LETTER FROM MICHAEL PEARL TO HIS TWO SONS
I cannot imagine the kind of world tomorrow will bring, but unless it is the Millennium it will be even more hostile to the family If the Lord should tarry long enough for you to many and begin rearing children, your Daddy has a few words of advice. First, know that the woman you many will be the lifelong mother of your children. All that she is in the accumulation of past experiences will be present as the mother of your children. There is not a more major decision affecting the future of your children than the choice of your life's partner. The relationship between a man and his wife has more effect on the children than any other factor. A couple may express their differences only in private, but they cannot hide the effects from their children. Remember, your family will be no better than the relationship you have with your wife—the mother.
Be sure to cultivate your relationship with your wife. Meet her needs. Make her happy. Her state of mind is going to be 50% of your children's example, 100% when you are not there. If you will love and cherish your wife, the children will love and cherish her also. If you are a servant to her, the example will translate to their experience. When you look for a wife, and mother for your children, the first qualification is that she love the Lord and be His disciple. Nothing else will keep her for the duration. She will need to know how to pray. A girl who takes Christ for granted will do the same with her family. A man and his wife are "heirs together of the grace of lift (I Pet 3:7)." It takes two, equally yoked, to pull the family wagon safely through the hostile deserts of this life.
The second thing to look for in a prospective wife is cheerfulness. Now, some might ignore this qualification altogether; but I can't emphasize too forcefully the value and practicality of this quality. A girl who is unhappy and discontent before marriage is NOT suddenly changed afterpiano coversd. Everyone has trials and adversities. The happy, cheerful girl has learned to deal with them and still enjoys life. No man can make a discontented woman happy.
A woman who does not find joy from a wellspring within will not find it in the difficulties and trials of marriage and motherhood. Courtship is a garden in Spring—everybody's looks promising; but marriage is a garden in August, when the quality of the soil and seed and the care to guard against pestilence, blight and weeds begins to manifest itself. The fruit of the womb can be spoiled before germination. Give prayerful care to the choice of a wife and mother. A girl who gets her feelings hurt and cries in order to manipulate you will be a ball and chain after you are married. Cheerfulness shows up best when things are not exactly the way she likes them.
The next quality to look for is thankfulness. When a young girl is unthankful topiano coversd her family or her circumstances, a change of environment and relationships is not going to make her thankful. Thankfulness is not a response to one's environment, rather, an expression of the heart. Avoid a moody, unthankful, unhappy girl. If she is not full of the joy of living before marriage, she surely will not be afterpiano coversds. A young lady who had been married less than a month said to Deb, "I have never in my life been one to have my feelings hurt. But, since I got married, I seem to go around with a chip on my shoulder. I guess it is just that I care more than I once did." Deb told her, "No you don't care more; you just feel that you have more rights, and therefore expect more." The thing to remember is that personalities and temperaments do not improve after marriage. When the social restraints are lifted, the freedom that comes from a secure union permits one to express true feelings. Boys, take note of a girl's attitude topiano coversd her father. It doesn't matter what kind of louse he may be, if she is rebellious to him, she will be twice as rebellious to you. If she speaks disrespectfully of or to her father, she will do likewise topiano coversd you.
The next quality to look for is a creative hard worker. Don't marry a lazy, slothful girl. Looks can get mighty old lying up in bed framed in a dishevelled, griping, slothful pout. Whatever you do, avoid a lazy girl. If she expects to be waited on, let her marry a waiter. You will have a foil job rearing the children without having to rear a wife.
Never marry a girl who feels she is not getting the best man in the world when she gets you. A girl who enters marriage thinking she could have done better will never be satisfied for wondering what it might have been like if....
Avoid the girl who is enamoured with her own looks. Better to marry a homely girl who is content to love and be loved than one who is going to spend her years trying to maintain her fading beauty. Life is too big and full to be spent waiting on a disappointed woman who is regretfully looking in the mirror.
Avoid like the plague the girl who would pursue her own career outside the home. A wife must be your "Help-meet."
The last qualification is a love for children. A girl who doesn't want her life encumbered with children is suffering a deep hurt and is walking a road to misery. One day, the Lord willing, you are going to have children of your own.
