The Signs of the Times


August 23, 1899

Parents and Children


The future of society is indexed by the youth of today. Is the outlook flattering? Parents are bringing upon the stage of action children who will show in life and character the training they have received. Some will be ruined in one way, and some in another. Mismanagement by parents is swelling the ranks of Satan, and children are being lost to Christ. ST August 23, 1899, par. 1

Home religion is fearfully neglected. Men and women show much interest in foreign missions. They give liberally to them, and thus seek to satisfy their conscience, thinking that giving to the cause of God will atone for their neglect to set a right example in the home. But the home is their special field, and no excuse is accepted by God for neglecting this field. Nothing can counteract the wrong example set by harsh words spoken to wife or children. It is the neglect to cherish rectitude in the home which sends into the world godless children and youth, with warped characters, who unite with evil angels to corrupt others. ST August 23, 1899, par. 2

Do not think that by instructing the poor, or by spending your means in placing youth in schools where they will obtain true knowledge, you can offset the lack of Christian piety in the home. Parents are responsible for the formation of their children's characters; and if they allow their children to be disobedient, unruly, and unholy, tainting and corrupting others by evil ways, they will be held accountable for the result of their neglect. ST August 23, 1899, par. 3

Nothing that fathers and mothers can do for those afar off will atone for a wrong course of action in the home. God requires parents, by self-control, by an example of solid character-building, to disseminate light within the immediate circle of their own little flock. No trifling, common conversation is to be indulged. God looks into every secret thing of life. By some a constant battle is maintained for self-control. Daily they strive silently and prayerfully against harshness of speech and temper. These strivings may never be appreciated by human beings. They may get no praise from human lips for keeping back the hasty words which sought for utterance. The world will never see these conquests, and if it could, it would only despise the conquerors. But in heaven's record they are registered as overcomers. There is One who witnesses every secret combat and every silent victory, and He says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” ST August 23, 1899, par. 4

It is a serious solemn work to care for those for whom Christ has died, to teach children not to lavish their affections upon the things of this world, not to waste time and labor on that which is worth less than nothing. In order to educate their children aright, mothers must be learners in the school of Christ. The Christian mother will spend much time in prayer; for she will realize that her children are to be taught to be true to the government of God. With patience and forbearance they are to be trained; scolding and passionate reproof will never work reforms. Fathers and mothers commit a grievous sin when they educate their children to give way to temper by giving way themselves, and by training them according to wrong methods. Children are to be disciplined in a way that will enable them to take their place in the family of heaven. ST August 23, 1899, par. 5

Mothers, deal gently with your little ones. Christ was once a little child. For His sake honor the children. Look upon them as a sacred charge, not to be indulged, petted, and idolized, but to be taught to live pure, noble lives. They are God's property; He loves them, and calls upon you to co-operate with Him in helping them to form perfect characters. The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He calls for perfection in character-building. Fathers and mothers especially need to understand the best methods of training children, that they may co-operate with God. ST August 23, 1899, par. 6

The Lord has entrusted to parents a solemn, sacred work. They are to cultivate carefully the soil of the heart. Thus they may be laborers together with God. He expects them to guard and tend carefully the garden of their children's hearts. They are to sow the good seed, weeding out every unsightly plant. Every defect in character, every fault in the disposition, needs to be cut away; for if allowed to remain, these will mar the beauty of the character. ST August 23, 1899, par. 7

Parents, there is a great responsibility resting upon you. The little ones in your arms will soon grow out of babyhood into childhood. Your boys and girls need to be carefully nourished. The best gift you can bestow upon them is the gift of love in their childhood. Give time to them. Give them a place in the home. Do not send them out-of-doors that you may entertain your visitors, but teach them to be quiet and respectful in the presence of visitors. Do not banish them from your presence by harsh words. ST August 23, 1899, par. 8

The little ones must be carefully soothed when in trouble. Children between babyhood and manhood and womanhood do not generally receive the attention they should have. Mothers are needed who will so guide their children that they will regard themselves as a part of the family. Let the mother talk with her children regarding their hopes and their perplexities. Let parents remember that their children are to be cared for in preference to strangers. They are to be kept in a sunny atmosphere, under the mother's guidance. Be careful that you are not rude to your children, either in speech or in temper. 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. ST August 23, 1899, par. 9

Firmness is ever to be united with love in the home life. Otherwise love is worthless. It is a sad fact that any weakness or indecision on the part of the mother is quickly seen by the children. Then the tempter works upon their minds, leading them to persist in following their inclinations. If parents would cultivate the qualities necessary for them to use in the proper training of their children, if they would plainly lay before the children the rules they must follow, and not suffer these rules to be broken, the Lord would co-operate with them, and bless both parents and children. But if parents leave their children to do as they please, Satan will lead them where he pleases, and they will become the helpless prey of the powers of darkness. ST August 23, 1899, par. 10

Parents will never arouse to their responsibility of bringing their children up with correct habits, until they are wholly converted to God's way and will, as was Abraham. Of him God said: “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him.” God's rich promises to Abraham in regard to his posterity were made on condition that Abraham co-operated with Him in the education and training of his household and children. If Abraham chose his own way, following his own impulses, indulging blind affection, the child of promise would develop a character that would not bring honor to God's name, and God would not be able to use him to carry out His will and way. ST August 23, 1899, par. 11

God chose Abraham because He knew that he would cultivate home religion, and cause the name of the Lord to be revealed, feared, and loved; “I know him,” He said, “that he will command his children and his household after him.” He will not betray sacred trust by yielding to blind affection, which is opposed to the Lord's discipline. ST August 23, 1899, par. 12

But today the lines are too often placed in the hands of the children, and parents are guided by them. By blind indulgence a door is opened to the tempter. ST August 23, 1899, par. 13

God is our Lawgiver and King, and parents are to place themselves under His rule. This rule forbids all oppression from parents and all disobedience from children. The Lord is full of loving-kindness, mercy, and truth. His law is holy, just, and good, and must be obeyed by parents and children. The rules which should regulate the lives of parents and children flow from a heart of infinite love, and God's rich blessings will rest upon those parents who administer His law in their homes, and upon the children who obey this law. The combined influence of mercy and justice is to be felt. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Households under this discipline will walk in the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. ST August 23, 1899, par. 14

God has given the very best and wisest laws for the guidance of parents. The holy standard of His law is ever to be exalted in the home; then the way will be prepared for holiness and true religion. The grace of Christ will have a controlling power for good on parents and children. ST August 23, 1899, par. 15

Patiently, lovingly, as faithful stewards of the manifold grace of Christ, parents are to do their appointed work. It is expected of them that they will be found faithful. Everything is to be done in faith. Constantly they must pray that God will impart His grace to their children. Never must they become weary, impatient, or fretful in their work. They must cling closely to their children and to God. As they work in patience and love, earnestly endeavoring to help their children to reach the highest standard of purity and modesty, success will crown their efforts. ST August 23, 1899, par. 16

Mrs. E. G. White