When the ship left the harbor, the morning sun could have deceived us into thinking we would have a peaceful ride. But shortly after our departure a strong rain torrent forced all the disappointed passengers of the pleasure boat into the restaurant that quickly was stuffed full. At a table a five-year-old boy stirred up another storm because he insisted on standing on the table to be able to see the waves, even though some passengers were already sitting at this table eating their lunch.
The friendly appeals of his parents to come down off the table were being ignored. The parents then tried to take him off the table, to which he responded with kicking his mother in the belly, cursing her, and biting his father in his arm. The whole spectacle repeated itself. The boy became more and more enraged, the parents more and more embarrassed, and the passengers more and more angry.
Finally the parents grabbed him determinedly and got him off the table. The boy was now pitching a terrible fit and one of the by-standers commented: “If that was my child, I would spank him.” The parents responded with red cheeks.
So now the parents were left only with two options: either they would go outside with their child into the rain, or they would let him stand on the table. Both options would be a defeat for the parents. They were trapped. As they left the restaurant to go outside, the mother quietly cried to herself …
The premise for permissive parenting is that a child is born pure and if you do not interfere with his nature and do not put bad things into him he will turn out to be a good person. This is a nice-sounding theory, but if you look at reality, as in the above story, then you realize that this premise is faulty. Anyone who has been around children a bit will realize very quickly that it cannot be true. From very early on you can observe that a child selfishly pursues his own desires, and strives to gratify his flesh while disregarding his fellow human beings.
It is just natural for little children to strive and fight with their siblings or peers to get the best for themselves. And if children are left to themselves for any amount of time, it won’t be long before there is trouble. That is why parents are charged to care for their children and are responsible for their actions until they have fully developed a sense of manners, proper behavior, and relationship towards others.
In the Word of God we find a different premise. In the beginning of the Bible it talks about how sin entered the world. It simply happened because man and woman were disobedient to the command of their Creator to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tendency to disobey has been passed on since then from generation to generation. Not long after that, God had to destroy all of mankind except for Noah and his family, because there was no moral integrity left on the earth. All the motives of men had become evil, and it could not be kept under control anymore.
It isn't that people are born evil, but they can become that way if there is no authority to bring consequences and punishment for wrong-doing. For this reason, fathers over thousands of years have disciplined their children as it says in Heb 12:10, as it seemed right to them to keep the selfish nature of their children under control. A true son was defined as a child who has a father who cares enough to discipline him when he does wrong. In contrast, children who did not know the authority of a father were called bastards, which became a bad name because they usually grew up to be worthless fellows headed for trouble.
A man made in the image of God is created to be a ruler.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:2)
He has it in his intrinsic make-up to rule over his wife and his children. Only then will he have the confidence in his heart that he is fulfilling his created purpose.
Newly founded ideas from sophisticated universities say that children should develop freely and that parents should by no means impose corporal punishment to enforce their authority. So now parents are forced to helplessly stand by and watch in embarrassment as their children behave disgracefully and foolishly. They have to suppress the truth that they know in their conscience: that they are responsible to take the reins and enforce proper behavior on the child. What was totally normal for thousands of years is now called child abuse. What the outcome of this development seems only to dawn on a few cognitive people.
Already mental disorders, crimes, suicides, and violence among children have tremendously increased. The theory that children who grow up without being spanked by their parents will turn out to be nonviolent adults has by no means proven itself. Yet all the while this “non-violent” child rearing philosophy is being enforced by law in many countries.
Sweden, for example, the European country that spearheaded the enforcement of the anti-spanking law, has since had an incredible increase of juvenile crimes and suicides. Somehow the theory and the reality do not match. Just as the theory of evolution has never been proved, but is still taught in all public schools, so the non-spanking law still is being upheld even when it proves to have the opposite effect expected.
On what are we basing the hopes of success of our newly found child-rearing methods? What will we reap if we move the ancient boundaries which our fathers have set? 1
Doctors and psychologists prefer to promote the use of anti-depressants and tranquilizers to restrain wild, restless, undisciplined children. Is it not child abuse to use drugs to change the negative behavior of children? Children who have been properly trained and disciplined will have a healthy self esteem. They will respect authority and will be able to stay away from the things that will harm them and others. They will not suffer the turmoil in their souls of knowing the right thing to do but finding themselves unable to do it. Therefore they will not need drugs to deal with their life.
What will do more harm to a child — a momentary sting on his bottom or the side effects of psychotropic drugs?
Even though the appalling results of anti-spanking laws seem to be quite evident, curiously enough nobody seems to want to talk about it. The teaching of permissive child training continues to be strongly promoted, while authoritative child-rearing methods are strongly condemned, and now even prosecuted as criminal acts.
Parents who set limits for their children and who enforce obedience to their commands are in danger of being put in prison as criminals. They are accused of child abuse and threatened with the loss of their children. Who is making these decisions? Do we realize what is going on? Or are we just going to sit back and watch, and hope it will not reach our own door step?
Most of us now are fruit of this century’s child-training philosophies. We have grown up far from the knowledge of God, are confused and lost, not knowing who we are or what we were created for. But God is now establishing places on the earth where we can again turn to Him. There we can get to know Him — His love and His boundaries, yes, and even His good discipline that brings healing and order to our confused and damaged souls. He is making a home for the lonely where he can be a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows and single mothers.
If you are looking for Him, you can find His Spirit, His love and care in a people. There is a place where the ancient boundaries are being restored, where fathers are learning to be true fathers, and mothers can become true mothers again. Children can grow up in loving families that live together as a united front, caring for one another and each other’s children. You can become part of it, too.