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Ellen White's Approach To Discipline

Ellen White was entrusted with a fair number of children to raise, as directed by God, for whom she applied the wisdom that God had provided her in raising children. In reading this you have a practical application of the principles that are found in books like Adventist Home, Child Guidance and in various other articles and letters. These quotations were found in reading many many articles, and appeared as random sections of one to more paragraphs where specific information was provided. I think you will find this an exceedingly important document to study along with the books. 

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An Online Compilation On Mrs. White's Approach

Some Biblical Texts

These are some of the texts she referenced, with sample quotations.

Isaiah 54:13

Isaiah 54:13 (NKJV) 13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.

Isaiah 54:13 (KJV) 13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

O how many times I have brought this promise to the Lord and have proved its truthfulness. I have taken many children into my home and by patient labor and prayer have sought to instruct them according to the light God has given. The Lord has co-operated with my efforts, and these childrenhave responded to my labors in their behalf. {Ms 93, 1909, par. 15}

Ephesians 6:4

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV) 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Bring your children up in the admonition of the Lord, and you have fitted them to work in the church, you have fitted them to go forth into missionary fields, you have fitted them to shine in the courts of the Lord. {Ms 31, 1901, par. 29}


Ellen White Attained Perfect Success With Children

"It means much to train up children that have not had proper discipline. But I have proved the matter; it can be done. I thank the Lord that I have had success, perfect success, in this line of work. I have nursed them in sickness and brought them to God in prayer and to health. I have said to them, The Lord understands that you are trying to overcome and to please the Saviour who gave His precious life for you, that you should be converted and be a blessing to your associates in school." {Ms62-1911}


Newly Found Quotes on Ellen White Caring For Children

On Requiring Manual Labor While They Were In School

We taught our children that after they had spent some time in school, then [they should] drop out a term because there was no arrangement made for manual labor. And after working for a term or two, they could take hold in the school again, and they were just two terms in advance of those who continued in the school the whole time. The mother stands in the place of God to her children and should have a care for the physical as well as the mental powers of the children. What is the reason that today we cannot find responsible men? It is because they have not been educating the children to be caretakers. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 6 ... When you send your children to school, don’t tell them you don’t want them to do any manual labor. The physical labor is just what they need, that they will not only develop the mind, but that they will have physical power as well as mental, that they will not have a one-sided education. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 8

On Practical Activities Around The Home

I have brought up not only my own children, but others; and today I have two that are now grown up, and I would tell them, Now you can go to school, and when you get home there are other duties for you to do in the kitchen. Why, said they, Aunt Ellen, such a one doesn’t have to wash dishes. Well, said I, I am not bringing you up in this line. Thus I educated them. Said I, Hold up your hands, what are they made for? Not to be idle. My mother taught me to work. I used to ask my mother why I must always do so much before I play? It is to educate and train your mind for useful labor, and another thing, to keep you out of mischief, and when you get older you will thank me for it. When one of my little girls said to me, “Why must I knit? Grandmothers knit.” I [replied,] “Will you tell me how grandmothers learned to knit? Why, they began when they were little girls.” 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 9

The Value Of The Cook In The Family

After they had been to school a while, I sent one to the country and said, Teach this little girl to cook. But few mothers teach their girls how to cook. How can we allow these things to go on? I have seen bread placed upon the table not fit to put into the stomach. I have seen fathers and mothers and children suffering because of want to know how to cook. There should be in our colleges domestic duties. Good cooking is in demand everywhere, but people have come to regard the act of cooking as something to be looked down upon. And [can] we marvel at it when we see how the servant girl is treated? When my children would not talk to my cook and associate with her, I would take them and say, Now children, I want to talk with you a little. I appreciate my seamstress and I appreciate my copyist, but I appreciate my cook above every one else of the helpers in my family, because the cook, if educated to her business, knows how to prepare good cooked food for the stomach; therefore my cook stands higher than my seamstress or copyist. And if there is any preference to be given, it is to my cook. But you know it is not so now, but the cooking has gotten to be regarded as a very menial service. I know of places where 20 good cooks are wanted, but where are they? They are not to be had. We want good cooks. Now mothers who want to guard your children, do you cook? Do you want your children to be cooks? Let them be copyists, and canvassers, and all this, but let them be fit for manual labor as well. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 10

On Helping With Washing

[When] children were sent into my family to board, and they would say, “My mother doesn’t want me to do my washing,” I [would] say, “Well, [shall we] do it for you, and charge you half a dollar more for your board?” “Oh, no! Mother doesn’t want to pay any more for me.” Well then I [would] say, “You may get up in the morning and do it for yourself. God never designed that you should be waited upon by us. Instead of your mother getting up and getting breakfast in the morning while you lie in bed, you should be the one to say, ‘Mother, don’t you get up in the morning. We will take hold of these burdens and perform these duties.’ [You should] let [those] whose hairs are growing grey take [their] rest in the morning.” 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 11

When Being Tempted To Be Harsh

It is sympathy and tenderness that will work as you have never dreamed of. It is not fretting and scolding; this will discourage them. We know Satan has a power over the youth and children, and we want to take these children out of his ranks and place them under the ranks of Jesus Christ. No teacher should let his scholars know that they can get the advantage of him. When I have felt roiled, and [was tempted to] speak words that I would be ashamed of, I would keep silent and pass right out of the room and ask God to give me patience to teach these children. Then I could go back and talk with them and tell them they must not do this wrong again. We can take [such] a position in this matter that we shall not provoke the children to wrath. We should speak kindly and patiently, remembering all the time how wayward we are and how we want to be treated by our heavenly Father. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 22

On Success With Children

Now in the schools we are establishing, we want fathers and mothers, we want those who know how to take care of the sick, and the school is not complete unless you have those there. To my certain knowledge, we have taken case after case and treated them and saved them. This life is not so worthless that we can throw it away. We can use it so that we can be a blessing to those around us, and when we shall enter the city of God, there we shall see the very ones we have labored for, not only to give them physical health, but mental and moral strength. And their hearts will fill with gratitude to those who have done this good work for them. 5LtMs, Ms 19, 1887, par. 23

Continued Concern 'For Them Regardless Of Their Age

I have told them that just as long as my children live, if they are as gray-headed as myself, I have a responsibility for that child that I have brought into the world. I have two sons living, two sons in the grave, and I have a husband in the grave, and my father and mother on both sides of the house that I have had the care of in their last hours, that died in the faith; and I want that our home should be a sanctuary where the Spirit of the Lord can dwell. {Ms151-1904.64}


Ellen White Was Instructed To Take In Motherless And Fatherless Children

After my marriage I was instructed that I must show a special interest in motherless and fatherless children, when possible taking them under my own charge and finding homes for them. Thus I would be giving others an example of what they could do. {Ms140-1905.14} I have felt it my duty to bring before our people that for which those in every church should feel a responsibility. I have taken children from three to five years of age, and boys of twelve and upward, under my care. In Australia I carried on this work, taking into my home orphan children who were in danger of being exposed to temptations that might cause the loss of their souls. {Ms140-1905.15} I have had the privilege of taking into my home from time to time boys from ten to sixteen years of age, feeding and clothing them, and giving them a training for service. These boys have now grown to manhood, and I meet them now and then as I travel from place to place. Some of them occupy positions of trust in our institutions. One of them has long been a valued worker in the Review and Herald Publishing House, having charge of the presses. I met him during my recent visit at Battle Creek, and I felt as a mother does when meeting her son. And he was just as hearty in his expressions of tenderness and love as he would have been were I indeed his mother. He has been a professing Christian ever since he was a lad. {Ms140-1905.16} Another boy whom we took as a member of our family became a printer and stood for years as foreman of a department in the Review and Herald. He is now connected with my son Edson in his work in the South, and his services are most highly prized. He is one of the elders of the Nashville church. {Ms140-1905.17} 

