House rules from a father of twelve...

Fathers and mothers committed to reforming their marriage bed according to Scripture by giving themselves to the propagation of a godly seed will quickly realize that mothers doing FB and fathers playing video games is a sure road to disaster. Dirty dishes and laundry pile up. Sibling rivalry and rebellion—not to mention a wife's sadness—pile up.

The return to fruitfulness is not so much a decision against using technology to make lovemaking sterile as it is a decision for pouring our lives into the propagation of a godly seed. It's not a lifestyle. It's a deathstyle. But instead of the death being on a gamer's screen, it's in your living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and garage. It's denying yourself. It's taking up your cross and following Jesus. It's preparing your children to take the baton from you. It's teaching them that, if you're going to be able to slow down and die, they're going to have to speed up and run hard.

So, if you're still with me, read this advice from a man who raised twelve sons and daughters without paying for one wedding or a single year of college or graduate school. He's very wise. When you finish reading his advice, you realize large families are fathered and mothered just as gardens are weeded, driveways are sealed, hair is washed, leaves are raked, wood is split, apples are picked, chicken are fed, dogs are walked, stalls are cleaned, and snow is shovelled. You don't take a shower and sit down and rest until the job is finished.

My favorite line:

As a side note, none of my kids ever got a ticket for speeding, even though (none of my sons or daughters' cars) had less than 450 horsepower.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.


That is a lot of work!

That's a remarkable story! Thanks for sharing!

I am a friend of Nick, who is one of the twelve mentioned in this article. Nick is the bald guy in the maroon shirt and his son Filipe is to his right.

Nick is a regular attender of my church in Long Beach. I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised to hear that this is a Mormon family in this article. Nick divorced his wife a few years ago and has officially left the Mormon faith, but he is by no means a Christian either. We have often prayed for his salvation.

I love Nick and sometimes I would even say that I like him... sometimes. I don't think he would be surprised to hear me say that he is one of the rudest people I know, but at the same time I can appreciate that he says what is on his mind and little else.

Despite this, I know that Nick would say he was raised in a home that prepared him very well for the rest of his life from a secular standpoint. He is working a six figure job at UCLA, and he has many skills that have equipped him to be a successful man.

I read this article and I shared it with my wife, and I can agree with Pat. While the list is overwhelming for personal application, I will strive to give my children a similar structure with the Word of God as our foundation.

>>this is a Mormon family in this article

Great that you actually know one of the children, Alex! I'd just finished telling daughter Heather that I was guessing it was a Mormon family, and also that all was not as it appeared. May God give Nick new life through Jesus Christ.


Pastor Tim, I read this post a couple days ago, and while I appreciated his "teach a child to fish rather than give him the fish" approach, I questioned some of his goals, and wondered whether any of his 12 children were believers. After what Alex wrote above, would you still make the statement "He's very wise."?

Yeck. Maybe some wise advice to glean from the article, but as a whole, just reading it gave me the creeps. "Oh I think I smell a raaaaaaat, oh I think I smell a RAT."

Sorry to diss your article, Dad, but I much prefer your parenting methods and wisdom to his. Sure, I totaled my first car (also high HP). But at least I grew up in a home with two parents modeling sincerity and humility. And these are a result of a faith that their children have embraced.

All I could think while reading the article was, "yikes. I'll bet his kids are insufferable prigs."

Yeck. Maybe some wise advice to glean from the article, but as a whole, just reading it gave me the creeps. "Oh I think I smell a raaaaaaat, oh I think I smell a RAT."

Sorry to diss your article, Dad, but I much prefer your parenting methods and wisdom to his. Sure, I totaled my first car (also high HP). But at least I grew up in a home with two parents modeling sincerity and humility. And these are a result of a faith that their children have embraced.

All I could think while reading the article was, "yikes. I'll bet his kids are insufferable prigs."

