f parents desire their children to be pleasant, they should never speak to them in a scolding manner. The mother often allows herself to become irritable and nervous. Often she snatches at the child, and speaks in a harsh manner. If a child is treated in a quiet, kind manner, it will do much to preserve in him a pleasant temper. The grandest and noblest work that parents have to do for their Master is to bring Bible discipline into their government. Mothers, teachers, and guardians of the youth, be careful. If things arise to irritate, you are not at liberty to act out your feelings. Educate yourselves to carry a pleasant countenance, and to bring sweetness and melody into the voice. The angels of God are ever near your little ones. . . . Let love and tenderness, patience and self-control, be at all times the law of your speech. Winning love is to be like deep waters, ever flowing forth in the management of your children.
The Example of Jesus
All through His life, Christ performed acts of love and tenderness for the children. He took the little ones in his arms, and blessed them. On one occasion he called a little child to him, and set him in the midst of his disciples, and said: “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”
Parents should heed the words of Christ: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” . . .
It is your duty, parents, to educate and train your children to do service for Him whose they are by creation and redemption. . . . Be careful how you treat the precious little ones, the lambs of the flock. . . . We would be much happier if we would manifest the gentleness of Christ in dealing with the little ones, who have everything to learn from the lips and character of the parents. It is a pleasant thing for God and the angels above to behold this work carried on in the families of earth in a Christlike manner. . . .
Preparation for Parents
All are to be students in this life. We are to improve our faculties, that we may do the best kind of service for him who has given his life to redeem us. We are to think soberly, and consecrate ourselves to God day by day. Then we shall consider every hour precious, and shall purify our souls with stern resolution. Our opportunities and privileges are golden. We have a high standard to reach. We are to do missionary work for the Master, co-operating with Christ in restoring the moral image of God in men.
The glory of God is to be kept before the mind’s eye. This should be the one aim and purpose of parents. Everything that would hinder in this consecrated service is to be left. We are to separate ourselves from whatever position we have placed ourselves in that would fetter us to cheap habits, common words, common works, or littleness of purpose. Christians are to be Christlike. All who sincerely believe that the living oracles of God mean just what they say, will act that faith.
The Importance of Example
Nothing can excuse parents from their responsibility toward their children in their influence in the home discipline and education. Low, cheap, common talk should find no place in the family. When the heart is pure, rich treasures of wisdom will flow forth. The heart should be a holy temple for God, where no entrance of corrupt principles is allowed to divorce us from God, and extinguish our moral and spiritual power. In the training of their children, parents should inculcate right principles. Every action is liable to be repeated. Every course of action has a twofold character and importance. It is virtuous or vicious, right or wrong, according to the motive which prompts it. A wrong action, by frequent repetition, leaves a permanent impression upon the mind of the actor, and also on the minds of those who are connected with him in any relation, either spiritual or temporal. The parents or teachers who give no attention to the small actions that are not right, establish those habits in the youth. Principle must be firmly held by parents and teachers. They must reverence the principles of God’s holy word, and let their own lives reveal that they are pure and noble and heavenly.
On every hand we see a neglect to train children to engage in useful labor. They are allowed to grow up in ignorance of simple and necessary things. But those who are so unfortunate in their training must awake; take the burden of the matter upon themselves; and, if they ever expect to have success, find incentives to the honest employment of their God-given powers. Their own enlightened understanding must lead them to engage in useful work. Without this kind of education, this principle of action will not be established. Their work will be fitful, and their efforts in every line, feeble.
Parents are not to be slaves to their children, doing all the self-sacrifice, while the children are permitted to grow up careless and unconcerned, letting all the burdens rest upon their parents. The children are God’s precious heritage, to be disciplined, educated, and trained to lift burdens in their early years. These should be light at first; but children should be carefully educated to do their part, that they may understand how to do their work with willing aptitude. Young men and young women who have been so unfortunate as to have the idea impressed upon their minds that work is degrading to ladies and gentlemen, will in the end lose the credit of being ladies and gentlemen. There are domestic duties calling for a helping hand; in every place there are things that require energetic, persevering, skilled activity, which ready, experienced hands know how to undertake. . . .
Work is constantly being done in heaven. There are no idlers there. “My Father worketh hitherto,” said Christ, “and I work.” We cannot suppose that when the final triumph shall come, and we have the mansions prepared for us, . . . that we shall rest in a blissful, do-nothing state. We have a great work to do in this our day to prepare the way for the King of kings and Lord
of lords. Be sure he finds us at the occupation he has given us. To every man he has given his work,—a fitting occupation,—to prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord.
This article is excerpted from one that appeared in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, now the Adventist Review, MAY 17, 1898. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.