Child Guidance

Chapter 9—A Call for Self-Improvement

Continual Advancement Necessary—The mother’s work is such that it demands continual advancement in her own life, in order that she may lead her children to higher and still higher attainments. But Satan lays his plans to secure the souls of both parents and children. Mothers are drawn away from the duties of home and the careful training of their little ones, to the service of self and the world.1 CG 71.1For 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. CG 71.2And first, the mother needs to strictly discipline and cultivate all the faculties and affections of the mind and heart, that she may not have a distorted or one-sided character and leave the marks of her deficiency or eccentricity upon her offspring. Many mothers need [to] be roused to see the positive necessity of a change in their purposes and characters in order to perform acceptably the duties they have voluntarily assumed by entering upon the married life. The channel of woman’s usefulness can be widened and her influence extended to an almost unlimited degree if she will give proper attention to these matters, which affect the destiny of the human race.2 CG 71.3Constantly Increase in Wisdom and Efficiency—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. CG 71.4God would have mothers seek constantly to improve both the mind and the heart. They should feel that they have a work to do for Him in the education and training of their children, and the more perfectly they can improve their own powers, the more efficient will they become in their work as parents.3 CG 72.1Parents Should Grow Intellectually and Morally—It is the duty of mothers to cultivate their minds and keep their hearts pure. They should improve every means within their reach for their intellectual and moral improvement, that they may be qualified to improve the minds of their children.4 CG 72.2Parents should be constant learners in the school of Christ. They need freshness and power, that with the simplicity of Christ they may teach the younger members of God’s family the knowledge of His will.5 CG 72.3The Amazing Power of Christian Culture—Parents have not yet aroused to understand the amazing power of Christian culture. There are mines of truth to be worked that have been strangely neglected. This careless indifference does not meet the approval of God. Parents, God calls upon you to look at this matter with anointed eyes. You have as yet only skimmed the surface. Take up your long-neglected work, and God will co-operate with you. Do your work with wholeheartedness, and God will help you to make improvement. Begin by bringing the gospel into the home life.6 CG 72.4We are now in God’s workshop. Many of us are rough stones from the quarry. But as the truth of God is brought to bear upon us, every imperfection is removed and we are prepared to shine as lively stones in the heavenly temple, where we shall be brought into association, not only with the holy angels, but with the King of heaven Himself.7 CG 73.1The Aim—Perfection—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…. CG 73.2Many parents are neglecting their God-given work. They are themselves far from purity and holiness, and they do not see the defects of their children as they would if their own eyes were beholding and admiring the perfection of Christ’s character.8 CG 73.3How to Become an Ideal Mother—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 Saviour 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. CG 73.4Let 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.9 CG 74.1Make a Success of Domestic Life—Counsel to a Mother—You should not follow your own inclinations. You should be very careful to set a right example in all things. Do not be inactive. Arouse your dormant energies. Make yourself a necessity to your husband by being attentive and helpful. Be a blessing to him in everything. Take up the duties essential to be done. Study how to perform with alacrity the plain, uninteresting, homely, but most needful duties which relate to domestic life…. CG 74.2Try to make a success of your domestic life. It means more to fill the position of wife and mother than you have thought…. You need the culture and experience of domestic life. You need the variety, the stir, the earnest effort, the cultivation of the will power, that this life brings.10 CG 74.3Parents Who Are Too Busy—Many parents plead that they have so much to do that they have no time to improve their minds, to educate their children for practical life, or to teach them how they may become lambs of Christ’s fold.11 CG 74.4Parents must not neglect to arm their own minds against sin, to guard against that which will not only ruin themselves, but transmit pain and every kind of misery and evil to their offspring. By correctly educating themselves, parents are to teach their children that the heavens do rule.12 CG 75.1Parents Should Welcome Counsel—While they sleep in godless indifference, Satan is sowing in the hearts of their children seeds which will spring up to bear a harvest of death. Yet often such parents resent counsel as to their mistakes. They act as though they would like to ask those who offer advice, What right have you to meddle with my children? But are their children not God’s children also? How does He regard their wicked neglect of duty? What excuse will they offer when He asks them why they brought children into the world, and then left them to be the sport of Satan’s temptations?13 CG 75.2Be 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.14 CG 75.3Benefits of Meetings for Mutual Counsel [Note: reference is here made to group study as in camp meeting.]—God has committed to our hands a most sacred work, and we need to meet together to receive instruction, that we may be fitted to perform this work…. We need to meet together and receive the divine touch that we may understand our work in the home. Parents need to understand how they may send forth from the sanctuary of the home their sons and daughters so trained and educated that they will be fitted to shine as lights in the world.15 CG 75.4From the camp meeting we may take with us a better understanding of our home duties. There are lessons to be learned here regarding the work the Lord would have our sisters do in their homes. They are to learn to cultivate politeness of speech when speaking to husband and children. They are to study how they may help to bring every member of the family under discipline to God. Let fathers and mothers realize that they are under obligation to make home pleasant and attractive, and that obedience is not to be obtained by scolding and threats. Many parents have yet to learn that no good is accomplished by outbursts of scolding. Many do not consider the need of speaking kindly to the children. They do not remember that these little ones are bought with a price and are the purchased possession of the Lord Jesus.16 CG 76.1