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Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850] - Contents
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    MR No. 803—Parental Training of Children

    The Responsibility of Parents—“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).10MR 101.1

    Eternal interests depend upon the course our children take in this life, and parents should be in earnest in giving them correct lessons from their babyhood up. This is a work that has been greatly neglected by many parents, and it is one in which the Lord would have decided reforms made. He desires that our children shall be trained to render obedience to all His requirements.10MR 101.2

    The apostle Paul continues: [Ephesians 6:4-9 quoted].10MR 101.3

    Great responsibilities rest upon parents, and they should strive earnestly to fulfill their God-appointed mission. When they see the need of bending all the energies of the being to the work of training their children for God, a great deal of the frivolity and unnecessary pretense that is now seen will be put away. They will consider no sacrifice or toil too great that will enable them to prepare to meet the Lord with joy. This is a most precious part of their service as followers of God, and one that they cannot afford to neglect.10MR 101.4

    The words of the apostle teach that judgment will be brought upon those who do not obey their parents in the Lord, and that both parents and children are to follow on to know the Lord, taking heed to all the commandments of God. The Lord will reveal Himself to those who are obedient. If we are indifferent to the spiritual welfare of the children and youth, and fail to educate them in right principles, we neglect a great responsibility, the consequences of which we shall have to meet in the judgment.10MR 101.5

    Parents, you are to exemplify Christ in your speech and your actions, and in your duties in the home life. You are to a large degree responsible for the salvation of the children whom you have brought into the world, and your example before them should be of that nature that it will mold their characters in accordance with divine principles.10MR 102.1

    This burden is upon my mind day and night—the responsibilities that rest upon parents, and which by many are unacknowledged and unfulfilled. God wants us to come into right relation to Him. Shall it be said of any here before me today [Ellen White was speaking to an audience in Long Beach, California.] that Christ has died for your children in vain because you have not worked in harmony with the teachings of God's Word? Let us make a solemn consecration of ourselves and our children to God. They are not given to us to be treated as playthings, made to please our notions and ideas. They are the property of God, and they are to be trained for His service. Teach them from the Word just what His requirements are concerning them. He demands obedience to all of His commandments. If parents neglect their responsibilities to their children, how will it be with them in the day of final account?10MR 102.2

    I have had children come to me and beg me to take them in, saying that at home they had no opportunity to do the will of God. Yet the parents of these very children professed to be Christians. Some who even minister in the Word neglect to do their duty to their children.10MR 102.3

    Message after message has been given me for parents who thus neglect their family responsibilities. We are instructed to teach our children line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, teaching them to live as in the presence of God, showing them the requirements of God's Word, and explaining to them their duty concerning them. If your children are disobedient, they should be corrected. But do not punish in anger. Before correcting them, go by yourself, and ask the Lord to soften and subdue the hearts of your children, and to give you wisdom in dealing with them. Never in a single instance have I known this method to fail.10MR 103.1

    You cannot make a child understand spiritual things when the heart is stirred with passion. At such times I would say to my children, “We will wait until your bed hour,” and then we would talk the matter over and see what was best to be done. I would pray with them, and would tell them that I could not have my children displeasing the Lord and grow up to disregard His requirements. I do not know of a single instance when this plan failed. They would throw their arms around my neck, asking my forgiveness and promising to do differently.10MR 103.2

    Do not strike your children a blow until everything else had failed. Many times you will find that if you will reason with them kindly, they will not need to be whipped. And such a method of dealing will lead them to have confidence in you. They will make you their confidant. They will come to you and say, “I did wrong today at such a time, and I want you to forgive me and to ask God to forgive me.” I have gone through scenes like this, and therefore I know. I have adopted children, and have tried to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and I had success in this work. I thank the Lord with heart and soul and voice that I can see today some of these children occupying responsible positions in the work of God. I am thankful that I had courage, when they did wrong, to deal with them firmly, to pray with them, and to keep the standards of God's Word before them. I am glad that I presented to them the promises made to the overcomer, and the rewards offered to those who are faithful.10MR 103.3

