Monday, April 11, 2005

THE SPANKING DEBATE

I had a nice conversation with my office colleagues this morning. Many are confused about the right attitude toward spanking children. Honestly, I am with the view that spanking does not diminish the human dignity of the child, but rather reinforces and strengthens the moral, ethical and spiritual foundations of young people. It is not an act of violence but of conscious love. It is never meant to punish things out of retributive considerations but as a form of corrective measure. We can cite several reasons for these.

First, the child must know whom he/she should honor and respect within the context of the family. Signs of rebellion and insubordination among children must be quelled immediately lest they fall to the trap of immature independence. Hence, children must learn to recognize the authority of their parents. Second, as the Bible declares, "Train up the children the way they should go, so that when they grow old, they will not depart from it" (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14). Spanking, as a form of corrective discipline will surely deliver the objectives of this principle. As a fact of the matter, the Bible does more than allow spanking, it teaches that the true love involves spanking. It is a tool to inculcate in the child the virtue of righteousness. Unless the child recognizes his/her wrongdoing, he/she could never appreciate the beauty of his/her parents' love and concern.

Even God, who is Love himself (I John 4:8), never let any wrongdoings by His children uncorrected. Hebrews 12:5-9 states, "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten? But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons..."

Nonetheless, every parent must understand that discipline is the end, not spanking. Discipline is the whole process; spanking is merely a means. As the child grows older, spanking may be inappropriate and must be surely dropped off, not becauseit is wrong but because there are more appropriate means to achieve the purpose (Imagine a 16-year old being scolded by his/her parent using a bamboo rod). It is recommended that spanking must constitute the following: consistency in applying it (to get rid of the idea that parents are not serious in their actions), explanation regarding the action (for the child to comprehend the grand purpose of the action) and exercise of genuine love (spanking should be done out of true love and concern and not as a punishment).

Why am I saying all of these? Because I am a living testimony of this mode of discipline. I will never regret those periods of temporal pains and discomfort. They taught me valuable lessons. Salamat kay Nanay at kay Lola.

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