Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

September 13, 1877

The Mother's Work

No work can equal that of the Christian mother. She takes up her work with a sense of what it is to bring up her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. How often will she feel her burden's weight heavier than she can bear; and then how precious the privilege of taking it all to her sympathizing Saviour in prayer. She may lay her burden at his feet, and find in his presence a strength that will sustain her, and give her cheerfulness, hope, courage, and wisdom in the most trying hours. How sweet to the care-worn mother is the consciousness of such a friend in all her difficulties. If mothers would go to Christ more frequently, and trust him more fully, their burdens would be easier, and they would find rest to their souls.

Jesus is a lover of children. The important responsibility of training her children should not rest alone upon the mother. The father should act his part, uniting his efforts with those of the mother. As her children, in their tender years, are mostly under her guidance, the father should encourage and sustain the mother in her work of care by his cheerful looks and kind words. The faithful mother's labor is seldom appreciated. It is frequently the case that the father returns from his business to his home, bringing his cares and perplexities with him. He has no cheerful smile for home, and if he does not find everything for his accommodation, and to meet his ideas, he expresses his disappointment in a clouded brow and censuring words. He does not take into the account the care the mother must have had with the restless children, to keep everything moving smoothly. Her children must have her time and attention, if they are brought up, as the apostle directs, “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

The word of God should be judiciously brought to bear upon the youthful minds, and be their standard of rectitude, correcting their errors, enlightening and guiding their minds, which will be far more effectual in restraining and controlling the impulsive temperament than harsh words, which will provoke to wrath. This training of children to meet the Bible standard will require time, perseverance, and prayer. This should be attended to if some things about the house are neglected.

Many times in the day is the cry of, Mother, mother, heard, first from one little troubled voice and then another. In answer to the cry, mother must turn here and there to attend to their demands. One is in trouble, and needs the wise head of the mother to free him from his perplexity. Another is so pleased with some of his devices he must have his mother see them, thinking she will be as pleased as he is. A word of approval will bring sunshine to the heart for hours. Many precious beams of light and gladness can the mother shed here and there among her precious little ones. How closely can she bind these dear ones to her heart, that her presence will be to them the sunniest place in the world. But frequently the patience of the mother is taxed with these numerous little trials, that seem scarcely worth attention. Mischievous hands and restless feet create a great amount of labor and perplexity for the mother. She has to hold fast the reins of self-control, or impatient words will slip from her tongue. She almost forgets herself time and again, but a silent prayer to her pitying Redeemer calms her nerves, and she is enabled to hold the reins of self-control with quiet dignity. She speaks with calm voice, but it has cost her an effort to restrain harsh words and subdue angry feelings, which, if expressed, would have destroyed her influence, which it would have taken time to regain.

The perception of children is quick, and they discern patient, loving tones from the impatient, passionate command, which dries up the moisture of love and affection in the hearts of children. The true Christian mother will not drive her children from her presence by her fretfulness and lack of sympathizing love. As the parents wish God to deal with them, so should they deal with their children. Our children are only the younger members of the Lord's family, intrusted to us to educate wisely, to patiently discipline, that they may form Christian characters, and be qualified to bless others in this life, and enjoy the life to come.

Many parents do not strive to make a happy home for their children. The pleasantest rooms are closed for visitors. The pleasant face is put on to entertain visitors. Smiles are lavished upon those who do not prize them, while the dear members of the family are pining for smiles and affectionate words. A sunny countenance and cheerful, encouraging words will brighten the poorest home, and be as a talisman to guard the father and the children from the many temptations that allure them from the love of home to the dram-shop, or scenes of amusement which lead away from purity and morality.

But the work of making home happy does not rest upon the mother alone. Fathers have an important part to act. The husband is the house-band of the home treasures, binding by his strong, earnest, devoted affection the members of the household, mother and children, together in the strongest bonds of union. It is for him to encourage, with cheerful words, the efforts of the mother in rearing her children. The mother seldom appreciates her own work, and frequently sets so low an estimate upon her labor that she regards it as domestic drudgery. She goes through the same round day after day, week after week, with no special marked results. She cannot tell, at the close of the day, the many little things she has accomplished. Placed beside her husband's achievement, she feels that she has done nothing worth mentioning. The father frequently comes in with a self-satisfied air, and proudly recounts what he has accomplished through the day. His remarks show that now he must be waited upon by the mother, for she has not done much except take care of the children, cook the meals, and keep the house in order. She has not acted the merchant, bought nor sold; she has not acted the farmer, in tilling the soil; she has not acted the mechanic;—therefore she has done nothing to make her weary. He criticises and censures and dictates as though he was the lord of creation. And this is all the more trying to the wife and mother, because she has become very weary at her post of duty during the day, and yet she cannot see what she has done, and is really disheartened. Could the veil be withdrawn, and father and mother see as God sees the work of the day, and see how his infinite eye compares the work of the one with that of the other, they would be astonished at the heavenly revelation. The father would view his labors in a more modest light, while the mother would have new courage and energy to pursue her labor with wisdom, perseverance and patience. Now she knows its value. While the father has been dealing with the things which must perish and pass away, the mother has been dealing with developing minds and character, working, not only for time, but for eternity. Her work, if done faithfully in God, will be immortalized.

The votaries of fashion will never see or understand the immortal beauty of that Christian mother's work, and will sneer at her old fashioned notions, and her plain, unadorned dress; while the Majesty of heaven will write the name of that faithful mother in the book of immortal fame.

Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.

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