After my marriage I was instructed that I must show a special interest in motherless and fatherless children, taking some under my own charge for a time, and then finding homes for them. Thus I would be giving others an example of what they could do. {Ms63-1906.14} … Although called to travel often, and heaving much writing to do, I have taken children of three and five years of age and have cared for them, educated them, and trained them for responsible positions. I have taken into my home from time to time boys from ten to sixteen years of age, giving them motherly care and a training for service. I have felt it my duty to bring before our people that work for which those in every church should feel a responsibility. {Ms63-1906.15} While in Australia I carried on this same line of work, taking into my home orphan children, who were in danger of being exposed to temptations that might cause the loss of their souls. {Ms63-1906.16}

I have taken children into my family and have educated them, traveling from east to west nearly all over the globe, and Oh, I have had such satisfaction. One says, “I cannot do a thing with my child. He is 14, and stronger than I am. I cannot manage him. Here is the sister two years younger.” I said, “Give them to me. I will take them right home.” And there I helped him, and these children became useful. One has worked in printing offices as head man and in different positions. {Ms153-1904.47} I met one that came into our family, a driver of horses on the towpath. Someone said, Do take pity on him. See what you can do with him, Sister White. I took him into my family, and he was converted, and he sat in the type rooms. He was the head man there. Another has the machinery. He has taken charge of the machinery in Battle Creek. He is getting old now, and I met him in Nashville at my son’s. He is just as bright and sharp and interested in the Scriptures. They have made him an elder of the church. He is almost as old as I am now, but he was a young man when we took him into our house. Let us help one another. {Ms153-1904.48}

When my children were small we had a large family of adopted children. We would have our work away before the setting of the sun. The children would hail the Sabbath as a joy. They would say, Now father and mother will give us some of their time. We would take them out for a walk. We would take the Bible and some religious instruction to read to them, and explain to them the Scriptures. We would keep praying that they should know the truth of God’s Word. We would not lie abed Sabbath mornings because it was Sabbath. We would have our preparations all ready the day before so that we could go to service without the hurry and worry. We would not stroll off and have a nice time to ourselves. We wanted our children to have all the privileges and blessings of God’s sanctified rest day. {2SAT 107.3}   [THIS IS ALSO IN THE SABBATH SECTION]

If you cannot get along with ____ and love him and do abundantly well for him, and consider it a privilege to do this, a blessing Heaven has sent you, we will take the boy and do the best we can for him, treat him as our own son, till some place is provided for him. We have done this to many. Although we now have a little girl, which I took from a widowed mother who could not do for her all she needed to have done, although we are at home but a part of the time, the salvation of the soul is precious and I am willing to be put to inconvenience and care to do some good. A dying father and mother left their jewels to the care of the church, to be instructed in the things of God and fitted for heaven. When they shall look about for these jewels and one is found missing through neglect, what shall the church answer? They are responsible in a great degree for the salvation of these orphan children. {Lt15-1869.13}

“Thy children shall be all taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.” [Verse 13.] O how many times I have brought this promise to the Lord and have proved its truthfulness. I have taken many children into my home and by patient labor and prayer have sought to instruct them according to the light God has given. The Lord has co-operated with my efforts, and these children have responded to my labors in their behalf. {Ms 93, 1909, par. 15

My husband and I, though called to arduous labor in the ministry, felt it our privilege to gather into our home children who needed care, and helped them to form characters for heaven. We could not adopt infants, for this would have engrossed our time and attention, and would have robbed the Lord of the service He required of us in bringing many sons and daughters to Him. But we felt that the Lord’s instruction in (Isaiah 58) was for us, and that His blessing would attend us in obedience to His Word to His Word. All can do something for the needy little ones by helping to please them in homes where they can be cared for. {Ms 35, 1896, par. 4}


Ellen White's Approach To Discipline

I used to say to my children, as they were leaving home in the morning: “Now, children, you are going out for the day’s work. Remember that you are to guard your tongue. Speak not one word that will provoke a wrong act. If you fail, then when we meet at family worship during the evening hour, we shall talk the matter over and make it right with God. You see, children, kind words never cause you any pain and sorrow. Speak kindly, tenderly to one another, and see what a refreshing, what a blessing, comes to your own heart. But if you begin to contend one with another, then passions arise, and you have to strive with all your might to retain control over yourself. Be brave, be true.” – {1SAT 374.2}

And at eventide, when the children would gather together before going to bed, we would talk over the happenings of the day. Possibly during the day one of the children had said, “Mother, someone has done thus and so to me.” I had replied that when we all came together in the evening we could talk it over. When evening came, they had all had time for reflection, and they did not feel inclined to bring charges against one another. They would say, “Mother, I have done thus and so,” and the tears would start from their eyes, as they would add, “I feel as if I would like to have you ask the Lord to forgive me. I believe He will.” And then we would bow in prayer and confess the sins of the day, and pray for forgiveness. After confessing their wrongdoings, these little fellows would soon fall asleep. – {1SAT 375.1}

Fathers and mothers, never quarrel with your children or provoke them to anger. Train them to obey you to the letter. I know by experience that this can be done without provocation. I have taken charge of children that were said to be incorrigible, and at the close of the year I have told them that I should not ask them to obey me any better in the year to come than they had obeyed me during the past year. In dealing with them, never would I allow them to gain an advantage over me by causing me to lose my temper. I knew that the enemy wanted me to become angry when the children disobeyed; but I would always say to them: “Children, I shall leave you now to think over your course of action. In your excited, angry state of mind you are not prepared to see things in the right light. Tonight before you sleep we will talk the matter over together.” Thus I gave them opportunity for calm reflection. When night came and we met together for worship, they were ready to break down and cry like babies. They would ask my forgiveness, and then we would kneel and ask God’s forgiveness. {Ms57-1902.39}

Let us do all we can to show our children that there is a heaven to win and a hell to shun. Let us teach them to strive for everlasting life. And remember that you will not help them by scolding. This stirs up the worst passions of the human heart. Make home pleasant. Be kind and gentle, but at the same time, be firm, requiring obedience. I have brought up children who by others were pronounced incorrigible. I never struck them a blow. I won their love and their confidence. They knew that I would ask them to do nothing but what was for their happiness. I did not whip them, knowing that this would not make them righteous. Prayer was my strength. Bring your children up in the admonition of the Lord, and you have fitted them to work in the church, you have fitted them to go forth into missionary fields, you have fitted them to shine in the courts of the Lord. {Ms 31, 1901, par. 29}

We should pray to God much more than we do. There is great strength and blessing in praying together in our families, with and for our children. When my children have done wrong, and I have talked with them kindly and then prayed with them, I have never found it necessary after that to punish them. Their hearts would melt in tenderness before the Holy Spirit that came in answer to prayer. { 2SAT 301.4 }

You cannot make a child understand spiritual things when the heart is stirred with passion. At such times I would say to my children, “We will wait until your bed hour,” and then we would talk the matter over and see what was best to be done. I would pray with them, and would tell them that I could not have my children displeasing the Lord and grow up to disregard His requirements. I do not know of a single instance when this plan failed. They would throw their arms around my neck, asking my forgiveness and promising to do differently. {10MR 103.2} Do not strike your children a blow until everything else had failed. Many times you will find that if you will reason with them kindly, they will not need to be whipped. And such a method of dealing will lead them to have confidence in you. They will make you their confidant. They will come to you and say, “I did wrong today at such a time, and I want you to forgive me and to ask God to forgive me.” I have gone through scenes like this, and therefore I know. I have adopted children, and have tried to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and I had success in this work. I thank the Lord with heart and soul and voice that I can see today some of these children occupying responsible positions in the work of God. I am thankful that I had courage, when they did wrong, to deal with them firmly, to pray with them, and to keep the standards of God’s Word before them. I am glad that I presented to them the promises made to the overcomer, and the rewards offered to those who are faithful. – {10MR 103.3}

