Announcer:  Mike illustrates the process of maintaining consistency with stories from his own kids and others’.

Michael Pearl:  You remember how we trained—I told you about in the book—trained our little ones not to touch. We took a shotgun, and set it in the corner. It was an old shotgun that wouldn’t shoot. I paid two or four dollars for it when I got it. It was real cheap. I got beat. I stood that gun over in the corner. Never could get it to shoot. I told the kids, “Now, don’t touch it.” The reason I did that is because we hunt, or used to hunt. I don’t much anymore. We’d have guns around. There might come a time when I’d have a loaded gun around. Or we had friends that had guns. There might be a loaded gun in somebody’s house.

I didn’t want my kids running up, picking up every gun, thinking it was unloaded or that it was all right to pick it up. I wanted them to always leave guns alone unless someone handed it to them, and said, “It’s Okay. You can touch it.”

I stood that gun in the corner and said, “Now, don’t touch it.” Now, kids love to touch things, especially guns—little boys do. And naturally, I know they are going to go touch it.

Well, you just keep an eye on them. They’ll touch it the first day. They’ll see that gun. When they do, you stand there ready with a switch.

The moment they reach out, you come running in the room. A-whoop! Right across the back of the knuckles, or the hands. Back of the shoulders, or anything, with a little switch, a little weed. Whatever it takes, you know? Just a little stinging thing. Oh! They pull back, and they won’t touch it then.

Now, you can train them to sleep the same way. I remember when Gabriel wouldn’t sleep one time. He was 12, 13, 14 months old, or something, maybe younger. How old was he, when he wouldn’t sleep? About like that.

He’s in this room. Deb put him down. He’d get up. Put him down, he’d get up. Put him down, and he’d get up. Wouldn’t stay down to sleep. She went in there, and spanked him a little bit. Said, “Now, lay down. Sleep.”

Nothing severe, just a little switch, enough to get his attention. Just on the leg. Pop, like that. “Lay down.” He’d lay down. She’d get out of the room, he’d stand back up. She’d go back in. Switch him a little bit. Say, “Lay down!”

Normally that would work. But for some reason, this didn’t work. He’d jump back up. So, she’d hide like this, she’d walk out and hide, and look through the crack, where the door and the doorjamb is. She’d look through the crack, and she’d watch him. As soon as he’d get up, she’d spring in the room and pop him like that, and step back out of the room, like that.

Even at that age, they begin to get wily. Lying there thinking, “How’d she do that?” They’re learning about omnipresence. He’d start to sit up—in the room she’d come, “pop” like that, go back out.

See, that’s training. You don’t go in there and just beat the kid to death. So he’s just lying there crying, snot going up his nose, and his ears getting all stopped up, and you’ve got to take him to the doctor and get them drained out. Nothing like that. You’re training him. You’re having fun. She’s laughing the whole time she’s doing this. I’m in there laughing too, we’re hiding, looking through the crack, “This is a lot of fun!” And we know it’s going to work; we’re not upset.

You say “I don’t have that much time.” Then you don’t have time to be a parent. That’s what it’s all about. I mean, what else have you got to do? You don’t have a television to watch, so what are you going to do in the evening?

We had a kid come in the house, I told you about that. We had a kerosene lantern sitting there, just sitting there on the table. It was a neighbor kid came in. He looked at that lantern, ran over and grabbed it like that. His mother grabbed that lantern and set it up on the kitchen table where he couldn’t reach it. She thought he couldn’t. But he ran over, pulled a chair out, climbed up in the chair, and reached across the table to grab that lantern.

She was yak, yak, yak, yak, talking to my wife. So she goes over—the woman does—grabs the lantern, sets it on top of a high-backed piano. She goes back to talking. She’s training this kid. She’s training him, “Hey, here’s the way the game works. I try to put it out of your reach and you try to climb up and get it. If you can get it, it’s yours. If I can put it high enough, it’s mine.” That’s the game. That’s the rules. That’s the way it works.

Never put things out of the kids reach unless it’s poison or deadly. Do you understand what I’m saying? Something that would be very serious consequences if they got ahold of it. She puts it up on top of the piano. Pianos are made like ladders. He gets up on the bench, boom, boom, and keyboard, right up there where the music stand is, and reaches up to grab it.

She grabs him by the arm, does one of those trapeze works, swings him down like this, grabs the lantern—still talking the whole time—goes over and sits it on top of the refrigerator. It was the only time there was that much room on top of the refrigerator. I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that.

So the kid, you could tell right away he was going to be an engineer. He goes over, pushes a chair up, and walks around the room and surveys the room like this, found him a cardboard box. He got the cardboard box, he set that on top of the chair. Then he climbs up in the chair, and the cardboard box couldn’t support him. But I didn’t care if he fell. He puts his foot, whop, down through there he goes!

About that time his mother runs over and grabs him, sets him down. I could see there was no place higher to set the lantern in the house. So I went over and got the lantern and set it down on the coffee table, back where it was. She looks at me like, “Are you crazy?” So the kid goes running over. He gets to the lantern, and he stops, and he looks around at me like that. I pointed my 60 millimeter at him. I cocked it, and I said, “No, don’t touch it.”

