The Review and Herald


June 24, 1890

The Work of Parents


To parents is committed the great work of educating and training their children for the future, immortal life. Many fathers and mothers seem to think that if they feed and clothe their little ones, and educate them according to the standard of the world, they have done their duty. They are too much occupied with business or pleasure to make the education of their children the study of their lives. They do not seek to train them so that they will employ their talents for the honor of their Redeemer. Solomon did not say, “Tell a child the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” But, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” RH June 24, 1890, par. 1

True views of parental responsibility would greatly elevate our hopes and aims for those who are shortly to fill our places. If parents could realize the consequences of allowing one fault to remain uncorrected in the character of their children, they would seek God more earnestly for his help in training their families. The fault in one will be communicated to others. RH June 24, 1890, par. 2

Parents should act their part with earnestness. They should practice self-denial, and refrain from extravagance in dress and in the furnishing of their homes. The time given to display should be devoted to the educating of their children so that they may meet the approval of God. They are not to be molded after the standard of the world, but after the standard of heaven. RH June 24, 1890, par. 3

Children should be instructed by both precept and example. Their parents should manifest kindness and courtesy and loving attention to each other. They should manifest self-forgetful love to others. Children will copy the lessons that they see practiced in the family circle. Holy angels will be round about a family where love and joy and peace abound. RH June 24, 1890, par. 4

There are parents who, without consideration as to whether or not they can do justice to a large family, fill their houses with these helpless little beings, who are wholly dependent upon their parents for care and instruction. If unable to have hired help, the mother must do the work of the household, and her strength is taxed every day almost beyond endurance. Although she may have good ability and could do good service to her children, she is unable to do so, because she is broken down and enfeebled by care and taxation. She loves her children, for they are a part of herself; but she cannot do justice to them. She loves God, but she is in continual doubt of her acceptance; for she is aware that she is often fretful and impatient, has no spirit of prayer, and can bear no cheering testimony in the social meeting. She becomes discouraged, and lets things drift, feeling that she cannot row against the current of circumstances. She is overwhelmed by her surroundings. RH June 24, 1890, par. 5

This is a grievous wrong, not only to the mother, but to her children and to society. God would have parents act as rational beings, and live in such a manner that each child may be properly educated, that the mother may have strength and time to employ her mental powers in disciplining her little ones for the society of the angels. She should have courage to act nobly her part and to do her work in the fear and love of God, that her children may prove a blessing to the family and to society. RH June 24, 1890, par. 6

The husband and father should consider all these things lest the wife and mother of his children be overtaxed and thus overwhelmed with despondency. He should see to it that the mother of his children is not placed in a position where she cannot possibly do justice to her numerous little ones, so that they have to come up without proper training. The wife should not be made little more than a slave in his family; for she thus loses her dignity, her self-esteem, and drops lower and lower in the scale of womanhood, as she endeavors to do what she is wholly unable to do. The children of such parents are robbed of the education and training which they require to make them strong physically, mentally, and morally. When the mother is overburdened and overworked, it is not possible for her to give her children the mold of character they should have. She cannot teach them how to meet and withstand temptation in the strength of Christ, how to be strong and brave for the right, how to despise a wrong action. Parents should always bear in mind the future good of their children. They should not be compelled to devote every hour to taxing labor in order to provide the necessaries of life. They should not have more children than they can clothe and feed and educate as God would have them. RH June 24, 1890, par. 7

If they have the glory of God in view, parents will work for their children with conscientious fidelity. God-fearing parents will deliberate and plan as to how to train their children to right habits. They will choose companions for their children, rather than leave them in their inexperience to choose for themselves. RH June 24, 1890, par. 8

Parents should not permit their affection for their children to be manifested to the injury of their children's characters. They should study the Bible, and try to make God's word the guide of their life. Some mothers wear out their lives in serving their children, in waiting upon them, in doing for them things which the children should learn to do for themselves. Children learn to take a mother's service as a matter of course, when this method is followed, and fail to feel that obligations are mutual, fail to perceive that the care and love of their parents should be rewarded by thoughtful love and obedience on their part. Children should be taught to relieve their parents of care and burden as much as possible. When parents allow their children to bear a selfish stamp of character, allow them to idle away precious time in pleasing their own fancy, while they are working hard to clothe and feed and educate them, they do a great injustice to their children; they do them a positive injury, that will follow them all through life. RH June 24, 1890, par. 9

