Michael Pearl gives some pointers on how to raise kids to be godly, joyful, and productive, at the Great Ozark Mountain Shindig in Missouri, September 12-15, 2013.
You can also watch the video version.
Michael Pearl: Christian child training is based on 16 points that I’m going to present to you.
One is the knowledge that we’re created by benevolent God for the purpose of arriving at a higher state of being. That separates us from the rest of the crowd. We believed that our children are created by an internal God for greater purpose than living on this life and enjoying indulgence.
We believed they’re created for a purpose that’s going to stretch out into eternity and that makes a difference in the way we approached training up our children.
Secondly, we believed that we’re endowed by our creator with the power to choose and experience the consequences of our choices for good or ill.
We believe that we’re endowed by our creator with the power to choose for a purpose. That is that we would make the right choices and develop character. We choose the good and refuse the evil.
We believe that there’s going to come a day when one’s eternity is decided based on the choices that one makes.
It’s very important to us Christian parents to teach our children to choose correctly, not just to fence them in, so they’re limited in their choices, but to teach them to launch out into a world that’s opposed to the Spirit of God and to choose rightly, regardless of what the consequences are.
That makes us different. Thirdly, we believe that we’re both a spiritual and a physical being.
The world believes that we’re just a conglomeration of protoplasm. That we’re a lot of protein piled up in a certain order that enables us to have the illusion of self‑existence and thought. That somehow we all were born on a warm sea and one day we’ll return back to the dust and cease to be.
All that really matters is our relationship to each other as it brings pleasure and our relationship to this world as it brings pleasure. The only moral law is that which enables the greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest number of people.
Therefore, you end up with dictatorships and democracies. We don’t believe that. We believe we’re created by God for a purpose.
We believe that we’re eternal, that there’s a spirit in man that must be attended to above the physical, even.
Being an eternal being makes a difference. Paul said, “I write these things so you won’t sorrow as others sorrow in death, those which have no hope.” He goes on and tells us about the great hope that we have. That makes a difference in the way we train our children.
Then we believe that the physical being that God created for us that put us in a house that we dwell in, is subject to natural passions, which if allowed to run their course, will lead to moral ruin. Now, the world will tell us that we just need to allow our children to free expression.
Just allow them to explore and discover. One of the things they’re telling us now we need to let them discover is which sex they are. My kids learned that early. I remember when Gabriel pulled his pants out, looked down and said, “Hey, I’m a boy!” [laughs]
Michael: There was never any discussion after that. The other day I went to the doctor, and they had a little form to fill out. First time I’d ever been there. It said, “Gender ‑ ‘Male’, ‘Female’ or ‘Other'”.
Michael: [laughs] That’s a brand new one. I even got enough sense to know what my cows are out in the field. I know what my dogs are. I know what my cats are. I never figured out a turtle, but I got the rest of them worked out.
Michael: Other day I went to Lowe’s. I don’t know if you know, but old men, when it comes time, it comes time. I had to go to the restroom. Your bladder gets hard and it won’t expand any.
It’s kind of like those pressure water systems in a house, when the pressure gets right the pump comes on, and you got to be in the right position. I said, “Where’s the restroom?” to this guy. He said, “It’s just down that way.” He could see I was in a hurry. The guy worked there.
I ran down there and there was a little door that said, [laughs] …what was it that it said on the door. That’s another problem with being an old man.
Michael: It said…it was one of those gender‑neutral terms, [laughs] I don’t remember what it was. I didn’t know whether to use it, or not. I didn’t know whether somebody else would come in there with me or not, but anyway I was able to get by, and get out of there without any mishap.
It’s God’s intention that the inner‑man should discipline the outer‑man. We believe that the inner‑man should be in control, not the body on the outside. That human race is in a “fallen” condition.
There are people on the web, and Baptist preachers that’ll write and say, “I don’t believe that,” but I do believe that in Adam, all died. I’ve always taught that. I do believe that when children are born, they’re born extremely disadvantaged. I call it “broken.”
