Disobedience Doesn’t Exist in Our House

Yes, that is what I said.  Disobedience doesn’t exist in our house.. and yes there is a child in our house. You don’t believe me.  I know. I’ll explain.

By definition, obedience is as follows:

 

1. The act of obeying, or the state of being obedient; compliance with that which is required by authority; subjection to rightful restraint or control. Government must compel the obedience of individuals.

 

2. Words or actions denoting submission to authority; dutifulness.

 

3. A following; a body of adherents; as, the Roman Catholic obedience, or the whole body of persons who submit to the authority of the pope.

Do I hope my child will grant me what I ask of her?
Do I want her to behave in a way consistent with what I have (hopefully) shown her as considerate behavior?
Am I of the opinion that I should attempt to maintain harmony by exhibiting healthy boundaries and giving her the necessary tools, from the moment of birth, to enable her to interact in her environment with ease?

Yes.

Do I expect obedience? No.
Do I expect compliance? When necessary for safety or sanity, only.
Will I routinely explain my reasons behind the expectations, boundaries, guidance, and requests? With every sentence I speak, with every expectation or request I communicate, I do indeed offer the “rest of the story” for her to ponder and become aware of.

Why do I do this? First, because it is what I would hope of another person causing the same constraints to come over me. Second, I believe my choice to provide her full, detailed explanations of her world gives her the opportunity and option to ascertain for herself what she will take in.  Therefore, even in compliance, she exercises her free will. It is in this honoring of her autonomy, she will build her self esteem, increase her intelligence, and improve her emotional confidence and stability. If she does not choose compliance when necessary, she will, by default, still increase her wisdom, improve her ability to interact on an emotional plane, and will, in fact, build her confidence and self image… and if she refuses, she’ll learn she must substantiate that choice with reasons within her own mind that compel her opposition.

She also learns that her actions always have a result. If her choice results in a situation where she must build her patience, she gains.  If her choice engages others, she will observe their responses and the result is she grows. If her choice results in the need for her to tend to an effort, she develops focus and stamina – and in all likelihood, enhances her imagination powers.

We have chosen to walk alongside our child, as a partner and guide when useful, and encouraging her to grow within the parameters of her own determining.  We believe that a human choosing compassion, respect, consideration, and generosity has much value.

Retelling here, a story that illustrates the value of not causing blind obedience to be the driving force in your home.   Let’s take a look at the massacre in My Lai, Vietnam.This horrifying display of blind submission resulted in the slaughter of an entire village in Vietnam; nearly 500 people were killed.

 

The troops sent into the village were expecting a battalion of Vietcong forces but were instead presented with a village of women, elderly men, and children. The company had been previously instructed to kill anyone they encountered and proceeded to do so, with a few lapses in their blind faith.   The leader of the company, an inexperienced captain by the name Calley, was later tried for the murder of 107 unarmed civilians. He blamed his actions on the blind compliance that members of the United States forces are expected to give their superior officers. He described the concept as a ‘shoot first, complain later’ process. His actions, although explicitly illegal by the law of the United States service, seemed completely appropriate to him. He was merely obeying a senior officer, an action repeatedly drilled into the heads of American troops.

 

Our education system is not far off in requiring and thereby creating humans who do not think for themselves.  Children are conditioned not to question the authorities, the routine, the expectations, or the assignments they are given. They are expected to blindly accept that ‘adults know best’. This typical shepherd leading the sheep routine results in a completely disinterested society and a youth that is inactive and dependent.

So, how is it that we have no disobedience in our house? Because there is no opportunity for it to occur: obedience is not an expectation.  My daughter has the space to choose her path, and her parents hold the willingness to allow her the space to experience the results of those choices.  It’s not about who’s boss and who is inferior in our home.  It’s not a hierarchy here.  It’s about mutual respect, love, and exploration of life.  It’s growing in courage, confidence, and stability… It’s trusting the process.

As she grows, we will grow with her.  Through communication and empathic awareness, we will all experience and develop, and the results of choices we each make will shape us. We will continue to impart the value of compliance in certain scenarios, where the cause for compliance, and the result of compliance is positive, rooted in respect, and brings enhancement to one’s life.  We will also communicate the value of knowing oneself, by demonstrating the value we hold independently for ourselves.  Believing and asserting that each of us, and our perspectives, is equally worthy.  And imparting, with great hope, a deep sense of discernment for what is just, what is honorable, and above all, what is compassionate.

The resounding benefit is simple:  Regardless of her choices, she learns, and her wisdom increases. So does ours.

Resources: Understanding Ostracism, Timeouts

http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/805746/positive-discipline-why-timeouts-dont-work

http://www.psychwiki.com/wiki/Ostracism

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/04/social.aspx

http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9781572306899

http://www.mothering.com/discussions/archive/index.php/t-922731.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=M0flM4dgpDUC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=timeouts+ostracism&source=bl&ots=NNNExUmWFw&sig=CqcXM8QwYW_Em3HQSdQbxsmn_-8&hl=en&ei=Se-OTL6JLYSdlgfovZm0Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

List goes on… I’ll add more as we go.

Something NGJ Says That I Can Agree With

I wholeheartedly agree with this commenter, and the actual article, if you can believe it!

Source Article

I will reread the article, but I honestly can’t really find anything here that I detect as something harmful for a child.

I don’t really like how Mr. Pearl states that a child isn’t fit to go somewhere with such a “nice looking family”, because I think that is inconsiderate and disrespectfully stated, but otherwise, I can’t find fault.  Personally, I would simply state to the child that wherever the family is headed requires a certain type of clothing, and since the child did not have the proper type of clothing because he/she had not completed his/her task of whatever laundry they were responsible for, then accompanying the family would have to wait until the next opportunity.

Comments
ari
, 20-01-10 15:41:

This is how I was raised: with real consequences (not irrelevant spankings.) I have a better relationship that any spanked child I know, and I believe that is in part because it was obvious the my problems were the direct result of my own misbehaviour, not my parents being mean. It never occured to me that as an adult I would have to *make* myself behave without my parents, because I knew screwing up was it’s own punishment. The lack of real consequences (or the assumption that these can wait until adulthood, which is in sharp conflict with the idea of training up a child) has always bothered me about your magazines. It’s nice to see them once in a while.

Amazing Insight, Exceptional Wisdom

This entire post is taken from here, unless otherwise noted.

Dear Mama’s and Papa’s,

I’m writing to you tonight in hopes that I will find you in a position of questioning. If you are in such a position, I don’t suppose you’re entirely comfortable at the moment, but let me suggest that you stand in the place now where good, immense good, can be born.

If you’re reading this, you either already know that the teachings of the NGJ clan (or other similar group) cause destruction, or you’re beginning to wonder if all the good is possibly over shadowed in part, or whole, by what just doesn’t sit right with you.  Perhaps you fully support this group and their teachings.  If that is you, I invite you to contact me directly and substantiate your position.  Otherwise, please, keep reading.

I would like to make an appeal to your intellect this evening. I understand that most parents take up the methods and teachings of such groups as NGJ because they believe they are responsible for raising their children the best they can, in the eyes of the world and of God. I commend you for your intention and your concern over your child’s well being.  The trouble with the teachings of this particular group is that there is a fundamental struggle at their core for an unholy power.  And by unholy, I don’t mean anti-God, I’m using this term in a broader, more general sense, not a religious one.

I would like the chance to literally show you how the messages of this group are intended to torment your children, all the while you are led to believe they are supremely effective in victory, righteousness, unwavering obedience, and love.  I would also like to appeal to your dignity and sense of sanity.  The authors and developers of the NGJ doctrine are experts at betrayal, seduction, and power.  So, in your defense, if you have managed to see this group for the good they actually do teach, and have missed the horrid that each good instruction is laced with, know that you are not alone and you are not incompetent in your parenting skills; these people are masters at capturing their prey.

Also know that there is hope, there is help and support, and there are alternatives that will produce children who respect because they are respected, children who serve because they are served, and children who wholly love because they are wholly and completely loved, not because of action or diligence, not because they have earned that love, but because they simply are.

Please, if you need someone to just talk to, who isn’t going to jump down your throat, send me a comment or message.  If I can’t help, or you wish for more assistance on a professional level, I will connect you with those who are ready and able to support you as you make the transition and emmerge out from the hole the NGJ clan has dug for you.

What follows are multiple quotes, and mostly out of order, but all from the same article.  The paragraphs have been kept in-tact, you will not find manufactured content here.  Notes and comments are found either in line with the quotations or at the end of the article.

My hope with this post is that you, the reader, will begin to see just exactly to what degree the NGJ ministry is misled.  Not misled because I say so, or a million others say so, but because they themselves cannot present a solid and consistent message.

Angry Child
Article by Michael Pearl, August 1998

… Funny thing, 1200 men will go all week without one fight. If you get angry at the wrong person in a prison, you may die with a sharpened toothbrush sticking in your throat. Angry little boys never say, “Don’t do that, it only makes me more angry.” Who cares? When no one is listening and no one is impressed, threats are useless.