Teach your children to be useful, to bear burdens according to their years; then the habit of laboring will become second nature to them, and useful work will never seem like drudgery. Train them to habits of economy. Some parents bend all their energies to the accumulation of money, and precious opportunities are lost for giving daily instruction, for filling the minds of their children with precious material for use in afterlife. Children should be impressed with the high sense of their moral responsibility. The time that parents devote to fashionable display, should be devoted to teaching their children self-reliance. They should not train their children to seek pre-eminence in dress or speech or action. The inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit is of great price in the sight of God. This adorning will not tarnish or wear out, but will be as enduring as the throne of God. RH June 24, 1890, par. 10

Some parents, although they profess to be religious, do not keep before their children the fact that God is to be served and obeyed, that convenience, pleasure, or inclination should not interfere with his claims upon them. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This fact should be woven into the very life and character. The right conception of God, through the knowledge of Christ, who died that we might be saved, should be impressed upon their minds. Religious instruction should be lovingly imparted to the little ones from their earliest years; but this work is sadly neglected, and we see the result in impenitent, self-willed, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy children. RH June 24, 1890, par. 11

Christian parents, will you not for Christ's sake examine your desires, your aims for your children, and see if they will bear the test of God's law? The most essential education is that which will teach them the love and the fear of God. Your efforts to train your children should be earnest and persevering. You should seek to develop each portion of their nature, physical, mental, and moral, that they may have well-balanced characters. If you leave your children to follow their own inclination and desires, you cannot expect that they will have stability of principle, and be able to resist evil. The physical, the mental, and the moral nature must be cultivated and developed by patient training, coupled with the grace of God; in this way virtuous principles will be established. RH June 24, 1890, par. 12

Parents should learn to live within their means. They should cultivate self-denial in their children, teaching them by precept and example. They should make their wants few and simple, that there may be time for mental improvement and spiritual culture. Educate your children to meet the highest standard of character, the law of God. RH June 24, 1890, par. 13

Love is the key to a child's heart; but the love that leads parents to indulge their children in unlawful desires is not a love that will work for their good. The earnest affection which springs from love to Jesus, will enable parents to exercise judicious authority and to require prompt obedience. The hearts of parents and children need to be welded together, so that as a family they may be a channel through which wisdom, virtue, forbearance, kindness, and love may flow. RH June 24, 1890, par. 14

Our children are God's property, and we are to see to it that they are not deformed by our defects and our one-sided ideas. As guides and teachers, we must be channels of light to others. Our superintendents, our teachers in the Sabbath-school, should be frequently in prayer. A word spoken in due season may be as good seed in youthful minds, and may result in leading little feet in the right path. But a wrong word may lead their feet in the path of ruin. We are entering important times, and those who have a knowledge of the truth are lain under most weighty responsibility to impart it to others. Truth is mighty, and will prevail. Those who love and support the word of God will more and more decidedly range themselves on the Lord's side, and brethren will stand heart to heart in defense of the truth. Those who support error will more and more decidedly gather themselves against the holy and pure principles plainly revealed in the word of God. God has given to every one his work, and capability with which to do it. Our talents are not be laid away to rust from inaction. No one is to live to himself. O, how many there are today who profess godliness, who advocate the truth, but who do not make a practical application of it to their own lives! The principles of the gospel should have a controlling power over us, that we may have the mind that was in Christ, and be pure as he was pure. We know that unless our righteousness shall exceed that of the Pharisees, we shall utterly fail of eternal life. It is not enough to tithe mint and anise and cummin; we must also remember the weightier matters of the law,—mercy and the love of God. Jesus must abide in the soul, if we would work the works that are acceptable to Heaven. RH June 24, 1890, par. 15