When Connor was little, he was SO strong-willed. Actually that hasn’t changed a lot. As a three year-old, we tried everything on our strong-willed child, including Dobson’s book, “The Strong Willed Child.” The book only worked when I spanked him with it
Lea and I would often tell him to do something, and he’d just ignore us and continue on with what he was doing. Once when I told him it was time to get ready for bed, he just sat there continuing what he was doing. So I leaned over again and said, “Connor, it’s time for bed.” No response. Finally, I said, “Connor, do you want me to spank you?” He immediately jumped to his feet and scurried off the bed. Lea and I were amazed. Something had worked. I immediately wrote down the phrase, “Do you want me to spank you?” thinking I had just come across the perfect phrase for raising children. I could even see a best selling book in the works called, “Do you want me to spank you?” I began to use that new powerful phrase anytime Connor wouldn’t cooperate. It was by far was the best thing I had come up with. I was in parent heaven.
Sundays had always been a challenge. Getting Connor to sit through an hour worship service was a HUGE challenge. The preaching was my favorite part of the worship, not because I liked doing it, but because I got a break from wrestling Connor. Usually I’d have one less layer of skin by the time I began to preach, just from being wrestled by Connor. One particular Sunday, we had a visiting preacher. Lea had told me in advance, “Since you’re not preaching, it’s your turn to wrestle Connor.” I thought I was up for the task. The preaching started, and in only a few minutes I was already wishing we would not have invited this man to speak. And then he did the unthinkable, the preacher went into overtime. And then he went into double overtime. Forty-five minutes into the sermon, I was ready to choke Connor and the preacher too. I’d had all I could stand and so had Connor. I had no doubt that Connor felt the same. He was mad, tired and wanted to leave. I’d already answered the question, “How much longer?” seventy-two times. When I finally reached my boiling point and couldn’t take anymore, I remembered, “The phrase, use the phrase.” So I leaned over to Connor, looked him in the eyes and with the meanest face I could make I said, “Connor, do you want me to take you outside and spank you?” I was a little confused when a look of relief and not fear came over his face and he said, “Oh yes, Daddy, please take me outside and spank me!” I couldn’t help but start laughing. He wanted to know what was so funny. We went outside and spent the rest of church time throwing rocks out in the street from the steps of the building.
I realized that day two things: Connor was willing to take a spanking to get out of church but also, “Do you want a spanking?” was really a stupid thing to ask a kid.