The Signs of the Times


March 23, 1891

Words for Mothers—No. 2


We hear much of the education of women, and it is a subject that is deserving of careful attention. The highest education for woman is to be found in the thorough and equal cultivation of all her talents and powers. The heart, the mind, the spirit, as well as the physical being, should be properly developed. There are many who are uncultured in mind and manners. Many are full of affectation, and the aim of their life seems to be to make a display. When we see this state of affairs, we cannot help breathing a prayer that God will bless the world with women who are developed as they should be in mind and character, women who have a true realization of their God-given responsibility. ST March 23, 1891, par. 1

How essential to a mother is the knowledge of the love of God. She who has children to train cannot do it successfully without the fear of God before her eyes; for in the training of her little ones she must have in view their eternal interests and the interests of society. The education of children for practical life receives far too little attention. Our girls who are blossoming into womanhood are not thoroughly educated when they simply have a knowledge of books. Mothers who hold a place in fashionable society crave for their daughters only superficial accomplishments. They desire to see them making a pleasing appearance, and when this is accomplished, they feel that their responsibility is over. But the superficial accomplishments of society will not take the place of solid acquirements, in useful branches of knowledge, and it is often found that those best versed in the ways of society are least educated. Music, painting, embroidery, are too often regarded as the most essential part of education, but these accomplishments are not sufficient either to develop the mind or to prepare one for the practical duties of life. Education should be a strengthening process, preparing its recipient for a higher, nobler life. Its object should be to fit the soul for usefulness in this life; the thought of display should be no part of the motive in obtaining an education. Mothers are committing a great mistake in confining the minds of their children to the attainment of superficial accomplishments; for the mind thus trained narrows down to the standard set before it, and instead of growing in efficiency because obstacles are met and overcome, the children manifest weakness of mind and instability of purpose. ST March 23, 1891, par. 2

No one who is not growing daily in capability and helpfulness is fulfilling the purpose of life. And mothers who are training their daughters for display should consider their work in the light of this thought. Let them read the instruction of the apostle. He says: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” It is the heart that needs culture; for it is with the heart-life that women have to do. The mother should call into exercise all the purer, nobler emotions which are to be wrought into principles. The precious finer feelings are to be carefully nourished that they may bloom into actions of goodness, truth, and holiness. How carefully and prayerfully should the soil of the heart be cultivated and enriched. Precious seed should be sown, both by precept and example. The words that are spoken by a mother should be choice words. The looks, the dress, and every act, should be of such a character that its reproduction in the daughter may not in any way deface her character. If the character of the mother is pervaded with benevolence and love, the character of the children will also be pervaded, to a greater or less degree, with these noble feelings. Unselfishness, patience, gentleness, kindness, forbearance, must all be cultivated by the mother; she is a learner as well as a teacher. These precious traits must be well cultivated, for they will be found essential in the home-life of the mother. The best impulses must be encouraged, the noblest affections cherished. If the mother's heart is filled with holy love, her life and character will be a savor of life unto life to her children and friends, and will bring forth abiding fruit. She will be enabled to mould the developing minds of her children so that they may be useful in this life, and be fitted for the future, immortal life. ST March 23, 1891, par. 3

The same Heavenly Father who gave to woman hands to labor and a heart to love, gave her talents to be improved that she might become a home missionary. The extent to which the mind can be cultivated is little understood, but the greatest and most essential education is that which results in the formation of a true character. Children should be educated so that they will answer the purpose of God. The education essential for the performance of life's practical duties is the noblest education your children could have. In this education the judgment must be matured before the taste, principle must be cultivated before fancy and inclination. After true principles are established, and the character is given balance, the taste may be indulged, and the fancy may be disciplined. The mind that is filled with wisdom, and established in principle, will be symmetrical, and will have the inward adorning that is of great price in the sight of God. The spirit, too, must have its proper discipline; and nothing so enlarges the soul, ennobles the mind, and enlightens the intellect, as the religion of Christ. Religion will give to him who is in pursuit of knowledge a holy purpose and a definite aim. He who is enlightened by the spirit of God will feel that he is a steward of the grace of God, endowed with gifts for whose improvement he is responsible. ST March 23, 1891, par. 4

Mothers, keep before your daughters the value of a true education, the worthlessness of that education that is simply acquired for display. Constantly seek to elevate the mind of your daughters, for the influence of woman in the missionary work, in the field of reform, is of vast importance. She can be a power for Christ in the world. When Christ is enthroned in the heart, his grace will appear in the life. The deportment, the good works, the tender spirit, will all proclaim their possessor a child of God. What might not women do if they would open their minds and hearts to receive the light of heaven from the Source of all truth? and then they would live up to their God-given responsibility and privilege. ST March 23, 1891, par. 5