Thoughts On Family Government

Here some of the key thoughts on family government, taken from an article published in 1894 that I sent out to parents today. I think you will find them a blessing. Write me if you would like to be added to the list that receives articles on parenting.—Dan

 

Father is the houseband of the family and his authority is to be recognized

"I am particularly exercised over the mismanagement in the training of families. The father is to be the houseband of the family. This is his position, and if he is a Christian, he will maintain family government. In every respect his authority is to be recognized. In many families the father’s authority is never fully acknowledged, and a series of excuses are offered for the disobedience of the children. In many families the daily life is one of variance, full of the counterworking of the father against the mother and the mother against the father. The mother thinks the father unnecessarily severe and exacting. Why?—Because the children do not acknowledge and reverence the father, who, if he is a Christian, represents the divine authority of God, whose vicegerent he is. The father is to carry out the gracious designs of God, and establish his family in upright principles, that they may have virtuous and well-balanced characters."

 

A demoralized condition comes when fathers and mothers are not united in raising their children:

"If fathers and mothers are at variance, one working against the other to counteract each other’s influence, the family will be in a demoralized condition, and neither the father nor the mother will receive the respect and confidence that are essential to a well-governed family."

 

Respect for God's authority is implanted in children when they learn to obey their parents

"They should be trained, educated, and disciplined until they become obedient to their parents, giving respect to their authority. In this way respect for divine authority will be implanted in their hearts, and the family training will be like a preparatory training for the family in heaven."

 

Variance between parents brings a strange mismanagement to the family

"What strange mismanagement they witness in a family where father and mother are at variance! The tones of the voice of father and mother, their looks, their words,—all make it manifest that they are not united in the management of their children. The father casts reflections upon the mother, and leads the children to hold in disrespect the mother’s tenderness and affection for the little ones. The mother thinks she is compelled to give large affection to the children, to gratify and indulge them, because she thinks the father is harsh and impatient, and she must work to counteract the influence of his severity."

 

A proper example should always be given

"In the family, fathers and mothers should ever present before their children the example they wish to be imitated. They should manifest one to the other a tender respect in word, and look, and action. They should make it manifest that the Holy Spirit is controlling them, by representing to their children the character of Jesus Christ. The powers of imitation are strong, and in childhood and youth, when this faculty is most active, a perfect pattern should be set before the young."

 

The children's safety depends on the constant vigilance of their parents

"Satan begins his work upon them from earliest childhood, and creates desires for that which God has forbidden. The safety of children depends largely upon the vigilance, watchfulness, and care of the parents over them. Parents must work in the fear of the Lord, preoccupying the garden of the heart, by sowing good seed. They must instill the right spirit, plant correct habits, and teach the children that the love and fear of God are the foundation of all wisdom. Obedience to parental authority should be inculcated in babyhood and cultivated in youth. "

 

Severity develops the worst passions in children

"Parents who exercise a spirit of dominion and authority, transmitted to them from their own parents, which leads them to be exacting in their discipline and instruction, will not train their children aright. By their severity in dealing with their errors, they stir up the worst passions of the human heart, and leave their children with a sense of injustice and wrong. They meet in their children the very disposition that they themselves have imparted to them. Such parents drive their children away from God, by talking to them on religious subjects; for the Christian religion is made unattractive and even repulsive by this misrepresentation of truth. Children will say, “Well, if that is religion, I do not want anything of it.” It is thus that enmity is often created in the heart against religion; and because of an arbitrary enforcement of authority, children are led to despise the law and the government of heaven. Parents have fixed the eternal destiny of their children by their own misrule. "

 

Satan is ever watching for neglectful parents to catch children

"Satan is watching to catch the children through the neglect of their parents. One disobedient child will do great harm to those with whom he associates; for he will fashion other children after his own pattern."

 

Parents lose much by being half-converted"—Mrs. E. G. White, Review and Herald, March 13, 1894