They’re born with something missing, that’s vital to God’s ultimate goal in our life, and that is the spirit of God, dwelling inside of us. That we’re born left to our natural resources, which in themselves have proven in all cases of humanity, to be insufficient to arrive at a state of righteousness, and holiness.
We believe that children are born with a “fallen” condition. The outer‑man has the edge in the battle, between good and evil. The outer‑man being the physical body. The outer‑man must be disciplined, must be denied.
We home‑schoolers, we Christian families, believe in imparting self‑discipline to our children ‑‑ the ability to self‑regulate their passions, and their drives. Discipline and self‑control do not come naturally. They must be taught by parents, who live by the inner‑man, a term by the Apostle Paul.
Parents have the responsibility to train their children to walk after truth, and self‑control, denying bodily excesses. In our modern day, that includes video games, that includes TV, that includes food, sweets, junk, includes laziness, includes pleasure.
There is something that comes before all of that, and that’s duty ‑‑ responsibility to family, to those that are dependent on you. We teach in part…we live by the principal, so we become dutiful citizens, not democrats. By the way, I’ve got a new slogan, “Vote democrat. It’s easier than working.”
The first principal of child training is providing an example of self‑discipline, with all of the joys, and pleasures it brings. We don’t believe that life is boring, or dull. We believe it’s fun. What makes it fun is that we’ve been freed from our flesh, and we can live in a plane above self‑indulgence.
Children will learn that joy, and won’t want to depart from it. We believe that the second principal of child training is to communicate to the child an accurate world‑view concerning God and self, in respect to good and evil.
I won’t go in to the details, I’ve talked about that before, but we are active all the time, engaging them in conversations about good and evil, examination of our motives, the motives of others.
Small children, who are not old enough to understand these realities, must be constrained to walk in the right path, until they are wise enough to choose for themselves. This is where the child development psychologists, not all of them, but a vocal number of them, have a great disagreement with us.
They say that we shouldn’t constrain children. We say that if we don’t constrain them, then they’ll end up hedonistic, heathen, totally committed to the flesh, before they’re old enough to exercise their wills to understand right and wrong.
Parents must communicate the realities of cause and effect, good and evil, by placing the child under a benevolent reign of rules, and principals. We believe parents are parents, and that children are given to the parents by God, and then it is the parent’s duty to train up a child, in the way he should go, so that when he is old he will not depart from it.
Then fourteenth, to emulate reality parents must be prepared to oversee negative consequences when children stray from the path of self‑control and discipline.
Our God, in Hebrews chapter 11, reveals how He chastens His own children. He tells us that no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous. Nevertheless, afterward it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who exercise thereby.
We have a whole Bible given to us for our admonition and learning. In it, we find a God who relates to the children of Israel in a process of love, provision, and grace.
When they sin, of chastisement, rebuke, even casting them off, bringing war and death and famine upon them, challenging them to repent, and then bringing them back into fellowship and grace, restoring them to that previous place when they repent.
We emulate the very government of God, as He has governed the nations, as He governs us individually, that government for us as parents ‑‑ we are God’s little helpers ‑‑ training up those children, preparing them for the day when they come under God’s government personally and individually.
Fifteenth, there is a variety of negative consequences. Measured force is a last resort. The force must not be punitive, but rather instructive. When Anderson Cooper talked with me the first time on TV…I think I spoke with him twice, maybe three times…he said, “You believe in punishing children.”
I said, “No, I do not believe in punishing children.” He said, “Well, you teach parents to hit their kids.” I said, “No, I don’t teach parents to hit their kids.”
I said, “We teach parents who believe in spanking, how to spank in a way that’s productive,” because 90 percent of the parents in America believe in the use of spanking for their children.
Some of them do it excessively. Many of them do it in improperly. It’s been our ministry to show them how to apply that in a way that’s productive for the child, not an expression of anger, not something administered at the end of an intolerance curve.
