Is Spanking a Christian Form of Discipline?

The Journey of Discipline and Spiritual Growth

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Discipline and punishment are often linked together.  As a result, we tend to attach consequences to discipline, instead of self-control.  Have we lost some of the meaning behind true discipline? The topic of spanking was in a recent news story published by CBC: “Spanking is never a good idea: child psychologist”.  The general argument – spanking does more long-term damage than good.

Question: Is spanking a legitimate form of Christian parental discipline? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

spanking-christian-viewMore than likely, you have already come a conclusion on this, even before you have read these opening lines.

I argue, however, that while spanking (in its present form) is often damaging, we have lost the true meaning of discipline.  Yes, it’s illegal in Canada to spank before the age of two (2) and after the age of twelve (12).  But discipline starts very early and continues into the teenage years.

Let me explain…

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When She Brings Me A Book (Fatherhood)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

For fathers…

Life is busy;
Days are short;
My calendar is full;
Projects are due;
Work isn’t done; and,
That’s when she brings me a book.

I have the privilege and challenge of being able to work from home. The flexibility is a blessing, but finding balance can be despairing. As a young father, time is not my friend and productivity only seems like a dream. As a solo pastor, my work is never done and only increases the closer Sunday approaches. I feel the responsibility of my calling as both a father and pastor, and know God has specifically called me to those rolls. My role as a father, however, can only be filled by me. My unique role is being a father to my daughter. That is why… when she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.

She’s not little for long.

This isn’t a difficult sell. My little girl seems to grow overnight! The saying, “the days are long, but the years are short,” isn’t overstating the truth. I read something recently that pointed out, “There will be a last time for everything.” Right now, she loves bringing me a book, sitting in my lap and “reading” the story together. Those moments won’t happen forever. There will be a last time she brings me a book. Here’s the question: will I be too busy to look when she brings me a book for the last time? As I fight back tears just thinking about my precious princess, I say with confidence… when she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.

A twenty year window.

Dad told me, “I only have twenty years to shape you boys…” That phrase has impacted the way I look at fatherhood. She’s going to grow up fast, but more importantly, I have to make sure I make the most of the formative years God blesses us with. If I only have limited time, why would I wait to build a relationship with my daughter? I can’t afford to wait; she doesn’t want to wait. I know that by the way she looks up and smiles at me after each page. If I wait, her wedding day smile won’t remind me that she’ll always love her daddy. I will make the most of our time. Will you make the most of your time? When she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.

Retirement will arrive, but fatherhood is for a lifetime.

No matter what role we hold in the workplace or community, none of us are irreplaceable. We may do a fantastic job doing what we do; but, at the end of the day, we can all be replaced, and will be replaced after we retire. Fatherhood, on the other hand, is completely different. Whether you father an adopted child, are a step-father or have fathered your kids from birth, fatherhood is a unique role and should be protected at all costs. The question is: why do we so often allow our temporary roles to trump our unique roles? Yes, we need to be responsible, provide for our families and do everything to the best of our ability; however, at the end of the day, fatherhood is a unique role that only a father can fill. That’s why, when she brings me a book, I take a moment to look.

Here’s the thing, these moments don’t have to derail life. It’s a moment, it doesn’t have to be for an hour, but that moment, coupled with her smile of satisfaction, is worth every second. In fact, a few minutes is often all she’s asking for. Even though I might have to take fewer breaks, reserve my lunch hour to play with crayons, or stay up a little later to finish some work (or write this post), taking a moment with my princess will help me make the most of her early days, formative years, and watching her mature.

Your turn…
You may be the father of a young girl, and this post is very relatable. You may be father, however, of boys or older kids, and you’ll have to replace “book” with whatever your kids like to do with you. For me, that moment will continue to change as she gets older. My promise is take advantage of the moments we have, so our relationship can grow from day one.

What will you do when your child brings you a “book”?

#MakeTheMost

[Guest Post] “Dear Parents with Young Children in Church”

Reading Time: 5 minutes

My wife and I pastor a church that has a whole lot of kids!  It’s awesome!  But, with a lot of kids, comes a lot of noise, commotion, laughing, crying, talking, and sometimes even screaming.  Tradition would say, “it’s inappropriate during a Sunday morning service.”  I ask, “how can we modify our Sunday morning service to include our kids?”

While we think on that, read how one mother reflects on bringing Children to church in her blog post “Dear Parents with Young Children in Church“…

“You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant carseat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper.  I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.

When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible Study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together.When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.

I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary.  I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.

I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.

It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their badly (or perfectly timed depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present.

I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family – with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”

Let’s rephrase that last sentence… “Please know that your family – with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated [at Bethel Pentecostal Church in Bay Roberts, NL], you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”  Hopefully we can all insert our local assemblies.  If we can’t…

Let’s think about this…
If you’re a parent of young kids, do you bring your kids to church?  If you don’t, is it because of what others may think?  If you do, know you’re making an awesome impact, can keep doing it!

If you’re not a parent of young kids, how do you respond to “noise and commotion” during a service?  Remember being reverent is more than being quiet, it’s also acting in obedience – Jesus said, “let the children come to me.”

The next time you see a young mom or dad in church with their young children, make sure you let them know how proud you are of them!