Under Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff children now have a “right to be educated without the use of corporal punishment.” That means no spanking. Our president thinks this is cruel and degrading.
I want to tell her that this law would have resulted in the death of my son.
A father who loves his son disciplines him.
When my eldest son was very young (he is now 18), I taught him that obedience brings joy, but disobedience brings pain. He was trained from an early age to obey immediately and cheerfully. The Bible teaches something that our current government does not want to acknowledge: that children, by nature, want to follow their own will, not the will of the authorities duly appointed by God to care for them. To correct his dangerous wilfulness, it is sometimes necessary to apply discipline, and that discipline needs to hurt. Only in this way do children learn that disobedience is not a good thing. That’s how they learn it’s not worth it. The small lessons learned in childhood all contribute to the huge life lesson which teaches us that when we cheerfully submit to God’s Word, there is eternal joy, but when we rebel against His will, there is everlasting destruction.
In accordance with the Word of God, I have guided my son making use, among other things, of corporal punishment. He learned to obey immediately when he received an instruction from his father or his mother. This worked very well; we would also be careful to give very few instructions, leaving our son plenty of freedom. But when we did tell him to do something, he knew he was expected to obey.
Fruit of Discipline
During the first three years of my son’s life we lived in a tiny hamlet that was quite a distance away from the big city. He had a big yard in which he could play, and did not know the dangers of a big city. When we suddenly moved to the huge, bustling city of Recife, he was not prepared for urban life. For his entire three years of existence on this earth he had lived a life where it was safe to run pretty much anywhere. But on the streets of Recife things were quite different.
A few days after our arrival, we were on the sidewalk in front of our building in the busy Boa Viagem neighbourhood. My little son decided to run towards the street. The stoplight had turned green and the cars got up to speed quickly and were now hurtling down our street. His view of the oncoming traffic was blocked by a car, so he didn’t see the danger. My son didn’t know to stop running. He was too far for me to reach in time. Within seconds, he would die.
“Chaim! Stop!” I yelled.
He stopped. That instant. Without hesitation.
Three years of firm and loving discipline saved the life on my son. Small doses of pain on his behind, reddened by a spanking, were used by God to spare him from being horribly killed by traffic.
If President Dilma had passed her law back then I would have been a criminal for having applied this firm, kind, and biblical discipline.
Or, if I had been an obedient subject, my son would be dead today.
Rev Ken Wieske is a missionary in Brazil, and this article is a translated version of the Portuguese original which appeared on his blog post. It is reprinted here with his kind permission. It was also published in Reformed Perspective, June 2015.