To Train Up A Child

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Puritan Board Doctor
That there are better books out there, I do not dispute. That tossing your child in a lake and trying to get them to disobey is abusive, I do not dispute. That leaving firearms laying about (loaded or not) to test your children is idiocy, I agree 100%.

But I also don't know that I could agree with taking any non-inspired child-rearing book hook, line, and sinker. The friends that gave us the book have raised five wonderful children (and have taken this particular guide to heart more than we, I think) with no ill effects.

It is my belief that we must take advice from non-inspired sources in isolation for the most part, checking each and every claim against scripture and tossing those ideas which don't measure up.

And while the outside world may offer better resources, we had our mail opened for years before it got to us, likely in search of such 'resources'. We used what we had and modified as needed.

Anyway, I don't want you all to think I'm getting huffy about it, I really do value all your opinions on it, and appreciate correction where needed. I don't know that I consider the Pearls dangerous, but neither are they sound.

We love our kids, warts and all. But they do require training, both spiritual and practical. I have heard too many Christian parents take the approach that "I want my children to obey me because they want to obey" to toss this particular book aside without picking through the trash to find a few good tips.


Puritan Board Doctor
That is well and good that you were able to discern the portions that were trash and the portions that weren't. Unfortunately I have known many that were not able to (and at one time, I was not so discerning either...I was looking for something that ppl swore worked and was "godly"). Therefore, I am careful of what I reccomend. I use many outside sources for a variety of things..but I have to be careful in offering them out and will many times make clear my warnings IF I do and am selective in WHO I offer them to.

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Kevin I think you have a good point about non inspired materials. I don't regret the good things I got out of the book. I regret that I was too doctrinally naive at the time to reject the bad. I hope in the future I will put it to better use because I recognize better what is wrong with it. I just wouldn't give the book out without warnings about the wrong ideology; and I do think I would prefer to give another book that dealt more fundamentally with sin.

I think most people want their children to obey because they want to: that is the goal. You have to train your children to obey in any case and ironically much of the Pearl's advice works precisely because of total depravity: you are tapping into your child's selfishness. That is only halfway adequate but for many practical purposes it works. For instance when our foster child stole a toy from the boy next door we made him return it and give the boy one of his own toys. He did it again and he had to give two. I don't think he did it again after that. This was not the ultimate goal of teaching our foster child that stealing is an offense against God; but it did teach him that it doesn't pay in a situation at least where he is going to get caught, to steal. That was classic (at least as far as I understand it) Pearl technique.

Govols: the souls of believers are at death made perfectly holy, not before. Certainly I believe we can come to the point where we are not committing outward willful acts of disobedience. And I think that the Pearls can claim an approach to holiness in this life only by defining sin as those willful acts. But sin is any lack of conformity to God's law, and it is a matter of the heart. I can't keep my heart pure for ten minutes together. Possibly not for ten seconds. I don't think I have even for one yet loved God with all my faculties (and I can't wait until I do). Yet that is the law: and I live in transgression of it every moment I worship an idol with some of my faculties, rather than God. Is that clearer?


Puritan Board Sophomore
I have read part of To Train Up a Child, not so sure what to think of it. I have, however, read all of Created To Be His Help Meet and really like it, but again, there is one thing I noticed in the book that wasn't right and another that I thought could have been done differently, but that's it. I just figure that with anything you read you have to read it with your Bible open so you don't get duped.
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