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Child Guidance

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    Section 12—Development of the Mental Powers

    Chapter 50—What Comprises True Education?

    The Breadth of True Education—True education means more than taking a certain course of study. It is broad. It includes the harmonious development of all the physical powers and the mental faculties. It teaches the love and fear of God and is a preparation for the faithful discharge of life's duties.1Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 64.CG 293.1

    Proper education includes not only mental discipline, but that training which will secure sound morals and correct deportment.2Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 331.CG 293.2

    The first great lesson in all education is to know and understand the will of God. We should bring into every day of life the effort to gain this knowledge. To learn science through human interpretation alone is to obtain a false education, but to learn of God and Christ is to learn the science of heaven. The confusion in education has come because the wisdom and knowledge of God have not been exalted.3Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 447.CG 293.3

    Influence Counter to Selfish Rivalry and Greed—At such a time as this, what is the trend of the education given? To what motive is appeal most often made? To self-seeking. Much of the education given is a perversion of the name. In true education the selfish ambition, the greed for power, the disregard for the rights and needs of humanity, that are the curse of our world, find a counterinfluence. God's plan of life has a place for every human being. Each is to improve his talents to the utmost; and faithfulness in doing this, be the gifts few or many, entitles one to honor.CG 293.4

    In God's plan there is no place for selfish rivalry. Those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12.) Whatever we do is to be done “as of the ability which God giveth.” 1 Peter 4:11. It is to be done “heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23, 24. Precious the service done and the education gained in carrying out these principles. But how widely different is much of the education now given! From the child's earliest years it is an appeal to emulation and rivalry; it fosters selfishness, the root of all evil.4Education, 225, 226.CG 294.1

    The Model Was Given in Eden—The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was to be a model for man throughout all aftertime. As an illustration of its principles a model school was established in Eden, the home of our first parents. The Garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the lesson book, the Creator Himself was the instructor.5Education, 20.CG 294.2

    Exemplified in the Master Teacher—In the training of His disciples the Saviour followed the system of education established at the beginning. The Twelve first chosen, with a few others who through ministry to their needs were from time to time connected with them, formed the family of Jesus. They were with Him in the house, at the table, in the closet, in the field. They accompanied Him on His journeys, shared His trials and hardships, and, as much as in them was, entered into His work.CG 294.3

    Sometimes He taught them as they sat together on the mountainside, sometimes beside the sea, or from the fisherman's boat, sometimes as they walked by the way. Whenever He spoke to the multitude, the disciples formed the inner circle. They pressed close beside Him, that they might lose nothing of His instruction. They were attentive listeners, eager to understand the truths they were to teach in all lands and to all ages.6Education, 84, 85.CG 295.1

    True Education Is Both Practical and Literary—In childhood and youth practical and literary training should be combined, and the mind stored with knowledge....CG 295.2

    Children should be taught to have a part in domestic duties. They should be instructed how to help father and mother in the little things that they can do. Their minds should be trained to think, their memories taxed to remember their appointed work; and in the training to habits of usefulness in the home, they are being educated in doing practical duties appropriate to their age.7Fundamentals of Christian Education, 368, 369.CG 295.3

    It Is Not the Natural Choice of Youth—The kind of education that fits the youth for practical life, they naturally do not choose. They urge their desires, their likes and dislikes, their preferences and inclinations; but if parents have correct views of God, of the truth, and of the influences and associations that should surround their children, they will feel that upon them rests the God-given responsibility of carefully guiding the inexperienced youth.8Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 132.CG 295.4

    It Is Not a Method of Escape From Life's Burdens—Let the youth be impressed with the thought that education is not to teach them how to escape life's disagreeable tasks and heavy burdens; that its purpose is to lighten the work by teaching better methods and higher aims. Teach them that life's true aim is not to secure the greatest possible gain for themselves, but to honor their Maker in doing their part of the world's work, and lending a helpful hand to those weaker or more ignorant.9Education, 221, 222.CG 295.5

    Education Should Awaken the Spirit of Service—Above any other agency, service for Christ's sake in the little things of everyday experience has power to mold the character and to direct the life into lines of unselfish ministry. To awaken this spirit, to encourage and rightly to direct it, is the parents’ and the teacher's work. No more important work could be committed to them. The spirit of ministry is the spirit of heaven, and with every effort to develop and encourage it angels will co-operate.CG 296.1

    Such an education must be based upon the Word of God. Here only are its principles given in their fullness. The Bible should be made the foundation of study and of teaching. The essential knowledge is a knowledge of God and of Him whom He has sent.10The Ministry of Healing, 401.CG 296.2

    It Places Moral Training Above Intellectual Culture—Children are in great need of proper education in order that they may be of use in the world. But any effort that exalts intellectual culture above moral training is misdirected. Instructing, cultivating, polishing, and refining the youth and children should be the main burden of both parents and teachers.11Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 84, 85.CG 296.3

    Its Goal Is Character Building—The highest class of education is that which will give such knowledge and discipline as will lead to the best development of character, and will fit the soul for that life which measures with the life of God. Eternity is not to be lost out of our reckoning. The highest education is that which will teach our children and youth the science of Christianity, which will give them an experimental knowledge of God's ways, and will impart to them the lessons that Christ gave to His disciples of the paternal character of God.12Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 45, 46.CG 296.4

    It Is a Training That Directs and Develops—There is a time for training children and a time for educating youth, and it is essential that in school both of these be combined in a great degree. Children may be trained for the service of sin or for the service of righteousness. 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.CG 297.1

    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.13Testimonies For The Church 3:131, 132.CG 297.2

    It Prepares Workers for God—Upon fathers and mothers devolves the responsibility of giving a Christian education to the children entrusted to them. In no case are they to let any line of business so absorb mind and time and talents that their children are allowed to drift until they are separated far from God. They are not to allow their children to slip out of their grasp into the hands of unbelievers.CG 297.3

    They are to do all in their power to keep them from imbibing the spirit of the world. They are to train them to become workers together with God. They are to be God's human hand, fitting themselves and their children for an endless life.14Fundamentals of Christian Education, 545.CG 298.1

    It Teaches the Love and Fear of God—Christian parents, will you not for Christ's sake examine your desires, your aims for your children, and see if they will bear the test of God's law? The most essential education is that which will teach them the love and the fear of God.15The Review and Herald, June 24, 1890.CG 298.2

    It Is Regarded by Many as Old-fashioned—The education that is lasting as eternity is almost wholly neglected as old-fashioned and undesirable. The educating of the children to take hold of the work of character building in reference to their present good, their present peace and happiness, and to guide their feet in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, is considered not fashionable and, therefore, not essential. In order to have your children enter the gates of the City of God as conquerors, they must be educated to fear God and keep His commandments in the present life.16Fundamentals of Christian Education, 111.CG 298.3

    It Is Ever Progressing, Never Completed—Our lifework here is a preparation for the life eternal. The education begun here will not be completed in this life; it will be going forward through all eternity—ever progressing, never completed. More and more fully will be revealed the wisdom and love of God in the plan of redemption. The Saviour, as He leads His children to the fountains of living waters, will impart rich stores of knowledge. And day by day the wonderful works of God, the evidences of His power in creating and sustaining the universe, will open before the mind in new beauty. In the light that shines from the throne, mysteries will disappear, and the soul will be filled with astonishment at the simplicity of the things that were never before comprehended.17The Ministry of Healing, 466.CG 298.4

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