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THE ’NETTE EFFECT: Using the rod of correction


Antoinette Connell

THE ’NETTE EFFECT: Using the rod  of correction

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I was listening to the radio while driving a day last week and the speaker was on about the Christian rules regarding the disciplining of children.

My daughter is past the age of lashes – or is she? Sometimes I wonder.

But the speaker, a Christian of some standing in his church, explained why he supported spanking or lashing. I try to avoid the terms flogging and corporal punishment because they always seem to conjure up some image of a savage beating at the hands of “massa” and the topic eventually turns to race.

But this Christian – he sounded Caucasian but I couldn’t truly tell – was explaining how he spanked his child or children. It was his last resort after all else failed, he pointed out.

According to him, he always let the children know beforehand what they did wrong, why they were being punished, how they would be punished, how much he loved them and on and on.

Whack!

He didn’t want to do it but he was doing it based on Christian principles, etc, etc.

Whack!

I surmise then that he perhaps was indeed Caucasian. His method runs counter to our culture.

Ours is whack, whack, explanation, whack, whack, instructions, whack whack, warning and whack, whack, whack for good measure or just in case. Whack!

Our speaker explained to listeners – and I presumed his target audience was mainly North America – that even though they were within their right to discipline the child, it might come into conflict with the law. For example, in the United States if lashes leave marks on the child, that immediately opens the way for claims of child abuse from authorities and some smart children.

That’s how one superstar athlete found himself in trouble. The first report I heard was that the child had been beaten with a wooden rod and that changed to a paddle. Eventually it turned out to be a tamarind twig.

Who among us, I ask, hasn’t been walked to and from school or some other destination under the threat of a tamarind twig either freshly gathered along the way or a weather-beaten one grabbed on the way out? The slightest infraction of any command and the twig was pressed into action.

A mother once said she was using lashes to correct her child so that later, society wouldn’t have to through prison.

But, whatever our experience or feeling, there is a sound biblical basis for using the belt. It is the overuse of the lashes that can lead to present and later problems. 

On the other hand, people speak of time-outs and depriving children of something that is dear to them.

The latter form of discipline I find to be more cruel than most people might imagine.

As a child I would rather take a couple of lashes and be allowed outside the house to play. Being kept inside the house to hear the screams of delight and laughter from the others on the outside was pure torture.

Or, being denied the chance to attend an event that everyone would be attending was another hellish experience and I reckon it is still so for those under the responsibility of their parents or guardians. The opportunity once missed can never be regained and you stand to miss out on precious memories.

My main point on the discipline matter is that we seem to be encouraging everything that the world says is okay. Still, as it turns out, it hasn’t worked for them but we expect it to do wonders for us.

We cannot do things just to be popular or be part of the trending crowd.

First examine it and if it isn’t broke, well, don’t . . . .

• Antoinette Connell is a News Editor. Email [email protected]

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