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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

THE ROD--by Slick

With reference to the title of this post, the good book [The Bible] says that ‘’He that spares the rod hates his child but one that loves his child is careful to discipline them’’. This particular verse in the Bible has become a source of nightmare for most children in this part of the world, as a result of the misinterpretation of this portion of the scripture by parents.
Nigerian parents have mostly revised Proverbs 13: 24 into the short form ‘’Spare the rod and spoil the child’’. But research on the internet for the spare the rod and spoil the child slogan has revealed that  it actually originated from the lines of a 17th Century poem written by Samuel Butler called ‘’Hudibras’’. The actual verse reads:

"What medicine else can cure the fits
Of lovers when they lose their wits?
Love is a boy by poets styled
Then spare the rod and spoil the child"

In the poem, a love affair is likened to a child, and spanking is mockingly commended as a way of making the love grow stronger. From this revelation, one can tell that this particular line of the poem is in no way related to the Proverbs 13:24. I do not want to stand in the position of a parent or preacher to teach anyone how to discipline their children whenever they go wrong, but some parents go too far when it comes to correcting their kids. Just because you want to send a message across to your child or children as the case may be for doing something wrong, it does not mean that we reach the point of almost killing them.

The belief in man-handling children is most common among people that are not very wealthy or less privileged. As a child you could get beaten or smacked on the ear for just any cause.  The worst scenario occurs if any of your parents has a bad temper. This induces fear in growing children and instead of actually giving you due respect as a parent, they are actually scared of you. This in turn strains the parents-children relationship because there is no honest communication between both parties.

I have listened to countless stories told by my friends about their parents’ horrific discipline pattern while growing up. We would laugh and almost fall off our seats, but it was not a funny thing back then. Things you hear make you think if these parents thought their children were terrorists. They meted out various types of punishments and had in their possession different objects of inflicting pain ranging from canes to belts, razor blades, fan belts, bamboo sticks etc—all for the single aim of correcting their children.

Parents without a job or that are constantly poor transfer their frustration onto their children anytime the opportunity arises. This trend has even made some children run away from home and in turn, engage in vices and whenever you are brave to confront a parent about the maltreatment of his child in the name of discipline, he tells you ‘’Spare the rod, and the rod and spoil the child’’. Like if their parents treated them that way, they would be alive to be parents that they are today. Even if they were treated in that manner, were their children supposed to become revenge victims? These are basic questions we should ask ourselves on our journey to becoming better parents.

This is not to say that we do not have children that are naturally obstinate and are found committing one offence just after being chastised for one, after all; the scriptures tells us that “Foolishness is in the heart of a child.” This leads us to reasonable measures of discipline for our children, so before you go ahead and kill your child, consider the following advice:
Child psychologists tell us that children have different learning patterns. Some learn by seeing, some by listening and some by physical contact. This is to say that what works for one may not necessarily work for the other. I might be endlessly flogging my child whereas, all he needs might be a heart to heart talk. Try a different approach or combine two or more approaches but to a reasonable extent. Learn not to inflict unnecessary injuries on your children in a bid to correct them; they may end up dead or doing worse to their own children. Control your temper.

Learn to be forgiving. The fact that you are an adult doesn’t make you impervious to making mistakes. When you break dishes in the kitchen, you do not go ahead to stab yourself or flog yourself till you have little or no air left in you. Jesus forgives you and expects the same from you, though you cannot completely rule out spanking.

Create rewards for good behaviour. Learn to appreciate your children with little gifts when they are of good behaviour. Help them understand that there is always a reward for good behaviour. Do not make it appear like it is a compulsory thing or expectation to be of good behaviour, but instead help them see the advantages and benefits that come with being of good behaviour. This would help strengthen the relationship between you and your children
Finally, learn to pray for your children if you really love them according to Proverbs 13:24. Prayer goes a long way in changing people for the better. Instead of lashing out with them with words and curses we may regret later, pray for them. Remember that the tongue is a very potent weapon.

Let us join the train to becoming better and loving parents. Stop killing your children. 

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