Oh, the good ole’ days when the belt would come off and I would feel pain on my backside and realize how so-not-worth-it, fighting with my brother really was. When I was young, my parents surely believed in discipline, physical discipline. My mother usually yelled a bit and told us to go to our rooms and wait for our father to come home, but that was enough to make me cry. I am not sure if I was more upset about the pain to come, or about hurting my parents, by being disobedient, causing them to be upset at me. I really became quite saddened by the thought of my parents being mad at me for doing something they had told me not to do. To this day, my stomach turns at the thought of being on my parents or any other authority figure’s bad side. I am a born people pleaser and I want everyone to be happy with me at all times. HA! I dream on… I know I cannot, nor do I really try or want to please all the people, or even most of the people all of the time. I’d go crazy. I am a known peacemaker, though. How I abhor conflict between others and though it is sometimes necessary, in order to get to a healthier place in relationships, I like to help people to think clearly, logically and calmly, working towards reconciliation. I should be a mediator for conflict resolution. Does that pay? Anyway, I remember one time when my family was visiting a friend’s house and my brother and I were not on our best behavior.
Mom and Dad: ‘You’re going to get it when you get home.’
What were we going to get, ice cream? No, try a whoopin’. What is a whoopin,’ you ask? Let’s look in Lauren’s new unabridged dictionary:
Whoopin’- noun- 1. An action that involves an object, usually not the
hand, smacking the backside of a young person, in an attempt to knock a sense of right and wrong into that person.
2. The sound a belt makes when connecting with the
bare or nearly bare bottom of a young person ‘Whoopin! Whoopin!’; an attempt to bring understanding of right and wrong into a child’s mind and heart, through consequential discipline.
3. What a child gets from a parent, after doing what he or she was told not to do.
4. The direct cause of screaming, tearful, repetitive,
sobbing replies of, ‘I’m sorry daddy, I’m sorry daddy. I’ll…(sob)… never (sniffle, sob)… do it…(quivering lip)…(loud sob)… again.’
What you won’t see here is the word spanking as a synonym. Spankings, my friends, are not the same as whoopins.’ Spankings are much less severe. I very rarely, if ever got a spanking. Whoopins’ hurt for at least an hour or two after initial contact and may make you red for that long, but are not abusive. Let me also point out that the whoopee does not strike directly out of anger and whoopins’ are not intended for any other part of the body besides the backside, bottom, bum, booty. That is usually the best part of the body for smacking repeatedly, in an attempt to reconcile a child to the idea that right begets happiness and wrong begets whoopins. Spankings are usually performed on the bottom as well, but are usually less repetitive, gentle stinging taps. They too may have their place in the life of a parent-child relationship, but whether you spank or whoop, when you are going to discipline a child, do not use your hand if possible. Belts, switches- thin strong peeled branches, and wooden objects such as spoons and rulers work best. The hand, if used too often in discipline may be viewed as a weapon and not a tool of love, though discipline should always be practiced in an attitude of utter love. Hit the apex of the bottom at least 3 times, while explaining to your child that you love them and that the temporary pain of the smack is not nearly as painful as the searing awfulness of his or her disobedient actions. Make sure to hug and kiss your child after the smackdown and let him or her know how much you love them, why you discipline them and what the likely results of it all will be. Trust me, most often; time-out will not be the answer to your child’s defiant questioning of your God-given authority.
Back to the story.
So, my brother and I were going to get it when we got home and neither of us was looking forward to getting anything of that nature. Who looks forward to pain? We got home and immediately went to our rooms, hoping that our parents would not make good on their promise. This was not the case, and as my brother is 6 years older than me, he got the privilege of going first. As I lay in my bed, waiting for my turn, I could hear his almost heart-wrenching cries coming through the walls. This is what he gets for acting up at someone else’s house. Wait a minute. That promise was for me too. What should I do? How do I get out of this one? I know! (Epiphanical moment) I will pretend I am asleep. Little did I think of the fact that this would include deceiving my dad. Nonetheless, I closed my eyes and waited, and you know what? It worked. Ok, maybe at this time you are thinking that it didn’t really work, and that my dad was just tired. Shoot, I don’t care if he just forgot he had another kid for a moment; I did not get disciplined that day. Praise God for grace.
