God's Original Plan for Education. --The system of education established in
Eden centred in the family. Adam was "the son of God" (Luke 3:38), and
it was from their Father that the children of the Highest received instruction.
Theirs, in the truest sense, was a family school.
In the divine plan of education as adapted to man's condition after the fall,
Christ stands as the representative of the Father, the connecting link between
God and man; He is the great teacher of mankind. And He ordained that men and
women should be His representatives. The family was the school, and the parents
were the teachers.
The education centring in the family was that which prevailed in the days of
the patriarchs. For the schools thus established, God provided the conditions
most favourable for the development of character. The people who were under His
direction still pursued the plan of life that He had appointed in the beginning.
Those who departed from God built for themselves cities, and, congregating in
them, gloried in the splendour, the luxury, and the vice that make the cities of
today the world's pride and its curse. But the men who held fast God's
principles of life dwelt among the fields and hills. They were tillers of the
soil and keepers of flocks and herds; and in this free, independent life, with
its opportunities for labour and study and meditation, they learned of God and
taught their children of His works and ways. This was the method of education
that God desired to establish in Israel. In ordinary life the family was both a school and a church, the parents being
the instructors in secular and in religious lines.
The Family Circle a School. --In His wisdom the Lord has decreed that the
family shall be the greatest of all educational agencies. It is in the home that
the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school. Here, with his
parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him
throughout life--lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control. The
educational influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil.
They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side,
they become a far-reaching power for truth and righteousness. If the child is
not instructed aright here, Satan will educate him through agencies of his
choosing. How important, then, is the school in the home!
Look upon the family circle as a training school, where you are preparing
your children for the performance of their duties at home, in society, and in
Home Education First in Importance. --It is a sad fact, almost universally
admitted and deplored, that the home education and training of the youth of
today have been neglected.
There is no more important field of effort than that committed to the
founders and guardians of the home. No work entrusted to human beings involves
greater or more far-reaching results than does the work of fathers and mothers.
It is by the youth and children of today that the future of society is to be
determined, and what these youth and children shall be depends upon the home. To
the lack of right home training may be traced the larger share of the disease and misery
and crime that curse humanity. If the home life were pure and true, if the
children who went forth from its care were prepared to meet life's
responsibilities and dangers, what a change would be seen in the world!
All Else to Be Secondary. --Every child brought into the world is the
property of Jesus Christ, and should be educated by precept and example to love
and obey God; but by far the largest number of parents have neglected their
God-given work, by failing to educate and train their children, from the first
dawning of reason, to know and love Christ. By painstaking effort parents are to
watch the opening, receptive mind and make everything in the home life secondary
to the positive duty enjoined upon them by God--to train their children in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Parents should not permit business cares, worldly customs and maxims, and
fashion to have a controlling power over them, so that they neglect their
children in babyhood and fail to give their children proper instruction as they
increase in years.
One great reason why there is so much evil in the world today is that parents
occupy their minds with other things than that which is all-important--how to
adapt themselves to the work of patiently and kindly teaching their children the
way of the Lord. If the curtain could be drawn aside, we should see that many,
many children who have gone astray have been lost to good influences through
this neglect. Parents, can you afford to have it so in your experience? You
should have no work so important that it will prevent you from giving to your
children all the time that is necessary to make them understand what it means to obey
and trust the Lord fully. . . .
And what will you reap as a reward of your effort? You will find your
children right by your side, willing to take hold and co-operate with you in the
lines that you suggest. You will find your work made easy.
God's Teaching Agents in the Home School. --Parents should in a special sense
regard themselves as agents of God to instruct their children, as did Abraham,
to keep the way of the Lord. They need to search the Scriptures diligently, to
know what is the way of the Lord, that they may teach it to their household.
Micah says, "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to
love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" [Micah 6:8.] In order to be
teachers, parents must be learners, gathering light constantly from the oracles
of God and by precept and example bringing this precious light into the
education of their children.
From the light that God has given me, I know that the husband and the wife
are to be in the home minister, physician, nurse, and teacher, binding their
children to themselves and to God, training them to avoid every habit that will
in any way militate against God's work in the body, and teaching them to care
for every part of the living organism.
The mother must ever stand pre-eminent in this work of training the children;
while grave and important duties rest upon the father, the mother, by almost
constant association with her children, especially during their tender years,
must always be their special instructor and companion. She should take great
care to cultivate neatness and order in her children, to direct them in forming
correct habits and tastes; she should train them to be industrious, self-reliant, and helpful to others; to live and act and labour
as though always in the sight of God.
The elder sisters can exert a strong influence upon the younger members of
the family. The younger, witnessing the example of the older, will be led more
by the principle of imitation than by oft-repeated precepts. The eldest daughter
should ever feel it a Christian duty devolving upon her to aid the mother in
bearing her many toilsome burdens.
Parents should be much at home. By precept and example they should teach
their children the love and the fear of God; teach them to be intelligent,
social, affectionate; to cultivate habits of industry, economy, and self-denial.
By giving their children love, sympathy, and encouragement at home, parents may
provide for them a safe and welcome retreat from many of the world's
Preparation for the Church School. --It is in the home school that our boys
and girls are to be prepared to attend the church school. Parents should
constantly keep this in mind and, as teachers in the home, should consecrate
every power of the being to God, that they may fulfill their high and holy
mission. Diligent, faithful instruction in the home is the best preparation that
children can receive for school life.
God's Injunctions to Be Paramount. --We have Bible rules for the guidance of
all, both parents and children, a high and holy standard from which there can be
no swerving. God's injunctions must be paramount. Let the father and mother of
the family spread out God's word before Him, the searcher of hearts, and ask in
sincerity, "What hath God said?"
Teach your children to love truth because it is truth, and because they are
to be sanctified through the truth and fitted to stand in the grand review that
shall erelong determine whether they are qualified to enter into higher work and
become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King.
Prepare for the Coming Conflict. --Satan is marshalling his hosts; and are we
individually prepared for the fearful conflict that is just before us? Are we
preparing our children for the great crisis? Are we preparing ourselves and our
households to understand the position of our adversaries and their modes of
warfare? Are our children forming habits of decision, that they may be firm and
unyielding in every matter of principle and duty? I pray that we all may
understand the signs of the times, and that we may so prepare ourselves and our
children that in the time of conflict God may be our refuge and defence.