Good Health

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June 1, 1880

Influence of Woman

EGW

The mother's influence never ceases. It is ever active, either for good or for evil; and if she would have her work abide the test of the Judgment, she must make God her trust, and labor with an eye single to his glory. Her first duty is to her children, to so mold their characters that they may be happy in this life, and secure the future, immortal life. She should not be influenced by what Mrs. So-and-So does, nor by the remarks of Mrs. A, or B., in reference to her being so odd, so different from other people in her dress, or in the arrangement of her house for comfort rather than display, or in the management of her children. HR June 1, 1880, par. 1

God has given the mother, in the education of her children, a responsibility paramount to everything else. She has an individual duty which her neighbors cannot do for her. If she does this work to glorify God, she will not follow the popular path, and will have to stand in defiance of popular customs. HR June 1, 1880, par. 2

There are but few women who have the courage to stand at their post, and valiantly battle against the customs and fashions which are ruining their children for a practical life. We feel in earnest in trying to rouse to activity the moral powers of sisters and mothers especially, to see and battle with the great evils which are permitted to ruin our youth. HR June 1, 1880, par. 3

We wish mothers to ask the questions in the fear of God, realizing their responsibility, What part have we in this matter of reform? How can we work to change the order of things? Wrong habits and pernicious fashions are deteriorating our families, physically, mentally, and morally. What can women do to change the purpose and the character of those with whom we associate? What can we do to stay the moral evils which threaten to ruin our children and debase society? You may, my sisters, come up to the help of God, and do anything and everything you can do and do well. Everything must be done with a love for souls, and in the fear and love of God. You may exercise the faculties which God has given you. “Dare to do right, dare to be true,” whatever the opinions of others may be. We must each answer to our Maker for the improvement or abuse of the powers he has given us. We each have an individual responsibility, and we should study the pattern given us in the life of Christ, and copy it, irrespective of censure or applause. HR June 1, 1880, par. 4

All have not the same work. There are distinct and individual duties for each to perform; yet with these varied duties there may be a beautiful harmony, binding the work of all together in perfect fitness. Our Heavenly Father requires of none to whom he has given but one talent, the improvement of five. But if the one be wisely used, the possessor will soon have gained more, and may continually increase her power of influence and sphere of usefulness, by making the best use of the talents which God has given her. Her individuality may be distinctly preserved, and yet she be part of the great whole in advancing the work of reform so greatly needed. HR June 1, 1880, par. 5

Woman, if she wisely improves her time and her faculties, relying upon God for wisdom and strength, may stand on an equality with her husband as adviser, counselor, companion, and co-worker, and yet lose none of her womanly grace or modesty. She may elevate her own character, and just as she does this she is elevating and ennobling the characters of her family, and exerting a powerful though unconscious influence upon others around her. Why should not women cultivate the intellect? Why should they not answer the purpose of God in their existence? Why may they not understand their own powers, and realizing that these powers are given of God, strive to make use of them to the fullest extent in doing good to others, in advancing the work of reform, of truth and real goodness, in the world? Satan knows that women have a power of influence for good or for evil; therefore he seeks to enlist them in his cause. He invents multitudinous fashions, and tempts the women of the present day, as he did Eve to pluck and eat, to adopt and practice these ever-changing, never-satisfying modes. HR June 1, 1880, par. 6

Sisters and mothers, we have a higher aim, a more noble work than to study the latest fashion, and form garments with needless adorning to meet the standard of this modern Moloch. We may become its slave, and sacrifice upon its altars our own and the present and future happiness of our children. But what do we gain in the end? We have sown to the flesh; we shall reap corruption. Our works cannot bear the inspection of God. We shall see at last how many souls might have been blessed and redeemed from darkness and error by our influence, which, instead, encouraged them in pride and outward display, to the neglect of the inward adorning. HR June 1, 1880, par. 7

Our words, looks, and actions have a direct bearing upon the characters of our children, and upon others; hence we should ever maintain the most perfect self-possession and self-control. HR June 1, 1880, par. 8

The Duties of Parents in Educating Their Children

EGW

To all parents, God has committed, in their children, sacred trusts for which he holds them responsible. It is his purpose that they shall so educate these children as to bring into exercise the talents he has given them in the manner best fitted to accomplish the greatest good in the world and reflect back glory to his name. These children have varied temperaments, and parents cannot always give the same manner of discipline to each. There are different qualities of mind, and they should be made a prayerful study that they may be molded so as to accomplish the purpose God designed. HR July 1, 1880, par. 1

Parents should strive so to educate and train their children as to bring out the energies of the soul by exercise. Perception, judgment, memory, and all the reasoning powers, should have equal strength, that well-balanced minds may result; that the character be not one-sided or deformed. If certain faculties are developed, to the neglect of others, the design of God will not be answered. All the faculties have a bearing upon, and are in a great measure dependent upon, each other; one, in order to be effectually used, must have the aid of all the others, that the balance may be preserved. If one faculty is exercised, and others are permitted to lie dormant, the one becomes unduly strong, while the others are proportionally deficient. All minds are not constituted alike. Children inherit from their parents some strong tendencies. These existed in the parent, and exist intensified in the children. Christian parents must carefully consider all these things. HR July 1, 1880, par. 2

The mother's influence never ceases. As she looks upon her little ones growing up around her, well may she ask, What is the great object of their education? Is it to be admired and flattered by the world? Is it to imitate and practice the fashions existing in this age? The only safe course of training is for parents to teach their children obedience to themselves, which is the first lesson toward teaching them the higher law,—the claims which God has upon them. HR July 1, 1880, par. 3