When I have seen children mismanaged I have said, Give them to me. And I have taken child after child, and I tried to fashion them after Christ’s order. I never found it did much good to pound them. {Ms77-1910.16}     Once I thought I would have to punish the child, but I took her in the room with me, and I said, We will pray. After I had prayed, I asked her if she would like to say a few words to the Lord. I told her that it was the first time that I had brought anything in my hand with which to correct her, and that I did not want to use it this time. I said, Can you just ask the Lord to forgive you for what you have done? The lips were opened, and the moment the lips were opened the heart was broken, and there she wept and wept. Could I have struck a blow to that child? I told her, I am so thankful that I did not have to correct you. It hurts me worse than it does you. If you will try to do right, we will take you out in the fields where you can pick the flowers, and we will kneel down there and pray all together. {Ms77-1910.17}]     When there are evil traits in your children’s characters, you are to talk with them and pray with them and seek to soften their dispositions, and you will in doing this soften your own dispositions. {Ms77-1910.20}

I have adopted children in order that they might be trained in right lines. Instead of punishing them when they did wrong, I would hold out inducements to them to do right. One was in the habit of throwing herself on the floor if she could not have her own way. I said to her, “If you will not lose your temper once today, your Uncle White and I will take you in the carriage, and we will have a happy day in the country. But if you throw yourself on the floor once, you will forfeit your right to the pleasure.” I worked in this way for these children, and now I feel thankful that I had the privilege of doing this work. {Ms95-1909.11}

When my children were very young, I determined that they should never, never gain an advantage over me by disturbing my feelings. I never let them see that they could annoy me. When they disobeyed, I did not shake them roughly or strike them. Instead of punishing them at once, I said to them, We will say nothing about this matter before evening worship; then we will talk it over and settle it. When evening came, they were subdued, ready to ask forgiveness. Thus I avoided many difficulties. {Ms 87, 1902, par. 24}

I never allowed my children to see mother out of patience. I did not try to correct them until I knew that I had perfect control over all my feelings of impatience. When I approached them with voice and spirit subdued, I gained their confidence. We are to learn meekness of spirit from the divine Master. {ST July 15, 1889, par. 9}

From the light that God has given me, there will have to be reformation in this church. There will have to be a depth of searching of heart, a reconversion with many, many, that profess the truth. And you cannot afford to make a mistake here, where eternal interests are involved. We want to follow Christ, and to obey Him. And we want to be fitted up for the kingdom that He is fitting for us. {Ms82-1912}  Fathers, mothers, we want to know what you are doing for your children? Are you waiting for somebody else to come in and convert them, or are you doing the duty of fathers and mothers? Are you bringing them to a position where they must be obedient if they are in your household? For this is what God requires. And if not then what? If no restraint can be brought to bear upon them, what are you going to do about it? The fathers and mothers must do their duty. They must bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and we want that all that shall connect with this church shall follow on to know the Lord, that they may know His going forth is prepared as the morning. {Ms82-1912} There are plenty of youth in our world that have no light, but when the light of heaven is shining every Sabbath here, and when the light of truth is presented, what influence does it have upon the youth of professed Sabbathkeepers? We want to say that there must be, from the light God has given me, a diligent work with our young men, and when this takes place, we shall see such a moving of the Spirit of God as we cannot now describe. To let the youth come up, do about as they please, go when they want to go, and come when they want to come, dishonors God. Our Saviour is dishonored. {Ms82-1912}  We want every one that shall hear these words to believe that it is the truth. And we want the salvation of God to come into our families. No scolding; no fretting. I made up my mind I would not have that, at any rate, in my house. When the children disobeyed, I would take them and talk with them. I would tell them I would not do as I knew many were doing, lay the rod upon them, or the rattan, but I would tell them: Now, you have done a wrong thing. You have grieved the Spirit of God. You have grieved Christ who gave His life for you. I have taken you and adopted you as my children, and if you will come into right order, I will help you in every way possible. My husband was an invalid, and so we would take them out to ride in our carriage, and we would take our dinner, perhaps, out in the grove, and we would make it as pleasant for them as we could. {Ms82-1912}  But then I told them, You have done a wrong thing, and now what are you going to do about it? I am going to let this go until the evening, and I do not want you to go to bed with this sin upon you. I would make them see that they had done wrong, and they must repent of that wrong. And here, said I, is the whip. I never want to strike you a blow. I never want to do it. And I am not going to use it on you now, because you are all stirred up in yourself, and it would not be much account. But you go to evening, and then we will talk matters over. And when it come to the evening, as we would talk matters over, and they had the whole day to think of it, they said, We did do wrong. I would find that they would make their confession, and in that way I was molding their character so that I did not have to strike them a blow. They were boys, and rude and rough, but they saw I did nothing in passion. {Ms82-1912} Now, said I, the evening is come and I am going to pray with you. I knelt down, and I prayed with them. I asked the Lord that their hearts might be subdued, and they be converted. Well, before I would get through they would come right to me, and put their arms around me, and say, Forgive us; we won’t do it again, we won’t do it again. {Ms82-1912} Well, this is the way. Instead of giving them a hurried blow that made them ten times worse, it was to have them melted down. If I could get an apple it was a strange thing, for there were scarcely any around. I would always purchase them, and I would put one under their bowl at the table. Well, they knew that I cared for them, and this is the way we tried to manage them. {Ms82-1912}  Now, the light given me is that something needs to be done right here on these very grounds. We need the converting power of God. The fathers need to manage their children in such a way that their hearts will be broken, and when their hearts are broken, then you can expect that there will be some reformation. {Ms82-1912}  The Lord of heaven is looking down upon us; and I want to tell you how it is presented to me. Here is God who has given His only begotten Son, that these unconverted youth might be converted and brought into the truth. Now this is the way that I tried to manage it. I would get them something that they could not get themselves, and I would try to talk with them, and soften their hearts, and the Lord blessed me in it. But to let the youth go unchecked in such a place as this, which it is so sacred to me, [is not the way to manage.] My husband and I searched out this place, and then how carefully we worked to preserve every penny, that we might erect the building here, the first building. We would move so that we did gain special victories, and then we added house to house, that we might put in our patients. I want to tell you that the Lord worked with us, and the salvation of God was right with us in doing our work in this line of reform. {Ms82-1912}  It is no use to scold and to fret and all this, because you are educating yourself and you are educating your children in that line. What we want is to be conformed to the image of Christ. What we want is that we shall in our character represent Jesus Christ, and that will bring more souls to the truth than anything else that we can do. {Ms82-1912}  

… let not passionate words escape from our lips, fathers and mothers. No; your children are to learn from you what you have learned from Christ, and if you get impatient and shake them and make them angry, and they cannot see the beauty of holiness in you. But father and mother can go away and offer prayer for their children that God may grant that they shall not perish with the wicked. {Ms71-1911.17}  I understand this business; I have taken children right into my home. I have prayed with those who had known nothing but the rod over them. I do not know that I ever had to strike them but once, and that was after repeatedly telling them what the right was. Most always they would submit, and throw their arms around my neck, and with tears confess their wrong. We must not let our children go. We must keep hold of them by living faith in a living God; and if we do this, let me tell you the future. The gates of the city of God will be thrown back upon their glittering hinges, and the nations that have kept the truth will enter in, and the crown of gold will be placed upon the brows of your children. The golden harp will be placed in their hands, and there will go forth music and rejoicing and triumph in the city of our God. But it must be as overcomers. {Ms71-1911.18}  

