The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Here is pure gold! A mother lode of wisdom! Tremendous upside and terrible downside!
King Solomon taught child training. He explained it – he guaranteed it – and he warned about neglecting it. The future success and prosperity of his nation depended on it, just as the future success and prosperity of your family depends on it. Hear the inspired king!
A short American proverb, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” is true (Pr 13:24; 19:18; 23:13-14). But, “Spare the rod and shame the parents,” is also true, as the proverb here declares. Training children is a win-win proposition: children benefit, and parents benefit.
All children are born with a default mechanism to foolishness, and they must be corrected by reproofs and corporal punishment for them to learn wisdom and be successful (Pr 22:6,15; 29:17). This is one of the simplest rules of life, and it is most certain. If these methods of child training are neglected, the child will be a painful disgrace to its parents.
Do you want your children to be wise? Wisdom is the power of right judgment. It is knowing the right thing to do in any situation – and doing it! Wisdom secures favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). It is the character of a godly person that makes him valuable to all the lives he touches. It will bring success in any endeavor the child pursues.
Children are born ignorant; they must be taught the simplest tasks. Reproof is reprimands and warnings against wrong conduct. The rod is for physical punishment, to reinforce the verbal reproof. As a child grows, foolishness is visible in its heart (Pr 22:15). But the rod of correction will drive folly away – it will teach the child wisdom (Pr 22:6,15; 29:17).
A properly trained child is disciplined, diligent, and devoted. She is gracious, loving, and pure. He is noble, stable, and trustworthy. They are faithful and productive at their callings, charming and courteous in public, moral and virtuous in private, and esteemed by all who know them. This is wisdom; right use of reproof and the rod will produce it.
Nations once knew this fundamental axiom of child training. Flogging was the universal means of maintaining order in the home, school, and military. (See the entry in any edition of Encyclopedia Britannica before the ACLU, PETA, NOW, UN, and PTA began extorting editorial changes.) But many today are foolishly experimenting with children.
Bloated intellectually with profane speculations about origins, life, and morality (I Tim 6:20), their effeminate and permissive conclusions have spawned arrogant, amoral, and anarchic children that are a disgusting shame. Measured by the criteria of the fear of the Lord, godly wisdom, and temperate lives, they are a total loss! A whole generation lost down the drain! Where is grandpa’s hickory stick, when it is so desperately needed?
Rather than train them with the proven methods of reproof and corporal punishment, little Johnny is told he is special just as he is. He is coddled, pampered, and praised no matter what he does to himself or anyone else. His temper tantrums are self-expression; his lack of self-control is hyperactivity; his rebellion is independence; his promiscuity is extra affection; his violence is a strong personality; and his arson is spontaneous creativity!
When Johnny gets too violent to handle, a school nurse gives him Ritalin or other narcotics to sedate him. If that is not enough, he is removed to a foster home or mental institution. He ends up a drugged, discarded, divorced, dysfunctional, and depressed social experiment. Thank you, Ben Spock, for your wisdom. But, of course, you know better now; for even you had figured out before you died that your ideas were wrong.
Degenerate children once came from degenerate parents, who conceived them ignorantly or maliciously, and then left them in an undisciplined environment of self-gratification to their ruin. Such parents were rightfully despised. But today’s advanced generation does the same thing – consciously and haughtily! With the fanfare of the latest educational advances! It is incredible for thinking persons to see such insanity described as advances!
Consider such advancement! A child is “left to himself” with a television, where hell’s profane poison is given seductively with an irresistible light and sound show. He does not need to be born in a brothel; the brothel is brought to him. He does not need a murderer for a father; he is entertained with murder for hours a day. Instead of a pimp and prostitute for parents, he has a doctor and his socialite wife. What advancement!
Consider advancement! A child is “left to himself” in educational daycares from ages 3 to 24. There he is fed and flattered by nurses, who have never worked a day in the real world. Trained at headquarters in the Spock religion, they are strictly forbidden from telling Johnny he is wrong or to use physical persuasion to help him get it right. He quickly learns what he always knew – the world was made for him to do as he pleases.
Grandpa grew up on a farm. He knew male calves became bulls. He knew he either helped the bull become a steer, or he needed to carry a big stick! He knew male horses were stallions. He knew he either helped the colt become a gelding, or he needed a bridle and whip! And he knew just as clearly how to help Johnny obey the law, share toys with his sister, be honest, and to not play with fire! Grandpa knew Proverbs 26:3 and 29:15!
Grandpa knew the default mechanisms of animals and how to alter them to get good behavior. It was amazing what Grandpa could do with a well-trained stallion, much like trainers and jockeys today. His father had used similar training on him in his youth, and he used it in turn to help Johnny. He never needed Ritalin! Amazing! Though only having a sixth grade education, he could read the King James Bible and The Federalist Papers!
Grandpa did not understand why Susie Socialist littered the road to town with her newfangled sign, “Kids, you can’t beat ‘em.” He knew his bulls and stallions were dangerous without a few physical “reminders.” But having been raised in a city high rise, Susie had never trained anything more than a goldfish. All she ever did was feed it, so in her ignorance she accepted the new exciting PTA fad of trying the same with children.
The warning about a child “left to himself” is not a warning against daycares or schools per se; it is a warning to parents about neglecting the molding of a child’s character. A good daycare or school will include reproof and the rod in their program. But if the parental job is not done, either directly or indirectly, then future days of pain and trouble are coming, when both parents will grieve over their foolish children (Pr 10:1; 17:25).
Reader, do you understand the foundations of wisdom are being destroyed? What were once axioms are now set aside for the innovative hallucinations of social engineers, who have never trained an animal or raised children with moral character. Divine and natural wisdom and six thousand years of experience are thrown aside for the mere babblings of psycho-healers who think another serving of cotton candy will train children just fine.
Consider the rod. As children grow, control training is replaced by instructional training – rules for the bathroom replace diapers. This transition uses the rod less and reproofs more, as the child’s conscience develops. Training becomes almost entirely instructional during the teenage years, with only exceptional need for the rod. This is not rocket science, and it does not take astronauts to learn it! Solomon taught it for every parent.
By itself, the rod creates servile fear, which is not the goal of training. Without loving affection, you will discourage children (Col 3:21). Administered harshly, you will create bitter resentment that will bite you later (Pr 29:21). Without pity, you are nothing like the Lord (Ps 103:13). Without mercy, He will judge you without mercy (Jas 2:13). And the blessed Lord sees every word of reproof and every use of the rod (Eccl 5:8). Beware!
Now what will you do with the inspired wisdom of King Solomon? God and the king shared invaluable advice with you for the success and prosperity of your family. What an incredible blessing! This is not a sentence from a dissertation on child psychology written by a girl whose greatest accomplishment is feeding goldfish. This is God’s inspired rule for how to impart wisdom to children conveyed to you through the world’s wisest king.
If you humbly accept the instruction, you can form and mold wise children to succeed in the world for their profit and pleasure and yours as well. If you deny, reject, or ignore the rule of God and Solomon, then the certain consequence is your coming shame for having spawned spoiled and troublesome children that the world will despise and endure. The choice is yours. The future results are certain. God and Solomon guaranteed them.