Monday, October 15, 2007

Respecting Fathers

The writer of Hebrews suggests this:
"Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them."
Of course it could go without saying that the parent who does not discipline gets no respect, either in the upper crust liberal whose enlightened approach to child rearing has rewarded him with children who hate him or the perennial example of the harried mom in WalMart threatening to count as little Cletus goes ballistic on the floor. We can write off the foolish who think they can do better than what ages of human experience has taught us. The can look forward to a future with an emo kid cutting herself at thirteen because of reasons she knows not or an absent wife working so the family can stay affluent AND afford the Ritalin for the boy . Odd, I said "it goes without saying" and then I proceeded to say it. I'd better let them be. They have sufficient crisis without me.

But what about the devout Christian family that lovingly disciplined and still got handed the adolescent from Hell? They did discipline (and we are talking spanking here) and yet no respect.
Look at the signals your child is getting. What is it about a larger person hitting them that will make the smaller respect the larger? Fear perhaps? Why would they resent such an action? And why, just about the time they get big enough to resist the discipline, their resistance increases like they were waiting for the advent of physical equalization?
If you are just bigger physically you are a tyrant and a bully. You get your way in the house because you are larger. The child is taught only one thing, that size matters because it is only size that defines the right of rule. But might does make right (not moral right but allowance). Why should a family be any different. It won't be. If a population conceives that they are being ruled by their equals, great force and consequently greater tyranny is need to maintain government. If successful in quashing all rebellion the citizens turn out to be servile. So it will be with your family. You will have to become more tyrannical and hope to crush the spirits of your children until they flinch fearfully at the possibilities of the broader world. If you fail to crush them, and with boys it is harder, prepare for a civil war about the time they can look you in the eye. All this unless you and they perceive that the rule comes down to them from their better. They are children, and by good and necessary consequent, idiots. You are adults, a powerful race of demigods wearing the wedding rings of Doom.

When law and discipline comes down on you from above, the ruled know that the betters are supposed to govern them. Equals are not "supposed" to do so. When equals try, all Hades breaks loose.


Matthew N. Petersen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew N. Petersen said...

And since the Mother of God's Son turned out well, should we suppose that she and Joseph inculcated a proper sense of their superiority in God?

Angela said...

Thanks Evan! I read a book about discipline entitled Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson. He did a word study on the "spare the rod.." type verses in the Bible (specifically Proverbs)and eventually comes to similar conclusions regarding physical discipline. The most interesting, and perhaps most philosophy altering thing I learned is that the word for 'child', naar, is actually a person in their mid to late teens. This tidbit of information has really changed my perspective on those verses in Proverbs that I once thought offered the Bible's parenting prescription.

PS - I really have a complex about posting here, I am not sure my brain is big enough.

The Oracle said...

Welcome Angela!
I was thinking about this after your email and it adds a helpful arena of posting. It is always good to look back over your child rearing run and announce to the saints what worked and what didn't.


Philistine said...

Like slavery, women's rights, human rights, and civil rights,corporal punishment was a non-issue until recent history.

It is interesting how interpretations of the scriptures change to accommodate advances in science (and pop psychology) render the old interpretations passe.

Science seems to be forcing biblical scholars to perform increasingly convoluted exegetical gymnastics to keep from drowning in the sea of irrelevance.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Completely off topic, but a friend of mine posted these, and since they are relevant to our sometimes discussions on this blog, I wondered if you could guess the author:

"The grace of God given [in the Lord's Supper] confirms to us the pardon of our sins, by enabling us to leave them. As our bodies are strengthened by bread and wine, so are our souls by these tokens of the body and blood of Christ. This is the food of our souls: This gives strength to perform our duty, and leads us on to perfection. If, therefore, we have any regard for the plain command of Christ, if we desire the pardon of our sins, if we wish for strength to believe, to love and obey God, then we should neglect no opportunity of receiving the Lord's Supper; then we must never turn our backs on the feast which our Lord has prepared for us. We must neglect no occasion which the good providence of God affords us for this purpose. This is the true rule: So often are we to receive as God gives us opportunity. Whoever, therefore, does not receive, but goes from the holy table, when all things are prepared, either does not understand his duty, or does not care for the dying command of his Saviour, the forgiveness of his sins, the strengthening of his soul, and the refreshing it with the hope of glory."

"What are the benefits we receive by baptism, is the next point to be considered. And the first of these is, the washing away the guilt of original sin, by the application of the merits of Christ's death. ... By baptism, we who were "by nature children of wrath" are made the children of God. And this regeneration which our Church in so many places ascribes to baptism is more than barely being admitted into the Church, though commonly connected therewith; being "grafted into the body of Christ's Church, we are made the children of God by adoption and grace." This is grounded on the plain words of our Lord: "Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John iii. 5.) By water, then, as a means, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again; whence it is also called by the Apostle, "the washing of regeneration." ... Herein a principle of grace is confused, which will not be wholly taken away, unless we quench the Holy Spirit by long-continued wickedness."

NeonKnight said...

Ummmm. Who is the author?

The Oracle said...

Well it is not Pelagius and doesn't read lucidly enough to be Lewis whose greater latitude you have already noted. So in order to be a telling quote from the free will side of the equation it would have to be someone like Wesley.

Good guess?

Nah! I looked it up.

Matt said...


This is about the only post in recent memory with which I have unequivocally agreed.

Though being in the position of a youth in comparison with yourself (and, no less, a rotten papist) this may not exactly be high praise.

But as my son approaches the age where corporal punishment will be most necessary, I appreciate the thoughts greatly.

In Pax Christi,


The Oracle said...

Thanks Guido.
God has been merciful to us in the rearing of our children. As we sort out what we did correctly we will try to pass it on.