Ellen G. White Writings

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Fundamentals of Christian Education, Page 416

Chapter 52—Manual Training

Life is not given to us to be spent in idleness or self-pleasing; but great possibilities have been placed before every one who will develop his God-given capabilities. For this reason the training of the young is a matter of the highest importance. Every child born into the home is a sacred trust. God says to the parents, Take this child, and bring it up for Me, that it may be an honor to My name, and a channel through which My blessings shall flow to the world. To fit the child for such a life, something more is called for than a partial, one-sided education, which shall develop the mental at the expense of the physical powers. All the faculties of mind and body need to be developed; and this is the work which parents, aided by the teacher, are to do for the children and youth placed under their care.

The first lessons are of great importance. It is customary to send very young children to school. They are required to study from books things that tax their young minds, and often they are taught music. Frequently the parents have but limited means, and an expense is incurred which they can ill afford; but everything must be made to bend to this artificial line of education. This course is not wise. A nervous child should not be overtaxed in any direction, and should not learn music until he is physically well developed.

The mother should be the teacher, and home the school where every child receives his first lessons; and these lessons should include habits of industry. Mothers, let the little ones play in the open air; let them listen to the songs of the birds, and learn the love of God as expressed in His beautiful works. Teach them simple lessons from the book of nature and the things about them; and as their minds expand, lessons from books may be added, and firmly fixed in the memory. But let them also learn, even in their earliest years, to be useful.

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