Whatever happened to old-fashioned spankings?

Jul 9


Rev. James L. Snyder

Rev. James L. Snyder

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On exercising the rod of love in love.


Sometimes watching the news on television gets rather disparaging. Now that we have 24/7 news,Whatever happened to old-fashioned spankings?  Articles not only can we see the news any time we want to, but we can see it over and over and over again. It is particularly disheartening when there is a "slow" news day. I think all of us can remember O.J. Simpson's mad race down a Los Angeles highway.

I can remember the good old days when Uncle Walter brought us up to speed on the day’s news inside of a 30-minute program. Oh, for those good old days.

Never has an American generation been exposed to so much and knows so little for so short a time.

This all came to me recently when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were watching the news after our evening repast. I think it was the 9,999 times this particular news story had been played. Of course, we do not watch television that often and so we may only have seen a very short portion. The short portion that we saw was just about enough and my wife said so.

It was the news story, if you remember, of the bus lady who was bullied by children.

"I think those children," my wife said and then paused while she grit her teeth violently, "need a good old-fashioned spanking." And with that, she crossed her arms and set her face in a defiant manner. Luckily, I was not one of those children or I would have received the intentions of her mind at that point.

Her comment got me to thinking. There was a time, back in "the day," when spankings were rather normal. Someone once said that if you saw a young boy on the street you should stop what you're doing and give him a good spanking because he was either coming from trouble or headed for trouble. Raising children then was a community affair. I am not sure that ever took place, but it does have an authentic ring to it.

I semi-fondly remember when I was a youngster I had the heebie-jeebies whaled out of me by my father on a regular basis. And I can testify that I have not missed those heebie-jeebies. My life is better for not having them.

Watching the video about the kids bullying that bus lady, I could not help but think that they were a rather spoiled bunch of little brats. Pardon my French. I think I would have taken it one step further than my wife. Not only do those youngsters need a good old-fashioned spanking but I think their parents do as well. Kids today are only a mirror of what they see and hear at home.

When I was young, the only spoiled brats around were the children of the rich folk. They could afford to be spoiled brats because their parents with their money bought their way into society. The only thing those kids ever earned was a bad reputation and distain from the rest of us. The rest of us, having gone through the spanking rituals, could not afford to be spoiled brats. Good parents made sure of that.

I think of what my father use to say. "Son, I'm going to take this Board of Education and apply it to the seat of your learning." I can testify that he was very enthusiastic about his job. With all that education, I have had multiple degrees on my posterior. Even to this day, every time I sit down I am reminded of that education.

This "Board of Education" that my father was superintendent of, always hung by the door. Being the religious person that my father was, he had printed on this "Board of Education" the phrase from a favorite hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour." It was a motto he lived up to all the years of my boyhood.

I often prayed my father would get weary of exercising that “Board,” but I must confess that my naughtiness wearied long before he did. Looking back, I am grateful.

I will not go as far as to say that I am a good person, only that I am not a spoiled brat. I have learned through the years, thanks to the energy of my father, to extend courtesy to everybody around me and be respectful.

Respecting other people is not something that comes naturally. Everybody needs to be taught that everybody deserves respect. Some people have earned more respect than others, I grant you. However, nobody deserves deliberate disrespect like those kids gave that bus lady.

With all the studies are being done through our governmental grant programs, I wonder why nobody has ever, at least to my knowledge, done a study on the importance of discipline in the home.

It is at this point I must agree most heartily with the scriptural injunction on this subject. Solomon, the wisest man in the world, had much to say about disciplining children. And if anybody should know about disciplining children, it was Solomon.

"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him" (Proverbs 22:15 KJV).

"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24 KJV).

Disciplining children to ensure they grow up to be proper adults demands a whole lot of energy especially from parents. Love sometimes carries a large stick.

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