Chapter 8—Preparation is NeededCG 63
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.1
Careful, Thorough Preparation Urgent—Those to whom the care of the little child is committed are too often ignorant of its physical needs; they know little of the laws of health or the principles of development. Nor are they better fitted to care for its mental and spiritual growth. They may be qualified to conduct business or to shine in society; they may have made creditable attainments in literature and science; but of the training of a child they have little knowledge....
Upon fathers as well as mothers rests a responsibility for the child's earlier as well as its later training, and for both parents the demand for careful and thorough preparation is most urgent. Before taking upon themselves the possibilities of fatherhood and motherhood, men and women should become acquainted with the laws of physical development—with physiology and hygiene, with the bearing of prenatal influences, with the laws of heredity, sanitation, dress, exercise, and the treatment of disease; they should also understand the laws of mental development and moral training....
Never will education accomplish all that it might and should accomplish until the importance of the parents' work is fully recognized, and they receive a training for its sacred responsibilities.2
Parents should study the laws of nature. They should become acquainted with the organism of the human body. They need to understand the functions of the various organs, and their relation and dependence. They should study the relation of the mental to the physical powers, and the conditions required for the healthy action of each. To assume the responsibilities of parenthood without such preparation is a sin.3
"Who Is Sufficient?"—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.4
At times the heart may be ready to faint; but a living sense of the dangers threatening the present and future happiness of their loved ones should lead Christian parents to seek more earnestly for help from the source of strength and wisdom. It should make them more circumspect, more decided, more calm yet firm, while they watch for these souls, as they that must give account.5
Child Training Calls for Understanding God's Will—Parents are without excuse if they fail to obtain a clear understanding of God's will, that they may obey the laws of His kingdom. Only thus can they lead their children to heaven. My brethren and sisters, it is your duty to understand God's requirements. How can you educate your children in the things of God unless you first know yourselves what is right and what is wrong, unless you realize that obedience means eternal life and disobedience eternal death?
We must make it our lifework to understand the will of God. Only as we do this can we train our children aright.6
God's Manual With Full Instructions—Parents cannot properly fulfill their responsibilities unless they take the Word of God as the rule of their life, unless they realize that they are to so educate and fashion the character of each dear human treasure that it may at last lay hold of eternal life.7
The Bible, a volume rich in instruction, should be their textbook. If they train their children according to its precepts, they not only set their young feet in the right path, but they educate themselves in their most holy duties.8
The work of parents is an important, a solemn, work; the duties devolving upon them are great. But if they will study the Word of God carefully, they will find in it full instructions and many precious promises made to them on condition that they perform their work faithfully and well.9
Rules for Parents and Children—God has given rules for the guidance of parents and children. These rules are to be strictly obeyed. The children are not to be indulged and allowed to think that they can follow their own desires without asking the advice of their parents....
From the rules that God has given for the guidance of parents and children, there can be no sinless swerving. God expects parents to give their children a training that is in accordance with the principles of His Word. Faith and works are to be combined. Everything that is done in the home life and in the school life must be done decently and in order.10
To the Law and the Testimony—The work of in the home, if it is to accomplish all that God designs it shall, demands that parents be diligent students of the Scriptures. They must be learners of the great Teacher. Day by day the law of love and kindness must be upon their lips. Their lives must reveal the grace and truth that was seen in the life of their Example. Then a sanctified love will bind the hearts of parents and children together, and the youth will grow up established in the faith and rooted and grounded in the love of God.
When the will and ways of God become the will and ways of Seventh-day Adventist parents, their children will grow up to love and honor and obey God. Satan will not be able to gain control of their minds, for they have been educated to regard the Word of the Lord as supreme, and they will test every experience that comes to them by the law and the testimony.11
If Negligent, Redeem the Time—Parents should be studying the Word of God for themselves and for their families. But instead of this, many children are left to grow up untaught, unmanaged, unrestrained. Parents should now do everything in their power to redeem their neglect and place their children where they will be under the very best influences.12
Then search the Scriptures, parents. Be not only hearers; be doers of the Word. Meet God's standard in the education of your children.13
The Guiding Rule: What Saith the Lord?—The work of all parents is to train their children in the way of the Lord. This is not a matter that can be trifled with, or set aside, without incurring the displeasure of God. We are not called upon to decide what course others shall pursue, or how we may get on the most easily, but, What saith the Lord? Neither parents nor children can have peace or happiness or rest of spirit in any false path. But when the fear of God reigns in the heart, combined with love for Jesus, peace and joy will be felt.
Parents, spread out the Word of God before Him who reads your heart and every secret thing, and inquire, What saith the Scripture? This must be the rule of your life. Those who have a love for souls will not be silent when they see their danger. We are assured that nothing but the truth of God can make parents savingly wise in dealing with human minds, and keep them so.14
Individual Preparation—If there is any post of duty above another which requires a cultivation of the mind, where the intellectual and physical powers require healthy tone and vigor, it is the training of children.15
In view of the individual responsibility of mothers, every woman should develop a well-balanced mind and pure character, reflecting only the true, the good, and the beautiful. The wife and mother may bind her husband and children to her heart by an unremitting love, shown in gentle words and courteous deportment, which, as a rule, will be copied by her children.16
Mother, This Is Your Sacred Work—My sister, Christ has committed to you the sacred work of teaching His commandments to your children. In order to be fitted for this work, you must yourself live in obedience to all His precepts. Cultivate a watchful observance of every word and action. Guard most diligently your words. Overcome all hastiness of temper; for impatience, if manifested, will help the adversary to make the home life disagreeable and unpleasant for your children.17
Work in Partnership With the Divine—Mothers, let your hearts be open to receive the instruction of God, ever bearing in mind the fact that you must act your part in conforming to the will of God. You must place yourself in the light and seek from God wisdom, that you may know how to act, that you may acknowledge God as the chief worker, and realize that you are a laborer together with Him. Let your heart be drawn out in contemplation of heavenly things. Exercise your God-given talents in doing the duties which God has enjoined upon you as a mother, and work in partnership with divine agencies. Labor intelligently, and, "whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."18
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.19
The mother should feel her need of the Holy Spirit's guidance, that she may herself have a genuine experience in submission to the way and will of the Lord. Then, through the grace of Christ, she can be a wise, gentle, loving teacher of her children.20
If You Have Begun Wrong—To parents who have begun their training wrong, I would say, Do not despair. You need to be soundly converted to God. You need the true spirit of obedience to the Word of God. You must make decided reforms in your own customs and practices, conforming your life to the saving principles of the law of God. When you do this, you will have the righteousness of Christ which pervades that law, because you love God and recognize His law as a transcript of His character. True faith in the merits of Christ is not fancy. It is of the highest importance that you bring the attributes of Christ into your own life and character, and educate and train your children with persevering effort to be obedient to the commandments of God. A "Thus saith the Lord" should guide you in all your plans of education....
Let there be a deep and thorough repentance before God. Commence the year ... by earnestly seeking God for grace, for spiritual discernment to discover the defects in the work of the past. Repent before God for your neglected work as home missionaries.21
This is your day of trust, your day of responsibility and opportunity. Soon will come your day of reckoning. Take up your work with earnest prayer and faithful endeavor. Teach your children that it is their privilege to receive every day the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Let Christ find you His helping hand to carry out His purposes. By prayer you may gain an experience that will make your ministry for your children a perfect success. CG 63 - CG 69.4
Child Guidance by EGW, p.63-69