See, this is what I am talking about. I look back on these moments in my life and see grace in action. I was spared a punishment that I surely deserved, but my father decided to let me go. There were plenty of other times when I was not spared and I am grateful for those times too. Why?
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves,as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-13 (NIV)
Let’s just say that I have a healthy view on right and wrong, I have some ideas and experiences that will help me to raise my own kids. I won’t focus on being a friend to my kids, when my most important role is to be a parent-a loving authority figure who has their best interests in mind. I don’t have time to make my kids like me by neglecting to teach them the truths of the ways in which they should be able to function in this world. The cost for them is too high, for me to have such mixed up priorities. They will learn what I have learned and more, if I let God guide mine and my husband’s leadership in our children’s lives. I have respect for my parents and other authority figures; I have so much today because my parents were the 'bad guys' when I was young. There is also a time to develop a healthy friendship with one’s parents. I believe that as children grow up to be adults, they have more opportunity to be involved in an adult friendship with mom and dad. It is never healthy or wise to swap a friendship between a parent and a child for the loving parent-child relationship. Don’t be you child’s friend until you can be his or her parent. The role of a parent is very different from the role a friend plays, and maybe you think I am making too much of this whole thing. All that I am trying to say is that I would rather help my children deal with the real world, then shelter them and stunt their psychological, mental, spiritual, and emotional growth by acting like some unrealistically sugary sweet friend, who has no wisdom to share and no authority to exemplify in the lives of my children. They will deal with relational issues in school, on the playground, at work, in church, in the world, and if I don’t teach them right from wrong, how to respect authority, how to communicate effectively, etc.; my child will suffer. Then, what was the point of me having children, if I did not do my best to bring them up in Godly wisdom, learning tough, but unconditional love? Who am I as a parent? I might as well leave my child to raise itself. Scary thought, huh? You’d be surprised how many parents are not equipped to raise children. Do you ever wonder why our world is the way it is? I feel that there are too many parents trying to treat their children like adults, screwing up their worldview. Children need discipline. Children need to learn how to accept the truth of life, taught to them in love. They need to learn how to grow up and be functional, individual healthy adults. Even if circumstances interfere, shouldn’t parents have the peace of mind that they did all they could to raise their children well? Well? My parents showed me that there are consequences for every action, good and bad. When I behaved and tried to do what was best for me, I didn’t get hurt, I didn’t hurt anyone else, I matured a little bit more, I gained wisdom and knowledge. When I misbehaved, disobeyed and followed my fickle heart and mind, and not my internal guide-the Holy Spirit, I got hurt, let God and my parents down, got a whoopin’ (ouch), gained wisdom and yet suffered the mental anguish of disappointment. Consequences are hard to deal with when you know you are wrong. Each time I blatantly disobeyed, I knew I was wrong, but I was stubborn then; I was the strong-willed child that Dr. Dobson wrote about, determined to do my own thing. I am very glad that my parents whipped, or whooped me into shape. Who am I kidding? I still mess up and learn from my mistakes, but I thank God that my parents loved me enough to raise me, and not leave me to raising myself. That thought gives me the chills. Where would I be today without my parents? On the street for one!
Parents need to spend quality time with their children, learning about their talents, skills, personalities, and desires. These precious children have fears, hopes and dreams. Support and encouragement is crucial for there to be trust between the parent and child and for the child to grow p with a healthy understanding of self and others. It is easy to see that I am a strong advocate of discipline, but I also want to say that it is extremely important to let your children know you are one their team. Discipline given in love is very important, but it can be almost ineffective if the parent is not building a loving relationship outside of those lessons of right and wrong. It is hard being a parent, but it is a blessing from God, so handle it with care.