There is nothing more important than being a mother. No job, no career, no ministry, no opportunity, no privilege, no calling, no church responsibility, no project at home. Nothing. Nothing is as important as true parenthood. And, how seriously you take this calling, will reflect in the developing adulthood of your children. Lets pause here for a moment. To a large extent, we, as mothers, determine our children’s destiny. To a large extent, we, as mothers, determine whether their characters are well-rounded in integrity and upright values or dwarfed by neglect and deformed by sin. This is a serious mission. And Satan does all he can to distract us from it.

The position of a woman in her family is more sacred than that of the king upon his throne. FE 141.4

If mothers had always realized their responsibility, and made it their first purpose, their most important mission, to fit their children for the duties of this life and for the honors of the future immortal life, we would not see the misery that now exists in so many homes in our land. FE 149.1

Did you notice that last bit – the misery that now exists in so many homes? Read it again – it’s a scary thought! We have a huge work to do. A frighteningly responsible God-given mission. A responsibility of overwhelming magnitude. We may try to shrink from it, ignore it, shirk it or even try to delegate it to others, but we cannot escape it. The responsibility is still there.

Parents who have neglected their God-given responsibilities must meet that neglect in the judgment. The Lord will then inquire, “Where are the children that I gave you to train for Me? Why are they not at My right hand?” Many parents will then see that … their own neglect of duty made the children what they are. CG 561.1

… as parents you are in a great measure accountable for the souls of your children. You have brought them into existence; and you should, by precept and example, lead them to the Lord and the courts of heaven. 4T 113.1

These are sobering thoughts. But we must also remember that this is an amazing opportunity and a blessed privilege. We are not alone in this – mother’s are co-workers with God!

There is no other work that provides such an opportunity to work more closely with God, than in raising children. Picture it: humanity and divinity working together, closely connected!

Human effort alone will not result in helping your children to perfect a character for heaven; but with divine help a grand and holy work may be accomplished. AH 207.1

As a mother, you get to start aright this little pilgrim and reverently care for, foster and develop this child into the God-image implanted by our Creator. 🙂 What a blessed privilege!

If mothers would only consider the wonderful privileges that God has given them, they would not be so easily turned aside from their sacred duties to the trivial affairs of the world. FE149.2

Mothers do not half appreciate their privileges and possibilities. They do not seem to understand that they can be in the highest sense missionaries, laborers together with God in aiding their children to build up a symmetrical character. This is the great burden of the work given them of God. The mother is God’s agent to Christianize her family. 1MCP 139.5

Let’s talk about the first seven years.

This time belongs especially to the home and to the parents. Why? Simply because these are the most impressionable years upon the child. This is a time when seeds of both good and evil take deepest root in the character. In these early years the child is lacking in the power of resistance which comes in later years.

Too much importance cannot be placed on the early training of children. The lessons that the child learns during the first seven years of life have more to do with forming his character than all that it learns in future years. CG 193.1

It is during the first years of a child’s life that his mind is most susceptible to impressions either good or evil. During these years decided progress is made in either a right direction or a wrong one. CG 193.4

The parents’ work must begin with the child in its infancy, that it may receive the right impress of character ere the world shall place its stamp on mind and heart. CG 193.3

Ultimately, this is an ideal opportunity to pre-occupy the child with so much good that there will be no room for evil. Can you imagine bringing up your child in a pure, wholesome atmosphere that they simply cannot breathe freely in any other? Even inherited tendencies may be entirely overcome or greatly modified by proper training begun in these early years. That is good news! Wait, scratch that – that is great news! Especially when I think of what bad habits and character flaws my children have inherited from me! And how do we do it? By feeding and growing right inclinations to the extent that the wrong ones will be crowded out.

Kindly, interestedly, tenderly, parents are to work for their children, cultivating every good thing and repressing every evil thing which develops in the characters of their little ones. AH 268.1

Unfortunately, sometimes parents wake up too late to this responsibility and all of the child’s thoughts and inclinations have been left to chance. Our little ones are like little sponges! Every word your child hears and every act he/she sees may serve to influence the direction of his/her entire life. Can you see that this is actually a golden opportunity?! Do not neglect this period! Sow and tend the good seed! If you don’t, an enemy will surely sow tares and weeds in the young heart and the remainder of his/her life will be spent trying to uproot these ungodly character defects.

Let every mother feel that her moments are priceless; her work will be tested in the solemn day of accounts. AH 239.1

You have a work to do that Satan shall not gain the control of your children and take them away from you before they are out of your arms. Mothers, you should see to it that the powers of darkness do not control your little ones. You should set your will that the enemy shall not raise his banner of darkness in your home. CG 195.3

I love the story of a young mother who was anxious to raise her newborn child the right way. She asked a wise teacher at what age she should start her child’s training. Upon learning that the child was only three weeks old, the wise teacher replied, “Madam, if you have not already started training him, you have lost three priceless weeks!” Remember, it is difficult to turn the course of a great river, but the source of a small stream may be changed easily.

The first three years is the time in which to bend the tiny twig. Mothers should understand the importance attaching to this period. It is then that the foundation is laid. CG 194.2

If you haven’t already realized it, motherhood is a life of utter self-denial. God gives us children to enlarge our hearts, teach us unselfishness and compassionate sympathy, and to give our souls higher aims. This is a call for all our faculties. It takes everything you’ve got to be a mother true to her calling. 🙂

To transform this helpless and apparently insignificant being into a blessing to the world and an honor to God is a great and grand work. AH 264.1

Whatever else is calling you, should be sub-ordinate to your calling of being a mother. Delegate other duties, but don’t delegate or miss out on the opportunity to “work together” with God in the building of your child’s character. This is your own special prerogative.

Parents should allow nothing to come between them and the obligation they owe to their children. AH 264.1

And guess what? As you do this, you too will grow intellectually and spiritually in proportion to your faithfulness in fulfilling this trust.

Let every mother go often to her Saviour with the prayer, “Teach us, how shall we order the child, and what shall we do unto him?” Let her heed the instruction which God has given in His word, and wisdom will be given her as she shall have need. Cch 144.1

This post was based on Chapter 1 "Held in Trust" from the book Studies in Character Building by Ella Kellogg. You can download the entire book, print it and read it for free by clicking on the thumbnail. 

About the book:
In the spring of 1891, the Haskell Home for Orphans was established. It was composed of "family units" with a "mother" in charge of about a dozen children. The main goal was to provide more than just food and shelter for needy children. Instead, these children were to be raised as closely as possible to how God wanted children to be raised, according to His child-rearing principles.
The "mother" would do all the ‘mothering’ that was necessary, and everything that an ordinary mother would do. These sincere, willing, self-sacrificing mothers did the best job they could do, but, to be honest, it was no easy task. Each individual child was an individual problem. Each came with different habits, tendencies, dispositions and histories as a result of their previous education and environments.
And so there was a need for special study and training to be provided for these mothers. A missionary mothers training school was established. Ella Kellogg (Dr John Harvey Kellogg’s wife) gave lectures at this training school, and due to popular demand, eventually put her studies and lectures on pen and paper in a book form called “Studies in Character Building”.
And I am so thankful that she did! Any mother who is looking for help in developing beautiful characters in her children will appreciate the work that has gone into this book.
In the words of Mrs Kellogg herself, “If in its pages these mothers shall find a light in some dark hour, a help in some time of need, a solution to some of the everyday problems, whereby they are enabled the better to accomplish their God-given task, this little book will have fulfilled its mission.

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