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Plain Truth Magazine
December 1961
Volume: Vol XXVI, No.12
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Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

No discipline, no punishment, has bred a generation of youthful criminals in our society, Read how discipline and punishment can be constructive!

   JUST after our last installment was published, reducing co utter ridiculousness the abysmal miscalculation of the so-called "phases" of growing children, 3 shocking article appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
   The article was a report of a pediatrician's talk before a meeting of the California Academy of General Practice, held in the Statler Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles,
   Space does not permit a complete reprinting of the article here, but In essence, here is what it reported:

The Fake Phases of Youth

   Parents were warned to recognize and study the various so-called "phases" of growing children so they would not be unduly ALARMED when their children began behaving like ghouls, monsters, wildly depraved maniacal imbeciles!
   The doctor calmly revealed to those of other medical practices that little children of only months can "totally disrupt" a household but parents were counseled to merely "sweat it out." It would all pass, they are assured into the next stage.
   But OH, the HORRORS of that one!
   Between 18 months and 2 1/2 years the child is supposed to become dictatorial, "domineering, demanding, and his favorite word is 'no'," assured the doctor. Then, supposedly, he advances to [he stage of 4 years, where he likes to HIT, BITE, THROW ROCKS, BREAK TOYS and RUN AWAY! The 4-year-old, assured the doctor, is JUST NORMALLY expected to do these things because, you see, he is four! He is not cowed by material threats, and does NOT FEAR threats of punishment, but is defiant and swaggering!
   And then the INCOMPREHENSIBLE suggestion is given by the learned doctor that parents muse use "firm discipline." BUT WHAT KIND? How? And are RESULTS to be expected?
   The docror didn't say, But apparently not because, he went on, "The 6-year-old often likes to say 'I'll kill you; or 'I hate you.'" It is also, advises the doctor to bewildered parents, the age when he is most apt to CHEAT and STEAL!
   By the time the child is 8, he is exhuberant, expansive, cocky and rarely finishes anything he starts. At 9, he is independent and resists bossing, exploiting adults to get his own way, and uses neurotic excuses. At 10, he is suddenly "nice," said the doctor but at eleven he is RUDE and ARGUMENTATIVE, The doctor warned sagely against making demands on any ll-year-old.
   At 13, they like to be left alone, at 14 they are "noisy" said the doctor, and at 15 they are "HARD BOILED" and practically secede from the family union.
   But parents who are busily "SWEATING IT OUT" are advised not to fear these awesome gyrations, neurotic tendencies, demoniacal rages, psychotic behaviours, these fearsome crimes, enraged attacks, expressions of hatred and sudden disappearances of their growing progeny,
   No there will be a brighter day tomorrow! "And 16," said the doctor, "is really sweet 16." At last according to this particular pediatrician, your children are happy, friendly, good tempered, self-assumed and "realize that Mom and Dad have finally learned something in the past few months."
   It would be, if it were not so piteous, so utterly shameful, and so terrifyingly DAMAGING to the eager, pliable, growing minds of our youth!
   Isn't it almost a complete insult to the intelligence of any normal-minded human being to accept and believe, let alone attempt to "practice" such methods of "child observance" (since it certainly cannot be called "child-rearing")?
   But this is surely enough. For months, we have seen clearly the awful miscalculations of a modern permissive society that, as J, Edgar Hoover said, has "substituted indulgence for discipline."
   We have seen it proved. To take further installments in exposing the ridiculous theories of the practitioners of licentiousness would be a waste. We must now begin to really understand the TRUTH.
   It is time to unshackle our minds from the pagan concepts spawned by Satan in his rebelliousness against authority! It is time to turn to GOD, and to His sacred WORD, the only source where we can really get our bearings amidst all this chaotic CONFUSION.

