The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Mrs. Catherine Booth on the Training of Children.

(Shorthand notes, taken some years ago, of an Address by the late Mrs. Catherine Booth.) *
Volume 1, 1890, pg. 861

The character of the training required by God and needed by the child to inspire him with the love of righteousness and truth:--

First secure its subjection to authority. Obedience is the foundation of all moral excellence. The parent is put by God in His place; and the child at his disposal; it has no chance to be aught but what it is moulded into by the parent.

"O that my mother had broken my will when I was a baby!"   This is an age of obedient parents. Urge God's claim for ever on a disobedient child and it will not submit. it is easier to transfer obedience.

"How can ye do well who are accustomed to do evil?"   Restrain, check, subdue the natural evil.

"But how? My child is so unusually strong willed."   Begin soon enough. Begin when the babe is sucking. The way of handling an infant shows that its mother is not to be trifled with; the lifting of her finger, that "No" means No.

Children are guided for a long time by instinct like a pony. People have grown out of Solomon's wisdom. To tell a child that God loves it just as well when it is naughty--delights it.

"But," you object, "to punish brutalises, we must advise reason."   It is unjust to expect a child to submit to conscience unless you back up conscience by your authority. "How then can I train?"

(a) Try to realise your responsibility to God for moulding, inspiring, yes, for damning or saving the child. If you have not this sense of responsibility, go to God until you do get it. Realise its capacities, its destiny; and realise God's promises, His will for it. Settle it in your mind, Whose is this child? God says it is His. "Go, nurse this child for Me, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and I will pay thee thy wages." This is the A B C God holds parents absolutely responsible for the making or marring of their children. This is positively asserted in the Old Testament and is assumed in the New. God commands, requires, expects; and He punishes the neglect.

(b) You can train it for God.

(c) Resolve that you will, and God will be a co-worker with you. The exceptions are in the training--not in God's promises. Resolve that you will at all costs. God meets the desire, and gives the light. If the intent of your soul be that your child shall be for God and His kingdom, God will show you how, if you make up your mind. Hold on, you shall reap as you have sown.

(d) "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." Strive to qualify yourself for the work. God joins the example with the training. God promises the wisdom--is is His peculiar gift. Search the Book as to His principles. Study, think, pray with the sincere desire for God's glory. "I know Abraham, that he will command his children and his household after him." Look at the child as His--formed for His praise; bought (every faculty of it) from the devil to promote His interests.

(e) Let the child realise that sin brings punishment. The child wants authority as much as love. Be firm as a rock. Have very few laws. Don't fret it. But have those laws kept, and never let them be broken without punishment. Moral laws--"Keep them from the evil." Some punish for accidents and not for lies, for breach of manners more than for breach of morals. The child sees through this. You can't deceive it. It knows long before it can express. The spirit of the house comes out in the child. Let it see first that God is with you, then--" She whips me because I am naughty, and God says she must." Eli coaxed, but he did not command. Contrast Abraham--"I know him, that he will command his children, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.

(f) Train in truth and sincerity. All and every heart is deceitful above all things. God requires truth in the inward parts. Never wink at sin in your child. Wink at its failings--at the little accidents of a poor weak child; but to wink at sin is doing the child an everlasting wrong. Don't cover over its deceptions and misrepresentations. Drag out the insincerity; hold it up to scorn, and show him where God will put him and it if unrepented of. Then take him to the foot of the Cross and weep over it. The soul is better than the body. Make your child a character for God in the world.

(g) Mind the spirit in which you punish. Let the child see that you punish on account of sin, and not from vexation, or for mistakes. Chasten it when you are cool. Don't confound sanctimoniousness with sanctification; this is detestable to the child. Be natural in your religion; natural in your manner of singing and talking about holy things. Reverence is quite compatible with straightforwardness. Teach it to talk to the Lord as to its own father. The Lord does not want a long face and a palaver. Make religion interesting.

(h) Lastly, train unitedly. God believe in honesty of heart, and comes out of His way to help such people. Never let a child appeal from one parent to another. Train it, and see that it does what you desire.

* From "A Mother's Note Book."-- VERA

Typed by happi, June 2017. "ALL parents need to read this article. If there's only one article that you have time to read, this is it."