by Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy – In Defense of Biblical Chastisement
Editor’s note: What a horrible pessimistic view of children to have! According to Michael Pearl in the rest of this article you have to beat the ‘sin nature’ out of your kids to get them to toe the Biblical line. Has he even read the words Jesus himself spoken about being like a little child?
Children come into this world with all the force of passion, but with no capacity to exercise self-restraint. Until they are three or four years old they do not even begin to have any sense of the need to control their impulses. They have no capacity to value anything other than pleasure. They are carried from one moment to the next by their drives to seek gratification and entertainment. They can thrill at indulgence, but they cannot understand the concept of temperance. They have no social consciousness or sense of responsibility. They cannot live by principle. During these early years, when children are ignorant of their duties, they are nonetheless perfecting the art of self-gratification, and parents sometimes assist them by catering to their every whim and by excusing immature behavior.
Children start life with no knowledge of the rules by which they must eventually live. In those early years they are developing the rules that will govern them when they get a little older—social rules, economic, health, ethical, spiritual, to name a few. During this time of discovery, they are developing habits and forming convictions about how well they will conform to the rules. “Will I be honest, or will I just maintain an appearance of honesty while squeezing everyone for as much as I can get? Will I respect my body, or abuse it? Will I respect others, or use them for my own ends? Will I prepare myself to stand before my Creator and be judged, or will I live as if death were the end of my existence?”
So here is the dilemma parents face: by the time children are old enough to begin to understand that some things are good and some are bad, they will already have made far-reaching commitments to self-gratification as an end. As children grow older and perceive their moral duties, they often find their duties in conflict with their self-centeredness. When conflicts between conscience and indulgences arise, children see no need to pay the price of self-denial that conformity to their belief systems would require. Thus, in these formative years, children are inclined to rationalize their consciences and develop habits of living below their convictions. They accept the idea that it is OK to do your own thing, to be free of the rule of law, to follow your own desires. They hold values but they don’t value them enough to pay the price of conformity.