C h i l d r e n....N o t e s ,  P a g e  2
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Wise words to help you with your children's upbringing, comprised from The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle.
    "...The world is old, and we have the experience of nearly six thousand years to help us. We live in days when there is a mighty zeal for education in every quarter. We hear of new schools rising on all sides. We are told of new systems, and new books for the young, of every sort and description. And still for all this, the vast majority of children are manifestly not trained in the way they should go, for when they grow up to man’s estate, they do not walk with God. Now how shall we account for this state of things? The plain truth is, the Lord’s commandment in our text is not regarded; and therefore the Lord’s promise in our text is not fulfilled.
    "Let everyone ask himself the question, 'Am I in this matter doing what I can?' A child 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.
    "If you cannot make up your mind to this first principle of Christian training, it is useless for you to read any further. Self will is almost the first thing that appears in a child’s mind; and it must be your first step to resist it.
    "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. Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, —these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, —these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart. Few are to be found, even among grown up people, who are not more easy to draw than to drive. There is that in all our minds which rises in arms against compulsion; we set up our backs and stiffen our necks at the very idea of a forced obedience. We are like young horses in the hand of a breaker: handle them kindly, and make much of them, and by and by you may guide them with thread; use them roughly and violently, and it will be many a month before you get the mastery of them at all. Now children’s minds are cast in much the same mould as our own. Sternness and severity of manner chill them and throw them back. It shuts up their hearts, and you will weary yourself to find the door. But let them only see that you have an affectionate feeling towards them, —that you are really desirous to make them happy, and do them good, —that if you punish them, it is intended for their profit, and that, like the pelican, you would give your heart’s blood to nourish their souls; let them see this, I say, and they will soon be all your own. But they must be wooed with kindness, if their attention is ever to be won. And surely reason itself might teach us this lesson. Children are weak and tender creatures, and, as such, they need patient and considerate treatment. We must handle them delicately, like frail machines, lest by rough fingering we do more harm than good. They are like young plants, and need gentle watering, —often, but little at a time. We must not expect all things at once. We must remember what children are, and teach them as they are able to bear. Their minds are like a lump of metal— not to be forged and made useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows. Their understandings are like narrow necked vessels: we must pour in the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spilled and lost. Isaiah 28:9,10 "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.".Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, must be our rule. The whetstone does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe to a fine edge. Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done. Nothing will compensate for the absence of this tenderness and love. Just as you must set before your children their duty, —command, threaten, punish, reason, —but if affection be wanting in your treatment, your labour will be all in vain. Love is one grand secret of successful training. Anger and harshness may frighten, but they will not persuade the child that you are right; and if he sees you often out of temper, you will soon cease to have his respect. A father who speaks to his son as Saul did to Jonathan (1Samuel 20:30) need not expect to retain his influence over that son’s mind. Try hard to keep up a hold on your child’s affections. It is a dangerous thing to make your children afraid of you. This produces reserve and constraint between your child and yourself; and this will come in with fear. Fear puts an end to openness of manner; —fear leads to concealment; —fear sows the seed of much hypocrisy, and leads to many a lie. There is a mine of truth in the Apostle’s words to the Colossians:.Colossians 3:21 "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged"..Let not the advice it contains be overlooked.
    "We are made what we are by training. Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends upon you. Character takes the form of that mould into which our first years are cast. God gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay. He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger’s. He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good. See that the opportunity be not neglected, and thrown away. Once let slip, it is gone for ever.
    "If you love your children, think often of their souls. No interest should weigh with you so much as their eternal interests. No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die.
    "Soul love is the soul of all love. To pet and pamper and indulge your child, as if this world was all he had to look to, and this life the only season for happiness —to do this is not true love, but cruelty. It is treating him like some beast of the earth, which has but one world to look to, and nothing after death. It is hiding from him that grand truth, which he ought to be made to learn from his very infancy, —that the chief end of his life is the salvation of his soul.
    "Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible. You cannot make your children love the Bible, I allow. None but the Holy Ghost can give us a heart to delight in the Word. But you can make your children acquainted with the Bible. A thorough knowledge of the Bible is the foundation of all clear views of the knowledge of God. He that is well grounded in it will not generally be found a waverer, and carried about by every wind of new doctrine (such as the idiot religion of evolution). Any system of training which does not make a knowledge of Scripture the first thing is unsafe and unsound. Read the Bible to them and explain it as best you can. Teach them it really is the word of God, from God who inspired men to write what He wanted humans to know about Him and about them. Tell them of sin, its guilt, its consequences, its power, its vileness: you will find they can comprehend something of this. Tell them of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His work for our salvation, —the atonement, the cross, the blood, the sacrifice, the intercession (these are all in this site): you will discover there is something not beyond them in all this. Tell them of the work of the Holy Spirit in man’s heart, how He changes, and renews, and sanctifies, and purifies: you will soon see they can go along with you in some measure in this. In short, I suspect we have no idea how much a little child can take in of the length and breadth of the glorious gospel. They see far more of these things than we suppose. Fill their minds with Scripture. Let the Word dwell in them richly -Colossians 3:16. Give them the Bible, the whole Bible, even while they are young. As to the age when instruction of a child should begin, no general rule can be laid down. The mind seems to open in some children much more quickly than in others. We seldom begin too early. There are wonderful examples on record of what a child can attain to, even at three years old. 

