Conflicting interests are a fruitful source of family difficulties. The command of Christ to the two brothers who came to Him with their disputes, “Beware of covetousness,” is as applicable among members of the same family now, as it was when those words were spoken. It is better that you have few or no business transactions with any one who is near and dear to you, and connected by family ties. In business relations men are apt to be very exact, because of their habits of business, and this exactness is too often construed by near friends and relatives as actuated by purely selfish motives. Upon this rock many a bark of family love has been wrecked.
It is well to remember that every blessing of our lives, every joy of our hearts and every ray of hope shed upon our pathway, have had their origin in religion, and may be traced in all their hallowed, healthful influences to the Bible. With the dawn of childhood, then, in the earliest days of intelligence, should the mind be impressed and stored with religious truth, and nothing should be allowed to exclude or efface it. It should be taught so early that the mind will never remember when it began to learn; it will then have the character of innate, inbred principles, incorporated with their very being.
If you would not have all your instructions and counsels ineffectual, teach your children to obey. Government in a family is the great safeguard of religion and morals, the support of order and the source of prosperity. Nothing has a greater tendency to bring a curse upon a family than the insubordination and disobedience of children, and there is no more painful and disgusting sight than an ungoverned child.
INFLUENCE OF EXAMPLE.
Never forget that the first book children read is their parents’ example—their daily deportment. If this is forgotten you may find, in the loss of your domestic peace, that while your children well know the right path, they follow the wrong.
Childhood is like a mirror, catching and reflecting images all around it. Remember that an impious, profane or vulgar thought may operate upon the heart of a young child like a careless spray of water upon polished steel, staining it with rust that no efforts can thoroughly efface.
Improve the first ten years of life as the golden opportunity, which may never return. It is the seed time, and your harvest depends upon the seed then sown.