Parenting can be hard! So when difficult behaviors wreak havoc on the family, you might just need a few more tools in the toolbox. Finding the core principles that govern success in any area of life is absolutely key to succeeding in that area, and what you’ll find on this podcast is no exception.
This entertaining audio program will not only help parents who have small children, but also those with teenagers. It describes the parenting system that I used for many years as we raised our seven children, and it made ALL the difference!
My guest Matt Reichmann and his wife Julie raised five children while he worked in Los Angeles law enforcement. He saw countless parents lose control of their children and then look to police for help. This negative trend spurred a desire in Matt to use his experience to make a difference.
The combination of Julie’s home skills and Matt’s law enforcement experience gave them a unique perspective in the art of parenting.
Over the years, they developed a powerful system of discipline based on the principle of personal accountability. After using the system in their home with success, they were encouraged by friends and associates to share their parenting techniques with others. This encouragement and a strong desire to help others lead to the creation of Accountability Concepts.
This audio was originally recorded ten years ago. I have been wanting to share it on my podcast, but his sweet wife (my dear friend Julie) was diagnosed with cancer and then lost her courageous battle in 2014. During those difficult years, their website was shut down, their business was put on hold, and the audio remained hidden in my archives. But it is my pleasure now to announce that Matt’s website is once again back on line, and he has given me the green light to finally share this audio FREE with you now.
To learn more about Matt Reichmann’s powerful parenting program, visit Accountability Concepts.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Rare Faith Podcast where the solution to every problem is only an idea away, and where the same activity with just a little more awareness always yield better results. Award-winning, best-selling author Leslie Householder brings some of her best information to this inspiring series of life-changing episodes that you won’t want to miss. Show notes for this episode can be found at ARareKindofFaith.com.
LESLIE: Hi everybody. Welcome to Parenting Principals Preview. This is about accountability concepts. We have Matt Reichman with us. He is a good friend of mine and a friend of our family who has taught us some really fabulous things about parenting principles that I wanted to share with my readers. I know that there are principles that help us achieve the prosperity that we’re looking for and by the same token there are also principles that help us be the most effective parents that we can be. So I’m real excited to have Matt with us tonight. Matt, thank you for being willing to do this with us tonight. I’m going to turn the time over to you, let you have the floor, and then hopefully at the end we’ll have a few minutes to answer questions or do whatever, so take it away.
MATT REICHMAN: Well I am excited to meet with everybody. We always have people asking for more sessions and stuff so this is exciting. Now, this is a concept that we originally started, we teach in schools. I have some 250 elementary schools that have used this program throughout the past ten years and they currently are using it throughout the United States, and they use this concept in their class when I teach the parents at home, or the parents come to a session at the school and then we teach it there. So we’ve had it around for quite a while and I’ve usually done it through the schools, so if you have any schools after we’re done, if you have any schools that are interested email me or get ahold of Leslie and we can introduce this into the schools. Let me let me do a quick introduction of myself. My name is Matt Reichman. Myself, along with my wife Julie, we are the founders of Accountability Concepts. We started this program years ago. My wife and I, we’ve been married now 24 years. We have five children; our oldest is 23 and our youngest is 15. My wife has always been a stay-at-home mom and when I’m not doing Accountability Concepts, I currently work for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. I’m a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles County. So I come to you not only as a parent who has a lot of kids, not as many as Leslie but I do have my fair share, but I also come to you to see what happens to our kids down the road when they get out of control. And I got to tell you, I have so many stories that would just make you sick where good people have lost control of their kids. And I got sick of seeing that so my wife and I, we designed this program and originally we designed it not to do what I’m doing now but just for our own kids, because I wanted to teach my children accountability. Not the kind of accountability that’s being taught today in the world where it’s everyone else’s fault, I’m talking about the true accountability where if you make a mistake there’s a consequence. Every action that you have there is a reaction. If you’re going to stay in school and you’re going to work hard to get good grades there’s a reaction to that. You’re gonna do well. But if you decide to drop out of school then there is a consequence for that and we as a society have gotten away from that. What we teach now is it’s not your fault. It’s someone else’s fault. That’s what society teaches and that is why we’re beginning the problems that we have today. It’s never anyone else’s fault.
So we’re going to teach this concept. Now when I teach this what’s going to happen is you’ve never heard this before but it’s going to sound very familiar to you because I’m going to teach principles that I’ll bet you were raised on. And I’m gonna show you how to bring those back into your home, although this is going to be a process that you will never have seen before. Now I wanted to let you guys know I’m just a regular guy. I’m not a professional speaker; I’m just a dad and a working stiff just like everyone else. I’m not gonna be politically correct. I don’t say things that everyone wants to hear so we can all feel warm and fuzzy but it’s an absolutely complete lie. I’m going to tell you the truth.
Now, I don’t know anyone, I don’t know who you are. I’m not out trying to offend anybody but I’m going to speak the truth. I’m not gonna speak words just to make us all warm and fuzzy because I don’t think that gets us anywhere. What I’m going to do here in this brief period of time is I’m going to give you the first 20 minutes or so of my seminar because I want you to understand the concept. I need you to get the concepts and as soon as you’ve got the concept we’ll expand from there and we’ll go into all kinds of areas and we’ll talk about that a little bit later on. And again, I just want you to understand the concept, okay? So here we go.
