I’ve come to a conclusion about my children. They have to be regularly beaten if they’re ever going to learn anything. The beatings may take time out of my day, energy out of my life, and wear me out emotionally and physically, but I have got to keep beating them if they are ever going to grow into responsible adults. I encourage parents everywhere to lovingly and patiently beat your kids in the name of God, for your children’s good, and the glory of Jesus.
Full disclosure: I don’t mean beating your children with a stick or a spoon or any such “beating” that would cause DSS to come take your children away from you. Sowhatramblings.com does not condone child abuse, only witty titles and goofy pictures. So there.
So what does this look like? One of your kids is caught in a lie, so you confront them. You tell them lying is wrong, God doesn’t lie, and he doesn’t want us to lie. Then you ask your child if they understand. The child will nod his or her head and promptly forget the whole conversation ever happened. It doesn’t matter how long you lecture or how strict the punishment is for their behavior, they are going to forget the lesson you’re trying to impart.
Example #2: Your oldest child is being mean to their sibling. You tell them in no uncertain terms that you expect them to love their siblings and take care of them, how you expect them, as the older child, to be the bigger person. They will cry, say they understand…and then two hours later you’ll have to go through the whole process all over again.
The truth is parents have to beat their children repetitively for them to learn. No, I don’t mean physically, I mean spiritually. We have to continually impress upon and teach our children the moral and righteous truths of God. The teaching and parenting have to be done over and over and over again until one day they realize: lying is bad, loving my siblings is good, picking my nose is gross, Jesus loves me, etc. It takes 100 times of you telling your kids something before they’ll understand and learn.
This is why parents say things like, “How many times do I have to tell you…” or “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times,” or “I’m just so sick and tired of having to tell you to…“. It’s exhausting to deal with those little people who occupy your house. They don’t remember what you told them and they seemingly can’t learn the good moral lessons you’re trying to impart.
The old military saying was “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” For parents the saying is “the parenting will continue until my children learn, (which could be never)“. This doesn’t mean we indoctrinate our children so they don’t learn how to think. It means we faithfully work until our children understand the concept of God, right and wrong, love, selflessness, giving, and righteousness.
This isn’t a foreign concept to our heavenly Father. There are numerous passages about how trial, challenge, and difficulty are the very tools used by God to produce character in his children. Our faith must be tested over and over again in order to be made complete. God must continually confront us with difficulty, fear, and our own sin so he can mold us into faithful and godly children. (See also James 1:2-5, 1 Peter 1:6-7; Romans 5:3-5). Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, (Heb. 12:2).
Picture your local blacksmith, (what, you don’t have one?). They will take a piece of metal and begin to hammer it, and hammer it, and hammer it, until they shape and form it into something with definition and purpose. The blacksmith is not finished on the first, fifth, or even fiftieth stroke. It takes heat, pressure, and faithful beating to produce something wonderful. We, as parents, are blacksmiths. It’s going to take time, but God has entrusted us to beat our children, (spiritually), so they can be objects of beauty and purpose.
So take heart fellow parents, continue to beat your children (within the confines of God and the law). Be faithful to the beatings. One day they will thank you for it. One day, with God’s grace, you’ll produce something beautiful. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself).