Discipline, a shepherding story.

Image credit: blog.adw.org

My mentor recently shared an interesting story behind the phrase, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." (If you are like me, I have always assumed that this exact phrase is in the Bible. However the closest the Bible seems to have to this phrase is, "Whoever spares the rod hates their children.") However, the exact wording is not what really interested me: It was the shepherding metaphor of 'Sparing the ROD.'

Rumor has it that shepherds would actually break the leg of a habitually wayward sheep with the hook of the rod in order to teach the sheep loyalty and obedience. It was a disciplining technique. After breaking, the shepherd would reset the sheep's leg, splint and bandage it, and carry the sheep on his shoulder until the broken leg healed.  The sheep would never stray away again.

It is also believed that the hook of a shepherd's rod was used to pick up a sheep that had fallen. Our children fall, they get hurt, physically and emotionally. We come beside them and lift them up. We kiss their boo-boos, and we comfort their hurting hearts.

Most importantly, the rod was used to help guide and direct the sheep. Isn't parenting all about guiding (and loving)? We guide our children through the complexities of life so that when they enter adulthood they are prepared. My mentor puts it this way, "Discipline means to guide, not punish."

With something to think about,

Mr. Russell

Read more about Shepherds and Rods here.