When I was a child I was spanked by my parents, probably like you folks were. Now my parents were not excessive spankers. They’d give me a little tap every once in a while, not a big deal. So when my wife and I started raising our children, we spanked our kids and we weren’t excessive. We’d give them a little pat on the popo every once while when they needed it. Now there’s an interesting thing about spanking. When a child does something wrong they get a little pat on the popo, and again it’s not a big deal. The interesting part starts when a child does something worse we feel the need to spank them just a little bit harder because they need to know that this is worse than the last thing they did. The problem with that is when they become teenagers you have to kill them. And I know this because my oldest boy was approaching the death stage. Now I’d looked at my wife and I’d say, “Let’s kill this boy. We’ll just make another one.” It’s not that hard you know, for me anyway. Anyway, so knowing that if I killed the boy my wife wasn’t a big fan of that and also the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has a problem with that, their deputies killing their children, so we decided to shift gears and become nineties parents. We’re going to communicate with these kids and it was going to be beautiful. I’ll never forget the first time we sat down our boy. We put him in the middle and my wife got on one side and I got on the other. We militarily flanked the child. And my wife started in and she gave this boy four or five minutes of sound parental instruction. It was beautiful stuff. I’ll never forget, it was just life changing. When she was done I jumped in and filled in all the gaps. We gave this boy ten, twelve minutes of life-altering information and man I felt good afterwards. When we were done I stood up puffed my chest out, looked at the boy and I said, “Greg,” that’s his name “Greg,” I said, “how do you feel about what we just shared with you?” And he got this look on his face and he said, “Dad, I didn’t know you were talking to me.” Now, I looked at this boy and I looked at my wife and I said, “Let’s kill this boy,” and my wife said, “Okay, kill him,” you know. Well the nineties thing’s a great idea. We can bring a PhD in here and he could get it up on the board and he could draw out all these things and we’d all say ooh and aah and ooh and aah and we’d all be impressed. The problem is the 90s thing does not work in most homes. Because to have the nineties thing work you need four things.
First of all, you need parents who are willing to talk. Generally not a problem, we love to talk. The second thing you need is parents who are willing to listen. Now, we’re not always the best listeners. The third thing is, you need children who are willing to talk. Not always something that we get. And the final thing is, you need children who are willing to listen, and that’s a huge problem. If you don’t have those four things the 90s thing is not going to work. As much as you try, it’s not going to work. So here I am looking at the 90s thing and I’m going, “Okay it’s not working in our home.” I look over at Spanky and I know that’s not working in our home and I’m thinking there’s got to be something better. Folks, I got it for you. I can put more power back in your home than has ever been realized before and it’s so simple it’s almost ridiculous. We have what we call the accountability pyramid. It’s the shape of a triangle, but we call it the accountability pyramid and it has six categories on it: trust, attitude, work ethic, selflessness, self-control, responsibility. Now, before I go into the accountability pyramid, if I can change the way that people think just a little bit, just tweak it a little bit, you would be amazed at how much power that puts back in the home with the parents and it’s a very basic philosophy. And the philosophy goes like this. We give our kids the world and then we take it away at appropriate times, meaning our children, by the virtual fact that they are our children, are entitled to all that we have. And I am not referring to material things. I’m talking about our time, our listening to, our talking to, but more importantly fun. If I can get parents to play with their kids you would be amazed at how much difference that makes in your own home. Now I’m going to spend weeks pounding this into your head because I want you to understand it, but let me give you a couple examples in my own home. First of all, one of the things that my children have always loved to do even when they were much younger is to drive our cars. Now obviously, when my children were much younger, I have to put out a disclaimer here, Accountability Concepts does not endorse anyone driving a motor vehicle without a proper driver’s license, nor does Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. So now I’m getting all that out of the way. So, now that that’s aside, in my home what I used to do is, I live in the high desert in Southern California so I would take my children and we would go out into the desert and I’d let my children drive. Worst thing we’re going to do is hit a cactus, right? We’re jumping over things and sliding around. My kids love this. All they have to do to qualify is to have a pulse. If they have a pulse they automatically get to drive. However, they step outside the boundaries of our home we’re going to go driving and they’re gonna go with us, but they will not drive. I want you to remember this because we’re going to revisit this in a few minutes down the road. Let me give you an example. I do work for the Sheriff’s Department. I do work out of Los Angeles County.
