Counsels To Parents–Part II

(Continued from Code Vol. 3; No. 3-4; pp. 4-6)

Realizing, with a realization second only to that of God’s, that the home and the family are the basic unit of human society, and that therefore as rocks the cradle, rocks the world, Satan set about early in the long ago to manipulate control of both the hands that hold the crib and those that hold the reins of the home; until at last he has so well succeeded at his work that today the Word of God must make the sad confession that “Children are often indulged from their babyhood, and wrong habits become fixed” (“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 368), and that “Satan has succeeded wonderfully in his plans.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 203. {3SC7: 6.1.7}

Knowing full well, however, that he could never succeed in his diabolic scheme except he beguile parents to follow in the footsteps of Eve–depart from the ways of God, to eat of the forbidden fruit–he has, through all his wicked and subtle arts, unceasingly worked to keep the home blind to or indifferent toward Bible principles, and hence under his control. {3SC7: 6.2.6}

Having thus planted his banner in the home, even “in the households of those who profess to be God’s chosen ones” (‘Testimonies for the Church,’ Vol. 4, p. 200), is it any wonder that parents of today–those in Present Truth as well as those in the church and in the world–are consistently wrong, and in such sad deception, “and knoweth it not?” {3SC7: 7.1.1}

“Oh! when will parents be wise? When will they see and realize the character of their work in neglecting to require obedience and respect according to the instructions of God’s word?… {3SC7: 7.1.2}

“These facts must be pressed home upon parents; they must arouse, and take up their long-neglected work.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, pp. 324, 326. {3SC7: 7.1.3}

“Parents, take up your neglected responsibilities; educate your children after God’s plan….”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, p. 45. {3SC7: 7.1.4}

“The neglect of parents to properly discipline their children has been a fruitful source of evil in many families. The youth have not been restrained as they should have been. Parents have neglected to follow the directions of the word of God in this matter, and the children have taken the reins of government into their own hands. The consequence has been that they have generally succeeded in ruling their parents, instead of being under their authority. {3SC7: 7.1.5}

“The parents are blind to the true state of their children, who have succeeded in entirely deceiving them. But those who have lost the control of their children are not pleased when others seek to control them, or to point out their defects for the purpose of correcting them.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, pp. 192, 193. {3SC7: 7.1.6}

Perhaps Mt. Carmel is having to grapple with no problem so often and so vigorously as that brought to view in the concluding sentence of the last quotation. {3SC7: 7.1.7}

On a number of occasions, when necessity has led us to advise with parents, concerning their children, and “to point out their defects for the purpose of correcting them,” these parents have resented and opposed our efforts to help them, in spite of the fact that in pointed condemnation of such a course, stand the following solemn testimonies: {3SC7: 7.1.8}

“I have been shown that very many of the parents who profess to believe the solemn message for this time, have not trained their children for God. They have not restrained themselves, and have been irritated with any one who attempted to restrain them.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, p. 36. {3SC7: 7.1.9}

“Instead of uniting with those who bear the burdens, to lift up the standard of morals, and working with heart and soul in the fear of God to correct the wrongs in their children, many parents soothe their own consciences by saying, ‘My children are no worse than others.’ They seek to conceal the glaring wrongs which God hates, lest their children shall become offended, and take some desperate course. If the spirit of rebellion is in their hearts, far better subdue it now than permit it to increase and strengthen by indulgence. If parents would do their duty, we should see a different state of things. Many of these parents have backslidden from God. They do not have wisdom from Him to perceive the devices of Satan and to resist his snares.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 651. {3SC7: 7.1.10}

“Parents who give this training [of strict obedience to God] are not the ones likely to be found criticizing the teacher. They feel that both the interest of their children and justice to the school demand that, so far as possible, they sustain and honor the one who shares their responsibility. {3SC7: 7.2.1}

“Many parents fail here. By their hasty, unfounded criticism the influence of the faithful, self-sacrificing teacher is often well-nigh destroyed. Many parents whose children have been spoiled by indulgence, leave to the teacher the unpleasant task of repairing their neglect; and then by their own course they make his task almost hopeless. Their criticism and censure of the school management encourage insubordination in the children, and confirm them in wrong habits. {3SC7: 7.2.2}