He said, “But you do hit your children.” I said, “No, we spank them.” He said, “What’s the difference between spanking and hitting?”
I said, “Let me ask you a question. If somebody came into the job, came to work, and a woman said, ‘My husband hit me last night,’ what would you do? You’d say call the law. If she came in and said, ‘My husband spanked me last night,’ what would you say? You’d say, ‘Well, that’s none of my business.'”
I said, “There is a difference between spanking and hitting.” He kept pushing. I said, “The reason you try to change the word is because you’re trying to characterize what we do in a way that’s ugly, and it’s not ugly. You can ask our children.”
Force must not be punitive, but rather instructive. Finally, it’s the goal of the parent to as quickly as possible bring the child to a place of responsible autonomy.
Our goal is not to coral our children and save them from the world. Our job is to teach them so they save themselves from the world.
There comes a time when we must turn them loose, and it always happens more quickly than we thought it should. It always happens sooner than we plan for it to.
In fact, they’re cut loose from us before we know it. They are making autonomous decisions when we don’t realize it.
We must prepare them very early to make wise choices for themselves. Let’s move on. This is going to be two messages, and I’m glad we have two for it because we’re not going to be able to get through it all in this one.
The nature of the child ‑‑ the nature of training should be based on the nature of the child. Back there, am I holding this mike in the best place I should hold it?
Yes. OK. Just keep it right here that way you can control the sound. Can you hear my heart beating?
Here’s a little diagram I did of the nature of man. I have a tape on this I think, an audiotape. There is what the Bible calls the natural man and the spiritual man.
The only difference between the natural man, which is the unregenerate man, and the spiritual man is the spiritual man has the presence of the spirit of God right there in the middle where you see the word “spirit.”
The natural man has a spirit as well. Look it up in your Bible. You’ll find men with corrupt spirits, foul spirits, unclean spirits. Our spirit needs sanctifying even.
The human spirit is that part of us that is breathed into us by God that makes us unique and separate from the animals.
The animals have mind. They have an intellect. They have emotions, sensibilities, and they have a will.
They have a soul, just as we have a soul. Our soul is higher, keener, sharper than the animal soul, but it is of the same character, nature, made with the same building blocks just as we share the same cells and some of the same DNA as the animals.
What sets us apart is the breath of life breathed into us by God, the human spirit. Look at the bottom of the drawing. You see soul.
That entire circle there with a green, blue, and red and spirit, that is the human soul. Another term for that is the inner man that Paul speaks of ‑‑ the outer man and the inner man.
The outer man is all that we are as a body of flesh with passions and drives that are a natural part of the human body.
The inner man is all that we are as a soulish and spiritual being. It’s the hand inside the glove of this body of flesh.
It’s the force. The intellect that drives the emotions that feel. That’s the inner man. Having that out of the way, let’s move on back to the children.
Here is an adult process of action. The body receives sensory information. You see the body here. The eyes see. The ears hear. Then the mind registers the value of the information.
In other words, the mind focuses on the info and decides if that odor, that taste, that smell, that sight, the feeling of the breeze, the sunset, whatever the sensory information might be, the mind registers it and makes a decision about whether or not to think about it further or whether or not to dismiss it.
You’re driving down an interstate. You’ll see 10,000 things. A dozen of them will grab your attention. You will think about them. Then the sensibilities taste the opportunity. That is having seen that casserole sitting on the counter, steaming hot.
Having seen it, the mind registered the value of the information. If you don’t like casserole and you are not hungry, you dismiss it. If you love casseroles, and if you are hungry, and if smells good, then the sensibilities taste the opportunity.
You may again have this endorphin released that says, “Wow, I got to do that.” The sensibilities start enforcing the mind. The mind accepts the instructions of the sensibilities, the emotions, and now you have a snowball force going here on the inside and the man counts the cost and makes a decision.
Your wife has that fixed for supper, should I eat it now or later? Should I put it off? Now, the will is involved. Right?
