I was reading about a remarkable woman who lived several hundred years ago in England. Susannah Wesley had nineteen children and often had to provide for them alone because her husband was often absent for long periods of time. Every evening, she would set aside time to devote her full attention on one of the children alone and have private quality time together. Each evening it was a different child. She also began to educate them when they turned five. They received a classical education, which was common in England at that time. Their education included Latin and Greek. She was also a woman who practiced personal devotions daily.
Two of her sons, John and Charles, went into ministry and through their prolific teaching, writing, and music, forever changed the culture of England. Her tireless efforts to raise a Godly family were felt for generations after she was gone. She demonstrates the truth that the effects of motherhood can be felt far beyond the immediate family for generations to come.
Her philosophy for rearing children is simple yet powerful. Notice what she writes about raising children:
"When the will of a child is totally subdued, and it is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies ...may be passed by. . . . I insist on the conquering of the will of children betimes, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education ... when this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by reason and piety."
This philosophy of raising children is probably what lay behind the simple rules she laid down for her home. Here are those 16 rules that enabled her to raise children who loved the Lord.
- Eating between meals not allowed.
- As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.
- They are required to take medicine without complaining.
- Subdue self- will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child's soul.
- To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
- Require all to be still during Family Worship.
- Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.
- To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
- Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
- Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
- Comment and reward good behavior.
- Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
- Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.
- Strictly observe all promises.
- Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
- Teach children to fear the rod.
Truly motherhood is a great blessing that can be felt for generations to come.