How one church solved discipline problems in Sunday School


I pastored a little congregation near Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station in Hawaii. I always had a large supply of muscular recruits.

The young, mostly single marines had great hearts but not much tact. When out of uniform and away from their sergeant, they just stood around waiting for someone to tell them what to do.

At a Sunday school leaders’ meeting, several women teachers described their discipline problems with young boys. They couldn’t control the boys for the hour-long Bible lesson. They had tried everything and were ready to quit.

I grabbed a couple of marines and told them to go into the Sunday school rooms and put a couple of boys under each arm. “Rough them up and sit on them,” I said.

The women were horrified, thinking the strategy bordered on child abuse, but the little boys loved it. Our discipline problems were solved by placing one marine per room to hold unruly boys while the teacher taught the lesson. In one Sunday I came to realize how every pastor needs a “few good men”!

—Robert Hicks, in Men of Integrity (July/August 2000)

Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (41). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.