According to Wiktionary.org, the King James Version of the Bible, Book of Proverbs, 13:24 reads: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
Due to the associated "spoil" concept, which is not in the Bible, it more likely came from:
A 17th century poem, “Hudibras,” by Samuel Butler. In the poem, a love affair is likened to a child, and spanking is mockingly commended as a way to make the love grow stronger. The actual verse reads:
"What medicine else can cure the fits
Of lovers when they lose their wits?
Love is a boy by poets styled
Then spare the rod and spoil the child."
Whichever provenance you accept, most of us have heard the adage, many times, at the end of a “switch.”
I have been pondering this phrase, for weeks now, with a burning question in my mind. Bible verses, and poetry aside, how deeply rooted is our corporal punishment of our children carried over from that which our ancestors endured as slaves? Hear me out.
Late to the pickin’? You got beat. Late out of bed? Beaten. Talk back? Beaten. Disobedient? Yes, again, we were beaten. Is it too far a supposition to wonder if the spanking could not be an entrapment from plantation times, handed down to us generation after generation after we had been freed?
One would think that a people enslaved, and beaten, would reject the opportunity to beat our kids, due to all the beatings we had to take as slaves. Yet, is it possible that, in our servitude, we came to equate whippings with control, and power --- even off the plantation?
Think about the concept. Why would abused slaves pass along the same torture as freed men? Could it be because we came to know that the punishment doled out by the “Massa” worked. It broke our wills. It demeaned our spirits, and sapped our will. Our independence. Our Strength. Even when we were tired from the servitude, the threat of a whip gave us an assured second wind.
What if we’ve become a people acclimated, habituated, and affiliated with flogging, and we’ve maintained that subconscious mindset, and value system?
How many slaves had been present to hear quoted Proverbs, 13:24 over decades of enslavement? I read today on Facebook that Holocaust victims endured eleven merciless months of Nazi horror. Conversely, black slaves in America were property for more than two hundred years. Commencing in 1619 in North Carolina slaves were used to settle the colony ... Day in, day out, 24/7, for 244 years, until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Is it unthinkable that we picked up some bad habits in two-hundred, forty-four years?
We have a history of adopting the very worst aspects of our slave masters, even to the point where 21st-century blacks have embraced, and promoted the use of the word our ancestors heard throughout their lives, and moments before they were meant to be killed.
Some people believe that this adaptation of the moniker is a sign of strength, and by using the “n” word, we are somehow reclaiming the word for ourselves. Pardon me. If a cobra bit me every day of my life working in the zoo, I would never want to “reclaim” it, after I transferred to the mill. Would you?
Did we subconsciously adopt a brutal, damaging, dehumanizing method of disciplining our charges? Far smarter minds than I will have to research the hypothesis. But what if we did? It wouldn’t necessarily be our fault, because as humans we most often learn by assimilation, exposure, example, and experience.
So, if it IS true that we have picked up this disease of abusing those we manage with blows, lashes, slaps, smacks, and verbal abuse, should we insist on maintaining its use today? Should we work tirelessly to find positive, effective, alternatives? If not? Why not?
Every time I hear the “N” word I have a sickness in my soul, and in the pit of my stomach. I find it, neither, empowering, nor harmless. It reminds me of what my elders suffered, and, frankly --- that which I have no desire to sustain.
Most adults who were beaten badly as children will tell you it didn’t make them better. If the habit of corporal punishment is handed down through generations, will we not pass it on to our children, and our children to their children, and so on?
Why on earth would we choose to promote a poisoned method from our past and expect different outcomes? How many “bad-A**” kids were beaten instead of raised? Doing the same thing, over, and over --- and expecting different results --- is the very definition of insanity.
We can ill-afford another generation of hot-headed, first to swing, batters as a people. Each one, REACH one. Each one, TEACH one. EACH one, LOVE one. End the cycle.