The Review and Herald


July 8, 1902

An Appeal to Parents


My attention has been especially called to a work that has been strangely neglected,—the training of children. Parents have set aside the work that lies at the very foundation of soul saving. Child training is the grandest work ever committed to mortals. The child belongs to the Lord, and from the time it is an infant in its mother's arms, it is to be trained for him, trained to enter his service. For the first years of a child's life, the home is to be its school. In the home, parents and children are together to learn the way of the Lord. Carefully and untiringly parents are to watch the opening minds of their children, giving them the lessons they need in order to develop into Christian men and women. Parents should make all else subordinate to the work God has given them to do for their children. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 1

It is the mother's privilege to bless the world by her influence, and in doing this, she will bring joy to her own heart. She may make straight paths for the feet of her children, through sunshine and shadow, to the glorious heights above. But it is only when she seeks in her own life to follow the teachings of Christ, that the mother can hope to form the character of her children after the divine example. The world teems with corrupting influences. Fashion and custom exert a strong power over the youth. If the mother fails in her duty to instruct, guide, and restrain, her children will naturally accept the evil, and turn from the good. Let every mother go often to God with the prayer, “How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” Let her heed the instruction that God has given in his Word, and wisdom will be given her as she shall have need. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 2

Few parents realize as they should that child training is God's appointed agency for the salvation of their children. They do not make it their first work to train their children for the Lord. They allow exhibitions of temper, pride, selfishness, to pass unnoticed; and the children grow up unlovely in character, an injury to their companions, a sorrow to their parents, and an offense to God. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 3

Obedience and How it may be Taught

The first lesson that children are to be taught is the lesson of obedience. When they have learned to obey their parents, it will not be hard for them to obey God. Obedience becomes a part of their nature. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 4

But before parents can teach their children obedience, they must learn the lesson themselves by obedience to God. How can they discipline their children aright till they learn the meaning and the value of self-discipline? How can they lead their children up the difficult heights of self-control, self-denial, patience, and truthfulness, unless they first climb these heights themselves? RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 5

A parent gives way to temper before the child, and then wonders why the child is so difficult to control. But what could he expect? Children are quick to imitate; and the child is but putting into practice the lessons taught him by his parents in their outbursts of anger. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 6

Too often parents follow a course that develops evil in the child. Harsh and severe, they drive him to rebellion. Then they wonder why he has traits of character that are so unlovely, when they try so hard to break his stubborn will. It is in trying to break his will that they make their mistake. The child's will is to be trained, bent, not broken. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 7

Disobedience and rebellion must be punished; but remember that the punishment is to be given in the spirit of Christ. Require obedience, never with a storm of angry words, but firmly and kindly. And when called upon to discipline your child, remember your own relation to your Heavenly Father. Have you walked perfectly before him? Are you not wayward and disobedient? Do you not grieve him continually? But does he deal with you in anger? Remember, too, that it is from you that your children have received their tendencies to wrong. Remember how often you act like grown-up children. In spite of your years of Christian experience, in spite of your many opportunities for self-discipline, how easily you are provoked to anger. Deal gently, then, with your children, remembering that they have not had the opportunities you have had to gain self-control. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 8

You may have to punish your child with the rod. This is sometimes essential. But never, never strike him in anger. To correct him thus is to make two wrongs in trying to cure one. Defer the punishment till you have talked with yourself and with God. Ask yourself, Have I submitted my will to God's will? Am I standing where he can control me? Ask God to forgive you for transmitting to your child a disposition so difficult to manage. Ask him to give you wisdom, that you may deal with your wayward child in a way that will draw him nearer to you and to his Heavenly Father. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 9

Be Christlike in the Home

Love breaks down all barriers. Let there be no scolding, no loud-voiced, angry commands. Obey the injunction, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The Lord will give rich blessings to those parents who make diligent efforts to rule the spirit. The grace of Christ softens harsh traits of character and smooths out the rugged disposition. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 10

Those who govern by force have far less influence than those who govern by love. Harshness hardens the heart and braces the will to resistance. Gentleness softens the heart and subdues the most stubborn will. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 11

To every parent God says, “Take heed unto thyself,”—thyself, father; thyself, mother. Before you can do your children justice, you must surrender yourselves to God's training. You must be filled with high motives and noble aspirations. Each day you must endeavor to make yourself more worthy of your trust. Then God will co-operate with you. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 12

The family firm should be well organized. Together the father and mother should consider their responsibilities. Together they should work for the highest good of their children. There is to be no variance between them. Never should they in the presence of their children criticise each other's plans or question each other's judgment. If the wife is inexperienced, she should try to find out where her work makes the work of her husband more difficult, as he labors for the salvation of the children. And the husband should hold up the hands of his wife, giving her wise counsel and loving encouragement. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 13

A Christian father is the house-band of his family, binding them close to the throne of God. Never is his interest in his children to flag. The father who has a family of boys should not leave these restless boys wholly to the care of the mother. This is too heavy a burden for her. He should make himself their companion and friend. He should exert himself to keep them from evil associates. It may be hard for the mother to exercise self-control. If the husband sees that his wife's weakness is endangering the safety of the children, he should take more of the burden upon himself, doing all in his power to lead his boys to God. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 14

Parents are not left to carry forward alone the work on which so much depends. Christ says, Come unto me. I will bear your burdens and your perplexities. All power in heaven and in earth has been given to me. I will give you strength. Go to him, fathers and mothers. Many of you cannot properly fulfill your trust until you are more closely connected with Christ. Some ask, “Why does not the Lord work miracles today, as he did when he was upon the earth?” Let parents live in the home the life of Christ, and the transformation in the lives of their children will testify to God's miracle-working power. RH July 8, 1902, Art. A, par. 15