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Old 8th August 2010, 01:58 AM
Climacus Areopagite Climacus Areopagite is offline
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Default Discipline

My understanding is discipline is basically instruction or the state of receiving instruction. The word is used very many times in the Wisdoms books and is interchanged with the term like teaching, training, and instruction. The word comes from the same latin origin as disciple, disciplina which literally means instruction. So disciple is one who is instructed or one who follows a teacher. Disciples of Jesus.

Everyone needs discipline since we are all sinners and in a fallen state. Adults need discipline in one degree or another depending on circumstance and occasion. An adult should come to a point where he disciplines himself like Saint Paul taught using the athletes as a metaphor, then he will need less discipline from others.

Children especially need discipline since in addition to being in the fallen state they are vulnerable and weak. Discipline takes on many forms. One of them is corporeal punishment. A modest and ordinate form of corporeal punishment used on children is a fitting means of instruction especially when teaching them right from wrong. God punishes the human race when we sin and one sense this is instruction so we may learn the nature of our evil acts, their harmful consequences and so hopefully repent.

God's punishment for evils committed is just but it is also merciful. If God did not punish our consciences and our bodies for the severe evils we commit then we in our fallen and sinful state may not realize the wrong we do and all the harm it causes. Ordinate punishment is merciful because it leads the sincere to repentance and the changing one's self. Pope Benedict says somewhere that teaching a person right from wrong or teaching one the moral life is the greatest act of mercy. So parents are imitating God when they use an ordinate corporeal punishment on their children. And this is in accord with their roles of teaching, leadership and authority over the children God has entrusted to them. It is just, merciful and also an act of love to ordinately punish children so they may see the truth of good and evil, right and wrong, etc.

Maybe corporeal punishment was abusive, inordinate or used inappropriately in the past but the principle of using it as a means of instruction is sound and moral. And one does not have to use crude forms like whipping. One could may his son do push-ups or have them do extra chores or something of the sort. The point is that it is a means of instructing and done out of love, mercy and justice for the sake of the young one who is a maturing child of God.

Here is Sirach on discipling children:

{30:1} He who loves his son will frequently chastise him, so that he may be happy in the very end, and not grope for the doors of his neighbors.
{30:2} He who instructs his son will be praised over him and will glory in him, in the midst of his household.
{30:3} He who teaches his son will make his enemy jealous, and in the midst of his friends, he will glory in him.
{30:4} When his father has died, it will be as if he were not dead. For he will have left behind someone who is like himself.
{30:5} In his life, he saw him and rejoiced in him. And at his passing, he was not sorrowful, nor was he confounded in the sight of his enemies.
{30:6} For he left behind himself a defender of his house against his enemies, and someone who will repay his friends with kindness.
{30:7} For the sake of the souls of his sons, he will bind up his wounds, and at every voice, his gut will be stirred up.
{30:8} An untamed horse becomes stubborn, and a child left to himself becomes headstrong.
{30:9} Coddle a son, and he will make you afraid. Play with him, and he will make you sorrowful.
{30:10} You should not laugh with him; otherwise you may have grief, and in the end, your teeth be clenched.
{30:11} You should not give him power in his youth, but you should not despise his thoughts.
{30:12} Bow down his neck in his youth, and slap his sides while he is a child, lest perhaps he may become stubborn, and then he will not trust you, and so he will bring sorrow to your soul.
{30:13} Instruct your son, and work with him, lest you give offense by his shameful behavior.

I am not a parent, but I played a lot of sports when I was younger and I finally realized that I can assume some of the principles I learned into the spiritual life. I think the Church and the world needs to willing practice discipline (not that we need more rules, just the attitude). When done correctly it can be such a great aid and even beautiful to see someone who is truly disciplined in his state of life. Athletes, musicians, artists need discipline to get them to a higher state of performance. Officers and soldiers need discipline and their are so many examples.

Last edited by Climacus Areopagite : 8th August 2010 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 8th August 2010, 11:42 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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The human person is body and soul, but the soul is greater than the body. Therefore, any chastisements will be most effective if they are primarily of the soul, and least effective if they are primarily of the body. Although some corporeal punishment may be fitting in particular circumstances for children, correction that teaches is generally more fitting and more effective.

Examples: A child hits another. The punishment could be for the child to apologize and do something nice for the other child.

A child steal a toy from another. The punishment could include depriving the child of the use of his toys, as well as apologizing and returning the stolen toy.
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Old 8th August 2010, 10:39 PM
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Sacredcello Sacredcello is offline
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An excerpt from the writings of Dr. Sears, a pediatrician, who raised 8 children together with his wife who is a nurse:

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/T062100.asp

There is confusion in the ranks of people of Judeo-Christian heritage who, seeking help from the Bible in their effort to raise godly children, believe that God commands them to spank. They take "spare the rod and spoil the child" seriously and fear that if they don't spank, they will commit the sin of losing control of their child. In our counseling experience, we find that these people are devoted parents who love God and love their children, but they misunderstand the concept of the rod.

Rod verses - what they really mean. The following are the biblical verses which have caused the greatest confusion:

"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." (Prov. 22:15)

"He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." (Prov. 13:24)

"Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." (Prov. 23:13-14)

"The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to itself disgraces his mother." (Prov. 29:15)

At first glance these verses may sound pro-spanking. But you might consider a different interpretation of these teachings. "Rod" (shebet) means different things in different parts of the Bible. The Hebrew dictionary gives this word various meanings: a stick (for punishment, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.). While the rod could be used for hitting, it was more frequently used for guiding wandering sheep. Shepherds didn't use the rod to beat their sheep - and children are certainly more valuable than sheep. As shepherd-author Philip Keller teaches so well in A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, the shepherd's rod was used to fight off prey and the staff was used to gently guide sheep along the right path. ("Your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4).

Jewish families we've interviewed, who carefully follow dietary and lifestyle guidelines in the Scripture, do not practice "rod correction" with their children because they do not follow that interpretation of the text.
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Old 9th August 2010, 12:11 AM
Climacus Areopagite Climacus Areopagite is offline
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the rod is a figure of speech for a correction of the soul. Of course I wasnt thinking of the spiritual aspect. That is the refined Christian way.

In Saint Therese's autobiography she recalls when she was young, she was on a swing or something of the sort. Her father came home saw her and asked her to come over and give him a hug. She refused, so he simply said nothing turned his back on her and walked away. She seemed to have taken the correction well, because she realized she displeased him right away, ran after him and apologized.

Another thing her father did for her was correct a couple who was passing by on a bridge and remarked how beautiful little Therese was and he said something like do not say that ever again to my child. He seemed to be on top of things.
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Old 9th August 2010, 01:57 PM
Brother Brother is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
The human person is body and soul, but the soul is greater than the body. Therefore, any chastisements will be most effective if they are primarily of the soul, and least effective if they are primarily of the body. Although some corporeal punishment may be fitting in particular circumstances for children, correction that teaches is generally more fitting and more effective.

Examples: A child hits another. The punishment could be for the child to apologize and do something nice for the other child.

A child steal a toy from another. The punishment could include depriving the child of the use of his toys, as well as apologizing and returning the stolen toy.

Yes, these are good punishment for children, at the same time, it's good to teach the other child (the one who has been offended) to forgive his brother, sister, or the offender; if the other child refuses to forgive after the apology, then a punishment may fall on this other child as well such as not letting him play his favorites games, etc.

Last edited by Brother : 9th August 2010 at 02:02 PM.
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