get a rod out and beat them. In fact the Bible is against beating children but it is for corporal punishment. Still this does not mean it is always the answer. We need to address each situation based on the severity of a child’s disobedience.  Sometimes saying no is enough. Sometimes grounding or time out might be enough. But sometimes we need to get back to what the Bible says and spank our children.

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About aldaraan

I am a Missionary Baptist Pastor, a husband and a father. I love my God, my church, my family and my country.

Posted on November 4, 2011, in This Is Going To Hurt Us Both and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. We always taught our children to respect the command: No. Hot.
    How? We showed them a lit lightbulb and when they reached for it, we drew their hand back and said in an ominous tone, “No. Hot.” When they reached again, we did the same. On the third try we would say our “No. Hot” but let them go ahead and touch it. It will not actually raise a blister, but it does most effectively teach what we mean by “No. Hot.” After that, we would test them for lesson mastery, by asking them if they want to touch it again. Nope. Hot.
    Once they learn this, you can teach them that the stove knob is No.Hot. Then let them touch the oven door, which is only mildly hot, but hot enough to put the fear back into them, like a booster shot.
    Whenever there was any danger, we always used the same tone of voice to say our “NO.” as if it were something hot, but we would add different adjectives like “No. Yucky.” or “No. You’ll fall.”
    Works.
    For other concepts, as they age, sometimes it just takes a switch. Same tone of voice, but who’d let a child do some of the things they so-o-o-o want to do?!

  2. Yes my wife and I are trying to find words he will understand for when he is doing things he should not and most times he is very receptive. We are also teaching him the meaning of the words good boy! I think we have to work on both sides of the equation.

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