"Parents, determine to make your children obey you, though it may cost you much trouble and cost them many tears...when you give a command let them see plainly that you will have it done."
This point is made clear multiple places in the Scripture. Ephesians 6:1 and the fifth commandment are two that come immediately to mind. This is exhausting, often discouraging, work. It helps to remember, as Ryle reminds us, that training them to obey you goes a long way toward training them to obey God. "Teach them to obey while young, or else they will be fretting against God all their lives long, and wear themselves out with the vain idea of being independent of His control."
A happy child is one who knows that Mom and Dad are in charge.
10. Train them to a habit of always speaking the truth.
God is often presented to us in the Old Testament as "the God of Truth." Surely it is an attribute He would have us cultivate in ourselves and our children. Ryle also points out that being able to trust your child's word goes a long way toward your own comfort and assistance in dealing with him. I would rather have my child confess his wrong than to find out later that he lied about it. The children have some friends who like to tell incredible stories. The boys know that a lot of what they say is not true. The problem is that it has come to the point where they don't really believe anything these friends tell them. And, as Caleb told me the other day, "one lie always leads to another and another."
11. Train them to a habit of always redeeming the time.
Oh, yes...this is a struggle at my house. I get very frustrated when my children come to me and say that they are bored. They have healthy bodies and minds and more than enough toys, but they are bored. I don't know why they even come to me with this complaint, because it almost always gets them at least two or three chores to do immediately. I like Ryle's reminder that all creatures were made for work. The angels in heaven work as they serve the Lord. A horse is never so healthy or happy as when he has work to do. Our bodies whither when they do not have regular work to do. I have found that we are all much happier when we have enough work to do that, when we have free time, we are thankful for it. I want to meet this challenge head on as summer approaches. We will have less school work but, by God's grace, we will have lots of things to keep our bodies and minds busy.
All of these "tips" remind me again of my utter dependence on the grace of Christ. It is only by His grace that we can train the little ones that He has entrusted to us. It is also only by His grace that they can learn to do what is pleasing to Him.