Twelve Tribes Communities on Child Discipline
A Habitation of Peace
Yahshua, the Son of God, was quoted as saying, "Peacemakers will be called the sons of God." We recognize and uphold this standard and practice in all of our communities to live in peace with one another and with all men. We do not teach, condone, nor tolerate any violence or abuse, whether physical or verbal. Within our communities, we also do not allow disrespect, mockery, slander, profanity, or rebellious behavior. There is godly, benevolent authority in our communities and in each family unit to guard and promote peace, in order that we can all live in peace and be a witness to those around us of the life and peace we have found in Yahshua, the Messiah.
In the realm of child rearing, we recognize the God-given right of parents to raise their children according to the voice of God in their conscience. It is the responsibility and prerogative of parents to train their children to choose the good they know to do. We believe parental authority is the highest authority given among men. In addition to this, as the spiritual children of Abraham, we receive the command of God, our Father, to father our own children according to His word and His way, as was spoken of Abraham:
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. (Genesis 18:19)
Our highest calling and most demanding endeavor is to train up our children in God's way, that they would carry on our faith to love and obey God with all their heart, and to love their neighbors as themselves. Our hope is that they would live a life marked by justice and righteousness, bringing honor and glory to our Creator, and a blessing to our nation and those around us.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
The Word of God has very specific commands to parents in regard to raising children, which we aspire to obey in the spirit of love and encouragement, as an educational tool to guide each child toward his highest potential. Also, the Word of God commands children to obey and honor their parents, with a promise of long life and prosperity for those who do. It also speaks very clearly of the eternal consequences of rebellion and disobedience, from which parents should seek to deliver their children.
Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death. (Proverbs 19:18)
The Turning of the Heart
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. (Malachi 4:6)
In Communities of the Twelve Tribes we pray constantly that our hearts would be turned to our children in order that their hearts could be turned back to us. The most important aspect of this turning of the heart is to take on our Father's mind about child training, and His definition of what it means to love or hate our children.
Whoever spares the rod hates his child, but the one who loves his child is careful to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)
In these confusing times, when the moral foundations have been all but destroyed, when good is called evil and evil is called good, the age-old practice of spanking has come under suspicion. Despite this controversy, well-known personalities such as the Pope have recently defended child discipline.[fn]http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/06/pope-francis-parents-ok-sma... Our hearts go out to all those who live in these very confusing times.
In most cultures, parents have historically been regarded as having the duty of disciplining their children, and the right to spank them when appropriate. However, attitudes in many countries changed in the 1950s and 1960s following the publication of pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock's book, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, which advised parents to take a more psychological approach. Previously, conventional wisdom in child rearing focused on building character through discipline.
The Wisdom of the Rod
For those who have set their heart to follow the wisdom of God in raising their children, there has never been any other practice than to use the rod for discipline. The Word of God never teaches or condones striking another human being, including a child, with one's hand. Every sensible person knows that it is unwise to hit even an animal with one's hand. It is confusing even to an animal when someone tries to express warmth or affection with the same hand he just used to apply discipline. It is also unwise to spank a child with the rod out of frustration, or to intimidate him to conform outwardly. Proper discipline helps a child to take responsibility for his transgressions.
You can see the wisdom of God in prescribing a reed-like rod for discipline, since both parents can use it equally well. It does not require physical strength to deliver its sting. A thin, reed-like rod merely causes pain to the layer of skin closest to the surface of their little bottom, delivering a message right to the child's heart. The memory of loving correction stays with the child into his adult life, as he experiences the benefit of the good character that was formed in him.
It is vitally important to us that our children would grow up with a clear understanding of and respect for authority and the consequences of their actions. Discipline of any kind should never be administered in anger or frustration, for it is meant only for the good of the child. It should only be administered for actions and attitudes that the child knows to be wrong, and only after the child admits that wrongdoing and is ready to receive his discipline from the parent. It is always followed by forgiveness and reconciliation, and encouragement to overcome the things that cause them to incur guilt and judgment.
Wisdom is Known by Her Children
We hope you can understand our heart and our conviction in this matter. The good fruit of constant encouragement, affirmation, and loving discipline in our children is evident to all those who have encountered them.[fn]See "The Knapp Report" an independent evaluation of the children of the Twelve Tribes and our child rearing practices: http://twelvetribes.com/controversies/knapp-report[/fn] We are not perfect parents by any means, and we have made many mistakes along the way, as all parents do, but we strive to learn from our mistakes and become better parents.
Come and get to know us, and see what we have come to understand about our Father's ways, which are manifest in a new social order -- a witness of God's love for man.