Child Guidance


Section 17—Arousing the Spiritual Powers

Chapter 73—Responsibility for Eternal Interests

Ours Is a Day of Special Peril for Children—We are living in an unfortunate age for children. A heavy current is setting downward to perdition, and more than childhood's experience and strength is needed to press against this current, and not be borne down by it. The youth generally seem to be Satan's captives, and he and his angels are leading them to certain destruction. Satan and his hosts are warring against the government of God, and all who have a desire to yield their hearts to Him and obey His requirements Satan will try to perplex and overcome with his temptations, that they may become discouraged and give up the warfare.1 CG 471.1

We never needed close connection with God more than we need it today. One of the greatest dangers that besets God's people has ever been from conformity to worldly maxims and customs. The youth especially are in constant peril. Fathers and mothers should be on their guard against the wiles of Satan. While he is seeking to accomplish the ruin of their children, let not parents flatter themselves that there is no particular danger. Let them not give thought and care to the things of this world, while the higher, eternal interests of their children are neglected.2 CG 471.2

Parents in General Are Indifferent—It is a sad thing when parents grow cold in their spiritual life, and, because of waning piety and want of devotion to God, they do not realize the high responsibility that devolves upon them to patiently and thoroughly train their children to keep the way of the Lord.3 CG 471.3

Parents in general are doing their best to unfit their children for the stern realities of life, for the difficulties that will surround them in the future, when they will be called upon to decide for right or wrong, and when strong temptations will be brought upon them. They will then be found weak where they should be strong. They will waver in principle and duty, and humanity will suffer from their weakness.4 CG 472.1

The All-important Work Is Neglected—One great reason why there is so much evil in the world today is that parents occupy their minds with other things to the exclusion of the work that is all-important—the task of patiently and kindly teaching their children the way of the Lord.5 CG 472.2

Mothers may have acquired knowledge of many things, but they have not acquired the essential knowledge unless they have a knowledge of Christ as a personal Saviour. If Christ is in the home, if mothers have made Him their counselor, they will educate their children from their very babyhood in the principles of true religion.6 CG 472.3

Satan Is Allowed to Control—Because men and women do not obey God, but choose their own way and follow their own perverted imagination, Satan is permitted to set up his hellish banner in their families and make his power felt through babes, children, and youth. His voice and will are expressed in the unsubdued wills and warped characters of the children, and through them he exerts a controlling power and carries out his plans. God is dishonored by the exhibition of perverse tempers, which exclude reverence for Him, and induce obedience to Satan's suggestions. The sin committed by parents in thus permitting Satan to bear sway is beyond conception.7 CG 472.4

Many parents by their training, by their foolish indulgence and pampering of the tastes and appetite, are making themselves responsible for the crooked ways and dispositions of their children. Satan can control the whole being by that disposition to disobey the laws of God. Parents do not, like Abraham, command their households after them. And what is the result? Children and youth are standing under the rebel flag. They will not be ruled, but are determined to follow their own will. The only hope for children is to teach them to deny and not indulge self.8 CG 473.1

A Severe Battle Before Undisciplined Children—Children who are thus brought up undisciplined have everything to learn when they profess to be Christ's followers. Their whole religious experience is affected by their bringing up in childhood. The same self-will often appears; there is the same lack of self-denial, the same impatience under reproof, the same love of self and unwillingness to seek counsel of others, or to be influenced by other's judgment, the same indolence, shunning of burdens, lack of bearing responsibilities. All this is seen in their relation to the church. It is possible for such to overcome, but how hard the battle! How severe the conflict! How hard to pass through the course of thorough discipline which is necessary for them to reach the elevation of Christian character! Yet if they overcome at last, they will be permitted to see, before they are translated, how near the precipice of eternal destruction they came, because of the lack of right training in youth, the failure to learn submission in childhood.9 CG 473.2

Fortify Against Corrupting Influences—Parents, you have taken the responsibility of bringing children into the world without any voice of theirs, and you are responsible for the lives and souls of your children. They have the attractions of the world to fascinate and allure. You can educate them so as to fortify them against its corrupting influence. You can train them to bear life's responsibilities and to realize their obligations to God, truth, and duty, and the bearing that their actions will have upon their future immortal life.10 CG 474.1

The youth of our day are ignorant of Satan's devices. Parents should therefore be awake in these perilous times, working with perseverance and industry, to shut out the first approach of the foe. They should instruct their children when sitting in the house, or walking by the way, when rising up or lying down.11 CG 474.2

Eternal vigilance must be exercised, that the children may be led in the paths of righteousness. Satan begins his work upon them from earliest childhood and creates desires for that which God has forbidden. The safety of children depends largely upon the vigilance, watchfulness, and care of the parents over them.12 CG 474.3

Parents should allow nothing to prevent them from giving to their children all the time that is necessary to make them understand what it means to obey and trust the Lord fully.13 CG 474.4

Parents, Awake From Your Deathlike Slumber—From the indifference of their parents, many children are left to feel that their parents have no care for their souls. This ought not to be so, but those who have children should so manage their domestic and business affairs that nothing may come in between them and the children that would lessen the parents’ influence in directing them to Christ. You should teach your children the lesson of the love of Jesus, that they may be pure in heart, in conduct, and conversation.... CG 474.5

