1. A SIGHT PLEASING TO GOD AND ANGELS
a. How should the family accomplish its duties? 1 Corinthians 14:40.
“A well-regulated, orderly family is a pleasing sight to God and ministering angels. You must learn how to make a home orderly, comfortable, and pleasant. Then adorn that home with becoming dignity, and the spirit will be received by the children; and order, regularity, and obedience will be more readily secured by both of you.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 259.
“Fathers and mothers who make God first in their households, who teach their children that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, glorify God before angels and before men by presenting to the world a well-ordered, well-disciplined family, a family that love and obey God instead of rebelling against Him. Christ is not a stranger in their homes; His name is a household name, revered and glorified. Angels delight in a home where God reigns supreme, and the children are taught to reverence religion, the Bible, and their Creator.”—The Adventist Home, p. 322.
“The family firm must be well organized. Together the father and mother must consider their responsibilities, and with a clear comprehension undertake their task. There is to be no variance. The father and mother should never in the presence of their children criticize each other’s plans and judgment.”—Ibid., p.314.
2. THE FATHER IN THE FAMILY FIRM
a. What kind of influences should surround the children and youth in our homes? Romans 12:10; Ephesians 5:2. Explain the father’s role in this respect.
“The children look to the father for support and guidance; he needs to have a right conception of life and of the influences and associations that should surround his family; above all, he should be controlled by the love and fear of God and by the teaching of His word, that he may guide the feet of his children in the right way.”— The Adventist Home, p. 211.
b. What will enable the father to make the home a happy, peaceful place? Philippians 2:5. Discuss how a faithful head of the household will discharge his responsibilities toward his family.
“The father should do his part toward making home happy. Whatever his cares and business perplexities, they should not be permitted to overshadow his family; he should enter his home with smiles and pleasant words.”— Ibid., pp.211, 212.
“The father is to stand at the head of his family, not as an overgrown, undisciplined boy, but as a man with manly character and with his passions controlled. He is to obtain an education in correct morals. His conduct in his home life is to be directed and restrained by the pure principles of the word of God.”—Ibid., p.213.
c. What attitude on the part of the husband and father will contribute to the success of the household? 1 Corinthians 11:1.
“The husband and father is the head of the household. The wife looks to him for love and sympathy and for aid in the training of the children. . . . What his influence will be in the home will be determined by his knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.”—Ibid., pp.211, 213.
“The Lord has constituted the husband the head of the wife to be her protector; he is the house-band of the family, binding the members together.”— Ibid., p.215.
3. THE MOTHER IN THE FAMILY FIRM
a. In what sense are the duties of a mother more sacred than those of a father? Give an example. Judges 13:9–12.
“The world needs mothers who are mothers not merely in name but in every sense of the word. We may safely say that the distinctive duties of woman are more sacred, more holy, than those of man. Let woman realize the sacredness of her work and in the strength and fear of God take up her life mission.”—The Adventist Home, p. 231.
b. In what ways does Hannah, the mother of Samuel, serve as a positive example for mothers today? 1 Samuel 1:11.
“What a reward was Hannah’s! and what an encouragement to faithfulness is her example! There are opportunities of inestimable worth, interests infinitely precious, committed to every mother. . . . It is the mother’s privilege to bless the world by her influence, and in doing this she will bring joy to her own heart.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 572.
c. Why is it that, next to God, the mother’s power for good is the strongest blessing known in the family and in society? To what extent are the mother and her child bound by a more tender bond? Give an example. 2 Timothy 1:5.
“The mother is God’s agent to Christianize her family. She is to exemplify biblical religion, showing how its influence is to control us in its everyday duties and pleasures, teaching her children that by grace alone can they be saved, through faith, which is the gift of God.”—The Adventist Home, p. 235.
“Mothers, awake to the fact that your influence and example are affecting the character and destiny of your children; and in view of your responsibility, develop a well-balanced mind, and a pure character, reflecting only the true, the good, and the beautiful.
“Your compassionate Redeemer is watching you with love and sympathy, ready to hear your prayers, and to render you the assistance which you need. He knows the burdens of every mother's heart and is her best friend in every emergency.”—Reflecting Christ, p. 170.
4. OTHER FACTORS
a. What is essential in our parental duties? Mark 13:33; Genesis 12:8; 13:18.
“Christ prayed for His disciples, not that they should be taken out of the world, but that they should be kept from evil—that they might be kept from yielding to the temptations they would meet on every hand. This is a prayer that should be offered up by every father and mother. But should they thus plead with God in behalf of their children, and then leave them to do as they please? Should they pamper the appetite until it gets the mastery, and then expect to restrain the children?—No; temperance and self-control should be taught from the very cradle up.”—Christian Education, p. 166.
b. How can parents make their homes a “house of prayer”? Isaiah 56:7; 1 Chronicles 16:40. Discuss the benefits of regular family prayer today?
“If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now. Fathers and mothers should often lift up their hearts to God in humble supplication for themselves and their children.”—Ibid., p.221.
c. What else should parents remember to do in behalf of their children? Malachi 3:16 (first part). What warning should we heed?
“Bro. L, . . . you do not speak wisely and judiciously to your wife and children. You should cultivate kindness and gentleness. Your children have not had the best influence and example before them. They should not control you, but you them, not harshly, not overbearingly, but with firmness and steadiness of purpose.
“Sister L, you have a great battle before you in order to overcome. You have let self keep the victory. Your stubborn will is the greatest enemy you have. You have an unsubdued temper and do not control your tongue. The lack of self-control has been a great injury to yourself and to your family. Happiness, quietude, and peace have abode in your dwelling but a short period at a time. If your will is crossed you are easily irritated, and then you speak and act as though a demon had possession of you. Angels turn from the scene of discord where angry words are exchanged.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 78, 79.
5. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
a. What lesson of tender care toward the wife and children should Christian fathers learn from Jacob’s example? Genesis 33:13, 14.
“The average father wastes many golden opportunities to attract and bind his children to him. Upon returning home from his business, he should find it a pleasant change to spend some time with his children.
“Fathers should unbend from their false dignity, deny themselves some slight self-gratification in time and leisure, in order to mingle with the children, sympathizing with them in their little troubles, binding them to their hearts by the strong bonds of love, and establishing such an influence over their expanding minds that their counsel will be regarded as sacred.”—The Adventist Home, p. 220.
b. What promise may faithful parents claim in the training of their children? Isaiah 49:25 (last part).
“Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household, Jesus will love to tarry.”—Christian Education, p. 221.
“Parents stand in the place of God to their children, and they will have to render an account, whether they have been faithful to the little few committed to their care.”—The Review and Herald, March 28, 1893.
“The sphere of the mother may be humble; but her influence, united with the father’s, is as abiding as eternity.”—The Adventist Home, p. 240.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can parents make their homes a pleasing site for God and angels?
2. Explain the differences between the characteristic virtues of the husband and father and those of the wife and mother.
3. How are the distinct duties of a woman more sacred than those of a man?
4. What is a key factor in ensuring the presence of Jesus in the family home?
5. Mention some of the burdens that parents can share in the home circle.