Monday, March 08, 2010

A Response To Michael Pearl


Mr. Pearl apparently has heard that he has vocal dissenters out there.  He posted a message to Facebook as a way to answer us.  Once again, Mr. Pearl has missed the point entirely, and I am terribly disappointed by his response.

Original Statement by Michael Pearl can be found here.
It has come to my attention that a vocal few are decrying our sensible application of the Biblical rod in training up our children. 
Only because I believe it to be neither sensible, nor biblical.
I laugh at my caustic critics, for our properly spanked and trained children grow to maturity in great peace and love.
That is not the only way to teach children, nor to allow them to grow in maturity and love.  In fact, I'm of the opinion that this happened despite your methods, not because of them.
 Numbered in the millions, these kids become the models of self-control and discipline, highly educated and creative-entrepreneurs that pay the taxes your children will receive in entitlements. 
Wow.  So, now those of us who disagree with you are raising children who will be a burden on the state?  This is such an inflammatory statement.  It's as if he's heard the arguments that have been made about the flaws in his theology and teachings, and instead of responding to that, has instead chosen to attack.  The attempt to deflect the attention isn't working for me.
When your children finally find an honest mechanic or a trustworthy homebuilder, it will be one of ours. When your children apply for a job it will be at a company our children founded. When they go to a doctor, it will be one of our Christian children that heals them with cutting edge innovation. When your adult kids go for therapy it will be one of our kids-become-psychologist that directs them to the couch and challenges them to release their self-loathing and embrace hope for a better tomorrow.
This is the packaging of fear.  Follow the Pearl's or your children will grow up to be listless, lazy, second-rate, and likely in need of therapy.  But I think of the Schatz children.  They all bear permanent scars to their souls after watching their parents kill their little sister while doing things the way the Pearl's taught.  My children are happy, they're healthy, and they're safe.  Because I'm their mother, and I will do my best every day to raise them to be amazing people of God, and I will not hurt them.
When your children grow old and realize their mortality and seek to make peace with their Creator, it will be one of our children that shares with them the message of God's love and forgiveness.
As my kids sing songs that they've made up about the God who loves them, I can honestly say that they already know those things, and they didn't learn them at the end of a switch.
My five grown children are laughing at your foolish, uninformed criticism of God's method of child training, for their kids-my 17 grandkids-are laughing . . . because that is what they do most of the time. 
And I'm sad for your insistence that what you teach is "God's" method.  As if God would bend us over and give us 10 licks.  No.  God Himself took our place, so that we would not face wrath.  God's way is merciful, but you teach no mercy.  And I'm sorry that in the face of the death of yet another child, you would think that laughter is the appropriate response.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance"         Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4 KJV
I love laughter and I love to hear it from my children.  In fact, I often do.  But not when a little girl dies.  When that happens, it is time to mourn.
They laugh when Daddy is coming home. They laugh when it is time to do more homeschooling. They laugh when it is time to practice the violin and piano. They laugh when they see their Big Papa coming (that's me) because Big Papa is laughing and they don't care why just as long as he laughs with them.  My granddaughters laugh with joy after giving their baby dolls a spanking for "being naughty" because they know their dolls will grow up to be the best mamas and daddies in the world-just like them.
Spanking doesn't make the best mamas and daddies in the world.  Character, compassion, grace, discipline, mercy, honesty, understanding, patience, love, and a thousand other things go into the best parents.  The God I believe in doesn't want us to beat our children into submission:
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. Psalm 22:9
I think I will trust God, and be the nurturing parent He designed me to be.  Somehow, without spanking, my children are still disciplined and wonderful.
People all around the world, in places like Russia, China, Germany, New Zealand, Guatemala, Peru, Africa, and fifty other countries are laughing with joy because after applying the Biblical principles found in our books they finally have happy and obedient children.
Perhaps their children have become fearful enough of the lash to be obedient.  But breaking the spirits of children doesn't make me want to laugh.  It makes me sad for those families.  And it makes me wonder how long until we hear of the next child, dead at their parent's hand.
Even my chickens are laughing . . . well, actually it is more like cackling, because they just laid another organic egg for my breakfast and they know that it was that same piece of ¼ inch plastic supply line that trained the dogs not to eat chicken.
Let me finish that statement differently: they know it was the same piece of 1/4 inch plastic supply line that trained the dogs not to eat chicken, which also broke down the tissue in a seven year old girl's body so that her organs failed and she died.  I'm sorry for your dogs, Mr. Pearl as well as the children.

