Punishment:- I inflict/permit pain or discomfort on you because someone did something wrong. And you may or may not know that the pain or discomfort is a consequence of what you did, didn’t do, or what someone else did.
Correction:- I show/tell you what you did wrong, why it’s wrong (and perhaps why I’m showing you). And I show/tell you the right, why it’s right (and perhaps why I’m showing you).
Correction follows from the principle that people ought not get away with certain deeds, for their own good, and for the good of society. It assumes that there are positive results for the person and/or society if they are not allowed to get away with unacceptable behaviour or deeds.
Punishment, similarly so, but the wrong person might be paying the price. It has one message: ‘don’t do this again, or else.’ So the objective is deterrence rather than to instil values, even though it might also lead to repentance. It may also serve to satisfy the punisher’s need to assert authority, for the sake of maintaining authority.
Law of effect (in psychology) is the principle that behaviours are selected by their consequences; behaviour having good consequences tends to be repeated whereas behaviour that leads to bad consequences is not repeated. [WordNet® Dictionary]
Ivan Pavlov’s conditioning experiment is a variation on the theme of the law of effect. When we punish or correct, we’re attempting to condition people.
So we can say that ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ has sound basis in human psychology. The great book also says that a word is enough for the wise and the rod of correction drives out foolishness. So train up a child in the way he should go, or else …
Training requires, at some point or another, punishment and/or correction. And these are necessarily intertwined with morals—individual or group.
Determining what is the right or the wrong in any situation is another subject. In this though, principles over rules; commonsense over laws. Because, at the very least, one would need much less memory space for commonsense and principles than to store all the do’s and don’ts in the law. This is why ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ answers many questions.
Determining what is appropriate for punishment or correction or whether or not it should be effected or deferred is also another subject.
Is there folly where one chooses to ‘spare the rod’ and talk instead? It all depends. So we can ask when or where the talk, the face, or the tone, is strong enough to effectively motivate a desire for change? Because correction is about change. What might be the response, long term?
Punishment and correction are part of the joys and responsibilities of parenthood. And there comes a time when the parent’s right and ability to use the cane goes to zero. What then? We could always pray, talk from tough love, leave it to the karma principle since we reap what we sow. But we forgive ourselves and move on.
The rod or cane or pankere (Yoruba: pronounced kpankere with ‘a’ as in apple, ‘e’ as in tell, and ‘kp’ as ‘k’ and ‘p’ pronounced at the speed of light one after the other) or ukpokpo (Esan/Bini: pronounced with ‘u’ as in full, ‘o’ as in go, and ‘kp’ as with Yoruba) is not necessarily physical. Just to say the obvious.
Can’t think of an English word with the ‘kp’ sound in Yoruba/Esan…. It’s one sound, and of a similar character to the ‘dg’ sound in judge.