Raise up a Child

Family—the standards of society are set by its members. In turn, the members of society stem from individual families, and it is in the family that the individual has learned to live. The standard of his morals are largely developed and integrated by the habits he has formed due to the influence of his home environment.

At the present time, our world is suffering from a downfall of morals. Children and adults are just what they think, say and do, which is all a product of what they put into their minds. They are listening to pagan music, looking at pictures of people sparsely dressed, and watching TV programs of murders and immorality. Their minds are damaged by what they see and hear; then their words and actions fall into line with what they allow themselves to dwell upon. A home that has a TV for children to look at, even if the parents think it is governed, allows influences that will produce undesirable results.

One of the most blessed things the Lord did for humanity was to create the family. It was made for joy, for the accomplishment of goals in life and, most important of all, to teach us of the love of God and how to fit into society. We are in need today of just such homes, homes where children are trained to love and fear God and to love their fellow men. We are told by the pen of inspiration that, “The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities.

“Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide, working with softening, subduing influence upon the hearts of parents and children.

“Our homes must be made a Bethel, our hearts a shrine. Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, there will be light and joy. Spread out the word of God before your families in love, and ask, ‘What hath God spoken?’ ” The Adventist Home, 18, 19.

“The greatest evidence of the power of Christianity that can be presented to the world is a well-ordered, well-disciplined family. This will recommend the truth as nothing else can, for it is a living witness of its practical power upon the heart. … The best test of the Christianity of a home is the type of character begotten by its influence. Actions speak louder than the most positive profession of godliness. … A well-ordered, a well-disciplined family in the sight of God is more precious than fine gold, even than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Ibid., 32.

Now we need a few tips on how we might accomplish such an arduous task. Every child is born with its own mind, its own will and stamina, its own personality; and it is up to the parents to understand. Parents must pattern their home and teaching after the principles laid out in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.

“Mothers, take your rightful position as a loving teacher of your children. Remember that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that moves the world. Never give expression to words of anger. Keep a cheerful countenance. Children are very susceptible to expressions of joy and sorrow.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2,198.

There was once a mother who had three children. She nursed those babies. She read to them from the Spirit of Prophecy, and by the time the oldest one was six months old, he had heard the entire book, The Desire of Ages. These children grew up loving to read Ellen White’s writings.

Children need to be guided and restricted in many things, but it is very important that as soon as a child begins to think, he or she is given the opportunity to do some choosing for himself or herself, and after the child has been given the privilege of choosing, do not deny him his choice. He needs to learn to make decisions, so you must allow his little mind to work with proper guidance.

Another tip about raising children is that they should never be told that they are naughty or that they are bad. They may have done some naughty thing or something that is bad, but never, never tell them that they are bad. Always point them to something better and let them know that what they did was bad or naughty. But don’t tell the child that he is bad or naughty. You may tell him or her that he or she is too good to do such a naughty thing. Let him know that when he makes a mistake he has to pay for it. And when disciplining a child, never speak in an angry tone of voice. Offer up a silent prayer for the Lord to help you not to lose your temper, as children can be very trying at times. These trying experiences are to help us learn the patience that is needed if we are ever to hear the words, “Here is the patience of the saints” [Revelation 14:12.] spoken to us.

Another caution that is important is to never tell a child a lie, such as, “Santa Clause is coming,” or “A big black bear will get you if you are naughty,” or such stories as “Little Red Riding Hood.” She never existed, and they don’t need to know about her. Tell the children the truth; when they are older they will thank you for that.

The most important element in the home is love. Parents, if you think you don’t love each other, go to the Lord in prayer. A very dear family once struggled with this very issue. The wife said that after they were married she found that she really didn’t love her husband and detested having him around; she would have run away from it all, but she did want to be a true Christian, so she began to pray about the situation. At the time she was telling me about this, she said, “You know, Jesus answered my prayers and now I love my husband dearly.” All true love comes from God.

Our children need to see love, and they need to experience love in the home. They also need to know that they are individuals with their own personality, and are forming their own habits, and are responsible for the things they do.

A member of Steps to Life staff, Ruth Grosboll is a retired registered nurse. She worked for many years with her husband in the mission field. She may be contacted by e-mail at: ruthgrosboll@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.