My Ten Commandments for Training Children


My wife is pregnant with my tenth child, and I’ve been reminiscing how blessed we are. It’s not often parents go into double digits.

When my wife and I married, we decided we wanted as many children as the Lord would give us (reserving the right to change our mind, of course.) However, in the 17 years we have been married, it has never occurred to me even for a moment that we should stop having kids. They are our greatest blessings in life, and our greatest enjoyments.

These are my Ten Commandments for Training Children.


1. Be Proactive

“Train up a child in the way he should go,” Proverbs 22 teaches. Good training isn’t primarily reactive, it’s proactive. What kind of horse-trainer would wait for a horse to disobey and then respond accordingly? The horse-trainer, through positive and negative reinforcement, trains away the little episodes of disobedience, making it unlikely to buck or kick the rider later. We should be proactive to teach obedience to our children in the small things, and not wait for disobedience to train.

Did God just set Adam and Eve in the Garden and leave them to themselves? No – He issued a just commandment, “Don’t eat of this tree,” and prescribed an appropriate penalty, “in the day that you eat thereof you will surely die.” He wasn’t reactive, he was proactive. He daily fellowshipped with them, perhaps reminding them and encouraging them, giving them reasons to obey. When they sinned, He was kept His word.

You don’t have to wait until your child grows up to train. The “terrible two’s” are a product of waiting too long to train. You can teach them the meaning of “Yes” and “No” and train them to submit to your authority long before they can intellectually grasp the concepts, long before their consciences are even functioning.

Be proactive. Don’t child-proof your home. Home-proof your children. Don’t wait for a temper-tantrum. Set one up, and train them to obey cheerfully and quickly. You’re stronger than them. You’re smarter than them. Act like it.

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