There's a logic that many people cite when looking back on their childhood - "I was spanked, and I turned out okay." To that, I say, "Congratulations. You support assault and battery of an innocent, helpless child. That child is you." I was spanked, and I did not turn out okay. And, if I had to guess, you really didn't either.
I'm tired of the justification. I'm tired of hearing that it's good to "break the spirits" of children so they will learn obedience. I'm tired of hearing that children need to learn to "submit" and bow down to authority.
I have come to believe that there is no such thing as tough love. That's not love. Love shouldn't hurt.
It took me until I was in my early 20s to realize that what my parents did to me was wrong. And even then, I still thought the spanking part was okay, but that the other types of hitting were not.
It took me years into my first serious romantic relationship in college to stop flinching when my boyfriend would touch my face - to realize that it could be a gesture of love, not someone trying to slap or hit me.
It took me watching the beauty and innocence of the children in my life to realize that they are not bad. They are not broken or fundamentally flawed. They don't need breaking. They don't need tough love. They need love. Gentle, patient, consistent, real love. Humans are not animals that need their spirits broken into ultimate submission. They are infuriating, sure. They make mistakes, yes. But, the only thing to heal our wounds is love, not more wounding.
Lord, deliver us and forgive us for the profound sins against one another, especially against those who are most helpless and innocent among us. Protect your children. Heal all of our wounds so that we may stop wounding one another and live in the peace of Your kingdom.