Give your Sons
Liberty—Give them the Ability to Reason and the Capacity for Self-Government;
Command them to Keep the Way of the Lord
"So little Power does the bare act of begetting give a Man over his
issue, if all his Care ends there, and this be all the Title he hath to the
Name and Authority of a Father.
"The Power, then, that Parents
have over their Children, arises from that Duty which is incumbent on them,
to take care of their Off-spring, during the imperfect state of Childhood. To inform the Mind, and govern the Actions of
their yet ignorant Nonage, till Reason shall take its Place, and ease them of
that Trouble, is what the Children want, and the Parents are bound to. . . .
But whilst he [the child] is in an Estate, wherein he has not Understanding of his own to direct his Will, he is not to have any Will of his own to follow: He that understands
for him, must will for him too; he
must prescribe to his Will, and regulate his Actions; but when he comes to the
Estate that made his Father a Freeman,
the Son is a Freeman too.
"The Freedom then of Man, and Liberty of acting according to his own
Will, is grounded on his having Reason, which is able to instruct him in
the Law he is to govern himself by, and make him know how far is left to the
Freedom of his own Will. . . . This is that which puts the Authority into the Parents
hands to govern the Minority of their
Children. God hath made it their
business to imploy this Care on their Off-spring, and hath placed in them
suitable inclinations of Tenderness, and concern to temper this Power, to apply
it, as his Wisdom designed it, to the Childrens good, as long as they should
need to be under it.”
John Locke, "Of Paternal Power” in Of Civil Government,
Reprinted in CHOC I, p.
"John Adams was devoted to the
education of his children. His thoughts were expressed many times in his
correspondence to Mrs. Adams:
nature, with all its infirmities and deprivation, is still capable of great
things. It is capable of attaining to
degrees of wisdom and of goodness which we have reason to believe appear
respectable in the estimation of superior intelligences. Education makes a greater difference between
man and man, than nature has made between man and brute. The virtues and powers to which men may be
trained, by early education and constant discipline, are truly sublime and
astonishing. Newton and Locke are
examples of the deep sagacity which may be acquired by long habits of thinking
and study. . . .
should be your care therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children,
and exalt their courage, to accelerate and animate their industry and activity,
to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and
inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and
virtue. If we suffer their minds to
grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel and creep all their lives.
their bodies must be hardened, as well as their souls exalted. Without strength, and activity and vigor of
body, the brightest mental excellencies will be eclipsed and obscured."
Reprinted in "The Education of John Quincy Adams,”
The Christian History
of the American Revolution: Consider and Ponder, p. 606
that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations
of the earth shall be blessed in him; for I know him, that he will command his
children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that
the Lord may bring upon Abraham
that which he hath spoken of him. Genesis 18:19
God bless and Godspeed to all Fathers
who exercise their Duty and Authority
to raise up their Sons and Daughters
to keep the Way of the Lord—
For where the Spirit of the Lord reigns,
there is Liberty.