    Parents need to arouse to a sense of their grave responsibility, and be interested in the salvation of their children. They have a heaven to win, a hell to shun. It means much to bring up the children in the love and fear of God. It means more than many realize. We should be just as faithful in fulfilling these duties day by day as we expect God to be faithful in imparting to us our daily blessings. God wants us to cooperate with Him. He wants us to come to a right understanding of what our relation to these children should be. It is time that we understood this, and determined to follow the will of the Lord for ourselves and for our children.10MR 104.1

    “Children, obey your parents in the Lord,” the apostle writes, “for this is right. Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long upon the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3). But who is going to teach these children to honor God, unless the father and mother teach them? Who is going to teach them what that promise means, if not their parents? There is nothing, parents, that will give your children such strength of character as to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let them see that discipline is a part of God's purpose for them. He wants us to harmonize with His plans, not allowing the children to grow up careless and unrestrained, but to submit to the will and the guidance of His Spirit. [Verses 10-17, quoted.]10MR 104.2

    The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Give it to your children as their weapon against evil.10MR 105.1

    Frequently my spirit has been deeply wrought upon as I have stood before the people to see a quarrel going on in the congregation between a mother and her child. Sometimes my soul has been so hurt by this sight that I could hardly go on with the discourse.10MR 105.2

    My brethren and sisters, where is your strength and efficiency for the doing of this work? The apostle presents it to you in the words, “Praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” You must be prepared to listen to counsel from others. Do not feel that it is no business of your brethren or sisters how you treat your children, or how your children conduct themselves.10MR 105.3

    Parents should not allow visitors to take the time that should be given to their children. If a neighbor comes in to visit you at a time when your children require your attention, tell your visitor pleasantly, but firmly, that you have not time to spare, that your children demand your first attention.10MR 105.4

    Let us seek to meet the mind of the Spirit of God in all things. [Philippians 2:1-7. quoted.]10MR 105.5

    Notwithstanding all that was His by right, He claimed for Himself none of these things. [Verses 8-11, quoted.]10MR 105.6

    Brethren and sisters, let us do our work intelligently, that when the time shall come when all the human family must meet the Judge over His broken law, we shall not stand condemned before Him. [Verses 12-16, first part, quoted.]10MR 105.7

    Oh, shall we not listen to the words of God? Here are our directions. I present them to you, and ask you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to arouse to the work that God is giving you to do. Shall we not arouse from our sleep, and do this work intelligently? God bids us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, declaring that God works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. Let us seek to honor our Redeemer, and to glorify His name. I may not be able to speak to you again on this subject, but let fathers and mothers bear in mind that they have a solemn record to meet in the judgment. Consider your children, and the judgment that must one day be passed upon them. Has your example been such that they will have no excuse for their wrong course of action? You are to counsel and reprove in the fear of the Lord. You are to seek the Lord in prayer for a spirit that He can commend. May the Lord's blessing rest upon this congregation. May the word that has been spoken make a deep impression on your minds, leading you to form correct habits, and make a record that you will not be ashamed to meet in the judgment.—Manuscript 27, 1911, 1-8. (“The Responsibility of Parents,” a sermon preached at Long Beach, California, August 18, 1911.)10MR 105.8

    Parents to Teach Their Children Obedience—Let ministers and people read the Word of the Lord on this point, for it is a life-or-death question [parental training]. Will you obey the word of the Lord, or will you walk contrary to a plain “Thus saith the Lord”? Parents, listen to the word of the Lord rather than to the word of men. Teach your children to obey the Word of God, for obedience means life and disobedience means death.10MR 106.1

    “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes” (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13). The Lord requires parents to teach their children to obey and reverence His law. Life and death are set before them, and the strongest motives are presented to induce them to choose life.10MR 106.2

    The words and actions of parents mold the characters of their children for this life and for the life to come. All will receive according to their works. When children are not diligently instructed to keep the way of the Lord, the enemy comes in to occupy the thoughts. God is forgotten. The deceiver takes control of the heart. Satan will stamp his image and principles upon the hearts of those who are not taught to obey God. Men and women transmit their characters, for good or evil, to their children and to their children's children. Curses are prepared for future generations by the doing of evil on the part of parents.—Manuscript 33, 1900. (“Unfaithful Shepherds,” June 25, 1900.)10MR 107.1

    The Need of Church Schools—It is time for the members of our churches to be instructed to withdraw their children from the public school. The apt mind of a child readily learns lessons of evil in companionship with children who have not been properly trained. Thus many children are corrupted.10MR 107.2

    Church schools should be established, and teachers should be secured who will work earnestly for the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the pupils. I urge those in charge of the church-school work to obtain the very best teachers to take charge of the schools started.10MR 107.3

    I would say to church-school teachers, Know that you do know that you are worked by the Holy Spirit. Reveal in your life the power of the transforming influence of truth. Teachers should do their utmost to improve their own capabilities, that they may teach their students how to make true improvement.10MR 107.4

    For church-school teachers to try to reform the children who have been neglected, without the cooperation of the parents, would make a very disagreeable state of things. Remember that while decision is necessary, you are never to be harsh and condemnatory. You are never to manifest an overbearing spirit. Keep calm. Reveal the better way by refusing to be provoked.10MR 108.1

    Instruction in Practical Lines Essential—In our schools there should be classes for instruction in cooking and other branches of housekeeping. These classes will be a great blessing. They should be taught the science of healthful cooking. They should be taught to be neat and quick in performing the common duties of life. Many are deficient in this respect. There is a great loss when those who are receiving a training for service do not gain this experience. Unless students are educated in regard to the duties of practical life, how can they do intelligent missionary work?10MR 108.2

    The educators in our schools, as well as the student, are to be more practical. Then their services will be more valuable. If teachers will live up to their privileges, they will improve the opportunity of learning how to do all kinds of housework.10MR 108.3

    Words to Parents—To the parents who have received the truth of God, I am instructed to say, “Give your children patient instruction and tender care.” When the parents in our churches do the work the Lord has laid upon them, He will have channels through which He can do an advanced line of work.10MR 108.4

    It is impossible to depict the evil that results from leaving a child to its own will. Some who go astray because of neglect during childhood, will, through the inculcation of practical lessons, line upon line, precept upon precept come to their senses, but careful, painstaking effort is required to place them in a right position. Many are lost forever because in childhood and youth they received only a partial, one-sided culture. The precious motive power of the life is wasted, and the sin lies at the door of the parents.10MR 108.5

    Many who serve in church capacity are in bondage to strange inconsistencies. The blunders of untrained, undisciplined childhood become the inheritance of manhood and womanhood. The perverted intellect can scarcely discern between the true and the false.10MR 109.1

    In His Word God has marked out a plan for the education of children, and this plan parents are to follow. They are to teach their children to overcome every indolent habit. Each child should be taught that he has a work to do in the world. Mothers, there is no work more important than the training of your children for usefulness in this life. It is in the home that a child shows whether he is prepared to take his place in the world.10MR 109.2

    The Holy One has spoken words to parents and children: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1-4).10MR 109.3

    If parents do not fulfill their responsibilities, if they do not train their children for the Lord, they must answer to God for their neglect. They are to teach their children that they are to honor their parents, and they are to so live that their children can honor them. They are never to provoke their children to wrath, but are to deal with them as the younger members of the Lord's family. They are to require obedience, being sure at the same time that their own will is in subjection to the will of God. Parents who desire their children to be patterns of piety must themselves be patterns of piety.10MR 109.4

    Speaking of the qualifications of a bishop, Paul says, “A bishop, then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach: ... One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity, (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:2-5).10MR 110.1

