Family Integrity # 127 — CEOs often smacked as children

CEOs often were spanked as children

From Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon

Question arises of paddling’s role in achievement

Gannett News Service
October 10, 2006
The debate about 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 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.
USA Today interviewed about 20 CEOs during three months and, although none said they were abused, neither were any spared.
Typical is General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, 53. He got an occasional "whack in the fanny," while growing up in Richmond, Va., but said he had it coming and that it probably had no influence on his life as a high achiever.
"I probably deserved it more," Wagoner said.
The Securities and Ex-change Commission does not require CEOs to disclose childhood paddlings, so USA Today ambushed them with the
question during interviews about other topics. A handful declined to respond, but most CEOs answered, albeit through forced smiles.
"Very, very rarely," said Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, 56, the son of two doctors. "I’m from Charleston, West Virginia. My dad was firmer than my mom."
Some CEOs had more heavy-handed parents. Dave Haffner, the CEO of Fortune 500 manufacturer Leggett & Platt, said he was familiarized with his father’s belt about six times per year. That includes the time Haffner, then 8 or 9, kicked down the screen door after his brother
locked him in the basement.
Is there some connection between corporal punishment and corporate leadership? Most CEOs think spankings played little or no role in their
success but usually could cite important lessons learned. "I’m disciplined, detailed and organized," Haffner said.
Mark Cuban, 48, says he was spanked one or two times but does not remember why. He went on to become worth $2.3 billion, rich enough to buy toys such as the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.
"I got the ‘this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you’ speech from my dad. I don’t think spankings influenced my life one way or the
other," Cuban said.

A generational thing

University of New Hampshire sociology professor Murray Straus, the author of "Beating the Devil Out of Them," has been studying corporal
punishment since 1969 and says it comes as no surprise that almost every CEO was spanked. They mostly grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. Although the systematic use of corporal punishment has declined, 90 percent of toddlers still are spanked at least once, he says, and a 1998 Gallup Poll found that 55 percent of parents agreed with the statement "A good hard spanking is sometimes necessary."
But Straus said evidence points to corporal punishment as detrimental. If some spanked children grow up to be successful, even billionaires,
it’s like saying, go ahead and smoke because two-thirds of smokers don’t get lung cancer, he said.
Incidences of CEO spankings go well beyond anecdotal research. Re-tired General Electric CEO Jack Welch wrote in his 2001 memoir, "Jack:
Straight from the Gut," that his mother, Grace, was the family disciplinarian. When Welch skipped altar-boy practice, she whacked him with a shoe.
Eve Tahmincioglu interviewed 55 CEOs about their backgrounds for her book "From the Sandbox to the Corner Office: Lessons Learned on the Journey to the Top." The book includes chapters about things such as how CEOs attacked their first jobs and how they overcame bad bosses, but chapter one is called "Parents: Less Carrot, More Stick."
She found that most CEOs had tough disciplinarians as parents. Among those who told Tahmincioglu that they had been spanked were Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, Shell Chemicals Executive Vice President Fran Keeth, Alliant Energy Resources former CEO Erroll Davis, SCO Group CEO Darl McBride and United Way CEO Brian Gallagher.

Have you written/emailed your MP today yet?

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle


3 thoughts on “Family Integrity # 127 — CEOs often smacked as children”

  1. You are one sad individual aren\’t you! In a nation beating it\’s children to death you beleive that beating them with weapons like the infamous \’winnie the whale\’ is \’reasonable\’ – get real! Your sad Judeo/Christian belief system is the source of so much of the suffering in the world both past and present yet you still cling to it for fear of any real self-responsible/self-governing alternative.
    Your fear is YOUR fear, your Jesus died for his own sins not mine, he ran against the crowd and the crowd killed him, that was his sin, but at least he had the balls to question the values he saw enforced around him and developed a vision that may have improved the future but for politics intervening, yes politics! Rome was unable to crush the new cult of christianity so it assimilated it into it\’s own adgendas thereby corrupting it.
    Think for yourself and think of your fellow man regardless of race or creed, be a real christian and exhibit some compassion and tolerance instead of claiming some bogus inheritance of \’values\’ that do nothing to improve the world but rather are used to justify mass murder, theft and corruption of any real human \’values\’. when you do this you might find that you become a happier person and free of all that fear that motivates you. You will never experience any sense of connection to your fellow human beings as long as you despise them so which is the source of your need to dictate the terms on which they live, peace j


  2. Hang on a minute, mate.  Let\’s have a rational debate about this, not some name-calling and emotive dismissive invective.  Can I clarify some terms?
    1. Yes, beating is child abuse.
    2. Yes, child abuse is bad.
    3. No, corporal punishment is not beating. 
    4. Ergo, beating is not corporal punishment.
    But corporal punishment should never be administered in anger.  That will only inevitably spill over into abuse.  Corporal punishment should be administered calmly and orderly.  Else it\’s not justice.  It is merely vengence.
    If you speed, you are fined.
    If you murder, you are locked up.
    If you attack a member of the public, you are tazered.
    If my child knowingly breaks a rule, he is smacked.  End of story.  Relationship restored.  No resentments.  He knew the punishment before the offence. 
    Not minutes of time-out, or hours of cold shoulder or days of resentment.  That is true abuse.


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