Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Not So Top 10

For a couple of years, I only had about 12 regular blog readers (and I am so grateful for you!  You are beloved friends who helped me to keep writing.).  Then things took off this last year, thanks to the generosity of some of my fellow bloggers.  I am so honored by all of the blog views and comments--you all rock!  And I wanted to share a few posts that I like, even though they are not the most commonly viewed ones.  They were all written before 2011, so I am hoping that you may find some that you haven't seen.  :)

1.   Shame Off You!

2.  My Favorite Perfume

3.  Languages of Love and Punishment

4.  Jesus Wept

5.  Why Christians Should Breastfeed in Public

6.  Scrubbing Toesies in Foreign Languages

7.  Shall We Dance?

8.  Is it Ever Bad to Be Polite?

9.  Misadventures in Parking

10.  His Banner Over Us is Love

Friday, December 30, 2011

In Defense of Kreeaytiff Nayemz and Youkneec Spellings

If you're different, you stand out 5
Image credit suvodeb on Flickr
Confession is good for the soul, so I am going to let you in on a secret.  I think that unusual names and nontraditional spellings are cool.   Why is this a confession, you ask?  After all, the people I spend time with are pretty tolerant, by and large.  We make choices that are a bit outside of the mainstream and look at the world though our own individual lenses.  So it never fails to surprise me when I see posts mocking unusual names or non-traditional spellings.  I am not talking about parents naming their kids something degrading, like Poopy.  And, of course, some of the criticism is gentle ribbing, noting the poster's accidental flubbing of pronunciation.  But a surprising amount comes across as a bit malicious, and I just don't get it.

I'll acknowledge up front that I am biased.  My own name, although common in Mexico, is very unusual here.  Few people get it right on the first try.  I have been called everything from Dooley to Doushay (yeah, really) and pretty much anything else that has any part of Dulce in it.  We used to get telemarketers calling for Dulcky.  I get that it can be aggravating for both sides to have a name that isn't easily pronounced on the first try.

And yes, I remember feeling disappointed at times when I couldn't find mass-market personalized items when I was a child. But that was a fleeting thing

Even more, though, I remember vigorously nodding along as my favorite literary heroine insisted that "Anne-with-an-e" looked much better than "Ann", that a "K" was much more alluring than a smug-looking "C" and that she could see all the sharp angles and corners in a "W" when it was spoken. 

I feel the pleasure of recognition when someone recalls my name or makes the effort to pronounce it correctly. 

I am also a teacher who learns a large number of names every semester, and it is actually very nice to see or hear names that stand out a bit.  I find that they stay in my mind much more readily than common names with conventional spellings.  I always ask my students to introduce themselves as they prefer to be addressed in the beginning, and it is never a problem.

Names are important.  We thought and prayed long and hard before choosing our childrens' names.  We gave careful consideration to the meanings behind them, how they would come across in both Spanish and English, and yes, even to the spellings.  And although none of them are in recent top 10 lists, none are particularly unusual.  But each of their names beautifully reflects the child.  They have made their names even more lovely to me because now I see them when I hear that name.  And that is every bit as true for kids with creative spellings or simply unusual names.

Whatever names you have given your children, however you have chosen to spell them, I celebrate the meaning, beauty and uniqueness of your child.  Of you.  Of your own way of seeing things and the way that is highlighted in the way you address your child.  And I believe that other people will, too.  (If you have gotten the argument that your child won't be taken seriously with an unusual name, let me say that in my experience, true leaders are open to innovation and creativity and are unlikely to judge your child negatively).

Please give your child a name that reflects how you see him or her.  One that speaks a blessing over your child each time you say it.  One that demonstrates exactly who your child is called to be.  You and your children are one of a kind.  It is OK if your names show that.  I will be cheering for you.  And I will have the courtesy to learn how to pronounce it and spell it correctly.  :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wifely Submission, part II: Before the Fall

Once I began to re-examine everything I thought I knew about wifely submission, I went all the way back to the creation account in Genesis.  It was puzzling to find some things that were seemingly ignored, and other things that I thought were there required a broad ability to read into things, to say the least.

