Children Are An Heritage
It is the privilege of parents to take their children with them to the gates of the city of God, saying, “I have tried to instruct my children to love the Lord, to do His will, and to glorify Him.” To such the gate will be thrown open, and parents and children will enter in. But all cannot enter. Some are left outside with their children, whose characters have not been transformed by submission to the will of God. A hand is raised, and the words are spoken, “You have neglected home duties. You have failed to do the work that would have fitted the soul for a home in heaven. You cannot enter.” The gates are closed to the children because they have not learned to do the will of God, and to parents because they have neglected the responsibilities resting upon them.
Education Begins at Home
It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school. Here, with his parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout life—lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control. The educational influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil. They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side, they become a far-reaching power for truth and righteousness. If the child is not instructed aright here, Satan will educate him through agencies of his choosing. How important, then, is the school in the home!
Here the Foundations Are Laid
Upon all parents there rests the obligation of giving physical, mental, and spiritual instruction. It should be the object of every parent to secure to his child a well-balanced, symmetrical character. This is a work of no small magnitude and importance—a work requiring earnest thought and prayer no less than patient, persevering effort. A right foundation must be laid, a framework, strong and firm, erected; and then day by day the work of building, polishing, perfecting, must go forward
Parents, remember that your home is a training school, in which your children are to be prepared for the home above. Deny them anything rather than the education that they should receive in their earliest years. Allow no word of pettishness. Teach your children to be kind and patient. Teach them to be thoughtful of others. Thus you are preparing them for higher ministry in religious things.
The home should be a preparatory school, where children and youth may be fitted to do service for the Master, preparatory to joining the higher school in the kingdom of God.
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. Proverbs 1:7-8
The father and the mother should be the first teachers of their children.
Fathers and mothers need to understand their responsibility. The world is full of snares for the feet of the young. Multitudes are attracted by a life of selfish and sensual pleasure. They cannot discern the hidden dangers or the fearful ending of the path that seems to them the way of happiness. Through the indulgence of appetite and passion, their energies are wasted, and millions are ruined for this world and for the world to come. Parents should remember that their children must encounter these temptations. Even before the birth of the child, the preparation should begin that will enable it to fight successfully the battle against evil.
The work of parents, which means so much, is greatly neglected. Awake, parents, from your spiritual slumber and understand that the very first teaching the child receives is to be given to him by you. You are to teach your little ones to know Christ. This work you must do before Satan sows his seeds in their hearts. Christ calls the children, and they are to be led to Him, educated in habits of industry, neatness, and order. This is the discipline Christ desires them to receive.
The mother must ever stand preeminent 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.
Parents must learn the lesson of implicit obedience to God’s voice, which speaks to them out of His Word; and as they learn this lesson, they can teach their children respect and obedience in word and action. This is the work that should be carried on in the home. Those who do it will reach upward themselves, realizing that they must elevate their children. This education means much more than mere instruction.
The word “education” means more than a course of study at college. Education begins with the infant in its mother’s arms. While the mother is molding and fashioning the character of her children, she is educating them.
The work of education and training should commence with the babyhood of the child; for then the mind is the most impressible, and the lessons given are remembered.
The early training of children is a subject that all should carefully study. We need to make the education of our children a business, for their salvation depends largely upon the education given them in childhood. Parents and guardians must themselves maintain purity of heart and life, if they desire their children to be pure. As fathers and mothers, we should train and discipline ourselves. Then as teachers in the home, we can train our children, preparing them for the immortal inheritance.
The Mother’s Preparation Strangely Neglected
The child’s first teacher is the mother. During the period of greatest susceptibility and most rapid development his education is to a great degree in her hands. To her first is given opportunity to mold the character for good or for evil. She should understand the value of her opportunity and, above every other teacher, should be qualified to use it to the best account. Yet there is no other to whose training so little thought is given. The one whose influence in education is most potent and far-reaching is the one for whose assistance there is the least systematic effort.
Parents may well inquire, “Who is sufficient for these things?” God alone is their sufficiency, and if they leave Him out of the question, seeking not His aid and counsel, hopeless indeed is their task. But by prayer, by study of the Bible, and by earnest zeal on their part, they may succeed nobly in this important duty, and be repaid a hundredfold for all their time and care.... The source of wisdom is open, from which they may draw all necessary knowledge in this direction.
The mother should surrender herself and her children to the care of the compassionate Redeemer. Earnestly, patiently, courageously, she should seek to improve her own abilities, that she may use aright the highest powers of the mind in the training of her children. She should make it her highest aim to give her child an education which will receive the approval of God. As she takes up her work understandingly, she will receive power to perform her part.
For the sake of their children, if for no other reason, mothers should cultivate their intellects, for they bear a greater responsibility in their work than does the king upon his throne. Few mothers feel the weight of the trust that is given them, or realize the efficiency they can attain for their peculiar work through patient, thorough effort in self-culture.
Mothers, above all others, should accustom themselves to thought and investigation if they would increase in wisdom and efficiency. Those who persevere in this course will soon perceive that they are acquiring the faculty in which they thought themselves deficient; they are learning to form aright the characters of their children. The result of the labor and thought given to this work will be seen in their obedience, their simplicity, their modesty and purity. This result will richly repay all the effort made.
Mothers, will you not dispense with useless, unimportant labor for that which must perish with the using? Will you not seek to draw near to God, that His wisdom may guide and His grace assist you, in a work which will be as enduring as eternity? Aim to make your children perfect in character. Remember that such only can see God.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
Instead of sinking into a mere household drudge, let the wife and mother take time to read, to keep herself well informed, to be a companion to her husband, and to keep in touch with the developing minds of her children. Let her use wisely the opportunities now hers to influence her dear ones for the higher life. Let her take time to make the dear Savior a daily companion and familiar friend. Let her take time for the study of His Word, take time to go with the children into the fields and learn of God through the beauty of His works.
Let her keep cheerful and buoyant. Instead of spending every moment in endless sewing, make the evening a pleasant social season, a family reunion after the day’s duties. Many a man would thus be led to choose the society of his home before that of the clubhouse or the saloon. Many a boy would be kept from the street or the corner grocery. Many a girl would be saved from frivolous, misleading associations. The influence of the home would be to parents and children what God designed it should be, a lifelong blessing.
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.
Lessons of Weeding