Michael Pearl: If they sense injustice we create rebellion. If they sense inconsistency we create rebellion. We have to do it carefully, prayerfully, lovingly. Boundaries without constraints are mere suggestions. Boundaries imply consequences. For instance if you cross the yellow line, you get head‑on collision. Or if you drive too fast, it says 45 you drive 52. They'll give you a ticket. That's a consequence. All of our lives where we work, there are consequences for making the wrong actions, wrong decisions. When you're cooking in the kitchen, you got a gas stove, you got an electric stove. You got different things that will hurt you. You got blenders and garbage disposals. You got all this stuff and there are certain rules for living and circulating and not getting hurt.
We need to impose boundaries. Constrain those children to obey those boundaries for their own good. There are mall boundaries. Children without consistent boundaries become rebels. They develop a will to dominate. Some of you have older kids right now that have this will to dominate.
Why? Because one day your boundaries were here, and the next day they were a little wider and then the next day, you had some kind of little sit and they got real narrow. You lay the boundaries out and then they saw you walking somewhere else. You didn't follow the boundaries you laid out.
So they become very confused about what the boundaries really are. You say, "Don't walk anywhere but here," and they walk someplace else and you ignore them. You say, "If you do, I will spank you," but then you didn't. So they find they can wander anywhere.
Then one day when you really start tying it all down real tight and you say, "No, you got to walk the boundaries." They're resentful. "Why now? Why? Boundaries? I've been able to get along without boundaries before, why have I got to have boundaries now."
Now we have the busiest interstate system for cars. You can drive from Nashville to Memphis and you will see at least 25 state troopers. At least! They'll be ever two or three miles. I've driven all the country and I've never seen as many state troopers as we got here! Listen, you got to drive careful! They hide in the bushes, man. They back those cars up in the bushes, they'll put those radars out there and then they'll team up on you.
One of them will go the opposite direction of catching, and the other will pick you up. They got all kind of relays there. We don't have any income tax and I think that's the way they support the government in Tennessee, catching these people coming through there.
When you have state troopers and we drive down interstate, we drive careful. When we're driving through Pear County we don't pay any attention at all. Just the week before we left, three different people we knew went off the highway. One girl flipped her car four times, her and her kid were strapped down, didn't hurt either one of them.
Another guy flipped his, flipped all over, landed back on the wheels and he drove on home.
Michael: A girl that worked for us spun out about two or three times, plowed into a bank and bent both her back wheels, but she came on into work anyhow. But the car had to be towed in. People drive kind of crazy, no boundaries. They don't impose boundaries upon themselves. Now, until we constrain, that's the key word, constrain our children to obedience, they will never develop it on their own. The rebel child intuitively recognizes the need to maintain an unbroken record of independence. I have seen this with my kids. You say to them. Let me get my drinking bottle here.
You say to them, what are you doing with that? I told you not to touch that figurine, put it down. I'm going to get my switch. OK, take your hand off it.
Michael: Move your hand. I said get your hand clean away from it. [ laughter]
Michael: Now, you know they're going to put it down, but you haven't got their heart yet, their heart is still holding it. They're saying to you, hey you're big enough to make me do it but you don't have to make me like it. Now I've had mine do that, I've watched them do that. I've seen some of my grandkids do that, just the other day. I don't remember what it was now but Gracie was like that, and her mother, I remember said to her "Say yes mother."
She got her to obey. She said, "Say yes, mother." That's kind of the thing that makes the heart break and give, yes mother.
And Gracie just looked at her. My daughter didn't say another word. We were sitting at the table eating. She said "Come on." [screaming]
Michael: No, once it hits the fan, you're not going to scream and get out of it. "Yes mother, oh yes mother!" No, that's not good enough! Back to the back room we go. Whong, whong, whong, come out. [laughter]
Michael: "Yes mother?" What changes attitude so well. I learned from my daughters, watching them deal with their kids. They're doing a great job of it. They're more consistent I think than we were. Why does that child touch that, pull their hand away? Why do they do that? Because they are rebellious. What I always required of my children and I don't know why I did this, it's just intuitive with me. If I had to spank them for something, or if I rebuked them and they obeyed, I'd let it go there. I said "All right, smile." And, if it wasn't a good smile, I'd say "Smile!" Then I'd say "All right."
You know how they're kind of like this. See, all of that's...They've got rebellious shoulder muscles. They got rebellious feet muscles. Their toe muscles are rebellious. Their eyebrows are rebellious. Muscles in their face were all rebellious. They might have obeyed you, but you hadn't got them yet. So I say to them, "OK, relax your shoulders. Now shake your hands like this. OK."
You can't shake your hands and keep your muscles tense in your body, see. "All right, now smile for me." Until I saw every last vestige of rebellion dissipate, melt away, I didn't stop. I didn't accept any body language that said, "You got me to obey, but you didn't get my heart." There are times I had to go back and spank him again.
The other day, there was one of the little girls, I've forgotten which one of the grandkids, and she got sour. She wanted something. We were eating and she wanted some sweet tea. Her mother says, "No. You can't have sweet tea." She's never allowed sweet tea, but she always wants sweet tea. She's had enough to know what it is, but as a rule she wasn't allowed sweet tea.
Her mother said, "No. You can have water or tea, but you can't have sweet tea." Her mother said, "Which one do you want? Do you want water or tea, unsweet tea? All right, if you don't tell me you then you're not going to get anything. Do you want water?"
She goes and gets her water and sits it down on the table. Little girl shoves it away. You know what, she's hurting her mother is what she's doing. She's showing her mother, "I want sweet tea." Didn't say anything.
Mother didn't say a word. Carried her in the back, gave her a spanking. Came out said, "Now look, if you want anything to drink during this meal, you tell me right now. Water or tea? Because during the meal and after the meal I'm not going to give you anything."
"Water please mother," she said. I think those are great examples of breaking that desire to dominate.