Godly parenting is more than a good idea. It must be practiced daily in front of and with our children. It is extremely hard but exceedingly honorable work.
Drawing from their years as parents of four children (who now have eighteen children of their own), the Hughes turn primarily to God’s word and secondarily to their own experiences in raising a family. The result is a very practical book that covers a wide range of topics.
The authors begin by turning their attention to the fact that a family is not an entity unto itself. It has a history of generations, a heritage. The book provides practical suggestions for passing on this heritage and how to deal with family members who have brought shame on the family name. In dealing with this sensitive issue, we are reminded that ultimately we want to emphasize our Christian heritage, whether in one generation or many. Part of building and instilling a Biblical heritage in the next generation is properly dealing with sin and shame in ourselves and in others. In this initial section many topics are covered, including promoting affection within the family and starting family traditions.
The authors devote the next section to the parents’ conveyance of spirituality. Realizing that only God can save sinners, they address the covenantal responsibilities parents have to train their children in God-centeredness. What is the role of the church in the raising of godly children? How does a parent handle a child’s doubt and nurture his conscience in a right direction? How can parents emphasize the importance of prayer? How does a family best minister to their children’s friends and, as a family, to others in the neighborhood? These and related topics are addressed in wise, practical ways.
The final section provides teaching on living daily as a godly family. What is the best way to discipline children effectively and Biblically? What manners need to be taught and how do we teach such intangibles? The last chapter in this section is devoted to guidelines for developing family enrichments in varied areas such as the arts, hospitality, and raising pets.
Appendices include practical advice. Readers can turn to these pages to find lists of movies for a home video library, recommended books sorted into age-appropriate lists, and directions for compiling a prayer notebook.
The Hughes have not shied away from their own parenting mistakes. By including these, readers can hopefully be forewarned to avoid such pitfalls, as well as be reminded that all parents are sinners and err in parenting. The solution at such times is to repent and to press forward.
Here is a book that can be turned to often for help in applying Biblical thinking and practical common sense to the highly honorable, but often taxing, calling of parenting our covenant children.
- Byron Snapp
Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia. He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina. He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren.