Do you ever wonder what the secret is to being a good parent? My wife and I have an ongoing conversation in which we do not debate whether our children will be in counseling, but how long it will be as a result of our parenting.
Being a Parent Isn’t Easy
This goes all the way back to Adam and Eve who were the first parents to have to deal with sin in themselves and in their kids. Although Abel turned out well, Cain was a tougher case – and he pretty much ruined it for the whole family.
As a result, God made it very clear to Moses that parenting was a major part of being in the covenant. Parents have certain responsibilities to their kids. Many of us have read what Moses says about parenting, as well as the other places in the Bible that discuss the parental roles. But it can sometimes be difficult to see just how we should be applying these principles on a daily basis.
Meet J.C. Ryle
An Evangelical Anglican Bishop from the 19th-century, Ryle wrote a short but very important work that simplifies and explains what makes a good parent.
I pick up The Duties of Parents every few years and re-read it, always surprising myself at how much I have forgotten (and therefore am not doing). A sampling of the titles to the brief chapters are instructive:
- Tenderness, Affection, and Patience
- Consider the Soul of Your Child
- A Knowledge of the Bible
- A Habit of Prayer
- Fear Over-Indulgence
He explains his purpose in the introduction:
Reader, these things may well give rise to great searchings of heart. Suffer then a word of exhortation from a minister, about the right training of children. Believe me, the subject is one that should come home to every conscience, and make every one ask himself the question, “Am I in this matter doing what I can?”
It is a subject that concerns almost all. There is hardly a household that it does not touch. Parents, nurses, teachers, godfathers, godmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, — all have an interest in it. Few can be found, I think, who might not influence some parent in the management of his family, or affect the training of some child by suggestion or advice. All of us, I suspect, can do something here, either directly or indirectly, and I wish to stir up all to bear this in remembrance.
The Secret to Being a Good Parent
There are 17 chapters in the book, although it’s a slender volume that could easily be read in one sitting. I personally believe it is the single best book on parenting ever written, and it contains every secret a parent would ever need to being a good parent and raising godly children. I certainly won’t say it’s easy – our sin and our children’s sin makes implementation difficult; but it is absolutely based on Biblical principles that provide the only path forward for us. It is a book filled with wisdom and grace: something every parent needs lots of.
After all, what you are doing as a parent is so vitally important not only to your own family, but to the entire next generation of our country and our world. The kingdom of God does not grow by leaps and hurdles, but by small and tender shoots poking up from the ground. I suspect that a number of those tender shoots are under your care. May God bless your family.
Since I know you’re now wondering how you can get a copy of this wonderful little book, we offer a free digital version in our store in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB formats. This book is actually one of our top downloads – and for good reason. We hope it encourages you in your most-important calling.