Several years ago I was working in the City of Industry on patrol. It was about six o’clock in the morning. I was working early mornings so I was getting off about seven or eight. I had received a call to go to the station and handle a domestic problem. There was a family in there with a domestic problem. So I go to the station and in the station house there’s a man there and standing next to him is his 16-year-old daughter. As I walk in, I see the 16 year old. I see she’s not happy cuz she’s stomping her feet and breathing heavy. Anyone who has a 16-year-old daughter ought to have recognized this. I’ve had one, I have one right now that’s 15, so this is very familiar to me. I walk in. I say, “Can I help you sir?” He says, “Yes I’d like you to arrest my 16-year-old daughter.” Now, in a sick sort of way I’m excited because not very often do I have a parent deliver to me a teenager on a silver platter. So I said, “What did she do?” He says, “Last night, she snuck out of my house at midnight and she got home this morning at 5:00, and she was with a boy.” Now if there’s any dads listening, any time I share that story I always know what’s going through the dads’ minds. The first thing the dad’s think, and the first thing I think is bring me the boy, right? We’ll take care of that. But unfortunately, I had to tell this man I said, “Look at there’s nothing I can do here. This is a civil problem and I only handle criminal problems.” He says to me he says, “I don’t know what to do.” He says, “I have four children, all teenagers, and they’re all out of control.” He said, “I don’t get it,” he says, “my wife and I worked long hard hours to provide our children the things that they need and want and they couldn’t care less. Ungrateful they are.” He says, “In fact last week I bought this girl” (the 16 year old girl) “I bought her a thousand dollar bedroom set and this is how she repays me.” And she says to him in front of me, “Dad, I don’t care about the bedroom set. You can take it back.” And I looked into this man’s eyes, and unfortunately I see this a lot in my job, he’s got no place to go when he wants me to fix this problem, but I can’t fix it as a deputy sheriff.
I wanted to explain to him the same thing I explain to all parents and folks, you better understand this – it is not the things you buy your children, it’s your time! It always has been and it always will be and if you think it’s anything else you’re wrong! See, mom and dad were so busy working and getting money, they had no time for their daughter so guess what she did? She went out and found someone who would give her time. And there’s lots of young men out there that want to give our daughters lots of time, and that’s bad. See, now this young man was not buying her things he was giving her time, and this time is so important to this young lady that she’s willing to go against her parents to keep this young man happy. That’s bad, too. But I know how this whole thing got started. Back when we were kids we used to hear all the time, “I want to give my children a better life than what I had you know once we started thinking that way so as grown-ups we started thinking I want to give my children a better life than what I had, too. So we start mom’s working, dad’s working, everyone starting to work as much as they can and we’re not actually giving our children what they need the most, and actually where our power base is, and that is our time. See folks, this is how gangs got started. I don’t know what the gang problem is in your area but in Los Angeles County it’s a significant thing and I can tell you how gangs got started.
Now we could fly in all the people all over the country and have this big gang seminar and pay them all kinds of money to tell you how gangs get started, right, but I very simply can tell you how gangs got started. Dads not spending time with their boys and those boys going out and find other boys whose dads don’t spend time with them and they spend time together. Now, these boys are not buying each other gifts they’re spending time and that time that they spend together is so important to them that they build a loyalty and a bond towards one another that the threat of death and jail will not break it and I know this is true because this is the world that I work in. So the concept that I am sharing with you is absolutely true.
Now, I’m going to show you how we take this concept and we put it in your homes. Now, we turn our attention to the accountability pyramid even though you don’t have one when we do the seminar you will see one and you’ll be able to relate to it. But what we do with this pyramid is, it has individual sections with a back piece and each piece is held on with Velcro. So when you have it up on the wall it looks just like a regular pyramid and while that pyramid is intact your children, my children are allowed to do whatever they want to do as long as they stay within the family boundaries. So my son comes home from school and he says, “Dad can I go to the park?” I look at his pyramid. His pyramid… he’s done his chores he’s done his homework his pyramids up, absolutely he can go. However if a piece is removed, for whatever reason, we just take the piece down it’s only held on by Velcro. With their pieces removed they no longer have the privileges they no longer get to do what they want to do, they no longer get to go where they want to go. And now that they have all this extra time where they can’t do the things that they want to do I find things for them to do, like weeding, or you know cleaning toilets or whatever. I actually at one time I had my children, a couple of them had their pyramid pieces down and I had a woodpile. I told them to take the woodpile down sweep underneath it and stack it back up. They were like, with their mouths open, look at me, “Are you serious dad?” I go “Oh, yeah.” But they don’t have the freedom to do whatever they want to do and it isn’t until that peace is restored that they once again get to do what they want to do, as long as they stay within the family boundaries. Now let me give you an idea of how this has worked in my home.
Now, I share this story every time I do a seminar because this is absolutely true what happened and when it happened my wife and I were dumbfounded. Now my oldest boy Greg, and most of my stories are about my oldest boy because you know, that’s your experimental child, that’s when you make all the mistakes with and you hope he doesn’t get ruined and you don’t do that with the rest of them. Well we’re no different than anyone else here. We have Greg, he’s 14 years old and he had lost his attitude piece. Now he knew what he had done to lose his attitude piece, and I know it’s a shocker for 14-year-old to lose his attitude piece but he had lost it. He knew what he’d done but he was feeling 14 and didn’t want to fix it yet, which is his prerogative, but he has no privileges. Now if he does not fix this pretty soon I’m going to turn the heat up, and we’ll talk about that later, but I’m going to turn the heat up on him if he doesn’t fix it. But I’m gonna give a little bit of time to see if he fixes it. Now I’m in the house, I’m in the kitchen and I hear some noise out in the garage. I go out to the garage and there’s my boy Greg. He has a bunch of his friends over and they’re roughhousing in the in the garage. And I said, “Greg, what are you doing? Your pyramid is down.” He says, “Oh dad, that’s right. I forgot.” Okay, not a big deal. I go back in the house. I’m gonna give him a few minutes to dismiss his friends. Well 15 minutes go by. I don’t see the boy and I still hear noise in that garage so I go back out to the garage and there he is still roughhousing with his buddies. Now this is a crossroads for a dad. What do you do? Some dads would start yelling and screaming, “Gregory, I told you!” Or some dads would say, “You know what? This boy has crossed me. I’m gonna take him to the whooping shed.”