Discipline CAN Be Constructive

   The carnal-minded worldly theorists look upon all discipline from the standpoint of the widely-publicized ABUSES of ill-trained parents. A sensational case of child-beating is enough to convince most people that ALL punishment, however sensible, loving, kind, and judicious, is WRONG.
   To punish, or not to punish that is the question!
   But punishment, remember, is only a PART of the picture and on the negative side in the main. However, punishment can and should be a POSITIVE measure as a valuable tool in real constructive teaching. But much more of this later.
   Let's clear the air let's come to really UNDERSTAND.
   PUNISHMENT, when meted out in the proper manner, and at the proper time, is one of the greatest BLESSINGS a human being at any age can receive!
   This society is a godless, lawless society! It is a society which has cut itself off from God! It did not like to "retain God" in its knowledge! Instead, it has followed a way which "seems right" to man! (Prov. 14:12).
   The FRUITS of this "way" of man are now everywhere evident! It's about time YOU began to look to the SOURCE of all truth, to the manual of the Inventor, to answer the question, "should you punish your children?"
   First, let us explode the theory of society, once and for all, that punishment and love cannot come from the same source! GOD IS LOVE! He says:
"...Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh Unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the lord, nor faint when thou an rebuked of Him:
"For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Heb. 12:5-6).
   Notice, Almighty God punishes His children, because He LOVES them! True Christians today are supposed to be constantly recipient of God's just and merciful chastisement, His punishments and His admonitions, His corrections and rebukes! God says:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for CORRECTION, for instruction in righteousness:
"That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (II Tim. 3:16-17).
   The Holy Word of God is GIVEN to correct us, to chastise us, to rebuke and reprove us! In Our lawless society which has substituted "indulgence for discipline" we see vast hordes of professing "Christians" who advocate NO LAW! They think the law of God is done away! They advocate a doctrine of no authority, no reproof I no rebuke, no correction, no law! Therefore, by the very NATURE of their teachings, they advocate a non-Biblical religion!
   God says:
"If you endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?
"But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then ate ye bastards, and nor sons.... Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:7-11).
   One of the very characteristics of a loving God is His NATURE of meting out just, merciful and loving PUNISHMENT when it is needed! To be without this chastisement, to be left, without God's punishments, to go our own way uncontrolled" unrestrained and unchecked would mean the ultimate destruction of our society! We have been going in that very direction for nearly 6,000 years! And now, as all the prophecies of your Bible show, Almighty God is about to step in, as any loving father would, and PUNISH in no uncertain terms!
   In like fashion, a child who is allowed to grow up through various "phases" of rebellion, unchecked and unrestrained, without the loving but firm hand applied where it ought to be, when it ought to be, how it ought to be, is going to end up as a confused, uncertain, neurotic emotional MESS and, in all likelihood, a hardened unregenerate criminal!
   The oft-quoted "scripture," "spare the rod and spoil the child" is not a scripture! It is a "saying" which people have repeated down through the years as being a scripture and is not found in the Bible in this form. However, in principle, it is certainly based upon the Bible.

A Child's First Contact with Authority

   To a tiny, squirming infant his parents are "god." That is, they are the supreme authority in his life. They constitute his life-giver, his provider, protector, his law and his ruler! There is a perfect type in the rearing of children which helps us to understand the manner in which Almighty God is rearing His children, reproducing Himself! Just as modern religionists have substituted doctrines of licentiousness, permission to do evil "do as you please-ism" so have the modern child counselors advocated their spineless doctrines of parental indulgence.
   If the little child cannot have an orderly existence, and cannot be kept within certain bounds which he is made to understand, he becomes confused, frustrated! God says:
"The fear of the Eternal is the beginning of knowledge: "But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
"My son, hear the instruction of, thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
"For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck" (Prov. 1:7-9).
   Just as the Christian must really learn to FEAR God, so must the little infant learn to fear his parents! But fear is not" to be in terror of!" Some, in complete incomprehension of the meaning of scripture, talk of the "authoritative" God of the Old Testament, and of the "loving" Christ of the New! little do they realize Jesus IS the GOD of the Old Testament! If you have not seen this vital point of scripture clearly proved, then read our free article. "Is Jesus God?". To fear God is to stand in awe of Him. We love God because He first loved us! And God says if He loves us, He will punish us when we do chose things which are going to result in our own destruction!
   In like fashion, the parent who truly LOVES his own children will want to punish them in the right manner, at the right time, when they are doing things which will cause much greater hurt.
   To a tiny, newborn infant, his parents reign supreme. He knows of no other authority, no other law, no other governing influence, no other protector, provider and he knows of no other love. Recognizing this fact, parents should again realize that the time to begin training their children is at birth not a moment later!

Why Spank?

