Eldon Tenniswood - A Family Counseling Meeting at Santee - June 28, 1977

Love in the homelife is the backbone of the country, the church and it makes for happiness in the home. People are looking for happiness and that comes by having the love of God as the ruling power in our hearts and in our homes. There is no better influence in which to raise your family than having the love of God in the home. Mother told me when I went into the work not to tell people how to raise their children, because many of the ex-workers' children were not obedient, but we in the work have observed a few things which we like to pass on. In Judges 13, it speaks of Manoah, who, when the angel of the Lord came to them and told them they were to have a son, "prayed, 'How shall we order the child?'" The angel returned and told them what the mother was to do and how she should order her life, but nothing was said how to order the child's life. So tonight, I feel the one thing that will help you the most in rearing children is to, have the new nature from God and you can then live the love of God in the home. Love includes correction, guidance and our influence in the home. It is very difficult to have the love of God rule in our lives and home, because we all have a human nature which desires to take its own way. There are two things love always does - sacrifices and serves. 

When a wife reverences her husband, she will sacrifice for him and serve him.  When the husband loves his wife, he will do the same for her. When people get married, they have a great love for one another and are so willing to do for one another, but after a little while, they feel the other one is not doing his part or her part. The husband sometimes demands service, and sometimes the wife demands service. When they do this, they do not want to sacrifice for one another. If a boy or girl is raised in a home where there is love and the husband is the head of the home, yet makes sacrifices and serves his family, and the mother does likewise, usually the children have a good background when they marry.  If the father is cruel, the chances are that the children will take on that trait. If the mother is bossy, the children often take on that trait, especially the girls.  There is no better influence under which to train up a child than for the wife to love her husband and the husband to love his wife. Sometimes the ugly things we see in children, they learn from their parents. One Saturday, two little girls about three and foul years old were quarreling in a home. The mother said to the father, "I have them all week, so it's your turn today."  He took the little ones and told them about God being a living God and He sees things and hears things. He told them God heard the murmurings of the Children of Israel, and lie hears when you quarrel. He got his point over very well, because one of the little children said to him, "Daddy, does God hear when you and Mama quarrel?"

I don't think my father and mother always agreed, but never did they disagree in our presence. They were quite different from one another, but they agreed to stand by one another and we children never knew there was any difference in their opinions. If we asked something special from our father, and he said "No," then we went to our mother and asked the same thing, we were in serious trouble.  I will say to you young married people here, whatever you say to your children, be in agreement and carry it through. If you are wrong, don't be too proud to admit your mistake, other wise you lose ground with your children. My first year in Indiana, we visited a home where they had three children.  The little boy was told he wouldn't get his dessert until he cleaned up his plate. However, he pouted and played with his food until it came time to serve the dessert.  The mother apparently forgot what she told the boy.  She gave him his dessert. My companion spoke up and said, "Why did you lie to your boy?"  She said, "What do you mean, lie?"  I thought my companion was get­ting in deep water as the woman was furious. Then my companion said, "You lied. You said he would not get anything else to eat until he cleaned up his plate. He didn't clean up his plate, but you gave him his dessert."  What my companion said was very true.  He was true in his endeavor to help this young mother. Be careful what you say to your children and carry it through. If you cannot carry through, then apologize. In this way, you teach your children you mean what you say and you are true to your word before God.                                    

John the Baptist's father and mother were chosen for certain office and that was to rear the forerunner of Christ. They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. It is easy for parents to be influenced by what other people do in the neighborhood or in the church. My father and mother were accused of being very cruel to us children. They only spoke once to us and expected immediate response. We never could say, "Wait a minute."  When they spoke, it was necessary for us to obey immediately.  I don't remember when this started, but it would be very difficult to start when children are five years old. Parents who have had the most success with obedient children began when the children were in their arms as babies. One father and mother had five boys; the baby was about four months old and when he cried; she took him to the kitchen and when she had examined his clothing to see nothing was hurting him, she brought him back into the meeting.  He cried again.  She took him out to the kitchen again and when he stopped, she brought him back into the meeting, and that time he squealed with anger.  The mother took him out and spanked him.  Some of the mothers in the meeting were upset because they knew the little baby didn't know what he was doing.  After the meeting, one mother came to are complaining to me about what Olive did to her tiny baby. In the meeting, her four little boys sat very quietly when the parents' eyes were upon them, but if the parents weren't looking, they were just boys. I appreciated the love and discipline they had in the home, so I told the complaining mother, "When you get your child to mind you when you have ahold of her as Olive's children obey her when she looks at them, I will listen to your theory of raising children."