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    Chapter 49—Mother's Helpers

    Children to Be Partners in the Home Firm—Children as well as parents have important duties in the home. They should be taught that they are a part of the home firm. They are fed and clothed and loved and cared for; and they should respond to these many mercies by bearing their share of the home burdens and bringing all the happiness possible into the family of which they are members.1The Ministry of Healing, 394.AH 282.1

    Let every mother teach her children that they are members of the family firm and must bear their share of the responsibilities of this firm. Every member of the family should bear these responsibilities as faithfully as church members bear the responsibilities of church relationships.AH 282.2

    Let the children know that they are helping father and mother by doing little errands. Give them some work to do for you, and tell them that afterward they can have a time to play.2The Review and Herald, June 23, 1903.AH 282.3

    Children have active minds, and they need to be employed in lifting the burdens of practical life.... They should never be left to pick up their own employment. Parents should control this matter themselves.3Manuscript 57, 1897.AH 282.4

    Parents and Children Have Obligations—Parents are under obligation to feed and clothe and educate their children, and children are under obligation to serve their parents with cheerful, earnest fidelity. When children cease to feel their obligation to share the toil and burden with their parents, then how would it suit them to have their parents cease to feel their obligation to provide for them? In ceasing to do the duties that devolve upon them to be useful to their parents, to lighten their burdens by doing that which may be disagreeable and full of toil, children miss their opportunity of obtaining a most valuable education that will fit them for future usefulness.4The Youth's Instructor, July 20, 1893.AH 282.5

    God wants the children of all believers to be trained from their earliest years to share the burdens that their parents must bear in caring for them. To them is given a portion of the home for their rooms and the right and privilege of having a place at the family board. God requires parents to feed and clothe their children. But the obligations of parents and children are mutual. On their part children are required to respect and honor their parents.5Manuscript 128, 1901.AH 283.1

    Parents are not to be slaves to their children, doing all the sacrificing, while the children are permitted to grow up careless and unconcerned, letting all the burdens rest upon their parents.6Manuscript 126, 1897.AH 283.2

    Indolence Taught Through Mistaken Kindness—Children should be taught very young to be useful, to help themselves, and to help others. Many daughters of this age can, without remorse of conscience, see their mothers toiling, cooking, washing, or ironing, while they sit in the parlor and read stories, knit edging, crochet, or embroider. Their hearts are as unfeeling as a stone.AH 283.3

    But where does this wrong originate? Who are the ones usually most to blame in this matter? The poor, deceived parents. They overlook the future good of their children and, in their mistaken fondness, let them sit in idleness or do that which is of but little account, which requires no exercise of the mind or muscles, and then excuse their indolent daughters because they are weakly. What has made them weakly? In many cases it has been the wrong course of the parents. A proper amount of exercise about the house would improve both mind and body. But children are deprived of this through false ideas, until they are averse to work.7Testimonies for the Church 1:686.AH 283.4

    If your children have been unaccustomed to labor, they will soon become weary. They will complain of side ache, pain in the shoulders, and tired limbs; and you will be in danger, through sympathy, of doing the work yourselves rather than have them suffer a little. Let the burden upon the children be very light at first, and then increase it a little every day, until they can do a proper amount of labor without becoming so weary.8Ibid., 1:686.AH 284.1

    Perils of Idleness—I have been shown that much sin has resulted from idleness. Active hands and minds do not find time to heed every temptation which the enemy suggests, but idle hands and brains are all ready for Satan to control. The mind, when not properly occupied, dwells upon improper things. Parents should teach their children that idleness is sin.9Ibid., 1:395.AH 284.2

    There is nothing which more surely leads to evil than to lift all burdens from children, leaving them to an idle, aimless life, to do nothing, or to occupy themselves as they please. The minds of children are active, and if not occupied with that which is good and useful, they will inevitably turn to what is bad. While it is right and necessary for them to have recreation, they should be taught to work, to have regular hours for physical labor and also for reading and study. See that they have employment suited to their years and are supplied with useful and interesting books.10Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 134, 135.AH 284.3

