Announcer:  What are we writing in the book of our children’s lives? Mike teaches about child training in this first segment of the Alabama seminar.

Mike Pearl:  If you’ve got children, it’s too late to decide what you’re going to be in life. You’re a parent, a full‑time parent. The degree to which you’re successful at child training is the degree to which you recognize that the most important task you’ve got in the world is training up that child. We get a lot of letters. I think the saddest failure in life may be divorce, you say, bankruptcy, sickness. No, the saddest failure in life is losing your children to the world. To see them eaten, consumed, digested and spit out, and left as garbage. That’s where most kids end up.

We hear from mothers, daddies, and we get 100, 125 letters a day. Sometimes 200 letters. So you see a lot of sadness and a lot of joy in all those letters. More joy than sadness. Sometimes, we get letters, and Deb will sit down and read one to me, and we just shake our heads. We don’t know where to start. We don’t really know what to do, to tell them how to get out of that mess they’re in.

We read about children that are mean and violent and angry at two years old, beating on their mother at three. Kids at four that are threatening murder to their siblings and doing violent things and having such tantrums and passions that they go into convulsions. Strange, weird, twisted and warped things.

14‑year‑olds and 15‑year‑olds beating on their mama and hitting their daddy and mistreating their sisters, been in jail at 16.

One of the boys, we wrote about our families, we wrote about in our newsletter, the boy was caught and put in jail for raping an old lady recently. He broke out. He’s somewhere at large in the neighborhood. I think he was 16, 17‑years‑old. Do you remember the article Rats? He was one of the rats.

When we wrote the article, he was coming to church a little bit, but his mama really didn’t care. He’d actually told some kids, “Before I get too old,” he said, “One of my ambitions in life is to rape and kill an old lady.”

They thought he was just talking, maybe video game talk or something. Maybe something he picked up on TV or got it at public school. He was serious. He found him one right at 80‑years‑old, alone, carried out his ambition.

That boy was not born like that. That child was made. God created his body and God created his mind, and then God gave that child innocent and pure to two parents. They split so he ended up with one parent. He ended up with a parent that wasn’t his and someone didn’t like him. He ended up with someone that mistreated him and abused him and cussed him. Then he ended up in jail.

Now, he’s at large, living somewhere in an outhouse or a barn top. I don’t know what he’s plotting or planning next but I know the people in the neighborhood are all armed against that little boy. This little guy. He’s not a big, strong‑looking fellow. He’s the last guy in the world you expect to do something like that, just looking at him physically. But that child was made. He was created.

The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he’s old, he will not depart from it.” Now, you see, training works both ways. It’s like a street that you step onto. You’ve got a choice. You can go in one of two directions. Training works both ways.

Just like when you get a new dog. I come into your house and I see the dog tearing the paper up or tearing a chunk of stuffing out of your couch. I say, “Wow. You’ve trained that dog. He really does enjoy couches.” You say, “I didn’t train him.” Oh, yes you did. The first time he chewed at a couch and you left him alone, you were indicating that was a permissible thing to do.

You say, “Oh, no. But I kicked him.” Well, did that train him not to eat the couch because you kicked him? You say, “No. But at least it made me feel better.” You didn’t train him. You say, “But he’s got a good breeding.” We’re not talking about breeding, now. We’re talking about what that dog experienced early in life. He’s eating your couch.

What’s that smell? What’s that in the corner there? Why does he do that? You trained him to do that.

Neglect is training. Neglect is training in that neglect says to the boy, the little girl, or the dog that it is OK, it’s all right. You allow them to get away with it.

Proverbs 22:  6. Train up. Not beat up. Not argue up. Not fuss up. Not gripe up. But train up a child in the way he should go. When he’s old, he will not depart from it. You’ve got that promise. You’ve got that assurance. God didn’t give you a morally handicapped child. God didn’t give you an angry child. God didn’t give you a child that was mean spirited or hostile or bitter or morose or withdrawn or sad or introverted. God gave you an innocent child, like giving you a book.

We recently bought one for my daughter in Israel. It’s a beautiful book on the outside, leather like. It’s got gold gilded edge, like a nice Bible. But you open it up and it’s all blank pages, just totally blank pages. My daughters are going to send that to her in Israel. When she comes back, she’ll have it full of poetry and thoughts.

If you’ve read her book “Rebecca’s Diary,” that’s how that came about also. Taking a book of blank pages and writing in it. That’s what a child is. A child is a new book that’s gold‑lined and leather‑covered, fuzzy‑top, whatever. Inside there’s nothing there.

That first week of their life, you write in the book, in the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the tenth month, the eleventh month. You’re writing in that book. Not only that, but the babysitter’s writing in it also, by the way. The Sunday school teacher’s writing in the book. The peers that the child plays with is writing in the book.

If later, you send them to school, really, what you do, you say, “Here’s the book. Give it back to me in 12 years.” You’re trusting them to write in the book. When the child goes off to play somewhere, he takes the book with him and he gives it to his peers and they write in the book.

