Monday, October 22, 2007

To Spank or Not To Spank...?

To spank, or not to spank? This question has been troubling parents for almost fifteen years… Well, before then most parents didn’t even have to think about how to punish their children. If our kids misbehave we spank them, no questions asked. Today, though, this is a huge controversy.

“Did your parents spank you?” I would answer without flinching, “Why yes, they did, and I plan on doing the same when I have kids.”
My response would get me a look of horror and disgust, “Oh my gosh! My parents would never beat me, and I will never lay a hand on my children.” Suddenly my parents and I have become child abusers. Honestly, my parents never spanked me without reason. When I got spanked, I deserved it. The consequences were laid before me, and I chose whether to inflict myself with them or not.
When I would do something at the store that I knew was wrong, I still remember the chill that ran up and down my spine when my mother would say, “That’s one.” That meant one spanking when we got back out to the car. If I misbehaved more than once, the spankings would increase. That is the way I was raised. I knew no different. Now I see how my aunt raises my six-year-old cousin. She says, “If you don’t misbehave I will reward you.” Because of this, my cousin is probably one of the most spoiled six year olds I know. If there is no consequence for doing something wrong and there is only a reward for doing right, this kid figures that he can work the system in his favor by acting rude and obnoxious all day. Then he does something right, and gets a reward.
Pastor Rod Goertzen of Mission Road Bible Church has a saying: “A rule without consequence is merely good advice.” I see this all the time since I work at a video store. I get to see the best and worst of kids and their parents. It’s almost funny to see a kid grabs candy and runs up to mom, “Can we get it mommy!”

“No” mom answers.


“No! You heard me.”

“Come on, please?”

“Maybe next time.”

“Please, just this once?”

“Whatever! Just get it and lets go!”

What did this mother just do? She just gave up any and every bit of authority she ever had. This child now owns her. This child knows that all he needs to do is just keep pleading, and he will get whatever he wants.
In the February 19th 2006 edition of the Columbus Dispatch, Mark Ellis makes this statement: “The hand is the best tool for the job…A biblical reference (Proverbs 13:24) about the use of a rod for discipline is metaphorical.” Well Mark, I wish my parents had taken your interpretation of that verse. They had a paddle, one foot long, with a handle, and it was an inch thick. I actually think they ordered it online. This thing was made out of hickory wood. This was the big daddy of all paddles. The verse Mr. Ellis refers to is Proverbs 13:24. In this verse King Solomon, the third king of Israel and the wisest man to ever live states: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him, disciplines him promptly.” –Solomon 807. In those days, 86 B.C. Israel to be exact, the penalty for disobeying your parents was actually to have the child stoned to death. Solomon was giving parents a stern warning to use whatever means necessary, especially a rod, to make sure that the child didn’t disobey in public.

In his eighth edition of the Contemporary Reader, Gary Goshgarian says, “We do have a tendency to base our views on tradition.” –Goshgarian 210. Well he seems to be right about this subject. In 1968, according to the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, 94 percent of parents considered spanking sometimes necessary. That figure dropped to 61 percent by 2004, according to a national survey of commissioned by the Center for Child and Family Studies in San Francisco. But at this rate, families that still implement spanking will be well under ten percent by 2076. Of course, by then, spanking will most likely be illegal.
In life, pain or a form of pain makes you remember what you did wrong. You remember that you have to wait for your coffee to cool down before you can drink it. We all look both ways before we cross the street. Life always gives us these little hints so we don’t make the bigger mistakes.
What are the other options for punishment: “time out!” “go to your room!” “no TV tonight!” “no more video games!” Well, time out is ridiculous because a kid with any imagination at all will sit there and pretend like he’s in a spaceship attacking crazy alien races and saving the galaxy from evil domination! That is how the mind of a child works.
“Go to your room!” if you can’t figure out why this one never works, please do this world a favor and put your kids up for adoption right now. Their room is exactly where they want to go. Number one, they can do just about anything in their room and avoid getting yelled out. And last, every toy they own is in their room. You are sending them into a sanctuary where there are things for them to do.
Taking television and video games from their life for a day or two, will just cause the parent more grief. Now the kid is just hanging around you nagging about getting TV back. And of course, it gives them more time to think of ways to be mischievous. That is entirely what we are trying avoid!
So if you have this problem, “My children are so out of control!! I don't know what to do!” This comic pretty much explains the answer to most of your parenting problems. When you spank your kids, you don’t have to take television away from them, so they will stay out of your hair. They will be more hesitant to disobey you in the future because they will remember the pain they went through. Nobody wants to go through that twice. If you spank, there will be no spaceships involved.
You want your children to fear you. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean fear in the, “oh my gosh, I’m so scared of you!” kind of way. I’m talking about the second definition of fear:
Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power. If there is no fear (second def), your kids will never fully obey you. My conclusion is short and sweet: Spank hard, spank often, spank when necessary.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