The Lord would work upon the hearts of the children if the parents would but co-operate with the divine agencies, but He will not undertake to do that which has been appointed as your part of the work. Parents, you must awake from your deathlike slumber.14 CG 475.1

Our Great Hope Is Home Religion—Parents are asleep. Their children are going to destruction before their eyes, and the Lord would have His messengers present before the people, by precept and example, the necessity of home religion. Urge this matter home upon your congregations. Press the conviction of these solemn duties, so long neglected, home upon the conscience. This will break up the spirit of Pharisaism and resistance to the truth as nothing else can. Religion in the home is our great hope and makes the prospect bright for the conversion of the whole family to the truth of God.15 CG 475.2

Satan's Power May Be Broken—Parents have a more serious charge than they imagine. The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God. As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death. But Christ steps in and passes over the ground where Adam fell, enduring every test in man's behalf.... Christ's perfect example and the grace of God are given him to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God. It is by teaching them, line upon line, precept upon precept, how to give the heart and will up to Christ that Satan's power is broken.16 CG 475.3

Fathers and mothers, in full assurance of faith plead with your sons and daughters. Let them not hear one impatient word from your lips. If necessary, make to your children a heartfelt confession for having allowed them to follow in the path of vanity and to displease the Lord, who withheld not His Son from a lost world, that all might receive pardon and forgiveness of sin.... CG 476.1

Fathers and mothers who have in various ways indulged your children to their hurt, God desires you to redeem the time. Take heed while it is called today.17 CG 476.2

Parents Have the Noblest Missionary Field—Make it your lifework to form the characters of your children according to the divine Pattern. If they ever possess the inward adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, it will be because you perseveringly trained them to love the teachings of God's Word and to seek the approval of Jesus above the approbation of the world.18 CG 476.3

As workers for God, our work is to begin with those nearest. It is to begin in our own home. There is no more important missionary field than this.19 CG 476.4

We need missionary fervor in our homes, that we may bring the Word of life before the members of our families and lead them to seek a home in the kingdom of God.20 CG 476.5

The management and instruction of children is the noblest missionary work that any man or woman can undertake.21 CG 476.6

Parents as Artists to Shape Living Clay—How earnestly and perseveringly the artist labors to transfer to canvas a perfect likeness of his model; and how diligently the sculptor hews and chisels out the stone into a counterpart of the copy he is following. So the parents should labor to shape, polish, and refine their children after the pattern given them in Christ Jesus. As the patient artist studies, and works, and forms plans to make the results of his labors more perfect, so should the parent consider time well spent that is occupied in training the children for useful lives and fitting them for the immortal kingdom. The artist's work is small and unimportant compared with that of the parent. The one deals with lifeless material, from which he fashions forms of beauty; but the other deals with a human being whose life can be shaped for good or ill, to bless humanity or to curse it; to go out in darkness, or to live forever in a future sinless world.22 CG 476.7

Make Perfection the Goal—Christ was once a little child. For His sake honor the children. Look upon them as a sacred charge, not to be petted and idolized, but to be taught to live pure, noble lives. They are God's property. He loves them, and He calls upon you to co-operate with Him in teaching them to form perfect characters. The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He expects from us the perfection which Christ revealed in His humanity. Fathers and mothers especially need to understand the best methods of training children that they may co-operate with God.23 CG 477.1

Converted Parents Needed—Day and night I am burdened with the thought of our great need of converted parents. How many there are who need to humble their hearts before God and come into right relation to heaven if they would exert a saving influence over their families. They should know what they must do to inherit eternal life, if they would train their children for the inheritance of the redeemed. Every day they should be receiving the light of heaven into their souls, every day be receiving the impressions of the Holy Spirit upon heart and mind. Every day they should be receiving the Word of truth and letting it control the life.24 CG 477.2

Great responsibilities rest upon parents, and they should strive earnestly to fulfill their God-appointed mission. When they see the need of bending all the energies of the being to the work of training their children for God, a great deal of the frivolity and unnecessary pretense that is now seen will be put away. They will consider no sacrifice or toil too great that will enable them to prepare to meet the Lord with joy. This is a most precious part of their service as followers of God, and one that they cannot afford to neglect.25 CG 478.1

Look Constantly to Jesus—Parents, ... use every spiritual sinew and muscle in the effort to save your little flock. The powers of hell will unite for its destruction, but God will lift up for you a standard against the enemy. Pray much more than you do. Lovingly, tenderly, teach your children to come to God as their heavenly Father. By your example teach them self-control and helpfulness. Tell them that Christ lived not to please Himself. CG 478.2

Gather up the rays of divine light that are shining upon your pathway. Walk in the light as Christ is in the light. As you take hold of the work of helping your children to serve God, the most provoking trials will come; but do not lose your hold; cling to Jesus. He says, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” Isaiah 27:5. Difficulties will arise; you will meet with obstacles; but look constantly to Jesus. When an emergency arises, ask, Lord, what shall I do now? If you refuse to fret or scold, the Lord will show you the way. He will help you to use the talent of speech in so Christlike a way that peace and love will reign in the home. By following a consistent course of action, you may be evangelists in the home, ministers of grace to your children.26 CG 478.3

This Work Pays—It costs something to bring children up in the way of God. It costs a mother's tears and a father's prayers. It calls for unflagging effort, for patient instruction, here a little and there a little. But this work pays. Parents can thus build around their children bulwarks which will preserve them from the evil that is flooding our world.27 CG 479.1