“Honor thy father and thy mother,” is one of the commands spoken from Mount Sinai. It is the only one of the ten to which a promise is attached,—“That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Jesus was the Son of God; yet the Bible record tells us that he was subject to his earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, the humble peasants of Galilee. He did as he was told, even when the task assigned him was not agreeable to his feelings.
Consider the nature and the necessity of obedience. Children are not always taught this important lesson. The duty of obeying from right motives, and the sinfulness of disobedience, are not urged upon the conscience. Children must learn to submit to their parents; they must be trained and educated. No one can be truly good and great who has not learned to yield his will, first to his parents, and then to God, and to obey with alacrity. Those who learn to obey are the only ones who will be fitted to command.
By learning the lesson of obedience, children are not only honoring their parents and lightening their burdens, but they are pleasing One higher in authority. “Honor thy father and thy mother,” is a positive command. Children who treat their parents with disrespect, and disregard their wishes, not only dishonor them, but break the law of God. The earlier the will is made to yield to the will of the parents, and the more complete the submission, the less difficult it will be to yield to the requirements of God. And none can hope for the love and blessing of God who do not learn obedience to his commandments, and stand up firmly against temptation.
Children, you want will, but not a self-will that will not endure advice or listen to the counsel of experience. If you have younger brothers and sisters, do not set them an example of disobedience to your parents. Your influence will tend to lead them in the right path, that of peace and safety, or it will prove an injury to them. If you are pursuing a course of disobedience and vanity, will you not think candidly and soberly, and turn about? Cease your folly and transgression, and the Lord will forgive and bless you, and avert the evils which such a course would surely bring upon you.
Seek to be useful; help your parents by being care-taking and thoughtful. Do the duties nearest you, taking them just as they come, and doing them in a patient, cheerful spirit. You compose a part of the family, and add to the family work and expense; and you should be ready to do your part without a word of complaint. Do not frown and fret when any task is required of you, but cheerfully carry the little burdens, and thus relieve your parents of extra care. They are nothing but plain, homely, every-day duties, and may appear to you very small and insignificant, but some one must do them. If you go about them with quick step, and a heart glad because you can do something to lighten the cares of your parents, you will be a blessing in the home. You do not know how much good you can do by always wearing a cheerful, sunny face, and watching for opportunities to help.
It is by faithfulness in the minor duties of life that you are gaining an experience that will fit you for bearing larger responsibilities. Remember that your characters are not fully formed, but that day by day you are building for eternity. Fashion your characters after the divine model. Weave into them all the kindness, thoughtful obedience, pains-taking, and love that you can. Educate yourselves to possess the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.
Cultivate quick sympathy; always have a cheerful, happy face, and be ready to lend a helping hand to those who need your aid. The faithful performance of the loving acts that seem so small is entered upon the ledger of heaven. God will make no mistake; he will make an accurate entry of every deed done to his glory. Go forward children, step by step, in the humble path of obedience, walking in God’s ways; and in the great day of final accounts you will receive a glorious reward. You will be satisfied with long life in the beautiful new earth, “the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
Mrs. E.G. White, The Youth’s Instructor- Sept. 24,1884