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Many years ago I knelt
And bowed my head in prayer
Upon a checkered apron
As my mother stroked my hair.
I have knelt at many altars
Of wood, of gold, of stone;
But that gingham-covered altar
Is the sweetest I have known.
Author Unknown

We are seeing an anemic church, homes, abused children and a desperate society all too often due to AWOL mothers. (Dad, don’t despair, your turn is coming.)

[Two of the greatest leaders in the evangelical movement in England during the eighteenth century were John and Charles Wesley. Their greatness is due in large part to their godly mother, Mrs. Susannah Wesley, mother of seventeen, who reared them according to scriptural standards. Below is a letter, in part, she wrote:]

July 24, 1732
“Dear Son:
“According to your desire, I have collected the principal rules I observed in educating my family; which I now send you as they occurred to my mind, and you may dispose of them in what order you please.

“When turned a year (and some before), they were taught to fear the rod and cry softly; by which means they escaped the abundance of correction they might otherwise have had; and that most odious noise, the crying of the children was rarely heard in the house; but the family lived in much quietness as if there had not been a child among them.

“In order to form the minds of children the first thing to be done is to conquer the will, and bring them into an obedient temper. To inform the understanding is a work of time, and must with children, proceed by slow degrees as they are able to bear it; but the subjecting of the will is a thing which must be done at once, and the sooner the better.

“For by neglecting timely correction, they will contract a stubbornness and obstinacy which is hardly ever after conquered, and never without using such severity as would be painful to me as to the child. In the esteem of the world they pass for kind and indulgent parents whom I call cruel parents, who permit their children to get habits, which they know must afterward be broken. Nay, some are so stupidly fond, as in sport to teach their children to do things, which, in the after while, they have severely beaten them for doing.

“Whenever a child is corrected, it must be conquered; and this will be no hard matter to do, if it be not grown headstrong by too much indulgence. And if the will of a child is totally subdued, and if it be brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies, and inadvertencies may be passed by. Some should be overlooked and taken no notice of, and others mildly reproved. But no willful transgression ought ever to be forgiven children, without chastisement, more or less as the nature and circumstances of the offense shall require.

“I insist upon conquering the will of children betimes, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education; without which both precept and example will be ineffectual. But when this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by the reason and piety of its parents, till its own understanding comes to maturity, and the principles of religion have taken root in the mind.

“I cannot dismiss this subject. As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children insures their after wretchedness and irreligion; whatever checks and mortifies it promotes their future happiness and piety. This is still more evident if we further consider that religion is nothing else than doing the will of God, and not our own; that the one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness being this self will. No indulgence of it can be trivial, no denial unprofitable.

“Heaven or hell depends upon this alone. So that the parent who studies to subdue it in his child, works together with God in the renewing and saving of a soul. The parent who indulges it, does the Devil’s work, makes religion impractical, salvation unattainable, and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever.”

Wow! That will not only hair lip the Devil but outrage far too many church parents and even pastors. Yet, Susannah Wesley has some sound minded scriptural advice for us parents today. Moms and Dads would do well to listen and learn. Just in the past few weeks I have heard two Christian school principals comment about discipline challenges. The consensus was if the parents would cooperate and follow the school manual as agreed at enrollment the problems with discipline would be manageable. However it is usually the parent that makes the situation impossible. Sadly I can personally bare witness to pastors enabling, even championing their child’s rule violations at Christian College. A tragic testimony is a pastor/parent with a bad attitude expecting preferential treatment. None of us are perfect but there is no excuse when expectations are in writing, agreed upon in advance but to think you are “above the law”. That’s not only arrogant but sinful and may even be destuctive for an on looking generation.
May God help us to get back to His Word and follow The Masters Plan for the home!