I know a Christian family with 12 kids near me in Minnesota. The dad is a carpenter/contractor, his kids work with him, and they're all still in the faith. You would never guess Mom has given birth 12 times--she is not "effete" in any sense of the word.

But no 450 hp Mustangs. :^) Somehow that part seems to flow from the Mormon tendency towards (see their temples) a bit of ugly showiness.

No more my God,
I boast no more
Of all the duties I have done
I quit the hopes I held before
To trust the merits of Thy Son

Now, for the loss, I bear his name
What was my gain, I count my loss
My former pride, I call my shame
And nail my glory to His cross

The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before Thy throne
But faith can answer Thy demands
By pleading what my Lord has done

Something just hit me about the fact that the author's kids never got speeding tickets. While that is an impressive claim, I can tell you from experience that it is pretty difficult to get a speeding ticket in Southern California. Police officers tend to look for people who are recklessly swerving in and out of lanes. Kinda hard to speed when there is a sea of cars in front of you for 14-16 hours a day.

I was never remotely close to getting pulled over during my 4+ years there.

In regards to other comments about wisdom and whether this article is useful, I believe there is some value in earthly wisdom for the discerning mind and immeasurable value in godly wisdom for any mind. I have to say that I love some of the ideas. In particular, the author having his kids build their own cars and computers. I'm not saying I'm going to put that into practice, but it sounds like a valuable experience that can also be very enjoyable.

Yes, I second Alex Costa. I think there is a lot of wisdom contained in the article, just not the heavenly kind.

My parents -- who never had a lot of money when I (the first-born) was growing up -- instilled in all of us three boys that college was highly desirable, and that they could not (and, so, would not) finance it. Like the blog-dad's kids, we all got higher education on our own initiative.

I second his advice about food. I am so grateful (as an adult) that I was made to eat food that was good for me, especially the foods I did not want to eat. To this day, about the only food I don't care for is something my mother almost never prepared -- fish.

And, Alex is as serious as a heart attack about freeway driving in California. In a river of automobiles, flowing steadily at ten mph over the speed limit, each car about one car length (or less) from the one in front ... well, no cop is going to do anything about that. I'm not sure he'd even be able to do anything.

I think that an upbringing closer to this one would have done me a lot of good. I hope to teach my kids some day to be much harder workers and better problem solvers than I learned to be.

I am not sure if I understand why he did not pay for his daughters' weddings.

The photoshopped family that hasn't been together since 1998 bothers me. It's a warning to me to keep the hearts of my kids.

I am not sure if I understand why he did not pay for his daughters' weddings.

I imagine this father was intentionally inflicting painful struggle for his children. There's a certain truth about this, but Mormonism can take it to the point of malevolence. My father used pain and struggle, but not for the sake of pain. The Worthing Saga really underscores the necessity of pain for Mormonism in preventing stagnation (here's a helpful synopsis of the book. Here's a description of the necessity of evil for libertarian free will in Mormonism).

Mormonism turns the "problem of pain" on its ear. The problem is when there is no pain.

Thank you, Mr. Wegener.

Another thought speaking as an engineer who spent two summers in Torrance/Redondo Beach, how exactly did he get his kids into affordable 450hp without (a) running afoul of the smog checks and (b) getting their vehicles overheated in the LA traffic? The typical way you do that with old Detroit iron is to replace the header and crankshaft with "performance" models and replace the original carbeuretor with three deuces, none of which helps with emissions or overheating, to put it mildly, as it tends to dump a bunch of extra fuel that will come, unburned, out the tailpipe while heating up the engine immensely.

The way guys I worked with did it was with a small extra payment to the mechanic running the smog check.

Thank you, Michal, for daring to say exactly what I was thinking:)

>>I'll bet his kids are insufferable prigs.

My dear daughters, Michal and Rebecca,

I want to say, "Glean, daughters; glean!" It's the intellectual equivalent of dumpster-diving. I tell you, there's a ton of good advice in his rules. Forget him and his family. Are you teaching your children to work? From a very young age?

