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Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students

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    Under Discipline to Christ

    Every teacher who has to do with the education of young students should remember that children are affected by the atmosphere that surrounds the teacher, whether it be pleasant or unpleasant. If the teacher is connected with God, if Christ abides in his heart, the spirit that is cherished by him will be felt by the children. If teachers enter the schoolroom with a provoked, irritated spirit, the atmosphere surrounding their souls will also leave its impression.CT 191.1

    The teachers who work in this part of the Lord's vineyard need to be self-possessed, to keep their temper and feelings under control, and in subjection to the Holy Spirit. They should give evidence of having, not a one-sided experience, but a well-balanced mind, a symmetrical character. Learning daily in the school of Christ, such teachers can wisely educate the children and youth. Self-cultured, self-controlled, under discipline to Christ, having a living connection with the Great Teacher, they will have an intelligent knowledge of practical religion; and keeping their own souls in the love of God, they will know how to exercise the grace of patience and Christlike forbearance. They will discern that they have a most important field in the Lord's vineyard to cultivate. They will lift the heart to God in the sincere prayer, “Lord, be Thou my pattern;” and then, beholding Christ, they will do the work of Christ.CT 191.2

    Well-balanced minds and symmetrical characters are required of teachers in every line. The work of teaching should not be given into the hands of young men and women who do not know how to deal with human minds, who have never learned to keep themselves under discipline to Jesus Christ, to bring even the thoughts into captivity to Him. They know so little about the controlling power of grace upon their own hearts and characters that they have much to unlearn, and must learn entirely new lessons in Christian experience.CT 191.3

    There are all kinds of characters to deal with in the children and youth, and their minds are impressionable. Many of the children who attend our schools have not had proper training at home. Some have been left to do as they pleased; others have been found fault with and discouraged. Very little pleasantness and cheerfulness have been shown them; few words of approval have been spoken to them. They have inherited the defective characters of their parents, and the discipline of the home has been no help in the formation of right character. To place as teachers of these children and youth, young men and women who have not developed a deep, earnest love for God and for the souls for whom Christ has died, is to make a mistake that may result in the loss of many souls. Those who easily become impatient and irritated should not be educators.CT 192.1

    Teachers should remember that they are not dealing with men and women, but with children who have everything to learn. And it is much more difficult for some to learn than for others. The dull pupil needs much more encouragement than he receives. If there are placed over these varied minds teachers who love to order and dictate and to magnify their authority, teachers who deal with partiality, having favorites to whom they show preference, while others are treated with exactitude and severity, confusion and insubordination will result. Teachers who are not blessed with a pleasant, well-balanced disposition may be placed in charge of children, but a great wrong is done to those whom they educate.CT 192.2

    A teacher may have sufficient education and knowledge in the sciences to instruct, but has it been ascertained that he has tact and wisdom to deal with human minds? If instructors have not the love of Christ abiding in their hearts, they are not fit to bear the grave responsibilities placed upon those who educate the youth. Lacking the higher education themselves, they know not how to deal with human minds. Their own insubordinate hearts are striving for control; and to subject the plastic minds and characters of the children to such discipline is to leave upon the mind scars and bruises that will never be removed.CT 193.1

    Inquire, teachers, you who are doing your work not only for time but for eternity, Does the love of Christ constrain me as I deal with the souls for whom He has given His life? Under His discipline do old traits of character, not in conformity with the will of God, pass away and qualities the opposite take their place? or am I, by my unsanctified words and my impatience, my want of that wisdom which is from above, confirming these youth in their perverse spirit?CT 193.2

    When a teacher manifests impatience or fretfulness toward a child, the fault may not be with the child one half so much as with the teacher. Teachers become tired with their work, and something the children say or do does not accord with their feelings. Will they at such times, through a failure to exercise tact and wisdom, let Satan's spirit enter and lead them to arouse in the children feelings that are disagreeable and unpleasant? The teacher who loves Jesus, and who appreciates the saving power of His grace, cannot, dare not, let Satan control his spirit. Everything will be put away that would corrupt his influence, because it opposes the will of God and endangers the souls of the precious sheep and lambs.CT 193.3

