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  Spare The Child
Social Justice Posted by Mordecai on March 06, 2002 @ 06:38 PM
from the hidden-hittin' dept.

Many Christians and Jews justify the use of corporal punishment by quoting a proverb attributed to Solomon, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." They rarely if ever note that Solomon was succeeded as king by his son Rehoboam, who said "My father chastised you with rods. I will chastise you with scorpions." (1 Kings, 12:14). The result of Rehoboam's 'discipline' was a civil war that split ancient Israel into two kingdoms. The message of the story is clear, children disciplined by anger and physical violence will learn to employ anger and physical violence themselves. Perhaps today's most eloquent voice in the campaign to end the use of both mental and physical violence in the discipline of children is Alice Miller, a Swiss psychologist. Her most recent book, The Truth Will Set You Free: Overcoming Emotional Blindness and Finding Your True Adult Self, is as lucidly written and convincingly argued as her For Your Own Good -- Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence and Thou Shalt Not Be Aware.

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  • The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.

    Re: Spare The Child
    by J. A. on Friday March 08, @08:41AM
    Germany has waged a successful campaign against this sort of thing for quite some time now. It works like a charm.

    Re: Spare The Child
    by Osculum Infame on Sunday March 10, @04:36PM
    I know Crowley condemned corporal punishment for children. At Cefalu his progeny received no discipline. By the way, what became of them? I know they were chain smoking lil' hellions before they had lived out a decade, but what did they amount to?

    Re: Spare The Child
    by Tau Aleph on Monday March 11, @05:38PM

    One should remember that rods can be used for measuring as well as for striking. What I find amazing is that people automatically assume "Spare the rod..." refers to striking with rods, rather than the measuring rod.

    Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis

    • Re: Spare The Child
      by Mordecai on Monday March 11, @06:43PM
      I think perhaps it's because the text doesn't really work with the alternative meaning you propose. The entire passage (from Proverbs 13:24) is "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."

      • Re: Spare The Child
        by Tau Aleph on Tuesday March 12, @03:16PM
        I don't see how it fails to apply. Measuring one's son against a standard of discipline seems to work fine here to me....

        • Re: Spare The Child
          by Mordecai on Tuesday March 12, @07:20PM
          I'm afraid the Biblical commentators of the last two millenia haven't been obtuse enough to overlook something that seems obvious to you. The word "rod" in the Hebrew original is shayvet (Shin-Bet-Tet).It translates to "rod, staff, scepter, birch, whip". These are all tools of dominance and coercion not measurement.

          • Re: Spare The Child
            by Tau Aleph on Monday March 18, @03:25PM
            I'm sure I'm quite off here, then. But what is the Hebrew for a measuring rod?

            • Re: Spare The Child
              by Mordecai on Monday March 18, @06:05PM
              It's q'nay meedah (Qoph-Nun-Hay Mem-Yod-Dalet-Hay).

    • Re: Spare The Child
      by Ataniell Rising on Saturday March 23, @03:45AM
      Don't you think it's kind of strange that so many people measure their children against themselves, rather than who THEY are?

      You know, if my mother had been able to see me as a separate being instead of a smaller version of herself, and to stop trying to measure me against her own unfulfilled Will, it wouldn't have taken me nearly so long to get my $#!+ together.

      She still doesn't understand that her fantasy child does not exist.

    Re: Spare The Child
    by Ataniell Rising on Monday March 18, @02:36PM
    I've read a lot of Alice Miller's work and largely agree with it.

    Children need respect as well as love, and their Wills need nurturing. This kind of child-rearing practice is all about breaking a child's Will. I'd think it would be obvious that this is not a Thelemic thing to do.

    93! Ataniell

    Re: Spare The Child
    by Ataniell Rising on Friday March 22, @08:17PM
    My favorite treatise on how TO raise kids (as opposed to "how not to") is A.S. Neill's "Summerhill". Has anyone read it? It is a lovely book about this wonderful experiment in Britain where Neill and his staff decided to treat kids like people with Wills, and what happened. It was recommended to me as a child (of 8!) by a teacher and it may have saved my life. It got the point across to me that even though my parents and most of my teachers had no idea what to do with me, it wasn't a crime or a sin that I had ideas of my own and I wanted to go with them.


    • Re: Spare The Child
      by Mordecai on Friday March 22, @11:15PM
      I read it a couple of times as a teen and young adult, but I keep meaning to read it again now before I start home-schooling my daughter. She's only nine months old though so I have some time yet :-)

      • Re: Spare The Child
        by Ataniell Rising on Saturday March 23, @03:41AM
        I just found out that the school's still active and posted an article about it. 9 months probably isn't too young to start thinking about the principles involved. :)


        • Re: Spare The Child
          by Mordecai on Sunday March 24, @09:21PM
          Well, it was quite clear even from the time that Rose was in the womb that she was a unique individual. Her mother and I were quite prepared to honor that. Actually what has surprised me most is just how similarly to some of her relatives she already expresses herself. So far I see one of her maternal aunts and my father most strongly displayed in physical and personality terms, but there are many others including myself and my wife as well. What I can say is that so far she doesn't seem to be very much like me (though astrologically we are both Cancers born in the Chinese year of the Snake), which may be good for our chances of teaching each other something. She's certainly taught me a lot already, and though we're more just witnesses to her learning than her teachers we still try to provide the environment we believe most conducive to her learning. Presently we're most iinterested in a charter school that has the kids homeschool three days a week and come in for classes two days. But what the actual situation will be four years from now who can say?

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