I would like to note here that we are not intentionally training our children (or at least I hope we’re not) to be successful at staying alive while in prison.  And while, admittedly, that is a valuable skill if one should ever find him or herself in such a situation, I do believe that the instinct to survive will cause the prisoner to adapt rapidly enough, that we shouldn’t have to begin teaching this in childhood.

Additionally, “angry little boys” do have a lot to say, often though it comes out in a scream or silence.  If we continue to inquisition them, agitate them, or tempt them into more anger we will not gain an understanding of what lies behind the emotional response.

Children who are incapable of managing their emotions, either due to an environment that has taught them it is not safe to feel those emotions openly, or who are otherwise imbalanced chemically (often for the same reason), are not going to be helped by instilling more fear.  Mr. Pearl’s assumed victory over the child he write of here is nothing more than tormenting an already tormented child to the point where he has no spirit or resolve left, and his survival instinct has kicked in.  If you beat a child like this enough, even he/she will eventually break, for a time.  You will likely see the calm, in the eye of the storm, but I warn you, you are destroying more and more with every attempt to get his anger under control and out of him.  You have chosen to ignore the source of the problem, likely because it comes from you or others in his close circle.  It is unlikely, though not impossible, that you will see the root of the pain this child is suffering unless someone outside that circle assists you.

If you are struggling with an extremely angry child, please don’t add fuel to the flame, don’t beat it out of them.  Don’t spank it out of them either.  Don’t turn your back and reject them, and don’t rid them of your compassion.  Take a moment, little ones at first and then longer, and see the world through this child’s eyes.  Be brave enough to see yourself and your close circle of family/friends through his eyes. Learn why he is experiencing anger, why he can’t seem to rid himself of it, and what he is afraid of experiencing instead of anger… it is a defensive response.  It is also often a protective response.

See this child through a different color lens and look through his eyes at his world.  It will change your life. And his.

I am not calloused to your dilemma. But the big problem is in your own mind. You are not free to be forceful and bold. Your son needs to run smack dab into a big, high, unmoving fence of authority. You, mother, are a pushover, a sucker. Your need is a renewed mind. Now that I have plowed your fallow ground, I will plant the seeds of understanding

Mr. Pearl, how dare you assume you have any place touching any part of my mind, ground, air, or otherwise. You sir, are a pompous idiot that weaves intelligent and loving advice into your horrible torturous methods of submission, supreme power, and ultimate destruction of the soul.

Mothers, you are not weak. It is not simple. This man is an abuser.

Step back, squat down, remain silent and still, and begin to see your child’s world through his/her eyes.  The answers will come, and if they don’t, get help from a professional who is trained to spot signs of difficulty in children.  The human mind is not so complex from a scientific point of view. There is nothing new under the sun… in most cases, if your child is struggling, there is an identifiable cause, if only you are willing to accept it and change what needs to be changed so that they can again become stable and secure.

Righteous anger is anger directed at injustice, selfishness. To be righteously angry toward someone is to impute blame to them. It is to hold them in contempt for not acting as they should have. Righteous anger seeks goodness. It is the guardian of love. It is moral choice expressed in the emotions.

Mr. Pearl, where is your righteous anger then concerning the death of a child whose parents follow you?  Where is your anger at all the children who are beaten and tormented in the name of unwavering obedience and joy?

Where is your righteous anger for the parents of the child that was beaten to death, the child that was beaten almost to death, and the millions (your number, not mine) of children that are routinely destroyed in body and spirit daily because of teachings such as yours and others who are as insidious.

If I am to hold my child, or another person, in contempt for not acting as they should have, then by what measure am I to declare myself the omnipotent judge?  On this earth, we do our best to control one another in the name of peace and goodness.  I see something else happening, but that is for another blog. Perhaps, Mr. Pearl, our Big Papa, you are indeed the judge and last word that we should all be required to acknowledge and submit to.  Lord knows, THE LORD – and the rest of this planet – knows that you have forced this of your wife, your children, and their children.

Almighty Mr. Pearl, has God ordained you, and we just don’t know it yet?

Righteous anger is agreeing with the innate dictates of common law. It is taking your place on the jury to condemn and then recommend sentencing to the guilty.

What law?  The law of David?  The law of Moses?  The law of the United States, your country, which you denounce (no, not directly, you are to crafty for that, you know better too well how doing so would explode in your face)?  You decide – you’re in charge here – you know everything about every family, and every child.  (If you think I’m being a bit too harsh here, keep reading.)  You, dear sir, are above all and are capable of forcing any child into submission of your sovereignty, to use your preferred term.  But I do wonder whether I would not be able to subdue you just the same given the right circumstances and weapons.  You see sir, power is indeed an intoxicating and wondrous thing. Just ask Aladdin and his Genie, ask God, heh – ask yourself..