    The Surest Safeguard Is Useful Occupation—One of the surest safeguards for the young is useful occupation. Had they been trained to industrious habits, so that all their hours were usefully employed, they would have no time for repining at their lot or for idle daydreaming. They would be in little danger of forming vicious habits or associations.11The Review and Herald, September 13, 1881.AH 284.4

    If parents are so occupied with other things that they cannot keep their children usefully employed, Satan will keep them busy.12The Signs of the Times, April 3, 1901 (The Review and Herald, March 7, 1907).AH 285.1

    Children Should Learn to Bear Burdens—Parents should awaken to the fact that the most important lesson for their children to learn is that they must act their part in bearing the burdens of the home.... Parents should teach their children to take a common-sense view of life, to realize that they are to be useful in the world. In the home, under the supervision of a wise mother, boys and girls should receive their first instruction in bearing the burdens of life.13Letter 106, 1901.AH 285.2

    The education of the child for good or for evil begins in its earliest years.... As the older children grow up, they should help to care for the younger members of the family. The mother should not wear herself out by doing work that her children might do and should do.14Manuscript 126, 1903.AH 285.3

    Sharing Burdens Gives Satisfaction—Help your children, parents, to do the will of God by being faithful in the performance of the duties which really belong to them as members of the family. This will give them a most valuable experience. It will teach them that they are not to center their thoughts upon themselves, to do their own pleasure, or to amuse themselves. Patiently educate them to act their part in the family circle, to make a success of their efforts to share the burdens of father and mother and brothers and sisters. Thus they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are really useful.15Manuscript 27, 1896.AH 285.4

    Children can be educated to be helpful. They are naturally active and inclined to be busy; and this activity is susceptible of being trained and directed in the right channel. Children may be taught, when young, to lift daily their light burdens, each child having some particular task for the accomplishment of which he is responsible to his parents or guardian. They will thus learn to bear the yoke of duty while young; and the performance of their little tasks will become a pleasure, bringing them a happiness that is only gained by well-doing. They will become accustomed to work and responsibility and will relish employment, perceiving that life holds for them more important business than that of amusing themselves....AH 286.1

    Work is good for children; they are happier to be usefully employed a large share of the time; their innocent amusements are enjoyed with a keener zest after the successful completion of their tasks. Labor strengthens both the muscles and the mind. Mothers may make precious little helpers of their children; and, while teaching them to be useful, they may themselves gain knowledge of human nature and how to deal with these fresh, young beings and keep their hearts warm and youthful by contact with the little ones. And as their children look to them in confidence and love, so may they look to the dear Saviour for help and guidance. Children that are properly trained, as they advance in years, learn to love that labor which makes the burdens of their friends lighter.16The Health Reformer, December, 1877.AH 286.2

    Assures Mental Balance—In the fulfillment of their apportioned tasks, strength of memory and a right balance of mind may be gained, as well as stability of character and dispatch. The day, with its round of little duties, calls for thought, calculation, and a plan of action. As the children become older, still more can be required of them. It should not be exhaustive labor, nor should their work be so protracted as to fatigue and discourage them; but it should be judiciously selected with reference to the physical development most desirable and the proper cultivation of the mind and character.17Ibid.AH 286.3

    Links With Workers in Heaven—If children were taught to regard the humble round of everyday duties as the course marked out for them by the Lord, as a school in which they were to be trained to render faithful and efficient service, how much more pleasant and honorable would their work appear! To perform every duty as unto the Lord throws a charm around the humblest employment and links the workers on earth with the holy beings who do God's will in heaven.18Patriarchs and Prophets, 574.AH 287.1

    Work is constantly being done in heaven. There are no idlers there. “My Father worketh hitherto,” said Christ, “and I work.” We cannot suppose that when the final triumph shall come, and we have the mansions prepared for us, that idleness will be our portion, that we shall rest in a blissful, do-nothing state.19Manuscript 126, 1897.AH 287.2

    Strengthens Home Ties—In the home training of the youth the principle of co-operation is invaluable.... The older ones should be their parents’ assistants, entering into their plans and sharing their responsibilities and burdens. Let fathers and mothers take time to teach their children; let them show that they value their help, desire their confidence, and enjoy their companionship; and the children will not be slow to respond. Not only will the parents’ burden be lightened, and the children receive a practical training of inestimable worth, but there will be a strengthening of the home ties and a deepening of the very foundations of character.20Education, 285.AH 287.3

