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It’s hard enough to write, let alone write a 500-page book typed with the nose.

But that’s what Stephanie G. Cox of De Soto did with her first published book released this month.

“This book has been the best and hardest thing I have ever done in my life. My knowledge of who God is has grown tremendously in writing my book,” Cox said.

The 32-year-old author has overcome hardship throughout much her life.

When Cox was born, she could not breathe for 40 minutes. As a result, she has lived with cerebral palsy that left her confined to a wheelchair unable to use most of her body.

Teaching herself to type with her nose when she was 9, Cox did not stop there. In December, she earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from SIU.

She also overcame physical abuse as a child, and was inspired to write her book because of the emotional scars she has seen in children who are spanked, lovingly or worse, as a form of discipline.

“It breaks my heart knowing children are being emotionally and physically hurt for no good reason,” Cox said. “Seeing how children react to being spanked, and knowing what I know about how young children learn, it just never made sense that God would want children to be spanked.”

“Gentle Firmness: Conveying the True Love of Jesus to Your Children Through His Example” is an examination of the Bible’s “rod verses,” bringing Cox to conclude that they are often misinterpreted as license to spank children.

In the book, Cox argues that the Bible did not intend children to be spanked but rather to be disciplined without corporal punishment.

Published in March, Cox began researching the rod verses in 2010, turning to a number of Christian leaders and theologians who have written on the subject on both sides of the argument.

She also examined the Bible, looking for verses besides the rod verses that might further support spanking as a biblical teaching.

“The deeper I got into this journey, the more I found that the Holy Bible does not support spanking children in any way,” Cox said.

A born-again Christian in 1995, Cox and her husband, Chip, are members of the Grand Avenue Christian Church in Carbondale.

While receiving support for her book from the congregation, the same cannot be said of other churches that advocate corporal punishment.

“A pastor I know was renounced from his position because of teaching that God does not want children spanked but rather disciplined,” she said.

Yet, Cox has found a platform as a lecturer on the topic, teaching the Resources for Infant Educarers model of discipline to students, parents and professionals. Her next speaking engagement will be April 26 at Golden Goodies, 301 Maple St., in Carterville.

While giving thanks to God, Cox also gives credit to her caregiver, Chip, for her achievements. They’ve been married 11 years.

Published by Winters Publishing Group, the book is available through bookstores nationwide or by visiting or

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