He stops, and he looks at his mother, and he looks at the lantern. He looks back at me. He looks at my wife. He looks around at the cat. He looks back at me, starts to reach, and he looks back at me, and went and found himself something else to do.

Now, he didn’t know about me. I was an unknown quantity. He knew about his mother. She’s a liar. But he knew that he didn’t know what I was. He wasn’t willing to take the chance.

It’s a good thing, because just a couple of days ago, we had three kids staying at the house. One of them was a little girl. How old is Amy? Two. Amy’s two, and she’s used to . . . now, let me tell you something. She is a great improvement over what her older sister was at that age, a tremendous improvement. Family’s made great progress.

But Amy’s still got some edges. And so Amy decides she was going to go outside. I said, “No, Amy. Don’t go outside.” Now, she’s been here. She had been staying with us. This is the tenth or fifteenth time, and I’ve played with her. I’ve tickled her. I’ve gushed her. I’ve swung her upside down like this. I’ve put her over my shoulders this way and down like this.

So here she is. I said, “Don’t go outside Amy,” and she opens the door. I reach over and grab the door to shut it, and she pulls a little harder. So I just kind of yielded to it. What I didn’t want to do at that point was shut the door. I wanted her to obey me. I didn’t want to force her to do anything. Because if I’d have forced the door shut, all I’m saying is, “You can’t go out when I’m here, and I’ve got hold of the door, and I’m bigger than you are.”

So I let the door open, and she walked out. There are two doors. You’ve got to walk through a little sunroom about eight, nine feet deep. She walked out of the living room into the sunroom. I said, “Amy, don’t go outside.” She looked back at me, walked over and opened the outer door. Peeled out that leather belt. Just as she’s stepping out of the door, I go whap, right across the calves right here. She has some little pants on. “Ah!” She goes, “Ah!” I said, “Stop crying.” Whap! She goes, “Waa!” I said, “No more of that crying.” Whap!


She shut up. I said, “Back in the house.” I waited about 10 minutes, ignored her. Don’t run over to them and smother them trying to make up your own feelings. Leave them alone. About 10 minutes later, she goes running through there and goes, “He-he-he-he! Catch me. Catch me, if you can.” So I ran and caught her and she laughed. I swung her a little bit, confirmed that we were still buddies. She trapeze acts and she’d forgotten it. But she remembered it, because about a half hour, an hour, later I was in the bedroom reading. They were cooking out on the front porch, chicken. All the kids (that was the back door of the first episode) . . . the front door opens and all the kids go rushing out, and Amy comes running. “Mak Pearl.” That’s what she calls me, Mak Pearl. “Mak Pearl, can I go outside?” “Yeah Amy. Sure.” And outside she goes.

But she’s trained. In fact, she is forever trained in my house in my presence with that one experience. That doesn’t mean that she won’t disobey me sometime in a careless way. But it means that when she does, and I look at her and I get her attention, and I say, “Amy, no.” Amy knows that a no from Mak Pearl is no. It’s not maybe. It’s not later. It’s not wait a while. It’s no. There’s no alternative. There’s no second-guessing. Consequently, Amy and I will always be good buddies. She will respect me, and I will respect and I will like her.

You say, but I wouldn’t let you spank my kids. Fine, don’t bring them over to my house. If I’m going to keep . . . see, I wouldn’t want somebody to keep my kids that couldn’t manage them properly while they were keeping them. If I didn’t respect that individual enough to turn over all of the training, then I wouldn’t let them keep them, because they’re going to be writing in that book for a whole day.

I don’t want that book to come back and say indulgence, indulgence, indulgence, disobedience, rebellion, no law given, no reproof, no judgment, waywardness, rebellion, all day long. Then I have to spend the next two days trying to make up for the deficit that was created while they were away.

Listen, the people in the community have my little daughter…she’s not little anymore. She’s 15, but she’s my least. They love for her to babysit their kids and have since she was 10 years old. They always let her spank them, because she’s a smart little rascal. She’s wise. She’s learned, and she loves the kids. She cares about them. She spends lots of time with them, and she disciplines them, and all the kids obey her.

I’ve had parents say to her, “How did you do that?” The parent will be wrestling with the kid. The parent will say, “No, don’t do that. Stop!”

My daughter will walk up and say, “Stop it.” The kid stops it. The parent never gets that kind of obedience, but here my daughter who only keeps them once a week suddenly can make the kid obey in a single command without anger, and the parents are amazed.

Why? Because my daughter is not a liar. She’s consistent. When she does say no it always means no without exception. That’s training. Consistency in training. Training principles is simply having a certain level of expectation, communicating that level of expectation clearly, and then never wavering from your demands that you receive that level of performance.

In child training, we sometimes have to use a little reinforcement to get attention. When you have a three-, four-, five-, six-, seven-year-old child, we’re not punishing that child for wrong doing. I hate people that use the word punishment. It’s rare-to-never that a parent would ever have to punish a child.