First of all, Genesis 1:27 proclaims that both men and women are created in God's image.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  Women are created in the image of God.  Not men are created in the image of God and women are an afterthought.  God is not a man.  Sure, we use masculine pronouns to refer to Him and His physical body was male, but He is Spirit.  The Bible uses unmistakeably feminine imagery to describe God in several places--talking about the God who danced in the act of giving birth to us, giving images of us nursing at God's breast.  In fact, the name El Shaddai can be a reference to God's breast nurturing us. 

(The song is not totally relevant, but I love it, so I am including it anyway. Bonus :)

I had been taught that the very order of creation demonstrated the hierarchical nature of God's design:  Man was created first, then woman.  Of course, if you are determined to find significance there, animals were created before man, and I have never heard anyone claim that the Bible teaches that people were under the authority of animals.

But what about the fact that woman was made as a "helper"?  We tend to think of a helper as a subordinate.  Surely that means that woman is meant to be under the authority of man, right?  Except that the Bible frequently uses the same word to describe God.  He is our help, our strength, our power.  Nowhere is it ever implied that God is under our authority!

The Hebrew phrase that is used to describe Eve is 'ezer kenegdo'.  Far from being a term of inferiority or even subordination, this is a phrase that emphasizes equality of position.  The 'ezer' part is that of strength, help and power.  'Kenegdo' refers to being face to face.  It can even mean opposition!  Looking at this from Hebrew makes it clear that man and woman are a team.  Woman is a source of strength and help, and if necessary, can be help that opposes--one who helps stand in the way and opposes a wrong direction.  I love Crystal Lutton's descriptions, "a valiant ally", one who is "face to face with a shared vision."

It is clear that before sin entered into the picture, God's design was for man and woman to complete each other, to rule together.  Both were created in His image, and there is no hierarchy between them.  Then what happened?  The Fall.  That messed up everything, including God's design for relationships.  But His desire, design and purpose, don't seem to include a hierarchy in marriage.  Did that ever change?

To be continued

Read the whole series :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wifely Submission, part I

... holding her head on
Do I have a rebellious, Jezebel spirit?
Growing up, I secretly feared that I would never find a man to marry.  I was saturated with the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot, Bill Gothard, et al on wifely submission, authority and gender roles.  I understood without a doubt that I would need to be a submissive wife.  The problem?  Finding a guy I would be willing to submit to.  Even with ones that I liked a lot and was very attracted to, I knew that I could not joyfully trust them to make the final decision on something if we disagreed.

I have always been one to choose truth over relationship.  I knew that if my own relationship with God and my own intelligence were leading me one way and my husband disagreed that I would have a very hard time submitting.  I certainly couldn't see myself doing it in the prescribed method of a cheerful attitude and docile respect.  No, I was honest enough with myself to realize it would be with me digging my heels in and arguing all the way.

I tried really, really hard to believe all of the teachings that I was given.  My mother reminded me countless times that I had to respect the husband's position of authority and his right and responsibility to exercise it, even if I didn't feel respect for the person or the decision itself.  I knew Gothard's teaching that the one under authority could make a Godly appeal.  If it was denied, she could suffer for doing right (of course, this only applied if what the husband was requiring of her was blatant sin, not mere stupidity).  Otherwise she should cheerfully submit and be confident that somehow, even if the husband made a bad decision, her submission would be counted as righteousness and God would bring some good of it.

My doubts persisted.  Carlos was the first and only man I met who I trusted enough to think that I would be able to submit.  To my surprise, he believed that the Bible taught mutual submission, and that we were to submit to each other.  HUH?  That was the beginning into a deeper look at what the Bible really teaches about wifely submission.  What I found shocked me.

To be continued.

