Reclaiming the Family

Education Reform Starts in the Home

Parents who would properly rear their children need wisdom from Heaven in order to act judiciously in all matters pertaining to home discipline. The education should begin at an early period in the life of the child. Few realize the effect of a mild, firm manner, even in the care of an infant. The fretful, impatient mother or nurse creates peevishness in the child in her arms, whereas a gentle manner tends to quiet the nerves of the little one.

Perverse temper should be checked in the child as soon as possible; for the this duty is delayed, the more difficult it is to accomplish. Children of quick, passionate disposition need the special care of their parents. They should be dealt with in a kind but firm manner; there should be no wavering or indecision on the part of the parents, in their case. The traits of character which would naturally check the growth of their peculiar faults should be carefully nourished and strengthened. Indulgence of the child of passionate and perverse disposition will result in his ruin. His faults will strengthen with his years, retard the development of his mind, and overbalance all the good and noble traits of his character.

If you wish your children to possess enlarged capacities to do good, teach them to have a right hold of the future world. If they are instructed to rely upon divine aid in their difficulties and dangers, they will not lack to curb and to check the inward temptations to do wrong. Connection with the Source of wisdom will give and the power of discernment between right and wrong. Those so endowed will become morally and intellectually and will have clearer views and better judgment even in temporal affairs.

The first care of the parents should be to establish government in the family. The word of the parents should be law, precluding all arguments or evasions. Children should be taught from infancy to implicitly obey their parents. This is the first lesson in teaching them to obey the requirements of God. Self-control is absolutely essential to the proper education of our children. The want of this quality of character is the key to the horrible records of crime chronicled every day by the media. The sins which curse mankind, which are found in high places, and which are concealed by a cloak of assumed godliness, as well as the open crime which runs riot among the lower strata of society, can be almost wholly traced to the bad training, or lack of training, of the children under the home roof, and the indulgence and perversion of their appetite around the family board.

Parents yield themselves to a blind fondness, which they misname love, and, by indulgence and a neglect to do their duty in restraining their children, actually foster evil traits of character in them. In after they wonder, with grief and disappointment, at the development of those traits, but fail to trace their origin to their own wrong course as parents. Wherever we go, we see children indulged, petted, and praised without discretion. This tends to make them vain, bold, and conceited. The seeds of vanity are easily sown in the human heart by injudicious parents and guardians, who praise and indulge the young under their charge, with no thought of the future. Self-will and pride are evils that turned angels into and barred the gates of Heaven against them. And yet parents, unconsciously, are systematically training their children to be the agents of Satan. Parents frequently dress their children in extravagant garments, with much display of ornaments, then openly admire the effect of their apparel, and compliment them on their appearance. These foolish parents would be filed with consternation if they could see how Satan seconds their and urges them on to greater follies.

Such a course can hardly fail to make the youth vain, extravagant, and selfish, willing to even sacrifice principle rather than fail to make the display which, it seems to them, is necessary to a proper regard from the world. They prefer the superficial splendor of costly adornment to the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. Parents should strictly guard against encouraging the vanity which is productive of so much and should promptly check the openly expressed admiration of their friends for their children, even at the risk of displeasing the former.

Be careful how you relinquish the government of your children to others. No one can properly relieve you of your God-given responsibility. Many children have been utterly ruined by the interference of relatives or friends in their home government. Mothers should never allow their sisters or mother to interfere with the wise management of their children. Though the mother may have received the very best training at the hands of her mother, yet, in nine cases out of ten, as a grandmother she would spoil her daughter’s children, by indulgence and injudicious praise. All the patient effort of the mother may be undone by this course of treatment. It is proverbial that grandparents, as a rule, are unfit to bring up their grandchildren. Men and women should pay all the respect and deference due to their parents; but, in the matter of the management of their own children, they should allow no interference, but hold the reins of government in their own hands.

