Susanna raised her family 300 years ago, but her wisdom is timeless. She was the mother of nineteen children, losing nine of them in infancy or childhood. Two of her sons founded the Methodist Movement, one was a music composer. Her husband left her for a two-year period while she bravely mothered her children with no support, spending one hour of each day of the week with each child!
She may have raised her family three centuries ago, but her 16 “house rules” are well worth applying today. Several stand out in comparison to how many children are raised in 21st century America. Rule #5 in the Wesley home: teach a child to pray as soon as they can speak. Rule #9: never allow a sinful act to go unpunished. Rule # 11: comment and reward good behavior. Rule #12: any attempt to please even if poorly performed, should be commended. Rule #14: strictly observe all promises. Rule #16: teach children to fear the rod.
Of strong Christian character, Susanna Wesley knew the importance of balanced love with her children. Too much discipline with no love leads to rebellion, too much love with no discipline leads to selfishness and a lack of empathy towards others. Mrs. Wesley knew she needed God’s Word for guidance in order to love her children with balance and raise them to love God and be productive in society. She devoted her life to this work.
We are not perfect, and our children will not be perfect, but we have a perfect Heavenly Father to guide us in caring for our children. And like Susanna Wesley, we can wisely train our children in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)