Well, I looked at him and he looked at me. I left the garage, went next door to his room, went into his room and I took another piece of his pyramid– the bottom piece, responsibility. Now I walk back in with that piece in my hand. He says, “What do you got there?” I said, “You lost another piece of your pyramid.” He says, “Dad, that’s not fair!” and he starts in. Now again, I could engage the boy; gonna get the same results. Or some dads at this point would take the boy to the whoopin’ shed. I simply looked at him; he looked at me. I turned around, walked back into his room. He followed me this time and I removed a third piece– self control– and he gasped. He went *gasp* and I said, “You got anything else to say to me?” He says, “NO!” I said, “When you’re calmed down we will talk about it,” and I left. I walked into the garage and shooed those boys away and shut the garage door. About 15-20 minutes later he comes up into the room, you know, he’s staring at the ground, you know, kind of kicking his feet around. He says, “Dad, I want to talk to you about my pyramid.” I said, “Okay.” He says, “I know why I lost my pyramid pieces.” I said, “Why?” He reached into his pocket and he pulled out a piece of paper. He had lost so many pieces he had to write it all down. He says, “I lost my attitude because this… lost my responsibility because of this… lost my self-control because of this…” I said, “That’s right. Now what are you gonna do to earn your pieces back up?” He flips the paper over and he has all the solutions. He says, “For my attitude piece I will have nothing but a positive attitude, nothing negative will come out of my mouth for two days.” Of course I burst out in laughter. I go, “Come on! What are you doing?” He says, “I’m serious, Dad.” I say, “Come on.” He says, “I’m serious.” I look at him and I can see that he is. Now in my mind, I’m thinking to myself this boy’s never gonna have freedom again because for a 14-year-old that be positive for two days will kill him, right? But I said, “You know what, son? You got yourself a deal.” He says, “For my responsibility piece I, will do my normal chores plus two additional jobs, whatever you want me to do, to your complete and total satisfaction.” Now at this point I don’t know who this boy is but I like him. I said, “You got a deal.” He says, for his self-control piece he says, “I will not have”– at this time his younger sister, six years old, used to drive him right up the flagpole, little Chelsea, and he says, “I will be particularly nice to Chelsea.” Now this is awesome and I’m thinking to myself you’ve got yourself a deal. But now I’m thinking, I know this boy so I said, “You got yourself a deal, Greg, but I want the paper that you wrote this on,” see because I that’s what I do for a living. I collect physical evidence and I know him because in two days from now he’s gonna say, “Dad I know what you talking about, I don’t know what deal you’re talking about.” So I got the paper, the physical evidence. So two days later he comes to me and he says, “Dad, I’m finished.” And I go, “What?” He says, “I’m finished. I’ve earned all my pieces back.” I run to my wife. I said, “Can you believe that this boy has said that he has earned all his pieces back?” And my wife looks at me and says, “The boy did exactly everything he said he was going to do.” Well, I’m dumbfounded. I go back to our room, I find his three pieces, I hand them back to him and he takes them to his room and he puts them back up and he puts his pyramid back and I’ve just taken this boy through the accountability process.
Now, if you’re like most people, when I share those stories most people think something like this, they go well that looks good and that sounds good and probably works really well in the Cleaver home with Ward and June, Wally and the Beav, but this is not reality based. Well folks, simply by the nature of my job I am probably more reality-based than most people. I’ve had to handle some things that most people could never imagine in their nightmares: murders, rapes, robberies, burglaries, child abuse, spousal assault. I’ve handled nasty stuff. So, I’m very reality-based. So let’s talk about how it really works. Let’s say that I remove a piece of my son’s pyramid and he doesn’t care. Kind of laughs at me looks at me and he thinks goofy old man with his goofy pyramid. What do you do? Well, most parents will say, “I’ll take down another piece of his pyramid.” The boy doesn’t care. I could take down every piece and burn it. He doesn’t care. So I have the caring problem. So I’m looking at him and he’s looking at me, laughing, cuz I’m, you know, some dumb pyramid. And I announce to the family, “Hey everybody, let’s go driving.” And he goes, “D-d-d-d-driving. Dad I did not know that we were gonna go driving.” And I say to him, “You know what? You’re never gonna know when we’re gonna go driving.” He said, “D-d-dad-dad, when did you decide to go driving?” “Just now.” He says, “Well, how are we gonna drive if my pyramid pieces down?” “It’s just gonna be simple. We’re gonna climb in the car and we’re gonna go driving.” Then the reality comes and he says, “Dad, I’m not gonna drive, am I?” And I say to him, “No, you’re not.” And he says to me, “I guess I’ll stay home then.” And I get a smile on my face and I said, “Oh, no you won’t. You will ride in that car but you will not drive.” Folks you understand what I’m laying out for you. You have all the power in the world if you’ll first play with your kids, and then when they step out of bounds you do it anyway. Man, it’s, it’s… the concept is so simple it’s almost ridiculous. Let me give you another example.
