The Signs of the Times


April 17, 1884

Important Duties in Home Life


The people of God are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. They should study the life of Christ, and his example and teaching should affect their life and character. They honor him by manifesting the fruits of the Spirit in their every-day life. If the doors of the house and heart are opened to Jesus, if he is welcomed as an honored guest, he will work for the family. The sweet influence of his presence will pervade the home, and check all impatience and selfishness. But many professed Christians drive Christ from their homes by an impatient, fretful spirit. Sometimes when fatigued by labor or oppressed with care, parents do not maintain a calm spirit, but manifest a lack of forbearance that displeases God, and brings a cloud over the family. Parents, when you feel fretful, you should not commit so great a sin as to poison the whole family with this dangerous irritability. At such times, set a double watch over yourselves, and resolve that none but pleasant, cheerful words shall escape your lips. By thus exercising self-control, you will grow stronger. Your nervous system will not be so sensitive. ST April 17, 1884, par. 1

The mother can and should do much toward controlling her nerves and mind when depressed; even when she is sick, she can, if she only schools herself, be pleasant and cheerful, and can bear more noise than she would once have thought possible. She should not make her children feel her infirmities, and cloud their young, sensitive minds by her depression of spirits, making them feel that the mother's room is the most dismal place in the world. The mind and nerves gain tone and strength by the exercise of the will. The power of the will in many cases will prove a potent soother of the nerves. Jesus knows our infirmities, and has himself shared our experience in all things but in sin; therefore he has prepared for us a path suited to our strength and capacity. ST April 17, 1884, par. 2

Sometimes everything seems to go wrong in the family circle. There is fretfulness all around, and all seem very miserable and unhappy. The parents lay the blame upon their poor children, and think them very disobedient and unruly, the worst children in the world, when the cause of the disturbance is in themselves. God requires them to exercise self-control. They should realize that when they yield to impatience and fretfulness, they cause others to suffer. Those around them are affected by the spirit they manifest, and if they in their turn act out the same spirit, the evil is increased. ST April 17, 1884, par. 3

Instead of pleasantly asking their children to do what they wish done, parents often order them in a scolding tone, and at the same time administer a censure or a reproach which the children have not merited. Parents, this course pursued toward your children destroys their cheerfulness and their ambition to please you. They do your bidding, not from love, but because they dare not do otherwise. Their heart is not in the matter. It is drudgery instead of a pleasure, and this often leads them to forget to follow out all your directions, which increases your irritation; and makes it still worse for the children. The fault-finding is repeated, their bad conduct is arrayed before them in glowing colors, until they become discouraged, and are not particular whether they please or not. A spirit of “I don't care” seizes them; and they seek that pleasure and enjoyment away from home, away from their parents, which they do not find at home. They mingle with street company, and are soon as bad as the worst. ST April 17, 1884, par. 4

Upon whom rests this great sin? If home had been made attractive, if the parents had manifested affection for their children, if they had wisely sought innocent enjoyment for them, and taught them the lesson of cheerful obedience, they would have touched an answering chord in their young hearts, and willing feet and hands and hearts would have carried out their wishes. By speaking kindly to their children, and praising them when they try to do right, parents may encourage their efforts, make them very happy, and throw around the family circle a charm which will chase away every dark shadow, and bring cheerful sunlight in. Mutual kindness and forbearance will make home a paradise, and attract holy angels into the family circle; but they will flee from a house where there are unpleasant words, fretfulness, and strife. Unkindness, complaining, and anger shut Jesus from the dwelling. ST April 17, 1884, par. 5

Some parents fail to give their children a religious education, and also neglect their school education. Neither should be neglected. Children's minds will be active; and if they are not engaged in physical labor, or occupied with study, they will be exposed to evil influences. It is a sin for parents to allow their children to grow up in ignorance. They should supply them with useful and interesting books, and should teach them to have hours for labor and hours for study and reading. Parents should aim to elevate the minds of their children, and to improve their mental faculties. The mind left to itself, uncultivated, is generally low, sensual, and corrupt. Satan improves his opportunity, and educates idle minds. ST April 17, 1884, par. 6

Parents should faithfully instruct their children, not leaving them to gather up their education as best they can. They should not be suffered to learn good and evil indiscriminately, with the idea that at some future time the good will predominate, and the evil lose its influence. The evil will increase faster than the good. It is possible that the evil may be eradicated after many years; but who will venture this? Time is short. It is easier and much safer to sow clean and good seed in the hearts of your children, than to pluck up the weeds afterward. Parents should redouble their efforts for the salvation of their children. The reason why the youth of the present age are not more religiously inclined is that their education is defective. In the present state of things in society, it is no easy task for parents to restrain their children, and instruct them according to the Bible rule of right. When they would train their children in harmony with the precepts of the word of God, and, like Abraham of old, command their households after them, the children think their parents overcareful and unnecessarily exacting. ST April 17, 1884, par. 7

It is not the exercise of true love toward children that permits in them the indulgence of passion, or allows disobedience of parental authority to go unpunished. “Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.” Both parents should co-operate in the training, government, and education of their children. With firmness, not in a harsh manner, but with determined purpose, both should let their children know that they must obey. The father should not be like a child, moved merely by impulse. He is bound to his family by sacred, holy ties. He is the lawmaker, illustrating in his own manly bearing the sterner virtues,—energy, integrity, honesty, and industry. He is in one sense the priest of the household, laying upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household Jesus will love to tarry. ST April 17, 1884, par. 8

We can have the salvation of God in our families, but we must believe for it, live for it, and have a continual, abiding faith and trust in God. We must subdue a hasty temper, and control our words; and in so doing we shall gain great victories. Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. All jangling, and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his Satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God; for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness. The restraint which God's word imposes upon us is for our own interest. It increases the happiness of our families, and of all around us. It refines our taste, sanctifies our judgment, and brings peace of mind, and in the end, everlasting life. Under this holy restraint we shall increase in grace and humility, and it will become easy to speak right. The natural, passionate temper will be held in subjection. An indwelling Saviour will strengthen us every hour. Ministering angels will linger in our dwellings, and with joy carry Heavenward the tidings of our advance in the divine life, and the recording angel will make a cheerful, happy record. ST April 17, 1884, par. 9