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Introduction to the The Duties of Parents
Every Christian parent desires sound wisdom and guidance in raising their children. Particularly at various stages of our children’s growth, we parents feel this need for help. Brand new parents of a baby are keenly interested in the best guidance they can find on how to do just about everything they need to do with that baby. As the baby grows the new parent discovers they need to understand what discipline is and how to do discipline. As children grow and approach the age for school is another time parents feel their great need for knowledge and careful discernment. The transition from childhood into the teen-age years is another time of massive change in the child and another time parents often become intensely aware of their need for wisdom and insight. At least this has been the experience of my wife and I as we raise our eight children. Between the two of us, we have sought the counsel of many godly, older parents and have read a lot of good books along the way.
In the flood of many books and so much advice there stands the need for a clear, simple guidebook of principles for parenting. This guidebook should be soundly biblical, short, easy to understand, really practical yet never lose focus on the enduring, God-ordained principles for parenting. Parents need a simple and clear reference that brings them back to the foundational principles of parenting no matter what the age of their children. The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle is exactly that guidebook! Ryle states the single most important priority for parents and directs all of the rest of his practical advice to this great concern. He says, “The soul of your child is the first thing to be considered...” This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, “How will this affect their souls?”
Pastor Ryle gives us seventeen practical pieces of advice all in approximately 54 pages!
He is concise. It seems he had the busy parent in mind! His style is direct yet warm and friendly. Ryle was a pastor writing to his flock. But his style is like a godly grandfather writing to his own adult children for the good of his own grandchildren. Though simple, his words are memorable. For instance, he states, “If you would train your children rightly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way they would go.” Or this. In stating that parents must “Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible” he says: “But if you love your children, let the simple Bible be everything in the training of their souls; and let all other books go down and take the second place.”
After the Bible itself, this little book is perhaps the single best book on parenting. Although it was first published in 1888, it contains truly timeless wisdom for the Christian parent. It is just as relevant today as when it was written. It is a must read and reread for every parent. I have reread this little book many times over the years in order to bring me back again to those most important parenting principles and priorities.
May the Lord Jesus bring salvation to your home and, by His grace, use you to grow a glorious and godly heritage in your home.

Michael Cox

Christ Community Bible Church
Oakhurst, California
July, 17 2015