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Little Men

June 15, 2008

Dear Pearls,

We adopted a child when he was just a baby. We now have several younger birth children. Our whole family enjoys camping and fishing except our oldest. He only likes sports. We have never had a TV or joined in games of this kind, but he will find a way to watch or play any chance he has, even to the point of lying. This causes an extreme breach between us. I have trouble forgiving him. What can we do to get him on the family team? How do we deal with a child who doesn’t want to be a part?


You want him to be a part of your team but you do not want to be part of his. You are assuming that talent and interest can be dictated—a grave mistake. YOU are the one making it an “adoption” problem. When you love someone, you want to see them fulfilled as a person—as the person they are, not the person you want them to be.

jumping ship

You cannot, and should not, replace a person’s dreams with your own goals and desires. If you like hunting or sports or mechanics, that is your heart, and it is fine for you, but if your son likes something different, you are the one who needs to sacrifice to aid him in the fulfillment of his dreams.

If you have read Created To Be His Help Meet, you know about the 3 kinds of men. Like God is three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, man was created in God’s IMAGE. Some men are Command men, some Steady, and some Visionary. Well, boys are little men. If you happen to have a Visionary, then you can be sure he will not be interested in sports or fishing. When you go fishing, he will be interested in building a dam to change the watercourse. If you take him to a sports game, he will be more interested in coming up with a new way to play the game. Boys need to grow up to be the men they were born to be. Help them be the best at WHO THEY ARE.

I detect that you think there is some vanity or evil in your son’s interest. You are too religious even for God. Concentrate on building character in whatever pursuit your son chooses. It is wise to make available many options that are constructive and character building, but don’t think that in the end you can dictate interests. Buy yourself a baseball glove or soccer ball and take him to play. Stand by and cheer like it was the most exciting thing in the world. It is the only way you are going to win.

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One comment on “Little Men”

  1. Hi Debbie & Michael!

    I have been a follower of your teachings for many years, and have read many of your books. Recently though, I have been struggling with some things regarding raising my 7 1/2 year old son. I have read Created to be His Helpmeet, and as best I can tell, my son is a Visionary/Command Man. I am trying very hard to honor those natural traits in him, while still training him to be obedient, hard-working, and full of integrity and character. Here are some issues I have with him:
    1-We homeschool, and spend approx. 2-3 hours daily on school work, and another 2-4 hours working outside in the yard or in the house. I have always required him to work, pick up his own things/messes, and help with chores around the house. However, I have also ALWAYS noticed a sense of laziness about him. He will do the absolute bare minimum at any task. I will have to remind him numerous times to either get back on task (goofing off rather than working), and/or remind him how to do the job properly. In the end, I almost always have to yell or threaten to spank him to actually get him to complete a task. And then when he does complete it, he usually does something "wrong" that makes me think that he did it spitefully...which I can't prove, because he always just acts clueless like he didn't try to do it, or it was an accident. (A perfect example is when he was supposed to be watering the garden while I mowed the lawn. Most of the time I looked over at him, he was spraying the sidewalk or the lawn rather than the garden. When I would stop to ask him what he was supposed to be doing, he would say he already watered the garden...then I would walk over and show him all the places where it was still dry, etc. So he would begin to water properly, until I looked away, and then go back to goofing off. Finally I raised my voice with him, and then when I checked on him again (about 3 mins later), he had sprayed all the plants so hard with the sprayer on full blast, they were all knocked over, and even some unearthed. Of course, he just played stupid and acted like he had no idea how that happened.) Yes, we actually do spank our children for things like this, yes, we read scripture to them in a loving and teaching manner, yes they have chore charts and we reward and praise them for the good work that they do. But it is almost a daily struggle with at least one task with him. I sense a lot of pride and foolishness in him, and we have talked at length about that. We have read scripture about that. And this brings me to issue #2:
    2-I am struggling with two seemingly opposing views that I have read from you (Debbie) and Michael. My son seems to be blessed with the gift to make others laugh, and to find the fun in any situation. He also sees very different ways of doing things that are clever and innovative. These are positive traits that I view as the Visionary in him. He also very much likes to be in charge, and is usually the "leader" whenever he gets with a group of other children. He is extremely bright, and a very hard worker at schoolwork. I see these positive traits as the Command Man in him. However, these personality traits can also have their downsides, which I guess I need some advice in how to handle them. I try to honor the "visionary" in him when he seems to be seeking a different way to accomplish a task than the way I explained to him. But due to his inexperience, his ways often fail, make messes, break or ruin things, and frankly, often appear just to be excuses for not working (i.e. laziness). And it's very difficult for me to see where to draw the line between honoring his natural tendency to be a command man, or being prideful, stubborn, or disobedient to his mother. (this one particular issue never arises with his father, since it's obvious, if dad says something, you do it.) And lastly...his tendency to make others laugh...I REALLY do see this as a positive trait, and we have mainly been working on teaching him when and where it is appropriate to do this. However, after reading Michael's artice "Silly Boys" and this article, I am struggling to reconsile the two seemingly opposing views (that sillyness is so terrible, with honoring who he is and hos interests).
    Thank you for your time, and considering any advice you feel would be helpful.