SPARE THE CHILD AND SPOIL THE ROD (Proverbs 13:24, Hebrews 12:5-11, 2Timothy 3:16)

16 Mar

The purpose of education or learning is to produce a well-rounded person within a specific community. The reason why the Jewish community survives in any social setting is because of their system of raising children. They have five pedagogical approaches to learning which dates back to the time when they were a wandering nomadic community. These Hebraic methods of teaching or learning have stood the test of time, hence the need to glean a few thoughts from them.
The first method comes from the Hebrew word ALAPH which means to yoke together or to learn by yoking. This concept comes from their agrarian experience of yoking an older experienced ox together with a younger and inexperienced ox. The younger ox will be mentored by the older i.e. learning by the example of or observing the actions of the older ox. 
The second method comes from the Hebrew word LAMAD which comes from LEMAD being the staff which the Sheperd used to direct and control his sheep. Children learn by guidance, goading and instruction from the teacher.
The third method comes from the Hebrew word YARAH which means to point out or to direct, hence the modern popular discourse of coaching.
The fourth method comes from the Hebrew word SHANAN which when interpreted means to make pointed or to sharpen. In as much as a dull knife cannot cut, so is a dull mind, it cannot think properly hence the need for sharpening. If you are sharpened, you work smart and not hard.
The fifth and final method of Hebraic education comes from the word YACAR which means to correct, to admonish or to chastise literally by BLOWS or figuratively by WORDS hence DISCIPLINE. This is learning by chastisement or discipline now known as Negative Reinforcement. Proverbs says, ‘Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them’. This is the scripture where the saying SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD emanates. But today its the other way round, SPARE THE CHILD AND SPOIL THE ROD. Today’s Church and society has thrown the rod of correction out of the window. This article does not aim to promote Child Abuse in any way but rather to balance the act in the way we raise our children. We may not necessarily use BLOWS but we can use WORDS or other forms of discipline. While the Bible instructs children to obey their parents but these days parents are obeying their children. Let us learn from our Father in heaven. He disciplines those children He loves and chastens those he accepts as his sons. Paul says to the young Timothy that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Instead of Church leaders correcting their members, its now the Church members who are correcting Pastors. No wonder their is now little or no discipline in the Church. As far as I am concerned AN UNDISCIPLINED CHRISTIAN IS AN UNSPIRITUAL CHRISTIAN even if he/she speaks the glossolalia of man and angels or has supernatural ecstasy. It is my opinion that all the other four methods will not produce a well-rounded child or christian without applying the fifth method. This is what the Jewish child is taught from birth up to the age of twelve. They are taught to OBEY and obedience cannot take place without CORRECTION. SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD. SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHRISTIAN. I rest my case.


Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “SPARE THE CHILD AND SPOIL THE ROD (Proverbs 13:24, Hebrews 12:5-11, 2Timothy 3:16)

  1. chimuka tarisayi andrea

    March 17, 2016 at 08:16

    Thanks a lot Pastor Chipere for sharing your thoughts with us. The issue of discipline is very important. I wish, however, that you take us through the African culture and how it approaches the subject of discipline. What you say about the Jewish culture is similar to what the African culture has always been doing. Tell us why you run away from that culture and make a big jump towards other cultures? Secondly, while i accept that parents give guidance to children. Are you saying the relationship between a parent and the child is analogous to the one between a Pastor and the converts? For me, that would be too simplistic and camouflages the intricacies found in human relationships. Even in African culture relationships are complex…no matter how old one is, kwaana sekuru uri muzukuru or mwana (no matter how old one is, when it comes to relatives from one’s mother’s side, one remains their child)….. and you get ‘milk’ from you mom’s side of the family. Some of us are Christians in Africa I agree, but make us know Christ from our cultural lenses

    • Charles Chipere

      March 17, 2016 at 09:55

      Dr ATC,
      Thanks for the imput into this discourse. The principles of raising a christian and raising a child are the same. Both are children in the sight of their father, one is on earth and the other is in heaven. Furthermore discipleship is synonymous to discipline. The Pastor is a spiritual father who shepherds our souls and he is just a steward who manages the affairs of our father in heaven. I am still passionate about African culture but this article has been triggered by observations I have made about Jewish people in my neighbourhood. Their culture is very close to ours but they are more conservative than most Africans. We have embraced Eurocentric cultures more than the Europeans themselves.

  2. Mbiri Mapimhidze

    March 26, 2016 at 08:24

    Wonderful article on the importance of discipline as relating to the raising of children. It is intrugueing that you mentioned five pedagogical approaches to the raising of children.
    While I concur with your analysis I however would argue and say that many African parents over-emphasize the rod to the exclusion of the other processes involved in the rearing of children. Every misdemeanour is apparently fixed by the rod as in a beating(smacking). There is no creativity in meting out discipline, ishamu chete! And yet Pedagogues of old would live out life for the child to emulate and absor
    b. In the christian context the parent is supposed to model what the child ought to be and this takes more than just the rod.
    Essentially my argument is that we must use all the approaches you mention without
    abusing the rod. The children we have actually belong to God(they are our brothers and sisters in Christ ultimately) and we have a sacred responsibility to lead them to the heart of the Father. May we find the grace and wisdom from God to do so.


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