    Makes for Growth in Mental, Moral, Spiritual Excellence—Children and youth should take pleasure in making lighter the cares of father and mother, showing an unselfish interest in the home. As they cheerfully lift the burdens that fall to their share, they are receiving a training which will fit them for positions of trust and usefulness. Each year they are to make steady advancement, gradually but surely laying aside the inexperience of boyhood and girlhood for the experience of manhood and womanhood. In the faithful performance of the simple duties of the home boys and girls lay the foundation for mental, moral, and spiritual excellence.21Messages to Young People, 211, 212.AH 288.1

    Gives Health of Body, Peace of Mind—The approval of God rests with loving assurance upon the children who cheerfully take their part in the duties of domestic life, sharing the burdens of father and mother. They will be rewarded with health of body and peace of mind; and they will enjoy the pleasure of seeing their parents take their share of social enjoyment and healthful recreation, thus prolonging their lives. Children trained to the practical duties of life will go out from the home to be useful members of society, with an education far superior to that gained by close confinement in the schoolroom at an early age, when neither the mind nor the body is strong enough to endure the strain.22Counsels to Teachers, Parents, and Students, 148.AH 288.2

    In some cases it would be better if children had less work in the school and more training in the performance of home duties. Above all else they should be taught to be thoughtful and helpful. Many things to be learned from books are far less essential than the lessons of practical industry and discipline.23Manuscript 126, 1903.AH 288.3

    Insures Restful Sleep—Mothers should take their daughters with them into the kitchen and patiently educate them. Their constitution will be better for such labor, their muscles will gain tone and strength, and their meditations will be more healthy and elevated at the close of the day. They may be weary, but how sweet is rest after a proper amount of labor! Sleep, nature's sweet restorer, invigorates the weary body and prepares it for the next day's duties. Do not intimate to your children that it is no matter whether they labor or not. Teach them that their help is needed, that their time is of value, and that you depend on their labor.24Testimonies for the Church 1:395.AH 289.1

    It is a sin to let children grow up in idleness. Let them exercise their limbs and muscles, even if it wearies them. If they are not overworked, how can weariness harm them more than it harms you? There is quite a difference between weariness and exhaustion. Children need more frequent change of employment and intervals of rest than grown persons do; but even when quite young, they may begin learning to work, and they will be happy in the thought that they are making themselves useful. Their sleep will be sweet after healthful labor, and they will be refreshed for the next day's work.25Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 135.AH 289.2

    Do Not Say, “My Children Bother Me.”—“Oh,” say some mothers, “my children bother me when they try to help me.” So did mine, but do you think I let them know it? Praise your children. Teach them, line upon line, precept upon precept. This is better than reading novels, better than making calls, better than following the fashions of the world.26Manuscript 31, 1901.AH 289.3

    A View of the Pattern—For a period of time the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, was only a Babe in Bethlehem and could only represent the babe in its mother's arms. In childhood He could only do the work of an obedient child, fulfilling the wishes of His parents, in doing such duties as would correspond to His ability as a child. This is all that children can do, and they should be so educated and instructed that they may follow Christ's example. Christ acted in a manner that blessed the household in which He was found, for He was subject to His parents and thus did missionary work in His home life. It is written, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”27The Signs of the Times, September 17, 1894.AH 290.1

    It is the precious privilege of teachers and parents to co-operate in teaching the children how to drink in the gladness of Christ's life by learning to follow His example. The Saviour's early years were useful years. He was His mother's helper in the home; and He was just as verily fulfilling His commission when performing the duties of the home and working at the carpenter's bench as when He engaged in His public work of ministry.28The Review and Herald, May 6, 1909.AH 290.2

    In His earth life Christ was an example to all the human family, and He was obedient and helpful in the home. He learned the carpenter's trade and worked with His own hands in the little shop at Nazareth.... As He worked in childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical powers recklessly, but in such a way as to keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line.29Counsels to Teachers, Parents, and Students, 147.AH 290.3

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