1. OUR PRIMARY FOCUS
a. With what aim should we work for our households? Isaiah 8:18.
“Parents, God desires you to make your family a sample of the family in heaven. Guard your children. Be kind and tender with them. . . . One well-ordered, well-disciplined family is a greater power in demonstrating the efficiency of Christianity than all the sermons in the world. When fathers and mothers realize how their children copy them, they will watch carefully every word and gesture.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1118.
b. What is of utmost importance in training our children? Ephesians 6:4.
“By far the largest number of parents have neglected their God-given work, by failing to educate and train their children, from the first dawning of reason, to know and love Christ. By painstaking effort parents are to watch the opening, receptive mind and make everything in the home life secondary to the positive duty enjoined upon them by God—to train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”—The Adventist Home, p. 183.
2. HOME RELIGION
a. What kind of attitude should parents communicate to their children? Ephesians 4:2, 32.
“As you associate in family relationship, be careful to speak kind, tender words, which will comfort and encourage. Do not forget the little acts of kindness which do so much to help the member of the family who is struggling with infirmities which no one but himself can understand.
“It does not pay to persist in having one’s own way, to be unwilling to yield in the little things which are of small consequence, thus bringing bitterness and wrath into the home. Life is too short, too full of sorrow. We have no time to spare for the bruising of any sore, tempted heart.
“Let each one be kind and considerate of the other. Never let the sun go down upon your wrath. Never close your eyes in sleep without making right the little, pettish difficulties which hurt and bruise the soul.”—This Day With God, p. 225.
b. How should love be shown in the home? Romans 12:9, 10.
“In many families there is a great lack in expressing affection one for another. While there is no need of sentimentalism, there is need of expressing love and tenderness in a chaste, pure, dignified way. Many absolutely cultivate hardness of heart and in word and action reveal the satanic side of the character. Tender affection should ever be cherished between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Every hasty word should be checked, and there should not be even the appearance of the lack of love one for another. It is the duty of everyone in the family to be pleasant, to speak kindly.
“Cultivate tenderness, affection, and love that have expression in little courtesies, in speech, in thoughtful attentions.”—The Adventist Home, p. 198.
“Let the tenderness and mercy that Jesus has revealed in His own precious life be an example to us of the manner in which we should treat our fellow beings. . . . Many have fainted and become discouraged in the great struggle of life, whom one word of kindly cheer and courage would have strengthened to overcome. . . . We cannot tell how far reaching may be our tender words of kindness, our Christ-like efforts to lighten some burden. The erring can be restored in no other way than in the spirit of meekness, gentleness, and tender love.”—My Life Today, p. 235.
3. HONOR AND RESPECT IN THE HOME
a. What is the fifth commandment, and what is significant about this commandment? Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2. How can children best be taught to obey this command?
“Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God. The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age. . . .
“If [children] disrespect and dishonor their earthly parents, they will not respect and love their Creator.”—The Adventist Home, p. 293.
“The best way to educate children to respect their father and mother is to give them the opportunity of seeing the father offering kindly attentions to the mother and the mother rendering respect and reverence to the father. It is by beholding love in their parents that children are led to obey the fifth commandment and to heed the injunction, ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.’”—Ibid., pp. 198, 199.
b. Whom else should we respect? Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31.
“Reverence should be shown for God’s representatives—for ministers, teachers, and parents who are called to speak and act in His stead. In the respect shown to them He is honored.
“And God has especially enjoined tender respect toward the aged. He says, ‘The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.’ Proverbs 16:31. It tells of battles fought, and victories gained; of burdens borne, and temptations resisted. It tells of weary feet nearing their rest, of places soon to be vacant. Help the children to think of this, and they will smooth the path of the aged by their courtesy and respect, and will bring grace and beauty into their young lives.”—Education, p. 244.
4. THE FAMILY FIRM
a. What outstanding characteristic will be revealed by every true Christian family? 1 Corinthians 14:40. How can all cooperate in maintaining order in the home?
“Every member of the family should realize that a responsibility rests upon him individually to do his part in adding to the comfort, order, and regularity of the family. One should not work against another. All should unitedly engage in the good work of encouraging one another; they should exercise gentleness, forbearance, and patience, speak in low, calm tones, shunning confusion, and each doing his utmost to lighten the burdens of the mother. Things should no longer be left at loose ends, all excusing themselves from duty, leaving others to do that which they can and should do themselves. These things may be trifles; but when all are put together, they make great disorder and bring down the frown of God. It is the neglect of the littles, the trifles, that poisons life’s happiness. A faithful performance of the littles composes the sum of happiness to be realized in this life.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 699, 700.
b. What are some of the blessings of work? Colossians 3:23, 24; Ecclesiastes 5:12. What should we teach our children regarding the benefits of regular work?
“God appointed labor as a blessing to man, to occupy his mind, to strengthen his body, and to develop his faculties. . . .The true joy of life is found only by the working men and women.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 50.
“The youth need to be taught that life means earnest work, responsibility, caretaking. They need a training that will make them practical—men and women who can cope with emergencies. They should be taught that the discipline of systematic, well-regulated labor is essential, not only as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of life, but as an aid to all-round development.”—Child Guidance, p. 347.
“If the children share the labor with their mother, they will learn to regard useful employment as essential to happiness, ennobling rather than degrading.”—Ibid., p. 349.
5. THE MINISTRY OF THE HOME
a. What can we teach our children in order to prepare them for service for the Master? Galatians 5:13 (last part); Proverbs 15:33; 1 Peter 5:5.
“Very early the lesson of helpfulness should be taught the child. As soon as strength and reasoning power are sufficiently developed, he should be given duties to perform in the home. He should be encouraged in trying to help father and mother, encouraged to deny and to control himself, to put others’ happiness and convenience before his own, to watch for opportunities to cheer and assist brothers and sisters and playmates, and to show kindness to the aged, the sick, and the unfortunate. The more fully the spirit of true ministry pervades the home, the more fully it will be developed in the lives of the children. They will learn to find joy in service and sacrifice for the good of others.”—Child Guidance, p. 36.
b. What can hinder our Christian witness if we are not careful? 1 Corinthians 15:33.
“It is not safe for Christians to choose the society of those who have no connection with God, and whose course is displeasing to Him. . . . Many invite to their homes relatives who are vain, trifling, and ungodly; and often the example and influence of these irreligious visitors produce lasting impressions upon the minds of the children in the household.”—Messages to Young People, p. 432.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How important is it for parents to train their children to know and love Christ?
2. What happens when we insist on having our own way in things of little consequence?
3. How can parents teach their children to respect them?
4. What are some of the benefits of work?
5. In true ministry, where will we learn to find joy?