Children to Be Partners in the Home Firm. -- Children as well as parents have
important duties in the home. They should be taught that they are a part of the
home firm. They are fed and clothed and loved and cared for; and they should
respond to these many mercies by bearing their share of the home burdens and
bringing all the happiness possible into the family of which they are members.
Let every mother teach her children that they are members of the family firm
and must bear their share of the responsibilities of this firm. Every member of
the family should bear these responsibilities as faithfully as church members
bear the responsibilities of church relationships.
Let the children know that they are helping father and mother by doing little
errands. Give them some work to do for you, and tell them that afterward they
can have a time to play.
Children have active minds, and they need to be employed in lifting the
burdens of practical life. . . . They should never be left to pick up their own
employment. Parents should control this matter themselves.
Parents and Children Have Obligations. --Parents are under obligation to feed
and clothe and educate their children, and children are under obligation to
serve their parents with cheerful, earnest fidelity. When children cease to feel
their obligation to share the toil and burden with their parents, then how would
it suit them to have their parents cease to feel their obligation to provide
for them? In ceasing to do the duties that devolve upon them to be useful to
their parents, to lighten their burdens by doing that which may be disagreeable
and full of toil, children miss their opportunity of obtaining a most valuable
education that will fit them for future usefulness.
God wants the children of all believers to be trained from their earliest
years to share the burdens that their parents must bear in caring for them. To
them is given a portion of the home for their rooms and the right and privilege
of having a place at the family board. God requires parents to feed and clothe
their children. But the obligations of parents and children are mutual. On their
part children are required to respect and honour their parents.
Parents are not to be slaves to their children, doing all the sacrificing,
while the children are permitted to grow up careless and unconcerned, letting
all the burdens rest upon their parents.
Indolence Taught Through Mistaken Kindness. -- Children should be taught very
young to be useful, to help themselves, and to help others. Many daughters of
this age can, without remorse of conscience, see their mothers toiling, cooking,
washing, or ironing, while they sit in the parlour and read stories, knit
edging, crochet, or embroider. Their hearts are as unfeeling as a stone.
But where does this wrong originate? Who are the ones usually most to blame
in this matter? The poor, deceived parents. They overlook the future good of
their children and, in their mistaken fondness, let them sit in idleness or do
that which is of but little account, which requires no exercise of the mind or
muscles, and then excuse their indolent daughters because they are weakly. What
has made them weakly? In many cases it has been the wrong course of the parents. A proper amount of exercise about the house would
improve both mind and body. But children are deprived of this through false
ideas, until they are averse to work.
If your children have been unaccustomed to labour, they will soon become
weary. They will complain of side ache, pain in the shoulders, and tired limbs;
and you will be in danger, through sympathy, of doing the work yourselves rather
than have them suffer a little. Let the burden upon the children be very light
at first, and then increase it a little every day, until they can do a proper
amount of labour without becoming so weary.
Perils of Idleness. --I have been shown that much sin has resulted from
idleness. Active hands and minds do not find time to heed every temptation which
the enemy suggests, but idle hands and brains are all ready for Satan to
control. The mind, when not properly occupied, dwells upon improper things.
Parents should teach their children that idleness is sin.
There is nothing which more surely leads to evil than to lift all burdens
from children, leaving them to an idle, aimless life, to do nothing, or to
occupy themselves as they please. The minds of children are active, and if not
occupied with that which is good and useful, they will inevitably turn to what
is bad. While it is right and necessary for them to have recreation, they should
be taught to work, to have regular hours for physical labour and also for
reading and study. See that they have employment suited to their years and are
supplied with useful and interesting books.
The Surest Safeguard Is Useful Occupation. --One of the surest safeguards for
the young is useful occupation. Had they been trained to industrious habits, so that all their hours were
usefully employed, they would have no time for repining at their lot or for idle
daydreaming. They would be in little danger of forming vicious habits or
If parents are so occupied with other things that they cannot keep their
children usefully employed, Satan will keep them busy.
Children Should Learn to Bear Burdens. --Parents should awaken to the fact
that the most important lesson for their children to learn is that they must act
their part in bearing the burdens of the home. . . . Parents should teach their
children to take a common-sense view of life, to realise that they are to be
useful in the world. In the home, under the supervision of a wise mother, boys
and girls should receive their first instruction in bearing the burdens of life.
The education of the child for good or for evil begins in its earliest years.
. . . As the older children grow up, they should help to care for the younger
members of the family. The mother should not wear herself out by doing work that
her children might do and should do.
Sharing Burdens Gives Satisfaction. --Help your children, parents, to do the
will of God by being faithful in the performance of the duties which really
belong to them as members of the family. This will give them a most valuable
experience. It will teach them that they are not to centre their thoughts upon
themselves, to do their own pleasure, or to amuse themselves. Patiently educate
them to act their part in the family circle, to make a success of their efforts
to share the burdens of father and mother and brothers and sisters. Thus they will have the satisfaction of knowing
that they are really useful.
Children can be educated to be helpful. They are naturally active and
inclined to be busy; and this activity is susceptible of being trained and
directed in the right channel. Children may be taught, when young, to lift daily
their light burdens, each child having some particular task for the
accomplishment of which he is responsible to his parents or guardian. They will
thus learn to bear the yoke of duty while young; and the performance of their
little tasks will become a pleasure, bringing them a happiness that is only
gained by well-doing. They will become accustomed to work and responsibility and
will relish employment, perceiving that life holds for them more important
business than that of amusing themselves. . . .