The [indecipherable 19:04] because now you are having to try to make a decision whether not to have an immediate gratification, or delayed gratification, or if you do have immediate gratification, what will that mean later on when my wife shows up?
This is the human process by which decisions are made and we do things. Fifth one, the [indecipherable 19:26] , the will, energizes the body then. The will says to the body, delayed gratification, “No,” and you walk away . Or the will says, I leave it now and the runaway drives are fed immediately.
The sixth thing is the indulgence or of course, the denial of indulgence. That’s the adult process. Think about it. Here’s the infant process of action. The body receives sensory information. The infant smells, hears, whatever, feels. The sensibilities taste the opportunity.
If the sensibilities make it seem like a good thing, the baby indulges. There is no struggle of the mind. There is no wrestling with the right or the wrong of it, the good or bad of it, no consideration of consequences. Just one thing drives the infant and that is will it feel good?
The infant, just like us, has a body with all of the drives and has sensibilities.
The sensibilities are working in a very limited way, but in a sufficient way to cause the child, by the third month, to begin to have preferences in the way they feel about being touched, looked at the face, laughed, handled, changed, and hugged.
These feelings begin to reach out and the child begins to enjoy pleasures during those first three months. Now, I have to get out of that. Let me see, wrong saying, I had helped him go slide, just get over
There, right there. Back… how am I going to get out of there?
Congregation: [cross talk]
Michael: Do what?
Congregation: You escape.
Michael: Do escape? All right. Good.
Michael: That worked. From birth to three months, the child’s only physical drives are apparent. The soulish function of that child is not there. It’s there in seed form, but it’s like a kernel of corn that is being placed in the ground and has germinated.
The life is there, but there is no corn stalk above the ground. Then the nature of the challenge infant in the first three months is driven by involuntary instincts ‑‑ food, warmth, breath, sleep and occasional diversion of pleasant sights and sounds.
As far as child is concerned, life revolves in simple circles with self at the center. “Children which in that day”, the bible said, “had no knowledge of good and evil,” Deuteronomy139, “for before the child shall not refuse the evil and choose the good as thy”. That’s speaking of Jesus Christ.
Jesus himself, at the age of three months didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. At two years of age, Jesus did not know the difference between right and wrong. He learned some rights and wrong in terms of social relationships.
Like his mother, Mary taught him not bite the nipple and so he figured that out. He learned not to reach up, grab hair, and pull it. In terms of moral good and evil, or the consequences of bigger social issues of life, he had no idea.
He had to learn good and evil and so he, too, developed and grew in that knowledge. The Bible said, “The strong meet belongs under them that there are of full age, even of those who by reason of use have their senses.” We talked about the sensibilities. The senses exercise to discern both good and evil.
It takes an exercise of the senses, a tasting emotionally, a tasting of deep feelings of touch, of smell, to know what taste good, what feels good, and what your preferences are in life.
Children don’t have that yet. Children are born without internal government, without conscious. They come in to the world without self‑regulator. They are cars with gas peddles and no steering wheels.
They love speed but they have no idea of knowing how get from point A to B. When they feel the wind in their hair, the bump, the thrill, they will scream, holler, and yell, and enjoy it, but if you’re turn the steering wheel over to them, they end in total wreck and ruin.
Our children are strapped in when we give them ride to the early parts of life. They have active drives, but undeveloped mind. They have 100 percent of passion of an adult, but none of the self‑restraint ‑‑ human nature.
The child is born with drives common to all. Drives can be entirely physical, entirely mental, or combination of both. When a child is a month old, the drives are entirely physical, but by the time they get about 6 months old, they begin to get mental drives.
That is they have been trapped within the physical world. The sensations that they experience, they learn to prefer one thing over another. They have learned how good it feels to be picked up, talked to, and played with.
They now have a mental drive to be entertained, as well as, the physical drive. Throughout those first three years, they will increase rapidly in their appreciation for mental pleasure and there will come a point when the mental and the physical are so entwined that some people will call it a sinful nature.
