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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 42, 1903

    The Training of Children


    May 4, 1903 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in RC 179; CG 261, 280; 7MR 16. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    In the home, unselfishness should ever be revealed in temporal and spiritual matters.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 1

    The parents are responsible to God to appreciate His gifts to them. They should be very careful lest an evil character reveal itself in some word or act that brings unpleasantness, discord, or strife, alienating their children from them.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 2

    The father is the priest of the family. The souls of his wife and children, as God’s property, should be to him of the highest value, and he should faithfully guide the formation of their characters. The care of his children from their infancy should be his first consideration; for it is for their present and eternal good that they develop right characters. He should carefully weigh his words and actions, considering their influence and the results they may produce.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 3

    He who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in his family life. It is as essential that, as a father, he should improve the talents God has given him for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family as that in the work of the ministry he should make use of his God-given powers to win souls for the church. As the priest in the home, and as the ambassador of Christ in the church, he should exemplify in his life the character of Christ. He must be faithful in watching for souls as one that must give an account. In his service there must be seen no carelessness and inattentive work. God will not serve with the sins of men who have not a clear sense of the sacred responsibility involved in accepting a position as pastor of a church. He who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherd in the home will surely fail of being a faithful shepherd to the flock of God in the church.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 4

    Fathers and mothers, to you God has entrusted children, and upon you rests a great responsibility, that of patiently and faithfully educating them. To fit your children to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, is your first duty. You are responsible to God carefully to educate them, from their earliest years, to be kind and helpful, patient and forbearing. By your own faithfulness in this missionary service, you will encourage them to seek for the same qualifications that you possess, and in later years they will be fitted to stand as faithful educators in the home.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 5

    Remember that your children are God’s property. You are His stewards, and He has appointed you as their guardians. Parents who are not Christians will fail to give their children a proper training, but you who claim to be Christians must not fail to represent the tender forbearance and patience of Jesus Christ.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 6

    Diligent, faithful instruction in the home is the best preparation children can receive for their school life. The teachers in the school and the teachers in the home should have a complete understanding of each other’s work. They should co-operate harmoniously, imbued with the same missionary spirit, together striving to benefit the children temporally and spiritually. The aim of both parent and teacher should be to develop in those under their care characters that will stand the test of temptation.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 7

    The knowledge of useful trades and of spiritual truths should enter into the education of youth. They are called to the service of God, to reveal the impress of His character and, in true missionary lines, to advance the knowledge of God in the earth. Their training should be of a character that will fit them for this work.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 8

    Let parents, in the fear of God, require perfect obedience in the home. They are to be firm and decided in manner, and at the same time they are to manifest a kindly and affectionate spirit. Such parents will have the favor of God, for they are educating in the way that God has ordained. If taught obedience to their parents at home, children will be led to obey their heavenly Father.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 9

    How seldom do parents realize that with much prayer they must carefully instruct their children in the things of God, that they may be kept from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. Parents, keep your children unspotted from evil, that when the gates of the city of God shall be thrown open to all who love the truth, you may say, Here am I and the children Thou hast given me.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 10

    Christ gave His life for them, that through belief in Him, they might come into possession of the heavenly inheritance, having been educated by their parents to submit to the discipline and control of God.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 11

    Fathers, mothers, deal kindly and tenderly with each other. Let the husband respect the mother of his children, and let the wife show respect for the father of her children, and study to meet his requirements. Never utter one word of censure for the other. Never disagree before your children regarding your management of them. Talk over between yourselves your course of dealing with them, and then work in perfect harmony. You must do this, if you wish to give the right mold to their characters.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 12

    Angels of God will co-operate with human instrumentalities, giving success and eternal victory for the truth through obedience to the law of Jehovah.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 13

    In order to gain this success, parents must never exercise a passionate spirit; for if they do, they will educate their children in evil. Through unwise discipline, they stir up the objectionable traits of character in their children. When parents show a rough, severe, masterly spirit, a spirit of obstinacy and stubbornness is aroused in the children. Thus the parents fail to exert over their children the softening influence that they might.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 14

