Without a paddle!

Is it ever “okay” to hit a small child?

Or to hit anyone, for that matter?

In the small rural community of Ocala, Florida, as reported by www.Ocala.com, “Newly elected School Board member Carol Ely wants to bring corporal punishment back to Marion County schools, two years after the controversial punishment was banned.”   And she is receiving support to reinstate this primitive method of discipline, one which involves an adult school official swinging forcefully a large wooden or fiberglass paddle with the intention of striking the tender buttocks of a young child.

Another Marion County board member, Angie Boynton, said while she “does not personally believe in paddling, she would support it as long as parents give permission.”

I am only left to imagine the significantly diminished level comfort and security that public declaration offers to a young child whose home life may be painfully lacking in boundaries, a young child whose own parents’ preferred form of communication is physical force, behavior born out of an “Old Cultural Story” way of thinking where “spanking is a matter of tradition and good old-fashioned discipline.”

If, as Ms. Boynton said, she does not “personally believe in paddling” but will “support it as long as the parents give permission,” why is she not standing in the light of her own truth, what she has publicly professed as her “personal belief”?  By the way, the percentage of parents who gave permission to school officials to paddle their children during the years this “code of conduct” was in place and being utilized was reported by Ely to be 95%.

In a recent article reported on FoxNews, in Springtown, Texas, “When Taylor Santos, 15, allegedly let a classmate copy her homework, Vice Principal Kirt Shaw disciplined the girl with a large wooden paddle, which he swung with a violent, upward motion, according to the girl’s mom, Anna Jorgensen,” leaving her teenage daughter feeling numb and burned and humiliated.

As disturbing as these stories are to me, what really caught my attention is not so much the observation of what is happening, but the observation of what is missing…the absence of which pointed me, once again, to one of the critical questions posed to us in “The Storm Before the Calm”:

“Is it possible that there is something we don’t fully understand about God and life, the understanding of which would change everything?”

The answer is undoubtedly yes.

Stories like the two I’ve illustrated invite us to consider the importance of and the possibilities held within having a conversation around questions like this.  But are the limitations and restrictions placed upon our children in relation to what they are allowed to hear about and talk about in school blocking their opportunities to see the infinite number of possibilities, all leading to the experience of knowing more fully who they really are?  And is it possible that, likewise, that the teachers, administrators, and school board members are also being prevented that same opportunity to experience life at a higher level?  Thus being the reason why the only or best choice they are being allowed (or choosing) to see is the one based in fear and not the one based in love?

If every child had the opportunity to learn about the God of their choosing, to explore their own spirituality freely and openly, to appreciate the diversity of their fellow classmates, and to understand a new definition of “relationship” within a new context, a new perspective, a Soul Perspective, could we not potentially eliminate a “need” for most, if not all, of what we perceive to be, for lack of a better word, “bad” behaviors?

What if, in our children’s most formative and delicate years, instead of paddling them, we gifted them with the wisdom to create the life of their dreams by utilizing a process of asking and answering the Four Fundamental Questions of Life:

1.  Who am I?

2.  Where am I?

3.  Why am I where I am?

4.  And what do I intend to do about that?

Perhaps if we incorporated larger explorations of Oneness and Beingness into our children’s current curriculum of history and mathematics and government, we would (maybe even in our lifetime) truly witness the birth of a new world, where politics would inspire and unite, instead of dividing and separating; where world countries would co-exist in peace and celebrate each other’s diversity, instead of condemning and engaging in war; and where our children would grow up entering into purposeful and meaningful life partnerships and experiencing relationships without conditions, relationships which nurture Self-expression and provide for the ultimate demonstration of each individual’s Highest Self.

Life is inviting us.

How will the pages of our New Cultural Story read?

Is there, as “Conversations with God” says, another way….a path without a paddle?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation.  She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support .   To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

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  • Michael L

    Fine debate Lisa,

    I won’t have a knee jerk reaction to corporeal punishment unless you have a sure fire way to get all those parents to a higher level.

