Teaching of this kind will endear you to your children long after you are resting in the grave. They will recount, “My mother told me this. My father taught me that. They must have understood God’s plan of salvation, or they would never have known how to tell me these things.” But the task will require your highest talents. Sympathy and love, constant watchfulness, and earnest prayer will be the most needful. Since the child does not know himself, you must learn to know him. You must search for the secret springs that govern his actions and for the master key that will unlock his heart.
One dear young woman, relating her experience to me, said: “My mother died when I was only six years old; but I know she must have been a Christian, because some friends who knew her told me of her devoted life and of earnest pleadings for her children when she saw that she must leave them. All that I can remember about her was seeing her bowing in prayer or talking to us children. There are desires in my nature that I know must have been planted within me in answer to her prayer. After her death I was cast out upon the world. I went to live with a very ungodly family, but that sense of right and wrong within me made me shun and despise their evil ways. I loved to read my Bible. From it I learned that, if I would gain heaven, I must forsake sin and live a pure life. To live such a life was a pleasure until I found that the denomination whose meetings I attended would not allow me to say much about a holy life, because their creed did not teach it. Then I promised the Lord that I would be a Christian if I had to be one all by myself. This was not necessary, for I found many true Christians who believed all that the Bible teaches.”
That mother’s prayers had fashioned and governed the life of her daughter long before the child was able to understand her mother’s meaning. Parents can not begin too early to win the child’s love and confidence, and they should spare no pains to maintain these to mature years. Those who do will find that their children will never, even to old age, fail to come to them for sympathy and advice. Children so reared will always love and honor their father and mother as the Bible says they should, and will look upon their parents’ lives as examples for them to imitate. See to it that you show yourself a good pattern, in thought, word, and deed, for them to follow.
There is no definite rule whereby parents may control their home, except to seek advice from God, for no two families have the same environment. Any method that will bring about the desired result may be applied; but the method must be systematic and thorough. A positive attitude is good, and should be encouraged, but harshness ought never to be used. The latter will tend to discouragement and resentment in the child, while the former will teach the difference between right and wrong.