Living Out the Gospel: Responsibility of Parents

Billy Graham acted as a living example of the evangelistic messages he preached. His sermons were written not only to convict the crowds, but also to shape his own life. This series of “Living Out the Gospel” posts demonstrate how Mr. Graham “practiced what he preached.”


In His Own Words:

In the sight of God, parents are responsible for the training of their children. If parents fail, God is going to hold them responsible. I want to give a few suggestions to you Christian parents.

First: Take time with your children. … Your children not only require a great deal of your time, but they long and hunger for it.

Second: Give your children ideals for living. … Teach them moral and spiritual principles of life. Show them that only the morally and spiritually right attain genuine satisfaction in life.

Third: Set your children a good example. … Many parents preach to their children but do not set a good example.

Fourth: Plan activities for your children. Plan things together as a family. Make the home so interesting and delightful that your children will want to stay home; then they will never miss the pranks that so many young people are engaged in for thrills.

Fifth: Discipline your children. The devil’s philosophy is: Do as you please. Children are going to be in society what they are in the home. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, teaches that parents ought to discipline their children.

Sixth: Teach your children to know God, and bring them up in the church. Very seldom do parents have trouble with children when the Bible is read regularly in the home, grace is said at the table and family prayers take place daily. Most trouble with teenagers comes from children reared in homes where prayer is neglected, the Bible is never opened and church attendance is spasmodic.

from the 1955 sermon “Responsibility of Parents”


Living Out the Gospel

Five year old Virginia(Gigi) (left) and two old Anne admired baby Ruth, nicknamed Bunny.(1950)Billy and Ruth had five children, and dealt with the struggle of keeping their large family private. Billy’s ministry, which demanded he travel often, caused another roadblock to being a responsible parent in God’s eyes.

These factors, however, did not change the dedication he held to his family. Mr. Graham was devastated that he missed the birth of his first child, Gigi. After this, he made sure he was home with Ruth for the birth of their next four children. Whenever he came home after long trips away, he cherished his family time. “For that reason, we tended not to have guests when I came home from a long trip,” he said in Just As I Am.

Mr. Graham admitted that constant travel caused a problem in the family, but he responded by trying to make their times together as normal as possible and to concentrate on his family as much as possible during the times he was home. Before he left for trips, he and his family would always hold hands and pray.

His oldest daughter, Gigi, recalls how he used to invent games, especially one called “Spider,” and how he played the card game, Rook, with the children. “Whenever I was home, I took them to school or met them when the school bus dropped them off in the afternoon, just so I could be with them as they went up the mountain toward home,” he said.

“Sometimes we went fishing or played croquet in the yard or just tossed a ball around. When the children were younger, they enjoyed having me read to them or just roll around on the floor with them. I made a point of saying goodnight to each of them before they went to sleep.”

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  1. Barbara Eckles says:

    I grew up listening to Billy Graham. I am now a senior citizen and I still enjoy him. I take Decision and We support him and Samaritins Purse. God bless the Graham family!

  2. Carolyn kennedy says:

    I just loved this short sermon regarding caring for your children

  3. John Gray Family says:

    On behalf of my family I would like to wish the Graham family a Happy Easter! Thank you for all you do to make this a better World! Have a good day! Sincerely, John Gray and family

  4. Danny Stanford says:

    I miss being apart of his crusades. Wish I was there again. Now I try to minister to those I drive buses for.

  5. Launiu Goode says:

    I know my boys are grown and have Children of their own. I see they spend most of their time together with their Children. Just the way we taught them. My boys were raised in Church and involved in their Mission trip and activities. Now, they are doing the same thing with their Children. To God be the glory! Thank you!

  6. Morris E McGuire says:

    The time spent with them along with the Bible being read and lived out in front of them is where most parents miss this most precious responsibility that Rev Graham did with obvious results. That would mean we are fully committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and how many can say they were with the demands of work so high during the eighteen or so years we have to be the role models of our children. They will reflect this in their lives lived out in the world they live in. It requires a very high priority with strength from the Lord Himself. But it is most definitely worth the selfless sacrifice as Billy and Ruth chose to do.

  7. Mike Willis says:

    Thank you for the insight,I really think I dropped the ball raising my daughter but now l have cosdosy of her oldest boy which is 4 years old I’m 55,but we’ve had him in church since he was a infant,please pray for me and my wife it is really hard.
    Thank you

  8. Susan Vice says:

    I agree, children look for guidance from their parents, if you are involved with your family, you will always have good results, my husband and I planned activities as a family and allowed our children to have friends over occasionally, I found that if I did this I always knew where my children were and what they were involved in, it worked well, and also their friends loved coming to our home, we have many wonderful memories.

  9. Gail says:

    I am a college-educated Mom, Grandmother and Great-grandmother. I chose to be a stay-at-home mother and have NEVER regretted it. Yes, we lived on a lot less and, as older folks, do not go on some of the glamorous trips that 2-income couples do. Nevertheless, I am content with my earlier decision. Our children accompanied me to church as I taught Sunday school (still do at 77) and our grandchildren have been brought up attending church. My husband and I are so blessed. We are ‘rich’ in the best way possible!!

