The debate over whether CEOs are born or made remains unresolved, but there is one thing they overwhelmingly have in common.
As children, they were paddled, belted, switched or swatted.
Child psychologists wince at such a finding. They warn that spanking slows mental development and hinders achievement. They say the last thing parents need in the back of their minds is a suggestion or justification that the rod is the road to vision, ruthless drive and other leadership traits common to CEOs.
But USA TODAY interviewed about 20 CEOs over three months and, while none said they were abused, neither were any spared.
It’s not surprising, since the Bible a long time ago pointed out that spanking is a good way to raise better kids:
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him (Proverbs 13:24).
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him (Prov. 22:15).
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol (Prov. 23:13-14).
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother (Prov 29:15).
I think it’s pretty much a clear case that spanking is an acceptable and better way of disciplining a child. There is, I’m sure, some strand of argumentation that says the “rod” in these verses is metaphorical. But when the verses are taken in their original context and intention, that argument pretty clear sputters out.