But anger at not getting one’s way is something else entirely. Selfish anger is manipulative and unreasonable. It assumes that ultimate good is the gratification of self. It judges all events according to how they personally gratify. To thus be angry toward others, the individual must assume that others exist to fulfill his impulses. To him, right and wrong is: everyone does good by complying with my will and everyone does evil by depriving me of what I want.

Mr. Pearl, you believe in your words.  That’s a good thing to do if you intend to sell them.  You state here that to be angry toward others, the individual must assume that others exist to fulfill his impulses.  To him, right and wrong is: everyone does good by complying with my will and every does evil by depriving me of what I want.

Well said.  You know your doctrine well.  What was it you said, about supreme sovereignty?  Here, let me find a few of your words to quote…

“On the eight day he would love me and would make a commitment to always please me because he valued my approval and fellowship.”  Because he valued food and calm, and had a distinct desire to avoid hate, fear, and torture.

“On the ninth day someone would comment that I had the most cheerful and obedient boy that they had ever seen.”
He is in his shell… where he believes is the only place he is even slightly safe.

“On the tenth day we would be the best of buddies.”  If I were you, I’d sleep with one eye open.

Like an army Sargent, state your will and accept nothing less. If he doesn’t like what is on the table and he is rude, send him away from the table and do not let him eat until the next meal. Do not feed him snacks between meals, and let him get good and hungry. He will then eat baby food spinach and love it. If you think it is appropriate and you spank him make sure that it is not a token spanking. Light, swatting spankings, done in anger without courtroom dignity will make children mad because they sense that they have been bullied by an antagonists. A proper spanking leaves children without breath to complain. If he should tell you that the spanking makes him madder, spank him again. If he is still mad…. He desperately needs an unswayable authority, a cold rock of justice. Keep in mind that if you are angry you are wasting your time trying to spank his anger away.I could break his anger in two days. He would be too scared to get angry. On the third day he would draw into a quiet shell and obey. On the fourth day I would treat him with respect and he would respond in kind. On the fifth day the fear would go away and he would relax because he would have judged that as long as he responds correctly there is nothing to fear. On the sixth day he would like himself better and enjoy his new relationship to authority. On the seventh day I would fellowship with him in some activity that he enjoyed. On the eight day he would love me and would make a commitment to always please me because he valued my approval and fellowship. On the ninth day someone would comment that I had the most cheerful and obedient boy that they had ever seen. On the tenth day we would be the best of buddies.

Your words, Mr. Pearl, demonstrate your dire addiction to power, complete and unquestioned power.  I think you have said it best, “To him (should it maybe read, to me?) right and wrong is: everyone does good by complying with my will and everyone does evil by depriving me of what I want.”

Michael,
You are, if anything, most accurate in your assessment of yourself.

Now, to those of you who need an alternative to this method, I implore you to listen to my heart and the experience that it speaks from.  It is not complicated, does not require a high level education, medicine, or other complicated tactics to regain the “happiness” in your child.  It requires you do something that some of you will be able to do and others will not. It requires a humility, a denial of pride, and a ton of courage because what you will learn will likely cause you to weep with guilt and sorrow before you are able to begin correcting what needs to be corrected.

If you are in this position, your child is constantly at odds with you, and you are ready to change, all you must do is stop yourself long enough to experience the world as your child experiences it.  But be warned, you may not like what you see because children are huge mirrors and very often reflect back what their parents demonstrate.  The younger the child, the more this is true, but it is not limited to age, but is unique to each child.

Tomorrow I will write about the latest things I have learned while experiencing our world as my two year old does.  Now, however, I’m going to lie down and just watch her, comfort her, and give her the security and sense of love that comes from being close, because today was tough for her and me, and we both just need some time to be still.

A Child’s Poem – When Youth is Not Admired or Revered

This is a poem posted by No Greater Joy, written by Rebekah Pearl, 12 years old

The people who head this organization are the Pearls.

________________________________________

Cause I’m Young

There’s a hole in my shoe,’
And my toe is coming through,#
There’s a scab on my knee%
Cause I fell so gracefully,#
There’s a patch on my eye&
Cause the ball didn’t go by.&
There’s a song on my tongue,’
But it’s stupid cause I’m young.

______________________________________________________

I hope my child, at age 2, 4, 6, 8, 12 or older, never views something about themselves as stupid. Period. But somehow it’s even worse when the final two words of this poem are included.

There’s a song on my tongue, but it’s stupid (be)cause I’m young.

Does that strike a chord with anyone else, or is it just me?  I’m not finding it easy to articulate my thoughts on this today.