“And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” Judges 13:12.
The words spoken to the wife of Manoah contain a truth that the mothers of today would do well to study.
The child will be affected for good or for evil by the habits of the mother. She must herself be controlled by principle, and must practice temperance and self-denial, if she would seek the welfare of her child.
If before the birth of her child she is unstable, if she is selfish, peevish, and exacting, the disposition of her child will bear the marks of her wrong course. . . . But if she unswervingly adheres to the right, if she is kind, gentle, and unselfish, she will give her child these traits of character.
And fathers as well as mothers are involved in this responsibility. Both parents transmit their own characteristics, mental and physical, their dispositions and appetites, to their children. . . . The inquiry of every father and mother should be, “What shall we do unto the child that shall be born unto us?” The effect of prenatal influences has been by many lightly regarded; but the instruction sent from heaven to those Hebrew parents . . . shows how the matter is looked upon by our Creator.
The mother who is a fit teacher for her children must, before their birth, form habits of self-denial and self-control; for she transmits to them her own qualities, her own strong or weak traits of character. The enemy of souls understands this matter much better than do many parents. He will bring temptations upon the mother, knowing that if she does not resist him, he can through her affect her child. The mother’s only hope is in God. She may flee to Him for grace and strength. She will not seek help in vain. He will enable her to transmit to her offspring qualities that will help them to gain success in this life and to win eternal life.
From Devotional: Our Father Cares, pp. 80, 81.