When I was in junior high (about a hundred years ago, I think) it was not uncommon to be sitting in the classroom and hear the door open just a crack. We could hear one door after another all the way down the hall open in the same way. We’d all sit up a little straighter, eyes wide open, and no one, not even the teacher most of the time, would speak.
Then we would hear that dreaded, WHACK. Sometimes we would even hear it again, WHACK! Often we’d hear a teacher scolding the guilty student in such a way there could be no mistake. A rule had been broken, and this is what happens when rules are broken.
Solomon says: When a scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise… (21:11) You can bet more than one student learned an important lesson from those paddlings back in junior high. I know I did. I never wanted the student in the hall to be me! I became a rule-follower. It seemed the wise thing to do.
Those days are long gone because someone was more concerned about the guilty child’s ego. I find myself wanting to get up on my soapbox. Especially in light of the recent convicted rapist, Brock Turner’s light sentence, the unbelievable statement he read at sentencing, and his own father’s statement after the fact.
Let’s make it personal. Parents, do your children know the rules of your home? Are the rules enforced consistently? Are the consequences swift and painful? Hear me when I say if we don’t teach them this truth on a small scale, they won’t understand it on a larger scale. And they’ll grow up to think the consequences for breaking God’s rules are no big deal, either.
I shudder to think about the lesson other young people have learned from the judge’s decision in the Turner case. Because lessons have been learned. The doors of the classroom were opened, and instead of hearing the WHACK, they heard the teacher pat the guilty child on the back and send him on his way.
The way you discipline your children, the way our society disciplines law-breakers, is done in a classroom occupied by others. When the guilty are punished, the naive become wise. That’s what Solomon said through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that we are raising wise children instead of children who will remain naive. Just the other day we learned that naivety is a death sentence.
It’s that serious.