Why Parenting is Scary

As the child relates to the figurehead of parental authority, in like manner he will later be prone to relate to God. If parents allow their commands to be treated lightly, the child will take the commandments of God lightly also. Children raised by fathers who are cautious and uncertain, slow to assume command, will grow up with no fear of God and no respect for his commandments.

Pearl, To Train Up a Child, 35

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Comments

  1. Marty Altman says:

    Wow. That’s remarkable and well-stated. I’ve never heard this specific perspective on being firm before. My behavioral health experience has taught me that structure is incredibly important and that any consequences given must be fast, firm, and final…interesting! It’s also interesting, given this perspective, that the profession teaches that rewards and consequences should always be linked to the act and fitting for the “crime”. (hmm…Moses dying before the Promise Land? I think that’s firm, verbally linked, and fitting.) Granted, God both allows and gives consequences, “naturally” and “super-naturally”, but so should parents both allow and give consequences. After all, psychology is only man’s attempt to figure himself out without (sometimes with) the insight of our Creator. “…will grow up with…no respect for His commandments.” wow.

  2. We just talked about this in Bible study this morning.
    And, you are sitting right across from me so I will tell you about it.

  3. Nice quote. I like.

  4. i understand the point of this quote, but it’s too black and white. i think it puts a l too much emphasis on humanly father’s capability to fully shape a child. there is much room to be left for the Holy Spirit to do it’s boundless works of grace and mercy upon children’s regenerated hearts. i was a child raised by an uncertain AND unchurched father and upon conversion at a very young age, i had an instant fear and understanding of God and His law. in spite of the shortcomings of man, His grace persevered and kept me. so, to say that a child will grow up with “NO fear” or “NO respect”- i am living proof this is not true.

  5. Good point, JD.

    I think there’s sort of an implicit “Humanly speaking…” in warnings like this. Lots of children with lousy fathers are saved by God’s grace- I the point the author is making is that if the human father abdicates his role, the kid is spiritually worse off, but if he plays the role well (also by the HS), the kid is spiritually better off. (You could imagine one of Paul’s hypothetical objectors running off with your example and saying “See? It doesn’t matter how we parent our kids!”)

    Also, the fact that it’s a book about parenting, not about conversion, might have led him to oversimplify.

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