How to Train and Save Your Children – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 1

Responsibility of Parenthood

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6

In the first place if we would find a model child, orally, mentally, and physically, we would begin 200 years before he is born. The parents must be taught how to live. For, sad to say, many people simply exist and have never caught the vision of living to bless others. They exist as animals to eat, drink, and toil for the things that perish.

In the next place, many a person is not fit to marry. There ought to be a law requiring a strict and high standard on all lines in order to secure a marriage certificate. No one should be allowed even to court who is mentally or morally deficient. In addition to this there should be a strict test of compatibility. For, though a person may be sound in mind and body, yet in disposition he may be unfit to live with another.

No two persons should think of living together whose temperaments are too near alike, or too far apart. If too near alike they will not be a help in overcoming each other’s weakness. If too far apart they will not be likely to bridge the chasm. One or both must not only have ability, but adaptability to gladly submit as well as rule. It does not require an ounce of Grace, nor a thimble full of brains, to be stubborn and hold out for one’s opinion. When they are mismated, or to say the least, when it is hard to understand each other, then the mighty Grace of God must be sought, or there will be two or more blighted lives. Oh, the blasted homes, overcrowded prisons and howling asylums simply because of hasty and mismated marriages.

We must face facts! While many marriages should have been positively prohibited, many others should have required more time. It would seem that at least one year’s engagement was not too long prior to the ceremony. And during this time there should not be an instance of serious friction. For, if there is lack of perfect harmony before marriage, it is quite certain that there will be a stormy voyage afterward. Our flooded divorce courts prove that the large percent of divorces come from “incompatibility” and hasty marriages.

Where then does the responsibility lie? In one or the other of the contacting parties. In about nine cases out of every ten where marriage is a failure it can be traced to a party, a dance, or the rear of the church where the acquaintanceship was first made. Had one or both parties associated with the people of God, and like Obadiah, “feared Him greatly,” God would have chosen for them. No doubt, if they were now to look back they could remember where the Holy Spirit, or some faithful friend, warned them against taking the fatal step. They had doubts and misgivings at times whether it was the best thing to do. But instead of counseling with the godly, they listened to those who urge them on to their ruin. Love and lust were blind and said, “I just could not live without Mabel or John.” Later, the sentimental feeling changed and since then it has been, “I wish I had never seen him.”

Well, what is the best way out? Blame each other? No! Suggest a separation? Never! The surest way out of all difficulties is mighty prayer. Think of it! Perhaps a short hour or so with God may change the entire situation and insure a year or more of peace.

A fine investment! If, perchance, the other side of the house is not thereby affected for good, the one who prays will be well repaid. The consolation from heaven will more than repay for what is lacking from earth. Make the best of it; learn the lesson and learn it so well you can teach others. Who know but that in the end, God may rule and overrule so that you will develop strength of character such as could not be had in any other way. God permits some things in our lives as a last resort to get us to heaven.