The Duties of Parents

Tim carries a reluctant hiker in western Canada some years ago.

Parenting takes courage. It requires stamina and fortitude. Above all, it necessitates faith.

Book after book has been written telling us how to raise children. Under the "Family" tab at Christian Book Distributors, I came up with 507 pages! In the 30 years we've been parents, Tim and I have read a number of such books. But of all these there is one that stands far, far above all the rest. I believe it to be the most important book on Christian parenting ever.  It's not new, trendy, or heavily marketed. In fact, you can read it for free. And did I mention that it is very short?

What book(let) is this?

J. C. Ryle's The Duties of Parents

Bishop Ryle, a 19th century evangelical Anglican pastor, describes what parents must do in seventeen statements which he then explains more fully. Here are the seventeen points:

1. First, then, if you would train your children rightly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that they would.

2. Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and patience. I do not mean that you are to spoil him, but I do mean that you should let him see that you love him.

3. Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends upon you.

4. Train with this thought continually before your eyes--that the soul of your child is the first thing to be considered.

5. Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible.  

Screensaver recently put on family computer by the formerly moody hiker.
He's growing up!

6. Train them to a habit of prayer. 

7. Train them to habits of diligence, and regularity about public means of grace.

8. Train them to a habit of faith.

9. Train them to a habit of obedience.

10. Train them to a habit of always speaking the truth.

11. Train them to a habit of always redeeming the time.

12. Train them with a constant fear of over-indulgence.

13. Train them remembering continually how God trains His children.

14. Train them remembering continually the influence of your own example.

15. Train them remembering continually the power of sin.

16. Train them remembering continually the promises of Scripture.

17. Train them, lastly, with continual prayer for a blessing on all you do.

Print yourself a copy of Ryle's exceedingly helpful book. (It should take only around 20 pages.) Then read it. Pray through it. And consider re-reading annually!


theologista said…
Thank you for the recommendation on this! I'd heard good things about it and wanted to check it out, but now I definitely want to make it a priority if you are saying it is the best you have read.

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