Child Guidance


Chapter 40—Exemplify Christian Principles

Children Will Imitate Parents—Fathers and mothers, you are teachers; your children are the pupils. Your tones of voice, your deportment, your spirit, are copied by your little ones.1 CG 215.1

Children imitate their parents; hence great care should be taken to give them correct models. Parents who are kind and polite at home, while at the same time they are firm and decided, will see the same traits manifested in their children. If they are upright, honest, and honorable, their children will be quite likely to resemble them in these particulars. If they reverence and worship God, their children, trained in the same way, will not forget to serve Him also.2 CG 215.2

In the family, fathers and mothers should ever present before their children the example they wish to be imitated. They should manifest one to the other a tender respect in word, and look, and action. They should make it manifest that the Holy Spirit is controlling them, by representing to their children the character of Jesus Christ. The powers of imitation are strong; and in childhood and youth, when this faculty is most active, a perfect pattern should be set before the young. Children should have confidence in their parents, and thus take in the lessons they would inculcate.3 CG 215.3

Teach by Precept and Example—The mother, in the education of her children, is in a continual school. While teaching her children, she is herself learning daily. The lessons which she gives her children in self-control must be practiced by herself. In dealing with the varied minds and moods of her children, she needs keen perceptive powers or she will be in danger of misjudging and of dealing partially with her children. The law of kindness she should practice in her home life if she would have her children courteous and kind. Thus they have lessons repeated, by precept and example daily.4 CG 215.4

The teachers in the school will do something toward educating your children, but your example will do more than can be accomplished by any other means. Your conversation, the way in which you manage your business matters, the likes and dislikes to which you give expression, all help in molding the character. The kindly disposition, the self-control, the self-possession, the courtesy your child sees in you, will be daily lessons to him. Like time, this education is ever going on, and the tendency of this everyday school should be to make your child what he ought to be.5 CG 216.1

Be careful that you are not rude to your children.... Require obedience, and do not allow yourself to speak carelessly to your children, because your manners and your words are their lesson book. Help them gently, tenderly over this period of their life. Let the sunshine of your presence make sunshine in their hearts. These growing boys and girls feel very sensitive, and by roughness you may mar their whole life. Be careful, mothers; never scold, for that never helps.6 CG 216.2

Parents to Be Patterns of Self-control—Children should be kept as free from excitement as possible; therefore the mother must be calm and unhurried, free from all excitement and nervous haste. This is a school of discipline to herself as well as to the child. While teaching the little ones the lesson of self-denial, she is educating herself to be a pattern to her children. While with tender interest she is working the soil of their hearts, that she may subdue the natural sinful inclinations, she is cultivating in her own words and in her own deportment the graces of the Spirit.7 CG 216.3

One victory gained over yourself will be of great value and encouragement to your children. You may stand on vantage ground, saying, I am God's husbandry; I am God's building. I place myself under His hand to be fashioned after the divine similitude, that I may be a coworker with God in fashioning the minds and characters of my children so that it will be easier for them to walk in the way of the Lord.... Fathers and mothers, when you can control yourselves, you will gain great victories in controlling your children.8 CG 217.1

The Fruits of Self-control—Parents, every time you lose self-control and speak and act impatiently, you sin against God. The recording angel writes every impatient, unguarded word spoken before them, carelessly or in jest; every word that is not chaste and elevated, he marks as a spot against your Christian character. Speak kindly to your children. Remember how sensitive you are, how little you can bear to be blamed, and do not lay upon them that which you cannot bear; for they are weaker than you and cannot endure as much. The fruits of self-control, thoughtfulness, and painstaking on your part will be a hundredfold. CG 217.2

Let your pleasant, cheerful words ever be like sunbeams in your family.9 CG 217.3

If parents desire their children to be right and do right, they must be right themselves in theory and in practice.10 CG 217.4

Children Are Influenced by Deportment of Professing Christians—There are children of Sabbathkeepers who have been taught from their youth to observe the Sabbath. Some of these are very good children, faithful to duty as far as temporal matters are concerned; but they feel no deep conviction of sin and no need of repentance from sin. Such are in a dangerous condition. They are watching the deportment and efforts of professed Christians. They see some who make high professions, but who are not conscientious Christians, and they compare their own views and actions with these stumbling blocks; and as there are no outbreaking sins in their own lives, they flatter themselves that they are about right.11 CG 218.1

It is because so many parents and teachers profess to believe the Word of God while their lives deny its power, that the teaching of Scripture has no greater effect upon the youth. At times the youth are brought to feel the power of the Word. They see the preciousness of the love of Christ. They see the beauty of His character, the possibilities of a life given to His service. But in contrast they see the life of those who profess to revere God's precepts.12 CG 218.2

Parents Must Say “No” to Temptation—Mothers, by not following the practices of the world, you may set before your children an example of faithfulness to God, and so teach them to say no. Teach your children the meaning of the precept, “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” But if you would have your children able to say no to temptation, you yourself must be able to say no. It is as needful for the man to say no, as for the child.13 CG 218.3

Exemplify Gentleness—Parents, be kind and gentle with your children, and they will learn gentleness. Let us demonstrate in our homes that we are Christians. I value as worthless that profession that is not carried out in the home life in kindness and forbearance and love.14 CG 218.4

Watch Tone of Voice As Well as the Words—Let not one word of fretfulness, harshness, or passion escape your lips. The grace of Christ awaits your demand. His Spirit will take control of your heart and conscience, presiding over your words and deeds. Never forfeit your self-respect by hasty, thoughtless words. See that your words are pure, your conversation holy. Give your children an example of that which you wish them to be.... Let there be peace, pleasant words, and cheerful countenances.15 CG 219.1

Parents cannot with safety be in any way overbearing. They must not show a masterly, criticizing, faultfinding spirit. The words they speak, the tone in which they speak, are lessons, either for good or ill, to their children. Fathers and mothers, if cross words fall from your lips, you are teaching your children to speak in the same way, and the refining influence of the Holy Spirit is made of none effect. Patient continuance in well-doing is essential if you would do your duty to your children.16 CG 219.2

Parents Are God's Agents in Molding Character—The intellects of your children are taking shape, the affections and characters are being molded, but after what pattern? Let the parents remember that they are agents in these transactions. And when they may be sleeping in the grave, their work left behind is enduring, and will bear testimony of them whether it is good or bad.17 CG 219.3

Stamping the Image of the Divine—You must instruct, warn, and counsel, ever remembering that your looks, words, and actions have a direct bearing upon the future course of your dear ones. Your work is not done to paint a form of beauty upon canvas or to chisel it from marble, but to impress upon a human soul the image of the Divine.18 CG 219.4