IT HAS BEEN ALMOST thirty years of parenting. I am amazed at how my two children have turned out as adults, and I am grateful to God. They are not perfect children, and neither are my wife and I perfect parents. But I am happy with how they are shaping up to be.
There were times when I asked myself, “What did we do right?” in raising our kids. When they were very young, I made up my mind to have only one guiding principle: that they know that my wife and I love them, no matter what. It would not matter to me if they did not ace in school. Neither would it bother me if their behaviour would need discipline once in a while. All that I wanted for them was to be persons who loved God, and loved others.
If they got this right, I reasoned, they would get other things right in their lives.
We tried to model love before them, even though I was well aware that we were not the best at it. They saw and heard how my wife and I talked openly about our differences and difficulties before them (that is being polite, we actually “fought”). They saw also how we continued to work things out, living together still and loving each other.
As a family we spent a lot of time together, just having fun, and talking with each other while at it.
I would have liked to say that we spent time together in regular family devotions and prayer. But that would not be true. I tried but all we could do was to have them occasionally. However, there were unusual moments of family prayer that were really meaningful. And if there was someone in the family who prayed for the family most, it would be the “missus”.
Sometimes I wondered whether it was simply because my wife and I were good people that my children were turning out all right.
Then recently I read a sermon by John Wesley entitled “On the Education of Children”. Noting a common observation, that “some of the best parents have the worst children”, he went on to say: “It is true, this might sometimes be the case, because good men have not always a good understanding; and, without this, it is hardly to be expected that they will know how to train up their children.
“Besides, those who are in other respects good men have often too much easiness of