The Wonderfully Awesome Responsibility of
obligations are amongst the most momentous pertaining to the affairs
of mankind. Do we think about this incredible power to propagate
the human species? Do we realize that this is the nearest approach
we humans have to the divine power? Indeed, it is the exercise
of divine power by mankind as God's agent. The possibilities connected
with the birth of every child extend in opposite directions of
advantage or disadvantage, good or evil, honor or dishonor--to
wonderful extremes. Surely if men and women realized this matter
from its true standpoint it would lift the begetting of children
from the plane of a passion and a relaxation of intellectual and
moral principles to a consecrated plane, in which the responsibilities
of fatherhood and motherhood would be realized in a manner and
to a degree attained as yet surely by very few. These thoughts
of obligation should extend not only to the child, but also to
the Creator who entrusted to humanity this marvelous power of
up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will
not depart from it."-- Proverbs 22:6
should the parents begin this training? From the moment of begettal
the mind of the mother--her thoughts, moods and sentiments--are
all being impressed upon the embryo child.
cooperating husband will provide as secure, stable and cheerful
an influence as possible for mother and child. The naturally minded
man and woman can follow this admonition and bring about some
of these influences for good, but in the Christian man and woman
with spiritual hopes and promises and ideals, they have loftier
sentiments, grander hopes, nobler aspirations, purer joys: and
these, realizing the influence of their thoughts, emotions and
sentiments upon the embryo child, are in a more favorable position
than are others.
parents will realize that the interests of their child should
be considered in all life's arrangements. Further, they should
day by day and hour by hour prayerfully seek the divine guidance
and blessing upon their parenting. While the development and attainment
of the Christian graces is always important (faith, hope, kindness,
patience, love gentleness, etc.) it is even more so when they
remember that they are stamping, impressing the character of another
if any provide nor for his own and specially for those of his
own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."--1
verse suggests more than just providing the material needs of
food, shelter and clothing. It includes moral and intellectual
provisions of education in the home and schools. It means a laying
aside from personal consumption in the interest of the children.
provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord."--Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21
far as possible the home should be bright and cheerful and clean.
The mind should be directed into such channels as would be advantageous:
reading, writing, mathematics and the practical duties of life.
Heart culture is all important, with a constant recognition of
the Lord in all of life's affairs, benevolent, kind feelings toward
the world in general, and loving confidences between husband and
wife. Also the conversation should be such as would stir up the
nobler sentiments. The Christian parent certainly knows not to
use harsh or angry words to their children (or to anybody), and
discipline especially should be done in love and with kindness.
Idle threats from the parent such as, "I'll beat you within
an inch of your life!" or "I'll kill you!" no doubt
at first convey a sense of terror to the child, yet it is not
long before the child learns that they don't come to pass. Then,
two things happen: 1) The child learns to disregard the parents'
threats; 2) There is a corresponding loss of love and respect
toward the parent. Such hasty language or yelling by the parent
demonstrates a lack of control, resulting in a loss of confidence
by the child, which further results in an erosion of influence.
child should be able to look back upon its home, however humble,
however scantily furnished, as a clean place, a house of God,
a holy place. He should be able to look back and in memory recall
the voice of prayer at the family altar, the kind words of father
or mother on various occasions, and the general spirit of peace
and restfulness through contentment and submission to divine providence.
REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS
we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave
them reverence..."--Hebrews 11:7
that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth
him betimes."-- Proverbs 13:24
is further from our intention than to urge indiscriminate and
frequent use of the rod in the training of children. We have cited
these Scriptures, however, to show the mistaken position of those
who hold that corporal chastisement by parents, even when necessary,
is wrong. The home that is ruled with the rod must of necessity
be an unhappy home. The homes of New Creatures should be ruled
by love, not by the rod. The rod is to be kept merely as an occasional
necessity for enforcing the rules of love, and when it is administered
it is to be wielded by the hand of love and never by the hand
of anger. New Creatures in Christ, governed by the spirit of a
sound mind, learn gradually that order is one of heaven's first
laws, and hence that it should be one of the first elements and
characteristics of the homes of New Creatures.
Golden Rule and the Law of Love should guide father and mother
in the proper exercise of rewards and disciplines. A reward may
be the giving of a kiss while a discipline would be the withholding
of a kiss, or a season of separation of the unruly from the company
of the obedient.
punishment may be more or less severe according to the wilfullness
of the child, but never according to the standard of justice.
