Don’t speak in the ears of fools,
for they will scorn your insightful words.
In the book of Proverbs, we have the inside scoop on how to live and think. Peace runs through the wise sayings here. But there is a problem with verse 13. It seems to say that it’s OK for parents to hit their children! From it there has come a saying, “Spare the rod and spoil the child!” This apparently means, if you’re afraid of damaging a rod for punishing a child, you may have a rod in one piece by you’ll have a spoiled child.
There are lots of problems with a physical, spanking approach to this verse, especially these days when we hear of child abuse. Many times an angry parent is tempted to strike a child, not as a consequence to what a child does, but rather to express anger.
So, let’s have another look at the meaning of verse 13. Take out your 12 inch ruler from school. It’s a stick, isn’t it—a rod? You could use it to give someone a whack on the back, but it’s not meant for that. It’s what you use when you want to measure things in inches, or to make a line straight. You compare what you are measuring with the ruler; you draw a line with it so that a line is neat. So in a deeper sense, what this verse means is that parents are meant to hold up a measure, a ruler—not as a physical thing, but a guide—something spiritual to measure our actions and how parents are meant to treat their children—with the measure of love!
Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Silence in presence of fools. v. 9
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.
This is the First Week in the season of Autumn/Kingdomtide, Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook. You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet. More information…