“If criticism or suggestion in regard to the teacher’s work becomes necessary, it should be made to him in private. If this proves ineffective, let the matter be referred to those who are responsible for the management of the school. Nothing should be said or done to weaken the children’s respect for the one upon whom their well-being in so great degree depends. {3SC7: 7.2.3}

“The parents’ intimate knowledge both of the character of the children and of their physical peculiarities or infirmities, if imparted to the teacher, would be an assistance to him. It is to be regretted that so many fail of realizing this. By most parents little interest is shown either to inform themselves as to the teacher’s qualifications, or to co-operate with him in his work.”–“Education,” pp. 283-284. {3SC7: 7.2.4}

“Many fathers and mothers err in failing to second the efforts of the faithful teacher. Youth and children, with their imperfect comprehension and undeveloped judgment, are not always able to understand all the teacher’s plans and methods. Yet when they bring home reports of what is said and done at school, these are discussed by the parents in the family circle, and the course of the teacher is criticized without restraint. Here the children learn lessons that are not easily unlearned. Whenever they are subjected to unaccustomed restraint, or required to apply themselves to hard study, they appeal to their injudicious parents for sympathy and indulgence. Thus a spirit of unrest and discontent is encouraged, the school as a whole suffers from the demoralizing influence, and the teacher’s burden is rendered much heavier. But the greatest loss is sustained by the victims of parental mismanagement. Defects of character which a right training would have corrected, are left to strengthen with years, to mar and perhaps destroy the usefulness of their possessor. {3SC7: 7.2.5}

“As a rule it will be found that the students most ready to complain of school discipline are those who have received a superficial education. Having never been taught the necessity of thoroughness, they regard it with dislike. Parents have neglected to train their sons and daughters to the faithful performance of domestic duties. Children are permitted to spend their hours in play, while father and mother toil on unceasingly. Few young persons feel that it is their duty to bear a part of the family burden. They are not taught that the indulgence of appetite, or the pursuit of ease or pleasure, is not the great aim of life.”–“Fundamentals of Christian Education,” pp. 64-65. {3SC7: 8.1.1}

“Better, far better might your children suffer, better lie in their graves, than be taught to treat lightly the principles that lie at the very foundation of loyalty to truth, to their fellow-beings, and to God. {3SC7: 8.1.2}

“In cases of difficulty with the ones who have them in charge, go directly to those in authority and learn the truth. Bear in mind that the managers of the various departments understand much better than others can what regulations are essential. Manifest confidence in their judgment, and respect for their authority. Teach your children to respect and honor the ones to whom God has shown respect and honor by placing them in positions of trust. {3SC7: 8.1.3}

“In no way can the members of the church more effectively second the efforts of the managers in our institutions than by giving in their own homes an example of right order and discipline….Let there be no encouragement to sin, no evil speaking or evil surmising.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 7, pp. 185-186. {3SC7: 8.1.4}

“Satan has had great power over the minds of parents through their undisciplined children. The sin of parental neglect stands marked against many Sabbath-keeping parents. The spirit of gossip and tale-bearing is one of Satan’s special agencies to sow discord and strife, to separate friends, and to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our positions. Brethren and sisters are too ready to talk of the faults and errors that they think exist in others, and especially in those who have borne unflinchingly the messages of reproof and warning given them of God. {3SC7: 8.1.5}

“The children of these complainers listen with open ears, and receive the poison of disaffection. Parents are thus blindly closing the avenues through which the hearts of the children might be reached. How many families season their daily meals with doubt and questionings. They dissect the characters of their friends, and serve them up as a dainty dessert. A precious bit of slander is passed around the board, to be commented upon, not only by adults, but by children. In this God is dishonored. Jesus said, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ Therefore Christ is slighted and abused by those who slander his servants. {3SC7: 8.1.6}

“The names of God’s chosen servants have been handled with disrespect, and in some cases with absolute contempt, by certain persons whose duty it is to uphold them. The children have not failed to hear the disrespectful remarks of their parents in reference to the solemn reproofs and warnings of God’s servants. They have understood the scornful jests and depreciatory speeches that from time to time have met their ears, and the tendency has been to bring sacred and eternal interests, in their minds, on a level with the common affairs of the world. What a work are these parents doing in making infidels of their children even in their childhood! This is the way that children are taught to be irreverent, and to rebel against Heaven’s reproof of sin.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, pp. 194-195. {3SC7: 8.2.1}