We should never attempt to mete out to the child the full measure
of what its conduct might justly demand--because we are not under
justice ourselves, but under mercy, love, and are to show mercy,
not only in our dealing with others, but specially in our dealings
with our children.
in the event of the child's disobedience, and hence the need for
reproof or correction, the child should be admonished from the
standpoint of sympathy and confidence in its good intentions,
and an expression of the parent's confidence that the child shall
try harder next time and in the future as well. At times like
these it is well for the parent to lead in a prayer together for
the Lord's help in making this failure a profitable lesson, and
ask for His assistance for the future in regards to this temptation.
parent owes it to himself as a part of his own discipline, as
well as to his child, that he shall never inflict a punishment
which he has not sufficiently considered and cooly, dispassionately,
found to be not more, but less, than justice might properly demand.
a man soweth, that shall he also reap."--Galatians 6:7
thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of
parents forget to look backward and to note at how early an age
they themselves learned to appreciate principles of righteousness--how
keen was our sense of justice when we were children--how we mentally
approved parental discipline when we understood its motive to
be for the development of character. But conversely, how we resented
it if we did not see a principle of justice; if we were reproved
for things of which we were not guilty, or punished beyond a reasonable
only is it the best and surest way of controlling a child thus
to direct its mind along the lines of right and wrong, truth and
falsehood, justice and injustice, but this constitutes also a
training of the child in character when it is most susceptible
to parental influence. It is character-building at a time when
the conscience and judgment of the child are in their formative
condition and when it properly recognizes the parent as its sole
lawgiver. If this work of character-building be ignored in infancy,
the work is many times more difficult in future years.
is all-important, then, to notice that the training of a child
does not consist solely in teaching it respecting its outward
deportment in politeness, cleanliness, obedience, etc., but, further,
and indeed, chiefly, in the establishment of right principles
in the heart--proper recognition there of the mind of the Lord
as being the only standard of living, both for old and young.
The child who is taught to be selfish, or one whose natural selfishness
is not brought kindly to his attention (though not in the presence
of others) and lovingly reproved and corrected, is missing a most
important lesson at the most opportune moment.
parents who properly and conscientiously instruct their children
so will reap a benefit in themselves. For as they express these
noble principles to their children they are impressing them upon
their own hearts, and further will want to live as nearly as possible
up to these standards.
principles should guide: First of all love for the Lord and for
the children, and this love should be guided and directed by the
Word of God; secondly, the Word of God as the source of authority
and instruction should be continually appealed to. Furthermore,
all parents should learn to treat children with consideration.
from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures..."--2 Timothy
religious element of the child's mind requires special training
and in this the Christian parent should be his tutor. As daily
lessons in the material world are necessary and proper enough,
lessons on the spiritual are essential. The parent should be as
particular in this instruction as well.
is best for parents to step by step lead their children to an
appropriate and comprehensive understanding of God's character
as demonstrated by his Plan for mankind. The parents should not
feel inclined to leave religious instruction to others, even as
we don't leave our instruction merely to others, clergy or otherwise.
The parents receive a wonderful benefit themselves by instructing
their family. By the time the children are of teenage years they
are best served to know what God's will is concerning His creatures
and how to find heavenly wisdom, comfort and guidance from the
Word of God for themselves.
POWER OF SUGGESTION
recognize the importance of the human will in respect to health
and sickness, joy and pain, obedience and disobedience, right
and wrong doing--indeed in respect to every act and word and thought
of life. And the child's will is specially susceptible to impressions
and suggestions while the child's mind is opening to the affairs
of life and the foundations of its character are being laid.
the law of good and truthful suggestion to his child is the secret
of a parent's success.
parents apply the principle continually without being aware of
it. For instance, the mother who, every morning, greets her child
with a cheery face and voice, gives her child a happy suggestion,
good both mentally and physically. Discontent, one of the serious
evils of our day, would find little to stimulate its growth in
a family in which all were intent on giving happifying suggestions
to themselves and each other.
same method should be adopted in the guidance of the child's diet
in sickness or health.
should the child have aches or pains suggested, for the mind will
almost certainly fasten upon these and tend to aggravate any weakness
or pain. Nor should aches and ailments be made the topic of conversation--especially
not at the table, where every thought and influence should be
child whose confidence has been nurtured and established over
time will naturally bring the many questions of life to the parent.
Such questions should be expected and invited and should be given
wise and respectful answers, according to the age of the child.
Confidential questions should never be treated lightly nor confidences
broken. Many a parent forfeits the future confidence of his child
by making light of its sentiments or secrets.
the age of manhood or womanhood is reached, the child instinctively
feels that he has passed a line and should no longer be treated
as a child, but as a companion--should no longer be commanded
in anything, but requested. He should no longer be required to
give a strict account in detail of all money earned, but should
be permitted a larger discretion and personality then previously.
Wise, just, loving parents should not attempt a violation of these
rights of maturity, but rather seek from that period onward to
deal with the child as with a younger brother or sister--as adviser
and best friend.