The answer, implicit in Westminster Shorter Catechism 1, is that our children might—by God’s grace—be saved, glorify God, and enjoy Him forever. If you are a parent, your primary goal should not be to raise intelligent, successful, competent, and upright citizens. Of course you should be concerned about these things. But your primary concern ought to be God-ward for the good of your children’s souls and preeminently for God’s glory. As parents, we are to strive, in dependence on the Spirit, to help our children acknowledge that all things are from, through, and to God, and thus He is worthy of all glory (Rom. 11:36). We must aim to reach the consciences of our children, to call them to repentance and faith in Christ, and to beckon them to taste and see that the Lord is good in and through Jesus Christ (Ps. 34:8), so that they may delight themselves in Him (Ps. 37:4). By the Spirit’s grace blessing our parenting, we pray that our children will learn and come to experience at an early age the true happiness that Heidelberg Catechism 2 summarizes as consisting of three matters: “the first, how great my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.” Then our children will truly “glorify God and enjoy Him forever”—and this is the chief end of parenting!
Glorification and enjoyment, however, necessitate knowledge. Where God is not known, He will never be glorified and enjoyed. This is why the Westminster Shorter Catechism goes on to ask in question 2, “What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?” There must be a standard by which we know God and His requirements if ever we would glorify and enjoy Him. So what is it? The catechism answers: “The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.”
Beginning: Family Worship in Genesis
Joel R. Beeke and Nick Thompson