What Augustine’s ‘Confessions’ Taught Me About Parenting

Kimberly Walker | July 8, 2017


When my first newborn child trembled in my hands, all my convictions about parenting suddenly shook too. I longed for wise counsel. Later on, when I was experiencing excessive conflict with my 1-year-old, I turned to my parents for advice.

“Just love her,” my father said. For whatever reason, this cut me to the quick. I realized I was making my daughter my project instead of pouring out Christ’s love on her.

As I read Augustine’s Confessions this week, I felt a similar conviction. The great theologian pulled a “grandpa trick,” critiquing my parenting through storytelling. As he wrote about his own parents’ successes and failures, I knew he was graciously warning me against their errors. My soul smarted as I realized my own shortcomings, but Augustine’s wounds are faithful and his counsel sound. Let me share some of it with you.

1. Overlook some faults, even though at another age they must be addressed.

Augustine reflects:

What then was my sin? Was it that I hung upon the breast and cried? For should I now so do for food suitable to my age, justly should I be laughed at and reproved . . . but since I could not understand reproof, custom and reason forbade me to be reproved…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-augustines-confessions-taught-me-about-parenting.