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So he won’t stop. He still screams and pounds the floor when he’s upset. What I was considering doing was logical. But it was Christian right? Spare the rod and spoil the child, right? It is my job as parent to act as the “Good Shepherd” and chasten my son.
Except that I never saw Jesus spanking anyone.
Furthermore, as a young child, when I was spanked, I remember feeling out of control. (Yes, I remember being 3. I remember being two. I know that this is not unusual in intelligent children) Not because I was spanked….but having this horrible rage that I didn’t know what to do with. Spanking didn’t seem to help it. It just fueled the fire until it died out. Moreover, as an older child (9, as compared to the above 3 year old rampage), I clearly remember being spanked and thinking simultaneously “What does this man think he will accomplish by spanking me. I am so angry that I don’t even feel it. Why doesn’t he talk to me? Does he think I’m stupid?”
Back to Jesus. I know, through factual research, that a good shepherd doesn’t hurt his sheep in order to bring them into line. But what does a shepherd to do? He is outfitted with a staff and a rod. We have all heard THE COMFORT of thy rod and thy staff (Psalm 23). The staff, as used by shepherds had the straight end to guide the sheep and to press gently against them, for them to know his immediate presences, and to direct them. The crook of the staff was to catch the sheep (you ever noticed or wondered upon how big that crook was) and pull them back if they were wayward. And the rod, the rod was to carefully aim at predators and would be persecutors. It was also occasionally used to startle a sheep back into the fold….not by a direct hit, but by a hit to its path. So what does a good shepherd do? John 10:11 says, and I paraphrase. The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep.
I would give my life for that crazy tantruming out of control son of mine. And he just MIGHT remember me spanking him when he needed my help. And he just MIGHT resent me for it.
So what am I to do? I use my staff of my matronly hand to touch my darling noisy sad boy. I know he is wayward simply because he is three..and at three he lives in his emotion. I sit by my crazy tantruming son, my face at his level…or I pick him up…bringing his face level. Still tantruming, I forgive his kicks…as I’m sure the good shepherd ignores the head butts of a stubborn male, or the sharp hooves of a imprecise adolescent. I use my rod against the naysayers…those who would wish that I spank my child in line. Occasionally I throw my verbal rod into the street using my voice to scream terror if my little boy wishes to run into a street. But mostly I use the crook of my arm to hug him, bringing him back into the fold….because once there, he knows me, I am his shepherd (John 10:14).