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Child Guidance

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    Chapter 35—How Parents May Build Strong Characters

    Devote Best Time and Thought to It—The parents receive the child a helpless burden in their arms; he knows nothing, and he is to be taught to love God, is to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He is to be fashioned after the divine model.CG 184.1

    When parents see the importance of their work in training their children, when they see that it involves eternal interest, they will feel that they must devote their best time and thought to this work.1The Signs of the Times, March 16, 1891.CG 184.2

    Gain an Understanding of Principles Involved—The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years.CG 184.3

    Parents need to consider this. They should understand the principles that underlie the care and training of children. They should be capable of rearing them in physical, mental, and moral health.2The Ministry of Healing, 380.CG 184.4

    Shun Superficiality—We are living in an age when almost everything is superficial. There is but little stability and firmness of character, because the training and education of children from their cradle is superficial. Their character is built upon sliding sand. Self-denial and self-control have not been molded into their characters. They have been petted and indulged until they are spoiled for practical life. The love of pleasure controls minds, and children are flattered and indulged to their ruin.3Health Reformer, December, 1872.CG 184.5

    Fortify Children Through Prayer and Faith—You have brought children into the world who have had no voice in regard to their existence. You have made yourselves responsible in a great measure for their future happiness, their eternal well-being. The burden is upon you, whether you are sensible of it or not, to train these children for God—to watch with jealous care the first approach of the wily foe, and be prepared to raise a standard against him. Build a fortification of prayer and faith about your children, and exercise diligent watching thereunto. You are not secure a moment against the attacks of Satan. You have no time to rest from watchful, earnest labor. You should not sleep a moment at your post. This is a most important warfare. Eternal consequences are involved. It is life or death with you and your family.4Testimonies For The Church 2:397, 398.CG 185.1

    Take a Firm, Decided Stand—Parents generally put too much confidence in their children; for often when the parents are confiding in them, they are in concealed iniquity. Parents, watch your children with a jealous care. Exhort, reprove, counsel them when you rise up, and when you sit down; when you go out, and when you come in; “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little.” Subdue your children when they are young. With many parents this is sadly neglected. They do not take as firm and decided a stand as they should in regard to their children.5Testimonies For The Church 1:156.CG 185.2

    Patiently Sow Precious Seed—“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Parents, your work is to win the confidence of your children, and in love patiently sow the precious seed. Do your work with contentment, never complaining of the hardship, care, and toil. If by patient, kindly, Christlike efforts you may present one soul perfect in Christ Jesus, your life will not have been in vain. Keep your own soul hopeful and patient. Let no discouragement be traced in your features or attitude. You have in your hands the making of a character, through the help of God, that may work in the Master's vineyard and win many souls to Jesus. Ever encourage your children to reach a high standard in all their habits and tendencies. Be patient with their imperfections, as God is patient with you in your imperfections, bearing with you, watching over you, that you may bring forth fruit unto His glory. Encourage your children to strive to add to their attainments the virtues they lack.6Manuscript 136, 1898.CG 185.3

    Teach Submission to Law—Fathers and mothers, be sensible. Teach your children that they must be subordinate to law.7Manuscript 49, 1901.CG 186.1

    It is not mercy or kindness to permit a child to have its own way, to submit to its rule, and to neglect to correct it on the ground that you love it too well to punish it. What kind of love is it that permits your child to develop traits of character that will make him and everyone else miserable? Away with such love! True love will look out for the present and eternal good of the soul.8The Review and Herald, July 16, 1895.CG 186.2

    What right have parents to bring children into the world to neglect and to let them grow up without culture and Christian training? Parents should be responsible. Teach them control; teach them that they are to be managed, and not to manage.9Manuscript 9, 1893.CG 186.3

    Co-ordinate the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual—The physical, mental, and spiritual capabilities should be developed in order to form a properly balanced character. Children should be watched, guarded, and disciplined in order to successfully accomplish this.10Testimonies For The Church 4:197, 198.CG 186.4

    The physical constitution of Jesus, as well as His spiritual development, is brought before us in these words,“the child grew,” and “increased in stature.” In childhood and youth attention should be given to physical development. Parents should so train their children in good habits of eating and drinking, dressing, and exercise, that a good foundation will be laid for sound health in afterlife. The physical organism should have special care, that the powers of the body may not be dwarfed, but developed to their full extent. This places the children and youth in a favorable position, so that, with proper religious training, they may, like Christ, wax strong in spirit.11The Youth's Instructor, July 27, 1893.CG 187.1

