This type of post is not my main objective for this blog, but as a father of 2 young boys this story made an impact on me so I thought I would offer it here.
The Christian book To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl advocates the use of various tools such as switches, plumbing tubes, and weed-eater chord for physically punishing children from as young as 6 months old. In addition, frequent smacking and spanking on bare skin is recommended for the slightest misbehavior (including some creative forms of punishment for accidents during potty training), as well as forced fasting and other harsh punishments. The Pearls’ tone of speech regarding children is also astounding, essentially speaking of children as if they were “stubborn mules.” To Train Up A Child was found in three homes following child deaths due to physical abuse. This book and others such as Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp are recommended throughout the Christian community and churches around the country.
Here are a few articles among many:
I didn’t have it nearly this bad, but I know our church had a variety of plastic and wooden paddles available to parents (not sure if they were for sale or free), and this was encouraged by church elders. Our church and the Pearls got their inspiration from the Bible – here are two passages from the book of Proverbs that support their methodology:
Proverbs 13:24 NIV – “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Translation: The only way to truly love your children is to beat them with rods as a disciplinary method.
Proverbs 29:15 NIV – “A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.” Translation: You better beat your child now with a rod lest he grow to be a disgrace to you and your family.
There are many other instances in the Bible of parents mistreating their children in various ways and this mistreatment being considered holy in the eyes of God, including God demanding Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering in Genesis 22:2 (we will get to the many wonderful pasttimes of barbarity God engaged in later). I know that reference is a bit of a non sequitor, but the point remains the same – mistreating children in the name of God and calling it holy. After all, isn’t that what the parents who follow the Pearl method are after? To be the most Godly and holy parents possible? Even at the expense of their child’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being? This story is a great example of religious people utilizing antiquated thought in the modern world and willfully ignoring centuries of advancements in various sciences regarding human well-being, psychology, emotional development, and child development. They simply say, “God says it in the Bible – and that’s all I need to know.”
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