Home motherhood/family/parenting Training Your Children Means Watching Over Their Souls

Training Your Children Means Watching Over Their Souls

by Kelly Crawford

Could it be that the gravest mistake a parent can make in the upbringing of his children is a disregard for the way things will impact them eternally?  A disregard for their souls?

The noise of our culture is so loud, pushing us to clamor for what we think will make our children “successful”, popular, happy and secure.  We sacrifice our time, money and often tranquility to ensure our children get what the world says they need.

But what of their souls?  Do we labor as much there?  Are we willing to sacrifice all for the sake of their souls?

Even as Christians, there is a pressure to not be too different, though we *say* “love not the world nor the things in the world”.  But what is our goal?  Are we training them for the best life here–this one that is fading, or for the only life that will last?

J.C. Ryle articulates this important truth beautifully…

“Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if you truly love them, then often think about their souls. Nothing should concern you as greatly as their eternal destiny. No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die.

“This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all that 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?’

“A true Christian must not be a slave to what’s currently ‘in-fashion,’ if he wants to train his child for heaven. He must not be content to teach them and instruct them in certain ways, merely because it is customary, or to allow them to read books of a questionable sort, merely because everybody else reads them, or to let them form bad habits, merely because they are the habits of the day. He must train with an eye to his children’s souls. He must not be ashamed to hear his training called odd and strange. What if it is? The time is short—the customs of this world are passing away. He that has trained his children for heaven, rather than for the earth—for God, rather than for man—he is the parent that will be called wise in the end.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Quote courtesy of J.C. Ryle Quotes

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Mrs. Santos January 9, 2011 - 12:17 am

Absolutely! Reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ famous quote: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

Beth January 9, 2011 - 1:13 am

Wow. Just wow.

Tiana Krenz January 9, 2011 - 8:22 am


Joy Horton January 9, 2011 - 8:30 am

A big-fat AMEN!! (LOVE J.C. Ryle!)

Beth West January 9, 2011 - 8:33 am

Thanks Kelly. Great quote!

shelly January 9, 2011 - 10:29 am

Your posts always minister to and equip me. Thank you for always being sensitive to the Lord’s leading. Timely, indeed.
Blessings to you!

Michelle January 9, 2011 - 2:11 pm

Love the quote! I may have to repost this.Thanks for the encouraging reminder of what is most important in raising our children.

Kim M January 9, 2011 - 2:37 pm

Do you mind sharing what book or sermon that is from? That is fantastic!

Word Warrior January 9, 2011 - 4:10 pm


I subscribe to this site which sends me the Ryle quotes…


Kim M January 9, 2011 - 7:30 pm

Thanks! I must do the same!

Erik January 9, 2011 - 8:11 pm


Thanks so much letting your readers know of J.C. Ryle. Much appreciated.

My goal over at the J.C. Ryle Quotes site has been to expose as many folks as possible to the works of Ryle, for the glory of God and the benefit of Christ’s church. I trust your readers will find that Ryle’s quotes will point them to Christ and aid them in their Christian walk. Though Ryle be dead, he yet speaks.

Keep up the insightful posts Kelly!

Soli Deo Gloria! [To God Alone Be the Glory!]

~ Erik Kowalker


Word Warrior January 9, 2011 - 9:13 pm

Thanks for dropping in Erik. I also added your link to the post 😉

Kendal January 9, 2011 - 4:22 pm

fantastic! I will definitely have to repost this on my blog!

PuddingsMom January 9, 2011 - 5:36 pm

This is so timely! I just had a cousin ask me about my 21-month-old daughter’s socialization. I mean, she’s not even 2 yet and I get pressured to throw her in with the pack of unbelievers’ children -people that I don’t even know! I just held my 29 week belly and told her, “This is what I’m doing about it”. But she doesn’t get it, she even said, “I mean with 20 other children”. As if that were necessary! She kept going on and asked, “But what if she’s anti-social?” I’m thinking in my head: She’s here talking and playing with you and at yesterday’s family gathering she was dancing in front of everyone. I mean sheeeesh! One will never make people happy I tell ‘ya.

This literally happened 45 mins ago, and I just thank you so much for posting this Kelly. My cousin reminded me of that homeschooling robot bear video. Wow!

Word Warrior January 9, 2011 - 6:29 pm


Keep holding the line. The thinking that so easily overtakes our culture…to think that only about a hundred years ago, the idea of “socialization” outside the family would have seemed absurd. I still get baffled as to why parents really want their children to be socialized by other children who largely can’t sit still, don’t obey, yell in places they shouldn’t and grow up to be noticeable “unsociable” with those outside their peer group. It seems the topic would speak for itself, and yet in the face of all the evidence we still keep verbalizing this “socialization mantra”. Color me baffled.

PuddingsMom January 9, 2011 - 5:42 pm

I had feelings of doubt creeping in, until I saw your post. I am feeling much better and I am confident in the way I am raising my children for Christ. God bless you Kelly.

Susan McCurdy January 10, 2011 - 11:09 am

Thanks for the reminder today to live with eternity in mind. I’ve had a rough week of “training” my children to do things Biblically even when it means being maligned as “pharisaical” and being misunderstood. Church discipline is a process and I’m grateful for a church that takes it seriously. Sometimes, though, my children have a hard time discerning between when to show love and when to wait for repentance. That ends up making mom and dad appear to be the “bad” guys…oh well..I must endure hardness as good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Jennifer Worthylake January 16, 2011 - 11:16 pm

I read ‘Duties of Parents’ and absolutely LOVED it! In fact, your end quote is one of my most favorite parts of his book. Thank you for sharing, as always.


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