Raising Children Right

9 February 2008 — Leave a comment

I came across this quote on Taking Thoughts Captive from Martin Luther the German theologian and reformer from the 16th century regarding how Christian parents should raise their children:

If [bringing up children in the fear and knowledge of God above all things] were done, God would also richly bless us and give us grace to train men by whom land and people might be improved. He would also bless us with well-educated citizens, chaste and domestic wives, who, afterward, would raise godly children and servants. Here consider now what deadly harm you are doing if you are negligent and fail on your part to bring up your children to usefulness and piety. Consider how you bring upon yourself all sin and wrath, earning hell by your own children, even though you are otherwise pious and holy. Because this matter is disregarded, God so fearfully punishes the world that there is no discipline, government or peace. We all complain about this but do not see that is is our fault. The way we train children and subjects spoils them and makes them disobedient.

(Large Catechism, The Fourth Commandment)

Well 500 years later his observations are still true and the problem is certainly magnified (if not quite “no discipline, government or peace”). Taking Thoughts Captive has some great views on this regarding youth ministry:

Luther reminds us that the piety of parents is of no avail if the training and discipling of our children consists of shuffling them off to amusing (literally), relevant, worldly, youth ministry events that are more focused on being hip, cool, and trendy than they are teaching the true Word of God.

Any thoughts on the role of youth workers as surrogate parents and the lack of parental discipline?


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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

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