Image credit: x-ray delta one on Flickr

Read the whole series :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Was Jesus Married? Some thoughts by Samuel Martin

I am honored to share an interesting look at the question of Jesus' relationships on earth by Samuel Martin.  Sam is the author of Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy and a wonderful advocate for loving and grace-filled family relationships.  Check out his blog and his web site. :)


As far as we know from the Bible, Jesus was not married. There is no specific text that someone can point to and say: “Here it is. This proves Jesus was married.” To say he was married is speculative to be sure. I believe that our Lord was not married and I think there are many proofs that one can point to that show this to be the case. I am working to get all these ideas together and write a serious research study on this subject. It is an extremely topical subject these days.

I have been working on this issue in the back of my mind for years, but now I am starting to get my thoughts down on paper. I will keep you posted on the progress of the larger work as it comes together. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to answering this question about Jesus and His experience in the flesh.

In that larger work, I will devote considerable space to some pretty involved arguments in favor of Christ being single. As an example, I want to point to one statement made by Christ Himself and its place in the historical context of that period. I believe that it relates to this issue of Him being single. Let’s look at it:

“And seeing a crowd about him, Jesus commanded to depart unto the other side. And one scribe came to him and said, Teacher, I will follow you where ever you go. And Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes, and the birds have nests; but the Son of Man has not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:18-20)

Now, this passage is one we find in Matthew. Matthew is a book written from a decidedly Hebraic orientation. That means that the culture of the book, its themes, style, and tone is really oriented to Hebraic thinking and if we keep this in mind when reading this book, it will help us to understand it better. [Note: Of late, I have been doing research in Matthew and have been amazed at the things that I have seen – very exciting ideas to help show us just who Christ was and how He really relates well to humanity as that “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53. Will be having much more to say on this going forward as I do more research.]

Now, getting back to the passage, Jesus seems to quite clearly state that He at that moment in time, using His own comparison logically, did not have a residence, as did those animals. Now, maybe He did have a home in (or near) Nazareth, but are we sure He did? How can we know? Isn’t it interesting that while Christ was just near death, He said: “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son! Then said he to the disciple. Behold, your mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:26,27) [Note: In the Greek language, the word “home” does not appear, but we understand it from the context that Mary was now to be reckoned as the mother of that disciple and he was to be her son and this meant that she would now be living with him.]

Perhaps after that time referenced in Matthew, Christ and His mother may have had to abandon their home wherever it was due to the fear they had of people seeking to kill Him. Note that after the raising of Lazarus from the dead, Christ retreated to near the border of Samaria (John 11:54) because of a fear of being caught and killed. Had He had a stable residence, at that time, it would not have been safe to go there for fear of being apprehended. By Jesus’ retreat to near the border of Samaria, He may have been positioning himself near that area in case He needed to flee into Samaria quickly. Rousseau in the book “Jesus and His World” mentions this exact point in the article on Ephraim which John 11:54 mentions. (p.87)

Now, this passage in Matthew has that Hebraic orientation that I talked about and we in fact know that the ancient Hebrews had some teachings about married life, housing and the role that having a home and a family played in ones life. They have left us some very interesting quotes to consider which not only bear on the passage in Matthew 8, but also concern the issue of whether or not Jesus was married. Note the following:

“From Deuteronomy 20:5 the Talmud derives the lesson: ‘The Torah teaches the correct procedure: a man should first build a house, then plant a vineyard, and after that marry.’” (Sotah 44a)” (Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud, pg. 162)

This procedure is quite good advice really and we note it even today here in Jerusalem. It is very common for men here today to have to provide the means to marry. A home, a car, holding down a good job, being able to provide for a family, etc. Without these things being in place, men just do not marry and women will not think of marrying someone who cannot provide these necessities. Generally speaking, their families will not allow it or will frown on it strongly and put pressure on a girl to either wait until the man is in a better position to provide these things or urge her to move one to someone else.  

We can consider this issue when looking back on that passage in Matthew where Jesus indicates that He, at that time, did not have a place to rest his head. If He did not have a stable home, there is almost no conceivable way that He could have been married. It would seemingly have been a violation of the cultural norms at that time.

