Michael Pearl has released an official statement on the tragic death of Hannah Williams on his No Greater Joy Facebook Page. This time he is not laughing. He explains that he tells parents not to abuse and gives some quotes to back that up. He didn’t even quote where he said not to use punishment on a child who has medical issues for not obeying, which I consider to be his best defense. However, I do not agree with him that anyone can follow his advice without being abusive, as he and I do not agree on our definitions of abuse. In fact, he never actually gives his definition of abuse, which is part of the problem. He says not to abuse but never tells them how far to go (other than to be 100% consistent) nor what constitutes abuse. Then, every time someone crosses the (invisible) line, he blames them for not doing it correctly.
Here is his statement for those who can’t or won’t visit Facebook:
Hanna Williams’ Death – Official Statementby No Greater Joy Ministries on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 12:07pm
We share in the sadness over the tragic death of Hanna Williams. What her parents did is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of No Greater Joy Ministries (NGJ) and what is taught in the book, To Train Up a Child (see quotes below). We are grieved by Hanna’s death as well as the nearly 1,700 other children that die in this country every year as the result of neglect or abuse. This is part of the motivation of NGJ to provide materials that are helping parents to raise healthy and happy children.
Here are quotes from the book that actually warn against abuse.
“Train up-not beat up. Train up-not discipline up.” “A child needs more than ‘obedience training’, but without first training him, discipline is insufficient” page 4
“Disciplinary actions can easily become excessive and oppressive if you set aside the tool of training and depend on discipline alone to do the training.” Page 9
“Parent, have you trained yourself not to discipline immediately but to wait until your irritation builds into anger? If so, then you have allowed anger to become your inducement to discipline.” Page 25
“Parent, if you are having problems with your children, you can be assured that you are not alone. Your children are also having problems with you. You are going to have to make adjustments in your own life if you are going to help them with their problems.” “… the responsibility for making a significant change is completely yours.” Page 32
“There are always some who act in the extreme. These individuals are capable of using what has been said about the legitimate use of the rod to justify ongoing brutality to their children.” page 50
“The rod should never be a vent for parents’ anger. Where the supreme motivation is anything other than the child’s good, it is inevitable that such behavior by the parent will assuredly create problems.” page 51
These quotes and the rest of the book are about turning the hearts of parents to the children and the hearts of children to the parents.
If, as alleged, Hanna’s parents owned a copy of the book, it is obvious from these quotes and their actions, that they either have not read it or totally ignored its contents. The book repeated warns parents against abuse and emphasizes the parents’ responsibility to love and properly care for their children, which includes training them for success. There are thousands upon thousands of parents (the book has sold over 660,000 copies) who have and are properly applying the philosophy in the book with the joyous results of happy, productive, well-adjusted children in loving successful families.
The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity. Its presence is actually recognition that there was a problem and obtaining the book was an effort to solve it. Unfortunately, if Hanna’s parents own a copy they chose to ignore (or twist) the contents of the book that could have corrected their poor parenting and prevented the abuse and her death.
It is our desire to redouble our efforts to help families and to prevent future tragedies.
Michael Pearl, President
No Greater Joy Ministries
He is wrong about the Williams obtaining the book in an effort to solve the problem. They were using the Pearls’ materials for years before they adopted Hana and Immanuel. I don’t know how long ago they last read the book, but I have said many times that they twisted the advice therein. The only reason I link the Pearls to this tragedy at all is because of their Parents Must Win Every Battle At All Costs mindset which I feel could have something to do with the Williams’ need for control. I suspect that after all those years of Perfectly Obedient Children resulting from following the Pearls’ teachings, the fact that they were unable to get results from their adopted children pushed them off the deep end. I could be wrong, but this is how it looks to me. I thought that back on Sept 6 and the more I learn, the more it looks that way.