The Signs of the Times


April 10, 1884

The Training of Children


We are living in an unfortunate age for children. A heavy current is setting downward, and more than childhood's strength and experience is needed to press against this current, and not be borne down to moral ruin. But parents can do much; they should help their children. The mother's work commences with the infant. She should subdue the will and temper of her child, and bring it into subjection, teach it to obey. Every mother should take time to reason with her children, to correct their errors, and patiently teach them the right way. ST April 10, 1884, par. 1

As the child grows older, relax not the hand. Christian parents should so instruct their children that they may become children of God. The entire religious experience is influenced by the instructions received, and the character formed in childhood. If the will is not then subdued and made to yield to the will of the parents, it will be a difficult task to learn the lesson in after years. Parents who neglect this important work, commit a great error, and sin against their children and against God. ST April 10, 1884, par. 2

If parents would succeed in the government of their children, they must have perfect control of themselves. They must learn to control their words and the very expression of the countenance. They should not suffer the tone of the voice to be disturbed or agitated with excitement or passion. Then they can have a decided influence over their children. Impatience in the parents excites impatience in the children. Passion manifested by the parents creates passion in the children, and stirs up the evils of their nature. Some parents correct their children severely in a spirit of impatience, and often in passion. Such corrections produce no good results. In seeking to correct one evil they create two. Continual censuring and whipping hardens children, and weans their affections from their parents. First reason with your children, clearly point out their wrongs, and impress upon them that they have not only sinned against you, but against God. With your heart full of pity and sorrow for your erring children, pray with them before correcting them. Then they will see that you do not punish them because they have put you to inconvenience, or because you wish to vent your displeasure upon them, but from a sense of duty, for their good; and they will love and respect you. ST April 10, 1884, par. 3

Parents, every time you lose self-control, and speak and act impatiently, you sin against God. The recording angels writes every impatient, fretful word you utter to your children; every 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 pains-taking on your part will be a hundred-fold. ST April 10, 1884, par. 4

Let your pleasant, cheerful words ever be like sunbeams in your family. You have no right to bring a gloomy cloud over the happiness of your children by fault-finding, or severe censure for trifling mistakes. Actual wrong should be made to appear just as sinful as it is, and a firm, decided course should be pursued to prevent its recurrence; yet children should not be left in a hopeless state of mind, but with a degree of courage that they can improve, and gain your confidence and approval. Children may wish to do right, they may purpose in their hearts to be obedient; but they need help and encouragement. Parents should better qualify themselves to discharge their duty to their children. Some do not understand their children; they are not really acquainted with them. If parents would enter more fully into the feelings of their children, and draw out what is in their hearts, it would have a beneficial influence upon them. ST April 10, 1884, par. 5

Children would be saved many evils if they would become more familiar with their parents. Parents should encourage their children to confide in them, to be open and frank, to come to them with their difficulties, their little daily annoyances, and when they are perplexed as to what course is right, to lay the matter before their parents, and ask their advice. Who are so well calculated to see and point out their dangers as godly parents? Who can understand the peculiar temperaments of their children as well as they? The mother who has watched every turn of mind from infancy, and is acquainted with the natural disposition, is best prepared to counsel her children. ST April 10, 1884, par. 6

Children should very early be taught to be useful, to help themselves and to help others. Let the tax upon their strength be very light at first, and increase it a little every day, until they can do a proper amount of work each day without becoming excessively weary. Children who are petted and waited upon, always expect it; and if their expectations are not met, they are disappointed. This same disposition will be seen through their whole lives; they will be helpless, leaning upon others for aid, expecting others to favor them and yield to them. And if they are opposed, even after they have grown to manhood and womanhood, they think themselves abused; and thus they worry their way through the world, hardly able to bear their own weight, often murmuring and fretting because everything does not suit them. ST April 10, 1884, par. 7

The mistaken parents who are thus teaching their children lessons which will prove ruinous to them, are also planting thorns for their own feet. They think that by gratifying the wishes of their children, and letting them follow their own inclinations, they can gain their love. What an error! Children thus indulged grow up unrestrained in their desires, unyielding in their dispositions, selfish, exacting, and overbearing, a curse to themselves and to all around them. Many daughters can, without remorse of conscience, see their mothers toiling, cooking, washing, or ironing, while they sit in the parlor and read stories, knit edging, crochet, or embroider. Their hearts are as unfeeling as a stone. But where does this wrong originate? Who are the ones usually most to blame in this matter? The poor, deceived parents. They overlook the future good of their children, and in their mistaken fondness, let them sit in idleness, or do that which is of but little account, which requires no exercise of the mind or muscles, and then excuse their indolent daughters because they are weakly. What has made them weakly? In many cases it has been the wrong course of the parents. A proper amount of exercise about the house would improve both mind and body. ST April 10, 1884, par. 8

Mothers should take their daughters with them into the kitchen, and patiently educate them. Their constitution will be better for such labor; their muscles will gain tone and strength, and their meditations will be more healthy and elevated at the close of the day. They may be weary, but how sweet is rest after a proper amount of labor. Sleep, nature's sweet restorer, invigorates the tired body, and prepares it for the next day's duties. Do not intimate to your children that it is no matter whether they do anything or not. Teach them that their help is needed, that their time is of value, and that you depend on their labor. Much sin results from idleness. Active hands and minds do not find time to heed every temptation which the enemy suggests; but idle hands and brains are all ready for Satan to control. When not properly occupied, the mind dwells upon improper things. ST April 10, 1884, par. 9

To a great extent, parents hold in their own hands the future happiness of their children. They sow the seed which will spring up and bear fruit either for good or evil. Upon them rests the important work of forming the character of these children. The instructions given in childhood, will follow them all through life. Parents can train their sons and daughters for happiness or for misery. They should deal faithfully with the souls committed to their trust. They should not encourage in their children pride, extravagance, or love of show. They should not teach them, or suffer them to learn, little pranks which appear cunning in small children, but which must be corrected when they are older. The habits first formed are not easily forgotten. ST April 10, 1884, par. 10

Parents, you should commence to discipline the minds of your children while very young, to the end that they may be Christians. Let all your efforts be for their salvation. Act as though they were placed in your care to be fitted as precious jewels to shine in the kingdom of God. Beware how you lull them to sleep over the pit of destruction, with the mistaken thought that they are not old enough to be accountable, not old enough to repent of their sins and serve God. ST April 10, 1884, par. 11

There are many precious promises on record for those who seek their Saviour early. Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” Proverbs 8:17: “I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.” The great Shepherd of Israel is still saying, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” Teach your children that youth is the best time to seek the Lord. Then the burdens of life are not heavy upon them, and their young minds are not harassed with care, and while so free they should devote the best of their strength to God. ST April 10, 1884, par. 12