“We heavily depend on those who bring us up. We get from them a taste and a bias which clings to us most of the days of our lives. We learn the language of our mothers and fathers, and learn to speak it almost without thinking, and unquestionably we catch something of their manners, ways, and mind at the same time. Time will tell, how much we all owe to early impressions, and how many things in us may be traced back to the seeds sown in the days of our infancy, by those who were around us.
“And all this is one of God’s merciful arrangements. He gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay. He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger’s. He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good. See that you do not neglect such an opportunity. Once you let it slip, it is gone forever.
“I know that you cannot convert your child. I know that they who are born again are born, not of the will of man, but of God. But I also know that God specifically says, ‘Train a child in the way he should go,‘ and that He never gave a command to men and women which He would not give them the grace to perform. And I also know that our duty is not to stand still and dispute the command, but to go forward and obey it. It is only when we move out in obedience that God will meet us. The path of obedience is the way in which He gives the blessing. We only have to do as the servants were commanded at the marriage feast in Cana, to fill the water-pots with water, and we may safely leave it to the Lord to turn that water into wine.”
~ J.C. Ryle