The complete seminar session The Balanced Patriarch is available on DVD.
Michael Pearl: I raised my children to get rid of them. I wanted them to be so equipped at life, they didn't need me anymore. I wanted them to be so successful, so they could take care of me. I wanted them to be so wise, they didn't ask my opinion anymore, and I could ask theirs. That's the way I raised my kids. Now, the problem is, they like it so well, I can't get rid of them. They just keeping hanging around, and every day, two or three of the families are there at the house, and we end up with their kids all of the time, and they do come around. Big old Gabriel, who looks like a big basketball player, 6'5" and about 245, maybe, all muscle, no fat on him anywhere, comes around and talks to his momma like he was a little bald‑headed baby or something. That's only half true, he's only bald‑headed, but... [laughs] I've got more hair than he does.
But he still comes around, and talks to his momma, and asks questions, and he comes around and asks my advice, and we're good buddies, but as a patriarch, my job is to create another patriarch, not to perpetually be in the position of authority over my children. So, many patriarchs are seeking to establish community. Why? Because there is a vacuum for community in our world today.
Where we live there's not. We have a Christian community. It's not an organized community, in fact there are four different Christian groups that don't agree with each other, but that doesn't matter, we're still one.
If somebody goes to the hospital and can't pay the bill we all work together to pay the bill. If someone needs a house built we'll join together.
If someone's got a truck, needs some manure hauled, somebody will haul the manure, whether they go to church together or not.
It's a Christian community where people care about one another, where you have friends, where you know that if you got sick or paralyzed or had some great need that the people all about you would take care of you or your family until the day you died.
That's Christian community. It's where that if your children get out of line they're going to come to you and say "Your children aren't acting right."
And if they see your children not doing what they'll do, they're going to tell them "You better straighten up."
That's Christian community. It's where no one gets away with anything. Where gossip is rampant all the time. [laughs] Where everything is whispered, that's Christian community you know.
Michael: It's like family, there are fusses and there are fights and there are differences but still there's a bond there that keeps us together and gives us a sense of security and of belonging. You never feel like you're no one, you always have someone who cares somewhere around you.
That's probably devoid in many places. Maybe some of you here don't have any community. If you were just to pack up and leave California it'd be months before anybody said "Where'd they go?" Or maybe no one ever asked what happened to you. That's pitiful.
There is a vacuum, a desire to have community once again. This offers a hope, this patriarchal doctrine offers a hope to people that we can reestablish our clan and we can be significant, we can care for one another. The only thing, it doesn't work if that's your goal. Your goal has to be much bigger than some selfish interest to reestablish community.
He suffers a sense of loss at the thought of the breakup of his family unit. That's a very distinct mark of the patriarchal fallacy, is a father who, when he thinks about his 18 or 19 year old son leaving, just feels inadequate, that the family is going to fall apart and what are we going to do? A mother who just feels like if when her daughter is getting married and leave, we will no longer matter. We won't be important. We will lose our real purpose for existence.
I know some families that have eight or ten kids that none of them have gotten married yet. They're all up into their mid‑20s, early 30s, still living with mom and daddy. They write us letters and talk about how, the kids, talk about how miserable they are, how unhappy, unfulfilled they are. Girls write and say they now feel like they're going to be old maids forever. They're 35 years old.
Daddy has run off three or four suitors, because he wanted them to be very successful, be working hard. He wanted them to have exactly the same religious opinions, and you can't even find a doctrinal book with his opinions in it. They carried on a courtship for six months, and then the two mommas had a falling out over something, so they called that thing off.
Here's the daughter still sitting at home, waiting for the perfect guy to come by. The perfect guys are all married, usually, by the time you get to 35 years old. All you're going to get left is a couple rejects, or one that went through puberty late, at 27.
Michael: Many a father, out of a desire to keep that family unit together and protect it, is losing his children to boredom, to a life of mediocrity. He won't have any grand‑kids. He won't have any patriarchal family at all. Now, he will use guilt to control his children and prevent them from developing independence. In our community there is a family there I've gone to and said, "Why don't you get that boy working, seventeen years old?" "We don't want him working out of the home."
By the time my boys were 16 years old, they'd already worked out of the home enough to make enough money to buy their own trucks. By the time they were 18, 19 years old, they could buy property, land.
I was careful about who they worked with. We worked with other Christian men that I knew and respected. We were cautious in their associations. We didn't let them just run wherever they wanted to go.
We had them out becoming men by the time they were 16 years old. I'm not suggesting you should do that. Ours were prepared for that. They were socialized to that point, to where we could trust them. It wasn't a sudden thing. It was a way of life from the time they were very young.
Many patriarchs end up holding their sons and daughters back from life rather than helping them build a life. I want my children to have the best of all life.
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This is soooo good! I love godly wisdom. Thanks for painting a picture of what good parents' goal should be... to train them up to let them fly..
Thanks for the advice, we love it. This is the way it is at our house too. Of course we've been reading your mag for yrs and yrs. Would love to come visit. Do y'all still do the Sunday lunch thing?
Love this! Wish more could hear.
That was really good. With six boys 12-17 years of age, I can see the wisdom of my husband doing that very thing. Thanks for posting this. An encouraging thought for my day and a smile on my face as I look the face of my boys.
Needed this today.
Was feeling sad my oldest left home at 18. But he's leaving his mark on the world, married young and making it on his own.
Love your transperancy, your truth and love.