Monday, February 07, 2005

Disciplining Children

There are some disciplines that are politically correct today that I think cause children harm. These modern ideas have evolved from a misguided attempt to avoid physical punishment at any cost. They include putting a child in a corner and sending him or her to their room.

Native Americans feared shunning more than any other kind of punishment and there is good reason for this. Punishment taught a person that their behavior was not wanted. Shunning told a person that THEY were not wanted. Having a child put their face in a corner or sending them to their room alone are both forms of shunning. Sending a child away may be 10% effective in telling them you don't like their behavior, but the other 90% is saying that you don't like them.

When my mother used that willow switch on me, here's how it went.

1. She let me know what I had done wrong. "You ran out in the street after I told you to stop. You could have been killed!" After which she "nettled" my legs with that switch a couple of times. "I'm sorry, Mom," I cried. (I didn't like that switch). "I won't do it again! I promise!"

2. She reinforced the lesson and made sure I understood what I was being punished for. "You won't do what again?" she asked as she nettled me a little more. "I won't run out in the street again!" I replied, trying to squirm away.

3. She reinforced it again. "You sure?" she asked as she nettled me a little more. "Yes! Yes! I'm sure! I promise!" I cried. "I'll never run out in the street again!"

4. "All right," she said sternly. "I love you and I don't want you to be squashed like a bug by a car. If I catch you out there again, I'll get another switch!

She accepted my promise and the punishment ended -- with an admonition of love and a warning about further misbehavior. It lasted all of 30 seconds. It didn't drag on over a long time with the associated stress associated with keeping a child in a corner or in their room. I went right back to playing while Mom made me a sandwich.

She never "beat" me and she only had to use that switch a few times my whole life -- the threat was enough. She gained my respect with that switch and she gained my love with the reason she used it. She didn't whack me with a baseball bat. I wasn't bruised or bloodied and I had no cigarette burns. It was quick, loving, and effective. I come away knowing two things.

1. I was valuable to her (she loved me).

2. I'd better not go out in the street again.

I had a few narrow welts on my legs from that willow switch, but they faded away quickly. The lessons I learned -- that I was valuable and that I should not play in the street -- I still remember today.

Thank you, Ma, and I'm very proud of you.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Mystery of the Trinity

Perhaps it would help to consider a couple of things.

1. Christ did the choosing about when and where to perform miracles. He is the only person in the Bible to do this on his own. All others (Moses, etc.) performed miracles as directed by God or with the permission of God. Jesus let us know that He did the will of His Father, but we don't have the same evidence of God directing his actions. This implies that Christ was more than just a God-blessed and God-used man.

2. Christ, God and the Holy Ghost reside in the world of the spirit -- not the world of the flesh or of Newtonian physics. Limited as we are by our human senses, it is difficult to comprehend the concept of three entities being both separate and the same. This does not mean it is not possible. It is also difficult for a two-dimensional flat-lander to understand height -- but height exists.We naturally tend to limit God to what makes sense to us -- which is both understandable and understandably foolish. Is Christ literally God and is God literally Christ? That is a question we cannot answer to the satisfaction of everyone, because where God is concerned, we have no idea of what "literally" means. I value much of my Native American ancestors' traditional beliefs. Perhaps this is why the Trinity causes me little problem -- because I believe the Great Spirit is all-in-all anyway.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Summary of the Bible

I've often wished the entire Bible had been hidden away except for the following:

  • "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
    - John 3:16

  • "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
    - Ephesians 2:8,9

  • "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets'."
    - Matthew 22:36-40

Sure would have been a lot less confusion, fewer arguments and doctrines, and we'd have all we needed to know to please our Creator and to ensure our own eternal life.