Susanna Wesley

Susanna Wesley (1669-1742) was the 25th of 25 children. She was encouraged to think for herself, hold opinions and speak her mind – especially regarding politics and religion.

She married Samuel, her clergyman husband, when she was 19 and spent her life in poverty and hardship. She had 19 children; 10 survived childhood.

Musing on two Susanna quotes:

Written to Samuel: ‘I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust…

…I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles.’

Written to her son John: ‘A child should be taught what is necessary for it to know, as soon as that necessity exists and the child is capable of learning. Among children there is a great disparity of intellect, and in the power of apprehension and comprehension…

…let the teaching be regularly graduated; let it go from step to step never obligating it to learn what it cannot yet comprehend.’

In recent days we’ve been considering women, families, home-schooling… Susanna Wesley, living 300 years ago in rural Lincolnshire, often without friends, money or material resources, challenges our…

…parenting skills: Susanna managed her large household and family by establishing definite routines. She gave each child individual attention, purposely setting aside a regular time for each of them, enabling each to mature and develop.

…teaching skills: Determined that daughters as well as sons should be well educated she home-schooled 10 very different children. Susanna taught using not severe physical punishment but ‘strength guided by kindness’.

Her faith and influence led to her son John becoming a famous preacher; she’s often referred to as the ‘Mother of Methodism’.

She faced her many challenges with practical faith, independence, courage and determination.  

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