“The Character Qualities
The Desire of Ages p 518-523
Our lesson begins with the story of the rich young ruler who came to Christ and posed the question: “…What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:17
“Fathers and mothers need to understand their responsibility. The world is full of snares for the feet of the young. Multitudes are attracted by a life of selfish and sensual pleasure. They cannot discern the hidden dangers or the fearful ending of the path that seems to them the way of happiness. Through the indulgence of appetite and passion, their energies are wasted, and millions are ruined for this world and the word to come. Parents should remember that their children must encounter these temptations. Even before the birth of the child, the preparation should begin that will enable it to fight successfully the battle against evil.”
“More than human wisdom is needed by parents at every step, that they may understand how best to educate their children for a useful, happy life here, and for a higher service and greater joy hereafter.” (CG 21)
“The Watchword for Obedience is Consistency”
“Under the general heading of selfishness comes every other sin. How important for the parent to practice an unselfish spirit with their children and teach them to do likewise. Developing this unselfish spirit only comes with much prayer, study, and the practice of saying ‘no’ to self!”
“Many children have inherited selfishness from their parents, but parents should seek to uproot every fiber of this evil tendency from their natures.
Parents should seek, on the first exhibition of selfish traits of character, whether in their presence or when in association with other children, to restrain and uproot these traits from the character of their children.
One of the characteristics that should be especially cherished and cultivated in every child is that self-forgetfulness which imparts to the life such an unconscious grace. Of all excellences of character this is one of the most beautiful, and for every true lifework it is one of the qualifications most essential
“Study how to teach the children to be thoughtful of others. The youth should be early accustomed to submission, self-denial, and regard for other’s happiness. They should be taught to subdue the hasty temper, to withhold the passionate word, to manifest unvarying kindness, courtesy, and self-control” (CG 133)
When Christ answered the young ruler’s questions about which commandments he should keep, He quoted the ones that deal with how we should treat our fellow man.
“Teaching our children to have that unselfish trait of giving, giving time, service and means to others, is most important in their character development. If you as a parent have not acquired this quality-learn together with your children. True happiness comes in serving others and enjoying happiness.
“Selfishness was the sin of the rich young ruler. Unselfishness would be its cure. Love was the tool Jesus used with him. In teaching our children unselfishness, love must be the motivating factor that moves them to overcome.
Selfishness includes covetousness, ambition, jealousy and intemperance while selflessness includes self-denial, modesty, generosity, and temperance
Obedience and Love
Children Respond to Love. The rich young ruler responded to Jesus’ love.
“Do not, I beg of you, correct your children in anger. That is the time of all times when you should act with humility and patience and prayer. Then is the time to kneel down with the children and ask the Lord for pardon. Seek to win them to Christ by the manifestation of kindness and love and you will see that a higher power than that of earth is co-operating with your efforts” (CG 245-246
“Never raise your hand to give them a blow unless you can with a clear conscience bow before God and ask His blessing upon the correction you are about to give. Encourage love in the hearts of your children. Present before them high and correct motives for self-restraint. Do not give them the impression that they must submit to control because it is your arbitrary will, because they are weak and you are strong, because you are the father, they are the children. If you wish to ruin your family, continue to govern by brute force, and you will surely succeed.” (CG 252
Deal with Your Children in Love
“The mother mus keep her mind refreshed and stored with the promises and blessings of God’s Word, and also the forbidden things, that when her children do wrong she may present as a reproof the words of God, and show them how they are grieving the Spirit of God. Teach them that the approbation and smiles of Jesus are of greater value than the praise or flattery or approval of the most wealthy, the most exalted, the most learned of the earth. Lead them to Jesus Christ day by day, lovingly, tenderly, earnestly. You must not allow anything to come between you and this great work.” (RH 4-14-1885)
The work of education in the home, if it is to accomplish all that god designs it shall, demands that parents be diligent student of the Scriptures. They must be learner of the great Teacher. Day by day the law of love and kindness must be upon their lips. Their lives must reveal the grace and truth that was seen in the life of their Example. Then a sanctified love will bind the hearts of the parents and children together, and the youth will grow up established in the faith and rooted and grounded in the love of God.”
“The mother must realize that God is her helper, that love is her success, her power. If she is a wise Christian, she will not attempt to force the child into submission. She will pray; and as she prays, she will be conscious of a renewal of spiritual life within herself. And she will see that at the same time the power that is working in her is working also in the child. And the child, in the place of being compelled, is led and grows gentler; and the battle is gained. Each kindly thought, each patient action, each word of wise restraint, is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. The mother has gained a victory more precious than language can express. She has renewed light and increased experience. The ‘true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,’ has subdued her will. There is a peace after the storm, like the shining of the sun after rain” (CG 212)
“Parents much learn the lesson of implicit obedience to God’s voice, which speaks to them out of His Word; and as they learn this lesson, they can teach their children respect and obedience in word and action. This is the work that should be carried on in the home. Those who do it will reach upward themselves, realizing that they must elevate their children. This education means much more than mere instruction” (CG 24)
“Daily the children of Israel had to gather the manna (Exodus 16) early in the morning before the sun came up! So responsible parents must gather their strength early in the day to meet the enemy as he especially attacks the weaker members of the family, our lambs. Set aside time in the early morning to daily seek God. One to three hours is a worthy goal. (TP 24)
“Here is the only safeguard for individual integrity, for the purity of the home, the well-being of society, or the stability of the nation. Amidst all life’s perplexities and dangers and conflicting claims the one safe and sure rule is to do what God says. ‘The statutes of the Lord are right,’ and “he that does these things shall never be moved’ (Psalms 19;8; 15:5) (Education 225-229)
“As the rich young ruler needed his character changed, so do we. May it not be said of us our our children in the end, ‘one thing thou lackest.’ Character building can only be accomplished by preserving effort on our part together with God’s power-His part. Are you willing?”