Punishment carries the connotation that they’ve done something evil that we’re applying retributive justice. That we’re executing them. Punishment is when you take a person who has stolen and cut his hand off. Punishment is when you take a person who has done something wrong or immoral, and tie him up and beat him across the back with 49 lashes until his back bleeds. That’s punishment. Punishment is when you create suffering that is supposed to balance out the scale of justice against the evil done. Now, it’s rare-to-never that you would ever have to do that with a child. Certainly, not with a young child. When we’re using the rod on a young child, we’re using that not as a form of punishment, but as a way to gain attention and respect that they’ll obey our words.

We’re not trying to weigh the pain of the spanking against the possibility of doing it again. Let me tell you something, that just won’t work. I’ve actually had letters from people where children get to the point to where they do things deliberately to be spanked, and then ask to be spanked. They see that as a form of communication. They see that as a form of recognition. That’s warped. It’s twisted, but it happens. Then there are kids who get into that state of a terrorist, where the more you do to them—the more you make them suffer—the better their self-esteem. “I am tough. You cannot break me. You are not going to control my will.” Listen, two- and three-year-olds can get in that mental state to where you can spank them all day long, and if you haven’t trained them, you’re not going to spank them into obedience. I get letters from people that try to do that.

It’s crazy. You can’t ignore a child until he’s incorrigible, and then hope to beat him back into . . . you’ve got to stop and train him. Go back and say, “Where did I go wrong?” Gain that child’s attention. Tie some strings of fellowship and communion with that child. Win his confidence. Smile.

We’ve often said the most need in teenagers, the thing rebellious teenagers need more than anything in the world, and what you can do to bring them back . . . Now, hear this—to bring your 14-, 15-, 13-, even 17-year-old kid back, what they need first and foremost more than anything else is one person to look in their face, delight in their existence, and smile.

Just smile. Just look and say, “I enjoy you. I appreciate you. I’m interested in you. What have you been doing today?” Not prying so you can judge them or punish them. Just, “Did you have fun today? What happened today?” And you think, “Let’s talk about it. Tell me something funny that happened today. Tell me something sad. Tell me some of your thoughts. I’ll tell you some of mine. Let’s communicate. Let’s talk”

Look at them, and find them interesting. You see, their peers find them interesting. Their peers are listening to them. The boyfriend is interested, or the girlfriend, but you’re not. You’re busy. All you’ve got is a rebuke. All you’ve got is a correction. All you’ve got is a criticism. What that child needs more than anything in the world is the same thing a wife needs, or a husband needs, or a church member, or a next-door neighbor—it’s for somebody to look down and say, “Hey! How are you doing? How are things going?”

You know if you love your kids . . . I don’t mean the parental love. Let’s kick that out. The kids will overlook that. If you love your kids with something more than just a parent’s instinct, if you love them like you would love your next-door neighbor . . . maybe you don’t love your next-door neighbor. Maybe you don’t love anybody. Maybe you don’t know how to love. Then that’s a spiritual problem between you and God.

But if you’re capable of love, of loving someone more than yourself, of giving, then love your child, first and foremost. Look at them and smile. When you do, their heart will open. Maybe not at first, but eventually their heart will open. When their heart opens, when you walk in don’t walk in with a whip. It’s too late. He’s too old for that. Walk in with an encouragement. Don’t walk in with a rebuke. Don’t walk in “Do you know where you’re going to end up? Let me tell you. You little tramp, the way you’re going to end up, you’re going to end up garbage, you little tramp. The way you’re living, the way you’re conducting yourself out there on the weekend. Don’t you know that you’re going to end up pregnant? Don’t you know that you’re going to end up in . . . ?”

That’s no way. Your daughter is not going to listen to you. She’s just going to turn you off and go right back out with that rogue, and continue what’s she’s been doing, and she’s going to take drugs, and she’s going to get on alcohol, and she’s going to have a baby at 16 or 17 years old that’s out of wedlock. She’ll have another one at 19, and she’ll marry somebody that you terribly disapprove of when she’s 21. Be divorced when she’s 22. Marry a man that’s 42 years old when she’s 26. Stay with him two years, and then end up living in tent apartment somewhere with five kids supported on welfare, fat with some kind of disease with the government taking care of her, and hating your guts.

Listen, we get letter after letter after letter after letter of situations like that. We go to seminars, and the mother is sitting there with five kids, no husband, three of them behind her, and a broken life. She’s 22, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years old.

Wonder would have happened if Mother, when she was 14, would have loved that daughter, smiled at that daughter, and listened to what that daughter had to say? And said, “Let me tell you about when I was young. Let me tell you some of the things that I went through. Let me encourage you.” And talked, explained, and reasoned with that child on a one-to-one, woman-to-woman basis, not a mother to a sibling, but one woman to another, one female to another, one human being to another. Not “I’m mother, you better listen to me; you’re daughter, you’re nothing; I’m important, my word’s final, you don’t count.” That won’t work.


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


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