It is impossible to estimate the power of a praying mother's influence. She acknowledges God in all her ways. She takes her children before the throne of grace and presents them to Jesus, pleading for his blessing upon them. The influence of those prayers is to those children as “a well-spring of life.” Those prayers, offered in faith, are the support and strength of the Christian mother. To neglect the duty of praying with our children is to lose one of the greatest blessings within our reach, one of the greatest helps amid the perplexities, cares, and burdens of our life-work. Jesus is the mother's sympathizing friend and counselor. He encouraged mothers to bring their children to him when he was upon earth. He remembered that he had a mother, and his sympathies were with all mothers. He remembered that he was once a child, subject to the trials, disappointments, and temptations of children. If this had not been the case he would not have been the pattern for all childhood, youth, and manhood. Jesus sympathizes not only with the care-worn mother but with her children. And when she comes to him for instruction, grace, and wisdom, it will never be withheld. HR July 1, 1880, par. 4

The mother's nursery is her kingdom; and the more she cultivates her powers and improves her faculties that she may be fitted for her life-work, the more wisdom and knowledge will she have to rule her kingdom and the better govern her subjects. All the tact and cultivated skill of the mother will be called into requisition if she rules with God-fearing wisdom. She will not turn her children over to hired help, or leave them to obtain a street education. She will store up knowledge to impart to her growing sons and daughters. She will not forget that her children will be what her teaching and training shall make them. She will not forget that her boys are to be men, her girls women; that they are to become citizens either to influence or to be influenced, to sway or to be swayed. She will perseveringly do her work, that they may be educated to use their abilities. She will consider that they may fill positions of trust, that they may sit in legislative councils to make and execute laws; and when in after-years they may go far beyond her in strength and intellect they will look with pleasure and pride upon the mother, for to her is due the influence which they have. They honor the mother whose discipline and training made them what they are. HR July 1, 1880, par. 5

Mothers, shall our precious time be worse than wasted in work and hurry, in needless stitching for ornament and display, while but a limited time is improved in educating and disciplining our children? Our hands are on the cradle that rocks the world. Shall our children become what they may be, and what God would have them be? Shall we meet God's standard, revealed to us in his word, or shall our efforts be employed to meet the world's standard? HR July 1, 1880, par. 6

In the education of children and youth they should be taught that the habits of eating, drinking, and dressing which have been formed after the world's standard are not in accordance with the laws of health and life, and must be held in control by reason and intellect. The power of appetite and strength of habit should not be permitted to overpower the dictates of reason. In order to secure this object, the youth must have higher aims and motives than mere animal gratification in eating and drinking. HR July 1, 1880, par. 7

We see society as it is, with its burden of evil. The youth, from young men to little children, lack sincerity and moral power. They love to dress, to smoke, to chew, to talk cheap nonsense and slang. They frequent places of amusement, lounge about saloons, and drink beer, wine, and stronger liquors. Even those professing to be Christians often appear to enjoy these same amusements, although they may not go to the same extent as the openly ungodly. Precious time is thus frittered away and misspent, and hours which might be devoted to usefulness are spent in desultory reading which fevers the imagination. They ease their own consciences by the excuse that they must have recreation. They misinterpret the rightful significance of this word. True recreation is obtaining fresh vigor of mental, moral, and physical power. This can never be gained by selfish gratification or indulgence. Life was given these youth for nobler purposes. By their habits they are placing themselves among those whom the apostle names as being lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. HR July 1, 1880, par. 8

I look with sorrow upon the profitless and wasted lives of young men and young ladies, who, as soon as old enough, can think only of courtship and marriage; and I am led to question in regard to their home influences. What kind of education did they receive? Did they have praying mothers? Were they taught that they were responsible for the use and improvement of the faculties God had given them? that they should be a blessing to others, and not only form characters for Heaven themselves, but seek to lead others in the same divine path? The mothers of these youths might have been bending under the heavy yoke of fashion and custom, and for the slavery of fashionable life neglected the training and education of their children. The parents’ neglected work will be seen in the characters of the children. HR July 1, 1880, par. 9

There are professedly Christian mothers who take an interest in the cause of temperance, but who have not yet learned that temperance in all things is to be taught and practiced in their own homes. The mother should educate her children while young to become workers in the wide field of reform. HR July 1, 1880, par. 10

The mother may by her example give instruction the most essential to her children, by deeds of kindness to others, in wiping the tears from weeping eyes, cheering hearts that are becoming hopeless and discouraged, and by precept and example strengthening the physical, mental, and moral powers; thus laying the foundation of a noble manhood and womanhood for her sons and daughters. HR July 1, 1880, par. 11

The word education means more than a course of study at college. Education begins with the infant in its mother's arms. While the mother is molding and fashioning the character of her children she is educating them. The memory of a mother's prayer with her hand laid upon the head may withhold our sons and daughters from yielding to temptation when sorely tried; and the power of love which binds the heart of the child to the heart of the mother has a determined power to hold him on the side of right. HR July 1, 1880, par. 12

Little does the mother realize that her influence in the judicious training of her children reaches with such power through the vicissitudes of this life, stretching forward into the future, immortal life. To fashion a character after the heavenly model requires much faithful, earnest, persevering labor; but it will pay, for God is a rewarder of all well-directed labor in securing the salvation of souls. HR July 1, 1880, par. 13