It is their disposition. It’s the human disposition. That’s the combination of all those early experiences and the lack of the spirit of god within us. Back to our chart.
You see the child there functioning first, entirely by the flesh, and then eventually the soul begins to awaken in the intellect, in the emotions, the will. As that happens, the human spirit becomes more dominant, begins to pervade and that spirit is corrupted by the flesh.
The human nature, the physical and mental, is untrained. It’s untrained. All that comes in to the world is untrained. A child left to himself will bring his mother to shame. Why?
Because all children need training. The flesh is full of propensities with no plan or purpose other than immediate gratification. How child transitions in to exercise mind and will, the child is born with the natural physical senses that only register pleasure and pain.
It’s from those senses of pleasure and pain that they began to derive the concept of good and bad. These mental drives become apparent when he discovers boredom and realizes he can manipulate his environment to gain pleasure, body and mind. You find those little ones soon enforce.
They cry when they’re hurt. They cry when they are hungry. They cry when they are wet and cold. That crying is just a natural response of body of flesh that’s hurting, that’s uncomfortable.
Then they learn that is very pleasurable to be goo‑goo‑ed or to be da‑da‑ed all the time. Then somebody making some silly faces, picking up, rocking him, and bouncing him. With that, pleasures of the mind, the child begins to discover how he can manipulate his environment and we call this temperament.
Temperament is a prevailing or dominant quality of mind that characterizes somebody. We speak of the temperament of a child. One child is different from another. We’re talking about those, that combination of drives and mental disposition.
We’re talking about the way the child relates to people and the world around him. How he governs or fails to govern his drives, his body, whether not he has given over to the flesh or mental pleasure more. All of that is the temperament.
You as an adult have a temperament. You are constantly feeding that temperament and tweaking that temperament. Many of you men have trouble with different temptations of the flesh because of the temperament that you have cultivated and continue to cultivate in your body and mind.
A child’s temperament becomes apparent during the first six months. Temperament is a combination of nature that is natural born condition, and the experience.
I know that my children, when they came out of the womb, all of them, but one was born at home and the other one was born in the hospital with me there over seeing it. We left immediately. The others were born at home. We could see when they came out of the womb what they are going to be like.
Nathan, the one who has moderated here, when he came out, my wife and I were the only ones in the house. We were in the bedroom. She was squatting besides the bed to give birth and no one would ever have ‑‑ that was constipated ‑‑ would have a bowel movement lying on the back would they?
[indecipherable 30:13] She was squatting trying to get over this constipation she had here and Nathan’s head popped out.
First, I was down looking to tell her how much progress she had made and the water broke. When it did, it just knocked me back against the wall, flooded the floor, the wall, and everything. That head followed that out. It that popped just like that.
Here she is squatting and his head is hanging upside down just about touching the floor. Nathan’s little head goes around like that and he grins.
I’m telling you the truth. He grinned like, “Here I am. You all have been waiting. The band can play.” He slid right on out. I’ll tell you what. It was another one of those great moments in life. Gabriel wasn’t born like that at all. Gabriel came out and his personality, his temperament, was apparent the moment he was born.
Then that temperament creates an inclination to be hyperactive, attention deficit, or an inclination to be rather withdrawn and moody, and maybe a writer, or a poet, or musician, or a tree climber, a tree jumper, or maybe something much more sedate.
Nathan and Gabriel were so different. When we would go fishing, take the kids fishing, Gabriel would be out there working trying to catch a fish, casting and reeling in.
Nathan would always throw his rod down, wade out or swim out into the water, and climb up on a tree and pull these lures out of the tree and collect lures. He never used them to fish but he loved collecting lures. Gabriel would be catching fish and Nathan would be collecting lures.
Gabriel loves to go hunting and kill stuff. Nathan just doesn’t much care. He’s done some hunting and he’s a better shot, probably, than Gabriel. At one point, he could draw pistol and shoot it.
