by Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy – Twinkie Twerps
Editor’s note: Please excuse the lateness of this piece. I am traveling again and experiencing indifferent internet at various places.
More of Michael Pearl mistaking normal childhood behavior and needs for sin and manipulation. It’s horribly telling that Michael considers a child asking for food more of a ‘character development’ issue than what it likely is, a need, either physical or emotional, that must be met. Why the mother did not redirect the child by doing something like involving him in helping her prepare a snack for all the children by cutting the twinkie into equal portions and possibly adding items? There are so many other better solutions than anything Michael might suggest. Having unmet needs is not a sin.
He never actually expected to overpower his mother (though he will someday). He just wanted to express his anger at being denied personal indulgence. Furthermore, from past experiences he knew how to manipulate her into compliance. And you will note that this time his behavior was rewarded with a Graham Cracker. This mother had reinforced his ugly behavior pattern. As I have said, “All children are trained—some positively, some negatively.” She was training him to repeat this negative behavior.
Let’s look at this experience a little closer. She could have handled the situation by flying into a rage and spanking him for his lousy attitude and actions. He would have screamed and kicked to make her sorry for being such an “abusive, cruel mom.” She would have felt deeply defeated in spirit and, I hope, saddened by the condition of his soul. If she increased the spankings or their severity, he would be more cautious, but still angry and manipulative. Is this your situation? Have you “tried everything” and concluded that you just have a “strong-willed” child? Not so. You have neglected to properly train.
What of our Twinkie consumer? Keep in mind that his responses are a result of undisciplined desires for “things good for food.” He is living for self-gratification, and is angered when anything or anyone gets in his way. The issue is far bigger than that managing eating schedules. Our first concern is character development. The child may not be morally developed to the point of possessing the capability of making a value judgment and denying his flesh, but he can be conditioned to respond in a restrained way. If you do not condition him to get control of his passions now when he is young, he will be out of control long before he knows that he should exercise self-discipline. Her giving-in has trained him to repeat this and other similar undesirable actions.