    Health Is Related to Intellect and Morals—In order to arouse the moral sensibilities of your children to the claims that God has upon them, you should imprint upon their minds and hearts how to obey the laws of God in their physical frames; for health has a great deal to do with their intellect and morals. If they have health and purity of heart, they are then better prepared to live and be a blessing to the world. To balance their minds in the right direction and at the right time is a most important work, for very much depends on the decision made at the critical moment.CG 187.2

    How important, then, that the minds of parents should be as free as possible from perplexing, wearing care in needless things, that they may think and act with calm consideration, wisdom, and love, making the physical and moral health of their children the first and highest consideration.12Health Reformer, December, 1872.CG 187.3

    Parents wonder that children are so much more difficult to control than they used to be, when in most cases their own criminal management has made them so. The quality of food they bring upon their tables and encourage their children to eat is constantly exciting their animal passions and weakening the moral and intellectual faculties.13Pacific Health Journal, October, 1897.CG 188.1

    Pure Food for the Mind Is Essential—Educate the faculties and tastes of your dear ones; seek to preoccupy their minds, so that there shall be no place for low, debasing thoughts or indulgences. The grace of Christ is the only antidote or preventive of evil. You may choose, if you will, whether the minds of your children shall be occupied with pure, uncorrupted thoughts or with the evils that are existing everywhere—pride and forgetfulness of their Redeemer. The mind, like the body, must have pure food in order to have health and strength. Give your children something to think of that is out of and above themselves. The mind that lives in a pure, holy atmosphere will not become trifling, frivolous, vain, and selfish.14Letter 27, 1890.CG 188.2

    We are living in a time when everything that is false and superficial is exalted above the real, the natural, and the enduring. The mind must be kept free from everything that would lead it in a wrong direction. It should not be encumbered with trashy stories, which do not add strength to the mental powers. The thoughts will be of the same character as the food we provide for the mind.15Testimonies For The Church 5:544.CG 188.3

    A Brilliant Intellect Is Not Sufficient—You may be pleased with the brilliant intellect of your child; but unless it is under the control of a sanctified heart, it will work at cross-purposes with God. Nothing but a high sense of the claims of God upon us can give us the proper stability of character, penetration of mind, and depth of understanding essential to success, both in this world and in the world to come.16The Review and Herald, April 23, 1889.CG 188.4

    Aim at High Points in Character Development—If we teach our children to be industrious, half the danger is over, for idleness leads into all manner of temptation to sin. Let us educate our children to be simple in manner without being bold, to be benevolent and self-sacrificing without being extravagant, to be economical without becoming avaricious. And above all, let us teach them the claims which God has upon them, that it is their duty to carry religion into every department of life, that they should love God supremely, and love their neighbor, not neglecting the little courtesies of life which are essential to happiness.17Pacific Health Journal, May, 1890.CG 189.1

    Pray for Heavenly Wisdom—Parents should reflect and pray earnestly to God for wisdom and divine aid to properly train their children, that they may develop characters that God will approve. Their anxiety should not be how they can educate their children that they may be praised and honored of the world, but how they can educate them to form beautiful characters that God can approve. Much prayer and study are needed for heavenly wisdom to know how to deal with young minds, for very much is depending upon the direction parents give to the minds and wills of their children.18Health Reformer, December, 1872.CG 189.2

    Moral and Spiritual Guidance Must Be Given—Parents need to be impressed with their obligation to give to the world children having well-developed character—children who will have moral power to resist temptation, and whose life will be an honor to God and a blessing to their fellowmen. Those who enter upon active life with firm principles will be prepared to stand unsullied amid the moral pollutions of this corrupt age.19Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 75.CG 189.3

    Teach Children to Choose for Themselves—Let the youth and the little children be taught to choose for themselves that royal robe woven in heaven's loom—the “fine linen, clean and white” (Revelation 19:8), which all the holy ones of earth will wear. This robe, Christ's own spotless character, is freely offered to every human being. But all who receive it will receive and wear it here.CG 190.1

    Let the children be taught that as they open their minds to pure, loving thoughts and do loving and helpful deeds, they are clothing themselves with His beautiful garment of character. This apparel will make them beautiful and beloved here, and will hereafter be their title of admission to the palace of the King.20Education, 249.CG 190.2

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