Any time I take a pyramid piece down for my children I watch them and I want to see how they react. If I take a pyramid piece down and I have a child that goes “Oh, man I can’t believe I did that one!” And that’s good see, there’s sorrow there. I can work with that. But it’s when I take a pyramid piece down and I get no response, that’s when it gets my attention. Now, let’s say that I’m sitting there and I just took my child’s pyramid piece down and there’s no response. Now let me tell you the two worst things you can do as a parent when you take your child’s pyramid piece down and they don’t care, okay? The worst thing you can do is to tell your child “CARE!” You know, tell your son “Care or I’ll make you care, mister!” That’s the worst thing you can do. The second worst thing you can do is to look at them and go, “It doesn’t work, he doesn’t care,” and walk away. This is what I do. Whenever I take down a pyramid piece for my children and they don’t care, I start to giggle. See, because I know what they like to do and I’m gonna do it. And I’m gonna turn the heat up and I’m going to turn the heat up and I’m gonna turn the heat up until they rue the day. Now if I’ve removed a piece of my child’s pyramid piece and they don’t try to fix it, I’ll wait. I’m not going to get all excited about it. I’ll wait. I might wait fifteen minutes, I might wait an hour, I might wait till later on that evening. Then I’ll say something like this, “Hey everybody, come on let’s go.” “Where are we going?” “Just get in the car, let’s go. I’m going to show you where we’re going. Everyone piles in the car now and now there’s seven of us and we’re driving in the car and they go “Dad, where are we going?” I said, “Well, I’ll tell you in just a minute.” We pull into a fast-food place and I go through the drive-through and we go up to the window and I say, “Hi! I’ll take six ice creams please.” And they go, “Dad, you’re not having an ice cream?” and I go, “Oh, I’m having an ice cream.” They go, “What, mom isn’t having an ice cream?” I say, “Mom’s having an ice cream too.” “Well, who’s not having an ice cream?” “Who’s ever Pyramid is down.” Now, of course the boy whose pyramid is down takes a gasp of air and says, “Well *gasp* I don’t like ice cream.” Now, I’ve known this boy for 14 years, he loved ice cream. But I expect it. That’s a defense mechanism. “I see, you don’t like ice cream?” “No, I don’t like ice cream.” “Well that’s too bad because afterwards I think we’re gonna get some pizza.” “*Gasp* Well, I don’t like pizza either.” Again I expect this. “That’s too bad because right afterwards we’re going to go to the park.” But I will make this child so miserable that their pyramid piece is down that they will break their neck to get it back up. Consequences for their behavior, something every one of us was taught, something we live by today, but for some reason lots of parents don’t teach the children that and I don’t get it.
I don’t understand what PhD wingnut came up with the idea that when you do something wrong you’re not supposed to feel bad. Of course you’re supposed to feel bad. Now I’m not talking about to kind of feel bad where you say you’re stupid, I’m talking about the kind of feel bad where you’ve made a mistake and you’ve stepped out of bounds and you don’t have access to the goodies until you put yourself back in bounds, until you fix it. Folks, if your children don’t feel bad there’s never a reason to change. So how do we make children feel bad? Now, we know we call names, we spank and we do all kinds of crazy stuff and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work after a while. What I’m trying to tell you is, I’ve raised my children on this since they were young – now they’re teenagers and out of the house and I have an excellent relationship with my kids. They’ve been taught accountability. My children are probably allowed to do more than most, but they will do it under the direction of accountability. If they step out of bounds nothing’s worse than having your freedoms taken away and what keeps, they have to earn back, you gotta fix it. That is the appropriate way to teach accountability. It doesn’t matter if you’re 3 or 93, when you’re held by the principles of accountability you will change. It’s like driving down the road. You know what? People go 100 miles an hour until they see me on the road and they slow down. They don’t want to go that fast anymore because they do not want the consequence. Well, you teach your children when they’re in your home and I’ll spend on this way more, but you teach your children when they’re young and they have consequences when they’re young when you can control it and you don’t have to worry about it. I got to tell you all my kids have all been through their teenage years and some of them are in them right now, but I love my teenagers! They are a blast. We do not have confrontations. We do not. If they’re stepping down the road and going the wrong way I’ll just go, “Is that the way you want to go?” because they know that there’s a consequence, and they’ll go, “Oh, wait a minute.” Now, I have the secret behind teenagers. I know what you need to do to get teenagers to go in the right direction. I’ll teach that. It’s a very simple thing. What most people don’t do, it’s just very simple. I just can’t get people to, to, they just don’t understand it. They don’t plug into it.
