By Megan Hilliard
On May 11 of 2011, 13 year old Hana Williams died of hypothermia and malnutrition, and was found lying facedown, naked, in her own backyard.
In February of 2010, 7 year old Lydia Schatz died from fatal beatings that caused cardiac arrest. Her 11 year old sister Zariah suffered from severe injuries from abuse.
Two separate cases of homicidal child abuse, seemingly unrelated. Or are they? Both cases have one connection: a book. Parents of both the murdered girls owned a copy of the book To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debbie Pearl.
The book’s goal is simple. “This book is not about discipline, nor problem children. The emphasis is on the training of a child before the need to discipline arises,” says the book’s introduction. But “training” is a loose term, defining it as “the conditioning of the child’s mind before the crisis arises.” The book details how to swat your child when they are young, starting before they even learn to walk. For babies that love to grab onto things, the book provides a solution by setting up “training situations.”
“For example, using your glasses as bait, place the child where he can easily reach them. When he reaches out to grab them…calmly say ‘No.’…if he reaches out to your glasses, again say ‘No,’ and thump or swat his hand with a light object…Through this process, the child will associate pain with the word ‘No.’”
Later on, it says:
“…the infant can be trained to obey. Do you want to wrestle with him through his entire youth, nagging him into compliance, threatening, placing things out of reach, fearing what he might get into next? Wouldn’t it be better to take a little time to train him in his young and tender years? If nothing else, training will result in saving you time.”
This book is absolutely abhorrent. It basically says that you should punish and beat your children before they do anything wrong. Even more, the book focuses on instilling a fearfully submissive attitude in your children to keep them from doing wrong. It talks about buying yourself a piece of PVC pipe to use as a spanking tool, which is the preferable tool because it usually leaves no marks. The authors encourage parents to wear the pipe around their necks as a constant reminder to their children of certain punishment should they disobey.
Need I say more about this book? Well yes, I think I should.
As a Christian in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ, I am disgusted that this book tries to masquerade as a “Christian” parenting book. The authors quote Bible passages, making an unconvincing attempt at justifying illegal/immoral treatment of your children. I do not stand for that. I am not the Christian those authors say they are. They quote Proverbs 22:6 like this proves their case. “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Training isn’t turning your child into a fearfully submissive, socially afraid, and mentally scarred person later in life. Ephesians 6:4 gives parents a message to counteract the message of the authors. “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
To conclude, this book does not teach Christ-like principles. I believe that “To Train Up A Child” needs to banned from households, for it teaches parents techniques for cruel and unusual punishment. The only way to stop this book’s influence is to take it out of stores or spread awareness about the terrible and deadly habits written inside. There is a petition for the ban of “To Train Up A Child” on Amazon.com, and I ask you to support this, so that children like Hana Williams and Lydia Schatz will not die at the hands of abusive parents.
If you’d like to sign the petition, click here: Petition Link