Daughters of God


Teach Children to Form Good Habits

Written to Mary Nelson on March 19, 1902, giving counsel on the education and development of her children. DG 206.5

Dear Sister Mary Nelson,

As a Christian, you have duties to do that are left undone. You are not giving your children the education that they need. Your disposition is such that you are not molding and fashioning their characters after the divine similitude. You are in as much need of having your temper sweetened as is your husband. Your harshness of voice and your disagreeable disposition should be entirely overcome. Although a mother, you have not been learning lessons of self-control. You should cultivate pleasing traits of character. You may and should cultivate sweetness of disposition. Do not delay; for your habits are becoming fixed. DG 206.6

You rule, but not in love. What an objectionable education your children are receiving! It is not right for you to bring up the younger members of the Lord's family as you are bringing up your children. DG 207.1

You should teach your children to form good habits. Will you spoil them for future usefulness by neglecting to train them as you should in habits of cleanliness and order? Will you not patiently teach and assist them always to keep their rooms and their clothing in order? DG 207.2

Fretting and scolding will not help to reform your children. In governing them, you should exercise firmness; but with this, kindness should be mingled. Diligently teach them how to be Christians. Never raise your voice in passion; never strike a blow in anger; for this, in the place of correcting their faults, will confirm them in a wrong course. Remember that they have inherited their parents’ dispositions. You have now to meet in your children your own defects of character. Remember that if you speak harshly, you are giving them an example that they will learn to imitate. Sooner or later they will act toward you in the same harsh manner in which you have acted toward them, because in the home life you have set before them a wrong example. DG 207.3

Is it not time for you to take up your neglected duties, and try to please your husband and to train your children aright? My sister, the best thing you can do is to confess your mistakes to your husband and to your children. Tell the children that the harsh, rough spirit which you have cultivated is un-Christlike. Then say, “Children, by the strength and grace that Christ gives us, we will now make a decided change.” Ask them to help you. Promise that you will help them. DG 207.4

Christ is ready to teach the father and the mother to be true educators. Those who learn in His school will never strike a child in passion. They will never speak in a harsh, unsympathetic tone; for words spoken in this manner grate upon the ear, wear upon the nerves, cause mental suffering, and create a state of mind that makes it impossible to curb the temper of the child to whom such words are spoken. This is often the reason children speak disrespectfully to parents. DG 207.5

Remember that children have rights which must be respected. Your self-will is very strong. You have given this trait of character to your children. You may be busy from morning till night, and yet fail of doing the work that God has appointed you to do. You need to act the part of a mother in guiding and training your little flock.... DG 208.1

My dear sister, you are in need of divine help. You must wear Christ's yoke yourself before you can properly teach your children that they are to give their hearts to Jesus. That you may be fitted to do this work, seek for God's special blessing. Let the Holy Spirit abide in your heart, making it a wellspring of love and joy. Pray most earnestly for a meek and quiet spirit. In the spirit of meekness, seek daily for God's blessing. If you daily receive blessings from above, you will be refreshed and will impart to your children that which you have received. And as your disposition and character change, you will have a beneficial influence over the disposition and character of your children.—Letter 47a, 1902. DG 208.2