An Orthodox Witness on NPR – Be Kind to Children


I have no idea what you may personally think about spanking children. I was vehemently opposed to it when I was a child, but no one asked my opinion. All of my children are now too large to spank. Indeed, my son is larger than I am and could certainly take me out if the need arose. I am very polite to him. The story I’ve linked to here is from a National Public Radio program – and is by an Orthodox woman. I liked it.

It reminded me of an incident with my son when he was about three. I can’t remember what he’d done, but he was in trouble – with me. I raised my voice and frowned, I could feel a “whipping” coming on. Suddenly, he rushed forward, grabbed me around the legs and buried his face in my lap. Sobbing, he cried, “Forgive me!”

I thought at the time that I had never asked for such forgiveness from my heavenly Father, at least not with such force or intensity.

I forgave him.

Listen to the NPR story. It’s worth a few minutes.

An Orthodox Woman Discusses Spanking


  1. says

    I admire (and aspire) to her greater point; for her sake though, as a fellow mother, I feel tender concern that she speaks so adamantly when she has but one young son. We ought not put ourselves in little boxes that time may require we outgrow.

    My husband wonders if she hasn’t innocently wandered into a gnostic view of discipline, where the inner must inform the outer only. (He goes on to say) In our liturgy we express ourselves through externals, even when our attitudes do not parallel them. Yet through external disciplines we begin to reshape our internal perspective. This is not always true, but it is valid.

  2. says

    I heard this commentary on NPR when it was originally broadcast and was pleasantly surprised that the commentator was Orthodox. I had originally thought of linking to it on my own blog then it just slipped my mind (as do most things these days).

    As for spanking, not me. I was on the receiving end of too many beatings to ever do that to my children. How can we tell our children we love them in one breath then in the next commit a violent act on them? Would Christ have ever physically punished one of his disciples?

    Was Christ ever spanked by the Theotokos? By Joseph? I guess he would have never done anythng to deserve it.

  3. says

    Sparing the rod, who was it that said that by the way? I was spanked and my Daddy, southerners have Daddys, especially girls, Daddy was very wise about the whole thing. First off, from a very young age I knew what would get me in trouble and I was always warned, I always had a chance, there was always fairness in play and consistency, nobody changed the rules. Second, I wasn’t ever struck in anger, I knew what I did wrong, punishement was always for something drastic and then, after I had told him that I understood what I had done wrong, I was told I was a good girl and very much loved and it was forgiven & forgotten.
    Three things could get me in trouble, lying, cheating or stealing (yep, Daddy was a Navy man).
    I fear disappointing my father to this day because I love him so much. I worry about people who cannot discipline their children, and I don’t mean corporal punishment either, just plain ol̵