HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: To Train Up A Child
Author: Mike and Debi Pearl
Publisher: No Greater Joy Ministries, republished in 2009
Related website: www.nogreaterjoy.org (publisher)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: For parents, but it may not hurt for children to read parts of it too
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Pearl, Michael and Debi. To Train Up A Child (published in 1994 by The Church at Cane Creek, 1000 Pearl Rd., Pleasantville, TN 37033). I had seen this book advertised in homeschooling magazines for years, but someone gave us a copy of it when Jeremy was about three years old. Maybe it was my mood when I started to read it then, but it just struck me the wrong way and I did not finish it. However, after a few years, I started it again and read it all the way through. One may not necessarily agree with all the conclusions that the Pearls reach nor all the suggestions that they make. For example, I am still not sure that I am completely comfortable with the comparison of training children, who are made in God’s image, to training animals, which are not. I am not quite sure what the Pearls mean when they talk about the “sinful nature in children,” although they do say that young children are not accountable and that parents should not deal with their selfishness as sin. In a couple of places they say that parents cannot train their children in Christian experience because only the Spirit can do that, and they make reference to the coming “Millennium.”
While perhaps it may not be intended, there is a little of the feeling of “these are the conclusions that we have reached about child rearing [and in one chapter, about homeschooling], and if you do not reach the same conclusions that we have and follow our suggestions, then you are just plain wrong.” Experience indicates that what works well with one family, or for that matter with one child, may not work as well with another family or child. And not everyone can maintain the “back to nature, dwell in the woods, live off the land, crawl under a rock” type of lifestyle that they evidently promote (that may be exaggerated a little). However, in spite of this, there are some sound Biblical principles enunciated and many good, practical suggestions made in this book.
I did appreciate this comment. “You must have a vision bigger than the here and now. You are not preparing your child for time, but for eternity. Adam begat a son in his own likeness. You will beget sons and daughters in your image. All earthly pursuits should be with an eye to heaven. That which is first is earthly, carnal, temporal. That which is last is heavenly, spiritual, eternal. As your child bears the image of the earthly, he must bear the image of the heavenly. Born in your image, he must be born again into Christ’s image. To be conformed to the image of God’s Son is our expectation and hope. It is a colossal ambition, but we have the resources of heaven at our disposal” (p. 104). This is not my favorite book on child rearing–I like those by John Rosemond and James Dobson better–but I believe that it can be useful. Oh, by the way, all those “customer reviews” which affirm that the book promotes child abuseas I said before, one may not agree with every observation or suggestion in the book, but the charge of promoting child abuse is just NOT true. A person must take statements out of context and twist them, as many do the scriptures, to make such a case.