The Review and Herald


January 29, 1901

Words to Parents


Children are very susceptible. Undue severity hardens them, while a lack of discipline is like leaving a field untilled; it is speedily covered with thorns and thistles. RH January 29, 1901, par. 1

Blind affection is a snare. By it the young are led to look upon evil as a thing to be excused. Parents are in constant danger of indulging natural affection at the expense of obedience to God's law. Many parents to please their children, allow what God forbids. RH January 29, 1901, par. 2

In allowing children to do as they please, parents may think themselves affectionate, but they are practicing the veriest cruelty. Children are able to reason, and their souls are hurt by inconsiderate kindness, however proper this kindness may be in the eyes of the parents. As the children grow older, their insubordination grows. Their teachers may try to correct them, but too often the parents side with the children, and the evil continues to grow, clothed, if possible, with a still darker covering of deception than before. Other children are led astray by the wrong course of these children, and yet the parents can not see the wrong. The words of their children are listened to before the words of teachers, who mourn over the wrong. There is little hope of children in any age of the world, and especially in this age, whose fathers and mothers help them to testify to a lie. RH January 29, 1901, par. 3

In the history of Eli the danger signal for parents is lifted. Eli's sons did wickedly, but he restrained them not. His great desire was to avoid unpleasant feelings in the home. He remonstrated, but did not command. His blind affection for his sons led him to shrink from taking any decided action against their wicked course. He proved unworthy of the trust given him, and the Lord passed him by, and gave His message to the child Samuel. “The Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever.” RH January 29, 1901, par. 4

Contrast the history of Eli with that of Abraham. Eli neglected to discipline his sons. They made Israel sin, and as a result, terrible calamity came upon the nation. Israel was defeated by the Philistines, and the ark was taken. RH January 29, 1901, par. 5

Abraham inquired daily, Is this the way of the Lord? He ruled his household by the combined influence of authority and affection; and the Heart-searcher said of him: “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.” Abraham cultivated home religion. God knew that he would not betray sacred trusts, that he would not show for his children the blind affection that allows the child to be master of father and mother. RH January 29, 1901, par. 6

Parents, the happiness of your children depends upon the way in which you discharge your duty toward them. Teach them carefully and prayerfully, here a little and there a little, leading, guiding, and when necessary commanding. Parents whose hearts are given to the Lord will follow His way in directing their household; and blessings will flow from them to their children. RH January 29, 1901, par. 7

While we are not to indulge blind affection, neither are we to manifest undue severity. Children can not be brought to the Lord by force. They can be led, but not driven. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me,” Christ declares. He did not say, My sheep hear my voice, and are forced into the path of obedience. In the government of children, love must be shown. Never should parents cause their children pain by harshness or unreasonable exactions. Harshness drives souls into Satan's net. RH January 29, 1901, par. 8

Parents, as surely as you treat your children in a cold, unloving manner, just so surely will the image of God in the soul be defaced. Christians should act like Christ. Cherish and cultivate all that is pure and lovely in the heart of your child. Be kind. Do not oppress and repress your children by laying upon them burdens that are not sanctioned by the word of the Lord. Thus you cause the children to lose confidence in you. Let there be no fretting, no scolding, no unnecessary exactions. Administer the rules of the home in wisdom and love, not with a rod of iron. Children will respond by willing obedience to a rule of love. Commend your children whenever you can. Provide the little ones with innocent amusements. As soon as they are old enough, give them something to do, according to their strength. Encourage them with the thought that they are helping you. Then, in doing these little duties, they will find greater pleasure than in mere amusement. Do not let them pass through childhood in a dull routine. Never wound their hearts by a lack of consideration. Walk constantly in the way of the Lord, following the example set by Christ. RH January 29, 1901, par. 9

Make the home a Bethel, a holy, consecrated place. Make the lives of your children as happy as possible. Keep the soil of the heart mellow by love and affection, thus preparing it for the seed of truth. Remember that the Lord gives the earth not only clouds and rain, but the beautiful, smiling sunshine, causing the seed to spring up and the blossoms to appear. Remember that children need not only reproof and correction, but encouragement and commendation, the pleasant sunshine of kind words. RH January 29, 1901, par. 10

We need more sunshiny parents and more sunshiny Christians. We are too much shut up within ourselves. Too often the kindly, encouraging word, the cheery smile, are withheld from our children and from the oppressed and discouraged. RH January 29, 1901, par. 11

Parents, upon you rests the responsibility of being light-bearers and light-givers. Shine as lights in the home, brightening the path that your children must travel. As you do this, your light will shine to those without. RH January 29, 1901, par. 12

Before parents can teach their children correctly, they must themselves learn in the school of Christ. Then, in humility and love, let them work for their children, determined not to fail nor be discouraged. They are to have faith that their efforts will not be in vain. Patient, untiring work will win the blessing of God. Divine power will combine with human endeavor, and the hearts of the children will be turned in loving obedience to Christ. RH January 29, 1901, par. 13

Be careful to show your children that Christ is a loving Saviour. Tell them that He died for children. Never cease to labor in love for their salvation, presenting the truth as it is in Jesus. Make the Christian life an attractive one. Speak of the country in which the followers of Christ are to make their home. As you do this, God will guide your children into all truth, filling them with a desire to fit themselves for the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. RH January 29, 1901, par. 14

Parents, are you working with unflagging energy in behalf of your children? The God of heaven marks your solicitude, your earnest work, your constant watchfulness. He hears your prayers. With patience and tenderness train your children for the Lord. All heaven is interested in your work. Angels of light will unite with you as you strive to lead your children to heaven. God will unite with you, crowning your efforts with success. Christ delights to honor a Christian family; for such a family is a symbol of the family in heaven. RH January 29, 1901, par. 15