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Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students

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    The Garden of the Heart

    The parable of the sower and the seed conveys a deep spiritual lesson. The seed represents the principles sown in the heart, and its growth the development of character. Make the teaching on this point practical. The children can prepare the soil and sow the seed; and as they work, the parent or teacher can explain to them the garden of the heart, with the good or bad seed sown there; and that as the garden must be prepared for the natural seed, so the heart must be prepared for the seed of truth. As the plant grows, the correspondence between the natural and the spiritual sowing can be continued.CT 142.2

    The little children may be Christians, having an experience in accordance with their years. This is all that God expects of them. They need to be educated in spiritual things; and parents should give them every advantage, that they may form characters after the similitude of the character of Christ.CT 142.3

    The mind will never cease to be active. It is open to influences, good or bad. As the human countenance is stamped by the sunbeam on the polished plate of the artist, so are thoughts and impressions stamped on the mind of the child; and whether these impressions are of the earth earthy, or moral and religious, they are well-nigh ineffaceable. When reason is awakening, the mind is most susceptible; and so the very first lessons are of great importance. These lessons have a powerful influence in the formation of character. If they are of the right stamp, and if, as the child advances in years, they are followed up with patient perseverance, the earthly and the eternal destiny will be shaped for good. This is the word of the Lord: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.CT 143.1

    Parents, give your children to the Lord, and ever keep before their minds that they belong to Him, that they are the lambs of Christ's flock, watched over by the True Shepherd. Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord; and it is said of him, “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words [the Lord's words through Samuel] fall to the ground.” 1 Samuel 3:19. In the case of this prophet and judge in Israel are presented the possibilities that are placed before the child whose parents co-operate with God, doing their appointed work.CT 143.2

    Children are a heritage from the Lord, and they are to be trained for His service. This is the work that rests upon parents and teachers with solemn, sacred force, which they cannot evade or ignore. To neglect this work marks them as unfaithful servants; but there is a reward when the seed of truth is early sown in the heart and carefully tended.CT 143.3

    Christ concludes the parable: “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Mark 4:29. When the harvest of the earth is reaped, we shall see the result of our toil; for we shall see those for whom we have labored and prayed gathered into the heavenly garner. So shall we enter into the joy of our Lord, when “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.” Isaiah 53:11.—Special Testimonies On Education, 67-72.CT 144.1

    *****

    The mother's work often seems to her an unimportant service. It is a work that is rarely appreciated. Others know little of her many cares and burdens. Her days are occupied with a round of little duties, all calling for patient effort, for self-control, for tact, wisdom, and self-sacrificing love; yet she cannot boast of what she has done as any great achievement. She has only kept things in the home running smoothly. Often weary and perplexed, she has tried to speak kindly to the children, to keep them busy and happy, and to guide their little feet in the right path. She feels that she has accomplished nothing. But it is not so. Heavenly angels watch the careworn mother, noting the burdens she carries day by day. Her name may not have been heard in the world, but it is written in the Lamb's book of life.CT 144.2

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