The Review and Herald


May 10, 1898

Parental Responsibility—No 1


In the education of their children, parents should begin early to establish in them correct methods and habits; for the early education of the youth shapes their character in both their secular and religious life. Their minds should be directed in profitable channels of thought. Their occupations should be such as not only to benefit themselves, but to teach others the development of thought and labor that will be for their present and eternal good. RH May 10, 1898, par. 1

Children may be trained for the service of sin, or for the service of righteousness. Solomon says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This language is positive. The training that Solomon enjoins is to direct, educate, develop. But in order for parents to do this work, they must themselves understand the “way” the child should go. It is impossible for parents to give their children proper training unless they first give themselves to God, learning of the great Teacher the precious lesson of obedience to his will. The mother should feel her need of the Holy Spirit, that she may herself have a genuine experience in submission to the way and will of the Lord. Then, through the grace of Christ, she can be a wise, gentle, loving teacher of her children. RH May 10, 1898, par. 2

Fathers and mothers are responsible for the health, the constitution, and the development of the characters of their children. No one else should be left to see to this work. As parents, it devolves upon you to co-operate with the Lord in educating your children in sound principles, keeping their minds open and impressible by the inculcation of Bible truth. This will develop strong characters. RH May 10, 1898, par. 3


In too many cases the parents are only grown-up children. They are not intelligent teachers; they do not realize the responsibilities that rest upon them. In their ignorance of the wants of their infants, many parents think that they can be fed upon those things which they themselves eat. They have no knowledge of what constitutes a proper diet. Many mothers have come to me, saying, “My baby does not thrive. It is poor and fretful and sick. What is the matter with it?” RH May 10, 1898, par. 4

“What do you give your child to eat?” I have questioned. RH May 10, 1898, par. 5

“The same food that we ourselves eat,—a little bit of everything,—a little tea, coffee, potato, beer, and meat.” RH May 10, 1898, par. 6

This variety of food is unwholesome for the parents, and is much more so for the child. The child has but a small stomach, and should have regular periods of eating, and then it should not eat too largely. Overeating crowds the stomach, and distress is the result. The “stuffing” process has placed many a little child in its narrow bed, just because of the ignorance of the parents. Let the child dress simply, and eat of the simplest and most wholesome diet. Let him not be indulged, and tempted to eat more than he should. This will ruin the digestive organs before he can become intelligent upon the important subjects of how to eat, how to dress, how to exercise, in order to retain health. The youth who are not perseveringly educated to respect the laws of their own being, will easily turn aside from the laws which God has ordained for their spiritual life. RH May 10, 1898, par. 7

The Spoiled Child

In some families the wish of the child is law. Everything he desires is given him. Everything he dislikes, he is encouraged to dislike. Indulgence is supposed to make the child happy, but it only makes him restless and discontented. Indulgence has spoiled his appetite for plain, healthful food, and for the plain use of his time; self-gratification has done the work of unsettling his character for time and for eternity. RH May 10, 1898, par. 8

A great mistake is made when the lines of control are placed in the child's hands, and he is allowed to bear sway in the home. But this has been done, and will continue to be done, because fathers and mothers are blind in their discernment and calculation. The child who is not carefully and prayerfully disciplined will be unhappy in this life, and will form such unlovely traits of character that the Lord can not unite him with his family in heaven. There is a very great burden to be carried all through the life of a spoiled child. When his will is crossed, he is aroused to anger. In trial, in disappointment, in temptation, he will follow his undisciplined, misdirected will. RH May 10, 1898, par. 9

Children who have never learned to obey will have weak and impulsive characters. They may profess to be Christians, but how sad is their experience. They seek to rule, but have not learned to submit. These half-educated children are without moral strength to restrain their wayward tempers, to correct their wrong habits, or to subdue their uncontrolled wills. That mother who, knowing what is best for the spiritual and physical help of her child, yields to his tears and importunity, will, through her own training, be pierced through with many sorrows. RH May 10, 1898, par. 10

The heavenly intelligences can not co-operate with fathers and mothers who neglect to train their children, and who allow Satan to make the youthful mind an instrument through which he can work to counteract the working of the Holy Spirit. The youth may profess to be converted, but the character will reveal whether or not the neglected work of the parents has been overruled by good. What sin can be greater than that of allowing children to be spoiled by mismanagement? When these children have families of their own, they carry their defects with them, and thus the neglect of parents to deal faithfully carries evil from generation to generation. Thus the world is deprived of the moral power of rectitude and integrity which it should have. RH May 10, 1898, par. 11

The happiness of every child may be secured by strong, even discipline. A child's truest graces consist in modesty and obedience,—in attentive ears to hear the words of direction, in willing feet and hands to walk and work in the path of duty. And a child's true goodness will bring its own reward, even in this life. The early years are the time for the training process, not only that the child may become most serviceable and full of grace and truth in this life; but that he may secure the place prepared in the home above for all who are true and obedient. In our own training of children, and in the training of the children of others, we have proved that they never love parents and guardians less for restraining them from doing evil. RH May 10, 1898, par. 12

The future of society depends on the education and training of the youth of today. Parents, a solemn work is resting upon you. The greatest power, the efficient gospel, has its effect in the well-ordered, well-disciplined family. The children are not be treated as dolls, made to be dressed and undressed,—idols, to have affection and indulgence lavished upon them, and parental self-sacrifice cater to their impulses. They are to learn to obey in the family government. They are to form a symmetrical character, of which God can approve, maintaining law in the home life. Christian parents are to educate their children to obey the law of God. The reasons for this obedience and respect for the law of God may be impressed upon the children as soon as they can understand its nature, so they will know what they should do, and what they should abstain from doing. RH May 10, 1898, par. 13

God requires obedience of every human being. Upon this our eternal future depends. In obedience to the law of God we shall form a beautiful character. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Children should be taught to respect every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Parents are ever to magnify the precepts of the law of the Lord before their children, by showing obedience to that law, by themselves a living under the control of God. If a sense of the sacredness of the law takes possession of the parents, it will surely transform the character by converting the soul. RH May 10, 1898, par. 14

Parents, never prevaricate, never tell an untruth by word or deed. If you want your child to be truthful, be truthful yourselves; be straightforward and undeviating. Even a slight prevarication should not be allowed. If the mother is accustomed to be untruthful, the child will follow her example. RH May 10, 1898, par. 15

The work of “breaking the will” is contrary to the principles of Christ. The will of the child must be directed and guided. Save all the strength of the will, for the human being needs it all; but give it a proper direction. Treat the child's will wisely and tenderly, as a sacred treasure. Do not hammer it to pieces; but by precept, by true example and love, wisely fashion and mold it until the child comes to years of responsibility. Then still guide with your counsel, bringing your child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. RH May 10, 1898, par. 16