Ellen G. White Writings

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Lift Him Up, Page 270

Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Development, September 13

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

It is the nicest work ever assumed by men and women to deal with youthful minds. The greatest care should be taken in the education of youth to so vary the manner of instruction as to call forth the high and noble powers of the mind. Parents and schoolteachers are certainly disqualified to properly educate children if they have not first learned the lesson of self-control, patience, forbearance, gentleness, and love. What an important position for parents, guardians, and teachers! There are very few who realize the most essential wants of the mind and how to direct the developing intellect, the growing thoughts and feelings of youth....

The early education of youth shapes their characters both in their secular and in their religious life. Solomon says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This language is positive. The training which Solomon enjoins is to direct, educate, and develop. In order for parents and teachers to do this work, they must themselves understand “the way” the child should go. This embraces more than merely having a knowledge of books. It takes in everything that is good, virtuous, righteous, and holy. It comprehends the practice of temperance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to God and to one another. In order to attain this object, the physical, mental, moral, and religious education of children must have attention.... Children should be taught to respect experienced judgment and be guided by their parents and teachers. They should be so educated that their minds will be united with the minds of their parents and teachers, and so instructed that they can see the propriety of heeding their counsel. Then when they go forth from the guiding hand of their parents and teachers, their characters will not be like the reed trembling in the wind....

Small children should be left as free as lambs to run out of doors, to be free and happy, and should be allowed the most favorable opportunities to lay the foundation for sound constitutions....

The mother should have less love for the artificial in her house ... and should find time to cultivate, in herself and in her children, a love for the beautiful buds and opening flowers.... She can lead their minds up to their Creator and awaken in their young hearts a love for their heavenly Father, who has manifested so great love for them. Parents can associate God with all His created works.... These lessons, imprinted upon the minds of young children amid the pleasant, attractive scenes of nature, will not be soon forgotten (Testimonies for the Church 3:131-137).

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