Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Godly Habit of Child Correction

It has taken me a long time to decide that this article is not a hoax. I so wanted it to be a joke.

It is written by one Ronald E. Williams, an American Talibanist of an extreme kind, and it advocates corporeal punishment of children. No, it doesn't just advocate such punishment, it begs and pleads the parents (the father, obviously, but the mother can be delegated the duty to beat) to really revel in such beatings, to give them a chance to work by sticking at it, for hours if necessary. Why? Because the Bible tells him so. Also because children are inherently bad (why did God make them so?) and need to have their will broken, preferably before they turn twelve months old. No, I am not making this up.

Let me share some of what I have learned about Christian child correction:

The world and humanistically-trained minds are repelled in horror at the thought of a God who would deliberately order painful correction of a child and use words as strong as "beat" in ordering parents to carry out that correction. The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that such painful correction is the most loving, wise, and responsible procedure that a Godly parent can follow in developing obedience and character in his child. Therefore, when you hear someone object, "But that will hurt my child," you can answer, "Precisely, that is God's goal, that the child be hurt with the pain of the spanking during a session of correction."
Both my wife and I have often remarked that it is good that one of our children was not our firstborn. This particular child who came along later in our family was extremely willful and rebellious toward our authority and would often require sessions of correction lasting from one to two hours in length before the will would finally be broken! Had this child been our first, we may well have been tempted to despair of the grace of God.

Do not be discouraged, dear parent, when it appears that your Godly efforts to chastise your child with the rod of correction meet with total resistance towards your authority. This simply means that you have started on the right course and you must now pursue your objective of a broken will with great vigor until your mission is finally accomplished. This may require a great deal of self-discipline on your part but you can do it, since God requires you to do so.

My wife and I have a general goal of making sure that each of our children has his will broken by the time he reaches the age of one year. To do this, a child must receive correction when he is a small infant. Every parent recognizes that this self-will begins early as he has witnessed his child stiffen his back and boldly demonstrate his rebellion and self-will even though he has been fed, diapered, and cared for in every other physical way.

On what occasions should a child be corrected? Whenever a child directly disobeys authority or shows disrespect and rebellion toward authority, that child should receive correction. Lesser infractions of course would receive lesser forms of correction with the rod being reserved for the more serious infractions.

I have also learned that the proper tool for beating a child is a wooden rod big enough not to break in a heated hour or two of correcting, and that godly parents must limit the correcting to the privacy of their homes lest they get their children removed by the authorities who don't follow the Bible.

Fascinating stuff. Excuse while I go and vomit.

And who is the writer? At one point he tells us this about himself:

In my position as the director of a rehabilitation ministry for troubled teenage girls, I receive phone calls daily from desperate parents all across the United States. They have children for whom all hope seems to be gone because they did not start the use of the rod of correction while there was hope as the Scriptures mandated. I do not mean to discourage parents with older teenagers, who have suddenly been exposed to God's inspired instructions in this matter. As long as you have a child under your authority and your home where you can directly supervise and correct him, there still is hope that you may turn that child from his wicked ways and break his will. You may still teach him to submit to authority in his life.

A good illustration of this hope is found in the case of a mother who called me from a distant state about her troubled teenage daughter. This teenager had gotten into such continual mischief and wickedness that the desperate mother went to the local hardware store and purchased a lock and chain with which to lock the girl to her body. This unorthodox measure kept the girl in her home at night but fell far short of Scriptural methodology in changing the heart! I explained to the mother that we did not have room to receive the girl at the time because our beds were filled. However, I mentioned that I could give her a possible answer for her predicament. I also said, "But I doubt that you will follow through." The mother, hearing that there might be a solution to her crisis, desperately implored, "Yes, I will take your counsel. What is your solution?" I then proceeded to explain that the mother should get a stick that would not break and get after that daughter until the daughter asked for peace in their relationship. The mother hesitated in silence for a time on that long distance telephone call, and then seemingly made a firm commitment before me and the Lord that she would do so. She answered, "Alright, I will!" I then forgot about the mother and her call inasmuch as we receive several calls like this daily.

Three weeks later, I received a phone call from this same mother. I had forgotten who she was and was reminded of her identity only when she reminded me of the lock and chain she had purchased to secure her daughter. I remembered who she was at that point since that was a unique method of restraining the girl. I asked, "Well, what has happened since our last conversation?" The mother replied that she had taken my advice to secure a large stick that would not break, and to quote the mother, "I wore off her behind!" I chuckled at the mother's response and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the story.

This man rehabilitates troubled teenaged girls! He thoroughly enjoys stories about beating. He is a man of God. I want off this planet. Now!