Tag: Lydia Schatz

Lydia Schatz, the Duggars, and To Train Up a Child

Lydia, March 15, 2002- February 6, 2010

Today is the 8th anniversary of the death of Lydia Schatz.

Lydia was a little girl who was adopted from war-torn Liberia. She was one of nine children, six biological and three adopted. In so many ways, her family was lovely and loving. And yet, she died of rhabdomyolysis, in which her muscle tissues were broken down by repeated spankings from her adopted parents. It is hard to hold in mind the tension of parents who are active, involved and loving — and beating a child to death. Yet, I believe it is important to see that dichotomy so we can prevent it from happening in our own communities.

 

Michael and Debi Pearl and Well-Intentioned Child Abuse

Michael and Debi Pearl wrote “To Train Up a Child,” a book which espouses child training methods that purport to be Biblical, but are really their own methods of discipline which commonly lead to abuse. They appeal to parents who are strongly committed to their families and following the Bible in their homes. At times, their writing is winsome and folksy. They cite the Bible enough for people to lower their guard.

Some advice is commonsensical, but underlying it is the philosophy that parents must make a child submit to parental authority at all costs. All defiance must be spanked out of a child. Any remaining opposition must be met with complete parental control until the child submits. (Read this philosophy in context, quotes from TTUAC.)

While Lydia’s situation was likely complicated by her adoption and possible attachment issues, her death is an extreme example of a common application of the Pearls’ methods.

Loving parents are persuaded by this false teaching that they MUST make a child submit totally, that “consistent discipline” via spankings for disobedience until complete submission is Biblical. This easily crosses the line from minor spanking to ongoing abuse. No matter how well-intentioned abuse is, abuse hurts children and families.

 

What Does This Have to Do With the Duggars?

Celebrity websites this week have been posting clickbait stories about one of the Duggar girl’s in-laws hosting Michael and Debi Pearl at their Fort Rock Family Camp. People have come out of the woodwork defending the Pearls and their harmful teachings, including some of the Duggars

My stomach is twisted in knots, remembering Lydia on the anniversary of her death. . . while the tabloids run these stories and people promote the Pearls.

 

What now?

Lydia Schatz died eight years ago. Sean Paddock died twelve years ago. Hana Williams died seven years ago. Each at the hand of their parents.  Each influenced by Michael and Debi Pearl.

Our children deserve better. Parents deserve better. This has to stop.

So in little ways in my local life, I will keep encouraging the parents I know to nurture their children with gentleness and grace. And as loud as I can shout it online and in my community, I will point out the false teachings that lead to abuse.

 

 

(Note: This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the Pearls, and won’t be the last. Some of the more detailed analysis has been lost in the crashes and spam of the site. But google is your friend, and you’ll find much more about the Pearls harmful teachings with a quick search.)

We Remember: Lydia

We remember Lydia Schatz today, February 6, 2017.

Seven years ago today, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz died after her adoptive parents disciplined her to the point of death.

Lydia was a vivacious little girl, adopted from Liberia.  In the photo below, her smile shows a missing upper tooth — in the same place where my 5-year-old-son is missing a tooth.

Lydia Schatz

Lydia Schatz

 

February tends to be a hard month for me.  I don’t know why it is, but it seems some of the biggest emotional challenges come around in February. A big part of it is remembering and mourning Lydia Schatz and Sean Paddock, and facing the reality of abuse within the church and Christian families.

Lydia’s adoptive parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were convicted by the courts. Kevin was sentenced to two life terms for second-degree murder and torture and will serve a minimum of 22 years. Elizabeth Schatz sentence is for over 13 years for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment. These sentences were the result of a plea bargin — originally they were charged with murder related to Lydia’s death, torture related to her sister (also adopted) who was hospitalized but recovered, and cruelty related to a biological son’s injuries.

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
Psalm 10:18-19

Lydia’s autopsy revealed that she died from rhabdomyolsis, a condition related to kidney and heart failure from toxins released when muscle tissue breaks down. Lydia’s muscles broke down as a result of repeated beatings over time, though her death was proceeded by an especially long “discipline” session.

Lydia’s parents used a plumbing supply line, which is recommended by Michael and Debi Pearl in their book “To Train Up A Child.” Both plumbing supply line and TTUAC were found in the Schatz home and the older children have attested to those methods being used in their home.

While death is not a common result from the implementation of TTUAC, this is not the first time that a child has died when parents have carefully and consistently applied the so-called “child training methods” espoused by the Pearls. In February 2006, 4-year-old Sean Paddock was killed. How many other unreported cases of quiet abuse are happening under the influenced of these harmful, unBiblical teachings?

Compounding the tragedy is the professed love of these parents for their children, the desire to nurture their children through homeschooling, the commitment to seek out help in parenting.

Further compounding the tragedy is that Lydia and her sister Zaraiah were adopted. Her parents needed to provide love, security, attachment. . . and instead beat them with a plumbing supply line. Sean was a foster son in the process of being adopted.

We need to remember Lydia. We need to remember Sean. We need to remember Hana Williams.

We need to remember the children who need families, who are in families.

We need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

We need to open our eyes to the abuse within our own communities.

May God have mercy on us all.

 

Lydia Schatz Memorial