Michael Pearl: Is it too late? You say, "Well, what are you talking? I'm messed up. Is it too late? Starting over? How do I start over?" Now, you're not going to be a perfect parent, but you do want perfect kids, don't you? You're not going to do everything right. I didn't do everything right. Your spouse may not share the same convictions that you do, or put out the same effort that you do. In fact, most women feel like their husbands are not participating the way they ought to. I think that's pretty standard, usually.
You must do a few things right that will make up for your failures. There are a few things that will cover a multitude of sins. Become the master of joy. More is caught than taught. Don't drive, lead.
A while ago, I was meeting everybody, and I saw these three kids. They must have been all under five, and they were the smiling‑est, grinning‑est kids. They would look me right in the face. No bashfulness about them. They had a mischievous look about them, all three of them.
But, they had an absolutely interested‑in‑everything delightful look. A joyful look, a "Boy, we're glad to be here. Boy, this is a lot of fun. Woo, this is great!" You could see them curiously looking around. I know that if those kids were in my house, they'd grab something they shouldn't. I could just tell by looking at them.
I said to the parents, "You've got some good kids. You've got some really good kids." "Well, that's right, but we came. We've got some problems." I said, "You may have some problem, but you've got happy kids. You've got have happy kids and they're confident. They're not fearful of me. They're not fearful of you." I didn't tell them that, but that was [inaudible 02:19] collaborating.
These kids, you could just tell that they had fun at home with their parents. I could see also that they all had the hyperness about them, that they probably just really get crazy sometimes. But, get crazy with them! It's better to have a good time and enjoy life, than it is to develop an adversarial relationship where you're always displeased with their performance.
Listen, if you can't get them up to a par, then have fun halfway there. Enjoy them where they are! Never lose your joy.
It's like in a marriage. A wife who can put up with a cruddy husband, as long as she's cheerful, he's going to love her. As long as he's cheerful and loves her, she'll put up with dirty shoes and messed up carpet and everything else.
Do you ever read that poem my daughter wrote about the mom and the country mom and pop? That wasn't just a poor messed old trailer. I'm one of the sloppiest people you know. I'll come here with old muddy shoes and stuff, and she'll say, "Look what you did to my floor!" "Oops, I'll take my shoes off so I can go walk in the bedroom and take them off."
Michael: The power of joy. The power of joy. Parenting, like courtship, must be properly seasoned with joy. A joyless parent can no more raise happy kids than a skunk can raise skunklets that smell good. [laughter]
Michael: Parenting must be seasoned with joy. What guy would go courting and say, "Well, I thought I'd take you out to get a hamburger tonight, but don't drop anything on my car seat." She couldn't wait to get home and get away from that guy. If you say to the kids, "Now, I want you to sit still and be quiet." I've had people come into my house, come to see me‑‑please don't come to see me... I've had people come into my house with nine kids. They march in. They all sit down on the couch. They fold their hands and look down. Aren't they disciplined? I'm thinking, "How poor, how terrible, how awful this is."
I can tell that just before they got out of the 15‑passenger van, that daddy said to them, "This is Mike Pearl's house. He's the one that wrote that book. If you dare embarrass me in this house...You keep your mouth shut."
Michael: Hey man, I like kids that just start getting antsy and start asking questions and start looking around, "What's this? What do you do with that?" I say, "Let's go outside," and I take them outside and do something fun. Take them outside and show them how to throw knives. [laughter]
Michael: Now, I don't know if you took that right or not. I'm the world champion tomahawk thrower. I really am. I won the world championship this past year, and I won the Golden Cup Knife Award, which is the most difficult knife competition of the year. They said to me, I'm the best thrower of 2007 ‑ '08. What year is this? [applause]
Michael: Last year. I won the long distance throw. At 63 feet, I stuck a knife in a 4‑inch bulls‑eye. That's about as long as from here to the back of the auditorium. Picture hitting a 4‑inch bulls‑eye. You've got to be good to do that. [laughter]
Michael: I imparted my self‑confidence to my kids. And then, I won the silhouette throw. That's where you throw around Princess Leia. We don't use Marilyn Monroe, we use Princess Leia dressed in all that garb. It's just a cutout, but we throw knives all around her without hitting her. You hit her, you're out of the game. She is, too. [laughter]
Michael: So you have to stick it kind of close. Now, I had a meeting last year in Texas. This preacher didn't have anybody coming to his church, about 30, lived in a poor area. And so, I told him, "Look, you put out brochures all over the community," and in the brochure, I gave him what to say, and I gave him a picture, "Come see the mountain man throw knives around the preacher." [laughter]
Michael: And so, we put this backdrop up around the pulpit, like this, you know? I threw knives and busted balloons and stuff. Then I had him stand up there. I stuck knives up one side and down the other around this preacher. Had people come out of the woodwork to see that. A lot of had never been to church before. And so, he got a lot of new contacts that way. This is a church‑building program. Any of you folks like to have a knife thrower at your church? Got a preacher you don't like?
Michael: I'll stick it to him. [laughter]
Michael: OK, I don't know where we are. I kind of got off, didn't I? You cannot be a better parent than you are a smiler. The military and jail impart discipline, but only a smile will give you power with kids or people on the job. If they hire you to be a salesmen, what do they tell you to do? Smile, silly. Parenting without training is chaos and training without joy is tyranny. You're a tyrant if you try to train your children without joy. Like a sunflower turns his face to the sun, a child will turn his face to anyone that will smile at it.
Children love to be part of a big hug. Children thrive on joy. They'll do anything for somebody that enjoys them. You look into the face of a child and look at their picture and compliment them on it. Ask them what they're doing and go out and watch them perform some stunt. They'll love you forever.
All right. You must see every opportunity as a chance to build on that young life. There's no age at which these principles don't work. It works with husbands and wives. It works on the job. Actually, I had somebody tell me that they use these principles ‑ the employer with his employees ‑ and he was able to increase his business by them adopting these same techniques.
He said that he related to his employees in a new way after reading our book, "To Train up a Child." I wonder if they knew they were being trained by a child training book? I don't know.
OK, win their hearts and earn a smile from each child every five minutes of the day, so doing you'll not have trouble with your attitude or theirs. Children must be joined to the parents by something more than physical lineage, so cause your child to want to be part of your life.