   Most of us are looking for temporary goals. The only purpose in spanking children with many seems to be in getting the child to immediately cease whatever he is doing that is annoying them! We may want our child to quit running while in the house, quit running out into the street, to quit "bothering" us when we're busy, or any number of things which encroach upon our personal peace of mind.
   In this fashion, spanking truly does become entirely negative. It is usually done by thoughtless parents in anger thoughtlessly.
   Since this is one of the most common abuses of proper discipline, the child psychologists have made mincemeat of the practice using IMPROPER USAGE as a premise against any proper use!
   MOST parents who do spank their children, unfortunately, DO spank them in anger! They are concentrating only on the IMMEDIATE goals. They want their child to "quit bothering" them.
   Have you ever heard a parent say, "That makes me so mad at you!" to his child? Such parents are admitting they use spanking only NEGATIVELY, and not as a proper method to teach those LASTING values those PERMANENT habits of obedience that are so necessary.
   Another common miscalculation is that of supposedly "adding insult to injury." Some parents reason a crying child, or one who is "upset" is already suffering from something and a spanking would only make him suffer all the more. Therefore they reason a spanking at this juncture would be harmful.
   This MAY BE TRUE in some circumstances! A child who is disappointed over a broken toy, who is excessively tired, or who has become emotionally upset over a similar situation should not be spanked. Sorrow disappointment, regret or hunger these should not be punished! But ANGER, RESENTMENT, REBELLION, or HATRED THESE DEFINITELY SHOULD BE PUNISHED!
   God says,
"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams, for REBELLION is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry.... (I Sam. 15:22-23.)
"An evil man seeketh only rebellion, therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him" (Proverbs 17:11).
   The long-range goal of spanking for a show of rebellion is to prove to the infant mind REBELLION nets PUNISHMENT! Never fear the child will have ANY difficulty in connecting the punishment with the crime! He will AUTOMATICALLY connect the two together!
   However, many parents are dissuaded from accomplishing these lasting goals by reasoning, "Why spank him if he's screaming and crying hard when a spanking is just going to 'upset' him all the more?"
   Parents are deluded from their long-range goals by reasoning the following:
"But supposing he does get angry? What shall we do?
"If he is angry because he is sleepy or hungry, we have to try as matter-of-factly as we can to get him fed and into bed. If we can be calm ourselves it will help. What use is there in being disturbed and annoyed when that will only add to our child's anger and our own trouble?" (p. 357, The Complete Book of Mothercraft, Parents Institute).
   Herein lies a basic principle which needs to be thoroughly understood.
   Most parents are inclined to make excuses for their children's poor behavior. Actually, they are excusing themselves, as the ones who are really to blame for the irresponsible actions of their children. Parents who constantly excuse the squalling of a child by saying he "is tired," or ignore the angry outbursts of a toddler by saying he's "just upset" today, or say he "didn't get a nap" and therefore is acting like an uncontrollable monster are merely EXCUSING both themselves and their children.
   But the real truth is very clear. This child comes from a poorly scheduled environment, from a poorly-managed home. He is the product of a careless mother and father who, after having made numerous mistakes in his care and training, merely make excuses for the obvious result of their carelessness.
   Should a child be chastised for expressing anger by crying? Should a child who is already "disturbed" or "upset" and is angrily crying be punished?
God's answer is: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying!" (Emphasis ours) (Prov. 19: 18).
   Simply being "sleepy" or "hungry" is one thing but being ANGRY because of it is another! Parents quickly learn to discern between a "sleepy" cry and an "angry" cry!

How to Accomplish Permanent Goals

   OF COURSE, your child will cry all the harder when he receives a spanking! If your immediate goal is merely to get your child to be quiet then you are thwarting your own purpose. But if you have a long-range goal of teaching and training your child while he is young, or, as God says, "while there is hope," you will recognize each particular situation as a challenge, NOT for the immediate present, but for the future! You spank for anger and rebellion now, fully realizing he is going to cry all the harder, in order to instill in him the HABIT of obedience, and to teach him the sin of rebellion reward authority, which is going to stand him in good stead later.
   Let us notice an example of parents eating out with their children in a restaurant.
   Johnnie, aged 2 1/2" begins to play with his silverware. Dropping his knife on the floor, his father picks it up and takes the silverware away from him. Immediately, Johnnie bursts into an angry outburst of tears. Embarrassed, realizing there are many others suddenly looking at them, the father tells Johnnie "sh-h-h-h-h-h-h"! But Johnnie does not "sh-h-h-h-h-h-h" he cries all the louder. What should he do? Should he pacify the child by giving the silverware back to him? Should he rap him sharply on the hand while in the restaurant?
   His feelings are in a turmoil. He realizes if he tries to spank him in front of all these people he will merely cry all the louder! And so, nearly always the child gets his own way! The father, not wanting to create a "scene," gives the silverware back to the child and he has won a major VICTORY! He has found crying gets him his own way, Anger PAYS OFF!
   But if Johnnie's father had realized he should be concentrating on the LONG-RANGE GOAL of teaching his child respect for authority and the rights of others, he would have done the following:
   He would have left the silverware right where it was in front of Johnnie! (Of course, had Johnnie been receiving all the proper training at home this situation may have never arisen in the first place!) He would have picked up the knife patiently, placed it in its proper place on the table, looked levelly at the child and said once, sharply, firmly but quietly, "No!" The chances are about 999,000 to one Johnnie would immediately seize the silverware in his chubby little hand again! Of course! That's what is expected.' He must be taught not to disobey. The next step is to firmly take the silverware from his hand in calm and patience, arise from your chair, pick up Johnnie and carry him outside. This is going to cause far less disturbance, far less embarrassment in the immediate situation and is going to help form a good habit in the child. After Johnnie's father gets him to a place of comparative privacy, such as their own car, he explains to the boy what he has done. He might say, "Johnnie, you dropped your silverware on the floor and disturbed others. I told you NO! not to touch the silverware again! You DISOBEYED! And now, because I love you, and I don't wish to have you grow up to be disobedient, I must teach you I mean exactly what I say when I tell you NO!" Where-upon the father should punish Johnnie appropriately. Five or six firm licks on his bottom may be enough! But, in any event, this punishment must be appropriate to the occasion, neither too severe, nor too lax! Punishment, in order to be effective, must be felt! But a great deal more of this later.
   Then, the father picks up the child after his tears have subsided, wipes his face and carries him calmly back to the table, placing him again in his seat.
   An unnecessarily lengthy procedure, you say? It is, IF the only thing about which you are concerned is a little peace and quiet during one of the thousands of meals you are going to eat in your lifetime! FAR FROM IT, if you are concerned about rearing your child correctly, teaching him the meaning of parental authority and discipline, and using these minor incidents as a means toward the long-range goals.
   Rather than merely solving an immediate problem for the sake of a handful of complete strangers and what "they think" about your methods of child rearing, you have added to your child more of the stuff from which right habits are formed.
   This is such a common situation that it may bear repeating, Too many parents actually DO let their "soul spare for his crying" lessening the punishment, or neglecting it altogether, letting the child use crying and screams as a weapon with which to get his own way!