I have taken quite a number of children into my family, notwithstanding all the writing that I have had to do. I would tell those children, “Now the Lord has given me a work to do, and I have taken you because I see your souls are in danger, and those that had charge of you were willing to entrust you to me. I want to teach you the way of the Lord.” {Ms66-1911.19}  I took two children who had the rattan over them continually. They were stubborn children, but I would bow down and plead with the Lord about it, telling Him that I was so sorry that they had grieved Him, and I would ask the Lord to pity and forgive them and teach them His way. I did not have to strike them a blow. {Ms66-1911.20} …  In the night season I was before a congregation, and I was telling fathers and mothers, “Never speak a word in passion. Wait until you are cooled off yourself.” {Ms66-1911.24}  I would come into the room where these children that I took were, and instead of doing what I had asked them to do, they were down under the table. I would say to them, “What are you hunting for under the table?” And they would come out very quickly. {Ms66-1911.25} Parents, do we not make ourselves more to provoke than to win? If you see the children doing things that they should not do, tell them kindly, “The Lord is not pleased with your course of action, and you must work to please the Lord, or you can never go with Him to heaven.” {Ms66-1911.26}  Such words will do a great work for your children. This was what I was saying last night in the night season. I was talking to a congregation and telling them that parents and children needed the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God, and then angels will be round about them. The glory of the Lord will go before them. We want, not to provoke, but by pleasant words to try to induce a change of attitudes so the factional spirit will be forgotten. {Ms66-1911.27} 

Some may say it is not possible. I know it is. I have taken the children who had nothing but the rod put to them, and I want to tell you that I know that if the right influence was exerted there would be many more Christian families than there are today. {Ms70-1911.16}

There is a living God, and although the world is going into wickedness, it is not the higher education that God wants us to have. The higher education is that which yields to the Higher Will, the Higher Power, and that will improve the character that will receive it. That is what we want for the people. We want you to have peace of mind; we want you to have grace; we want you to have salvation, because you have [the] minds of your children that you are training up in the way of the Lord. Never, never speak to them in a sharp, harsh way. You cannot afford it. Just take them away and talk to them tenderly. I have taken children that were not my own, and trained them in this way, and they are believers and alive today. Every one of us should work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. {Ms84-1910.43}

Now that is what you are to know. That He is God, that He is to be honored, that your characters must be brought into harmony with God. You are not to be fretful, even in your own family. You can speak kindly and teach them without being cross and irritable. We believe you can do it. I have taken children from many families, child after child. Brother George Amadon, in whom we have so much confidence, was a mischievous boy working on the tow path with the horses. And then there was another one that his mother could not do anything with. She said that his salvation depended upon his being with someone that he respected. She asked me if I would take him, and I said, Certainly. {Ms83-1910.23} We would take these boys aside and tell them what we took them for. We told them that we wanted them to be prepared to stand in review before God. We wanted them to stand where they would have strength before God, and could call Him their Father. They are alive today, and when I go into Battle Creek, there is a hack that comes up, and these two gray-headed men meet me, and call me Mother; and they say, Where should we have been today had it not been for you? That is all the pay I want. I thank God we can help one another. {Ms83-1910.24}

Now here are your families, here are your children. It is no small item to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have taken child after child that I saw was going to destruction. I took Brother Amadon when he was a little boy, driving on the tow path. He is alive today, and is one of our main pillars in Battle Creek, and he often speaks of the time when I took him away from his associates. {Ms78-1910.15}  Girls have come to me, saying, Sister White, Will you take me? Certainly, I said. I took them, and we worked together. One of them lies in the grave now, and there are several living whom I took and educated. I kept someone to educate them. I did not begrudge the money at all. My husband and I had to keep together while he was living, and I want to tell you that we have seen the grand workings of the Holy Spirit of God upon human hearts, and we want to be in that position that we can understand that the Lord has His Holy Spirit to help us, to strengthen us, to lead us, to guide us. {Ms78-1910.16} … Now, let the fathers and mothers bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, not scolding or fretting or beating them, but pray with them. And who do you think is with them when you pray? The angels of God are there. I have taken children who were just as stubborn as they could be, who have had their own way. The blessing of God would come upon us as we would pray together. {Ms78-1910.33}

When the children will beg that they may go to this company or join that party of amusement, say to them, “I cannot let you go, children. Sit right down here and I will tell you why. I am doing up work for eternity and for God. God has given you to me and entrusted you to my care. I am standing in the place of God to you, my children; therefore I must watch you as one who must give an account in the day of God. Do you want your mother’s name written in the books of heaven as one who failed to do her duty to her children, as one who let the enemy come in and preoccupy the ground that I ought to have occupied? Children, I am going to tell you which is the right way, and then if you choose to turn from your mother and go into the paths of wickedness, your mother will stand clear, but you will have to suffer for your own sins.” {Ms13-1888.59} This is the way I did with my children, and before I would get through, they would be weeping, and they would say, “Won’t you pray for us?” Well, I never refused to pray for them. I knelt by their side and prayed with them. Then I have gone away and have pleaded with God until the sun was up in the heavens—the whole night long—that the spell of the enemy might be broken, and I have had the victory. Although it cost me a night’s labor, yet I felt richly paid when my children would hang about my neck and say, “Oh, Mother, we are so glad that you did not let us go when we wanted to. Now we see that it would have been wrong.” {Ms13-1888.60}

*Well may the mother inquire with deep anxiety, as she looks upon the children given to her care, What is the great aim and object of their education? Is it to fit them for life and its duties, to qualify them to take an honorable position in the world, to do good, to benefit their fellow beings, to gain eventually the reward of the righteous? If so, then the first lesson to be taught them is self-control; for no undisciplined, headstrong person can hope for success in this world, or reward in the next. Children should be taught that they must not have their own way, but that the will of their parents must guide them. One of the most important lessons in this connection is the control of appetite. They should learn to eat at regular intervals and to allow nothing to pass their lips between these stated meals, which should be served twice or at most three times a day. {Ms2-1877.18} For more than twelve years we have taken only two meals each day of plain, unstimulating food. During that time, we have had almost constantly the care of children, varying in age from three to thirteen years. We worked gradually and carefully to change their habit of eating three times a day to two; we also worked cautiously to change their diet from stimulating food as meat, rich gravies, pies, cakes, butter, spices, etc., to simple fruits, vegetables, and grains. The consequence has been that our children have not been troubled with the various maladies to which children are more or less subject. They occasionally take cold by reason of carelessness, but this seldom makes them sick. {Ms2-1877.19} We have, as an occasional experiment, changed the number of their daily meals from two to three; but the result was not good. In the morning their breath was offensive; and after testing the matter for a few weeks, we were thoroughly convinced that the children were better upon two meals a day than upon three; and we therefore returned to our former system, with marked improvement in the health of the children as a result. If tempted with the sight of food prepared for others, they incline to think they are hungry, but usually they do not miss or think about the third meal. Children reared in this way are much more easily controlled than those who are indulged in eating everything their appetite craves, and at all times. They are usually cheerful, contented, and healthy. Even the most stubborn, passionate, and wayward, have become submissive, patient, and possessed of self-control by persistently following up this order of diet, united with a firm but kind management in regard to other matters. {Ms2-1877.20}

