Many Christian pro-spankers such as James Dobson and Michael Pearl equate animal training with child rearing. Pearl claims that training children is much like training “stubborn mules.” Dobson uses an example of whipping his tiny dog into submission to taming a toddler. They believe that training children and animals require fear and pain with “love” in order to achieve absolute obedience. Is this true? Is animal training similar to child rearing? What does God have to say about this?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately due to a recent incident with our cat Patches. Patches is a calico cat. She has always been a very oral kitty. She chews cardboard boxes and lightly bites us whenever she’s happy, playful, or loving. She never bites aggressively. Recently, my husband got up in the morning and went into his home office to turn on the computer and his ham radio equipment before getting dressed, making coffee, and feeding our two cats their breakfast. There is a fan in his office door as the cats are not allowed in there due to all of his electronics. It can get quite warm in there, so the fan keeps the air flowing. As usual that morning, the cats greeted my husband in the hallway then eagerly waited for him outside his office door.
All of a sudden there were two loud bangs outside his door then the loud sound of our wooden TV dinner table crashing over. All the noise alarmed my husband and woke me up. My husband found Patches in our utility room on top of our water heater very freaked out. [Read more…]