Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined

“’Tis education forms the common mind,

Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.”

So wrote Alexander Pope in his 1734 letter titled “Epistle to Cobham.”

This familiar quote, although several centuries old, describes what harmful or beneficial things can happen to young living things.

The bent twig can never grow straight, just as a child lacking in love and discipline can seldom overcome the bad influences they suffer as they mature. The job of parenting is the most important job in the world. It needs love and discipline equally balanced to be effective.

It has also been truly said, “A mightier power and stronger Man from his throne has hurled, for the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” That statement was first attributed to W.R. Wallace in 1865, according to J. K. Hoyt’s Cyclopædia of Practical Quotations, published in 1896.

But even that statement is only half true. The other half involves the discipline that a child must learn to have self control. Without self control, any child can become a monster, rebellious and disrespectful.

What a child needs most is interaction with a parent who is talking, playing at some pleasant mutual activity, listening to, laughing with, reading to — any of hundreds of pleasant experiences — with the child.

In other words, the child is being loved, learning to love and to respond with socially acceptable behavior.

This works best when both parents work together with the whole family participating, especially during those first formative years before the children go off to school. But it needs to happen afterwards as well.

Being human, we all make mistakes. However, it should be emphasized that there is no job more important than raising children to be honest, upright citizens, embodying the good traits to which we all should subscribe.

A lot of today’s problems with teens and young adults can be traced to parents who, during recent decades, have preached and practiced permissiveness. Spanking they declare to be synonymous to a beating.

Not so if done right.

The Bible says to use a stick to teach, not to injure, saying that if children are taught right behavior when young, they will not depart from it.

© 2011 Anderson Valley Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 2

PhdEverit writes:

In light of Judge Adams video,

We often hear from those who fight to uphold this practice for those under the age of 18 (even to the blaming of the social maladies of the day on a supposed "lack" of it), but we rarely, if ever, find advocates for the return of corporal punishment to the general adult community, college campuses, inmate population, or military. Why is that?

Ask ten unyielding proponents of child/adolescent/teenage-only "spanking" about the "right" way to do it, and what would be abusive, indecent, or obscene, and you will get ten different answers.

These proponents should consider making their own video-recording of the "right way" to do it.

Visit Unlimited Justice or Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education to learn more.

PhdEverit writes:

Research/recommended reading:

Spanking Can Make Children More Aggressive Later

Spanking Kids Increases Risk of Sexual Problems

Use of Spanking for 3-Year-Old Children and Associated Intimate Partner Aggression or Violence

Spanking Children Can Lower IQ

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson

In 31 nations, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The US also has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

The US states with the highest crime rates, poorest academic performance, highest obesity rates and health problems, poorest economic ranking, and largest public welfare burdens are also the ones with the highest rates of child corporal punishment.

Of all the things prison inmates lacked in their upbringing, "spanking" certainly wasn't one of them.

There is simply no evidence to suggest that child/adolescent/teenage-only "spanking" instills virtue.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.