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The rod, a useful tool

Harry Russell

The rod, a useful tool

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NO LESS A PERSON than the UNICEF representative for the Eastern Caribbean is reported to have joined in advocating the demise of the rod. I am surprised, she being of the female gender. Today it is fashionable for some people to question Christianity but when it suits them, quote liberally from the Bible. The representative is probably not such a person, but many current spokesmen among us are.
Proverbs 13:24 gives an explicit command – “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son, but he that loveth him chastiseth him betimes.” The same thing applies between husbands and wives, lovers and mistresses. The rod is essential. It instils discipline, and the applier of the rod achieves ultimate satisfaction from the intended recourse to cooperation and obedience. Many parents and men who complain to Dear Christine obviously spare the rod.
My father did not spare the rod. As a matter of fact, we the children were sometimes instructed to go into the bushes and pick a suitable bamboo or tamarind rod which would be terror to our backsides. Lessons learnt served us through life. The lessons included screwing the rod at a certain point so as to ensure that when applied with venom, it would break instead of providing the intended chastisement.
However I must tell you that the rod is to be applied lovingly with measured strokes. The strokes are to be accompanied by suitable admonitions and embellishments, “You will never forget this licking.” The intended victim or recipient should provide suitable answers enabling the applier to understand that the application of the rod is having the desired affect.
The UNICEF representative cannot therefore presume to usurp what is necessarily a household function that maintains happy order in a family or relationship. Sparing the rod is part of the reason we have so much deviant behaviour in our youth, especially the young ladies – and older ones too, always complaining. Seldom do we hear cursing when the rod is applied. You might hear, “O sweet Jesus, it hot!”
Many newfangled theories are not working. Take, for instance, in our schools. Once upon a time we had great headmasters who did not fear applying the rod. I remember one who represented terror. Two strokes down the back with the three-foot-long strap reaching as far as the tip of the backside would leave the recipient in an x; the third would unbend him. Yet those big men wept openly when they laid the boss low in Westbury.
A woman taking a two-by-four to her child has no place in the rod argument. That was a case for the courts as it was not discipline.
The book of Proverbs contains pearls of wisdom. It was written by King Solomon, the past master at polygamy and outside women. It is therefore not surprising that he advocated the frequent application of the rod. He would have had many children, although the Bible only mentions a few. He must have had to apply the rod with metronomic frequency.
It is in the Bible, and who are we to disagree? The society that we boast about is coming apart at the seams, even in high places. Ministers getting “vex” and wanting to stop people from talking. Ministers making elementary mistakes in adding and subtracting, decimals and long division! Ministers publicly disagreeing with the Budget. The rod of correction not being applied!
Women will tell you that the frequent use of the rod surpasseth understanding, and maketh a household healthy, wealthy and wise. O Wild Coot!
• Harry Russell is a banker; email [email protected]