Adrian Peterson's indictment for "disciplining his son with a switch" has surfaced the multitude of deep convictions on how to raise children. Often these practices are cultural. Adrian's method of correction is widely practiced in the south. Most southern parents don't have NFL sized arms though. Churches have their own child discipline cultural as well. I was once advised by a church leader, when dealing with my defiant toddler, to spank the child until the child was submissive. This advice sounded more Stalinistic than Christian to me.

Mary, mother of Jesus, was warned in Luke 2:35 that this child would pierce her soul. I think all kids do this to their parents, especially if the parents are trying to be parents and care about the actions of their children. In short, Simeon was letting Mary know that she can't control her son. Despite being a child of questionable origins and uprooted to a pagan culture as a child, Jesus became a model Jew working his way to the top of the educational system and becoming a Rabbi. That's when his defiant side became apparent, breaking the rules by appointing a rag-tag group of disciples. Jesus began making seemingly erroneous claims about himself (we've never heard such things from our children!). When Jesus was an adult, his family was concerned he had lost his mind and Jesus just blew them off (Mark 3). Jesus didn't directly serve a synagogue or community either..what in God's name was he thinking? The defiant adventures of Jesus didn't last long. As many young male adventurers do, he got himself killed. The fate a mother fears most and the very reason we teach our children to follow the rules. Unfortunately the death of Jesus carried the shame of a political and religious rebel. That would pierce my soul too.

Perhaps Mary should have "disciplined her child with a switch" or spanked him into submission? If Jesus had "proper respect" for his family and mother he would have certainly responded to their request to see him, right? Perhaps if she had more control as a parent...but what would the world be like today without the defiant spirit of Jesus?

Child discipline and boundaries are obviously necessary and important for our communities and lives. I still haven't discovered the benefit of bullying a child or inappropriately assaulting them into submission--abuse kills our spirit. Our defiant spirit, when allowed to move within the proper boundaries is the same spirit that delivers new inventions, businesses, and ideas to the world. Again, what would the world be like today without the defiant spirit of Jesus? If you're finding yourself with the intrinsic desire to control and dominate your children, perhaps consider setting boundaries for them instead. Come take a yoga class and see if you need so much control afterward? Letting our children be like Jesus, especially the defiant Jesus, is allowing God to pierce your soul. Mary's soul was forever pierced but the defiant spirit of Jesus did save the world!

Tara Galles

Tara is the founder of YOGATHEA® inspiring others to "Breathe the Peace Which Transcends All Understanding - Mind + Body + Spirit” through Christian Yoga + Meditation DVDs, CDsInstructor Training Program, and Women's RetreatsTara currently resides in Kokomo, Indiana with her husband and 4 children where she practices Occupational Therapy and has made peace with the snow.