Cohen also continues with the very interesting following statement:

“A wife meant a home; hence the saying, ‘a man’s home is his wife’ (Yoma 1.1), and Rabbi Jose said, ‘Never have I called my wife by that word (e.g. – He never spoke of his wife as “his wife”), but always ‘my home.’ (Shab.118b).” (ibid.)

This is a lovely and deserved tribute to the wife of Rabbi Jose. It is a bit poetic and Middle Eastern culture is prone to such speech. Even today, I am always happy to hear my brother in law talking to his wife calling her “Ruhi,” (my spirit), or “Elbi, (my heart) or “Umri,” (my life). Makes my own “honey’s” and “darlings” seem a bit lacking certainly poetically speaking. Having said that, what we are talking about here really are terms which denote and point to a oneness relationship that loving married couples feel for one another.

These types of terms are used quite commonly even today and we can see from the Rabbi’s statement, he chose to call his wife “Beti” (my home). To him, having a wife was synonymous with having a home. The two were inseparable.

Now, once again consider that passage from Matthew in light of this statement. Jesus said he did not have a home at that time. Chances are that if he did not have a stable home, He also did not have a wife either and, of course, it goes without saying that this meant that Jesus would identify strongly with those who never knew the warm lovely marital embrace that married couples share, enjoy and engage in with the view to creating a family.

This was a part of God’s plan for Christ to experience not the best that humanity has to offer (which marriage, a family, children, a home and the loving warm embrace of that special someone). No! Christ came to earth to experience the worst that humanity has to offer.

He was born in ignominy, grew up as a tender plant, like a root out of a dry ground (Isaiah 53), must have been teased as a kid because people knew of the supposed ‘situation’ surrounding His birth, was not attractive (ibid), was sickly (ibid. and Luke 4:23), was poor, was rejected by His local community, was persecuted, and finally was killed in a most heinous painful way. This, of course, He did for you and I and went through these experiences bearing the sins of the world, not only the day He died, but throughout his whole life (Matthew 8:17).

Can you imagine how He must have felt going to weddings? Seeing the love of those who were soon to be married and to enter the grace of life together? Knowing that He would never have children or have the feeling of one’s own child saying “Abba”? Pretty hard stuff in a culture where the very first commandment of all is “be fruitful and multiply.”

Summing Up

When we look at that previously referenced passage in Matthew in light of some of these ideas, we can see that if Jesus was married, he was certainly operating outside of the some of the cultural norms of that period. This is just one point to consider when we are asking the question of whether or not our Lord was married. I will bring out more research on this issue in the near future. I look forward very much to your comments and feedback.

Biography of Samuel Martin
Samuel Martin was born in England and is the youngest child of Dr. Ernest L. and Helen R. Martin, who are both Americans. He lived in the UK for the first seven years of his life before moving to the USA with his family at age seven. He lived in the USA until 2001 when he married a native Israeli and relocated to live in Jerusalem. He and his wife, Sonia, have two daughters.
His experience with biblical scholarship began at an early age. His father, Dr. Ernest L. Martin (1932-2002), initiated a program in conjunction with Hebrew University and Prof. Benjamin Mazar, where over a five year period, some 450 college students came to work on an archaeological excavation in Jerusalem starting in 1969 (See Time Magazine, September 3, 1973, article ˝Digging for Credit.). Since that first trip, Samuel has visited Israel on 14 different occasions living more than five years of his life in the country. He has toured all areas of Israel as well as worked in several archaeological excavations.
Besides his experiences in his youth, he also worked on an excavation in northern. Israel under the supervision of Dr. Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and participated in a survey in the Judean Desert related to the Dead Sea Scrolls under the guidance of Dr. Robert Eisenman (CSU, Long Beach and author of "James, the brother of Jesus - Viking Penguin: 1997) and Dr. James D. Tabor (UNC, Charlotte and author of The Jesus Dynasty - Simon and Schuster: 2006).
His interests include social studies and the Bible, Hebrew studies and science as it relates to the Bible. He holds a B.A. degree with a special focus on Middle Eastern studies from Portland State University in Oregon. He was raised in an environment of high level Biblical scholarship. His father held a MA in Theology and a Ph.D. in Education and he is well known for his work concerning the Nativity of Jesus Christ (see Elwell, Dictionary of Evangelical Theology, article, Nativity of Jesus Christ or see plus many other books and publications on the Bible.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It is Not My Job to Persuade Her Not to Spank

