Seldom Malaysia becomes huge news in the world but when Kartika, a part-time model was caught drinking beer and punished with caning by Islamic Laws, it was on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and practically right around the globe.
Meanwhile in New Zealand the Government who has an anti-smacking Law was challenged by parents who think that smacking a child is a correct form of discipline. Although the Government came out with the Law, the enforcement part is difficult. But the parents are concerned about it as they fear being harassed by the Law when they discipline their children in their own home.
Thus the big question, “To smack or not to smack”?
I believe the most quoted biblical reference to discipline a child is in Proverbs 13:24
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”
Some argue that you can’t take an ancient text and apply it today. And also Jesus did not smack the children.
First of all, I want to say this, caning or smacking a child in appropriate measure will not kill him/her. No one dies from caning unless it is done with intent to kill or injure. Pain is a good way to deter a child from going the wrong way.
Secondly, let us be realistic that caning will not solve every problem in a child. It must be mixed with tender care and love and lots of patience. If caning is the only discipline in a home, then a child may grow up thinking punishment is the only way to change.
Thirdly, children who are disciplined and understand its usage, they will grow up thanking their parents for guiding them. Fear of caning to a child means fear of consequences when he/she grows up. There are consequences in wrongdoing. In my 2-sen opinion, I object public caning as this would bring shame publicly. Disciplining a child should not bring shame to him publicly rather generating remorse inwardly.
The Bible is ancient but it is God’s fresh Word for all generations! It is like a old, old telephone directory, as long as it still gets through, it is useful. Jesus never smacked children because Jesus left them to responsible parents to do the job.
PS: Kartika is an adult and caning an adult especially a lady is humiliating. Anyway, she is a first time offender and already repented. Society must discipline hardcore offenders harshly as only God can change them (I have seen God changed hardcore criminals) but must rehabilitate first-time offenders!