Filter by: Products Articles
Filter by:

Child Training 101 – Starting Over

By Michael Pearl


[intro music]

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.

[outro music]


Leave a Reply

12 comments on “Child Training 101 – Starting Over”

  1. Thank you for that power packed 9 minutes – I could finish watching before any interruptions! (miracle) I laughed, cried, and shouted to God for your victories and for your ministry! Much love, MH

  2. So much truth was spoken. As a homeschooler I a blessed to be able to hug my 5 kids throughout the day. My house echos with “I love you” all day long coming from everyone to one another. I usually wake up to giggles and several kids climbing in bed with me hugging on me. An then its a quick blurr as they run out of the room to wait on breakfast. My ears are always listening to their conversations of play and love to one another. An its funny because when they get around other children that are not so happy they pick up on it. Recently I took my 7 yr old girl and 6 yr old girl to a friends house with me. Well my friends grandson was there who is 6 yrs old. After about 10 min my girls came in and said “Mom that boy is the meanest and most miserable kid! Can you take us back home to see Dylan and Bobby ? ” (their brothers) I told them not right now but I wanted them to go play and have lots of loud fun. An show that boy that they don’t care how miserable he is that it won’t stop them from laughing. The whole time we were there those girls ran around and played. Screaming and laughing in the yard. That young man just sat there and never budged and complained every 5 min to his grandmother. Who by the way babied him but I warned her not too do that , that she should of ordered him to the yard to sit away from our conversation. I ended up cutting my visit short that day because of that young man but I did refuse to rush off. I smiled during our conversation and refused to let his think he would win that battle. I have been back to my friends house a few times since but none of the kids want to go with me. Its just amazing at what kids pick up on. My kids are always full of joy and we are always into some project. Like last night at 9pm I found myself playing in mud with my kids. We had a blast for an hour running around. They refer to it as “Country Life of Happiness” They are so cute and great kids. Bless you all hope to meet you and Mrs. Pearl one day.

  3. I was so encouraged by your talk “Starting Over.” It brought tears of joy to my eyes! I thank God for your ministry. Keep speaking the truth!

  4. Wow! Praise God! This is awesome. We (you all and my family) are truly blessed! Thank you for your time, videos and/or Cane Creek Corner! This video is just what I needed to hear even though I have heard it before. I just feel like giggling/laughing because of how blessed we are in Christ and all He is, is doing and is going to do! Praise God! I thank God for all of you!

  5. Thank you! I knew I had “stinking thinking’ I just couldn’t find where it was. I had prayed while folding clothes, came upstairs and saw this….yes! I have forgotten to smile! My failure to smile has been suffocating my children, thank you for reminding me!

  6. I just finished listening to this little bit of wisdom and am smiling myself. Thank you for saying that it works with anyone at any age. I am afraid I have not been smiling enough at or with my husband or my teenage son. Even with my 20 something daughter…I have noticed a negative turn in these relationships. I bet it has something to do with lack of joy in me and thus in my household. Thank you again.

  7. Thank you for your ministry. Would you be able to give me some specifics or point me to another article you have written about my questions? Maybe your experience with the Russian boys could help. What if you adopt an older child or have a blended family where a 7-10 year old boy that is overindulged by his mother, comes in and out of your home, and he has little desire to work, makes constant excuses, and is lazy? If his job is to wipe the counters and sweep and you have to constantly remind him to stay on task, or doesn’t do a good job. Would you just do it with him, even though you are doing most of the work? Same thing with folding the laundry, and you are doing most of the work, with him, but it is frustrating because he is capable of much more as an older boy. I want to be happy and joyful, but am always irritated and frustrated with his laziness. How do you follow your advice to?…..

    “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.

    What does this look like? Just be happy and joyful that he did the little bit and don’t push it? How do you lower the bar, but still gently push ahead? You want to teach character, but tie heart strings at the same time. He is not here with us enough to make enough difference in this area, so should we just have him do minimal amount of work, and stretch him little by little? Our others kids that live with us have a greater work ethic. Any ideas?

    1. I suggest that your read Training Children To Be Strong In Spirit to help you in developing character into your step-son. Because of your limited exposure to and influence on your step-son, your focus should be on relationship and doing things together. As you do work together, first set the example of working conscientiously, and then over time leave more for him to do. Do not shame him, but let him see the level of satisfaction with accomplishment in the other children.

Subscribe to our newsletter & stay updated