Doodles in Pen
Image credit michelle brunner on Flickr
My dreams rarely make sense, but last night, they did.  I was back where I started first making the decision to turn away from spanking.  I was earnestly trying to explain to some parents of my K -12 students why we no longer supported corporal punishment.  I pulled out my copy of Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy by Sam Martin, only to see that someone had doodled all over the covers.  I recognized the handwriting as someone close to me in real life who doesn't get our decision at all.  In the dream, as I flipped through my book, I was dismayed by all the damage, but I soon realized that it was only on the outside.  The person to whom I had lent the book had never even read it.  She had simply used the covers for scratch paper.

We have had so many conversations about this.  And to be perfectly honest, not very grace-filled ones.  I get so incredibly frustrated that no matter how many times we have discussed it, each time seems as if we are starting from scratch.  Any of the documented negative consequences of spanking and all research are ignored.  The sexual damage that spanking can cause is met with shock and disbelief.  Pleas to examine the Scripture are shut down because the Bible must always say exactly what a person from our culture casually skimming the KJV would assume.

Her side of it consists of the exact same arguments.   She praises pro-spanking authors like Dobson and Gothard for all of the great good they have done for families.  She reiterates that spanking is only harmful if done in anger.  She brings out the instant obedience in the face of danger argument.   If the conversation is still going at this point, she will add that my kids don't always obey, with the implication that whatever I am doing isn't working perfectly, and maybe they need a good old fashioned spanking.  She argues that God spanks us.

Why do we even bother to have this conversation?  Partly because each time she would give the appearance of listening and a degree of openness, and promise to read more links and info if I would send them.  Partly because her approval matters to me.  Partly because our relationship is close, and this issue is so important to me that I want it to be important to her, too.   Partly because I am stubborn and get tunnel vision all too often. Partly because we are family, and have long established patterns that we still fall into even after recognizing that they aren't healthy or beneficial.  I wanted so much to think that if I somehow said the magic words they would sink in.   I wanted to believe that deep down, her defense of spanking was really protesting too much--that she didn't fully believe all the things she was saying and that a part of her didn't want to spank but was simply parroting all the things she has been taught.

Somehow, the dream made clear to me what any outsider would have seen long before:  she really does believe what she is saying.  She genuinely believes that spanking is beneficial, and any pretense of being interested in alternatives or reasons why spanking is harmful is simply misguided courtesy.  She will doodle on the covers of my beliefs regarding spanking because she has no desire to delve into the book, and doesn't really consider it important to begin with. 

I am slow sometimes.  When it comes to strangers, I am quick to remind myself that I don't have to persuade them.  I cannot be the Holy Spirit to someone else.  Whacking people over the head with our views is rarely productive.  I know all this.  But I forget so easily, especially when it comes to family.

