"Spare the rod and spoil the child" was the old adage, drawn from the book of Proverbs. Some have taken it literally, as divine sanction for beating children with sticks. Slightly modernized, here's what the proverb actually says: "He that spares his rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24). The point is not that children need beating, but rather that they need their parents — their fathers in particular — to let them know what is and is not permissible. This is a grave responsibility of all people, to civilize their children. It's good that we have tossed the "rod" of brutality away — but too many have tossed out the "chastening" as well.
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