So let me give you one more quick example on how this has worked in my home. Now my oldest boy, Greg, again another story about him, he had turned 15 and a half a year later after we started using this, and he got his learner’s permit. So now he could drive, but we let him drive, you know. I want to teach this boy how to drive, that’s my job, you know. And we bought a suburban because we have a big family. Got to have a suburban. And my boy loved to drive the suburban. “Dad, I’d love to drive the suburban.” I let him drive. You know, a lot of time I let him drive. He lost his pyramid piece one day and he was thinking to himself, “Eh, got nothing really I want to do right now, I think I’ll just leave it down for a while;” again, his prerogative. But if he leaves it down too long I’m going to turn up the heat. He did so that’s what I did. I turned up the heat. He’s getting out of school one day, high school, and it’s a beautiful day in Southern California in the high desert. As he comes walking out with his buddies. He sees the suburban parked against the curb. The windows are rolled down and I’m in the passenger side. The driver’s side is open so he knows what that means; he’s driving. So he starts to talk to his buddies, “Hey fellas, I gotta go, you know. I drive that’s what I, I drive the suburban that’s what I do you know.” He, you know, he’s telling him that “You see that old man in the in the passenger side there? That’s my dad. He’s not a very good driver, you know. I’m gonna have to go home, show him how to drive.” So he’s walking all tough and all of his buddies are going “Ooh aah, ooh aah.” They’re just totally impressed. He gets in the suburban, he looks at me and he smiles. He says, “How you doing, dad?” I said I’m doing good how are you doing? He says, “I’m doing good.” He says, “I think I’ll drive now,” and I say to him I go, “Oh, Greg, I just remembered something. Your pyramid is down. You cannot drive.” He goes, “Oh, no.” He says, “Um… listen dad…uh, can you uh, walk around the front and get in the driver’s side and let me slide over?” See, I know what he’s doing. His buddies are watching. He doesn’t want them to know. I said, “No Greg, I’m old. I need to slide down, you walk around.” So he gets out and he’s running around the front real fast hoping his buddies don’t see, and of course they’re yelling to him, “Greg, how come you’re not driving?” He gets in the car and he goes, “Let’s go Dad, let’s go!” So we drive off. First thing he says to me when we get home he says, “I…I…I need to fix my pyramid.” “That’s right.” I got everything you want and I will freely give it, but you step out of bounds and I will turn the heat up and I will turn it up until you rue the day. And during this whole time I’m playing with my kids. I’m having a good time with them. See it’s funny how parents today, they tell their children, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” But they never spend time with them. When you tell a child you love them every day but you don’t show them in any way, children process love that means something different than what it is. Now on the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve never told your children you love them but you hugged and you squeezed them, you loved them over there, then they would have somewhat of an idea.
What I’m trying to do is you tell your children you love them then you show them that you love them by spending time with them. Guess what happens when you spend time with your kids? They talk to you. You might just be kicking the ball back and forth and guess what? “Hey Dad, you won’t believe what happened to me today at school.” I had my youngest son say this to me one day. He says, “One of the girls was trying to get me to go into the bathroom with her,” and of course my antenna goes up. What the heck’s that mean, you know? I don’t know, so I go I’m kicking the ball back. I’m not you know getting… “So what does that mean Mattie?” And he tells me. Well the boy wouldn’t have just come up and told me but he’s talking to me. See? We’re teaching communication and I’m not even making a big deal. I’m just playing with him. I’m just kicking the ball back and forth, but you get communication. You learn to laugh with your kids. You teach them that you love them. I will go into this. I will talk about little children. I’ll talk about guilty parents. I will go over single parents. I have a couple other tools that we go through and then after I’ve got you to become professional people with the pyramids I’m going to teach you how to take them out for a spin. What I mean by that is I believe that children should be working in the home. Now doggone it, I don’t understand why moms are doing all the work! You guys have lost your minds if you’re doing all the work. The house should be done by everybody. Now I learned this a long time ago. In our house we teach our children to work and that’s what we did. We teach them how to work and there’s a couple reasons for that.
First of all, I want my children to learn how to work because when they leave my home, and they are leaving, I don’t want to come back. I don’t want them to have to move back into my house with their spouse and three children because they don’t know how to work. I’m going to teach them how to work. Now my daughter Chelsea, my youngest, when she was 8 years old she was getting the laundry, put it in machines and running it by herself. I learned an interesting principle a long time ago. I’ll never forget, I used to clean the windows on our van every Saturday and the windows would be just plastered. It would take me 45 minutes to clean them and then as soon as they were clean we’d get in to go someplace that afternoon, they plaster them back out, handprints all over them. I’ll never forget the first time I told my boy Greg, I said, “Greg, go out and clean the windows in the van,” and he went out there and he cleaned them and he did a good job. And I’ll never forget that afternoon when we get in the car to go someplace. I hear this from the backseat, he says, “Have you lost your mind? Get your cotton-picking hands off that window! I just cleaned that!” And all of a sudden, the light went on upstairs and I realized that this boy, now he cared. He cared because he now was a part of it. Children who don’t have to do anything don’t care, but when they become part of the household… I’m going to teach you how to get your children to work. We’re going to use the pyramid and a work system that teaches your children how to work. That’s the basic concept. Leslie, can you think of anything else that I’ve missed?