Frankly, the bean dip approach is not who I am.  I don't think it will ever come naturally, because as much as I loathe confrontation, I blurt and feel compelled to talk back, even when my brain is shaking its head no.  I fully believe that there are times when we are called to speak up, particularly on issues like spanking when the victims have no power to speak for themselves.  But maybe, just maybe, there are also times when we are called to let go of things that were never our right or responsibility, like changing someone else's mind.  So I am not going to stop blogging about spanking or gentle discipline.  But in this particular relationship, I am purposing to let go of the compulsion to convince her (and I am blogging about it to help me remember).  It is not my job to persuade her not to spank. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

star sky panorama
Image credit blockedroad on Flickr
I don't need a personality test to tell me that I am an introvert with a capital I.  Sadly, the holiday season has no respect for that whatsoever.  Part of me loves getting to spend time with people that I don't normally get to see.  But I have never been a fan of crowds, and within seconds, I start feeling overwhelmed.  Physically I am fine, but the part of me that is me can't breathe.  As a child, I would always slip away with a book.  Now, I close my eyes and inwardly flash back to a very special holiday night.  It was one of those seemingly insignificant moments that stick in our minds and draw us back over and over. Like snowcream, it brings a bit of sweet coolness to an overheated day.

I was gearing up for finals, and for some reason that I've forgotten (if I ever knew it), I spent the evening with some acquaintances instead of studying. If I had been with some friends, it would have been great. The people I was with were nice, but we had nothing in common, and I felt out of place. We ended up in a horribly stuffy smoke-filled room where I watched the people around me drink and play pool (I do neither, and it wasn't a particularly entertaining spectator sport). It was so crowded it could induce claustrophobia. I had a headache from the cigarette smoke and was starting to have an asthma attack, and the overworked heater in there was making me feel feverish, so I slipped out for a few minutes and walked to a nearby cafe.

As soon as the door closed behind me, I could suddenly breathe. The cacophony was cut off, the air was delightfully clean and crisp, the sky was the deep cobalt of a clear winter evening, and the heavenly hosts were dancing. It was glorious. I felt such a peace and stillness inside. I knew I was in God's presence. I had a lovely walk to the cafe and was warmed on the way back with a rich white chocolate mocha.

That's it. No deep revelation, exactly, but ever since that night I've been able to close my eyes and take a deep breath and feel the stillness of that moment, the quiet in my soul. It is a moment I will be reliving many times in the next few weeks. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Defiance and the Thought Police

I am sure that the look on her face means defiance!
Of all the things that disturb me about punitive parenting, one of the most deeply alarming is the elevation of parents to prison guards over their child's emotions.  It isn't enough to punish physical disobedience--tangible action or inaction.  Fear of The Defiance Boogeyman means that parents must scrutinize every nuance in posture, voice and facial expressions for rebellion.  If they perceive defiance [disagreement], the child deserves a spanking.

We need to re-examine the whole idea of defiance. The punitive experts demand spanking for it. Parents say they know it when they see it.  According to several dictionaries, defiance is open resistance, bold disobedience or a reckless challenge. In application, though, it does not have to be nearly as flagrant as that. Somehow it becomes daring to feel or think anything in disagreement to the parent. It doesn't even have to be deliberately disrespectful in any way. Just different. In essence, kids get spanked for not feeling or thinking the same as their parents.

It doesn't even have to be conscious. Any body language that indicates stress, tension, or heaven forbid, dissent, also becomes defiance.   For many parents it is the look in their child's eye.  My mom would become infuriated when my left eye would begin to squint a little.  She considered it defiance.  I was so confused and frightened by this, because it was something I was not even aware of until I looked in a mirror once.  Even then, I couldn't always control it.  If I am very tense, my facial muscles on that side contract so that my left eye looks smaller.  It still happens as an adult, but now I can't be punished for it.

Michael Pearl gives numerous nauseating examples of hitting children so that they will be cheerful.  In chapter 13 of To Train Up a Child, he explains:
"Bad attitude is pure bad. For as a child "thinketh in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23: 7)." "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Prov. 4:23)." If a child shows the least displeasure in response to a command or duty, it should be addressed as disobedience. If a child sticks out his lip, you should focus your training on his bad attitude. The wrong slant of the shoulders reveals a bad frame of mind. Consider this a sign to instruct, train or discipline. A cheerful, compliant spirit is the norm. Anything else is a sign of trouble." [Note: in Pearlspeak, instruction, training and discipline all mean spanking with some type of stick].
The wrong slant of the shoulders deserves a spanking.  For other authors, it not not pasting on a convincing smile.  (Because if they don't obey all the way, right away and with a smile, it isn't true obedience!)   How many four year olds, let alone toddlers, (and Pearl recommends hitting seven month old babies with a switch for fussing) have the physical awareness to even realize that their shoulder position or involuntary facial expressions are wrong, let alone the control to prevent it?  Nearly every child I know who has been spanked has similar stories of being hit for "defiance" that they were unaware of even expressing.

