The most serious neglect of parents is the general disregard of the souls of their children. Children are born with a sinful nature that leaves them guilty and punishable by God, yet since the time of Adam, they have received their pollution from their parents. For this reason, God requires parents to teach and to train their children. How heartless, then are those parents who have not so much compassion as to bring them up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

      The Hebrew words “ben” –“a son”, “bath” –“a daughter”, and “beth” – “a house”, all come from the same root word “bana” meaning “to build”, for a son and a daughter, like a house, must be “built.” How calloused ate they who take more care about the building of a house than the building of their children! How cruel, if the never-dying souls of children are left to be finally damned through the neglect of their parents!

     But since Adam sinned, children are born in ignorance, and if they are not to remain forever alienated from God, they must be taught Doctrine. On account of their evil nature, they must be taught Discipline. They must be taught their lack of Christ, the worth of Christ, and how to come to Christ. Therefore, God commands, “train them up.” Give them the first “dip”; that is, “initiate” them in the way they should go at the outset of their education.

     There is a way they would go, but parents are to instruct them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). “Train them up” “when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6,7), because

The twig is bent, the tree inclined –
And, so their heart, and soul, and mind.

      Christian parents promise God to rear their children in the fear of the Lord, but they easily promise, and easily break it, and through their indulgence educate their children for the world, the flesh, and the devil. This betrayal of the souls of their children will lie heavy upon them in time and eternity. Children are born unto God; parents are but stewards, and a day of reckoning is promised.

     Parents are inclined to love their children much, but only God can teach them to love them wisely. Affection without discipline will result in love without respect, and will evidence itself in back-talk and disobedience. However, discipline without affection will result in fear without love, and will end in rebellion.

      Unless children are disciplined, they will die in their sins. Therefore, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:13,14). Again, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).

     The simple neglect of our children brings the parent to shame, and barring intervention by God, seals their damnation. If left to their own spirit, they will be miserable in time and eternity. “Withhold it not” despite pleas and pity. Correct them lovingly, but firmly. Take time to instruct them in the way they should go. Then seal discipline with prayer.

     “Correct thy son” is a command. To try more appealing ways is to set up your will in opposition to the will of God. Eli was cursed because he honored his sons above God, and did not restrain them from their evil way (I Samuel 2:29, 30; 3:11-14).

    “Let us bring our children as near to heaven as we can,” wrote Thomas Hooker. If you have any compassion for your children, show them how they are to conduct themselves. Lead them – because principle without example is hypocrisy. Labor that by the grace of God they may have an early knowledge of the Saviour. Then, pray incessantly for them because your work will not be done until you, or they, are in the grave.