The Adventist Home


Chapter 84—Directing Juvenile Thinking Regarding Recreation

Standards Are Being Lowered—Christian parents are giving way to the world-loving propensities of their children. They open the door to amusements which from principle they once prohibited.1 AH 526.1

Even among Christian parents there has been too much sanctioning of the love of amusements. Parents have received the world's maxim, have conformed to the general opinion that it was necessary that the early life of children and youth should be frittered away in idleness, in selfish amusements, and in foolish indulgences. In this way a taste has been created for exciting pleasure, and children and youth have trained their minds so that they delight in exciting displays; and they have a positive dislike for the sober, useful duties of life. They live lives more after the order of the brute creation. They have no thoughts of God or of eternal realities, but flit like butterflies in their season. They do not act like sensible beings whose lives are capable of measuring with the life of God, and who are accountable to Him for every hour of their time.2 AH 526.2

Mothers to Invent and Direct Amusements—Instead of sending her children from her presence, that she may not be troubled with their noise and be annoyed with the numerous attentions they would desire, she will feel that her time cannot be better employed than in soothing and diverting their restless, active minds with some amusement or light, happy employment. The mother will be amply repaid for the efforts she may make and the time she may spend to invent amusement for her children. AH 526.3

Young children love society. They cannot, as a general thing, enjoy themselves alone; and the mother should feel that, in most cases, the place for her children when they are in the house is in the room she occupies. She can then have a general oversight of them and be prepared to set little differences right, when appealed to by them, and correct wrong habits or the manifestation of selfishness or passion, and can give their minds a turn in the right direction. That which children enjoy they think mother can be pleased with, and it is perfectly natural for them to consult mother in little matters of perplexity. And the mother should not wound the heart of her sensitive child by treating the matter with indifference or by refusing to be troubled with such small matters. That which may be small to the mother is large to them. And a word of direction or caution, at the right time, will often prove of great value.3 AH 527.1

Do Not Deny Innocent Pleasures—For lack of time and thought many a mother refuses her children some innocent pleasure, while busy fingers and weary eyes are diligently engaged on work designed only for adornment, something that, at best, will serve only to encourage vanity and extravagance in their young hearts. As the children approach manhood and womanhood, these lessons bear fruit in pride and moral worthlessness. The mother grieves over her children's faults but does not realize that the harvest she is reaping is from seed which she herself planted. AH 527.2

Some mothers are not uniform in the treatment of their children. At times they indulge them to their injury, and again they refuse some innocent gratification that would make the childish heart very happy. In this they do not imitate Christ; He loved the children; He comprehended their feelings and sympathized with them in their pleasures and their trials.4 AH 527.3

How Mrs. White Restrained Her Children—When the children will beg that they may go to this company or join that party of amusement, say to them: “I cannot let you go, children; sit right down here, and I will tell you why. I am doing up work for eternity and for God. God has given you to me and entrusted you to my care. I am standing in the place of God to you, my children; therefore I must watch you as one who must give an account in the day of God. Do you want your mother's name written in the books of heaven as one who failed to do her duty to her children, as one who let the enemy come in and preoccupy the ground that I ought to have occupied? Children, I am going to tell you which is the right way, and then if you choose to turn away from your mother and go into the paths of wickedness, your mother will stand clear, but you will have to suffer for your own sins.” AH 528.1

This is the way I did with my children, and before I would get through, they would be weeping, and they would say, “Won't you pray for us?” Well, I never refused to pray for them. I knelt by their side and prayed with them. Then I have gone away and have pleaded with God until the sun was up in the heavens, the whole night long, that the spell of the enemy might be broken, and I have had the victory. Although it cost me a night's labor, yet I felt richly paid when my children would hang about my neck and say, “Oh, Mother, we are so glad that you did not let us go when we wanted to. Now we see that it would have been wrong.” AH 528.2

Parents, this is the way you must work, as though you meant it. You must make a business of this work if you expect to save your children in the kingdom of God.5 AH 529.1

Problems of the Perplexing Teen Ages—In the present state of society it is no easy task for parents to restrain their children and instruct them according to the Bible rule of right. Children often become impatient under restraint and wish to have their own way and to go and come as they please. Especially from the age of ten to eighteen they are inclined to feel that there can be no harm in going to worldly gatherings of young associates. But the experienced Christian parents can see danger. They are acquainted with the peculiar temperaments of their children and know the influence of these things upon their minds; and from a desire for their salvation, they should keep them back from these exciting amusements.6 AH 529.2

Vigilance Is Especially Needed After Conversion—When the children decide for themselves to leave the pleasures of the world and to become Christ's disciples, what a burden is lifted from the hearts of careful, faithful parents! Yet even then the labors of the parents must not cease. These youth have just commenced in earnest the warfare against sin and against the evils of the natural heart, and they need in a special sense the counsel and watchcare of their parents.7 AH 529.3

The Secret of Guarding the Children From Worldly Attractions—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. AH 529.4

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.8 AH 530.1

It is the duty of parents to watch the going out and the coming in of their children. They should encourage them and present inducements before them which will attract them at home and lead them to see that their parents are interested for them. They should make home pleasant and cheerful.9 AH 530.2