Eating suppers creates a feverish state of the system and indigestion. This destroys her appetite for breakfast. All things are turned out of their natural order. The child should arise in the morning with sweet breath and a good appetite for breakfast; but the meal of the night before has done its work in debilitating and unfitting the stomach for food. Then at the noon meal there is over eating, when the digestive organs would do much better work if nothing passed the lips until the next morning. {Lt66-1896.7} I have gone over this program with my children and myself, and I testify to the fact that the third meal of the day, if taken at all, should be strictly confined to simple crackers and homemade coffee. To dispense with the third meal entirely would be better for your family. You have not treated your stomachs wisely. As I reason with mothers about this, they say, I was just as my child; I could not take breakfast. No; for there lay in the stomach the food eaten just before retiring, and it was not digested. Of course, there was no appetite for breakfast. Too much was taken for the noon meal, and supper was eaten before the food previously placed in the stomach had been disposed of. Thus we go on, if we will, in a blind, heedless state, not studying from cause to effect; and the effect is miserable health. Tea is doing the work for the stomach and also for the head. {Lt66-1896.8} These things I would not agree to give either of you. I have disciplined myself strictly, because I greatly desired my mind, my memory, my stomach [to be] in the best possible condition to preserve, to receive the molding of the Holy Spirit of God, that I might co-operate with Him, and not work contrary to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We may follow impulse and the imagination of our own human wisdom independently of the light which God has seen fit to give us, and we will reap the consequence in disordered digestive organs, clogged liver, and disturbed bowels. {Lt66-1896.9}

It is the duty of every parent to look after their children as a faithful priest over the household, and He wants the mother to guide, like a queen in the house, and yet so that these little children shall respect her. Teach them how to do this job, and that work, and the other operation. Begin soon in an early period of their life to teach them usefulness, to use the hands for some purpose. But now it is to play, play, or to go out in companionship with boys where they learn evil. Evil companions corrupt good manners, so you must keep you children under your supervision, a great deal more in their younger days than is now given them. {Ms184-1907.19} I told my children, “Now you ask me if you can go to such a house and see the members of such a family. You may be surprised that I tell you that in the evenings I want my children in my own house. You may invite these children; you may have your parlor; you may have music there, and you may interest your young friends in that way, but to go out, to get up a great time of it, of mischief making, and one thing and another, I forbid it. It shall not be.” {Ms184-1907.20}

When the children do a wrong thing, it is not right to come upon them suddenly and strike them. I would not have dared to correct my children in that way. I would just sit down and talk it over with them, and tell them that they are God’s property and I wanted them to form characters for the future immortal life. You just throw your arms right about them, and say, Let us pray about it and ask God about it. When you bow down and start to pray, they will begin to weep and pray to God that He will forgive them. {Ms73-1911

Fathers and mothers, educate your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The admonition is here in this chapter. You will find it in many ways, and you will find that it requires strict discipline in love. Don’t scold, don’t fret, because you gain nothing by it. But just present to them that Christ gave His life for them. I have always gained the victory in that way. {Ms86-1910} I have tried to approach children, presenting how Christ loved them, how He took children in His arms. And when those mothers came, the disciples wanted to send them right off. “Why, the Master is teaching,” they said. But Christ catches that word. Did He not see those children come from home, and in the dusty path, and calling on neighbor after neighbor, and neighbor after neighbor? Did He not observe this? Certainly He did. He caught the word. He said, “Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” {Ms86-1910} I began to educate my children, as soon as they could know anything to keep busy. They would say, Mother, can I help you? Now won’t you take out all this? Children, I tell you, you help me in more ways than one. If you make a mistake, I can correct that mistake, I can take it out, and still keep you learning all the time. I cannot tell you that your work is perfect yet, but you keep learning. I would keep their hands busy as I could. But yet they had their opportunities to work on the land, and to amuse themselves, but never, would I allow a cross word spoken from one to the other. I would not allow it in myself, nor would I allow the children. {Ms186-1907.24}


Sometimes Discipline Included A Tap On The Hand

If your child reaches out to take some forbidden thing, say kindly, but firmly, “No, do not touch it,” and you will find after telling him this two or three times that he will learn to obey. Touch the hand a little severely, if necessary. When he reaches after the forbidden object again, say, “No, no! No, no! Mustn’t touch! Mustn’t touch!” Time and again I have seen this method followed successfully in dealing with little children who wanted to grasp everything that their hands could handle while sitting at the dining-room table. Such children should be restrained. Tell them that there are things which they must not touch. If thus trained in their babyhood and early childhood, they will learn to obey while very young. {Ms 87, 1902, par. 21}


Spankings Were Threatened Occasionally

Sister White: That is it. We must have an abiding Christ; and unless we have an abiding Christ, we shall be all out of line. In Addie and May Walling I had two of the most passionate children to bring up. Their mother kept a whip at the table, and I think there was not a meal eaten, but what that mother used that whip—a rawhide—on those children. I took them in my care, and brought them up. I never struck them a blow except once, and then it was because I could not help it. But I put out every kind of inducement to them. I would say, “If you do not show passion today, your uncle and I will ride out with you, and we can gather flowers,” and so on. Well, I would not say anything more all day. Then I would ask them about it. During the day I would see them throw themselves on the floor, and kick, and scratch, and then they would get their hands together and they would be ashamed It is a great thing to know how to do, but there is a way. When Satan is in the person, the one in error is to be rebuked right there, and there is to be no passing over the evil. It must be rebuked. {Ms 82a, 1901, par. 54}


She Encouraged The Development Of New Skills

We have much to learn in regard to child-training. When teaching the little ones to do things, we must not scold them. Never should we say, “Why did you not do this?” Say, “Children, help mother do this;” or, “Come, children, let us do this.” Be their companion in doing these things. When they finish their work, praise them. {BEcho February 23, 1903, par. 3} Years ago the children in my home were learning how to knit. One of them asked me, “Mother, I should like to know whether I am helping you by trying to do this knitting-work?” I knew that I should have to take out every stitch, but I replied, “Yes, my child, you are helping me.” Why could I say that they were helping me?—Because they were learning. When they did not make the stitches as they should have made them, I took out every stitch afterward, but never did I condemn them for their failure. Patiently I taught them until they knew how to knit properly. {BEcho February 23, 1903, par. 4} Educate your children from their babyhood to be cheerful and obedient. Teach them to help you. Tell them that they are a part of the firm, and that you need their help, so that you will be spared to care for them. “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. We shall go through this life but once. We cannot afford to fail of reaching the goal for which Christ has told us to strive. {Ms 31, 1901, par. 22}

And if they ask, as my children used to ask, “Mother, do I help you any?” “Indeed you do.” Well, I had to take out all they did. They helped me, because I was educating them, and if they made blunders—who expects anything of a child but blunders, until we train them, and tell them just how to do it? Well, this is to do the very work we ought to do, and then what?


Comments On Children In Mrs. White's Home

I thought I had finished twice, but I must say a word in regard to the children, Ella May and Mabel. They are good-behaved children. They both try to please me in everything. Mabel is as thoughtful and caretaking as a little woman. Such keen perception! She anticipates the wants of all. She is so wonderfully accommodating to me, and to others as well. Ella and Mabel are both little workers. They have outgrown the clothes I have made for them, which when made and worn made them look like small women, but they have expanded and lengthened, especially since coming here to Cooranbong. They work about home helping Sarah. I have a girl about Ella May’s age. These two help Sarah nicely. Mabel is not confined to any steady work. She is helpful everywhere. I do not think she should be taxed with sedentary work. If she is, her nose bleeds. {Lt144-1896.21}  Both girls are in excellent health. Their flesh is solid and they eat and sleep well. They are happy. Ella May White is a conscientious Christian. Mabel has a very tender conscience. I have not passed a disagreeable word with either of them. Their mother is always kind, cheerful, pleasant, and full of affection. The children love her as well as Mary Mortenson. They love Mary, too, and I want them to love her, but both are devoted to me. They are not a particle of annoyance, but a real blessed comfort. We are close neighbors, for our laundry and washhouse has been fitted up nicely for them. I am so glad that everything is so harmonious. Well, Sara has just come to see that I get to bed, for I have been up since half past one o’clock a.m. {Lt144-1896.22}— Mother.


