Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


Letters to the Children

As year followed year, James and Ellen White, working as a team, found their parental responsibilities increasing. Instead of infants, Willie was now almost 6 and the two older boys were entering their teens. While on such trips as this in the West, the mother took pains to keep in touch with the boys by frequent letters. Some of these have been preserved. 1BIO 414.3

From Anamosa, Iowa, on Sabbath, March 3, she wrote to Willie: 1BIO 414.4

I have just finished a letter to your brothers, and will write a few lines to you. I should so love to take you, my sweet Willie, in my arms; but no, this cannot be. But I hope we shall be returned home safely and we can see you all again in our own happy home.

Willie, you must be a good boy. You must overcome an impatient spirit. To be impatient is not to be willing to wait, to want everything you desire in a moment. You must say to yourself, “I'll wait.” “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” 1BIO 414.5

Willie, if you would be happy, you must rule well your own spirit. Be obedient to Jennie, love your brothers, and be good all day.... When you go to your grandfather's, you must not act rough and boisterous, but gentle and mild. When the boys go to the office, you must try not to be lonesome. Make yourself contented and happy. Don't fret, but learn to be patient, my dear boy. We love you very much and will now say goodbye for the present. Your Mother.—Letter 2, 1860. 1BIO 414.6

In a letter addressed to Henry and Edson written from Iowa City on March 14, she discussed at some length the forming of good characters. Near the close she admonished: 1BIO 415.1

Do not give way to fretful, unkind feelings; but remember that the Lord reads even the thoughts of the hearts, and nothing is concealed from His all-seeing eye. Right acts, right thoughts will be remembered in heaven; and every victory you gain when tempted to do wrong, every temptation manfully resisted, will be recorded in heaven. Don't forget, dear children, that evil deeds and wrongs are faithfully recorded, and will bring their punishment unless repented of and confessed, and washed away by the atoning blood of Jesus. It is easier to go in an evil way than to do right; for Satan and his angels are constantly tempting to do wrong. 1BIO 415.2

But there is One who has promised to hear the needy when they cry. Go to God when tempted to speak or act wrong. Ask Him in faith for strength, and He will give it. He will say to His angels, There is a poor little boy trying to resist the power of Satan and has come to Me for help. I will aid him. Go stand by.—Letter 1, 1860. 1BIO 415.3