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Sunday, July 21 2002

Spare the rod

The Pennsylvania Sate Board of Education voted 13 to 0 to ban corporal punishment in the state’s public schools. Should the Pennsylvania state legislators support this vote, which now seems likely, it would make our state the 28th in the nation to adopt such a policy. Some school districts have independently banned corporal punishment and among those that haven’t banned it, the practice is rarely used. Many argue that the lack of discipline, and by discipline they mean corporal punishment, is the major cause of problems in our schools today. As for me, I tend to support the State Board of Education’s decision.

However, I will admit that my parents believed in corporal punishment. I received more than one spanking as a child and if Pat and I would have had children, I probably would have given a few spankings myself. Pat and I had only foster children and we were not allowed to use corporal punishment on them. As a result, we discovered and were taught other methods of correcting children. These methods usually require thought, time, and ingenuity, things that are always absent in the heat of the moment when a child is out of control. Nevertheless, with a lot of patience and practice, these less violent methods of disciplining work.

Those who support corporal punishment often quote the verses in Proverbs that tell us not to spare the rod of correction when dealing with our children. And they interpret the rod as meaning an implement to strike the child. The best explanation I have heard of the “rod” mentioned in proverbs came from a social worker at a training seminar for foster parents. She interpreted the rod as meaning the rod or staff of a shepherd. The shepherd uses the length of his rod to restrict the movement and guide the direction of his sheep. And he uses the crook of the rod to pull his sheep back from danger. He never uses the rod to strike his sheep.

I find it interesting, or perhaps puzzling, among my fellow Christians, that at pious moments we quote the Old Testament of the Bible: "Spare the rod and spoil the child...an eye for an eye." And during more compassionate moments, we quote the New Testament: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not. For such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Eternal truths (end of series)

Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist ... change places.

Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake ... when you make it again.

By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them "ALL" yourself!

— Sent by Alice Pruitt

Thought for the day

People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

— Sent by Alice Pruitt

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