LESLIE: Matt, you’ve done a fabulous job. This has been… I had to mute myself because I couldn’t quit laughing.
Matt and Leslie laughing.
MATT: Why don’t we open it up for questions.
LESLIE: Okay, does anybody have any questions? You can do star six and introduce yourself. Tell us your name and what your question might be. I think they’re mesmerized Matt.
MATT: Okay, no questions.
TAUNA: Matt, this is Tauna.
TAUNA: Yes. How young did you start your kids on this?
MATT: I started, my youngest was five but we teach and when we do the seminar I’ll teach you how we can start this at three years old.
MATT: It’s used obviously different because you’re not going to tell a little three-year-old that you’ve not been responsible or you’ve not been, you know, selflessness. We’re gonna teach it on a very basic and I’ll show you how to do that but, yeah, start them at three. When we do the seminars and people are getting their material I always tell them if you have a one-year-old grab a pyramid for them. They need to have it if nothing else they need, the kids need to see that they have one, too. And because you’re going to introduce it to them as soon as they get to the point where you think that they can start to comprehend what’s going on.
TAUNA: So the pyramids are different for the different ages probably.
MATT: They’re the same but you will use it different.
LESLIE: Good question
MATT: Thanks, Tauna.
LESLIE: I know that when you’ve done this in the schools, you know that’s generally up to age 12 but some of the things that you were talking about tonight seem to have been very beneficial to you even with teenagers.
MATT: Oh, absolutely. The only reason why we put it in the schools at elementary schools because parents generally have control over them plus they stay in one classroom. That’s why the schools use it because the discipline is much different than it is in in the high school and junior high. So the elementary is a much easier component to use it in so that’s where we’ve had the most success. But then what the schools will do is invite their parents to come and then I teach them it to them. Teenagers it works excellent for. If you if you can get your children when they’re younger that’s the best because they know what accountability is and back when they were younger, when they were little children, they didn’t get a candy bar and it about killed ’em, so now when they’re 16 and you tell them this is the way it needs to be they know that there’s consequences and they’re more likely to stay in those boundaries.
TAUNA: Good. Good.
MATT: Anyone else?
TAUNA: Could you list the six categories again?
MATT: The six categories are trust, attitude, work ethic, selflessness, self-control and responsibility.
TAUNA: Thank you.
MATT: We feel those are all encompassed. Nothing can happen that something can’t be taken down, those are all encompassed in the concept of accountability. Again, I don’t teach the kind of accountability that the world teaches today. I don’t teach that, I think that’s a bogus accountability where society teaches that everyone else is accountable. They don’t teach where you’re accountable. If you make a mistake you got to fix it.
LESLIE: Matt, that’s reality for us as adults too. Whether or not we have a parent applying consequences, life has consequences and I’ve seen that children that come out of this program understand that, and when they’re gone, when they’re not in your presence you have a greater confidence that they’re making right choices even when you’re not around.
MATT: Absolutely. The thing that’s interesting to me is parents will raise children on a different set of rules and then when they become 18 the child has to now be run by the world’s set of rules. Which, the world can be ugly and they’re not prepared because they’ve not been held accountable. Mommy or daddy have always protected them and now they’re out there in the world. Mommy daddy can’t protect them anymore. I’ve got a great story about how I almost arrested the mom because I was having to arrest their 20 year old son and she tried to step in the way and I almost arrested her, which is not something that I wanted to do. But mommy had always protected this boy and now she no longer could legally protect him. So now he’s in the mean, big, bad world and he’s doing things he shouldn’t be doing and now the world has to buy them and there’s no protection anymore. See, I don’t want to do that to my children. I want them, like I said, to go without a candy bar sometime and have the tears and everything else I’m comfortable with that so that when they become 18, 19, 20, 21 years old they remember that candy bar. They remember what consequences are and so they make good decisions because they don’t want consequences.
LELSLIE: You know, and one thing I found with the program too, Matt, is that when a child has to be deprived of something good, a goodie or, you know, candy bar or ice cream or whatever, it’s a tough thing to apply but when you look in the long run and what the benefits are going to be it’s worth it. And the thing that it’s done for my children is that they gain compassion for each other. The rest of them feel bad for the one that is missing out and to see tenderness between the siblings is a reward in itself.
MATT: Exactly and there’s a lot of things that go along with that when you have multiple children like Leslie and I have. What happens to one the rest of them see that they go “I’m not doing that.” See what would happen to Ashley and “I’m not doing that. That was horrible,” you know, and so then they’re not likely to make those mistakes or not likely to go in that direction. I’m telling you, teenage years are the absolute best. I love teenage years. I’m having so much fun with my teenagers and I do not worry about these major things that go on, and in the world when I go out to work I see terrible, terrible things. And I don’t worry about it with my kids because I know my kids know better. They’ve experienced, they know what the consequences are. Yeah and I’m telling you that is such a huge benefit, and all I need parents to do is start playing with their kids. That’s all I need. They can take this program and you could be a professional by tonight.
