Being a Dad
By Michael Eagan
September 15, 1999
It's about time. Divisiontwo.com has been in the works for well over a year now, bringing together a vast and varied assortment of contributing writers and essayists who are ready to share themselves and their ideas with the entire world, and at the same time build a close online community with their readers. Originally eColumns, then O-zone, and finally divisiontwo, this site is dedicated to giving people, all people, the resources they need to be responsible, educated, informed citizens. It takes a village, no man is an island unto himself. Not even Herb. (Just kidding, Herb.)
So hello at last. My name is Michael Eagan, and I am one of the original members of the Christian men's organization known as The Promise Keepers, or TPK as we like to call it now. TPK is an organization that stresses traditional family values and personal responsibility for Christian males, as well as encourages the subjugation of their female receptacles. My bi-weekly column will be centered on my own experiences and adventures being a father of three rambunctious children, Isaiah, 8, Zachary, 10, and Kimmy, 6. I will not only share what I've been through and what I've learned as a result, but also tie all these experiences into the over-arching concepts of family values and male dominance.
For my first piece, I'd like to broach the controversial topic of punishment and positive re-enforcement regarding children's behavior. It's a topic that is close to us all, as fathers, and there's no shortage of theories and speculation regarding what to do and when. It is into this fray that I throw out my opinion. After reading my column, if you have something you'd like to say, or just want to say hi or send me a naughty picture of yourself, click on the feedback link.
Yes, I admit it, I spank my kids. Sometimes, they do something that is so wrong, so objectionable, so dangerous that the best, no, the only way to make a fast and permanent impression is through physical correction. I'm talking about running across the street without looking, breaking the antique lamp with a soccer ball, swearing at mom, peeing in the cereal box, spilling a little of daddy's beer on the kitchen floor, interrupting daddy during the Rams game, that kind of thing. Heck, sometimes I don't even know what it's for; they just come home with a guilty look on their faces or smirk at one another and I know they did something bad, so it's time for a spanking. And yes, there are even some times that I'm so drunk I just go into their rooms at night, wake them up and give them one hell of a spanking to work out some of my own aggression before bed. I usually use my hand on their bare bottom as hard as I can for about twenty minutes, usually until I start to see some blood. That's when I know they've learned. Zachary is getting a little old for that, though, so he's graduated into belt country. Little Kimmy, though you wouldn't know it to look at her, is quite a screamer. I could go to town on her for hours.
I remember one time, when Zachary had just recently started kindergarten, that I think I gave him the hardest spanking of my entire life. My wife was away for the weekend doing some volunteering at the church youth camp, and I was left alone to watch the three little hobgoblins until Monday night. Kimmy was outside playing with a friend, Isaiah was shining daddy's shoes and polishing his tools in the basement, and Zachary was watching TV in the living room. When I finished loading the dishwasher, I came into the living room to watch the game and relax. As I changed the channel to the game I wanted to see, Zach groaned in defiance. Not quite loud enough to hear, but I could tell he was groaning to himself, so I sat down on the couch, took him over the knee, pulled his trousers down and spanked away while I watched the game. I slapped with my right hand while drinking my six-pack with the left. After a half hour or so, I was starting to get a little drunk, and I wasn't yet convinced that Zach had learned his lesson, so I got a little creative. I got the metal serving spoon from the kitchen and chased him around the house, hitting him as hard as I could. When I got tired of that, I took him up the wooden stairs to the third floor and threw him back down. He hit the landing so hard, he almost bounced straight back up! Kids are so resilliant. Anyway, I think Zach learned after that, and he must have been pretty tired out because he fell asleep right there. After a few hours, he woke up and crawled up to his room.
I didn't let Zach go to school for a week after that. He needed time to let the lesson sink in and let the bruises heal, so I told his teacher he had chicken pox. When the wife came home on Monday, she was a little upset, but it was nothing that a ride on the old manpole couldn't fix. I gave it to her so hard every day that she barely had time to do anything but lay there and pretend to be asleep.
And that's my story for today. I guess the point I was trying to make is that kids will be kids, and while that will always be true, it's important for us not to forget that fathers must be fathers. When the old ways aren't working, be creative, think of a new and different way to make your point. Repetition breeds apathy, apathy breeds boredom, and boredom breeds atheists.
So what do you think? Send me some feedback. Let me know how you punish your kids when they're not behaving like angels. I'll print some of your responses in my next column.
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