Archive for February, 2012

Spare the Rod

“Spare the rod and spoil the child”, they say. Do you agree with it? Were you spanked as a kid? Was it appropriate? Some people see spanking as child abuse or an outdated method of punishment. Where do we draw the line when it comes to disciplining our children?

This popular expression is not found in the Bible.  So where does it come from? Well it turns out that it’s from a 17th century poem by Samuel Butler called “Hudibras”.  In the poem, a love affair is likened to a child, and spanking is commended as a way to make the love grow stronger.  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.”


Some advocates of spanking children point to Proverbs 23:13 for justification.  It says: Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Basically, do not withhold instruction from your child: if you discharge your responsibility as a parent and correct him/her, you can save them from death – spiritual, physical, emotional or psychological. Also Proverbs 13:24 – Whoever spares the rod hates their children,   but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

So is spanking an effective means of disciplining kids. This topics on whether to spank or not seems to generated so much emotion. First, what does the law say? Is it illegal to spank your kids? The answer is no-but parents who spank must be very careful to avoid abuse which is unlawful. Thus, while spanking is not illegal, bruising or otherwise injuring a child is.

How many parents spank or even are in support of the practice. Some professional organizations of physicians, psychologists and human rights groups have suggested that spanking is detrimental and leads to family violence and child abuse. But what about mild spanking as a corrective measure? Is it a good idea? Spanking works best when coupled with other disciplinary measures, such as, verbal correction, time out and logical consequences. Talking with the child about what behavior is expected and why-with the potential of a follow-up spank- may work best.

In my opinion, spanking should be used selectively for clear, deliberate misbehaviour, especially a child’s persistent disobedience of a parent. However, it should also be used where the child receives at least as much praise for good behaviour as correction for defiant behaviour. Is it true that only a parent should administer a spanking, not another person?

Whatever your opinion, let’s not lose sight of the point here, which is, if one does not discipline a child, he or she will never learn obedience and good manners. Like my Bishop always say that between a child and foolishness is a rod if you remove the rod then the child becomes foolish. It sounds best in Swahili “Katikati ya mtoto na ujinga kuna kiboko… isipotumia kiboko mtoto anakuwa mjinga.


Matters Raising Children

Pastor Mike, our youth pastor always tells us ‘raise the child well you just never know what he/she may become’. How true this is. I wonder how many of the parents looking at their children today can say that I knew he/she will turn out this way and thus raised them in line with what they are today. Or looking at them today, one is thinking that had I known this is what they were to become I would have done something a bit different. I am also wondering how many of the parents whose children are deviant today can say that I raised them well. It’s written in the Holy Bible that Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  And I want to say that whichever way you choose to teach your children may it be such that when they behave that way in future you’ll be glad that they never departed from that way. One expert in Matters Raising Children says that there is no guaranteed set of methods which when employed will guarantee that children “turn out all right”. Rather parents are to do everything possible in the hope of their children “turning out all right”.

And my question is as you bring up your children what you are preparing them for.  What is the Vision 2040 for your children?

Im not an expert in matters Raising Children because I have 2 children one four years old and the other one is one and a half years; however having taught Sunday school for some years there are things I have learnt through this journey and I hope to share them in subsequent posts. But I am also looking forward to be engaged by those of you who are more experienced in Matters Raising Children. Like my boss who always says that you haven’t parented until you parent a teenager!