    When Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, then the truth of God will so act upon the natural temperament that its transforming power will be seen in changed characters. You will not then, by revealing an unsanctified heart and temper, turn the truth of God into a lie before any of your pupils. Nor will you, by manifesting a selfish, un-Christlike spirit, give the impression that the grace of Christ is not sufficient for you at all times and in all places. You will show that the authority of God over you is not in name only, but in reality and truth.CT 194.1

    Let every teacher who accepts the responsibility of teaching the children and youth, examine himself. Let him ask himself, Has the truth of God taken possession of my soul? Has the wisdom which comes from Jesus Christ, which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy,” been brought into my character? Do I cherish the principle that “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace”? James 3:17, 18.CT 194.2

    Teachers, Jesus is in your school every day. His great heart of infinite love is drawn out, not only for the best-behaved children, who have the most favorable surroundings, but for the children who have by inheritance objectionable traits of character. Even parents have not understood how much they are responsible for the qualities developed in their children, and they have not had the tenderness and wisdom to deal with them, whom they have made what they are. They have failed to trace back to the cause of the discouraging developments that are a trial to them. But Jesus looks upon these children with pity and love. He understands; for He reasons from cause to effect.CT 195.1

    Sharp words and continual censure bewilder the child, but do not reform him. Keep back the pettish word; keep your own spirit under discipline to Christ. Then you will learn to pity and to sympathize with those who are brought under your influence. Do not show impatience or harshness. If these children did not need educating, they would not be in school. They are to be patiently, kindly helped up the ladder of progress, climbing step by step in obtaining knowledge. Take your stand by the side of Jesus. Possessing His attributes, you will be the possessor of keen, tender sensibilities and will make the cause of the erring your own.CT 195.2

    The religious life of a large number of teachers who profess to be Christians is such as to show that they are not Christians. They are constantly misrepresenting Christ. They have a religion that is subject to and controlled by circumstances. If everything happens to move in a way that pleases them, if there are no irritating circumstances to call out their unsubdued, un-Christlike natures, they are condescending and pleasant and very attractive. But the truth is not to be practiced only when we feel like it, but at all times and in all places. The Lord is not served by a man's hasty impulse, his fitful performances. If, when things occur in the family or in association with others, which ruffle their peace and provoke the temper, teachers would lay everything before God, asking for His grace before they engage in their daily work; if they would know for themselves that the love and power and grace of God are in their own hearts, angels of God would go with them into the schoolroom.CT 195.3

    It means much to bring children under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, to train and discipline them, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The formation of right habits, the inculcation of a right spirit, will call for earnest efforts in the name and strength of Jesus.CT 196.1

    “Every high priest ... can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Hebrews 5:1, 2. This truth can in the highest sense be exemplified before the children. Let teachers bear it in mind when they are tempted to be impatient and angry with the children because of misbehavior. Let them remember that angels of God are looking sorrowfully upon them. If the children err and misbehave, then it is all the more essential that those who are placed over them should be able to teach them, by precept and example, how to act.CT 196.2

    In no case are teachers to lose self-control, to manifest impatience and harshness, and a want of sympathy and love. Those who are naturally fretful, easily provoked, and who have cherished the habit of criticism and evil thinking, should find some other kind of work, where their unlovely traits of character will not be reproduced in the children and youth. In the place of being fitted to instruct the children, such teachers need one to teach them the lessons of Jesus Christ.CT 197.1

    If the teacher has the love of Christ abiding in the heart as a sweet fragrance, a savor of life unto life, he may bind the children under his care to himself. Through the grace of Christ he may be an instrument in God's hands to enlighten, lift up, encourage, and help to purify the soul temple from its defilement, until the character shall be transformed by the grace of Christ, and the image of God be revealed in the soul.CT 197.2

    Said Christ, “I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified.” John 17:19. This is the work that devolves on every Christian teacher. There must be no haphazard work in this matter; for the education of the children requires very much of the grace of Christ and the subduing of self. Heaven sees in the child the undeveloped man or woman, with capabilities and powers that, if correctly guided and developed, will make him or her one with whom the divine agencies can co-operate—a laborer together with God.CT 197.3

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