Parenting Thoughts from a Puritan

John Flavel

“John Flavel” by James Hopwood, ca. 1752-1819, printmaker, Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection

Last week, Tim Challies posted “8 Items for Christian Parents to Ponder.” Here is his very intriguing introduction to the post:

The other day, the old Puritan John Flavel took me out back and slapped me around for a while (metaphorically, of course). I have been reading his classic work The Mystery of Providence and he dedicates the second chapter to an explanation of why we need to worship God for his kind providence in our childhood…

Along the way he includes a brief but powerful section in which he exhorts parents in the duties they have in raising their children. He wants you, the parent, to seriously consider the responsibility that God has entrusted to you for each one of your children.

Here is a very brief summary of the 8 items:

    1. Consider the intimacy of the relationship between you and your children, and, therefore, how much their happiness or misery is your concern.
    2. Consider that God has charged you to tend not only to their bodies, but also to their souls.
    3. Consider what could possibly comfort you at the time of your children’s death if, through your neglect, they die in a Christless condition.
    4. Consider this question: If you neglect to instruct your children in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness?
    5. Consider that if the years of your children’s youth are neglected, there is little probability of any good fruit afterwards.
    6. Consider that you are the instrumental cause of all your children’s spiritual misery, both by generation and imitation, by birth and by example.
    7. Consider that there is no one in the world more likely than you to be instruments of their eternal good.
    8. Consider the great day of judgment and be moved with pity for your children.

To put each of these considerations in the proper context and avoid any misunderstanding as to what Flavel is saying and not saying (i.e., he is not saying that parents are ultimate in their child’s belief or unbelief) read the ENTIRE article here.

 

 

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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