Ellen White's Efforts To Reach An Infidel Youth

I labored for a young man who was an infidel. He wanted me to place my hand on his head to see how low his reverence was, and he said it was impossible for him to honor God. I told him that he must. I labored and prayed with him, and at times it seemed like a hopeless case, but the Spirit of the Lord followed this young man until one day while on a steamer going down the Mississippi he yielded his stubborn will and gave his heart to God. It makes no difference about the head; if we only have a willingness, the Lord will assist us in overcoming as He did this young man. This man now stands at the head of the General Conference. Now that the Lord has worked for him, he knows how to work for infidels. {Ms46-1886.12}

Here are some thoughts on her keeping the Sabbath with the children in her household.
When my children were small we had a large family of adopted children. We would have our work [put] away before the setting of the sun. The children would hail the Sabbath as a joy. They would say, Now father and mother will give us some of their time. We would take them out for a walk. We would take the Bible and some religious instruction to read to them, and explain to them the Scriptures. We would keep praying that they should know the truth of God’s Word. We would not lie abed Sabbath mornings because it was Sabbath. We would have our preparations all ready the day before so that we could go to service without the hurry and worry. We would not stroll off and have a nice time to ourselves. We wanted our children to have all the privileges and blessings of God’s sanctified rest day. {Ms26-1894.15} [Also found in EA 172.4]


Ellen White Discipled Children

I have been very careful in the education of my children that there should be no element of unbelief woven into their early teaching. They have never heard one word of questioning or doubt in regard to the word of God, the plan of salvation, or the truth for this time. I have kept the Saviour before them. I have repeated the story of his life, pictured the scenes of his suffering, humiliation, crucifixion, and death. I have sought to impress them with the importance of faith and obedience. I have presented before them the mansions of Heaven, and the future immortal life. We should seek to make these themes attractive to our little ones. {ST February 10, 1888, par. 9}

Are you representing Christ to your children? Are you teaching them to obey the commandments of God? I educated my children from their babyhood to look upon God as a kind Father. I did not present him as a stern judge, lest they should fear to come into his presence. But how many homes there are in which prayer is not offered, where there is no acknowledgment of God or his goodness! O, let us not have prayerless homes. Let us live so that the shield of Omnipotence may cover the family. I want to be on the Lord’s side. I want Jesus to build a barrier around me, so that the temptations of the enemy may not come from the inside but from the outside. {RH April 30, 1889, par. 9}


Ellen White Educated Her Children For The Society Of Heaven

This is our work, mothers, but not that they should go out into the pleasures of the world. I have had people say to me, “Why, Mrs. White, your children will not know how to act in society.” Said I, “I am educating them for the society of heaven. I want them to be educated to do right because it is right and well pleasing to God.” {Ms 84, 1886, par. 16}


Mrs. White Prayed For Her Children

I have wrestled day and night with God in prayer, Give me my children. I cannot give my children to the powers of the enemy, but I have felt that I must have their influence in this work of saving souls and thus we could be missionaries for God. And they stand by my side in this great work; I feel grateful to God for this. {Ms 84, 1886, par. 20}


She Speaks Of Her Relationship With Her Grandchildren

I am much pleased with W. C. White’s family. The mother is full of tenderheartedness. There is no scolding, no fretting. The two older children love their mother and love their twin brothers. The twins are quite obedient. They come to see me and sometimes I give them passion fruit and apples in a little bag. The other morning there came a rap upon my door and here were James Henry and Herbert White who held out to me a bag similar to the one I used to send them fruit in. It had a long string for handle which they could scarcely manage. They were runaways, and finding they could get out of the gate they came straight to Grandma. I said, What do you want, children? They presented the bag. Oh, you want me to put something in this bag? They said they wanted apples. I went and got them apples and passion fruit, of which they are very fond, and put them in the bag, and tied up the long string. One took hold of one side of the bag and the other the opposite side, and they went down the smooth road to the gate, which was open, and home. They are just the happiest, rosy cheeked boys that I have. I tell them, You take this fruit to your mother and tell her to put it on the shelf and at your mealtime you may eat the fruit. They do precisely as I tell them. They are obedient, and oh, how thankful I am they are full of life and vigor! {Lt145-1898.8}  Mabel is a real little mother not only to the twins but to all the little children that come round her. She seems so much like her mother. She was baptized two weeks ago. In Sabbath school she marks if there is a child comes in who has no teacher. It seems to be as natural as her life to find them a place in some class. No child remains unnoticed where she is. There is never a harsh word passes their lips to these twins or any children. She will mother them all, and all children take to her. She has her mother’s looks, her mother’s ways, and her mother’s expressions. Ella also reminds me of her mother so much. They are a kind, courteous, happy family. {Lt145-1898.9}  May is about as tall as was Mary White. She is a good looking, wholesome woman, kind, thoughtful to the poor, and is a true Christian. Ella is short in stature. Mabel is a few inches taller, although five years younger. I wish you and Emma could see them. The children have the uttermost confidence in their grandmother, and they are very courteous and kind to me in every respect, and heed every word of advice and caution. I have not spoken one harsh, faultfinding word to them, and I hope never to be guilty of being unreasonable in any way toward them or other children. Children should be surrounded with an atmosphere of love, and not harshness. {Lt145-1898.10}


She Writes Of Her Efforts With Edson

There is a right way, and there is a wrong way. I never lifted a hand to my children before I talked with them; and if they broke down, and if they saw their mistake (and they always did when I brought it before them and prayed with them), and if they were subdued (and they always were when I did this), then I had them under my control. I never found them otherwise. When I prayed with them, they would break all to pieces, and they would throw their arms around my neck and cry like children. {Ms82-1901.39} Edson ran in one day. “Come,” said he, “come, Mother, I want you to pray with me.” “Well,” I said, “what is the matter? What’s up now?” Said he, “My little cousin struck me, and I struck him back, and,” said he, “I’m afraid it will be written in the book. I don’t want it to be written in the book.” Well, I took him into the bedroom, knelt down, and prayed with him; and then he prayed. He asked the Lord to forgive him and not to put it in the book. He seemed so afraid his mistake was going to be written in the book. He had heard me talk in meeting concerning the wrong deeds of persons being recorded in the book. He just cried and broke all to pieces, saying, “Now, Mother, you don’t think it will be put in the book, do you?” Said I, “No, I know it will not be.” Then he was very much pleased. But passion, the jerking and twitching of children, and hurting them, bruising them, I cannot tolerate anywhere nor in any way. {Ms82-1901.40}


She Told Parents To Send Unmanageable Children To Her

We should have just as large an interest for the youth, no matter what their hereditary tendencies are. When they are the most objectionable, they need your help the most. And when I travel—O what pity I have for families that cannot manage their children. “Send them to me,” said I. One mother said she could not do anything. Said I, “Send them to me,” a brother and sister. I took them, and I know that the Spirit of God helped me in changing their disposition. {Ms187-1905.14}


She Guarded Children Against Worldly Associates

Mothers, you cannot be too careful in preventing your children from learning low habits. It is easier to guard them from evil, than for them to eradicate it after it is learned. Neighbors may permit their children to come to your house, to spend the evening and the night with your children. Here is a trial, and a choice for you, to run the risk of offending your neighbors by sending their children to their own home, or gratify them, and let them lodge with your children, and thus expose them to be instructed in that knowledge which would be a life-long curse to them. {SA 55.2} To save my children from being corrupted, I have not allowed them to sleep in the same bed, nor in the same room, with other boys, and have, as occasion has required, when traveling, made a scanty bed upon the floor for them, rather than have them lodge with others. I have tried to keep them from associating with rough, rude boys, and have presented inducements before them to make their employment at home cheerful and happy. By keeping their minds and hands occupied, they have had but little time, or disposition, to play in the street with other boys, and obtain a street education. {SA 56.1}


Addie And May Walling

In following letter excerpt you learn about Addie and May Walling, two sisters who were placed with Mrs. White at the request of their father. Though Ellen White was taking good care of the girls, the father was unhappy, accused her of alienating the girls' affections, and eventually went to court over the matter. 

We have the charge of two little girls of Mr. Walling’s, aged 4 and 6 years. They are placed in my charge to be molded and disciplined, and I have managed them as I did my own children. One, the youngest, was a most stubborn child, but we have her under perfect control without whipping or scolding. We are decided and uniform, and we have them think that it will not answer at all for them to have their own way, for they would be very unhappy. We do not pet and indulge them as children are generally, but we seek to make them happy, and I think I never saw children as happy as these. From morning until night it is singing and happy laughter. Children who are indulged to do as they wish and have their own way in almost everything are not happy. {Lt10a-1874.4}

Sister White: That is it. We must have an abiding Christ; and unless we have an abiding Christ, we shall be all out of line. In Addie and May Walling I had two of the most passionate children to bring up. Their mother kept a whip at the table, and I think there was not a meal eaten, but what that mother used that whip—a rawhide—on those children. I took them in my care, and brought them up. I never struck them a blow except once, and then it was because I could not help it. But I put out every kind of inducement to them. I would say, “If you do not show passion today, your uncle and I will ride out with you, and we can gather flowers,” and so on. Well, I would not say anything more all day. Then I would ask them about it. During the day I would see them throw themselves on the floor, and kick, and scratch, and then they would get their hands together and they would be ashamed It is a great thing to know how to do, but there is a way. When Satan is in the person, the one in error is to be rebuked right there, and there is to be no passing over the evil. It must be rebuked. {Ms 82a, 1901, par. 54}

There had been a silence on your part for years. They seldom heard from you and had not seen you. I had the sole management of them. Would it, then, not have been a proper course to have communicated with me in regard to your children as to what plans I had in view for them? Certainly someone had to plan for them, someone had to devise as to the proper course for them in the future. My husband and myself had borne the burden of them, a heavier burden than I ever carried for my own children. {Lt81-1889.2} I treated them in all their perversity of disposition as I wished the Lord to treat me. During the whole period of my care for your children I did not punish them but once, then I saw that nothing better could be done to correct certain evils that must be cured. Once I corrected Addie; once I punished May, and the object was gained. My manner was not to threaten, to drive, to scold and jerk them about, as some mothers do their children. I looked upon them as the younger members of the Lord’s family. To the Lord I must render my account for how I had dealt with these children. {Lt81-1889.3} … It takes grace to overcome evil influences and if we have not that grace, there is no telling how low we may conduct ourselves. I tried to fasten the truths of God’s holy Word in the minds of the children, not knowing how soon I might be called away from my work to rest in the grave in Mount Hope Cemetery beside my husband. I have done my work for your children, that they should keep eternity in view and live for the future, immortal life. {Lt81-1889.4} … I determined to exercise my own judgment and give these children a practical education, that if they were separated from me they would have the solid branches of education in science and in practical life. The want in this age is not so much a classical education or Greek scholarship as it is for a thorough knowledge of the duties so essential in practical life, for good health, morals, and self-government, and to determine what is truth by the cultivation of a constant reverence for the God of truth and His holy Word and by an earnest searching of the Scriptures. {Lt81-1889.6}  You accuse me of weaning the affection of your children from you. I did not make it in my line to dwell largely upon your virtues, and said nothing of your mistakes. There was nothing particularly noble and grand in character that I could present before the children for them to admire and imitate. I could not testify to falsehood. I simply repeated to them the expressed desire of yourself that they should become intelligent in school education, but above everything else know the science of housekeeping. This I repeated to them often and told them now surprised their father would be to find them at an early age able to make good bread and cook a good meal all themselves. Could I clothe you with all the moral acquirements and perfection of character as a pattern man, Mr. Walling, when I had not the knowledge that you were thus? For years we knew not where you were or what you were doing. But I deny the charges you have made that I alienated your children from you, for I surely did nothing of the kind. I said nothing of your mistakes and errors. {Lt81-1889.7}  

The principles set forth in this history are such as I have tried to implant and to encourage for the minds of all under my care. It was regard for principle that forbade the Hebrew youths to consent to any sinful custom of the Babylonian court. It was similar regard for principle that made it impossible for Addie Walling to concede in all things to the plans and requirements of her father. It is true that a child is under obligation to obey the parents, but there is a higher law to which parent and child are alike required to bow. If the parent refuses allegiance to God, must the child therefore consent to prove disloyal? the true principle is set forth in that grand declaration uttered eighteen hundred years ago by the first persecuted apostles when brought before the Sanhedrin, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” [Acts 5:29.] {Ms2b-1895.27}  Mr. Walling’s daughters whom I have educated and trained, are very dear to me. From their childhood they have listened to the teaching of the Word of God, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Morning and evening they have bowed with us in prayer in the family circle. From their early years, Christ has been lifted up before them, and both at an early age gave their hearts to God, and the peace of Christ rested upon them. While quite young, Addie was selected as a teacher in Sabbath-school. The children were early taught that attention must be given to little things, that faithfulness in that which is least will insure faithfulness in greater things. As new paths opened before them, they were taught to inquire, Is this the way of the Lord? Is Christ my leader? {Ms2b-1895.28}  Mr. Walling did not educate these children, he did not watch the unfolding of their minds, he did not study their dispositions, and did not understand that they would be ruined by unkindness, harshness, and an overbearing, dictatorial manner. To accuse, taunt, or ridicule them, would make them despise him unless their hearts were wholly under the sweet influence of the grace of God. These children could never be driven, but if one gained their confidence by a consistent forbearance and the manifestation of love, they could be easily managed. I am not surprised that there was not harmony between Mr. Walling and his daughters. The soul of Mr. Walling is surrounded by an atmosphere entirely different from that which surrounds those who love God and are doers of His Word. If Mr. Walling constantly makes light of the principles that his daughters have respected from their childhood, can it bring them anything but pain? This is an alienation that has not been created by me. It lies between the Word of God and the soul that rejects its control. {Ms2b-1895.29}  I have tried to do my duty in the fear of God. I have not made the father of these children a subject of conversation and reproach, to alienate their minds from him, but have ever tried to set before them principles that would make them faithful missionaries for Christ wherever they might be. If it should be true that under trials and temptations Addie and May have not manifested all the grace that Christian youth should manifest, ought I be held responsible for that? If trying to please God and do His will, they have received no help from their father, but an opposing influence, and they have not in all things yielded to his ideas, am I therefore to be judged and condemned? {Ms2b-1895.30}  If my teaching has resulted in keeping Addie and May steadfast to principle, if it has led them to be doers of the words of Christ, and because of this, after reaching the years of womanhood, they could not in all things be in harmony with their father, and accept his way as the best way, am I to be charged with alienating them from their father? Then to what lengths might not such a charge be carried? On such grounds a suit might be instituted against every faithful minister of the gospel. All persons would who, having been placed in charge of children, train them to a consistent Christian life, contrary to the practice of parents that are living a godless life, are to be condemned in having alienated the children from their parents. If Roman Catholic parents should send their children to a Protestant school, and allow them to remain from infancy to womanhood without the slightest restriction or influence from the parents, could it be expected that the children would be found perfectly in harmony with the views and wishes of those parents? And if not, who would be responsible for the alienation? {Ms2b-1895.31}  In the fear of God I take my stand that in my care of the children I have taken no course to alienate their affections from their father, unless it be to educate them to love truth and righteousness, and to keep the fear and glory of God ever in view. {Ms2b-1895.32}


She Even Threatened To Force May And Addie To Move Elsewhere Since They Were Not Helping Around The House

The following section comes from a letter written to the Walling sisters who have not been helping around the house. As a result Ellen White threatens to place them in another home.

