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Posted: 10/18/06

Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'

By Rev. Mark H. Creech

According to a recent article in USA Today, there is one thing the nation's most successful CEOs have in common -- they received their share of spankings as children.

Although the article stated that "[m]ost CEOs believed spankings played little or no role in their success," the CEOs also acknowledged that the practice taught them valuable life lessons. David Haffner, chief executive officer of Leggett & Platt, said the spankings he received as a child made him "disciplined, detailed and organized." Joe Mogolia, with TD Ameritrade, said he learned from his parents that "tough love is better than soft love."

Also cited in the article is a recent study by sociologists Eve Tahmincioglu, titled: "From the Sandbox to the Corner Office: Lessons Learned on the Journey to the Top." Chapter One of the book is called "Less Carrott, More Stick." And in the book, Tahmincioglu contends spanking taught the 55 executives she interviewed "to respect authority." "They feared their parents, but loved them as well. Their parents would follow through with a spanking when the children misbehaved. Today there is no follow-through," she argued.

Fans of the Andy Griffith Show may remember that delightful episode, "Opie and the Spoiled Kid" -- the one where a spoiled boy moves to Mayberry and tries to run all over everybody, including Andy and Barney, the town's local law enforcement. When Andy impounds the boy's bike for his misbehavior, the boy's father protests until he discovers his bratty son would rather he end-up in jail than for him to lose his bike. This prompts the father to sell the bike and accept Andy's advice that the boy needs a good visit to an "old-fashioned woodshed." Hmmm ... don't believe that would fly on any modern national television broadcast.

USA Today notes that modern child psychologists "wince" at the idea of administering corporal punishment. Dr. Robert Fathman of the Ohio-based group End Physical Punishment of Children (EPOCH-USA), says, "If you bring a child up and you're spanking them, they're more likely to hit an animal, a pet. They're more likely to hit another child." Other psychologists like Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, however, strongly disagree, contending:

"[I]t is possible -- even easy -- to create a violent and aggressive child who has observed this behavior at home. If he is routinely beaten by hostile, volatile parents or if he witnesses physical violence between angry adults or if he feels unloved and unappreciated within his family, that child will not fail to notice how the game is played. Thus corporal punishment that is not administered according to very carefully thought-out guidelines is a risky thing. Being a parent carries no right to slap and intimidate a child because you had a bad day or are in a lousy mood. It is this kind of unjust discipline that causes some well-meaning authorities to reject corporal punishment as a form of discipline. Just because a technique is used wrongly, however, is no reason to reject it all together. Many children desperately need this resolution to their disobedience .... When he lowers his head, clenches his fist, and makes it clear he is going for broke, justice must speak swiftly and eloquently. Not only does this response not create aggression in children, it helps them control their impulses and live in harmony with various forms of benevolent authority throughout life." [ Written in response to an question submitted through the Focus on the Family website ]

Still more important than what the experts say about spanking is what the Bible teaches. Some may find it a surprise, but the Bible commends corporal punishment in King Solomon's words: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24). Some religious leaders, however, say the word "rod" in this text wasn't meant to be taken literally. In an article titled, "Children and the Rod of Correction," Dr. Dave Miller of Apologetics Press effectively addresses this misinterpretation:

"Lest someone get the idea that Solomon used the term 'rod' figuratively, without intending to leave the impression that parents should actually strike their children with a rod, he clarified the target: 'Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell' (Proverbs 23:13-14). A proper balance is obviously needed between verbal reproof and encouragement on the one hand, and the application of corporal punishment on the other, as seen in the following words: 'The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul' (Proverbs 29:15, 17, emphasis added). The immense importance of the interplay between positive instruction, encouragement, and nurturing, in conjunction with appropriate physical punishment, cannot be overestimated nor successfully discounted."

It's interesting to note that the "interplay between positive instruction, encouragement, and nurturing, in conjunction with appropriate physical punishment" in the life of today's children is often neglected. It seems many children are subjected to one or more extremes -- either they are completely neglected and left to raise themselves, tortured and physically abused by twisted or insensitive parents, or over indulged by well-meaning ones with far too much "sweet-talking" and not enough action to back up their commands. Is it any wonder America is raising one of the most rebellious and violent generations in its history?