Ultimate Benefits of Constructive Discipline

   J, Edgar Hoover said something so piquant, so strikingly applicable, that it should be briefly quoted:
"Criminals are made, not born. Long before a youngster is legally labeled 'juvenile delinquent,' his acts repeat a familiar pattern of conduct falsehoods, disobedience, truancy, petty stealing. Each dereliction leads to another. Unless he learns the fundamental lessons of self-discipline, trouble is inevitable.
"Every child should have maximum freedom of expression but when such freedom transgresses common decency or infringes upon the rights of others, it must be curtailed. Our prisons are filled with individuals who enjoy freedom of expression without self-discipline" (p. 3, How Good a Parent Are You?, Hoover). (Emphasis ours.)
   A child who has been taught obedience from the time of mere infancy will have practically NO CHANCE of ever turning into a juvenile delinquent, This is not to say mere punishment and respect for authority is the ONLY panacea against juvenile delinquency. There are many other reasons, among them; parental neglect, broken homes and divorce, unhappy homes, bad examples, outside influences, dangerous literature and the pressures of modern day society. Even an ordinarily well-disciplined child, if placed in other equally bad situations, merely develops into a juvenile delinquent.
   However, for the purposes of this series we are concerning ourselves primarily with the subject of discipline in physical punishment.
   God gives an absolute promise, a Divinely inspired GUARANTEE that if you: "Train up a child in the way he should go... when he is old, HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM IT" (Prov. 22:6).
   Do you tremble before the word of God? The chances are, you don't! The REASON you don't, is because you, like many millions of others, have, in all likelihood, been reared with a concept that the Bible does not mean what it says! God answers:
"Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is My throne, and the earth is My foot-stool: Where is the house that ye build unto Me? And where is the place of My rest?
"For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word! (Isa. 66:1-2).
   God gives an absolute GUARANTEE that a properly trained infant will not DEPART from the way of his father when he is "old"! Do you believe it? Are you willing to PRACTICE it?
   Remember, God is love! God punishes us because He loves us, even as WE should punish our children in the right manner, at the right time because we love them. "He that spareth his rod hateth his son! But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Prov. 13:24). God says to withhold proper punishment from a child is LACK of love, and is actual hatred for the child! Your Creator says you are withholding something mighty precious from your child if you do not punish him when such punishment is deserved.
"Withhold not correction from the child: For if thou beatest him with the rod (stick or switch) he shall not die. "Thou shalt bear him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell" (Prov. 23:13-14).
   The Hebrew word herein used for "rod" would be better translated into our modern English "switch," according to our modern terminology. Certainly no implement which could be termed a rod, such as a curtain rod or a heavy stick of any nature should ever be used in disciplining a child.
   Correction should be utilized as a positive part of learning! It is, as revealed in the Bible, one of the METHODS of reaching! God says, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him" (Prov. 22:15).
   Further, your Bible reveals "The rod and reproof give wisdom: But a child left to himself bringeth his mother shame'" (Prov. 29:15).
   Yes, reproof, correction, proper discipline can be utilized as one of the most important methods of positive TEACHING!

(To be continued next issue)

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Plain Truth MagazineDecember 1961Vol XXVI, No.12
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