Children (Sir 7:22-7:25)

“Do you have cattle?

Look after them.

If they are profitable to you,

Keep them.

Do you have children?

Discipline them.

Make them obedient from their youth.

Do you have daughters?

Be concerned for their chastity.

Do not show yourself too indulgent with them.

Give a daughter in marriage.

You will have completed a great task.

But give her to a sensible man.”

Sirach continued with his recommendations on how to handle children. However, he also mentioned cattle. If you had cattle take care of them if they profitable. If not, get rid of them. If you have children, there is a clear directive, discipline them. There is no alternative. They have to be obedient from their youth. If you have daughters, you have to protect their chastity. There is no such recommendation for the sons. You should not indulge your daughters. Your task, as a father, was to get your daughter married to a sensible man. If you did that you had accomplished a great task. However, there is no demand on you to have your son have a good marriage.

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