It’s time for another “In His Own Words” post. This month, we shine the light on “parenting” and what Billy Graham has had to say through the years. Obviously, there’s plenty of material, but these pieces of advice were some of our favorites.
From “Answers to Life’s Problems” (1988 compilation of “My Answer” columns):
Don’t try to force your child to pray. Every night set aside fifteen minutes or half an hour before his bedtime for reading and conversation…Talk to him of the heavenly Father. Explain to him that God sends the sun and the rain. Tell him it is God who makes the flowers grown, and gives us food. Let your child hear you pray, using simple words he can understand…There is no better way to encourage a boy or girl to pray.
From “Billy Graham Talks to Teen-agers” (1958):
One of the problems young people face today is delinquent parents. God is going to hold parents responsible for a great deal of what is going on among teenagers. I have some suggestions to parents of teenagers. Teenagers need to be treated as adults, they need to be considered. And they need love and encouragement more than criticism. Parents need to set an example for their young people. Young people don’t need things or more money; they need more love, more attention, more time with their parents.
From “My Answer” (1960 compilation of “My Answer” columns):
Be sure that the Christianity you profess does not repel them because it is long-faced and full of “don’ts.” I would not imply for one minute that there are not many things Christians should not do. Of the Ten Commandments, most of them are commandments against specific sins. But, it is very easy for older people to expand these prohibitions to things which are in themselves perfectly all right…Try to avoid this, enter into the happiness of these young lives in your home. Make Christianity a joyful experience. Above all, ask God for daily guidance in your task.
In an interview in 1993 with Joan Lunden on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Billy Graham spoke on how parents should handle the pressures and temptations affecting young people at the time:
“Parents have to be role models. Young people have to look and see someone that they can admire and respect in the home as well as in the school and in other areas of society. This is the thing that I think is missing.”
In a 1993 LIFE Magazine interview, Billy Graham was asked what advice he would give parents who are raising “wayward teenagers.” Here’s what he said:
“Love is the number one thing. When [our children] were going through [difficult times]…, I never condemned them and Ruth didn’t. They knew we disapproved. We just loved them. Because the one thing that they couldn’t get away from was that we loved them and they could always come here. They could always bring their friends here. This house was open house to them. Nobody would ever say, “No you can’t come here and you can’t bring your friends here.” I think that’s one thing. Of course, that’s all backed up with a lot of prayer.”
There’s still time to visit The Billy Graham Library for “The Power of Christ in the Home” exhibit. You’ll see the emphasis on the Christ-centered home Frank and Morrow Graham created for their son Billy and his three siblings, while discovering invaluable wisdom and practical examples for today’s family. The exhibit ends June 30.