“Their children have gloried in their freedom to do as they pleased. They have been released from home responsibilities and have despised restraint. A life of usefulness appears to them like a life of drudgery. Lax government at home has unfitted them for any position, and, as a natural consequence, they have rebelled against school discipline. Their complaints have been received and credited by their parents, who, in sympathizing with their imaginary troubles, have encouraged their children in wrong-doing. These parents have, in many instances, believed positive untruths that have been palmed off upon them by their deceiving children. A few such cases of unruly and dissembling children would do much toward breaking down all authority in the school, and demoralizing the young people of our church. {3SC7: 8.2.2}

“There is perfect order in Heaven, perfect concord and agreement. If parents so neglect to bring their children under proper authority here, how can they hope that they will be considered fit companions for the holy angels in a world of peace and harmony? Indulgent parents, who justify their children in their wrong-doing, are thereby creating an element that will bring discord into society, and subvert the authority of both school and church. {3SC7: 8.2.3}

“Children need watchful care and guidance as never before; for Satan is striving to gain the control of their minds and hearts, and to drive out the Spirit of God. The fearful state of the youth of this age constitutes one of the strongest signs that we are living in the last days; but the ruin of many may be traced directly to the wrong management of the parents. The spirit of murmuring against reproof has been taking root and is bearing its fruit of insubordination. While the parents are not pleased with the characters their children are developing, they fail to see the errors that make them what they are.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 199. {3SC7: 8.2.4}

“Our brethren and sisters abroad should feel it their duty to sustain this institution which God has devised. Some of the students return home with murmurings and complaints, and parents and members of the church give an attentive ear to their exaggerated, one-sided statements. They would do well to consider that there are two sides to the story; but, instead, they allow these garbled reports to build up a barrier between them and the College. They then begin to express fears, questionings, and suspicions in regard to the way the College is conducted. Such an influence does great harm. The words of dissatisfaction spread like a contagious disease, and the impression made upon minds is hard to efface. The story enlarges with every repetition, until it becomes of gigantic proportions, when investigation would reveal the fact that there was no fault with teachers or professors. They were simply doing their duty in enforcing the rules of the school, which must be carried out or the school will become demoralized. {3SC7: 9.1.1}

“Parents do not always move wisely. Many are very exacting in wishing to bring others to their ideas, and become impatient and over-bearing if they cannot do this; but when their own children are required to observe rules and regulations at school, and these children fret under the necessary restraint, too often their parents, who profess to love and fear God, join with the children instead of reproving them and correcting their faults. This often proves the turning point in the character of their children. Rules and order are broken down, and discipline is trampled under foot. The children despise restraint, and are allowed to speak disparagingly of the institutions at [Mt. Carmel]. If parents would only reflect, they would see the evil result of the course they are pursuing.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4 p. 428. {3SC7: 9.1.2}

“I wish my position to be clearly understood. I have no sympathy with the course that has been pursued toward Bro. ——–. The enemy has encouraged feelings of hatred in the hearts of many. The errors committed by him have been reported from one person to another, constantly growing in magnitude, as busy, gossiping tongues added fuel to the fire. Parents who have never felt the care which they should feel for the souls of their children, and who have never given them proper restraint and instruction, are the very ones who manifest the most bitter opposition when their children are restrained, reproved, or corrected at school. Some of these children are a disgrace to the church, and a disgrace to the name of Adventists. {3SC7: 9.1.3}

“The parents despised reproof themselves, and despised the reproof given to their children, and were not careful to conceal this from them. The sin of the parents began with their mismanagement at home. The souls of some of these children will be lost, because they did not receive instruction from God’s word, and did not become Christians at home. Instead of sympathizing with their children in a perverse course, the parents should have reproved them, and sustained the faithful teacher. These parents were not united to Christ themselves, and this is the reason of their terrible neglect of duty. That which they have sown, they will also reap. They are sure of a harvest. {3SC7: 9.2.1}

“In the school, Bro. —— has not only been burdened by the wrong course of the children, but by the injudicious management of the parents, which produced and nurtured hatred of restraint.” {3SC7: 9.2.2}

