Susannah Wesley was married at age 19 to Samuel Wesley, a minister, and had 19 children. Samuel was often gone for church meetings and revivals, so she assumed the primary load in raising the children. Two of her sons are well-known to us today: John and Charles Wesley. John launched the Methodist movement, and Charles was a celebrated composer and hymn-writer. You would recognize some of his music such as “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.”
Susannah Wesley spent time each day praying for her 19 children. She also took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters. She also expected each child to be able to read the Book of Genesis by the time he or she was 6 years child.
Here are her famous 16 rules of raising children:
1. Eating between meals not allowed.
2. As children, they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.
3. They are required to take medicine without complaining.
4. Subdue self-will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child’s soul.
5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
6. Require all to be still during family worship.
7. Give them nothing that they cry for and only that when asked for politely.
8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
11. Comment and reward good behavior.
12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.
14. Strictly observe all promises.
15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
16. Teach children to fear the rod. (from Victor Yap)
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