Children need to be taught a healthy fear (reverential respect and awe) for God and authority figures in life. No one can better administer these lessons than parents. And sometimes, though it should always be a last resort, there is no better means to get that lesson across than to do what the parent's of yesteryear used to do -- take the youngster for a visit, so to speak, to an "old-fashioned woodshed."

Spanking may not make a child into a famous CEO, but when it's affectionately and appropriately applied, it very likely will make him or her into an emotionally well-rounded, disciplined, and morally responsible individual.

Rev. Mark H. Creech ([email protected]) is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.

Distributed by

By Mark Creech

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Re: Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 11/01/06 09:17:46 AM Age 28, TX
Ah, well, I went to a school where they spanked and the wooden paddle was routinely broken (literally!) over the rear end of some poor student who decided to stand up for what they believed in (and sometimes they were right!) When my great grandmother was in school the teacher wacked the children on the heads with a ruler. Her twin sister died the day after such discipline for talking in class. The autopsy showed severe trauma to the brain. When my father was in school his teachers hit them repeatedly on the knuckles and open palms, such that they could not use their hands for the rest of the day and then received punishment for not getting their work done because they could no longer write. I do not believe that schools should spank children. I believe that the parent should be called and if the parent believes the child should be spanked, the parents can do that at home.

Re: Re: Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/25/06 03:45:02 PM Age 35, IL
So, "my experience" (which you presume my comments are based on) is so flawed that I "don't know what I'm talking about", but your experience is so powerful that it allows you to know what you're talking about? How do you arrive at that conclusion? You simply assert that I'm wrong, then give anecdotes about poorly-behaved children (who you assert aren't spanked--without any evidence, or without any time spent positing other causes for their behavior) and that's supposed to count as "knowing what you're talking about"? The worst behaved students in my classrooms were the ones who were spanked (not the ones who weren't) because they believed that one didn't need to listen until violence was threatened or involved. experience trumps yours. My point was that the kids who were spanked were spanked because their parents found it easier to resort to violence than to address the causes of the bad behavior (prsuming that hitting would put a stop to the bad behavior). My argument is that if we address the causes of misbehavior then the need to spank doesn't arise.

Re: Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/25/06 10:28:42 AM Age 53, SC
I totally agree with your rationale - that the pre-supposition that a famous CEO would be necessarily be a Godly role model is false. While in the eyes of the world , CEO would be an admirable goal, the objective in Christian parenting is to raise Godly men and women whether they are CEO's, garbage collectors, etc. Whether it is accomplished through corporal punishment or not largely depends upon the child. Just as some of us require correction from the Lord in a "woodshed" experience, others need only His watchful eye to keep us on track and so are our children, too. I am not opposed to corporal punishment but I am opposed to glorifying CEO's as objectives when discussing Biblical parenting.

Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/22/06 07:03:48 PM Age 30, IN
(Oops - previous post got posted too early). I wanted to echo a theme touched on by 46 FL. The article presupposes that CEOs are in some sense moral exemplars, people to be looked up to, emulated, etc. Why in the world should Christians think such a thing? One might think that the fact that spanking tends to inculcate character traits found in CEOs is a very good reason to AVOID spanking if at all possible. Since when do Christians wish to raise children whose character resembles that of the average CEO?

Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/22/06 06:59:21 PM Age 30, IN
I wanted to echo a theme 46 FL raised. The article presupposes that CEOs are exemplars to be looked up to, emulated, pursued. Why in the world should Christians think that? It is very difficult to see why we shouldn't conclude that spanking is to be AVOIDED precisely because

Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/20/06 05:41:51 PM Age 54, FL
Amen! It couldn't be said any better. I am a teacher & I see the daily effects of spare the rod & spoil the child. That is part of the reason schools are in such bad shape!Get prayer back in too!

Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/19/06 06:40:27 PM Age 46, FL
I agree that at times children will only listen to a spanking. But when I was growing up that method of discipline was WAY overused. I used to get the spit beat out of me on a pretty regular basis with a belt. At times the buckle tagged my skin. And it wasnt always the belt, other times it was a "switch". Sometimes that switch had thorns on it. Mixed with that was very little "I love you, son". I think I heard that about 10 times in my entire childhood. I was left marked up a few times and have a scar to show for it still. To make a good soup you need a balance of ingredients. To make a good son you need balance - communication, love, encouragement, acceptance, discipline. The past generations were about beating the clap out of their children because they had little patience for any misbehavior. So rather than talk, they spanked. No, wait a minute, let me correct was not was WHIP and BEAT. As far as Im concerned this idea has been overemphasized for decades. If you want to take about a REAL solution then lets talk about BALANCE in what children NEED. Communication, encouragement, love, acceptance, discipline. As for the CEOs, how are they true examples of success? Many of them are not exactly models of humanity. How many scandals have they been involved with? And many are overpaid money-mongers with both eyes fixed firmly on their steadily fattening bank accounts.

Re: Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/19/06 05:47:28 PM Age 42, KY
Respectfully, I don't believe you know what you are talking about. I have seen too many childern that are not spanked, and by the age of 6, pay no more attention to what their parents are saying than a man in the moon. And you can watch them at restaurants, supermarkets, parks or where ever, and you can pick the ones that are not spanked out, within 5 to 10 seconds of seeing them, as they are the ones making everyone around them miserable!!! As they say, "Talk is cheap!", and it seldom accomplishes a lasting solution to the problem, especially when a child's behavior is involved. Granted there as exceptions to the rule, and one child out of 100 (and I am being generous here), can be talked to. There are also a very small percentage of children that respond to alternate punishments, like being sent to their room or having certain privileges taken away. But by in large, when spankings are properly administered, they have very good results. But as to what I have witnessed,those who are never spanked, make of the majority of the children endup with discipline and social problems. As others have properly pointed, the effectiveness of a spanking depends on the parents and their attitude in delivering them. Done viciously or saddistically, they will only multiply the social/behavioral problems they claim to be correcting. Isn't it funny how when it became illegal to spank a child in public or paddle them at school, it wasn't long til school shooting began?! When I was in elementary school, if I got a paddling at school, I got a spanking from my dad when I got home. I tried to avoid getting a paddling at school. When your children get a firm talking to at school, do you think they really dread what is going to happen when they get home, when you don't spank them? I doubt it. But then again, maybe you children that fall into that 1% that don't need to be spanked, if so, you are more lucky than you know. If only folks stop imposing their messed up ideas on everyone else. If you don't want to spank your child(ren), that should be up to the parent, not to congress, judges or social workers, telling everyone else they can't either. I am not advocating beating anyone, but I know from first hand experience a good spanking, which isn't the same as 'beating' a child, goes a long way to making a child think twice before disobeying his/her parents and/or teachers! Mark

Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/19/06 05:33:26 PM Age 52, PA
As a father of 7 boys and one girl and haveing visited my granddads woodshed I strongly agree with this article.No I don't believe it should be applied without love but there is a place for it. I am a truck driver and see a large cross section of our nation and one thing I find gravely missing today is respect for elders,authority,life in general. So much at an early age too when it should be taught. Just for me to address an adult by thier first name would have brought my fathers wrath down upon me.Yet my one son who attends public school is allowed to address his teacher in such a manner against our wishes. I can't imagine even thinking about killing someone when i was younger much less do it. I'm not sure where we are headed but I fear it may take more now to turn it around than a trip to the woodshed, although it might be the place to start.

Re: Visiting An 'Old-fashioned Woodshed'
Posted On: 10/19/06 02:47:13 PM Age 40, CA
But one should not forget the most important part of the process...yes, the rod is important, but DO bring God's Word into it! It is sharper than any two edged sword, and neccessary to put godly substance in the whole reason for the rod- to save their souls from hell...A terrific book on raising children using Scripture is by Lou Priolo- "Teach Them Diligently". Get it- and one on anger is "The Heart of Anger" by the same author.

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