Dear Pearls: Crying Is How Babies Communicate

tantrum

I spent an hour this evening at the park with Sally and Bobby. I put Bobby in a swing, and gave him a good push, and you should have seen his face---it was like he'd just realized he had wings! After he'd been in the swing for about fifteen minutes, I took Bobby out to take him to play with something else. He immediately stiffened and started screaming, bucking and thrashing until it was all I could do to hold onto him (he's getting big!). So I put him down and watched him crumple, collapsing on … [Read more...]

Trained Monkeys and Seeing-Eye Dogs

trained monkey

If parents carefully and consistently train up their children, their performance will be superior to that of a well-trained seeing-eye dog. This quote from Michael Pearl brought to mind a section in Robert Kunzman's book, Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling. In this excerpt, Kunzman, a researcher, is visiting a large homeschooling family in Tennessee who follow the Pearls child training methods. Gary, the father, demonstrates his child … [Read more...]

HSLDA’s Defense of Child Abuse

Child-abuse

This post is part of a series examining the role of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) in aiding and abetting child abuse. I have previously looked at HSLDA's efforts to prevent the reporting of child abuse and their efforts to stonewall child abuse investigations. In this post I will turn to HSLDA's defense of child abuse.HSLDA has made a name for itself defending parents' right to spank their children and spends a good bit of its time and energy monitoring and opposing new … [Read more...]

Saving Children from Africa: A Quiverfull Adoption Fad

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Remember that little Lydia Schatz, disciplined to death by her parents, was adopted from Liberia? Well, this wasn't an abnormality. It was actually kind of a thing in quiverfull homeschooling families. I knew this as a kid because I noticed the trend in quiverfull publication Above Rubies magazine, which my family began subscribing to sometime in the 1990s. Throughout the early and mid 2000s, this magazine was peppered with images of families like the one shown above, this one a photo of Above … [Read more...]

I Am in a Huffington Post Article on Children and Politics

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This week I appeared in a Huffington Post article on children's voices in the marriage equality debate."Libby Anne," a blogger for faith website Patheos, who uses a pseudonym so that her parents do not read her work and retaliate by cutting off contact with her younger siblings, recently wrote a post that said she spoke out against gay marriage as a child and now regrets it."I never spoke before a House committee, sure, but when I was that age, my father was quick to push me forward to … [Read more...]

“So What Do You Do?”

mother and kids

Several weeks ago I introduced myself to the mother of one of the children at Sally’s preschool. “So what do you do?” I asked her after we exchanged names. We went on to talk about our respective careers, but this exchange brought my mind back to an exchange I had years ago when my mother tried to explain why retirement was being so hard for my grandfather.“The first question men ask after they meet each other is ‘what do you do?’” she told me. “And once they’ve retired, that’s gone.” For women … [Read more...]

Judaism 101: Born Jewish?

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My Judaism 101 series will return in a couple of weeks, moving on to topics like the nature of God and the meaning of sin, but for the moment I want to post another rabbit trail that resulted from a previous Judaism 101 email thread. This time the panelists went off topic and discussed the issue of descent. We'll get back to the topic of what makes someone Jewish later, of course, but for the moment I found this discussion interesting because of how foreign it sounded.In my family and church … [Read more...]


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