Reviews > Culture

Hating our children

"Hating our children" Continued...

Issue: "Life of a warrior," June 12, 1999

Like the three little pigs, they wouldn't let them in, not by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins. But the police, unlike the Big Bad Wolf, couldn't do a thing about it. Without a warrant, they could not enter the house. Unless the teenagers voluntarily came out to talk with them, the police could not issue any citations.

The police called the parents who owned the house. But the kids didn't obey them, either. Finally, at 2:30 a.m., after a three-hour standoff, the police left, whereupon the kids went home. They may not know much about history, but they were smart enough to work the system.

The "expressive" theory breaks down when it comes to childraising. In Cal Thomas's apt metaphor, "We might as well expect a wild animal to become tame once it is released from its cage." Ultimately, disciplining children is up to parents, who must use their authority to help children acknowledge other authorities.

The biblical "rod of discipline" is no mere switch, though it is surely that as well. The rod is the symbol of authority, the same word sometimes translated as "scepter" (Hebrews 1:8).

According to the Bible, failure to discipline is a sign of hatred. "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him" (Proverbs 13:24). And the model of discipline is God Himself, who "disciplines those He loves" (Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19).

We live in an age of child abuse. Some parents do hate their children, using rods as instruments of legalistic cruelty-which is not biblical discipline at all. Whenever a child is physically brutalized by an adult, the public is rightly horrified. But other kinds of child abuse have become socially acceptable. Abortion is child abuse. And allowing children to grow up without discipline-however kindly it appears on the surface-is child abuse, an expression of our culture's hatred for children.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith

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