An Applause for Spanking

I have to admit, I was totally blown away with the response. This past Sunday I addressed the subject of discipline in our morning church gathering. About two-thirds of the way into the message is said, “I am just going to lay it out there. I can feel the negative emails coming. Oo oo doo do doo dum doo doo do. I can feel them now. I can sense them coming into my box. At our house, we spanked.”

I fully expected to hear this gasp go up across the auditorium. But instead, there was applause. That’s right the people clapped for spanking. There was an ovation supporting the disciplinary act of spanking. I was shocked, to say the least. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was so surprised by the response I got from something I said in a message.

Now, so that you get the full text on the spanking subject, these are the remainder of my comments. “I just want to tell you that, and I tell you that, knowing up front that that is a very politically incorrect stance. I know that, but I am going to tell you. Until the day I die, I am going to stand by the fact that it is a Biblically correct stance, and it is one of many effective ways to discipline.

Now, I hope you know I didn’t use my hand. The Bible word for “rod” I understand was club. We didn’t use a club either. I am a wood craftsman so I put my craft to work. We use something like this (handmade paddle) or a spoon. It had a name “Henry.” “Do I need to introduce you again to Henry?” Their little buns tighten up. “No,” It was a very effective little tool that we used when other means didn’t get the point across or result in the right attitude and action.

More recently we have asked our three sons if they resented us for spanking them or if they felt it made them angrier. Their response was basically, “No, that was sometimes the only thing that got our attention and got the right actions and attitudes out of us.”

Here’s the best process to follow, whatever the means of discipline. If your children disobey, take them into their room alone so there’s no humiliation or embarrassment, and decide on discipline. It may be a loss of a privilege. It may be an added responsibility. It may be a spanking. It occasionally was, and then we would spank if that is the case. We would hug them. We would love them, and it was very effective. Not politically correct, but Biblically correct and very effective.

Now, those of you who are angry right now, “Oh, my pastor abused his children. Laaa da da da …” You know, part of your argument would be this, that spanking develops angry kids, rebellious, violent kids, and so if you believe that, just go ahead and look at one of the first generations that wasn’t spanked. We went to school, even those in their 30’s and 40’s, you acted up, the coach or principle would get out the paddle this stinking big with holes in it and bust your butt until you were singing soprano. The more recent generations didn’t get that, so current kids and those in their twenties, we should argue, should be, if that principle works, the most compliant, peace-loving, gentle generation who’s ever lived. Need I go on? What generation is shooting up schools, has less respect for authority than ever in the history of this country, and is more out of control than any generation in recent memory?

Okay, at our house we spanked. If you choose to at your house, if that’s the direction that God leads you, never, ever do so in anger. You strike out and hit your child, let me just tell you right now, you need to repent before God. You need to repent to your children. You need to get help. And if you do not, one day you will answer to God and you will wish you had never, ever harmed one of His little ones. You never, ever, ever discipline in anger. Is that understood?”

Now, how about another applause for spanking?

The message in its entirety can be found at, online audio messages, the discipline factor.


3 thoughts on “An Applause for Spanking

  1. All the more evidence that religious fundies are what is fucking up our world. Ignorant people of ‘faith’ that deny facts and reality. I wish I would have been around as I would have called child protection services, and kicked you in your little tiny child abusing balls!

  2. It seems to me from your comments that you are the one that is either seething with anger, perhaps the result of improper discipline or no discipline at all. Your words appear to be far more violent than anything I have advocated.

  3. You applaud spanking but I think the key to your post is not to advocate spanking but to advocate an agreed upon form of discipline. You say that you take them into their room and agree upon a discipline and you do not do so in anger. The problem is that most people who spank miss that part. They do just grab up their kid as soon as they do something wrong and they spank them. True discipline involves teaching. Actually, the latin root of disciple means “to learn”. It is important to teach kids that their actions have a consequence. In some families I guess the consequence is to get spanked. In our family the consequence is usually a loss of some sort of privilege. I try to relate it to the undesired action my son, who is three, has engaged in. I think it is a bit premature to suggest that the current generation of young people is violent because they weren’t spanked. In fact, many families do still spank but don’t talk about it, and we still have violence. There are many factors at play in society that were not around in the 40s and 50s and one could make an argument for any number of things that contribute to violence. How much violence did people see on t.v. in the 40s and 50s? How much violence did they hear in music? How much t.v. did they see at all? How many single parent families were there? How many families with no parents at home? How many violent video games were there? The list is long.

    Bottom line, I think you were on the right track in telling people not to mix discipline with anger. Unfortunately, by applauding spanking and making it all about spanking, some people will miss that important detail. Perhaps a better title would have been, “Don’t discipline in anger”. Or a better opener might have been “I never disciplined my kids in anger.” It might not have gotten the applause, but probably still would have gotten people to listen and squirm in their seats a little.

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