The mother must ever stand pre-eminent in this work of training the children. While grave and important duties rest upon the father, the mother, by almost constant association with her children, especially during their tender years, must always be their special instructor and companion. She should take great care to cultivate neatness and order in her children, to direct them in forming correct habits and tastes: she should train them to be industrious, self-reliant, and helpful to others; to live, and act, and labor as though always in the sight of God.

Parents seem to be in a lethargic sleep in regard to the responsibility of their position. They see the world teeming with sin and corruption, the news full of reports of crime and wretchedness; yet they are not roused by these things to extra vigilance in bringing up their children to right habits, and with correct views of life and its requirements. People are shocked at the low moral condition of the youth of this age, and their tendency to evil; but few realize where the chief blame lies. We shall see no reform in society till parents rouse to an appreciation of their solemn, God-given responsibilities, and feel that their children are lost to themselves, to the world, and to God, unless they take up and fulfill their long-neglected duties.

Parents should look about them and see the temptations to intemperance and vice of every kind, spread in the paths of their children, and, in anguish of heart, should call on God to help them in their emergency, and give them wisdom and strength to guide aright the young whom God has placed in their charge. This precious trust must be accounted for by them the day of Judgment.

Many parents actually teach their children to disobey them, by excusing their and glossing over their willful faults. That only child, the son or daughter whose life has been a series of indulgence, petting, and praise, has grown only to obey his own will. Every whim has been gratified until he has become imperious, exacting, and intolerable to all but his blind and erring parents, who seem to consider it their first duty to minister to his and anticipate every desire. The child thus reared has no respect for his parents, since they have always been subservient to his wishes, and have never exacted from him the obedience due from a child to his parents. God has placed disobedience to parents side by side with blasphemy.

Disobedience to parents leads directly to disobedience to God; there is hardly a step between. The parents who neglect to exact obedience from their children virtually teach them to disobey the requirements of God, to sin against high Heaven, and jeopardize their souls. Such a course brings agony, disgrace, and ruin to both parents and children, both here and hereafter. When the work is complete and irreparable, the parents sometimes see too late the error of their and trace the ruin of their child to their own neglect and culpable folly toward him from the cradle to manhood.

If parents would realize that they are answerable to God for every child committed to their trust, they would not dare to spend their precious time in the wearying round of fashion, pleasure, or even in business, to the exclusion of their family duties. One soul neglected, or indulged in wrong habits, serves to greatly increase the sin already existing in the world. The defects that have been fostered by the indulgence of thoughtless parents create in their child a morally deformed character; this, in an aggravated form, may be transmitted to their offspring, and so on till the evil effects of the first error of indulgence or neglect are incalculable.

Parents, remember that you are training your children not only for this but for the future, immortal life. No taint of sin will enter the abode of bliss. See that you do not, by sinful indulgence, fasten in the toils of Satan the children whom you regard so dear. What fearful guilt rests upon parents in this age of the world! what folly and cruelty toward the tender, susceptible creatures given to their charge! It is theirs to train souls for eternity; but how do they fall short of their duty! What will be theirs when the day of awakening comes all too late; and what retribution when the just Judge shall investigate their case, and inquire of them, Where are the children that I gave thee to train up for the courts of Heaven?

Parents are doing their best to unfit their children for the stern realities of life, for the difficulties that will surround them in the future, when they will be called upon to decide for right or wrong, and when strong temptations will be brought upon them. They will then be found weak where they should be strong. They will waver in principle and duty humanity will suffer from their weakness. Christian parents, make the word of God your rule of action in the rearing of your children. Teach them to respect your will, and to obey the requirements of God. Endeavor to shape their characters after the pattern of Christ Jesus. Be firm, kind, patient, and and your children will be an honor to you in this and wear a crown of rejoicing in the kingdom of Heaven.1White, Ellen G. “A Lesson for the Times.” The Health Reformer, 1 Nov. 1878.

References   [ + ]

The Watchman

The Watchman

In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light - bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. Evangelism, p. 119

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Words of Life

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

— James 1:17