When he sits down to watch television, you’re faxing that book out to Hollywood. Hollywood writes in the book and builds into that child’s soul. When the child is 18 or 19‑years‑old, you have the life of that child right there. You say, “I taught him right,” throwing clichés at children, giving them pious principles once or twice a week or having a 15 minute devotional once a day, is not the same thing as writing the right thing in the book. Do you understand that?

Everything that goes in that child’s life is training. Everything that takes place is training. Children catch more than they’re taught. They get more by osmosis by assimilating what they see in people around them than they do in taking principles, thinking about them, going out and applying them.

Kids are not good at doing that. What they’re real good at doing is acting like the people that they see, whether on TV or in the home or school, wherever they are. That’s what they do, they emulate.

The only thing is, due to the fall of Adam and due to the world that the child is brought into, that child is born devoid of God. The child is not born evil, but he is born separated from God. The child is not born warped in his personality, but he is born without the positive presence of the spirit of God or the influence of God in his life.

The child is born neutral but not neutral in the sense that he’s good. Neutral in the sense that there’s not been anything implanted there in his thoughts or his habits yet.

When you begin to train that child, that child doesn’t have the presence of God yet. What is happening is that he is receiving everything that comes in, in a neutral way, without preference for one thing over another. That child does not prefer the good over the evil. He does not prefer joy over hate. He takes in, like a doormat. Anybody that walks across it leaves something behind and he soaks it up.

Without the presence of God, he’s going to have a preference for…guess what? Selfishness. The child is just like you. He wants to be comfortable, he wants to be fed, he wants to be tickled, he wants to be entertained, he wants to be seen and heard, and he wants to be important and significant. In fact, he wants to be first in all of this.

He also wants it now. He is upset if anything gets in his way in providing all of that. Just like you. Isn’t that right? Just like I am.

If you’re driving in traffic and somebody thwarts your efforts, I know how you feel. You feel “Well, God bless them. I know they must have a reason to get there before I do.” Isn’t that the way you feel?

When you come home and you find your favorite thing broken, you say, “Well, I know it was an unavoidable accident. I know that the kids, I know that they wouldn’t do anything like that intentionally. I know it was unavoidable and after all, it’s only been in the family three generations and I’m far too attached to it. It was time that that was broken.”

That’s the way you respond to things in life, right? No, you don’t. When you come home and find your saw outside, man it’s been rained on. Your eight‑year‑old son decided he wanted to saw something. You say, “Well, look, I know what it’s like to be a boy.” No, you don’t. Why? Because you’re selfish. You’re self‑centered.

When somebody scratches your car or offends your property, or anything, why? Because you’re number one. You are! You’re number one. You’re like, when people get hungry, who do you feed first? Well, I feed the little kids first, yeah, but it’s so you can hurry up and eat, isn’t it? You’re looking out for yourself. Why? Because you’re the most important person in your life. Because you’re the one that feels the pain, you’re the one that feels the loss.

That’s the way your child is, only you have an advantage over your child. You have developed reason to where you can decide to maintain some self‑discipline and self‑control. You have the ability to look at yourself and say, now wait a minute. If you demand that right now, everybody’s going to laugh at you. They’re going to feel sorry for your wife.


Mike:  Don’t act like that. That’s not socially chic. You’re able to look at that and say, OK. Play it cool. Just pretend it doesn’t bother you. You’re able to exercise some self‑discipline in these areas, but kids are not. If they see the other kid with a sucker, they don’t have one, they go… [laughter]

Mike:  And then when they try, “No, no, no!” They’ll scream and holler and cry and they’ll sit on the floor and kick like this. What’s wrong with them? They didn’t get their way. They wanted his sucker, and he wouldn’t give it up. You’re not that quick about doing things. We have corporate ways of taking what belongs to somebody else. Kids go directly to it. They’re selfish. There’s nothing of God in them there.

The Bible says, “Train them up in the way they should go.” That means that for a little while, you’re going to have to be that child’s conscience. You’re going to have to play the Holy Spirit in that child’s life. You’re going to have to convict that child of sin and reprove him in righteousness.

You’re going to have to bring judgment into his life. He’s not going to bring any. He’s not going to read the Bible and understand it. He’s not going to be moved by the Holy Spirit because he’s without God.

The only law‑‑as in the law of God, as in limitations, rules, discipline‑‑that child is going to receive is the law you give him for several years in his life. The only judgment that child’s going to experience, that is, the only way he’s going to understand that they’re consequences for breaking laws, is when you bring those consequences to bare.

Therefore, it’s your responsibility, especially for that small child to be very close, very active constantly in a process of bringing law into that child’s life, bringing rebuke, discipline, training, guidance, teaching, love, provoking, stimulating, encouraging, being an example, guiding, and doing with that child all the things you want that child to do.


Announcer:  As always, we hope you were blessed by what you’ve heard today. Again, remember to check out our great weekly online specials.



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