Raising kids like holding wet soap…

Andy Naselli found this great quote from Kent Hughes on parenting….


Some fathers exasperate their children by being overly strict and controlling. They need to remember that rearing children is like holding a wet bar of soap—too firm a grasp and it shoots from your hand, too loose a grip and it slides away. A gentle but firm hold keeps you in control.

We cannot begin to estimate the ravages of overstrictness on the evangelical Christian community over the years. I have had occasion in my ministry to bury people who lived virtually all of their seventy years in reaction to the harsh legalism of their upbringing—lost bars no one could manage to pick up. Others were not so tragic. They came to renounce legalism Biblically and theologically, but still wrestled with it emotionally for the rest of their lives.

Why are some fathers overly strict? [1] Many because they are trying to protect their children from an increasingly Philistine culture—and smothering rules seem the best way to accomplish that. [2] Others are simply controlling personalities who use rules, money, friendship, or clout to rule their children’s lives. The Bible, read through their controlling grid, becomes a license to dominate. [3] Still others wrongly understand their faith in terms of Law rather than grace. [4] Some men are overly strict because they are concerned about what others will think. “What will they think if my child goes to this place . . . or wears this clothing . . . or is heard listening to that music?” Not a few preacher’s kids have been catapulted into rebellion because their fathers squeezed their lives to fit their parishioners’ expectations. What a massive sin against one’s children!

9781581347586R. Kent Hughes,
Disciplines of a Godly Man

(Wheaton: Crossway, 1991), 48–49.


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