You could hold a tennis shoe out here and drop it and he could draw a pistol and shoot it before the tennis shoe would hit the ground. He’s very fast with his hands.
They were so different in their temperament and the way they approach life, so we had to train them a little bit different. As far as the nature of the child, our concern here is more that we contribute to that or how we relate to that temperament as they begin to develop.
Temperament does not determine what one will do, but rather what he’s naturally inclined to do. We’re not responsible to God for what we’re naturally inclined to do.
We’re responsible to God for how we manage those drives and inclinations for the honor of God, for the blessings of other people, and for righteousness.
Temperament is never an excuse. It might be an explanation, but it’s never an excuse. It might give us direction to understand our child and what motivates them, but it never is a reason to be unrestrained, uncontrolled.
The baby responds to his temperament in perfect accord with nature as animals respond. We had a batch of puppies. One was aggressive, ornery, bossy, climbed the fence. Another one was timid, shy, and a little bit fearful. We ended up with the little bit fearful one.
Dog’s still scared. I can just walk in the house. I’ve never hit that dog, but you’ve got to look at it real nice, real sweet. If you don’t, it just kind of shakes like this. It barks at everything, is scared of everything. I don’t know why we kept that dog.
I kind of liked the mean one, but my wife wanted the other one. She had enough mean one in the house already, I guess. The baby responds to his temperament in perfect accord with nature as animals respond. He is not limited by thoughts or values.
Then the emergency of the inter‑man, discovering mental pleasure, the temperament knows nothing, but anger, fear, and joy. That’s your little one ‑‑ Anger, fear, and joy.
The child soon discovers that the physical realm there are things good and things bad, things that are hot and things that are cold, things that are sweet, things that are bitter, things good and bad, things that bring fulfillment and things that bring pain.
Being laid down in a bed in a room by themselves brings boredom and misery. Being kept up and enjoying the pleasures of everything around him, all the people, that bring great pleasure. Experience teaches the child what to pursue and what to avoid, what to be indifferent to.
Some people have been upset with the fact that I told in a book about how when our children were small, they all learned to swim. Shalom learned to swim when she was young, but her temperament was such that she was scared about swimming.
Even though she could, she wouldn’t get out in the deep water. I think it was her. No, it was Nathan. One of them, I’ve forgotten which one. One of the kids, before they could swim, would go down to the pond and just about fall in and just had no fear whatsoever.
The pond was far here from the back of the room to the house, so we needed them to be cautious about it. I believe it was Shalom. It was. She was leaning over the pond reaching into it. It was kind of a steep bank and I knew she was going to fall, so I just stood there waiting for her to fall.
My idea was to let her fall, go under. It was clear water, just go under and stay under for four or five seconds and then I’d pull her out and make her scared. She had good coordination and she wouldn’t fall, so I just bumped her a little bit like that. When I did, she tumbled under.
I could see her eyes like this clawing the water, looking up. I waited just enough to get a little panic set in, reached down, and pulled her out. She was very grateful that I saved her. From that point on, she was reluctant, then, to go play around the pond. It created a little bit of fear.
Through that natural physical experience, she learned what to pursue and what to avoid. That’s the beginning of knowing right and wrong, good and bad. Not evil, but just it’s right to eat something sweet, it’s wrong to eat hot peppers.
When a baby begins to make demands through crying and yelling, we know he’s developed a sense of self‑pleasure and his dependence on others. He’s learned how to increase his pleasure in ways that are excusably selfish.
His temperament has begun to develop. The inner man joins the outer man in assisting in gratification. There’s our chart again to give you a refreshing on the inner man and the outer man. Discovering right and wrong. The laws governing the physical world are not neutral.
They’re fixed and not open to interpretation. For instance, when the kids get on a trampoline to bounce tell them be careful. They’re all going to fall off of it or one of them’s going to jump on the other one at some time or another and they’re going to get hurt and they’re going to cry.
