Ellen G. White Writings

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Good Health

July 1, 1889

Education from a Christian Stand-Point

By Mrs. E. G. White.

“Add to your faith virtue.” Virtue is one of the graces essential to Christian character, and parents should work intelligently to cultivate this grace in their children. It is an honorable ambition to desire to bring up children from their babyhood in such a manner that they will be pure in thought and action.

To a great extent the power to make her children what she desires them to be when they are grown to manhood and womanhood, is in the hands of the mother. She should teach her children the self-control that extends even to the thoughts, and thus she will accomplish a work that will beautify their lives. If she educates her children to be pure in thought, they will be pure in language, and pure in action. Her work will not only prove a blessing to herself, but to the neighborhood, to society, and to the world. Her work will be immortalized in the presence of the family of God, and her name will be written in the books of Heaven as a missionary of the highest type.

Mothers may not now be fully able to estimate the value of an education in the line of purity. They may not now be able to appreciate the work it will accomplish for their children. The grace of virtue of character will have a telling influence on all their associations in life. In their school life they will not be instructing others in evil, neither will they be led into evil themselves. If children are instructed from their youth up to repel impure thoughts instantly, they will be guarded from committing impure actions.

Mothers may not have been as watchful as they should have been on the point of guarding their children from evil thoughts and actions. They have permitted things of small importance to claim their attention, while they treated with indifference these matters of most vital interest. Visitors have been allowed to draw largely on their time, and in seeking to meet the demands of fashionable society, which neither benefited themselves or their friends, the higher, holier claims of their dear children have been ignored. Must the standard of fashion be met at all hazards? Must the follies of the world be followed, irrespective of the obligations that must necessarily rest upon the mother in the training of her children? There is no other who can accomplish her work for her. Neither nurse nor governess can supply the mother's place, or fulfill her obligations.

Why will mothers give their best thought, their highest capabilities, to fulfill the demands of society, when they have such important interests to care for? Why will they spend their time in unprofitable visiting, in outward adorning, when their children are seeking the company of those who will pollute their souls and corrupt their morals? Is there not higher, nobler, more enduring work to do? Are there not more important affairs to occupy the mind and engage the attention, than the decoration of raiment? Should they not be engaged in fashioning the characters of their children according to the divine pattern? They cannot neglect this duty without great loss to their children, and they themselves will suffer bitterness of soul when they behold the results of their indifference to the responsibilities of motherhood.

The mother should so make provision that the minds of her children may be filled with pure objects upon which to meditate. From the earliest years, as soon as children can understand and retain ideas, themes of thought should be presented that will lead them to an acquaintance with Jesus, and to an understanding of his work and sufferings in their behalf. By this method the soil of their little hearts may be preoccupied with precious seeds of truth, and Satan will find less opportunity for sowing his seeds of evil and defilement.

I have heard loose language, careless, vulgar words, and slang phrases from the lips of parents. I have heard these words taken up and repeated by their children; and my heart has been pained; for I knew that these parents had sown the seed which Satan delights to cultivate. I knew that they had sown seeds that would produce a harvest of corruption. And oh, how Jesus is pained by the cruel work of these parents!

The associations of children and youth should be most carefully guarded. A mother should be a woman of pure morals. She should love God. She should love the father of her children. She should love her little ones. It should be her delight to keep her children in her presence as much as possible, but they should not be made to feel that they are under surveillance. Mothers should seek to make themselves companionable to their children, and be able to keep their little ones interested, by providing suitable employment for their minds and hands.

If children commit errors in their tasks, they should not be severely blamed, for this will only serve to discourage them. They should be set right with pleasant cheerful words, and so assisted that they will be able to do better as they try again. By this means they will be educated to become care-takers, to be thoughtful, to possess tact and aptitude in many directions.

Children are apt to become perplexed over their tasks, and to grow weary of their work. There are those who entered upon their work with enthusiasm, but they soon desire a change, and wish to take hold of something new. There are many who start several different tasks, but as they meet with some trifling discouragement, they give them up, one after another, and perfect nothing. This habit should be corrected. Parents should not be so much engaged in other things that they cannot give time to patiently discipline the developing minds of their charges. They should not allow the love of change to control their children. A few words of encouragement, or a little help at the right time, will often carry children over their troubles and discouragement, and the satisfaction they will have in seeing their task completed, will stimulate them to undertake greater tasks.

There are many who for the lack of a little assistance in childhood became disheartened, and lost their ambition. They learned to change from one thing to another, without completing anything, in their early years, and they carry this sad defect through all their lives. They cannot make a success of anything they undertake; for they were not taught to persevere under discouraging circumstances when they were young, and their minds were not disciplined to that determination that makes a man master of his work. Thus the entire life is marred with failure because of the lack of correct discipline. Not only is their business career marked by this defect, but their religious life also shows their instability and weakness. Interesting employment will keep the mind from leisure for temptation and evil thoughts. If children are properly set to work, and disciplined in the right direction, they will not come into association with those who are agents of Satan, and used by him to educate youths in habits of evil.

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