Preface: Proverbs shows us what it means to fear God as we go about our daily lives, because the way we live speaks louder than the way we preach, pray, or even sacrifice (Prov. 15:8; 28:9).
Maintaining purity of character in children is one of the basic challenges in child development.
The Bible says that “even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right” (Prov. 20:11, NKJV). Achieving this goal requires daily doses of intimate communication with our Creator, who is our role model in this challenging task. So what must parents do to excel in this battlefield?
1. Be a God-led parent-steward. Any instruction, any teaching or training, should be done with the principal focus on the Bible. Only then will such attempts yield its intended fruits. “Teach the children to see Christ in nature. . . . Teach them that He made the laws which govern all living things, that He made the laws for us, and that these laws are for our happiness and joy.”1
2. Be loving. Love summarizes the moral laws. With this law comes peace and harmony that only God can provide. Parents and guardians alike should be loving enough to accommodate their children’s widely diversified characteristics. A loving parent will be directed in the mind to know that “to a very great extent, the mother [parent] holds in her own hands the destiny of her children.”2
3. Be just. As our Father in heaven is just, so we should be just in our operations regarding our children. As a matter of fact, justice spells out the mistakes committed and their consequent punishments. In this case the justice of the Bible should guide us. Let our children know and respect all that belongs to God including the Sabbath, the hour of prayer, and the tithe.
4. Be a faithful steward. No stone should be left unturned lest we miss a very important part in child rearing. As parent-stewards, we are to identify with our Master, who is Christ. When we accept the responsibilities of a steward, we must act in our Master’s stead, doing as He would do if He were presiding. Should we act selfishly, and turn the advantages gained by trading with our Lord’s goods to our advantage, then we have perverted the trust reposed in us. In this attempt, therefore, parents should remember to be orderly in themselves because “a great degree parents are responsible not only for the violent passions and perverted appetites of their children but for the infirmities of the thousands born deaf, blind, diseased, or idiotic.”3
1. Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 516.
2. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 244.
3. Ibid., p. 561.