Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls is the initiative of Women of the ELCA. When we think about the future of this organization, we want our women to be emotionally fit, spiritually fit as well as physically fit. How do we make this happen? The first step in developing ESP-fit women starts with childhood. I believe the problem with our young people today is our older people (the parents). We have gotten away from what the Bible says about child rearing. As Christians, we are to adhere to Romans 12:2 where Paul tells us not to conform to the things of this world. Yet, we have not stood firm on God’s word when it comes to raising our children. The Bible clearly states in Proverbs 23:13-14: Do not withhold discipline from your children; if you beat them with a rod, they will not die. If you beat them with the rod, you will save their lives from Sheol. Yet, as Christians, we are reluctant to spank our children. We listen to Dr. Spock and other experts who teach against disciplining by spanking. They insist that placing children in time-out is the more humane form of discipline.
Spare the rod, spoil the child. This is a proverb that I’ve heard all my life. Why didn’t I listen to it? As a parent, I have personally tried both methods of discipline. I now have two grown daughters. One was spanked more times than I can remember and the other was never spanked. I know that every child is different but I can truly see a difference in these two. I attribute the differences to the way they were disciplined. The child that was spanked is more independent and is able to take responsibility for the decisions she makes. On the other hand, the child that was not spanked has a lot more growing up to do. She tends to rely on others (me) to take care of business matters, and there are always excuses if something goes wrong. She is spoiled rotten.
Proverbs 13:24 Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them. This proverb states that discipline, when administered in love, can be a helpful tool for growth. It’s a principle to keep in mind when God disciplines us through trials and tribulations.
What is your response to Proverbs 13:24?
Deborah Powell is the associate executive director of Women of the ELCA.