    Let not parents betray their trust. Let there be no hypocrisy on the one hand or deception on the other, but let them do their appointed work with the fear of God ever before them.10MR 110.2

    Unreserved Surrender—There will be those who will give money to the work of God; but this is not enough. The Lord calls for more—the gift of the whole life. This is where the real sacrifice comes. In many cases to give money requires no effort. Missionary work calls for much self-denial. Christ says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). There are many who are not willing to suffer personal inconvenience, to make personal effort, to advance the cause of God.10MR 110.3

    The physician promises to save only on condition that the patient obeys his direction. Thus it is with the great Physician. If human beings desire deliverance from sin, they must be guided by His word. Those who will not submit to His control cannot but continue in disobedience. Those who step to the devil's side will fall into the devil's hands.10MR 110.4

    The shepherd goes forth to find the lost, perishing sheep, and rejoices when he finds it. But the wanderer is henceforth to remain under the shepherd's care. It is not to renew its wanderings, but is to repay the shepherd's love by remaining in the fold. When the prodigal returns to claim a son's privileges, he must also consent to accept the obligations of a son.—Manuscript 98, 1901, 1-5. (“Fragments,” September 25, 1901.)10MR 110.5

    The Responsibility of Parents—It is the privilege of parents to give to their children an example, in life, in words, in actions, that will help them obtain a fitness for the kingdom that Christ would have them enter.10MR 111.1

    Parents, when difficulties arise in your families, do not speak severely. Often we may pass over the offense as unworthy of notice. If you have been in the habit of speaking in passion; if you have allowed your children to do as they please, you must give account for this to the Master. You must answer for the education you have given them, for the mold of character you have placed upon them. There are none who want to have judgment passed upon them because of neglect. God forbid that you should hear the words spoken to you, “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Rather let us strive that we may hear the blessed words of commendation pronounced upon the obedient.10MR 111.2

    Let there be no impatience, no fretfulness. You will meet things that are provoking, but do not be provoked. When the heart is stirred by a spirit not of God, at such times silence is eloquence. Your very silence will have a convincing power. We must be thoroughly converted if we would do our appointed work in the world. This is no cheap fancy work, but a work that calls for heart service, for diligence, and the strength of divinity united with our humanity. It requires determination of purpose to lead souls to accept the truth as it is in Jesus.10MR 111.3

    Parents, begin to work without delay. Let your powers be sanctified to God. Let your hearts come into harmony with His Holy Spirit. Let your hold upon God be strong. Wrestle with Him until you can say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25), and I shall stand with Him because I seek to carry out His will in the earth.10MR 112.1

    All heaven is interested in your salvation, and angels of God are waiting to do for you what they did for the early disciples on the day of Pentecost. Do your duty to your children, and for those who are ignorant of the truth. Carry out the teachings of the Word in your homes. You must stand in harmony with the God of heaven if you would lay hold of divine power. Humanity may reach divinity through faith in Christ. Then humanity can reach out to humanity, imparting the hope of the gospel to souls who are perishing out of Christ.—Manuscript 75, 1909, 4-6. (“Labor for the Unconverted,” October 18, 1909.)10MR 112.2

    Parents and Children—The future of society is indexed by the youth of today. Is the outlook for the future flattering? Parents are bringing upon the stage of action children who will reveal in life and character the training they have received. Some will be ruined in one way and some in another. The mismanagement of parents is swelling the ranks of Satan, and children are being lost to Christ.10MR 112.3

    It is the duty of those who bear the last message of mercy to the world to make special efforts to instruct parents in regard to home religion. Here lies the very foundation of Christian character. Parents need to be instructed as to the best methods of educating and training their children for the future life. They must take hold of this work earnestly, without any desire to let go, for as soon as they relax their efforts Satan enters to do his work with unwavering perseverance.—Manuscript 133, 1898, 1. (“Parents and Children,” October 17, 1898.)10MR 112.4

    White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    July 17, 1980.

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