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Martin Luther on disciplining children

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  • raging_calvinist
    While I don t hold that a parent should never discipline a child, I think to use corporal punishment as a general rule for all parents can have significant
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 1, 2002
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      "While I don't hold that a parent should never discipline a
      child, I think to use corporal punishment as a general rule for all
      parents can have significant harmful effects on a child."

      Martin Luther says that the best thing you can do for the child, the
      family, the church, and the world, is to discipline your children
      with the rod of correction:

      "But this at least all married people should know. They can do no
      better work and do nothing mre valuable either for God, for
      Christendom, for all the world, for themselves, and for their
      children than to bring up their children well. In comparison with
      this one work, that married people should bring up their children
      properly, there is nothing at all in pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem,
      or Compostella, nothing at all in building churches, endowing masses,
      or whatever good works could be named. For bringing up their
      children properly is their shortest road to heaven. In fact, heaven
      itself could not be made nearer or achieved more easily than by doing
      this work. It is also their appointed work. Where parents are not
      conscientious about this, it is as if everything were the wrong way
      around, like fire that will not burn or water that is not wet.

      "By the same token, hell is no more easily earned than with respect
      to one's own children. You could do no more disastrous work than to
      spoil the children, let them curse and swear, let them learn profane
      words and vulgar songs, and just let them do as they please. What is
      more, some parents use enticements to be more alluring to meet the
      dictates of the world of fashion, so that they may please only the
      world, get ahead, and become rich, all the time giving more attention
      to the care of the body than to the due care of the soul. There is
      no greater tragedy in Christendom than spoiling children. If we want
      to help Christendom, we most certainly have to start with the
      children, as happened in earlier times.

      "This third point seems to me to be the most important of all, as
      well as being the most useful. For without a shadow of a doubt it is
      not only a matter of marital obligation, but can completely eclipse
      all other sins. False natural love blinds parents so that they have
      more regard for the bodies of their children than they have for their
      souls. It was because of this that the sage said, `He who spares the
      rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline
      him' [Proverbs 13:24]. Again, `Folly is bound up in the heart of a
      child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him' [Proverbs
      22:15]. Or again, `If you beat him with the rod you will save his
      life from hell' [Proverbs 23:14]. Therefore, it is of the greatest
      importance to every married man to pay closer, more thorough, and
      continuous attention to the health of his child's soul than to the
      body which he has begotten, and to regard his child as nothing else
      but the eternal treasure God has commanded him to protect, and so
      prevent the world, the flesh, and the devil from stealing the child
      way and bringing him to destruction. For at his death and on the day
      of judgment he will be asked about his child and will have to give a
      most solemn account. For what do you think is the cause of the
      horrible wailing and howling of those who will cry, `O blessed are
      the wombs which have not bore children, and the breasts which have
      never suckled' [Luke 23:29]? There is not the slightest doubt that
      it is because they have failed to restore their children to God, from
      whom they received them to take care of them."

      Hell vs. a red behind... no contest.

      gmw.
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