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Verse 21. Fathers, provoke not, etc. See Barnes "Eph 6:4".


Lest they be discouraged. Lest, by your continually finding fault with them, they should lose all courage, and despair of ever pleasing you. There is much sound sense and practical wisdom in this observation of the apostle. Children should not be flattered, but they should be encouraged. They should not be so praised as to make them vain and proud, but they should be commended when they do well. The desire of praise should not be the principle from which they should be taught to act, but they should feel that the approbation of parents is a desirable thing, and when they act so as to deserve that approbation, no injury is done them by their understanding it. He who always finds fault with a child; who is never satisfied with what he does; who scolds and frets and complains, let him do as he will, breaks his spirit, and soon destroys in the delicate texture of his soul all desire of doing well. The child in despair soon gives over every effort to please, he becomes sullen, morose, stupid, and indifferent to all the motives that can be presented to him, and becomes, to a great extent, indifferent as to what he does—since all that he does meets with the same reception from the parent.

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