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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh, Susanna! Part II


Here are a couple of more parenting tips from Susanna Wesley's letter to her grown son John:

That no child should ever be chid or beat twice for the same fault; and that, if they amended, they should never be upbraided with it afterwards.

That every signal act of obedience, especially when it crossed upon their own inclinations, should be always commended and frequently rewarded, according to the merits of the case.

That if ever any child performed an act of obedience, or did anything with an intention to please, though the performance was not well, yet the obedience and intention should be kindly accepted; and the child with sweetness directed how to do better for the future.


Yesterday I had occasion to correct my son for reacting in anger to his siblings and neighbor friends when things didn't go his way as he played outside. After I gave him a stern talking-to about the way he should be acting, he tearfully told me, "But Mom, I can't! I don't know how!"

What an honest answer! We see that our sin is wrong, but we can't figure out how to stop. Praise be to God that I can tell my son, "You're right. You can't. At least not by yourself." How hopeless it would be if we didn't have the promise of Jesus' righteousness.

We had a little talk about calling on Jesus to help him have self-control and ended by praying together. I know exactly how he feels, for I struggle with the same problem, as did Paul.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Romans 7:15 (ESV)


I love Susanna Wesley's reminders to watch for acts of obedience in our children, especially when it crossed their own inclinations, and be sure to reward and praise that action.

How do you encourage your children when you spot their victory over sinful behavior?

Image of Susanna Wesley from the following website: John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/wesley/
Click here to read my previous post: Oh, Susanna! which includes some other excerpts from Susanna Wesley's letter to John Wesley.

1 comment:

mom24 said...

This is escpecially poigniant when we remmber just how many children Susanna Wesley had to admonish and direct to'sweetness'! (I was in fact just reading about her son John's ministry.)
I found this to be even more effective in training my 2nd child than my 1st (not that he doesn't need to be given direction or praise - I just didn't realize it's importance until I had a very vocal and outward acting 2nd child). Sometimes we just take for granted that they should already know how to respond or act!
Very nice post topic - thanks!

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