Posted: 08/15/2008 in Uncategorized

is so dear to me. it’s not the perfectionist in me, it’s not the over-analyzer, it’s me – the mom, who loves her child so deeply that she seeks God so earnestly, to find His way of bringing up children. 

i thought about just bookmarking this article and moving on – but i want it to sink into my brain, i want to find it when i’m scrolling back through my blog… i want to “ear-mark” this more permanently than just bookmarking it. 



How Early Should I Start Training?

By: Michael Pearl


At what age should I start disciplining my children?

At what age should I start homeschooling?

At what age should I begin teaching my children to work?


You must start training your children one year before their first birthday, because if you don’t, they will be trained without your input. A sapling grows the way you bend it. But if you don’t bend it, it will grow and take shape just the same, though not as you would have it. It will be shaped by the prevailing winds, which, you can be sure, never blow in the right direction.

From day one, every conscious moment of a child’s life is training; every event, and non-event, is schooling, preparation for the rest of life. If a child’s eyes can see, tongue can taste, nose can smell, hands can feel, or ears can hear, training is in progress. Parents don’t need to initiate a program, set aside a time, or confront the child in some special way for training to occur. Training and schooling never cease, never rest. A child develops with or without you. If you are not deliberately leaving your imprint on every stage of his development, know that someone is.

A child left to himself in a crib or a room is being trained. All child-initiated events that have consequences, be they pleasant or unpleasant, are training. If a child stumbles into an experience and finds the consequences pleasurable, he is trained to repeat it. If the consequences are unpleasant, then he seeks to avoid it. If an infant sticks his finger in his eye, the pain will discourage him from repeating that on himself, but he may try it on you. That is unless you should make his unwelcomed advances unpleasant for him. The first time an infant pulls your hair, if you pull his, he will never be a hair-puller. One taste of a plastic toy communicates that it is not made to eat. These experiences are physical, and are easy to understand, but what about soul training?

If a child is playing alone and becomes frustrated with a toy, expressing anger, his reaction, left unchecked, is training him to deal with his environment in anger. If a child cries out in loneliness and is rewarded by being picked up, you have trained him to repeat the crying any time he wants to control the adults in his life. When a child is told no, and he responds with temper, if the parents compromise and give over just one-inch to the child’s demands, they have trained him to throw fits. It will become a life-long habit, begun at three months.

What you don’t do as a parent is as influential as what you do. If you permit a child to indulge in a pleasurable act several times, with no negative consequences, then he will develop a preference and a habit. If you give the kid an old set of car keys to play with, you have trained him to abscond with your keys. If you allow a child to snatch food from your hand, you have trained him to have crude table manners. If you allow him to get up after you have put him down to sleep, you have trained him to ignore your commands and to make his own decisions about his sleeping habits. You say, “But I didn’t mean to be training.” Who trained the cat not to take food away from the dog? OK, so your cat does take food away from your dog. Then I ask you, who trained the cat that he could get away with taking food away from the dog? Answer: The dog trained the cat by his responses, or lack of responses. All parental responses are training. All parental “do nothings” and “Oh, isn’t he cute,” and “He is a real bear-cat,” and “He is such a strong-willed child,” are training par excellence.

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