There are many times I’d just like to quit the internet. Most things that go viral provoke a “What’s the world coming to?” feeling (however, read anything Genesis 3 and after and it’s clear the world has been like this for a while, but that’s another story). There was one particular video that went viral last week (currently over 19 million views) that I ignored at first, assuming I knew what it was. The still photo was of a dad, Wayman Gresham, holding an electric razor next to his son who was seated with his head down in shame. The text said something along the lines of “tough love” and appeared to be another “shaming video”. These types of videos have gone viral lately where parents “discipline” their kids either through a bad haircut or making them stand on street corners with signs that say, “I’m a thief” or something along those lines.
I started to see the video posted by others enough that my curiosity was stirred to see what it was about and I discovered where this video deviated from the script.
I certainly appreciate his critique of the shaming method. We could easily watch shaming videos and think, “Oh, I bet that kid learned his lesson.” But did he? Or did he learn to not make dad mad because dad hasn’t gotten past the “fun” of his hazing days from college? No one other than the parents, the child and God needs to be involved in the discipline process. Perhaps embarrassment will keep the child from repeating a particular behavior (or to try harder to keep from getting caught), but it does nothing in terms of affecting the heart change necessary.
Douglas Wilson offers some thoughts on this trend as well, one of the most helpful being, “Don’t expect the opinion of all your kids’ friends to do your work for you.”
Our jobs as parents is to attack the sin in the heart of our child, not to attack the heart itself. Discipline is not about shaming out of personal vendetta, it’s about restoring the child to what is true about themselves and their need for God.
Props to you, Mr. Gresham, for reminding us of the truth about discipline and for not making me want to quit the internet.
More on discipline here.