Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley (a preacher and a great hymn writer, the founders of Methodism ) is someone I look up to a lot, especially as I enter a new season of motherhood. She endured between 17 and 19 pregnancies but only had ten surviving children, whom she raised with strictness but love. I want my little boy to feel the same sense of security that her children had, and to see the same example of love for God.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from her life: her 16 house rules (here’s my source).
1. Eating between meals not allowed.
2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.
3. They are required to take medicine without complaining.
4. Subdue self- will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child’s soul.
5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.
7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.
8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
11. Comment and reward good behavior.
12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.
14. Strictly observe all promises.
15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
16. Teach children to fear the rod.
I had to pause at number three. What kinds of medicine were they forcing their children to take back then? Next research project, just for fun!
She sent her son John, at his request, some of her thoughts on raising children and some pieces of her experience. (A sample quote: “When turned a year old (and some before), they were taught to fear the rod, and to cry softly; by which means they escaped abundance of correction they might otherwise have had…”) Read the letter HERE.