We want you to learn to be useful wherever you are. You may both be a blessing. We do not propose to give you merely a book knowledge, but an education in the common duties of life. I want you both to accustom yourselves to work, and by practice learn to do things handily. Practice will give you an aptness in household labor. Unless you accustom yourselves to work, you will ever be slow and without tact. You know how much we all think of Mrs. Hull. The reason is, she is always helpful and understands how to make herself useful. She began to work when she was much younger than you. She worked because she felt that it was her duty to work, and that idleness was displeasing to God. She is able now to fill in any and every position, and everyone thinks she is a treasure. I want you to learn to work, both of you, that you may become independent in taking care of yourselves. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 5  No one is pleased to have girls in the family who cannot see the commonest duties in practical life. A day or two of such persons is all any family wants. We all have to work for what we have, and I should do you a great wrong should I allow you merely to attend school and pay from my own purse your tuition and you feel that no burdens must rest upon you. You will become careless and inefficient and a burden. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 6  In the first place, your room demands your attention without your being reminded of it. You are both old enough to discipline yourselves to care and thoughtfulness, to educate yourselves to habits of neatness and order. Correct at once any habits of slackness, and discipline yourselves to make neat and thorough housekeepers that you may one day, if necessary, keep your father’s house. And I shall expect you to learn all that you can every day in becoming useful and helpful, that you will pay back the care we have given you. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 7  You are very apt to have a zeal in doing new things, but the common duties of life wherein you can help the most have no attraction for you, and you become weary of the task. You do not have stick-to-itiveness. You soon get tired of a thing. Now if I see and hear that you are averse to doing those things you can and should do, and you neglect even your own room and leave it in disorder, neglect your own clothes and do not mend them, I shall take you both from school and place you under a teacher to educate you to do these things. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 8  You are both old enough to learn to do much of your own sewing. I had to pay out six dollars for the mere item of making your summer clothing. Now I do not think it is my duty to do this much longer. You have time which you can and should improve in becoming apt and thorough in household duties. No one wishes to teach girls how to work while they are filled with discontent and dissatisfaction, as though something were required of them they ought not to do. When do you expect to learn to sew and to cook, to place things in order, to tidy up a room, to do it with thoroughness and neatness? You are old enough to learn how to do, in order to be useful. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 9  We must soon throw you on your own resources, for your own good, because just as long as we pay your tuition and clothe and feed you, you take it as a matter of natural consequence that we always shall do just as we have done. Now the very love we have for your future happiness, and your future usefulness, will not allow us to let you come up disinclined to work. You should work according to your years and strength, work in any capacity, washing dishes, sweeping, picking up, mending, repairing, and making your own clothes. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 10  I want you to consider what I write to you, for if you do not show any interest to learn how to work wherever you are situated, then I must place you in families where you will have to labor for your support. Whenever you neglect to do the work you can and should do, you should be kept from school until the work is done. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 11  Addie, you must not indulge in scolding May, not once. Your mother made the life of your father very unhappy by this scolding and it resulted in breaking up the family. You profess to be a child of God. Be very careful that you do not, by your conduct, show that you are the child of the wicked one. Christ’s followers should be patient, meek, forbearing, humble, and courteous. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 12  I have noticed one thing that is very wrong in you both. I have seen Sister Lockwood and others who showed you some attention, saying, “Good morning,” and you would not return the kindly attention, but never look up or answer one word, and pass along without answering. Do you realize how impolite this is? If you wish to be loved, you must be courteous. If one says, “Good morning,” look up with a pleasant smile and say, “Good morning!” If one notices you and speaks with you, return some answer. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 13  In much love. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 14  My dear little girls, I want you to be good and true. I want you to be kind, cheerful, and happy. Be more anxious and earnest to be pure in heart and truthful in your words and actions than to be flattered for your appearance. It is the true goodness, the moral worth, that makes noble men and women. Your Aunt Ellen has not written thus plainly because she has no love for you. It pains me to write thus, but I do it for your good. I know that you will have to meet the stern realities of life, and I want you to be prepared for them. As yet you know nothing of hardships and cares, but you may know these. Although I may try to shield you, I may not be able to do so. We have given you a religious education, and we want you to love and fear God. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 15  I have my fears, Addie, that you do not realize what it is to be a child of God. There are little crosses to bear, self-denial to practice. I want you both to love to read your Bibles, and do not forget to pray. The Lord loves to have children pray to Him, and the dear Saviour will hear that prayer that is offered in sincerity. A young soldier of the cross of Christ will have temptations, but he must be prepared to resist them. You must not feel that your life is to be spent in pleasing yourself. Our dear Saviour lived not to please Himself, and His followers must be self-denying. And they must try to make others happy. Religion is to give shape to your character, to make you mild, kind, and considerate of others. You must not have the name of being a lamb of the fold of Christ unless you seek to be, in your words and actions, all that you profess. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 16  You may be overcome and may do wrong sometimes, but this should not discourage you. Jesus pities us and loves us even if we do make mistakes and do wrong. He does not leave us to perish, but He pleads with His Father in our behalf; and if we feel sorry for the wrongs we have done and ask Jesus to forgive us, He will do it. Every one of us, even little children, may have a rich experience in the knowledge of God’s will and ways. Children cannot have the experience that older persons may have, but children may have a child’s experience in overcoming, as well as those who are older. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 17  I want you to be very fearful lest you shall grieve the Spirit of God. You must seek to please others. Addie must not choose her own way and be unwilling to receive counsel and reproof. Addie must overcome her set and determined disposition. She must be yielding, and not persistent to carry out her will and her purposes. I have seen this inclination to tease and urge and reason and talk to carry out her plans which were not thought, by those who were more experienced, to be wise. I think Addie can do a good work in overcoming on this point and yield her own plans and ways without arguing about it. This trait of character, unless corrected, will make Addie great trouble and be very troublesome to those around her. Addie will need to guard against getting into a passion and showing temper if her way is crossed. Addie, you fret at others a great deal. This is displeasing to God. You grieve the angels of God when you do this. You want to be meek and patient, like your dear Saviour, or you cannot be His child and be with the holy ones in His kingdom. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 18  May must not be careless and depend upon Addie to do those things for her she should do for herself. She must be thoughtful and tender and kind. I must close. The team takes us to Swan Lake. The cars will not run till next Monday. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 19  Write to me and tell me just what you think of my letter and what you propose to do in reference to it. 3LtMs, Lt 22a, 1879, par. 20
Aunt Ellen.


Key Words On The Discipline Of Children

Within the sentences that follow you will find key phrases and words that will help you find quotations for yourself.


Never strike your children a blow until everything else had failed. Many times you will find that if you will reason with them kindly, they will not need to be whipped
I never found it did much good to pound them. {Ms77-1910.16}  I would tell them I would not do as I knew many were doing, lay the rod upon them, or the rattan, but I would tell them: Now, you have done a wrong thing.
And here, said I, is the whip. I never want to strike you a blow. I never want to do it. And I am not going to use it on you now, because you are all stirred up in yourself, and it would not be much account. Instead of giving them a hurried blow that made them ten times worse.

It is no use to scold and to fret and all this, because you are educating yourself and you are educating your children in that line.
let not passionate words escape from our lips, fathers and mothers. No; your children are to learn from you what you have learned from Christ, and if you get impatient and shake them and make them angry.


Motherless and fatherless child


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