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Michael Pearl: We talked about tying strings in our first book. As my wife and began to write on the subject of child training, we tried to put together for other people what we did that was effective. We tested and tried some different things that we said, “No, everybody does that.” We had to look at what was unique that made our family successful, and I realized that my children wanted to obey me and obey their mother.
I realized that we’d cultivated in them a desire to please us. Not out of fear, but there was a genuine heart’s desire to please their mother and daddy. Then as I thought back on it, I realized that my mother and daddy had cultivated that in me. My mother is sitting right down here this morning. I’ll introduce her later.
I realized that my mother and daddy had cultivated in me a desire to please them. That they had captured my heart so that I didn’t want to do anything to make my mother unhappy. I didn’t want to do anything to grieve her.
From the time I was as little as I can remember, my daddy took me with him. I remember riding in the pickup truck not able to see over the dash even standing up. Then I slowly remember the world getting bigger as I got taller, and the dash came down and I finally could sit down and still see outside.
When he would come home in the evenings, he’d always have something, some paintbrushes to wash up, and he’d let me help him, or something to unload, or something to load up, or some pigs to put up in the pen, or something to do.
On the weekends, we’d take a shotgun and go out and burn a little powder. Never could shoot anything, but we’d go out and burn a little powder. I loved the smell of gun powder. We’d go and do a little fishing, or go out and build something.
But, when I was too young to work, I can remember going to work with my daddy, and he gave me the job of pulling the grass away from the foundation of the houses. Now, that’s an important job for a five or six year old to get that grass away so when they’d paint, they could paint right up to the ground level. I’d have to go all the way around the house and pull that grass back.
Then later, I can remember getting the job of scraping the paint off of the shutters and things like that. Finally, I got big enough to start doing some of the caulking. It gave me big old arms, here.
Then finally, I got big enough to start doing some of the painting. I can remember when I was about 15 years old, standing between two three story houses with a 40 foot wooden ladder trying to move it, and losing control of it.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever lifted a 40 foot wooden ladder, but it’s higher than this ceiling by a long ways, and it’s heavy. So, here I was running up and down this aisle between these two houses trying to balance that ladder.
I finally picked me a spot on one of the third floors between a couple windows and crashed into the side of the house.
I remember another time, he dropped me off to get barbecue and bring it back for four or five men. I was down in the city where I’d never been before, so I got the barbecue and I walked out of the store. I don’t remember how old I was, 13 or something. I looked around and I said, “Which way?” [laughter] So I started walking, and I walked and I walked and I walked all afternoon. About three o’clock I showed up. They said, “Where’s that barbecue?” [laughter]
“Where have you been?” I had that cold, soggy barbecue. [inaudible 04:03] I was just glad I found my way. They were working in the front yard when I left. They’d gone around in the back and I couldn’t find them. I walked down the street several times. All the houses looked the same to me, you know. [laughter] My daddy take me with him everywhere. I remember one time when I was about four years old. We were living in this little subdivision for a brief period of time.
There were some little basement windows just above the ground. I was walking along one day with two other big boys. One of them pulled out a slingshot and broke one of the little windows down at the bottom. Oh, it looked like fun, man. I mean, the power of pulling back a slingshot and breaking glass, it tinkling in the sunlight, beautiful thing to do, you know. The other kid took a slingshot and he broke one of the windows and then he handed it to me, it was my turn. I thought, man this is really great.
I get to be one of the guys, these big boys are trusting me here with a slingshot. I started to pull that thing back and I thought, wait a minute. My daddy wouldn’t like me to break windows. I saw his face. I saw his face. I didn’t see him angry. He would get angry. He had an old razor strap about that long, you can see I’ve never used one. He’d use it to sharpen his razor that he shaved with. They’re heavy like saddle leather. Man, they hurt. He’s whipped me with many a time.
I didn’t see him angry, I didn’t see him beating on me with a razor strap, which he would have done. What I saw was his disappointment that his son, a Pearl, would do something like that, would destroy someone’s property. I handed the slingshot back to that five year old, I was four and the other one was six. I handed back to him and I walked away from that glass‑breaking party. When I walked away, I was walking in my Daddy’s spirit. I was walking in his light. I was walking in the light of his countenance and his approval. I was walking in his favor.
You see, he never told me not to break a window, but I knew his heart in the matter and I didn’t want to disappoint him. Later in life when I was a teenager, when I was a young teenager and I was out and some of the guys would say, well let’s do this or let’s do that. I was challenged and tempted to get involved in things the other guys were doing. There were times even then when I would see my Daddy’s countenance and my mother and see their disappointment, their sadness, and I’d say no.
I suspect that my daddy’s and mother’s countenance guided me until I was grown. In fact, even today, I still feel their presence anywhere I am in any decision I make. Knowing that, my wife’s spirit is with me now, and my children. The spirit of many people now guide my life as does yours. Now of course, if you spend a lot of time in pornography and television, then that spirit will guide your life. Just thought I would throw that in. So make yourself indispensable to their happiness.
OK, here it is. Enjoy your children. Make yourself indispensable to their happiness. Maintain fellowship with your children. Earn their respect. Become an example of cheerfulness. Create an atmosphere of good will that makes them want to obey you.