    The children are not the problem and yes education has to evolve with “Oneness and Beingness” stressed.

    I would suggest we begin at the beginning ,,,,the parents. Corporal punishment would probably not even be needed, if Oneness and Beingness was part of the parents handbook.

    I have used it before(unfortunately) and have experienced it in my life, but with a consequence based paradigm corporal wouldn’t be needed.

  • mewabe

    “…the percentage of parents who gave permission to school officials to paddle their children during the years this “code of conduct” was in place and being utilized was reported by Ely to be 95%.”

    From what I understand most quote the bible to justify this physical abuse.

    Check out Youtube videos on the topic of corporal punishment, and you will see that about the same percentage of commentators support it.

    Then of course there is the other form of widespread abuse, of medicating young children to force them to behave, as in the case of what the completely unscientific American Psychiatric Association calls “authority defiance disorder”.

    Some of the people who support all of this incredible madness are young, in their early 20’s.

    I am moving to another planet…asap.

  • mewabe

    I forgot to mention this:

    Charles Fuqua, a conservative Christian politician, in his recent book God’s Law, proposes instituting THE DEATH PENALTY FOR UNRULY CHILDREN. He justifies this by appealing to the following passage from Deuteronomy:

    “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

    Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

    And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

    And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

    With the bible as his guide, Fuqua states:

    “A child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly.”

    Forget moving to another planet, I am moving to another galaxy…

  • Ionic Breeze

    Corporal punishment. What good is it? What good does it teach the children? It teaches them to hit, if they are bad. Who is bad? Once again culture has it all backwards.

    If someone were to try to use corporal punishment on my child, I would personally corporalize someone’s body to another realm, and I do mean on contact.

    Love to all,

    ionic Breeze

  • mewabe

    Some people have children because they can’t have dogs.

  • Buzz

    When we punish another, we punish ourselves. Further, inflicting punishment on a person teaches and reinforces within them to punish others who are deemed to deserve it. This cultivates revenge, jealousy, attack, violence, abuse, murder, torture, and suffering across generations. The more severe methods of punishment exacerbates symptoms of mental instability, mental disorder, and a variety of insanity, especially criminally insane. Religious fundamentalism is primarily driving these effects, which includes 9/11.

  • Deborah

    I agree wholeheartedly with Lisa that the children are the key. Too many parents are too set in their ways, or not willing to consider change, or do not even think about issues at any kind of deeper level.
    We need those who control and decide on school learning programs to be convinced to make the sort of life-enhancing additions suggested by Lisa.

  • mewabe

    Any kind of physical violence toward a child is abhorrent and would not be tolerated in a civilized society. This cannot be up for debate. There are no justifications, no excuses of any kind. It can only take a very sick mind to tolerate or demand this kind of behavior.

    And I don’t think any person of conscience should mince their words when addressing such an intolerable, revolting situation as the legalized, state-sponsored abuse of children.

  • Michael L


    Question came to my mind when I read your ……(Any kind)

    Which is worst, physical discipline even up to restraint, or mental discipline?

    From my experience the quick one was instructional, the other was torture.

  • mewabe


    Physical violence toward a child is abuse, it is not discipline, even when it is done in the name of discipline. The word discipline is in this case used as a euphemism for abuse.

    Mental, psychological, emotional violence toward children are also abuse, they are not discipline.

    The right choice in raising a child (or any other life situation) is not between different kinds of abuses, but between what love dictates, and what anger and fear offer.

    The pressures that exist within the modern family are enormous, and parents sometimes loose it or are at their wits end. The nuclear family is not the traditional family model, it only came about at the time of the industrial revolution.
    The traditional model is the extended family…other family members, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles, also sharing in the raising of a child, thus relieving the pressure on parents who are sometimes too young and too stressed to know better.

    I am not faulting parents who do not know any better…they need help. But I am definitively for denouncing institutions that endorse physical abuse.

  • Michael L

    Thank you for your thoughts mewabe.