|Image by astrogator on Flickr
Think back to the times you were spanked. What do you remember? Are you able to remember specifics, or do you blank out on parts of it? Interestingly, most people that I talk to have a hard time remembering details. They only remember pieces. Some remember all the events leading up to a spanking, but their memories stop there. Others remember the spankings themselves, but not what they did to get spanked in the first place. Aside from the fact that memory issues are often associated with trauma, if you don't remember why you got the spanking in the first place, how did it really help?
If you do remember, how did it motivate you, really? I know that the idea is that you will be afraid to do whatever misdeed again. Did it work? Or did you repeat the same action again at some point? Did you just resolve not to get caught the next time? Or did you ever decide that doing what you wanted was worth the price of the spanking? If it worked, were there any other strategies that would have worked, also?
Did it make you angry? Did you wish you had the power to get revenge? Did you ever feel that you were being hit unjustly and feel resentment over that?
Did it fill you with shame? And if so, was the shame associated with your actions, or with yourself as a person? Did the shame go away after the spanking, or did it remain and deepen? As an adult, do you still struggle with self-acceptance, perfectionism, and shame issues?
Did it make you more honest, or did it make you feel a need to be deceptive? Did you ever find yourself pretending that everything was OK, gulping back tears and trying to act in a way that would satisfy your parents, even if it wasn't authentic?
If you spank your children, what is the fruit of that in you?
Do you feel angry? I know, all the books say we shouldn't spank in anger, but they also say not to wait too long before spanking. Do you feel frustrated or at peace? Do you ever resent your child for "making you" spank him?
Do you ever feel shame about the frequency, method, or severity of the spankings? Do you ever feel a need to hide or be less than fully honest about your spankings?
When you prepare to spank your child, are you motivated by pride? Either anger at perceived lack of respect, or fear at what others will think of you and your parenting skills?
Does spanking produce kindness in you? Gentleness? Patience? Self-control? Goodness? Trustworthiness?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
"But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely." ~ The Message
I have many, many resources that I will be happy to share if you are seeking to look deeper at what the Bible teaches us about discipline. I will post some of them in the comments soon. But for now, consider the fruit of the Spirit, and the fruit of spanking. Is spanking resulting in rotten fruit?
This post was written for National Spank Out Day. I will be updating later today with more links and resources from other participants, but here are some that are participating. If you would like to be included, please leave a comment with your link. :)
National Spank Out Day
Permission to Live--Journey of a Young Mom
Bicultural Mom--Why I Hate Spanking
TouchstoneZ--Spank Out Day
I Am Totally *That* Mom--Spank Out Day
Littlemama Midwife--Marriage, Parenting and Grace
Imperfect Happiness--The Great Spank Out Day
HybridRastaMama--Spanking: Why Alternatives are Needed
Kelly Hogaboom--Non-Punitive Parenting: A Starting Primer
Becoming Crunchy--In Honor of Spank Out Day USA