A mother should never refuse the help offered by the child. If the work is of such nature that the little one cannot share it, let the mother suggest as a substitute something else which the child can do. Help turned away begets idleness and nourishes selfishness. “No, dear, you cannot help dress baby, but you may hand mama the clothes.”
“A six-year-old boy, who had been taught true love through service, found his mother one morning too ill to answer his many questions. ’Mama cannot talk to you to-day, Philip, she has a severe headache.’ He quietly closed the door and soon there was a mysterious bumping and moving about of the heavy furniture in the next room. Soon it all was still, then the door was gently opened and little Philip tiptoed to his mother’s bed and whispered, ’Mama, I have straightened the furniture and tidied up the room; is your headache better?’
“A little three-year-old boy running rapidly stumbled and bumped his head severely against the trunk of a tree. Loud cries of pain at once arose, but his little brother took him by the arm and pushed him with all his might towards his mother, saying in the most reassuring tone imaginable, ’Run to mama, Ned, run to mama, she’ll kiss it and make it well. Please run to her quick.’ ‘Perfect love casteth out all fear.’ Surely the wise mother can devise a thousand ways by which to kindle the flame of love in her child until her fond dreams for the little ones are transformed into living realities. But the doubter may remark, ’What if I ask my child to do something for me and he refuses or begins to make excuses or asks why his brother can’t do it?’ You have simply mistaken the time for stretching the young soul’s wings. Begin the training when the child is in the loving mood and you will rarely fail to get the desired response; yet, if need be, command the performance of the deed, so that by repeated doing the selfish heart may at length learn the pleasure of unselfishness and thus enter into the joy of true living.”
Let parents take this motto to heart: Trust not the physical love of your child, but seek to transform it into that higher love which manifests itself in service. The real love of your child is measured by the extent to which he will sacrifice his own comfort and pleasure to serve you.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Why has the delicate sentiment of love such a power in shaping the lives of men?
2. What may be said of selfishness?
3. How may the desire for praise be expressed?
4. Contrast physical and spiritual love.
5. How may love help to develop a strong will?
6. How must the child be taught obedience?
7. Illustrate how loving service may be secured.
8. How may the real love of the child for the parent be measured?