Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 17, 1902

Parents’ Work


February 11, 1902 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 20MR 275-277. +Note

There is a great work to be done for the Lord, but let not parents forget that their part of this work begins in the home. This is their first field of missionary effort. When they show that they know how [to] manage their own children, they give evidence that they have wisdom and are prepared to take part in church work. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 1

Parents, you are under a solemn obligation to train your children for God. They are His heritage, and to you is given the work of preparing them for acceptance as members of the royal family in the heavenly courts. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 2

Parents are to give their children such a training that, as they grow older, they will take part in the work of the Lord. From their earliest years children are to be trained to habits of order and helpfulness. They are to be taught to be burden-bearers according to their several abilities. As they grow older, they will become more and more useful, more fitted to bear their share of the burdens of life. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 3

Children are to be taught to be respectful to their parents and to one another. Thus they learn to be respectful to God. They are to be taught to appreciate the abilities that God has given them, to remember that Christ’s love for them calls for the surrender of all to him. They are to be taught to do right because it is right, to control self, to be kind, loving, gentle, to forget self in the effort to help one another. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 4

Parents are to do all in their power to keep disagreements out of the home circle. If the children quarrel, they should be reminded that God has said, “Let not the sun go down on your wrath.” [Ephesians 4:26.] Teach them never to let the sun go down on unpleasant, angry feelings or on a sin unconfessed. Teach them that harmony must reign in the home, even as it reigns in the heavenly courts. The family on earth is to be the symbol of the family in heaven. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 5

Parents, in dealing with your children, reveal God’s justice and God’s mercy. Repress every harsh word. Remember that fretting and scolding are as injurious to your children as profanity. Be firm, but let no loud, angry words escape your lips. Keep self under the control of God’s holy Word. Remember that too much management is worse than no management at all. Rule your children with tenderness and compassion, remembering that “their angels do always behold the face of the Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 18:10.] If you desire the angels to do for your children the work given them by God, co-operate with them by doing your part. Work with loving tenderness; for this is the way Christ works. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 6

Remember that your child has rights that should not be ignored. Be very careful never to bring an unjust charge against him. Never punish him without giving him an opportunity to explain. Listen patiently to his troubles and perplexities. Never tell others in his hearing of his clever sayings and doings, or of his faults and misdoings. Even in the presence of the other children this should not be done. Thus you humiliate him without softening him. Hatred springs up in his heart against your course which he looks upon as cruel and unjust. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 7

To a great degree the experience of the religious life is shaped by the training received in childhood. Many, many church difficulties could be traced to wrong home management. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 8

Remember that during their whole lifetime your children will bear the impress of the instruction they received in the home. Think of how far-reaching will be the influence of the efforts you make to train them aright. The lessons you give them, they will give by and by to their children. The influence you have exerted over them, they will exert over their little ones. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 9

Parents, do not fail to train your children for God. But this work need not debar you from doing missionary work outside the home. Teach your children to help other children. With proper instruction, they can do much real missionary work. If you have trained your child aright, you will find them a help to you in working for others. Parents who neglect their children, in order to do missionary work, make a sad mistake. The course of their untrained, undisciplined children robs them of all influence for good. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 10

The wife of one of our ministers, who has several children, asked me if she should engage in selling papers, saying that she had been asked to do this. I answered, “I cannot advise women who have a family to care for to take up this work. You look worn. You should carefully husband all your strength; for your children need your care. They need all the help you can give them.” 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 11

As parents teach their children, they will themselves learn valuable lessons of self-control. The home-life discipline is the preparation for the higher grade in the school of heaven. Thus they gain an education of the highest value. Thus they learn how to work for others. They are preparing to do high and holy work for God, with their children to assist them as God’s helping hand. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 12

Your children have been brought into the world without voice or consent on their part, and they are to be treated with the wisdom and tenderness that their necessities demand. You know the way; your children, young and inexperienced, do not. They are helpless and ignorant, they need wise, careful guidance, that their feet may not stray into forbidden paths. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 13

Parents, remember that you are molding the characters of your children for eternity. Patiently train them to habits of neatness, usefulness, and purity. By your example show them the charm of becoming behaviour. Do not become weary in your labor of love. The angel of mercy pauses not in his efforts till the last sinner has heard the message of grace. Tenderly and untiringly work for your little ones. Think of how young they are, how much they have to learn. Deal gently and lovingly with them. Consider how slow you have been to learn your lessons. Be calm, patient, and tender. By the cords of unselfish love bind them to you and to Christ. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 14

Of Abraham God said, “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; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham all that which he hath spoken of him.” [Genesis 18:19.] All parents who work diligently and earnestly will receive this commendation. Too often parents give to the world the time and attention that belongs to their children. If they would realize the responsibility resting on them, if they would do all in their power for their children, God would work with them, by His Spirit impressing the children’s minds. The Lord will not do the work He has given parents to do. But He will be their helper, co-operating with every sincere, unselfish effort they make. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 15

May the Lord impress fathers and mothers with the sacredness of the responsibility resting on them. As you unite with the Lord in bringing your children up in His fear, you are prepared for—I was going to say higher responsibilities, but I cannot. There is no higher responsibility than the training of children. 17LtMs, Ms 17, 1902, par. 16