What is rebellion? It’s a simple question. Can you answer it? Well, no you can’t. Before you can, you must know whom you’re rebelling against, how you’re rebelling, and why. If I said you are rebelling against your parents, could you then answer my first question? Of course you could, because you know your parents likes and dislikes. But if rebellion is merely going against someone higher than you in the food-chain’s opinions, does that really allow one to be an individual? So, what is the difference between rebellion and individualism?
I mean, lets be realistic, if since the dawn of time everyone did exactly what those in authority asked him or her to, where would we be today? The simple answers to this question would be: The world would be without sin; there would be no Islamic religion; Israel would be the greatest and most powerful nation in the world; the United States would not exist; etc… I guess that answer isn’t as simple as I might have thought. Throughout history, there have been endless examples of how going against the authority has proven to be a mistake. Then again they’re just as many examples of how rebellion proved to have positive results.
Can one do anything at all out of the box without it being called rebellion? By definition, no one can’t. If I wanted to rebel against my parents right now, all I would have to do is get my ears pierced and get a tattoo. But what makes that rebellion? It is the deliberate act of defiance toward my parents. All I want to do is get my ears pierced and a small tattoo. It’s my own personal choice. I am not doing it to make my parents mad, I am doing it because I like the style.
It’s my own opinion. But why does my opinion just so happen to be the opposite of that of my parents? I think it goes back to that little kid who’s mom put the cookie on the table and said, “Don’t eat the cookie!” What is the first thing the kid does? He eats the cookie. Is this kid being an individual by eating the cookie? Or by taking the cookie, is this child creating a new lifestyle for him or herself?
Peircings and tattoos are defiantly ways to express rebellion. Then again, these are also popular styles of this day and age. How could my parents decipher whether I am doing this just because I am trying to go against everything they stand for, or whether I am just trying to express myself. Gary Goshgarian, in the eighth edition of his book: The Contemporary Reader says, “For many teens, having an identity separate from their parents is a key part of growing up and establishing independence.” (Goshgarian 71). I entirely agree with this opinion.
Individualism is the “new thing” amongst the teens of the twenty-first century. Everyday I drive down the street and see hair colors ranging from hot pink to neon green. If I asked that person, “Why on earth do you have green hair.” The answer will almost be, “I just thought it would be cool.” And at the same time they would give me that “How dare you judge me” look. The response this person gives me tells me that they are being an individual who chooses to have green hair. Isn’t that individualism?
Yes. It is. But why do the teens of this day strive to be individuals? Is it because we are afraid of becoming robots? Is it possible that rebellion spurs on individualism? Well, often parents want their children to be “robots”. As parents, they have the authority to do this. Could not this child use the excuse of individualism to hide behind in order to rebel?
Is there a reason why my parents don’t want me to have peircings or tattoos? This, I believe, comes from the separation of the generations. When they were our age, “the thing” was to wear jean-jackets, knee socks, and grow mullets. Yes, that’s right, a mullet was their definition of rebellion. It’s hard to imagine this but as styles change, so does the definition of rebellion.
“The physical modifications that a teenager can make in order to enlist the outside world’s help in discovering the contours of their true individuality are becoming ever fewer, even while they seem, on the surface, to be growing.” (Tompkins 73). Ptolemy Tompkins in The Contemporary Reader makes this statement. The “outside world’s help” he refers to in this passage, I believe, is a reaction from our elders. It seems we care less and less about what others think of us as long as we feel good. Individualism is rapidly becoming an excuse to not care or to rebel.
So, in conclusion, there really isn’t a difference between individualism and rebellion. If you are being an individual, than there is obviously a reason why you don’t want to go along with the statis-quo. And ninety percent of the time, statis-quo takes the side of your parents. Whether you are purposely rebelling or not, when it comes to peircings and tattoos, at some point someone rebelled by getting one, so in a way, you are supporting rebellion. There are a lot of unanswered questions in this essay, but I didn’t answer them on purpose. They are there to spark your own thoughts. This struggle between parents and teens will never be solved, but maybe we can shed more light on why we do it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

This is a blog about how crazy the world is, and how pointless most of the things we humans do, really are... And pretty much things that annoy the crap out of me... Who knows, out of all that, I might just say something profound...