    Parents, can you not see that harsh words provoke resistance? What would you do if treated as inconsiderately as you treat your little ones? It is your duty to study from cause to effect. When you scolded your children, when with angry blows you struck those who were too small to defend themselves, did you ask yourself what effect such treatment would have upon you? Have you thought how sensitive you are in regard to words of censure or blame? how quickly you feel hurt if you think that some one fails to recognize your capabilities? You are but grown up children. Then think how your children must feel when you speak harsh, cutting words to them, severely punishing them for faults that are not half so grievous in the sight of God as is your treatment of them. By your harsh treatment you are ruining their souls and, taking from them the desire to become Christians, are building up barriers that it will be difficult for you to remove.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 15

    Some parents, when angry, correct their children before visitors in a harsh, abusive manner. This causes the children to lose their self-respect, and a spirit of sullen defiance takes possession of them. They say, “I do not care. I am blamed and severely used for things that I did not regard as sin.” This I have heard from the lips of many children. If their parents had not become angry, if in a calm voice they had explained to the children the inconsistency of their ways and words, they would have won their love.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 16

    Parents, do not discipline your children in a harsh, authoritative manner. If you do, your children will surely act in the same way in their treatment of one another and later in the discipline of their own children. Remember that as teachers you are to carry out Christ’s directions, “Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” [Luke 18:16.]18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 17

    Parents who have not put away their harsh, disagreeable traits of character transmit to their children the unchristlike dispositions they have cherished. In many cases parents are accountable for the unruly traits of character that the children reveal. Often the children are wayward because they cannot see any kindness or justice or love in the treatment that they receive from their parents. Their minds are filled with the poison of retaliation, and with clenched hands, they tell what they purpose to do when they are older.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 18

    Could the eyes of the parents have been opened, they would have seen angels with grieved countenances watching them and their children. These ministers of heaven have been made sad as they have seen the discord and heard the harsh, stinging words. Had they stopped to consider, would they have allowed such scenes to take place in their home?18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 19

    But they have not discerned their own cruelty. They have reached the full stature of men and women, but they have not put away childish things. They have mortified their children, aroused their violent tempers, and deformed their characters. Would it not be well for them to put away their childishness and to ask themselves what example they are setting before those whose lives will be a copy of their own?18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 20

    Parents, you have been buried with Christ in baptism. Have you the evidence that you have been cleansed from sin? You have been buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection to walk in newness of life. Has your old life, the harsh, arbitrary life set in action by passion and governed by carnal feeling, passed away? Are you living the new life in Christ?18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 21

    Parents, when you are converted, your children will be able to see a great change in the home life. They will participate in the blessings that the parents have received. Faultfinding and scolding will have gone, and in its place will be seen forbearance, compassion, and love. You will remember that your children are very young, very inexperienced, and that they have the dispositions that you parents have transmitted to them. You will remember that you have made your children what they are, that from you they inherited a spirit of insubordination and harshness. You will beware lest self with its unchristlikeness shall again come into your life, giving sharpness to your tone and making your words sharp and irritating.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 22

    “Take heed,” said Christ, “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.” [Matthew 18:10.]18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 23

    Parents, mingle love with your instructions, taking notice of the good actions and words of your children and commending them. Do not discourage them. Let them see that you desire to make them happy, and even now you may be able to revive in their hearts the love that you thoughtlessly killed. Let not the Lord Jesus witness in your house any more exhibitions of that masterly authority of which you should ever be ashamed.18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 24

    Be just what you wish your children to be when they shall have charge of families of their own. Speak as you would have them speak. Would you be pleased to have them use the same arbitrary spirit that you have shown to them?18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 25

    “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” [Colossians 3:12-14.] “And ye, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” [Ephesians 6:4.]18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 26

    “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the God of peace which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6, 7.] “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” [Isaiah 30:15.]18LtMs, Ms 42, 1903, par. 27

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