The Review and Herald


April 13, 1897

Words to Parents


God calls upon parents to take heed to the warnings and counsels given in his word, and train up their children, his purchased possession, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He has spoken to parents in regard to the character-building of his own property. He has spoken decidedly against all iniquity, and against all its supposed modifications. While parents have the power to discipline, educate, and train their children, let them exert that power for God. He requires from them pure, faultless, undeviating obedience. He will tolerate nothing else. He will make no excuse for the mismanagement of children. The leaven of goodness, of purity, of true holiness, is to be placed in the hearts of children, as good seed in good soil. RH April 13, 1897, par. 1

But too often children are allowed to grow up without religion because their parents think they are too young to have Christian duties enjoined upon them. They may go to church, or stay at home, or wander about on the Sabbath, just as they please. Like Eli, the parents advise, but do not command. They do not exercise the control that God requires shall be exercised, and the curse for mismanagement of children falls upon them. RH April 13, 1897, par. 2

The question of the duty of children in regard to religious matters is to be decided absolutely and without hesitancy while they are members of the family. They should be taught that they must not play cards, attend theaters, or hold dancing-parties. They should be warned against indulgence in liquor drinking and against choosing companions whose characters are doubtful. RH April 13, 1897, par. 3

Children who are misruled, who are not educated to obey and respect, link themselves with the world, and take their parents in hand, putting a bridle on them, and leading them where they choose. Too often, at the very time when the children should show unquestioning respect and obedience to the counsel of their parents, the parents slacken the reins of discipline. Parents who have hitherto been bright examples of consistent piety are now led by their children. Their firmness is gone. Fathers who have borne the cross of Christ, and kept the marks of the Lord Jesus on them in singleness of purpose, are led by their children in questionable and uncertain paths. Fathers and mothers are giving way to the inclination of godless children, and assisting them with money and facilities to make an appearance in the world. RH April 13, 1897, par. 4

O what an account such parents will have to render to God! They dishonor God, and show all honor to their wayward children, opening their doors to amusements which they have in the past condemned from principle. They have allowed card-playing, dancing-parties, and balls to win their children to the world. At the time when their influence over their children should be strongest, bearing a testimony of what true Christianity means, like Eli they bring themselves under the curse of God by dishonoring him and disregarding his requirements, in order to gain the favor of their children. But a fashionable piety will not be of much value in the hour of death. Although some ministers of the gospel may approve this kind of religion, parents will find that they are leaving the crown of glory to obtain laurels that are of no value. God help fathers and mothers to arouse to their duty! RH April 13, 1897, par. 5

If parents would bring their children up in the fear of the Lord, they themselves must walk in the way of the Lord. If they neglect to educate and train themselves: if they cherish those traits of character which disqualify them for patiently training their children in right habits; if they will not take the responsibility of reaching a high standard for themselves, failing to become sanctified through the truth and transformed in character, how can they impress upon their children the necessity of forming correct habits? Such parents cannot elevate the souls of any within the sphere of their influence. RH April 13, 1897, par. 6

It is the duty of those who claim to be Christians to present to the world well-ordered, well-disciplined families,—families that will show the power of true Christianity. If parents fail to make the effort required to do this, their children should be placed under the care of those who will feel it their duty to do the work which the parents have neglected. RH April 13, 1897, par. 7

Parents are not to regard those who tell them disagreeable truth as enemies. In our experience we have become acquainted with parents who would turn away impatiently from wise counsel, to accept the words of their children because they belonged to them, though the children were not telling the truth. A mother who lacks discernment, and who does not follow the guidance of the Lord, may educate her children to be deceivers and hypocrites. The traits of character thus cherished may become so persistent that to lie will be as natural as to breathe. Pretense will be taken for sincerity and reality. Children thus educated will repeat words they have heard others utter, though they may have no sense of their real meaning. RH April 13, 1897, par. 8

Parents should set their children an example of strict truthfulness. They should never utter one word that is not true. They should train their children to respect Christians. Parents, do not allow your children to see that you take their word before the statements of older Christians. You cannot do them a greater injury. By saying, I believe my children before I believe those whom I have evidence are children of God, you encourage in them the habit of falsifying. RH April 13, 1897, par. 9

Parents and teachers, be true to God. Let your life be free from deceitful practises. Let no guile be found in your lips. However disagreeable it may be to you at the time, let your ways, your words, and your works show uprightness in the sight of a holy God. O, the effect of the first lesson in deceit is terrible! Shall any who claim to be sons and daughters of God give themselves up to deceitful practises and lying? RH April 13, 1897, par. 10

Never let your children have the semblance of an excuse for saying, Mother does not tell the truth. Father does not tell the truth. When you are tried in the heavenly courts, shall the record be made against your name, A deceiver? Shall your offspring be perverted by the example of those who ought to guide them in the way of truth? Instead of this, shall not the converting power of God enter the hearts of mothers and fathers? Shall not the Holy Spirit of God be allowed to make its mark upon their children? RH April 13, 1897, par. 11

It cannot be expected that children will be altogether guileless. But there is danger that through unwise management, parents will destroy the frankness which should characterize child experience. By word and action parents should do all in their power to preserve artless simplicity. As children advance in years, parents should not give the slightest occasion for the sowing of that seed which will develop into deceit and falsehood, and mature into untrustworthy habits. RH April 13, 1897, par. 12

In their important work parents must ask and receive divine aid. Even if the character, habits, and practises of parents have been cast in an inferior mold, if the lessons given them in childhood and youth have led to an unhappy development of character, they need not despair. The converting power of God can transform inherited and cultivated tendencies; for the religion of Jesus is uplifting. “Born again” means a transformation, a new birth in Christ Jesus. RH April 13, 1897, par. 13

The time is coming when all parents must meet their children at the bar of heaven. That will be an important period. How will Eli meet his children and the consequence of their evil works? How will Abraham meet his household? Parents, how will you meet your children? You know that every case will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. Will you neglect the present opportunity of instilling correct principles into the minds of your children? RH April 13, 1897, par. 14

Children need painstaking effort; for if Satan is given any opportunity, he will make their ways perverse. O that mothers and fathers would realize their responsibility and accountability before God! What a change would take place in society! Children would not be spoiled by being praised and petted, or made vain by indulgence in dress. They would not be indulged in wrong. They would be taught to fear the Lord and to walk in his ways. Parents, do not, through mistaken love for your children, neglect to train them aright. Educate and train them for God. Put yourselves in the school of Christ, and learn of him, that you may teach the same lessons to your children. As you do this, God will bless you, and make you a blessing. RH April 13, 1897, par. 15