Encourage everything that is good and praise-worthy in your children and servants. It is as much your duty to commend and encourage those in your family that do well, as to reprove and admonish those that do amiss; and if you take delight only in blaming that which is culpable, you are not doing your whole duty. When we are slow to praise that which is laudable, we give occasion to suspect something of an ill nature not becoming a good man, much less a good Christian. It should be a trouble to us when we have only reproofs to give, but no expressions of pleasure toward our children. We ought to be able to say with the apostle, "Now I praise you (1 Corinthians 11:2)."
Most people will be easier led than driven, and we all love to be appreciated. When you see any thing that is hopeful and promising in your family, any thing of a promising and responsive disposition, much more any thing of a pious affection to the things of God, you should therefore do your best to encourage it.
Smile upon them when you see them set their faces heavenwards, and take the first opportunity to let them know you observe it, and are well pleased with it, and do not despise the day of small things. This will quicken them to continue and abound in that which is good. It will hearten them against the difficulties they see in their way, and perhaps may turn the wavering, trembling scale the right way, and effectually encourage their resolutions to cleave to the Lord.
When you set them forward to come to family-worship, attentive to the Word, devout in prayer, industrious to get knowledge, afraid of sin, and careful to do their duty, let them have the praise of it, for you have the comfort of it, and God must have all the glory.
Draw them with the cords of a man, and hold them with the bands of love. This way, your rebukes, when they are necessary, will be more acceptable and effective. The great shepherd gathers the lambs in His arms, and carries them in His bosom, and gently leads them, and so should you.
Fathers - meditate on these things and make them your own.