  10. Ben Dyer says:

    Please keep these truths of Godly wisdom coming in , especially on parenting.

  11. Alice Henrici says:

    Thank you, just what I needed to read and be reminded of today. I love his basic yet foundational tips. Thank you, this was an excellent article to post.

  12. Bradley Rogers says:

    I very much enjoy reading the stories of Billy Graham. It was he that helped me to accept Jesus as my Lord in Jan 2015. Even though I was a believer since 11 years old. I lost my relationship with Jesus over the next 45 plus years. I was born anew. I love Billy Graham and mostly I love Jesus. I want to do God’s will today and for the rest of my days on earth. Billy was called by God to proclaim and bring people to Christ or back to Christ. I am so grateful.

  13. Karen says:

    My dad always took us to church when we were younger. I thank God for a christian father. He is now in heaven and can’t wait to see him one day

  14. Gertrude akintonde says:

    Thank God for Billy Graham who has been an inspiration to many of us parents telling us it is possible to bring up our children in the way of the Lord in spite of the pressure of work. Children learn faster by example than talking to them only and they copy easily so we need the grace of God to be what He wants us to be, because our children are watching.

  15. Barbara Knowles says:

    Our family really appreciates the life and ministry of Rev. Billy Graham. We have never had the privilege of attending one of his live crusades but do watch him on TV every opportunity we have. We believe he is the one evangelist who is a true man of God.

  16. Carolle mimy says:

    Thank you so much for helping us, the parents to know our responsibility, how to love and cherish them.

  17. Leslie Owen says:

    My husband and I had to go thru so much, before becoming Christians, and being born again. We were both Christians as children, but lost track of church, and all of that, until our fourth,and final child, Sam, died, at our home, in our hot tub. He was 11 months old, and had just taken 17 steps the day before. We learned to be Christians, after we stared attending the church we had his funeral at, the Pastor helped lead us both to the Lord as adults,his name was Don Bayne, he died of cancer, a few months after all of that. During this time, I developed N.A.S.H.(Non Alcoholic Systemic Hepititus) and it was determined, that I needed a liver transplant. So, I got a liver transplant, was on anti-rejection medication, and a lot of pain.

  18. Leslie says:

    I loved that sermon Billy gave today, we didm’t do that when the kids were little, but now, with kids ages 29,22,21, we are all Jesus lovers, and happy with it all!!!!!!

  19. SONJA WILSON says:

    I am from Virginia, My mother alway spoke of Mr. Graham, I have always wanted to meet him, I have wanted to sit down and talk to him and ask questions, I accepted the Lord when I was twelve years old but have sinned many times in my heart since. I have been married for 56 years and four wonderful and Christian daughters But I feel so alone and unworthy, I can read verses and I still feel the Lord has forgotten me What is wrong me ?? I truly love the Lord , Thank you for listening

  20. Bobby Sanchez says:

    What wonderful advice….thank you very much and GOD BLESS YOU all at BGEA!

  21. Daniel B Lewis says:

    I am always interested in Billy Graham and his family. I have the Just as I Am book and review it often. His real life examples encourage me to continue my walk of faith until God returns for me. I pray for the ministry daily and support it 100%. He is a mentor for me because I grew up seeing and hearing him on TV and radio, the Hour of Decision. I even had the privilege of being an altar worker at a crusade her in Cleveland, Ohio June of 1994. The experience will be with me forever seeing precious souls come too Christ. My wife and I plan to visit the Cove someday and stay there for a conference or concert. May you be encouraged and never give up your awesome ministry.

  22. Helen Morrill says:

    These are such important points. In our culture today, parents are lacking this type of responsibility and missing so much with their children and vice versa. This neglect has also had a huge impact on our society and our culture as we see it today.

    Please join me in praying for parents world wide that they too will not only implement these suggestions but make Christ the center of their homes and family life. Our children and grandchildren are gifts from God and our responsibility to God and to them is extremely important.

  23. Angela Olson says:

    I received the Lord Jesus Christ in 1968 at home in the living room as Billy Graham was preaching. Never knew that I had to do that. I got on my knees and accepted the Lord, am serving Him eversince. I grew up Catholic in Germany. Now my parents, brother in law are in heaven and my 90 year old sister and two school friends will be there when their time comes. Praise the Lord. I know why I had to come to America.
    I will celebrate my 87th Birthday in Germany this summer.

  24. Yolanda Terry says:

    Thank You and GOD Bless You all!!

  25. Debbie Norton says:

    As a young girl our parents always gathered us around the TV to hear the Billy Graham Crusades, when I married our boys gathered to hear them, and I still look forward to hearing them! The Word you preached in the Crusades are as powerful as ever! Thank you, I pray for you and your family! My father went to be with the Lord in 2013 at age 90, he would still get on his knees at night and tell the Lord thank you and make sure his sins were confessed! God bless you for touching so many lifes through your faithfulness to the Lord! Looking forward to bringing my granddaughters to the Library!

