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Big Wheel Bonanza!

Now this is cool. Travis Pastrana, who is, shall we say, good at jumping cars and motorcyles through the air, takes on a new challenge — a backflip off a megaramp on the immortal Big Wheel. All kinds of goodness:

Plus, great footage of kids racing downhill on Big Wheels. Sweet. I can see about seven Hoak boys trying this in the not-too-distant-future:

(HT: Kottke)

Does Spanking Lead to Agression?

There’ s a new study out that links spanking with aggressive behavior in children:

Now researchers at Tulane University provide the strongest evidence yet against the use of spanking: of the nearly 2,500 youngsters in the study, those who were spanked more frequently at age 3 were more likely to be aggressive by age 5.

The study controlled for other risk factors that could lead to aggression, and researchers and other doctors are confident they’ve isolated spanking as a problem: “This adds more credence, more data and more strength to the argument against using corporal punishment,” said Dr. Jayne Singer.

Reading between the lines, what the study did not account for is the type of spanking the parents administered. The author of the Time magazine article that references the study seems to think this is spanking:

“Still, as many parents can attest, few responses bring about the immediate interruption of a full-blown tantrum like a swift whack to the bottom.”

And, here’s the picture that Time magazine ran with the article:

spanking

A mother spanks her daughter (Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images)

That’s not spanking. That’s a badly conceived dramatization of a parent whacking a kid out of frustration and not  knowing what else to do. [To illustrate just one aspect of the misunderstanding —  Biblical spanking involves the use of the rod (a wooden spoon, a paddle, etc.), not your hand.]

It gets better. Instead of spanking (which apparently instills fear rather than understanding), experts recommend repeated time-outs:

it may take repeated efforts on the parent’s part, using time-outs — a strategy that typically involves denying the child any attention, praise or interaction with parents for a specified period of time (that is, the parents ignore the child). These quiet times force children to calm down and learn to think about their emotions, rather than acting out on them blindly.

So, the best discipline method is to ignore the child, let him figure out how and why he misbehaved and let him determine a strategy to keep it from happening again.

Whoever conceived this approach has apparently never conceived children. (Okay, that’s a little harsh — time-outs do have value, used appropriately and in concert with other methods.)

The article ends with this: “As the latest study shows, investing the time early on to teach a child why his behavior is wrong may translate to a more self-aware and in-control youngster in the long run.”

Well, yeah. Of course. And if the reporter (Alice Park) or the study’s researchers had bothered to investigate a Biblical method of spanking, they would have realized that’s exactly what it involves.

Spanking is not a knee-jerk reaction in the midst of a tantrum or other behavior crisis. Done Biblically, it’s a careful, reasoned response to a child’s foolishness. It’s not a swat-and-run approach — it involves time to talk to your children, to ask them questions, to tell them why their behavior was wrong and to teach them how they can act correctly the next time.

One verse: Proverbs 13:24 — “Whoever spares the rod hates his son,but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” The words love, diligent and discipline imply a long-term investment that includes teaching and reproving and training in righteousness — much more than just a quick (and maybe angry) whack to your child’s bottom.

Most of all, though, when you discipline your kids Biblically,  it’s a chance to give them the Gospel, to tell them about Christ and how he took the ultimate punishment for their sins. He is the only one who can truly solve their behavior issues, and every chance to tell your kids about him is invaluable.

Let’s make the most of those chances, not by swattting and running, not by ignoring our kids, but by loving them and disciplining them diligently.

Root for Tiger?

I’m conflicted about whether or not to root for Tiger Woods as he makes his return to golf in the Masters this week.

Okay, I’m really not all that conflicted — I don’t want him to win. But I caught a few seconds of the broadcast today and another guy watching started clapping when Tiger made a birdie putt. People at the course seemed to be cheering for him too.

And that made me start thinking — why are they rooting for him? Why am I not?

They’ re rooting for him because America loves a good redemption story. I’m not because it doesn’t feel like he’s earned it yet. 

His image has been shattered and he’s trying to pick up the pieces. He says lots of the right things, but does he really seem sincere? Not really, but he’s pretty tightly controlled most of the time. The way he has handled the media indicates that he still wants to control what people see about him, what they think. (His creepy new Nike ad does not help.)

But it hasn’t been that long. This is his first tournament since his life fell apart, his first competition, his first time back in the full glare of the spotlight. And he goes out and shoots a two-under the first day. Imagine if he wins — it will be difficult to find a news outlet talking about anything else.

Seems like he hasn’t earned our forgiveness yet, he hasn’t shown enough repentance, hasn’t shown us that he has truly changed from the self-absorbed, me-first star who made a mockery of his marriage. He doesn’t deserve my cheers, my praise. He needs to struggle through a few tournaments first, get booed and derided and shamed. Then maybe I’ll think about pulling for him.

Is that fair? Maybe, maybe not. His transgressions were pretty egregious. To prove he has changed will take some time and some work. He burned us once — it’ll take a while to earn back trust.

But here’s the thing — God’s forgiveness isn’t like that. You can’t earn it, work for it, add to it or suffer for it. It’s a free gift of grace, unmerited and undeserved, now and forever.

Forgiveness means a clean start, and in the few seconds I saw him today, Tiger seemed more relaxed, more loose, more cheerful. How could he not be compared to all he was carrying around before?

To be truly free, he needs the forgiveness of his Maker. (Yeah, that means Brit Hume was right.) And he can’t earn that. All he has to do is ask for it.