Are you raising a husband for Laura Rose? This is not just any Laura Rose. This one is a real Pearl — our six-month-old granddaughter.
I am already talking to her about her choice of a husband. I don't think I am getting through to her, so I thought it best to write to the parents of her future husband.
He should be losing his baby teeth right about now and speaking with a hiss. He is your son and you think he is the best, but if the Lord hasn't returned, and I am still around in about twenty years (I will be 77 then), to get to Laura Rose your son is going to have to pass the inspection of a narrow-minded father and an old fashioned grandpa — me. I am very firm about what I expect in a young man and, as I will be one of her mentors, by the time she is grown she will share my expectations.
Nearly every morning our daughter-in-law, Zephyr, drops Laura off at the house for an hour while she goes on a five-mile trek. With Laura's little squeals and coos, it is hard for me to stay in my office. When she sees her Big Papa she breaks out in the most captivating smile I have seen in nineteen years. Deb is quick to point out that she smiles at everybody, but I can tell that she has a special smile just for me. You will think I am biased and lack objectivity when I tell you that Laura is the happiest, most contented baby I have ever seen. She was born happy and has never been otherwise. You would never know she was a descendent of Adam.
The other day, Laura Rose was sitting in my lap and we were having a smiling contest. She was wearing my face out with overworked smile muscles. I smile at my wife all the time, but Laura won’t give me a breather. I get so tired of doing a number 10 grin that I feel like my face is going to fall off. Her daddy has taught her not to pull beards or hair, so while she smiles she strokes my beard and tries to bite my nose. Since her mother nurses her just before she leaves, I usually end up with “yogurt” in my whiskers.
At six months old, she already knows that as she grows up it is Big Papa who is going to take her fishing and swimming, and to the store for ice-cream, and tell her wonderful tales of another century long ago when things were so different — and more difficult, of course. I will tell her stories about her daddy when he was a little boy, about how he was brave and saved his little sister from the stinging yellow jackets.
When she reaches the flower of her age and begins to consider the young men who swarm around her like honey, she will talk to me of things she is embarrassed to say at home. I will listen, appear wise, smile, and offer some advice about waiting on God. She will think I am too old to understand her passion and zest for life, but with the grace of God and the trust of her family she will successfully travel the ancient, yet always new path to maturity. God will bring into her life that special one whom he has already begun to prepare.
Just the other day, as I sat in my easy chair with Laura, contemplating the wonders of such a perfect child, and knowing that she is going to be brought up in a most nurturing and disciplined environment, I wondered what family out there is raising up her husband. Are you doing a good job training up that young man? Laura deserves a husband that is not broken or scarred. The average won't do. He must be pure in heart. It will not be enough for him to be forgiven of his sin. Laura will deserve a husband that has never walked in the path of darkness — one who brings to the marriage nothing but innocence and purity.
I will give you a list of what this grandpa expects from any young man that comes, wanting to pick this lovely Rose.
It goes without saying that he must be a virgin. Furthermore, he must be absolutely innocent in regard to pornography. If he has ever been a user of porno, he can forget Laura. It will not matter that he has confessed his sins and is forgiven. David confessed and God forgave him, but he and his family continued to reap what he had sown until the day he died. Laura will bring innocence and purity to the marriage. I do not want her to come crying to Big Papa with tales of how her husband confessed that he fantasizes about other women when they are together, or of a sordid story of how he is not satisfied with natural sex. I want her husband to be clumsy on their honeymoon. I want them to laugh about it years later — about how naive they were, about how they discovered things together, thinking they were the first to know, believing they had reached heights others have never known. I want Laura to always know that she is the first and only — including his private world of fantasy. She will never be jealous, never wonder if she measures up.
Raw pornography is not my only concern. If he has watched very much of Hollywood, he is likely to be too corrupted in his worldview to become the father of my great-grandkids. Most movies, even the ones with a G rating, communicate the porno worldview. If pornography is a disease, Hollywood is the carrier.
