Anyone out there in the world of Facebook has probably seen a news piece floating around in which the death of a young girl at the hands of her parents is described. They have been found guilty of murder. According to the article the parents were using the book “To Train Up A Child” by Michael and Debi Pearl as the guidelines for their parenting style. It went on to say several other deaths have been linked to the book.
Of course, I had to do a little digging. What I found was alarming to say the least. Not only did I find that other children have died, I also discovered multiple articles by moms who were expressing regret over the fact that they used the book as a manual for child rearing. There were some pretty blood-chilling stories told of spankings that went on for hours with plumbing line. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear—these women were not horrible people who sat around all day drinking alcohol while thinking of ways to torture their children. They genuinely felt they were doing what was best. They wanted to raise their little ones up to be thriving adults who took a productive place in society. And the book told them how to do that. Or so they thought.
Look, I love to read. I love that we live in a day and age where there are so many resources at our finger tips to help us with a variety of issues…including parenting. I love that there are people who take the job of parenting so seriously they try to discover ways to do it better. But—here’s the deal—we cannot abandon our common sense when we are culling through the big, wide world of information.
And, while I’m talking, I’m going to go ahead and specifically call out Christians. I’ve heard a lot of preaching and teaching over my years inside religious circles about the need for avoiding trends. We are to be “set apart.” Well, let me just say, we start our own trends inside the church walls that are just as dangerous as anything any secular entity could spew out. This book is one such trend. It has gotten passed around the church by the thousands. I know, because someone handed one to me. I read it, and promptly dismissed it. I assumed others would as well. But, if my research is any indication, they haven’t.
Apparently, as a whole, we’ve excused extreme parts of the book by saying, “But it also has so much good.” Any doubts are tucked away. We’ve become so very well versed in the rhetoric of not judging we’ve kept our thoughts to ourselves.
I’ve seen this type of behavior up close and personal. As a teenager I once sat in a church service and listened to an evangelist talk about beating his children with a PVC pipe because, “God told him that was how he should dispense discipline.” No one called him out. He wasn’t asked to leave. There was no intervention on behalf of his children. Nope, he finished preaching the revival. And everyone just sat there and listened to him spew out his evil. This actually happens pretty frequently. People pull out the “God told me” card and everyone around suddenly becomes scared to death to speak up. Throwing the name of God into a conversation takes it to a whole new level.
Look, I generally hate blanket statements when it comes to parenting, but I’m getting ready to make some here. If you are using pieces of plumbing to discipline your children you are doing it wrong. Period. If you are depriving your children of food to discipline them you are doing it wrong. Period. I don’t care what some whack job says using the name of God. And, no, I don’t care about all of the other things they may be saying that are good. Just a little tip for anyone trying to give me advice. You will lose my attention right about the time you veer over into Crazyville.
People, we have to stop latching onto anything and everything that comes along. We must learn to think for ourselves. We must know the Bible so we can discern who is misusing its principles. Yes, I understand that this takes time and effort on our parts. But there are just some things you can’t afford to get wrong.
P.S. To any woman who has went to the Pearls website and asked their advice about what to do when your spouse abuses you. They’re wrong. Leave. Now. I know God hates divorce. You want to know what else He hates? Women being killed by their husbands.