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Fathers' Day Exhortation

Posted By Connie Moody, Friday, June 15, 2012

Fathers’ Day Exhortation,

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. 70-77

"John Adams was devoted to the education of his children. His thoughts were expressed many times in his correspondence to Mrs. Adams:

      Human 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. . . .

      It 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.

      But 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


Seeing 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.

Tags:  duty  fathers day  reason 

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