Ms 8, 1862

Ms 8, 1862

Testimony for James and Ellen White’s Family

Battle Creek, Michigan


Previously unpublished.

I was shown in regard to our family, that we had failed in our duty; we had not restrained them. We had indulged them too much, suffered them to follow their own inclinations and desires, and suffered them to indulge in folly. Nonsensical talk should be immediately and promptly stopped. I saw that it required much perseverance and patience to instruct our children aright. We are separated from them so much that when we are with them we should perseveringly labor to knit their hearts to us that when we are absent we can have influence over them. I saw that we should instruct them with sobriety and yet with kindness and patience; take an even course. Satan is busy to tempt our children and lead them to be forgetful and to indulge in folly, that we may be disheartened and grieved and then take a course to censure and find fault with them in a spirit which will only injure and discourage them instead of helping them. 1LtMs, Ms 8, 1862, par. 1

I saw that there had been a wrong in laughing at their sayings and doings, and then when they err, bearing down upon them with much severity, even before others, which destroys their fine and sensitive feelings and makes it a common thing to be censured for trifles and mistakes, and places accidents and mistakes upon the same level with sins and actual wrongs. Their dispositions will become soured and we shall sever the cord which unites them to us and gives us influence with them. They suffer trials of mind, and feel disappointments as keenly as do those who are older, but these things heal in their minds sooner than with older persons. I saw that as we require and enforce upon our children a strict carrying out of our views of right, we must be very careful never to censure or administer reproof unless it is deserved, for if we do we shall fail of our object. We have been in danger of expecting our children to have a more perfect experience than their age warrants us to expect. 1LtMs, Ms 8, 1862, par. 2

Our children yearn for affection and love and encouragement. These they should have. But never should a smile be seen upon the countenance of their parents at any witty remark they may make. Kind words and acts will benefit them more when they are actually needed, than will all the indulgence that can be granted them at another time. Let our children ever see in us reason and forbearance. When they offend, we can have a far greater influence upon their minds to reprove them alone than before others. When reproved in company a spirit rises within them to brave it out and not show that they are affected. This spirit grows upon them, and submissive, broken feelings will be rare. But take them alone and speak to them in kindness, yet with decision, and it will have a reforming influence. They will ponder these things in their hearts, and although we are absent from them, yet they will feel our influence and will have a principle to do right. 1LtMs, Ms 8, 1862, par. 3

Our children love us and will yield to reason, and kindness will have a more powerful influence than harsh reproof. The spirit and influence which have surrounded our children requires us to restrain them and draw them from young company and deny them privileges that children commonly have enjoyed. If we take the course in these things which it is our duty to take, we should ever have our words and acts perfectly reasonable to our children, that their reflection may not be embittered with harsh words or words spoken in a severe manner. It leaves a wound or sting upon their spirits which destroys their love for their parents and the influence of their parents over them. 1LtMs, Ms 8, 1862, par. 4