Hopefully, they don’t break anything. It doesn’t take very long for them to discover there’s danger in heights, there’s danger in riding your bicycle too fast, in running down a hill where the grass is wet, in running down a gravel road where the gravel is rolling, riding a bicycle and trying to turn on the gravel.
All these things children begin to understand that there’s good and bad, ways to do it and ways not to do it. Likewise, the human soul, that is the inner man, and the environment which it lives is not neutral. What are we saying? We’re saying that, just as in the world, for a Christian up is up and down is down.
The law of gravity works for a Christian, but the law of gravity works for a sinner, too. The person who doesn’t know God or denies God or a person who would deny the law of gravity is still subject to the law of gravity. A person who doesn’t think that the wages of sin is death, it’s still death.
You don’t have to believe it to make it true. It’s true in the experience of everyone. Just take the drunk. Just take the social misfit, the adulterous individual. Death comes to their marriage, death comes to their life, if not in the form of venereal disease or a drunken driving wreck or an overdose, it will come.
It will show up in their body and in their mind. The wages of sin is death. That’s a spiritual law. It’s a statement that God made and it’s not true because God made it. God made the statement because it’s true.
There are fixed laws that govern us and children soon discover those fixed physical laws and they also discover the fixed moral laws.
The problem is, if you’re not there to guide children in heights, no don’t climb that, that’s too high, come back down, then they’re likely to kill themselves before they get old enough to know better. There’s some things you just can’t afford to make a mistake in like a child playing with a sharp knife.
One and a half year old walking around with a sharp knife or a five‑year‑old picking up a gun who doesn’t know how to use it, doesn’t know what it’s for, or medicines in bottles. There are some things that we just are not willing to allow experience to teach our children, for very good reasons.
We are there instructing them and warning them ahead of time and trying to give them examples. Just the other day I told one of the grandkids, when I was young my next‑door neighbor had a little child about a year and a half old.
They were peeling peaches on the back porch, went in to get something, he picked up a peach paring knife, fell off the back porch, stuck the knife in his jugular vein, and bled out within a couple of minutes. Died.
I warned my grandchildren about sharp knives, about what could happen. I gave them a very vivid story and description of it. Why? I was helping them to have, through me, vicariously, the experience of what a sharp knife can do, so that they can learn the good and the bad of it.
One of the other little kids there, Justin’s and Sean’s little boy, little bitty tot, he’ll ride a bicycle and likes to set up jumps and jump over it. You have to warn him. You can jump over that, but if you hit that board at that angle it’s not going to jump, all you’re going to do is plow into that concrete block.
Let me help you here. You show him how to make it a little smoother, a little longer, a little more effective, so he won’t hurt himself. Likewise, the soul, the inner man, and the environment in which we live is not neutral. That is, there are spiritual laws that govern us, whether we like it or not.
We cannot afford to allow our children to wait to grieve their consciences before they learn some of the rules by which life is constructed.
We Christian parents, holding an understanding through the word of God of the moral values of the universe, those fixed, innate laws that God created that we are subject to, those natural, spiritual laws that the wages of sin is death, knowing those laws we want to impart that information to our children to save them from making a foolish decision that’s irreversible.
One of the ways we do that is to allow them to make some decisions that are not irreversible. Allow them to discover some of those physical things. I have allowed my children to fall, knowing they would. I’ve allowed them to do some dumb things.
A kid walks up, one of the little grandkids, and tries to stand on a ball about six inches in diameter. You know that ball’s going to roll out from under him and he’s going to fall.
I don’t stop him because the floor’s not that hard, he’s not on concrete, and I know that he’s going to fall and he’s not going to even cry, but he’s going to get hurt and he’s going to learn something about standing on a rolling round object.
I’ve seen them do other things that I know they’re not going to be cool, but it’s fun so I just stand and watch them. They’re learning and that’s what gives me joy.