Work is good for children; they are happier to be usefully employed a large
share of the time; their innocent amusements are enjoyed with a keener zest
after the successful completion of their tasks. Labour strengthens both the
muscles and the mind. Mothers may make precious little helpers of their
children; and, while teaching them to be useful, they may themselves gain
knowledge of human nature and how to deal with these fresh, young beings and
keep their hearts warm and youthful by contact with the little ones. And as
their children look to them in confidence and love, so may they look to the dear
Saviour for help and guidance. Children that are properly trained, as they
advance in years, learn to love that labour which makes the burdens of their
Assures Mental Balance. --In the fulfilment of their apportioned tasks
strength of memory and a right balance of mind may be gained, as well as
stability of character and dispatch. The day, with its round of little duties, calls for thought,
calculation, and a plan of action. As the children become older, still more can
be required of them. It should not be exhaustive labour, nor should their work
be so protracted as to fatigue and discourage them; but it should be judiciously
selected with reference to the physical development most desirable and the
proper cultivation of the mind and character.
Links With Workers in Heaven. --If children were taught to regard the humble
round of everyday duties as the course marked out for them by the Lord, as a
school in which they were to be trained to render faithful and efficient
service, how much more pleasant and honourable would their work appear! To
perform every duty as unto the Lord throws a charm around the humblest
employment and links the workers on earth with the holy beings who do God's will
Work is constantly being done in heaven. There are no idlers there. "My
Father worketh hitherto," said Christ, "and I work." We cannot
suppose that when the final triumph shall come, and we have the mansions
prepared for us, that idleness will be our portion, that we shall rest in a
blissful, do-nothing state.
Strengthens Home Ties. --In the home training of the youth the principle of
co-operation is invaluable. . . . The older ones should be their parents'
assistants, entering into their plans and sharing their responsibilities and
burdens. Let fathers and mothers take time to teach their children; let them
show that they value their help, desire their confidence, and enjoy their
companionship; and the children will not be slow to respond. Not only will the
parents' burden be lightened, and the children receive a practical training of inestimable worth, but there will be a strengthening of
the home ties and a deepening of the very foundations of character.
Makes for Growth in Mental, Moral, Spiritual Excellence. --Children and youth
should take pleasure in making lighter the cares of father and mother, showing
an unselfish interest in the home. As they cheerfully lift the burdens that fall
to their share, they are receiving a training which will fit them for positions
of trust and usefulness. Each year they are to make steady advancement,
gradually but surely laying aside the inexperience of boyhood and girlhood for
the experience of manhood and womanhood. In the faithful performance of the
simple duties of the home boys and girls lay the foundation for mental, moral,
and spiritual excellence.
Gives Health of Body, Peace of Mind. --The approval of God rests with loving
assurance upon the children who cheerfully take their part in the duties of
domestic life, sharing the burdens of father and mother. They will be rewarded
with health of body and peace of mind; and they will enjoy the pleasure of
seeing their parents take their share of social enjoyment and healthful
recreation, thus prolonging their lives. Children trained to the practical
duties of life will go out from the home to be useful members of society, with
an education far superior to that gained by close confinement in the schoolroom
at an early age, when neither the mind nor the body is strong enough to endure
In some cases it would be better if children had less work in the school and
more training in the performance of home duties. Above all else they should be
taught to be thoughtful and helpful. Many things to be learned from books are far less essential than the lessons of practical industry and
Insures Restful Sleep. --Mothers should take their daughters with them into
the kitchen and patiently educate them. Their constitution will be better for
such labour, their muscles will gain tone and strength, and their meditations
will be more healthy and elevated at the close of the day. They may be weary,
but how sweet is rest after a proper amount of labour! Sleep, nature's sweet
restorer, invigorates the weary body and prepares it for the next day's duties.
Do not intimate to your children that it is no matter whether they labour or
not. Teach them that their help is needed, that their time is of value, and that
you depend on their labour.
It is a sin to let children grow up in idleness. Let them exercise their
limbs and muscles, even if it wearies them. If they are not overworked, how can
weariness harm them more than it harms you? There is quite a difference between
weariness and exhaustion. Children need more frequent change of employment and
intervals of rest than grown persons do; but even when quite young, they may
begin learning to work, and they will be happy in the thought that they are
making themselves useful. Their sleep will be sweet after healthful labour, and
they will be refreshed for the next day's work.
Do Not Say, "My Children Bother Me." --"Oh," say some
mothers, "my children bother me when they try to help me." So did
mine, but do you think I let them know it? Praise your children. Teach them,
line upon line, precept upon precept. This is better than reading novels, better
than making calls, better than following the fashions of the world.
A View of the Pattern. --For a period of time the Majesty of heaven, the King
of glory, was only a Babe in Bethlehem and could only represent the babe in its
mother's arms. In childhood He could only do the work of an obedient child,
fulfilling the wishes of His parents, in doing such duties as would correspond
to His ability as a child. This is all that children can do, and they should be
so educated and instructed that they may follow Christ's example. Christ acted
in a manner that blessed the household in which He was found, for He was subject
to His parents and thus did missionary work in His home life. It is written,
"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and
the grace of God was upon Him." "And Jesus increased in wisdom and
stature, and in favour with God and man."
It is the precious privilege of teachers and parents to co-operate in
teaching the children how to drink in the gladness of Christ's life by learning
to follow His example. The Saviour's early years were useful years. He was His
mother's helper in the home; and He was just as verily fulfilling His commission
when performing the duties of the home and working at the carpenter's bench as
when He engaged in His public work of ministry.
In His earth life Christ was an example to all the human family, and He was
obedient and helpful in the home. He learned the carpenter's trade and worked
with His own hands in the little shop at Nazareth. . . . As He worked in
childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical
powers recklessly, but in such a way as to keep them in health, that He might do
the best work in every line.