Now, I want to speak to you about being good fathers. While you are still young and unmarried, with no children, do what all of God's creatures do—prepare the nest for their arrival. DON'T PUT YOURSELF IN AN OCCUPATIONAL POSITION THAT WILL LEAVE YOU OUT OF POSITION TO BE A GOOD FATHER. Plan your life's trade so as to maximize your role as father. Fathers who become absorbed in their success in business will make lousy fathers. If you gain the whole world and lose your doing it for their children—providing blip, a good education, etc.
Why is it that the children of hard working, absent fathers never appreciate their sacrifice and even show disdain and contempt for their father's success? The reason is that the children are not fooled. They understand the father's absence to be lack of interest. They believe his career to be selfishly motivated. They see the father getting more satisfaction from his job than from their presence. Whether this be true or not, the results are the same. Business success always passes away. The children are eternal.
The education your child will need cannot be purchased at a university. It is purchased by the father in the many hours spent doing things with the children. The concept of "quality" time as opposed to "quantity" is a salve for the conscience of modern parents wrapped up in worldly pursuits. A scheduled hour of clinical like attention makes your "quality time" nothing more than the fulfilment of a business appointment—a therapy session. It can be unreal and pretentious. Insincere attention to inconsequential matters cheapens fellowship. No time spent together can compare to that which is spent in real struggles to achieve common goals. A child will build self-worth, not by being the centre of attention in idle chatter, but by actually conquering a real world need—putting up a mail box, a clothesline, cutting the grass, bringing in firewood, washing windows, building a dog house, going on the father's job and being a real helper.
Do you remember when Don Madill would come to work in our cabinet shop with his little two- or three-year-old son hanging around cleaning up sawdust or hammering a nail? There was no pretence or haste in that father-son relationship. Today, his sons are little men, secure in their role.
With your first child, start your father role immediately. Relieve your tired wife for a couple of hours by taking the infant and attending to all his needs. When you are reading or resting, lay the child on your lap. When you boys were only a few days old I would lay you on my chest to sleep out a restless night. I got to where I could sleep soundly with your little puddle on my chest. Your exhausted mother needed a little break.
When I was newly married, I expected my wife to be a super woman. I soon learned that if she were going to last through several more childbirths, and that in good spirits, she was going to need a lot of support. Treat your wife as a delicate flower and she will have the energy to be a more giving mother. I am apiano coverse you boys don't need much sleep. However, if every two to three years you experienced a major operation, having a twenty-pound tumour removed, you would need more rest also. Allow your wife to sleep a little longer than you do, and she will be more efficient. Though I spent a lot of time with the children when they were young, I always told your mother, "They are yours until they can follow me outside, and then they are mine."
Take your little ones along on many adventures. Explore and discover the world all over again with each one. I would take you rabbit hunting in a back-pack. My rabbit dogs got so conditioned that when they saw a back-pack they thought we were hunting. I think Rebekah was glad when Gabriel came along and displaced her from the rumble seat. Provide lots of junk for your children to be creative—cardboard boxes, wooden blocks, sawdust, sand, sticks, hammers and nails. Avoid store-bought playthings that can stifle creativity by limiting imagination.
An important principle to remember is that the more time you spend doing things together the fewer discipline problems you will have. A child who adores his father will want to above all please him in everything. A child can't rebel against his best buddy. When they are big enough to look at pictures in a book, spend time turning pages with them. When they are old enough to understand, begin reading or telling Bible stories. Throughout the day, as it is natural, tell them of our heavenly Father. Together, examine nature as the wise creation of a magnificent God.
Don't put off spending time being a daddy. Each day they grow without you is like a tomato plant growing without being staked. It spreads without direction. The weeds come up inside where they cannot be removed. The fruit will be brought forth on the ground where it will rot. A father who is "there," always involved in the child's life, will know the heartbeat of his children. If you will praise and repiano coversd the desired behaviour, there will be very little undesirable behaviour. You will be speaking fifty times the encouraging word for every rebuke.
But, don't fall prey to the modem psychological substitute of neglecting a child and then running in saying something positive. It is artificial, and is flattery. Positive statements that are not piano coversranted by legitimate works are destructive. A child should know that he has earned every praise. Praise not based on deserving works is as unjust as punishment without provocation. It will teach a lie, in that it reverses reality. There is no substitute for real life presence. If your child is not doing anything praiseworthy, then take his hand to walk beside you until he does do something worthy. Neglected children become rejected children. A child must have his father as a plant must have light to grow healthy. A flash bulb approach is not sufficient. A slow steady shining of the father's presence is what is needed.
