It was a decade ago when Steve Haymond, a fundamentalist Christian, wrote on his Biblical Child Training website about the best way to discipline your kids. Taking a page from Michael and Debi Pearl, authors of the infamous To Train Up a Child, Haymond sold a “chastening instrument” that would produce “the right amount of sting without injury!”
Our instrument is made of premium grade polyurethane and measures 9″ long, 1-1/2″ wide and 3/16″ thick. Simply return it to us for a full refund if not completely satisfied.
Even if you don’t think that’ll do any real damage, it’s the idea that’s truly disturbing — that if your children do something wrong, you should respond to them physically.
After mid-2006, however, his site just disappeared.
But it looks like Haymond has resurfaced.
Podcaster Phil Ferguson recently got ahold of a letter from Haymond to his former customers, telling them he’s back in business. He added, however, that he’s trying really hard to remain off the grid. In the letter below, the bold emphasis is his, but the highlights are mine:
I can contacting you as a former customer of Child Training Resources. As you may know, we stopped selling our chastening instruments and closed our business in 2006 due to external pressures and family reasons. Since that time and after 10 years of periodic requests and inquiries, we have decided to again making [sic] these chastening instruments available — but only on a private basis and without a web site or ANY internet exposure.
To jog your memory or for those of you unfamiliar with our instrument, the blue spanker is 9″ long, 1.5″ wide and 3/16″ thick. Made of virtually indestructible polyurethane, it is extremely flexible and quite portable (easily fits in a purse, back pocket or diaper bag).
IMPORTANT: Include your email address and/or phone number with your order in case we need to contact you. If you have questions, you can call me at [redacted].
One more important thing: Feel free to let other Biblically-minded parents know about this chastening instrument, but do not post anything about it on the internet and please exercise discretion as to who you tell about them. Although proper chastisement is legal, there are some (even among family members) who mistakenly believe that spanking of any kind constitutes child abuse. Our willingness and ability to make these instruments available to parents who believe in Biblical chastisement depends both on their responsible use by us as parents (see our tips) and care in who we tell about them. Thanks for your sensitivity on this.
Well, that plan failed.
So how did this letter get in Phil’s hands? He explains in his latest episode. A guest with a background in nursing/child care told him that a friend of hers received the letter in the mail. Not because she ever ordered anything from Haymond, but because the people who lived in her house before she moved in happened to be fundamentalist Christians. Haymond sent the letter to her house assuming the other couple still lived there.
It’s unclear if anything can be done to stop Haymond, but we can at least spread his letter far and wide.
I’m sure that’ll drive him nuts. And then he can use his chastening instrument all over the computer.