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  1. Wow. This guy has so many serious issues. He has a God complex in the worst way...the way that damages others. Attacking, instead of addressing the harm that has been caused. I feel terrible for anyone that subscribes to his methods. I can guarantee you, my kids are not going to be on the receiving end of entitlement dependency and self-loathing counseling. What a jerk. Good response Anne.

  2. I really appreciate what you're doing here. May the Lord grant an end to graceless parenting among those who name the name of Christ.

  3. Wow. Just... wow. I had not heard of the death as we have chosen not to involve ourselves with the Pearl's any longer.

    Thank you for informing me.

    I'm glad I came across this blog. I'll be back.

  4. Fabulous post.

    His prideful and heartless response made me want to vomit. How can people want to follow someone like that at all? How can someone think an attitude like that is Godly at all? So sad. :(

  5. You have really articulated what the heart of the matter is. . .

  6. I don't remember Jesus spanking the children He called to Him, but I do recall Him saying we needed to be more like children, child-like.

  7. What will it take to bring down this guy? There has to be a way to get greater national attention to this problem.

    I'm going to campaign for some kind of major coverage from one of the network morning shows -- so many issues here need to be investigated, and perhaps national scandal is what it will take to get Pearl and his devotees investigated properly.

    He openly advocates child abuse -- he teaches people how to abuse! The Schatzes did every single thing he told them to do and they got the result Pearl wants -- a child with no breath to complain.

    The Pearls and anyone who promotes, sells, or recommends this book are complicit in Lydia Schatz's murder, IMO.

    Frankly, I'm thinkin' we take the Schatzes, the Pearls, and any other followers of these animals and give 'em a taste of justice, Singapore style.

  8. His granddaughters spanking their baby dolls... sounds to me like children processing trauma.

  9. How can he think his granddaughters spanking their dolls is in any way a good thing?

    When I was a little girl, I held my dolls, hugged them, kissed them, dressed them and pretended to nurse them. So did my little sisters, and so do my young nieces. They act tenderly towards their babies, and mother them gently.

    I never would have thought of spanking my dolls! They were -babies-! You just don't spank babies. It is absolutely mind boggling to me.

  10. WHAT IN THE WORLD!!!!!! This guy is SO sad...these responses from him are sick and so saddening.. EVERYBODY NEED to speak out...I am sending the message out to everyone I can think of.
    Thank you for your post!

  11. We did everything wrong with our 17 year-old son according to the Pearls. I tried spanking him once (and boy did he deserve it), but it was a complete disaster. Even though he was your classic, strong-willed, noncompliant boy, I never made that mistake again. We homeschooled him a la Charlotte Mason's philosophy, worked on reaching his heart, surrounding him with mercy, truth, beauty, and rich ideas, guiding his thoughts, encouraging him to think, and respecting his personhood. He has not turned out to be the basketcase portrayed by the Pearls.

    Last weekend, we went on a cruise and left him home alone (we live across the street from my parents). All we asked him to do was to take care of the pets and check in with his grandparents once a day. A couple days after we returned, I was dusting the house and noticed there was hardly any dust. It turns out that he dusted the house and did the floors while we were gone because he knows his father likes coming home to a clean house.

    Not only that, he is such a great brother to his big sister who has autism. He understands her and knows how to reason with her, better than most adults I know. He befriends all kinds of kids, especially those with special needs who are often bullied by the world and, I hate to say, excluded by the kind of Christians who think disabilities are caused by a lack of faith or demon-possession.

  12. I just found your blog today (from bored to tears). I have been following this tragedy and it sickens my heart. I love what you wrote, Anne, and I would very much like to link your post in my blog.

  13. Roxie, you are more than welcome to link to any of my Pearl's posts. You can find them under the label NGJ (no greater joy). Thank you for visiting!

  14. I need to say that I feel intimately connected to the Pearls. I think of them each and every time I am at the end of my rope with my kids. Every time I take a deep breath or a break or an exercise class, instead of following the Pearl's methods. And above all, I think of them each and every time my kids demonstrate growing to a new level of self-control, knowing that I have never smacked them up to a higher level of development. I know their growth is ALL THEIRS.

    Dude, "the rod" is a metaphor! For me, it's my own spine, to remain gentle, compassionate, and patient as my kids' neurons make their way, slowly, gradually, to their cortex, regardless of all of the other grownups who want me to perpetuate the cycle.

  15. Thank you for sharing. The best thing anyone can do it get the word out, don't let this book be a secret. Let us all stand up with our bibles in hand and show these people what God's love really is...






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