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Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students

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    Christ as the Example and Teacher of Youth

    The example of Jesus is a light to the young, as well as to those of more mature years, for His was a representative childhood and youth. From His earliest years His example was perfect. As a little child He was obedient to His parents and to the laws of nature, “and the grace of God was upon Him.” Luke 2:40.CT 178.1

    Jesus did not, like many youth, devote His time to amusement. He studied the word until He became familiar with its sayings. Even in His childhood His life and all His habits were in harmony with the Scriptures, and He was skillful in their use.... Besides the written word, Jesus studied the book of nature, finding delight in the beautiful things of His own creation. He was in sympathy with humanity in all its varied joys and sorrows. He identified Himself with all—with the weak and helpless, the lowly, the needy, and the afflicted.CT 178.2

    In His teaching, Christ drew His illustrations from the great treasury of household ties and affections, and from nature. The unknown was illustrated by the known; sacred and divine truths, by natural, earthly things, with which the people were most familiar. These were the things that would speak to their hearts, and make the deepest impression on their minds.CT 178.3

    The words of Christ placed the teachings of nature in a new aspect and made them a new revelation. He could speak of the things which His own hands had made, for they had qualities and properties that were peculiarly His own. In nature, as in the sacred pages of the Old Testament Scriptures, divine, momentous truths are revealed; and in His teaching, Jesus laid these open before the people, bound up with the beauty of natural things....CT 178.4

    As interpreted by Jesus, flower and shrub, the seed sown and the seed harvested, contained lessons of truth, as did also the plant that springs out of the earth. He plucked the beautiful lily and placed it in the hands of children and youth, and as they looked into His own youthful face, fresh with the sunlight of His Father's countenance, He gave the lesson, “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow [in the simplicity of natural beauty and loveliness]; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Then followed the assurance, “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Matthew 6:28-30....CT 179.1

    In His work as a public teacher, Christ never lost sight of the children. When wearied with the bustle and confusion of the crowded city, tired of contact with crafty and hypocritical men, His spirit found rest and peace in the society of innocent little children. His presence never repelled them. His large heart of love could comprehend their trials and necessities, and find happiness in their simple joys; and He took them in His arms and blessed them.CT 179.2

    In these children who were brought in contact with Him, Jesus saw the future men and women who should be heirs of His grace and subjects of His kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for His sake. He knew that these children would listen to Him and accept Him as their Redeemer far more readily than would the grown people, many of whom were worldly-wise and hardhearted. In His teaching He came down to their level. He, the Majesty of heaven, did not disdain to answer their questions and simplify His important lessons to meet their childish understanding. He planted in their expanding minds the seeds of truth, which in after years would spring up and bear fruit unto eternal life.CT 180.1

    Parents and teachers, Jesus is still saying, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me.” Matthew 19:14. They are the most susceptible to the teachings of Christianity; their hearts are open to influences of piety and virtue, and strong to retain the impressions received.—Special Testimonies On Education, 62-66; written May 17, 1896.CT 180.2

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    To develop the minds and hearts of the youth, and not hinder their growth by an unwarranted control of one mind over another, requires tact and understanding. Teachers are needed who are able to deal wisely with the different phases of character; who are quick to see and to make the most of opportunities to do good; who possess enthusiasm, who are “apt to teach;” and who can inspire thought, quicken energy, and impart courage.CT 180.3

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