As one discovers his independent existence in the physical and realm by the pleasure and pain, so one discovers his soul by the pleasure and pain that comes through the exercise of mind and will.
Carrying out duty can give mental pleasure. Men live their lives with the hope that it will be pleasurable. The average man wants mental pleasure and you can only get that through holding down physical comfort or pleasure.
I’m talking to adults now. This has great application to you men that are addicted to pornography. You are a child following the dictates the flesh, sucking your own thumb. You’re a child stimulating yourself.
You’re sitting in a corner with a blanket to your ear, your parents are waiting on you to grow up, and your wife is waiting for you to grow up. It’s kind of sick seeing an adult doing that. You have bodily drives, they have taken your mind, your emotions, and your will, and put arraigns on them.
Your body is driving your soul and your soul is following, your soul is cooperating. You’ve been made captive to the flesh. You’re living your life for the mental pleasure, the emotional pleasure, the thought pleasure that you’re getting from your body.
Some poor, excuse me, fool told me when he looked at pornography he didn’t lust. I said why look at it, then? I said you might commit your wife, but you’re talking to a man here. I don’t buy it. I don’t eat something that doesn’t taste good. I don’t eat something I don’t think is going to be good for me.
I eat what I want to eat and I think about it before I eat it and I take pleasure in eating it. When I go to a restaurant and I look on the menu, I lust after this or I lust after that. I say, “That looks good, but it’s fried and I can’t eat fried stuff, I’ll have a heart attack.”
I look at that and that looks good, but that’s got sugar in it. I can’t eat that. I’ll look down here and I’ll say, “Yuck, OK, I’ll eat that.” I make a choice that comes from my soul. My soul controlling my body, dictating what’s right and wrong, and making choices based on that.
You’re the kind of a guy who goes to a restaurant and orders six pieces of pie and four Coca Colas on ice and scoops it up with a bunch of ice cream and then goes home sick wishing you had more willpower. Sick. I’ll go on from there.
The idea of pleasurable and unpleasurable develops first, then acceptable and unacceptable, and then socially good and socially bad, and, finally, good and evil. It comes in that order. Right and wrong exists in every aspect of life ‑‑ physical, economic.
You can make a wrong choice because of your indulgence, your flesh. You can stack up a bunch of charges on your credit card and you can end up with a lot of interest and suffering a great deal more than you would of suffered, if you just said, “No” to charging that thing in the first place.
There’s economic, social, and legal. You say, “If I cheat on my income taxes, Obama won’t find out.” No, but he owns most everybody else. Somebody will find out, if they quit partying long enough to look at your returns.
You cheat on your income tax, you make that choice, or in your business, or in your stock market, or wherever your field of expertise is, and it’s going to cost you somewhere down the line. So will all your moral decisions.
Right and wrong is not a product of nature. It’s not rules imposed from without. As pain and pleasure in the body is not a matter of choice, that it is pre‑determined by the nature of flesh, so pain and pleasure in the soul is not a matter of choice, it’s pre‑determined by the very nature of soul.
In both the physical and mental soul, we’re subject to natural laws and we reap according to our conformity to them. In the pursuit of pleasure, a child learns to assume responsibility for his own body, but his soul and center is not yet being developed. Here’s the problem.
The consequences on the inner man are not apparent at a young age. Therefore, it is easier to neglect the inner man while taking care of the outer man.
Bodily appetites, the outer man, the man that you see here, the flesh part of me, the bodily appetites are more pressing on the infant and youth whose soulish faculties, that is the inner man, are not fully developed.
Then we come to conscience. What is the conscience? I’m going to stop here. We’ll take this up later. We’re going to get into this in a deeper way, more thorough way. I’m laboring this because this is the foundation of all that we teach and think.
It is the underlying principle of humanity. It has application to us, as adults, in the choices we make and the way we live, as well as to the way we train our children. This is going to be beneficial to you.
You men that are struggling with issues, you women that are struggling with issues, some of you young people. It’s going to help you to understand yourself.