Don't ever leave the spiritual training to the mother, no matter how good a job she does, or the children will grow up thinking religion is for women. You put the children to bed in the evening and read and pray with them. As the boys get older, make sure they are not too much confined to studies. By the time they are twelve or thirteen, they should be pretty well through with school and involved in an occupation with you. Continue to expose them to concepts and ideas; but, above all, provide real life problems that they must solve—bicycle, small engine, or appliance repair. All forms of building and maintenance are essential training. The concept you are seeking to convey is one of independence and confidence.
A child who can do it, fix it, make it, will try new things and expect to succeed. The confidence in work will translate to success in education. Remember the twenty-seven-year-old Amish fellow, with his first car, going off to college in a far away city, leaving all the things that were familiar, facing challenges never before considered. I was apprehensive about his ability to succeed in this new environment. He had none of the necessary skills. His educational ability was about equal to a sixth-grader. When I tried to piano coversn him of the difficulties ahead, he said, "I have always been able to do everything I tried to do, I can do this also." It was hard on him, but he got a "B" average the first semester. Whether it was the product of his hands or his head, he had learned to succeed.
If you take a young child and burden him with studies to the point of making him feel inadequate, you are building a principle of failure into him. Teach your children to work with their hands first, and the education of the mind will come more readily. Don't leave your boys at home with Mother and the girls in a classroom setting. They should be out with the men. Boys, guide your wives in understanding training and discipline.
Don't take for granted that they are automatically prepared to be mothers. Some mothers don't have the courage to discipline and will tell the children, "Just wait until your daddy gets home, he will spank you." When you walk through the door, you will want the kids to all come climbing your legs and pulling on your arms, not cowering in a comer. Three hours of dreading Daddy's coming home can be devastating programming. Cause your wife to do her own discipline.
Check yourself for balance by asking the question, "Do my children view me as a stem and severe disciplinarian or as a cheerful and wonderful companion and guide?" Your judgments and punishments should be lost in the many hours of happy communion. Lastly, as your children develop, let them feel a part of the struggles of life. Don't become so "successful" that you can provide everything they need or want. If you find everything is coming too easy, give it all away and start over under more difficult circumstances. Life without struggle has no achievement. If they lose their shoes, let them go without until they can make the money to buy more. Make sure you do not have available all the good things to eat.
Let them learn to be content doing without. Keep the sugar and junk food out of the house. If they never have it, they will not want it. If eating between meals prevents them from eating the real food (meat, potatoes, vegetables, salads, etc.), then don't let them eat except at meal-time. Now, there are some flavours or textures that we just have an aversion for. Allow each child one or two dislikes, just don't let their preferences be too limited. If a child doesn't like what is on the table, let him do without until the next meal. A little fasting is good training.
If you get a child who is particularly finicky and only eats a limited diet, then feed him mainly what he doesn't like until he likes it. Forget about buying them toys. Some functional toys are desirable, like a metal truck for the little boys, or a tricycle or bicycle for the older ones. Little girls can profit from play dishes and baby dolls (which resemble real babies). Just don't cultivate their covetous inclinations by teaching them to expect to have their lusts indulged.
Never yield to the fads. Christians should have too much dignity to be carried along by the Madison Avenue promoters. Their shoes, clothes and cereal should be chosen for serviceability, not style. Hollywood is not for God's children. Don't allow the brainless, subversive Sesame Street type propaganda to come into your house. Your children's thinking should be moulded by the word of God and Christian example, not by sex perverts and socialists. If you want to destroy your family then get yourself a good TV and VCR to keep the kids company. The Christian family is a mother and father with children, all living, laughing, loving, working, playing, struggling, and achieving together for the glory of God.
You must have a vision bigger than the here and now. You are not preparing your child for time, but for eternity. Adam begat a son in his own likeness. You will beget sons and daughters in your image. All earthly pursuits should be with an eye to heaven. That which is first is earthly, carnal, temporal. That which is last is heavenly, spiritual, eternal. As your child bears the image of the earthly, he must bear the image of the heavenly. Born in your image, he must be born-again into Christ's image.
To be conformed to the image of God's son is our expectation and hope. It is a colossal ambition, but we have the resources of heaven at our disposal. Wisdom is given upon request. Love is the only commandment, self our greatest enemy, the Bible our only educational resource, the Holy Spirit our comforter, the blood of Christ our only hope. Let us run the race that is set before us "for as much as you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain (I Cor.15:58)."