um. yes. you read that correctly.Yes. I spank my children. We also do time outs, lost privileges, and other creative forms of discipline. But it reality, if you ask my husband or my kids, I'm pretty much a softie. But one day, (you know, one of those "blog worthy" days) I saw the beauty of the spanking in action.
My son, our monkey of all moneys - was attempting to jump from the baby crib to our bed. It's about a 5 foot distance and I've seen him make it several times. And he, being the athletic 5-year-old monkey that he is, can pretty much make the jump.
However. His sister, who is just barely 3, cannot. And I don't want her to try. Also, I know he could fall short, in which case, he would slam into the edge of the 4 inch wide solid wood frame that surrounds our bed. My husband had told him no. I had told him no.
As this very moment, he was sitting on the corner of the crib, a mischievous sparkle in his eyes, a half smile on his face. "Should I jump?" he asks.
So we talked about it. "G, what has daddy told you?" "Are you going to choose to obey, or choose to disobey?"
He sat there, truly thinking about what to do. He was there so long, I even prayed, "Lord, help him to obey" (because he was genuinely pondering). So he thought and thought. Seriously, I think he was there for about 5 minutes. Then he gradually slunk down off the crib, and took a large giant step to the bed instead. I knew it had been hard, and thanked him for obeying. Still, two minutes later, he was back, perched on the crib. I chose my battle and took the teachable moment. I started talking, about the narrow way and the wide way (Matthew 7). About how God sets before us life and death, but wants us to choose life. About running away from temptation. about resisting the enemy (We had just read a paraphrased version of Matthew 4 about the story of Jesus being tempted that morning, so I was able to easily reference it). He thought and thought. Then with a smirk on his face, He said, "I choose the WIDE way" and he jumped a big jump, landing with satisfaction and smiles at having both succeeding in disobeying and having made the jump.
In that moment, I knew I had to spank him. I actually hate to spank. Also, I usually don't think him jumping is even that big of a deal. But in that moment, as he said, "I choose the wide way", I knew he needed to know: the wide way is fun, the wide way is easy, you get want you want - for a moment. But it ends in death. I am responsible, as a parent, to the best of my ability, to keep my child from going this wide way. Yes, the narrow way is hard, even for me. But if he chooses the "wide way" in adulthood, if he succumbs to every temptations he encounters, then as a parent, I have failed.
Sometimes a time-out doesn't cut it.
Sometimes taking away a privilege doesn't quite make the point.
If our children come home one day having done something illegal, or having ruined someone else's life or someone else's property or ....(fill the blank) are we just going to say, "Johnny, you shouldn't have done that, go sit in your room."
Now, let me just say this. Grabbing your kid in your anger and slapping them, that's not spanking, that's hitting. Whipping your child repeatedly with a belt until they confesses or apologize, that's not spanking, that's beating. I don't believe in hitting or beating a child. Ever.
No, at some point, our children need to know that the wide way, and making bad choices - it hurts.
But when I picked up my beautiful firstborn son, and laid him across my lap, I was actually full of tears. "You have to know, that if you choose the wide way, it is easier at first, but the end is full of pain and hurt and suffering." I spanked him twice, hard. And said some others things too. He was crying and I was crying. But I had his attention. I scooped him up afterwards, and we hugged tightly, both still full of tears.
"Come on over here, let me show you something that Grandpa drew me when I was younger," I said as I pulled down a book full of drawings that my dad made me when I was 5. (When I was younger, my dad would illustrate Bible stories on mornings when I woke up early enough to join him in his chair) We looked over the story of the wide and the narrow way together. I even drew him his own copy. We talked about the narrow way being hard, but God is with you. You can get off the wide way at any time and choose the narrow way. God will help you. He asked questions. "How come you drew it this way? "How come this? How come that?
After talking back and forth for about 10 minutes, after studying the whole picture and talking back and forth, he pointed to the side of the picture with the narrow path, and with his eyes still wet with tears, said, "I want to choose the narrow way."
I don't think my son became a Christian that day, but it was a conversation I think both of us will remember for the rest of our lives. Is every spanking this glorious? No, but it can be. And in that moment, as I was going through this whole thing, I saw, that reason for the spanking. The beauty of the spanking. And the love of God, that disciplines his children, and uses the rod on us from time to time, because he loves us, and he doesn't want us to end up in the lake of fire. Oh the spanking will hurt for a moment, but it is in love, from a Father who loves us and is fully trustworthy, and who gives us the hurt to remind us, "I know what's best, don't go that way."
It is such a deep deep love. It is a love that has compassion and mercy, that sympathizes with us in our weaknesses, that has been tempted in every way, but a love that knows what is best, from a God who is always for us. It is a small, momentary hurt, to remind us - don't go that way. That broad way, leads to death.
I share this because I know "spanking" has gotten a bad rep. Some even think it should be illegal. Maybe some places it is illegal. But lets separate "spanking" from beating and hitting and abusing. A father disciplines those he loves. Spanking, can be beautiful. My son and I bonded that day. I heard him "preaching" to his baby brother the rest of the day, "We have to choose life. You can choose the wide way, that's Satan's way. Or you can choose the narrow way. It is hard but it is God's way" He shared with his 3-month-old brother for 5-10 minutes, all in his little 5-year-old kid voice. So funny. We talked about it again that night, as we read our bedtime story about a Christian who had lost his life for standing up for the Bible (William Tyndale), "he went the narrow way, God was with him, and he will be blessed in the end"
Abused? Traumatized? Unloved?
Hardly. But loved with a love so deep, that it would keep him from falling into destruction. Spanking can be beautiful.