If your son falls to this worship of the flesh and he repents, God will forgive him. You should forgive him. I will forgive him. He can be a great missionary, a man of God, but he cannot be my grandbaby's husband. There are plenty of marriages that do fine with second best. Laura Rose is being raised to have the very best. You can call it pride, call it narrow-minded, but don't send your son calling on Laura Rose unless he has a pure heart.
I know there are many of you spread across this land and around the world who are raising Frank, or Tom, or Elijah, and you have the same expectations for your son as I do for Laura. I encourage you to never allow him to spend the night away from home. Never allow him to go visiting and get in a position to be led astray by others — including the preacher's son and your brother's wife. If you would not let him play in a minefield, don't let him play on a computer where he can access the web, and don't let him hang out at the home of any children who can access the web. Don't allow him to play computer games that have big-busted, good-looking women shooting, kicking, punching, and wreaking mayhem. Such women will become the women of his dreams, and my Laura Rose is not going to be that kind of a woman. She will be gentle, graceful, a good conversationalist, modest, kind, and merciful. It may mean that you cannot allow your little man to hang out with the kids at church. Your Sunday school may be an evil place. It usually is. If you have a TV and your Johnny has the remote, when he gets big enough to marry, tell him what he missed in Laura Rose.
Now you may think that I want Laura’s husband to be a meek, passive man. Not at all. If your little Johnny is “full of it,” he is in the top of the running. He can be loud, bossy, aggressive, domineering, and competitive. I would prefer him so. He will need gentling, need to learn to control his impulses, develop a little humility, and he will need to learn to respect authority, but I like to see a little five-year-old man with spunk and guts. Proper training that doesn't break him, but rather directs those energies, will make him a fine man some day. Often little three-year-old boys are still mama’s boys, emotionally dependent and clingy. Children mature at different rates. But, by the time he is five, he should be tough and resilient. He needs to grab life by the horns and hang on through the cuts and bruises. If he gets in a fight occasionally, it won’t bother me as much as if he has a habit of running to mother with tales of abuse and rejection. Remember, you are not raising just any kid; you are raising a husband for Laura Rose Pearl.
This one is important. Your little man must be trained to respect and obey higher powers. You must organize and manage his days so that his “will to dominate” is constrained to submit to the rule of law. He must be made to believe that there is a just power bigger than his own notions.
I said “organize and manage his life.” As the parent you must organize Johnny's life, so he is not bored, so that he knows what his duties are at any hour of the day, so his energies and impulses are given expression in creative ways. After you organize, you must manage. That means being on the scene all the time, observing, praising, rebuking, and making course changes as necessary. Never allow Laura's husband a dispensation of indulgence. His life should be managed so that respectful obedience to the rule of law becomes the accepted norm, and he never questions it, because you allow him no alternative. You must be consistent. If you vacillate, you will communicate to him that there is a possible alternative to subjection, and he will become discontent with obedience and submission. It is important for Laura's husband to grow up under managed discipline because he must be highly disciplined to be a man of integrity. Slothfulness and deceit go together. Laziness and unthankfulness are the two hind legs of a wormy dog.
Since your Johnny is flesh, “a son of Adam,” he will have a tendency to let someone else do the work while he reigns. He will not be a fool. He will know that all work is pain. Don't let him become a sneak and avoid his work or blame others by excusing his tardiness and half-hearted compliance. By your consistency, you must develop in him a will to suffer the discomfort and boredom of work. With his first awakening to life, your little man must be a worker. He must never be allowed to think that he exists to be served. From the time he scatters toys, he should be taught to pick them up and return them to the toy box. When he can crawl, or scoot, or do the booty drag, show him how to clean up after himself. It is important to his self-image to grow up knowing that he is a person of value and that the family cannot manage without him.