LESLIE: For a person that feels like they don’t have time to give, Matt has solutions for that.
SUSAN: I had a question for you about two different things.
MATT: What’s your name?
SUSAN: My name is Susan. I’m from Arizona.
MATT: Hi Susan.
SUSAN: Hi. How do you incorporate, do you incorporate television at all?
MATT: I do and you’re going to see when we get to, it’ll probably be in the fourth week, we’ll actually get to the nuts and bolts and I will actually address TV. I actually have a TV card that limits their TV. You can say, “You got an hour of TV each day and that’s it.” And when they’re done with their hour you punch the card and that’s done.
MATT: So we have a lot of tools that you’re not seeing right now but we have a lot of tools all along with that.
SUSAN: Okay, and then the other thing is, and this may be a tool also, as far as like different things that you want them to do around the house. I did this with my older daughters and they had specific things they had to do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and now I’m just raising one and, you know, it’s almost easier for me to do it myself.
MATT: I understand that concept and the problem with doing it yourself is moms say it would be easier to do it themselves but in the long run it is not because you got to teach your children that, we have a work system where the house gets cleaned every day by all the children, and if they have the kitchen that day… but it would be easy for mom to do it but it does not get the end result. And you have to do things not according to what’s the easiest but what’s the best end result. So I know that when my children leave my house they are self-sufficient. They can cook, they can clean, they can do their laundry, they can do everything and my wife has taught them this simply by managing them. Now, if you only have one you’re not going to be able to have them do everything.
SUSAN: Well, I have more they just don’t live here anymore. They grew up.
MATT: Well right, but if you’re only doing one now and you have, like my wife took our house and divided up into five areas. Well if you only have one you can’t have them do all five areas.
MATT: You have to pick up the slack and pick up the four areas and have the one do the one. But it has to rotate, see? I love these people who have a child pick up trash that have been doing it for 12 years. Well, the child is gonna be a great trash man one day and he has no idea how to fold clothes.
SUSAN: Mmmm. Okay, so balance it out.
MATT: The idea is, I understand my job and my wife’s job is to get my children so when they leave my home they are self-sufficient. That’s my job. My job is not to put my kids on teenage retirement or social security. It’s my job to get them ready so when they leave my home they’re good to go. So now that I have some that have left they’re doing great and so I’m excited about that! There’s nothing better than having a family that functions correctly. There’s nothing better in life. I don’t care how much money you have, nothing is as good as a well-functioning family. Nothing brings you more happiness than having your kids, everyone close together, everyone working together, having fun together; there’s nothing better. No money can buy that, nothing could duplicate that. I’m not my kids buddy. I’m not looking, and my kids don’t need a buddy. They need a parent. But I certainly can have fun with them and laugh with them and do all those sorts of things so that when they do become grownups themselves we have a much better relationship. And my son’s in the CHP Academy right now and he’s calling me three or four times a week and we’re just shooting the breeze “Hey Dad, how’s it going? Tell me what’s going here, what’s doing.” And I’m asking him and we have a grown-up relationship that is very, very close and that’s fantastic! I love it! And there’s nothing better. So I really would admonish you guys that if you’re interested in that sort of thing you need to do this thing. You actually can view that the material if you want to on AccountabilityConcepts.com and you guys can actually get an idea of what we’re talking about there.
LESLIE: And lest anybody be concerned about the prices and everything, just know that this is something that the public school systems have approved. So if it’s affordable enough for the public school systems then you know that it’s not going to break your pocketbook.
MATT: The assignment that I want you guys to do now, if you want to test this out go play with your kids. Watch what happens. You’d be amazed. You’ll be amazed at how much different things even function in your house just by playing with your kids. And I’m not talking about making a big deal, the dumber the things the better. If you’re kicking a ball back and forth, coloring books. Color with your little girls, or you boys. It doesn’t matter what they like to do, just whatever it is they like to do. It’s the little inserts of time that you give your children that you will get back. Remember, in the beginning every child all they wanted their parents. That’s all they want. And what happens is, because we’re so busy, we send them out, send them out, send them out. We’re the ones that actually make it so our children don’t want us anymore. Unfortunately, we’re the ones that do that and so I’m going to teach you how to use that all the way until your children leave your home.
SUSAN: That website again is AccountabilityConcepts.com?
MATT: Thanks everybody.
LESLIE: Okay, hey Matt thank you so much for doing this has been fun. Have a good night everybody.
MATT: Okay, Leslie, thanks.
LESLIE: Take care. Bye-bye.
ANNOUNCER: This concludes today’s episode of the Rare Faith podcast. You’ve been listening to Leslie Householder, author of The Jackrabbit Factor, Portal to Genius, and Hidden Treasures: Heavens Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters. All three books can be downloaded free at ararekindoffaith.com. So tell your friends and join Leslie again next time as she goes even deeper into the principles that will help you change your life.