There's a yet better, closer-home way of saying all this: the spirit of the parents is the spirit of the home. In actual life, that means that the spirit of the mother makes the spirit of the home. The father may be ever so strong in character and purpose, but he can't make the spirit of the home except as mother and father work together as one. The father simply can't make the home spirit different from what the mother makes it, except as he influences the mother herself.
How shall we give the home the sort of atmosphere that will make strong character? How can we do it? Simply and only by yielding the whole personal life fully and sweetly up to the mastery of the Master. If we will recognize His gracious presence, and spend the day with Him, His spirit will fill us, and our homes, and our children. He is as truly in the kitchen as in the cathedral, and may be worshipped as really, even while the hands cook and wash and stitch.
The way to train the child is to train yourself. "What you are he will be. If your hands are morally dirty his life will be dirtied by the home handling he gets. If he is to obey his mother he must breathe in a spirit of obedience from his mother. Your child will never obey more than you do. The spirit of disobedience in your heart to God, of failure to obey, of preferring your own way to God's, will be breathed in by your child as surely as he breathes the air into his lungs.
A spirit of quiet confidence in God, in the practical things that pinch and push, will breathe itself into the child. A poised spirit, a keen mind, a thoughtful tongue, a cheery hopefulness, an earnest purpose, in mother and father will be taken into the child's being with every breath. And the reverse is just as true. Every child is an accurate bit of French-plate faithfully showing the likeness of mother and father and home. We must be in heart what we would have the child be in life.
A story is told of a sick child. The physician said he could not recover. The pastor was called in to pray. With sympathetic voice he reverently prayed, "Thy will be done." "No," the mother passionately interrupted, "not that; my will; the child must live." And the child did live, and lived to break his mother's heart, and disgrace her name, by the same spirit of self-will she had shown. He simply breathed in his mother's spirit, and lived it out to its logical conclusion. That he lived, was not an answer to prayer, but a coincidence. There was no real prayer on the mother's part. She was more outspoken in her interruption than most. But whatever is the spirit of the heart is breathed in by the child and makes his character.