By Rufus R. Clifford
“Train up a child in the way he should go” and “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” are Bible statements setting forth the responsibility of parents to their children. Parents make their children, in a large measure, what they become. To determine the destiny of their children for time and eternity is the responsibility of parents. What we are in life depends to a large degree on the environment in which we are reared. Physical health is endangered by exposure to filth and to communicable diseases. Good morals are corrupted by constant association with those impure in heart and life. Solomon said in the long ago that a companion of fools would be destroyed. If one runs with the dogs, he will soon learn to bark. If he lies down with the dogs, he will get up covered with fleas. Paul summed it all up when he said, “Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”
Unless the proper spirit prevails in the home, unless the right attitude toward truth and righteousness is implanted and developed there, disastrous and eternal consequences are certain to result. Happy homes are essential to happy hearts and lives, and also to useful and successful lives. The influence of the home is powerful and lasting. It is here that character is molded and personality is formed. The purpose of the home is to bring lives into this world and to train them for the highest good and greatest usefulness. Children can be so trained and guided as to prefer a happy, godly life to the ways of the world.
Every child is entitled to be well born, to descend from parents whose physical, mental, moral, and spiritual powers have not been depleted or impaired by sinful living. We care not how fine parents may be physically, mentally, and morally, however, they are still unfit to do what is right for their children unless they are Christians. A child has a right to parents who are Christians. One reared in such a home has an infinitely better chance of overcoming the world’s temptations which the years bring to us all. Fortunate, indeed, is the child who, like Timothy of old, grows to manhood or womanhood under the influence of a godly mother and a pious grandmother.
Parents should realize that they will have to give an account to the great Judge in the day of Judgment for the “precious bundles of joy” entrusted to their care, for the influences set in motion in their hearts and lives, and for the examples which they set before them. Parents should, therefore, live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. This is the way to save ourselves, our children, build up the kingdom of God, and make secure the future of our country.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:43, p. 6
September 5, 1974