“I dare not longer remain silent. I speak to you and to the church at [Mount Carmel]. You have made a great mistake. You have treated with injustice one to whom you and your children owe a debt of gratitude, which you do not realize. You are responsible for the influence you have exerted upon the [School]. …You have encouraged in the students a spirit of criticism, which God’s Spirit has sought to repress. You have led them to betray confidence. There are not a few young persons among us who are indebted for most valuable traits of character to the knowledge and principles received from Bro. ——-. To his training, many owe much of their usefulness, not only in the Sabbath-school, but in various other branches of our work. Yet your influence encouraged ingratitude, and has led students to despise the things that they should cherish…. {3SC7: 9.2.3}

“Bro. ——— has been an earnest seeker after knowledge. He has sought to impress upon the students that they are responsible for their time, their talents, their opportunities. It is impossible for a man to have so much care, and carry so heavy responsibilities, without becoming hurried, weary, and nervous. Those who refuse to accept burdens which will tax their strength to the utmost, know nothing of the pressure brought to bear upon those who must bear these burdens. {3SC7: 9.2.4}

“There are some in the [message] who have looked only for what has been unfortunate and disagreeable in their acquaintance with Bro. ——–. These persons have not that noble, Christ-like spirit, that thinketh no evil. They have made the most of every inconsiderate word or act, and have recalled these at a time when envy, prejudice, and jealousy, were active in unchristian hearts…… Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, pp. 51-55. {3SC7: 9.2.5}

“A few weeks since, I was in a dream brought into one of your meetings for investigation. I heard the testimonies borne by students against Bro. ———. Those very students had received great benefit from his thorough, faithful instruction. Once they could hardly say enough in his praise. Then it was popular to esteem him. But now the current was setting the other way. These persons have developed their true character. I saw an angel with a ponderous book open, in which he wrote every testimony given. Opposite each testimony were traced the sins, defects, and errors of the one who bore it. Then there was recorded the great benefit which these individuals had received from Bro. ——-‘s labors. {3SC7: 10.1.1}

“We, as a people, are reaping the fruit of Bro. ———‘s hard labor. There is not a man among us who has devoted more time and thought to his work, than Bro.——–. He has felt that he had no one to sustain him, and has felt grateful for any encouragement.” “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, p. 59. {3SC7: 10.1.2}

“The Lord approved of the general course of Bro. ——-, as he was laying the foundation for the school which is now in operation….Under the strain of over-work, he has made some mistakes, not half so grievous, however; as those of persons who have cherished bitterness against him. In his connection with the youth, he has had to meet that spirit of rebellion and defiance which the apostle declares to be one of the signs of the last days.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 51 p. 91. {3SC7: 10.1.3}

(Though some of the foregoing testimonies were addressed to the believers at Battle Creek, “The same principles which apply to the work in our institutions at Battle Creek, apply as well to that in the field at large.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 5, p. 566. {3SC7: 10.1.4}

“If parents would place themselves in the position of the teachers, and see how difficult it must necessarily be to manage and discipline a school…of students of every grade and class of minds, they might, upon reflection, see things differently. They should consider that some children have never been disciplined at home. Having always been indulged and never trained to obedience, it would be greatly for their advantage to be removed from their injudicious parents, and placed under as severe regulations and drilling as soldiers in an army. Unless something shall be done for these children who have been so sadly neglected by unfaithful parents, they will never be accepted of Jesus; unless some power of control shall be brought to bear upon them, they will be worthless in this life, and will have no part in the future life.”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 429. {3SC7: 10.1.5}

“Entire families are in need of thorough transformation in their habits and ideas before they can be true representatives of Jesus Christ. And to a great extent children who are to receive an education in our schools, will make far more advancement if separated from the family circle where they have received an erroneous education. It may be necessary for some families to locate where they can board their children and save expense, but in many cases it would prove a hindrance rather than a blessing to their children.”–“Fundamentals of Christian Education,” p. 313. {3SC7: 10.2.1}

However, “No family is justified in bringing children to [Mt. Carmel] who are not under the control of their parents. If their parents have disregarded the word of God in the matter of instructing and training their children, [Mt. Carmel] is no place for them. They will only be the means of demoralizing the young people of [this] place, and bringing discord where peace and prosperity should reign. Let such parents take up the neglected work of restraining and disciplining their children before they venture to impose them upon [Mt. Carmel].”–“Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 204. {3SC7: 10.2.2}


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