Parental Duties (Part 9)

We apologize for our lack of posting frequency in recent days, but we’re excited to jump back in to J.C. Ryle’s “The Duties of Parents” today! In this straight-forward section of his paper, Ryle challenges parents:

Train them to a habit of obedience.

We touched on this a little bit in the last entry, but we thought it’d be helpful to review…

It is easy for us as parents to let disobedience slide in our children. When they are small and disobey, we might think that they just didn’t understand what we were asking–or that they will hate us if we are too firm with them. When they are grade-school age and disobey or put up a fuss, we might think that it’s not worth the fight to discipline them and enforce our expectations on them. When they are teenagers and disobey, we might just give up, thinking our son or daughter is beyond the reach of our correction.

But, as Christian parents, we must not let disobedience slide in our children. We must push, prod, discipline, and call them to obedience…all the time.

Ryle says it well:

Parents, determine to make your children obey you, though it may cost you much trouble, and cost them many tears. Let there be no questioning, and reasoning, and disputing, and delaying, and answering again. When you give them a command, let them see plainly that you will have it done…Children cannot learn too soon that this is a world in which we are not all intended to rule, and that we are never in our right place until we know to obey our betters. Teach them to obey while young, or else they will be fretting against God all their lives long, and wear themselves out with the vain idea of being independent of His control….You must not wonder that men refuse to obey their Father which is in heaven, if you allow them, when children, to disobey their Father, who is on earth.

Much–if not all–of discipleship is about teaching a person to obey God above all others–most notably, above himself. If we let our children disobey us as the God-given authorities in their lives and to just follow the whims of their own desires, how can we call them to obey Him with any sense of urgency or necessity in their eyes? Could it be that they will project our lack of follow-through onto the Heavenly Father and presume upon His grace?

Discipline and correction are hard tasks, but they are necessary none the less if we are to help our children see their need to be subject to the Father.


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