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Child Guidance

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    Chapter 58—Training for Practical Life

    Why God Appointed Labor for Adam and Eve—The Lord made Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden to dress the garden and keep it for the Lord. It was for their happiness to have some employment, or else the Lord would not have appointed them their work.1Manuscript 24b, 1894.CG 345.1

    When in counsel with the Father before the world was, it was designed that the Lord God should plant a garden for Adam and Eve in Eden and give them the task of caring for the fruit trees and cultivating and training the vegetation. Useful labor was to be their safeguard, and it was to be perpetuated through all generations to the close of earth's history.2The Signs of the Times, August 13, 1896.CG 345.2

    Example of Jesus as the Perfect Workman—In His earth-life, Christ was ... obedient and helpful in the home. He learned the carpenter's trade and worked with His own hands in the little shop at Nazareth.... The Bible says of Jesus, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” As He worked in childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical powers recklessly, but gave them such exercise as would keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line. He was not willing to be defective, even in the handling of tools. He was perfect as a workman, as He was perfect in character.3Fundamentals of Christian Education, 417, 418.CG 345.3

    Every article He made was well made, the different parts fitting exactly, the whole able to bear test.4Evangelism, 378.CG 345.4

    He Toiled Daily With Patient Hands—Jesus made the lowly paths of human life sacred by His example.... His life was one of diligent industry. He, the Majesty of heaven, walked the streets, clad in the simple garb of the common laborer. He toiled up and down the mountain steeps, going to and from His humble work. Angels were not sent to bear Him on their pinions up the tiresome ascent, or to lend their strength in performing His lowly task. Yet when He went forth to contribute to the support of the family by His daily toil, He possessed the same power as when He wrought the miracle of feeding the five thousand hungry souls on the shore of Galilee.CG 346.1

    But He did not employ His divine power to lessen His burdens or lighten His toil. He had taken upon Himself the form of humanity with all its attendant ills, and He flinched not from its severest trials. He lived in a peasant's home, He was clothed in coarse garments, He mingled with the lowly, He toiled daily with patient hands. His example shows us that it is man's duty to be industrious, that labor is honorable.5Health Reformer, October 1, 1876 par. 6.CG 346.2

    For a long time Jesus dwelt at Nazareth, unhonored or unknown, that He might teach men how to live near God while discharging the humble duties of life. It was a mystery to angels that Christ, the Majesty of heaven, should condescend, not only to take upon Himself humanity, but to assume its heaviest burdens and most humiliating offices. This He did in order to become like one of us, that He might be acquainted with the toil, the sorrows, and fatigue of the children of men.6Ibid.CG 346.3

    Awaken Ambition for Useful Accomplishments—In the children and youth an ambition should be awakened to take their exercise in doing something that will be beneficial to themselves and helpful to others. The exercise that develops mind and character, that teaches the hands to be useful, that trains the youth to bear their share of life's burdens, is that which gives physical strength and quickens every faculty. And there is a reward in virtuous industry, in the cultivation of the habit of living to do good.7Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 147.CG 346.4

    The youth need to be taught that life means earnest work, responsibility, caretaking. They need a training that will make them practical—men and women who can cope with emergencies. They should be taught that the discipline of systematic, well-regulated labor is essential, not only as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of life, but as an aid to all-round development.8Education, 215.CG 347.1

    Physical Labor Is Not Degrading—It is a popular error with a large class to regard work as degrading; therefore young men are very anxious to educate themselves to become teachers, clerks, merchants, lawyers, and to occupy almost any position that does not require physical labor. Young women regard housework as belittling. And although the physical exercise required to perform household labor, if not too severe, is calculated to promote health, yet they seek for an education that will fit them to become teachers or clerks, or they learn some trade that will confine them indoors, to sedentary employment.9Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 291.CG 347.2

    The world is full of young men and women who pride themselves upon their ignorance of any useful labor; and they are, almost invariably, frivolous, vain, fond of display, unhappy, unsatisfied, and too often dissipated and unprincipled. Such characters are a blot upon society and a disgrace to their parents.10Health Reformer, December, 1877.CG 347.3

    None of us should be ashamed of work, however small and servile it may appear. Labor is ennobling. All who toil with head or hands are working men or working women. And all are doing their duty and honoring their religion as much while working at the washtub or washing dishes as they are in going to meeting. While the hands are engaged in the most common labor, the mind may be elevated and ennobled by pure and holy thoughts.11Testimonies For The Church 4:590.CG 348.1