Here is the issue. Spanking or otherwise punishing a child for something as subjective and nebulous as defiant posture or expressions means that you are spanking them for a feeling, not an action. This goes far beyond the issue of ordinary obedience and respect for parents to punishing a child for thoughts and emotions.

The child is left with two options: lie convincingly or never question anything internally, not even to understand it better. After all, delayed obedience isn't really obedience according to these guys (whose Bibles all mysteriously omit Jesus' parable of the two brothers in Mt 21). Over years of practice, both options are exceedingly dangerous. You wind up with a compulsive people pleaser who will lie convincingly without qualm or someone who believes everything and never thinks for himself. 

Courtesy is important, sure.  Children need to learn to express disagreement respectfully.  However, that is a complex social skill with delicate nuance.  Most adults still struggle to do this successfully.  It is going to take considerable practice, teaching and perhaps scripting for a small child to be able to perform courteous disagreement, and punishing them for not getting it perfect is tantamount to punishing a toddler for not acing an algebra exam.  

Yet even respect is not enough for many parents who have bought into the defiance boogeyman.  It becomes a dangerous pride issue.  For them, regardless of how respectfully dissent is presented, the mere existence of beliefs or feelings contrary to the parent are labeled defiance.  Consider--is your child allowed to express disagreement without retaliation?  What would be necessary for it to be acceptable?  Are they allowed to feel angry?  Frustrated?  Upset in any way?  Can they show it?  Or must they pretend to be calm and cheerful?

Becoming another person's thought police or emotional prison guard is only about control. God does not give us the authority to control another individuals thoughts or feelings. A child is not required to obey you if you are asking them to sin. And this kind of parenting is definitely asking them to sin. Parents who do this are seeking to be an idol. They are claiming the place of God in their child's life.  They are grasping at privileges that God does not even take for Himself!

Over and over in the Bible, God's people poured out their hearts to Him even when it was messy.  They were honest with themselves and with God.  They even talked back and argued, and there were times when God counted that as righteousness.  He doesn't demand that we lie and pretend to follow Him.  In fact, hypocrisy seems to bother Him far more than questions or even emotional outbursts.

I would plead with all parents who punish their children for defiance to instead examine their own hearts.  Is your pride motivating you?  Fear?  Desire for control?  How is your attitude compatible with the Fruit of the Spirit?  With James 3:17?  With Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21, I Corinthians 13?  Rather than searching for splinters in the eyes of our children, we need to deal with the logs in our own eyes.  Then we can see more clearly to teach, and may discover that much of what we thought was defiance was simply our own greedy pride.

There is an interesting thread on how to deal with defiance here.  I agree with many of the posters who state that in practice, it doesn't really make a difference whether my children are inwardly defiant or not, because the response will always be to teach.  I don't have to claim to know what is in my child's heart and punish it (doesn't the Bible say that we don't always even know our own hearts, let alone someone else's?).  Instead, I have to model and teach the attitudes that I want to see.

Finally, we know that children learn best by example ("Be imitators of me like beloved children").  If we are rude, disrespectful and arrogant in our attitudes toward our children, how can we have any right to expect their attitudes toward us to be any different?  "Do to others as you would have them do to you" does not have an exemption if the "others" are children.

We are not called to police the thoughts and emotions of our children, to force their feelings underground, or to exact vengeance if they do not cater to our pride.  Instead, we called to teach them in love, gentleness and humility so that they will be able to find healthy and acceptable ways to express their God given individuality.