Chapter 4—Diversion and Harmless Substitutes

Influence of Idleness, Lack of Aim, Evil Associations—In order to reach the root of intemperance we must go deeper than the use of alcohol or tobacco. Idleness, lack of aim, or evil associations, may be the predisposing cause.—Education, 202, 203. Te 209.2

Influence of an Attractive Home—Have your home as attractive as you can have it. Put back the drapery and let heaven's doctor in, which is sunlight. You want peace and quiet in your homes. You want your children to have beautiful characters. Make home so attractive that they will not want to go to the saloon.—Manuscript 27, 1893. Te 209.3

The Holding Power of an Attractive Home—How many parents are lamenting the fact that they cannot keep their children at home, that they have no love for home. At an early age they have a desire for the company of strangers; and as soon as they are old enough, they break away from that which appears to them to be bondage and unreasonable restraint, and will neither heed a mother's prayers nor a father's counsels. Investigation would generally reveal that the sin lay at the door of the parents. They have not made home what it ought to be,—attractive, pleasant, radiant with the sunshine of kind words, pleasant looks, and true love. Te 209.4

The secret of saving your children lies in making your home lovely and attractive. Indulgence in parents will not bind the children to God nor to home; but a firm, godly influence to properly train and educate the mind would save many children from ruin.—The Review and Herald, December 9, 1884. Te 210.1

Let home be a place where cheerfulness, courtesy, and love exist.... If the home life is what it should be, the habits formed there will be a strong defense against the assaults of temptation when the young shall leave the shelter of home for the world.—Counsels on Health, 100. Te 210.2

Country Homes and Useful Labor—One of the surest safeguards for the young is useful occupation. Had they been trained to industrious habits, so that all their hours were usefully employed, they would have no time for repining at their lot or for idle daydreaming. They would be in little danger of forming vicious habits or associations. Let the youth be taught from childhood that there is no excellence without great labor.... Te 210.3

Every youth should make the most of his talents, by improving to the utmost present opportunities. He who will do this, may reach almost any height in moral and intellectual attainments. But he must possess a brave and resolute spirit. He will need to close his ears to the voice of pleasure; he must often refuse the solicitations of young companions. He must stand on guard continually, lest he be diverted from his purpose. Te 210.4

Many parents remove from their country homes to the city, regarding it as a more desirable or profitable location. But by making this change they expose their children to many and great temptations. The boys have no employment, and they obtain a street education, and go on from one step in depravity to another, until they lose all interest in anything that is good and pure and holy. How much better had the parents remained with their families in the country, where the influences are most favorable for physical and mental strength Te 210.5

Through the neglect of parents, the youth in our cities are corrupting their ways and polluting their souls before God. This will ever be the fruit of idleness. The almshouses, the prisons, and the gallows publish the sorrowful tale of the neglected duties of parents.—The Review and Herald, September 13, 1881. Te 211.1

Substitute Innocent Pleasures for Sinful Amusements—Youth cannot be made as sedate and grave as old age, the child as sober as the sire. While sinful amusements are condemned, as they should be, let parents, teachers, and guardians of youth provide in their stead innocent pleasures, which shall not taint or corrupt the morals. Do not bind down the young to rigid rules and restraints that will lead them to feel themselves oppressed and to break over and rush into paths of folly and destruction. With a firm, kindly, considerate hand, hold the lines of government, guiding and controlling their minds and purposes, yet so gently, so wisely, so lovingly, that they still will know that you have their best good in view.—The Review and Herald, December 9, 1884. Te 211.2

To Provide Interesting Holidays—We have tried earnestly to make the holidays as interesting as possible to the youth and children.... Our object has been to keep them away from scenes of amusement among unbelievers.... Te 211.3

I have thought that while we restrain our children from worldly pleasures, that have a tendency to corrupt and mislead, we ought to provide them innocent recreation, to lead them in pleasant paths where there is no danger. No child of God need have a sad or mournful experience. Divine commands, divine promises, show that this is so. Wisdom's ways “are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Worldly pleasures are infatuating; and for their momentary enjoyment, many sacrifice the friendship of Heaven, with the peace, love and joy that it affords. But these chosen objects of delight soon become disgusting, unsatisfying. Te 211.4

The Attractions of the Christian Life—We want to do all in our power to win souls by presenting the attractions of the Christian life. Our God is a lover of the beautiful. He might have clothed the earth with brown and gray, and the trees with vestments of mourning instead of their foliage of living green; but He would have His children happy. Every leaf, every opening bud and blooming flower, is a token of His tender love; and we should aim to represent to others this wonderful love expressed in His created works. Te 212.1

God would have every household and every church exert a winning power to draw the children away from the seducing pleasures of the world, and from association with those whose influence would have a corrupting tendency. Study to win the youth to Jesus. Impress their minds with the mercy and goodness of God in permitting them, sinful though they are, to enjoy the advantages, the glory and honor, of being sons and daughters of the Most High. What a stupendous thought, what unheard-of condescension, what amazing love, that finite men may be allied to the Omnipotent! “To them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” Can any worldly honor equal this? Te 212.2

Let us represent the Christian life as it really is; let us make the way cheerful, inviting, interesting. We can do this if we will. We may fill our own minds with vivid pictures of spiritual and eternal things, and in so doing help to make them a reality to other minds. Faith sees Jesus standing as our Mediator at the right hand of God. Faith beholds the mansions He has gone to prepare for those who love Him. Faith sees the robe and crown all prepared for the overcomer. Faith hears the songs of the redeemed, and brings eternal glories near. We must come close to Jesus in loving obedience, if we would see the King in His beauty.—The Review and Herald, January 29, 1884. Te 212.3