  26. Harald says:

    What can I say; When you have Jesus come in your Life, You are a New person. The door has been opened and the Holy Sprite, will give you many gives. Learn to use them and Share what you have with others. so the also can be saved. I see I do not have to go fair just start at home. go next door and you will knock on doors for the Lord. But Very imported Go to Church as often as you can Don’t miss any Sundays and always bring someone. When you are in Church you are closest to the Lord in Prayer.

  27. Sherry Ross says:

    What a blessing to raise your children to
    be Christians ?

  28. Rév.Roger VANGU TAMBA, Youth For Christ - DR CONGO says:

    Glory to the Lord for that inspiration, ours family need that. I am very encouraged, and it a practical message. Gob bless the Billy Graham ministries.

  29. Caleb Shuler says:

    I love everything you ever taught me about the Bible and how a Christian man should be. Thank you so much Rev. Graham.

  30. Bryan mulinda says:

    Thank you for ministering to my family God bless you

  31. Leticia Garcia Martinez says:

    Muchas gracias por compartir todas,estos tips para continuar aprendiendo de Jesús me gustó muchísimo y me es mas fácil escribirles en español.

    Felicidades y Bendiciones

  32. Marie says:

    I only wish I had raised my children like this. While we went to church it was not regularly. Not enough personal time that could have made a difference. Husband/wife arguments.the very thing that will make a home not a place anyone wants to be! Oh to have a do over! Not possible….what a difference family time daily with prayer…..regardless of what was going on. I didn’t want to look like a fake Christian by now doing a Bible reading after so many things going on at home, BIG mistake!
    I missed out on daily requests for Gods help, daily apologies to family as needed, and most important……teaching children we can change day by day with God’s help!
    This would have kept emotions in check, making a difference then and now.

  33. V.Daniel says:

    Praise the lord great man of god you are good god is with you always amen

  34. Trino Jara says:

    Great article! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    With appreciation

    Rev. Trino Jara
    Global NCM HCD coordinator

  35. Greg says:

    excellent and helpful

  36. Dr Mabel Komunda says:

    The beginning of all wisdom is God. Every family needs continious dedication in the hands of the almighty God through prayer, bible reading and having quality time as a family. Our little boy young James once said: when i am at school, i miss our night bible study. I was touched by that. The family that prays together, reads the bible together, eats together and has quality time together enjoys the kingdom which starts here on earth. Family is very important as designed by God and therefore should be given time and care. Amen.

  37. Susie Uren says:

    Enjoyed reading the passage from Mr. Graham’s message. Oh if all families would listen and obey.

  38. Chiluyio says:

    Thank you for your ministry I am blessed.

  39. Caleb Shuler says:

    Thank you for everything Rev. Graham

  40. David Bati says:

    This is great work which is very much helpful. Keep it up man of God

  41. Dr.David Tonmoy Biswas says:

    Awesome sir.I love Dr. Billy a lot.I honour him as a spiritual father of mine.Salute for the ministry. Amen

  42. Rajender singh says:

    Very practical simple and helpfulful teaching

  43. John Augustine Momin says:

    Inspirational. I’ve always found inspiration in the words of Rev. Billy Graham. He is truely a man of God, the one man I have absolutely no doubts about. How I wish I could meet him! …maybe not on earth but surely in heaven.

  44. John Augustine Momin says:

    Totally inspirational. I’ve always received inspiration from Rev. Billy Graham’s words. He is truely a man of God. I have absolutely no doubt about it. God has used him richly. How l would love to meet him. Of course I will…if not on earth then in heaven surely. God take good care of you Rev for the rest of your days.

  45. aka kiho says:

    Thank you for sharing. God bless

  46. Prathibha samson says:

    I’ve known Billy Graham since my childhood days. He is my mentor and God-given hope. Love his messages. We as a Christians had a privilege to listen to the Gospel.

  47. Joseph Gisayi says:

    Please I ask to be given supportive scripture verses to those 6 tip

    1. bglibrary says:

      Hi Joseph,
      For Scripture verses regarding parenting, we encourage you to read through this article written by Billy Graham: https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/november-2014/raising-children-in-a-godless-age/

  48. Charlotte Carpenter Evans says:

    I have posted this on my Facebook in the hopes that parents, grandparents and ALL will read it. God bless!

  49. Gita Ozola says:

    R.I.P. to Mr. Graham. I was looking for something to encourage me on how to teach my kids, and I found this incredible sermon. Hallelujah!
    I believe, and I know, that Mr. Graham is in heaven, sitting at Jesus’s feet.

  50. artoro l obado says:

    I was so much challenged by this message. Though Billy Graham is gone, His message is so much alive and continues to bless many people including my family. This message is irresistible because it came from a man of God who practiced what he preach.

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