If you are raising a husband for Laura, he will be too savvy to buy into the positive affirmation bit. He will know when his contribution to the family is of consequence, just like he will know when you are leading him on with empty praise. Take his hand and lead him to do something of worth. Teach him skills ahead of his years. You do this by involving him in the performance of all your skills. If you are cleaning the bathtub, let him help even though it will take five times longer. If you are changing a tire, show him how the tools work, and discuss why. If you are painting the house, give him a brush and let him paint the doghouse, the dog, himself, the grass, and the side of your elevated, redwood swimming pool. Oh! And don't forget the cat. I expect him to be willing and capable to tackle any task and have the fortitude to endure.
It is not at the top of my list, by any means, but it would be nice if he is intelligent. Read to him early. Read often. Teach him about history, chemistry, physics, science, economics, politics, and current events -- not through curriculum, but through casual discussion. Develop his curiosity and provide him with the means to learn more as he gets older. It is not necessary that he pass an entrance exam on all these subjects, but he should be able to carry on a conversation with those who do.
There is one intangible thing that is an absolute essential. It is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. His eyes must be bright. They must be full of curiosity, delight, fun, and pleasure with all the people and things around him. He should run from one thing to the next, having fun discovering the newness of each day, looking for challenges and problems to solve.
He must have a walk of faith. I saved this one to be presented toward the end of my list, not because it is less important, but because it is what you would expect me to say. So I wanted to list those things first that most people miss or consider of little importance. I am not confident that you know what I mean when I say faith. I suspect that you are thinking traditionally and missing my intent. I am not talking about religion. I am not suggesting a mystical, supernatural life of asceticism. The faith I am speaking of would not be published or considered special by the average Christian. It will not give him the reputation of a prophet. But, in this faith he will consider the promises of God to be the blueprint for his life. He will have his feet on the ground, but the Word of God will be more real to him than the things that he sees and handles. He will be a man who lives by the “Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.” He will be driven by the law of liberty, the law of faith, by grace, and most of all by love. He will care nothing for the forms of religion, but will care much for knowing the heart of God.
Further, he must be a man of worship. Not ritual worship, not necessarily organized worship, not something that others see him doing, but uninterrupted worship of a God who is glorious in his presence, fearful in his law, righteous in his judgments, lovely in his mercy, amazing in his patience, and beautiful in fellowship.
Though life will be exciting to him, whether it be a game of sports, a good book, a rousing discussion of current events, or a theological wrestling match, he will first be a people-person, a man of compassion and concern for others. He will not live his life unto himself. He will not consume all the blessings of this life without utter thankfulness and an effort to return life's blessings to others. Laura will love life, and people, and God with a passion. Her husband must exceed her in this.
His compassion and love must be more than theological. It will be seen in the way he reaches out to children, to the hurting, even to those who would hurt him. He will spend time ministering to others. He and Laura will raise their children (my great-grandchildren) to minister to others. He will view money and success as an unfortunate time waster that he joyfully endures so he can get on to the real things of life.
I know this sounds too ideal. But don't take your little man out of the running. God is not through with him yet. When he is twenty-two years old and comes calling on Laura, I will examine him closely, but I will not expect him to be mature in all these qualities. He will likely still be a clumsy, somewhat self-centered, overconfident, pent-up strap of a would-be man, but I will be able to see through all of that to the heart and soul that you have molded. The tree need not have fruit for me to know when it has a good root and comes from good stock. He and Laura will grow together. Neither of them will be perfect. But I expect them to have the background and resources to grow together, to become much more as a couple than either of them will ever be alone.
Laura is in training. She is loved and cherished by a big family. She has uncles and cousins and grandparents and great-grandparents that walk with the Lord. She is going to be learning many things. If the Lord tarries and I live long enough, your son is going to have to get by me. If I am not here when suitors come calling, by that time, her daddy will be as crabby and narrow-minded as her Big Papa. But somebody will be waiting for your little man to come calling. You still have twenty years or so to get him ready. In the mean time, Laura is gracing my mornings.
- Michael Pearl