Do you make them eat what's put on their plate? Will you require them to play a team sport? (I think many, many boys would be helped by this.) Do you refuse to listen to their complaints against their teachers?

And lots of other wise words...

Much love,

Tim wrote,

"Do you refuse to listen to their complaints against their teachers?"

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law who are public school teachers and sister-in-law who is a public school teacher's aide, would say, "'Would you at least get my side of the story first?' before automatically believing that Poindexter or Ezmerelda is right!"

I'm not denying there's plenty to glean. I'm only saying I'll believe it worked when I meet his kids. I'm skeptical. Proof is in the pudding. And some of these things, while they do sound great, could only come at the expense of what is really important.

The points here that are worthwhile I learned from my own dad, thank you very much. :)

Ah shucks, dear Michal.

>>"'Would you at least get my side of the story first?"

A suggestion: every time Mary Lee and I had a parents-teacher conference, we made a point of saying to the teacher, "Whatever you do to discipline our children, we will support. Please don't ever worry about our reaction to your discipline of our child or the rest of your students. We're with you one-hundred percent."

This is so important with their school teachers and coaches and musical instrument instructors, but much more so with the pastors and elders and older women of the church. No one should ever worry about us undercutting their discipline of our children. Never. It's such a blessing from God to have other fathers and mothers for our children who correct our parental weaknesses and sins, and fill in our gaping gaps. (I guess that's what gaps do, isn't it. They gape.)


I am still a bit perplexed as to why you would promote this article, stating the father is "very wise" yet telling us to "glean" what we can from it. I don't deny that teaching your children to work, to be grateful for the food that is put in front of them, etc. is important. But this man, and his advice, was elevated to such a level in the OP that seems inappropriate without knowing his fruit. And it seems contrary to other advice I've heard you give about avoiding secular parenting books/magazines/blogs...because it's easy for godly goals to become confused with worldly ones. Please correct me if I am making that up.

Mr. Wegener, I also thank you. Copied those words and hung them next to my kitchen sink to meditate on when I wash dishes.

>>Please correct me if I am making that up.

Dear Jessica,

You're not making it up. You're very wise. And what you've said publicly is much more tame than the reaction I've gotten from daughter Michal, privately. Still, lots of "smarts" (if that's not as objectionable as "wisdom") in the article. And one article doth not a book make. Bullet points are not the same as reading books.

People on their way to having lots of children need help. For almost all of you, it's terra incognito, so learn from every source you can about how to order your home life. Don't idolize anyone or anything, and yet glean from every source you can. Hope that helps.


Every question you asked Michal and me I agree with, especially the bit about getting behind the teacher. My only concern when I see this article (and photo) of the large family with all the rules, I do wonder about grace. Tim, I remember you warning me when I was pregnant with my first born that it would be a temptation to protect Thomas from discipline. I would say that that was not a temptation for me (and I didn't think it would be, as my parents were very strict disciplinarians), and I erred on the side of being too stringent with him. I'm slowly unlearning some harshness with him while trying to understand the balance between that and meeting him where he is. So, when I say "yeck" along with Michal, I'm wincing at my own sin and wondering exactly where it's hidden in that photo.

Yes, that helps.

" learn from every source you can about how to order your home life."

We obviously will find sources that we rely on more than others. For us, that includes you, Mary Lee, and several other families we came to know while we were at Clearnote. Why? Because of your fruit -- the faithful children and grandchildren that you have raised up in fear and admonition of the Lord. There is not a heftier goal I have for my children than that.

Dear Jessica, Those were not my words but Isaac Watts. I should have referenced him at first, but I was crying. That man was so much like me.

I started to write a response, but it got too long to be a good comment.

May God have mercy on us and our children.


>>Those were not my words but Isaac Watts. 

No, those were not Isaac Watts words, but yours.


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