    Youth to Be Masters, Not Slaves of Labor—The youth should be led to see the true dignity of labor.12Education, 214.CG 348.2

    One great reason why physical toil is looked down on is the slipshod, unthinking way in which it is so often performed. It is done from necessity, not from choice. The worker puts no heart into it, and he neither preserves self-respect nor wins the respect of others. Manual training should correct this error. It should develop habits of accuracy and thoroughness. Pupils should learn tact and system; they should learn to economize time and to make every move count. They should not only be taught the best methods, but be inspired with ambition constantly to improve. Let it be their aim to make their work as nearly perfect as human brains and hands can make it.CG 348.3

    Such training will make the youth masters and not slaves of labor. It will lighten the lot of the hard toiler and will ennoble even the humblest occupation. He who regards work as mere drudgery and settles down to it with self-complacent ignorance, making no effort to improve, will find it indeed a burden. But those who recognize science in the humblest work will see in it nobility and beauty and will take pleasure in performing it with faithfulness and efficiency.13Education, 222.CG 348.4

    Wealth Not to Excuse From Practical Training—In many cases parents who are wealthy do not feel the importance of giving their children an education in the practical duties of life as well as in the sciences. They do not see the necessity, for the good of their children's minds and morals, and for their future usefulness, of giving them a thorough understanding of useful labor. This is due their children, that, should misfortune come, they could stand forth in noble independence, knowing how to use their hands. If they have a capital of strength, they cannot be poor, even if they have not a dollar.CG 349.1

    Many who in youth were in affluent circumstances may be robbed of all their riches, and be left with parents and brothers and sisters dependent upon them for sustenance. Then how important that every youth be educated to labor, that they may be prepared for any emergency! Riches are indeed a curse when their possessors let them stand in the way of their sons and daughters obtaining a knowledge of useful labor, that they may be qualified for practical life.14Testimonies For The Church 3:150.CG 349.2

    Children to Share Domestic Duties—The faithful mother will not, cannot, be a devotee to fashion, neither will she be a domestic slave, to humor the whims of her children and excuse them from labor. She will teach them to share with her domestic duties, that they may have a knowledge of practical life. If the children share the labor with their mother, they will learn to regard useful employment as essential to happiness, ennobling rather than degrading. But if the mother educates her daughters to be indolent, while she bears the heavy burdens of domestic life, she is teaching them to look down upon her as their servant, to wait on them and do the things they should do. The mother should ever retain her dignity.15Pacific Health Journal, June, 1890.CG 349.3

    Some mothers are at fault in releasing their daughters from toil and care. By so doing they encourage them in indolence. The excuse these mothers sometimes plead is, “My daughters are not strong.” But they take the sure course to make them weak and inefficient. Well-directed labor is just what they require to make them strong, vigorous, cheerful, happy, and courageous to meet the various trials with which this life is beset.16The Signs of the Times, August 19, 1875.CG 350.1

    Assign Useful Tasks to Children—The carelessness of parents in neglecting to furnish employment to their children has resulted in untold evil, imperiling the lives of many youth and sadly crippling their usefulness.CG 350.2

    God desires both parents and teachers to train children in the practical duties of everyday life. Encourage industry. Girls—and even boys who do not have outdoor work—should learn how to help the mother. From childhood, boys and girls should be taught to bear heavier and still heavier burdens, intelligently helping in the work of the family firm. Mothers, patiently show your children how to use their hands. Let them understand that their hands are to be used as skillfully as are yours in the household work.17The Review and Herald, September 8, 1904.CG 350.3

    Each child in the family should have a part of the home burden to bear and should be taught to perform his task faithfully and cheerfully. If the work is portioned out in this way, and the children grow up accustomed to bearing suitable responsibilities, no member of the household will be overburdened, and everything will move off pleasantly and smoothly in the home. A proper economy will be maintained, for each one will be acquainted with, and interested in, the details of the home.18The Signs of the Times, August 23, 1877.CG 350.4

    Cooking and Sewing, Basic Lessons—Mothers should take their daughters with them into the kitchen and give them a thorough education in the cooking department. They should also instruct them in the art of substantial sewing. They should teach them how to cut garments economically and put them together neatly. Some mothers, rather than to take this trouble to patiently instruct their inexperienced daughters, prefer to do it all themselves. But in so doing, they leave the essential branches of education neglected and commit a great wrong against their children; for in afterlife they feel embarrassment because of their lack of knowledge in these things.19An Appeal to Mothers, 15.CG 351.1

