The Rod of Correction
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15, The Hebrew Bible)
Many people cite this proverb as a mandate for good parenting; sadly, many take it completely out of its historical context and end up misrepresenting the heart of its message. Believe it or not, this proverb is not necessarily calling for parents to use corporal punishment. Rather, the “rod of correction” was something used by shepherds in the fields. When a sheep would stray from the path, a good shepherd would use a rod to steer the sheep away from danger towards green pastures and clean water. A good shepherd would never beat his sheep into submission; he would gently (but firmly) guide them in the right direction.
Your kids are going to do foolish things, and, when they do, you would be wise to remember that folly comes naturally to them. It’s a parent’s job to lead a child by showing them what choices they have and what the consequences of those choices may be. Think of yourself more like a shepherd than like an enforcer, and your relationship with your kids is bound to improve.