The Review and Herald


September 2, 1884

Parental Responsibility


There is great responsibility resting upon parents. They should not be led by their children, but should restrain and guide them. Abraham was faithful in his house. His authority was regarded. He commanded his household after him, and his fidelity was remembered of God. RH September 2, 1884, par. 1

Eli took a different course. He might have restrained his children, but he did not; and as a consequence his sons became vile, and by their wickedness led Israel astray. Terrible calamities resulted from Eli's neglect, both to the house of Eli and to the children of Israel. RH September 2, 1884, par. 2

The salvation of children depends very much upon the course pursued by the parents. Children must be restrained and their passions subdued, or God will surely destroy them in the day of his fierce anger, and the parents who have not controlled them will not be blameless. Especially should those who have authority in the church of God govern their own families, and have them in subjection. They are not prepared to decide in matters of the church unless they can rule well their own house. RH September 2, 1884, par. 3

Even after they are of age, children are required to respect their parents. They should listen to the counsel of godly parents, and not feel that because a few more years are added to their life, they have grown out of their duty to them. There is a commandment with promise to those who honor their father and mother. RH September 2, 1884, par. 4

There should always be a fixed principle on the part of Christian parents to be united in the government of their children. In some cases there is a fault in this respect,—a lack of union. The fault is sometimes with the father, but oftener with the mother. The father's labor calls him from home often, and from the society of his children. The fond mother pets and indulges them, and her influence tells. Sometimes she suffers wrongs in her children which should not be allowed for a moment, and even conceals these wrongs from the father. If the father discovers them, excuses are made, and but half the truth is told. RH September 2, 1884, par. 5

Here a lesson of deception is effectually taught the children. The mother does not consider as she should that the father has an equal interest in the children with herself, and that he should not be kept ignorant of the wrongs or besetments that ought to be corrected in them when young. The children know the lack of union in the parents, and it has its effect. They begin young to deceive; they cover up, and tell things in a false light to their mother as well as to their father. Exaggeration becomes habit, and blunt falsehoods come to be told with but little conviction or reproof of conscience. RH September 2, 1884, par. 6

Mother sets the example of pride, and this does much toward forming the character of their children. They are sowing seed that will bear fruit, and the harvest will be plenteous and sure. There will be no failure in the crop. Parents should be exemplary. They should exert a holy influence in their families. Their dress should be modest, different from that of the world around them. As they value the eternal interests of their children, they should faithfully rebuke pride in them and encourage it not by word or deed. Many parents do not take as firm and decided a stand as they should in dealing with their children. They suffer them to be like the world, and to associate with those who hate the truth, and whose influence is poisonous. By so doing they encourage in them a worldly disposition. RH September 2, 1884, par. 7

Parents, it is easier for you to teach your children a lesson of pride than a lesson of humility. Satan and his angels stand by your side to make a word or an act on your part effectual to encourage them to dress, and to mingle with society that is not holy. You thus plant in your own bosoms a thorn that will often pierce you and cause anguish. When you would counteract the sad lesson you have taught your children, you will find it a hard thing to do. You may deny them things that would gratify their pride; yet pride will live in the heart, longing to be satisfied, and nothing can kill it but the quick and powerful Spirit of God. When this finds its way to the heart, it will work like leaven, and transform the character. All love of dress and pride of appearance will be eradicated. There will be no place for love of adornment in the sanctified heart. RH September 2, 1884, par. 8

Parents generally put too much confidence in their children; for often when the parents are confiding in them, they are in concealed iniquity. Parents, watch your children with a jealous care. Exhort, reprove, counsel them, when you rise up, when you sit down; when you go out, when you come in; “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little.” Subdue your children when they are young. Their whole religious experience is affected by their early training. Teach them to submit to you, and the more readily will they learn to yield obedience to the requirements of God. RH September 2, 1884, par. 9

Children who are under strict discipline will at times become impatient of restraint, and will wish to have their own way, and go and come as they please. Especially from the age of ten to eighteen, they will often feel that there would be no harm in attending gatherings of their young associates; yet their experienced parents can see danger. They are acquainted with the peculiar temperament of their children, and know the influence of these things upon their minds; and from a desire for their salvation, keep them back from these exciting amusements. When these children decide for themselves to leave the pleasures of the world, and become Christ's disciples, what a burden is lifted from the hearts of the careful, faithful parents. Yet even then the labor of the parents must not cease. The children should not be left to take their own course, and always choose for themselves. They have but just commenced in earnest the warfare against pride, passion, envy, jealousy, hatred, and all the evils of the natural heart. And parents need to watch and counsel their children, and decide for them, and to show them that if they do not yield cheerful, willing obedience to their parents and to God, it is impossible for them to be Christians. RH September 2, 1884, par. 10

Some parents attend carefully to their temporal wants, and then think their duty done. Here they mistake. Their work has but just begun. The wants of the mind should be cared for. Children have trials just as hard to bear, just as grievous in character, as those of older persons; and it requires skill to apply the proper remedies to heal a wounded mind. While parents should be firm they should be gentle. They should not forget their childhood years, how much they yearned for sympathy and love, and how unhappy they felt when censured and fretfully chided. They should be young again in their feelings, and try to understand the wants of their children. Parents should encourage their children to confide in them, and to unburden to them their heart griefs, their little daily annoyances and trials. Thus they can learn to sympathize with their children; and they will be better fitted to point them to their never failing Friend and Counselor, who will be touched with the feeling of their infirmities, who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. RH September 2, 1884, par. 11

Angels of God are watching the children with the deepest interest, to see what characters they develop. Jesus does not despise, neglect, or leave behind, the lambs of the flock. He has not bidden us move forward and leave them. He has not traveled so hastily as to leave us and our children behind. Oh, no; he has evened the path to life, even for the little ones. And parents should endeavor in his name to lead them along the narrow way. RH September 2, 1884, par. 12