    Give Training to Both Boys and Girls—Since both men and women have a part in homemaking, boys as well as girls should gain a knowledge of household duties. To make a bed and put a room in order, to wash dishes, to prepare a meal, to wash and repair his own clothing, is a training that need not make any boy less manly; it will make him happier and more useful. And if girls, in turn, could learn to harness and drive a horse, [Note: This was written in 1903. The principles are fully applicable today.] and to use the saw and the hammer, as well as the rake and the hoe, they would be better fitted to meet the emergencies of life.20Education, 216, 217.CG 351.2

    It is as essential for our daughters to learn the proper use of time as it is for our sons, and they are equally accountable to God for the manner in which they occupy it. Life is given us for wise improvement of the talents we possess.21Health Reformer, December 1, 1877.CG 351.3

    See Privileges in Conserving Mother's Strength—Every day there is housework to be done—cooking, washing dishes, sweeping, and dusting. Mothers, have you taught your daughters to do these daily duties? ... Their muscles need exercise. In the place of getting exercise by jumping and playing ball or croquet, let their exercise be to some purpose.22Manuscript 129, 1898.CG 352.1

    Teach the children to bear their share of the burdens of the household. Keep them occupied at some useful employment. Show them how to do their work easily and well. Help them to realize that by lightening the burdens of their mother, they are preserving her strength and prolonging her life. Many a weary mother has been laid away in an untimely grave for no other reason than that her children were not taught to share her burdens. By encouraging a spirit of unselfish service in the home, parents are drawing their children closer to Christ, who is the embodiment of unselfishness.23Manuscript 70, 1903.CG 352.2

    An Experiment in Happiness—Children, seat your mother in the easy chair, and tell her to show you what she would have done first. What a surprise this would be to many weary, overtaxed mothers! Never will children and youth feel the peace of contentment until by the faithful performance of home duties they relieve the tired hands and weary heart and brain of the mother. These are steps on the ladder of progress that will carry them forward to receive the higher education.CG 352.3

    It is the faithful performance of everyday duties that brings the satisfaction and peace that come to the true home worker. Those who neglect to bear part of the responsibilities of the home are the ones who are troubled with loneliness and discontent; for they have not learned the truth that those who are happy are happy because they share the daily routine of work which rests upon the mother or other members of the family. Many are leaving unlearned the most useful lessons, which it is essential for their future good to understand.24Manuscript 129, 1898.CG 352.4

    The Rewards of Faithfulness in Home Duties—A faithful fulfillment of home duties, filling the position you can occupy to the best advantage, be it ever so simple and humble, is truly elevating. This divine influence is needed. In this there is peace and sacred joy. It possesses healing power. It will secretly and insensibly soothe the wounds of the soul and even the sufferings of the body. Peace of mind, which comes from pure and holy motives and actions, will give free and vigorous spring to all the organs of the body. Inward peace and a conscience void of offense toward God will quicken and invigorate the intellect, like dew distilled upon the tender plants. The will is then rightly directed and controlled and is more decided and yet free from perverseness. The meditations are pleasing because they are sanctified. The serenity of mind which you may possess will bless all with whom you associate. This peace and calmness will, in time, become natural and will reflect its precious rays upon all around you, to be again reflected upon you. The more you taste this heavenly peace and quietude of mind, the more it will increase. It is an animated, living pleasure which does not throw all the moral energies into a stupor, but awakens them to increased activity. Perfect peace is an attribute of Heaven which angels possess.25Testimonies For The Church 2:326, 327.CG 353.1

    There Will Be Activity in Heaven—The angels are workers; they are ministers of God to the children of men. Those slothful servants who look forward to a heaven of inaction have false ideas of what constitutes heaven. The Creator has prepared no place for the gratification of sinful indolence. Heaven is a place of interested activity; yet to the weary and heavy laden, to those who have fought the good fight of faith, it will be a glorious rest; for the youth and vigor of immortality will be theirs, and against sin and Satan they will no longer have to contend. To these energetic workers a state of eternal indolence would be irksome. It would be no heaven to them. The path of toil appointed to the Christian on earth may be hard and wearisome, but it is honored by the footprints of the Redeemer, and he is safe who follows in that sacred way.26Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 99.CG 353.2

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