I am a mother in a situation I believe to be desperate. I have a troubled young son. Many times I have seen God’s love and mercy but this has been an endless battle – I am weary and worn out and need help.

I recently received a phone call from his principal explaining a serious concern that I totally understand is hot-button! He was in the library and pulled a “wooden” book holder off the shelf and did a slicing motion over his neck to another classmate. The child was bothered and immediately told the teacher. The worst part was that when confronted about it he said that it meant “death.” After hearing this, I want to cry out and at the same time, imagining that this is not really happening, not my baby! But it is and I do not know what to do outside of prayer.

To give you some insight, my son clearly has a low self-esteem. I am remarried and he has been abused in the past (both mentally and physically). I will spare you the details unless necessary (outside resources were used and the physical abuse has ended). During this marriage we experienced some rough times but thanks to God’s guidance we stood the course of time and things are working themselves out, all except for my son!

However, occasionally our house is still “divided” on child-rearing. I read your book “Created to be His Help Meet” and I recognize my place is being supportive of my husband (as long as there is no physical abuse involved). What do I do with my son? How can I send him a “positive” and loving message when on the other side he still hearing about and dealing with a negative, unloving past. Plus, now a present that seems hopeless (outside looking in). He is quite intelligent as far as academically but he allows compulsive ideas to consume him. Which in turn results in negative behaviors similar to today’s library occurrence.

I have told him that Jesus is the answer but he does not seem to be responsive. I am not sure but I believe past comments that were said truly hinder him. Such as, “you are on your way to hell because ______” (whatever sin) and “you are not being saved” (when he with “childlike faith” proudly professed). These comments definitely hurt my heart and I am sure his. I know about having an abusive past and having to deal with it [when I was a young adult] but how do you lead a young boy out this state (setting him free from the bondage of our past sins)?

On a positive note, neither the principal nor I believe that he is a threat at the moment, but how do you recommend leading him out of this situation?

—Desperate mother

Dear desperate mother,

There is a sure cure for your boy, but it will be costly to you. He needs an entirely new environment and social life. You cannot expect an emotionally broken child to stand up against all the negativity that he has experienced all his life, and continues to experience, and be an overcomer. Only a mature adult, fully trusting in the Lord, with good support can do that. He is a sick and wounded fish, floating upside down, carried by the current. How can we expect him to swim upstream when he doesn’t even know which way is up? Words and admonitions are not likely to make any difference. He needs nurturing. He needs all new stimuli. He needs a completely different frame of reference. He does not need to be in school with other children. He needs to spend time with mature adults who take him by the hand and lead him to do things that are fun, creative, exciting, satisfying, and purposeful. He needs to be led to succeed in things outside of his hurting world. He cannot conquer where he is. Put him in a friendly environment where he can be somebody of consequence and his days can be meaningful.

I said there is a cure but it will be costly to you. If he were taken out of school and removed to the country and given animals to take care of he would blossom. If you must live in the city, you can homeschool him and construct his life so that it is full of creativity and accomplishment. Consider sports, knife throwing, music, art, mechanics, wood work, homeschool projects like constructing a model solar system. Provide many opportunities and let him pick the ones he likes best. Do not criticize him. Find something he can do well and provided the means for him to do it until many people praise his accomplishments.

As things stand, he cannot understand a loving heavenly father. He needs to experience love before he can desire it and choose it against the evil.
Read our picture Bible story book

Good and Evil with him and discuss the stories.

I hope this puts you on the right track. Do let me know how it works out. If you have further questions, feel free to write.

Michael Pearl