The Review and Herald

874/1902

March 30, 1897

Words to Parents

EGW

Haphazard work in the home will not pass the review in the Judgment. Faith and works are to be combined by Christian parents. As Abraham commanded his household after him, so they are to command their households after them. The standard which every parent must raise is given: “They shall keep the way of the Lord.” Every other way is a path which leads, not to the city of God, but to the ranks of the destroyer. “The wages of sin is death,” for the child as well as the parent. Children are the Lord's heritage. The soul of the little child that believes in Christ is as precious in his sight as are the angels about his throne. They are to be brought to Christ, and trained for Christ. They are to be guided in the path of obedience, not indulged in appetite or vanity. RH March 30, 1897, par. 1

When the disciples sought to send away the mothers who were bringing their little ones to Christ, he rebuked their narrow faith, saying, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” He was grieved that the disciples should rebuke the mothers for bringing their children to him; that his followers should say, by word or action, that his grace was limited, and that children should be kept away from him. To the Pharisees on one occasion he said, “Have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” Christ had an experience in infancy and childhood. Of his childhood life we read, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” RH March 30, 1897, par. 2

A great responsibility rests upon parents; for the education and training which shape the eternal destiny of children and youth are received in their early childhood. The parents’ work is to sow the good seed diligently and untiringly in the hearts of their children, occupying their hearts with seed which will bring forth a harvest of right habits, of truthfulness and willing obedience. Correct, virtuous habits formed in youth will generally mark the course of the individual through life. In most cases those who reverence God and honor the right will be found to have learned this lesson before the world could stamp its image of sin upon the soul. Men and women of mature age are generally as insensible to impressions as is the hardened rock; but youth is impressible, and a right character may then be easily formed. RH March 30, 1897, par. 3

If, in their early childhood, children are not perseveringly and patiently trained in the right way, they will form wrong habits. These habits will develop in their future life, and will corrupt others. Those whose minds have received a low cast, who have been cheapened by wrong home influences, by deceptive practises, carry their wrong habits with them through life. If they make a profession of religion, these habits will be revealed in their religious life. RH March 30, 1897, par. 4

If disobedience is allowed in the home life, the hearts of the children will be filled with opposition to the government of God. The power of the Holy Spirit will prove ineffectual to soften and subdue their hearts. If in later years, under special circumstances, they yield to the gospel of Christ, they will have to fight terrible battles to bring the disloyal will into submission to the will of God. Often the church has to suffer through its members because of the wrong education received by them in childhood. When children, they were allowed to practise deception in order to gain their own way; and the spirit that was permitted to be rebellious in the home will be the last to render obedience to the requirements of God's word. RH March 30, 1897, par. 5

It is no easy matter to train and educate children wisely. As parents try to keep judgment and the fear of the Lord before them, difficulties will arise. The children will reveal the perversity bound up in their hearts. They show love of folly, of independence, a hatred of restraint and discipline. They practise deception and utter falsehoods. Too many parents, instead of punishing the children for these faults, make themselves blind in order that they shall not see beneath the surface, or discern the true meaning of these things. Therefore the children continue in their deceptive practises, forming characters that God cannot approve. RH March 30, 1897, par. 6

The standard raised in God's word is set aside by parents who dislike, as some have termed it, to use the strait-jacket in the education of their children. Many parents have a settled dislike to the holy principles of the word of God, because these principles place too much responsibility on them. But the after sight, which all parents are obliged to have, shows that God's ways are the best, and that the only path of safety and happiness is found in obedience to his will. Owing to this lack of training, an army of rebellious children is now swelling society. Even the children of parents who know the truth help to make up this army. The trees that should have been trained to bear good fruit produce thorn berries. RH March 30, 1897, par. 7

Not a particle of variance should be shown by parents in the management of their children. Parents are to work together as a unit. There must be no division. But many parents work at cross-purposes, and thus the children are spoiled by mismanagement. If parents do not agree, let them absent themselves from the presence of their children until an understanding can be arrived at. It sometimes happens that of the mother and father, one is too indulgent, and the other too severe. This difference works against good results in the formation of the characters of their children. No harsh force is to be exercised in carrying out reforms, but at the same time no weak indulgence must be shown. The mother is not to seek to blind the eyes of the father to the faults of the children, neither is she to influence them to do those things which the father has forbidden them to do. Not one seed of doubt should the mother plant in her children's minds in regard to the wisdom of the father's management. She should not, by her course of action, counteract the work of the father. She should not complain that the father restricts the children too much. Nothing can save children but vigilance and wise discipline. RH March 30, 1897, par. 8

The work of all parents is to train their children in the way of the Lord. This is not a matter that can be trifled with, or set aside, without incurring the displeasure of God. We are not called upon to decide what course others shall pursue, or how we may get on the most easily, but, What saith the Lord? Neither parents nor children can have peace or happiness or rest of spirit in any false path. But when the fear of God reigns in the heart, combined with love for Jesus, peace and joy will be felt. Parents, spread out the word of God before him who reads your heart and every secret thing, and inquire, What saith the Scripture? This must be the rule of your life. Those who have a love for souls will not be silent when they see their danger. We are assured that nothing but the truth of God can make parents savingly wise in dealing with human minds, and keep them so. RH March 30, 1897, par. 9

If the moral qualities of children are neglected by parents and teachers, they are sure to be perverted. If the children are left to have their own way, if their minds are controlled by Satanic agencies, they are never happy; for Satan takes possession of them, and fashions their characters after his similitude. Vigilance must be exercised by parents. They must sow their children's hearts with good seed, or Satan will sow his seed, and a harvest of briers and thorns will be produced. To let children have their own way is to insure a proficiency in evil. RH March 30, 1897, par. 10

The Christian family is to be a training school, from which children are to graduate to a higher school in the mansions of God. Scolding, loud-voiced commands, or threatenings should never be heard. Parents should keep the atmosphere of the home pure and fragrant with kind words, with tender sympathy and love; but at the same time, they are to be firm and unyielding in principle. If you are firm with your children, they may think that you do not love them. This you may expect; but never manifest harshness. Justice and mercy must clasp hands; there must be no wavering or impulsive movements. RH March 30, 1897, par. 11

Mothers and fathers need to be filled with that faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. Truth is no truth to the receiver unless it is brought, with its cleansing, refining, sanctifying power, into the soul temple. It cannot be progressive when it is kept in the outer court, when it is placed side by side with a carnal mind. O that parents were truly the sons and daughters of God! Their lives would then be fragrant with good works. A holy atmosphere would surround their souls. Their earnest supplications for grace and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit would ascend to heaven; and religion would be diffused through their homes as the bright, warming rays of the sun are diffused through the earth. RH March 30, 1897, par. 12