"Train them to pray. Find a good church and take them to it, and be sure you have them sit near you when they are there. Keep them involved with you in things spiritual -Acts 21:5. Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word preached, and that it is God’s ordinance for converting, sanctifying, and building up the souls of men. Tell them how the Apostle Paul enjoins us not "to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is" -Hebrews 10:25, but to exhort one another, to stir one another up. As they are under your roof, it should be a rule of your house for every one in health to honour the Lord’s house upon the Lord’s day (Sunday), and that you reckon one breaking this rule to be a murderer of his own soul. To go to church is one thing, but to behave well at church is quite another. And believe me, there is no security for good behaviour like that of having them under your own eye. The minds of young people are easily drawn aside, and their attention lost, and every possible means should be used to counteract this.

"Train them to a habit of faith. I mean by this, you should train them up to believe what you say. You should try to make them feel confidence in your judgment, and respect your opinions, as better than their own. You should accustom them to think that, when you say a thing is bad for them, it must be bad, and when you say it is good for them, it must be good; that your knowledge, in short, is better than their own, and that they may rely implicitly on your word. Teach them to feel that what they know not now, they will probably know hereafter, and to be satisfied there is a reason and a needs be for everything you require them to do.
    "Who indeed can describe the blessedness of a real spirit of faith? Or rather, who can tell the misery that unbelief has brought upon the world? Unbelief made Eve eat the forbidden fruit, —she doubted the truth of God’s word: “Ye shall surely die.” Unbelief made the old world reject Noah’s warning, and so perish in sin. Unbelief kept Israel in the wilderness, —it was the bar that kept them from entering the promised land. Unbelief made the Jews crucify the Lord of glory, — they believed not the voice of Moses and the prophets, though read to them every day. And unbelief is the reigning sin of man’s heart down to this very hour, —unbelief in God’s promises, —unbelief in God’s threatenings, —unbelief in our own sinfulness, —unbelief in our own danger, —unbelief in everything that runs counter to the pride and worldliness of our evil hearts. Reader, you train your children to little purpose if you do not train them to a habit of implicit faith, —faith in their parents’ word, confidence that what their parents say must be right. I have heard it said by some, that you should require nothing of children which they cannot understand that you should explain and give a reason for everything you desire them to do. I warn you solemnly against such a notion. I tell you plainly, I think it an unsound and rotten principle. No doubt it is absurd to make a mystery of everything you do, and there are many things which it is well to explain to children, in order that they may see that they are reasonable and wise. But to bring them up with the idea that they must take nothing on trust, that they, with their weak and imperfect understandings, must have the "why" and the “wherefore” made clear to them at every step they take, —this is indeed a fearful mistake, and likely to have the worst effect on their minds. Reason with your child if you are so disposed, at certain times, but never forget to keep him in mind (if you really love him) that he is but a child after all, —that he thinks as a child, he understands as a child, and therefore must not expect to know the reason of everything at once. Set before him the example of Isaac, in the day when Abraham took him to offer him on Mount Moriah. {#Ge 22} He asked his father that single question, “Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” and he got no answer but this, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” How, or where, or whence, or in what manner, or by what means, —all this Isaac was not told; but the answer was enough. He believed that it would be well, because his father said so, and he was content. Tell your children, too, that we must all be learners in our beginnings."


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"Self conquest is the greatest of all victories."
... Plato's advice resonates 2400 years later.
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