In Chapter Phillips turns to look at the other roll of the father alongside that of discipling, discipline. There is much to commend this chapter - its call on men to discipline their children, its reminder that discipline is loving and we must mirror our heavenly fathers dealings with his children in our dealings with ours, its call to prayer dependence on our Father as we parent. Its call on men not to abdicate discipline to our wives when we are there. The solemn warning in looking at David's fractured and fractious children and the summary statement from 1 Kings 1:6 "His Father had never rebuked him by asking, 'Why do you behave as you do?" and its subsequent results is a warning we need in a culture that looks disapprovingly on discipline.
However, I have grave misgivings about Phillips emphasis on physical punishment of children - i.e. smacking. Using Proverbs 23:13-14, 29:15, and 13:14 as his grounds Phillips argues that we must not spare the rod, but use it to lovingly discipline our children. He asserts that it must be done in a controlled and highly intentional manner, within the bounds of a loving relationship.
I have to say that I struggled with this emphasis - is the proverbs material commanding us to use physical punishment on our children or is it directing us to discipline them. Is the rod literal or like many of the images in proverbs a picture to help us see a principle?