Tuesday, June 30, 2009

J.C. Ryle, Section 1

Awhile back my sister-in-law, who lives in England, gave me this little booklet titled, The Duties of Parents written by J.C. Ryle. She has five children and is a GREAT mom so when she told me that it was one of the best little books she's read on parenting in awhile, I was definitely listening and intrigued. As I began reading, I quickly realized the old adage from King Solomon that there really is nothing new under the sun due to the fact that within the first few pages, I felt like J.C. Ryle was speaking to this generation of parents (in particular me) and yet this little book was first published in 1888. The simplicity of his words and his fervor are very inspiring and forthcoming. I thought I'd do a little series on this booklet and go through each section providing some quotes and at times some thoughts. Really, I don't know much about parenting at all. I've only been a mom for nearly four short years. I'm just going to post some quotes that were particularly meaningful, thought provoking and challenging to me. Maybe they'll be of interest to you.

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

If, then, you would deal wisely with your child, you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him...He knows not yet what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body. You do not let him decide what he shall eat, and what he shall drink, and how he shall be clothed. Be consistent, and deal with his mind in the like manner...Self-will is almost the first thing that appears in a child's mind; and it must be your first step to resist it." The Duties of Parents, J.C. Ryle pg.3-4 (emphasis mine)

All I can say to this is a hearty "Amen!" My nine-month-old shows me every day that he has a will (so do my other two) and it blows me away sometimes. Even at such a young age, he demonstrates that he wants his way a lot and when he doesn't get it, he screams. Now I'm not saying I'd handle him the same way I handle my oldest when he pitches of fit, but I'm telling you my little baby does get it. He knows the way he wants to go and it's not always good. Should I let him touch the oven just because it looks nice? Should I let him play in the garbage because it's fun? Children get it much earlier than we give them credit for. We just don't want to believe that they do. Nevertheless, we need God's grace and wisdom to know how to deal with it. Believe me, I'm still trying to figure it out and will be all the way until they're grown (and even after that I think). Ryle is right though, I think self-will is the first thing that appears and it is very hard for a parent to resist it. Any thoughts?


  1. We were just talking about this the other day...and once again Dave reminded me of this exact thing. I at times think my "baby" is still a innocent baby....but WHOA...he has a WILL! (but they all do!) Thanks again for the encouragement.