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Child Guidance

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    Chapter 76—Preparing for Church Membership

    A Well-balanced Training—Instruction should be given as God has directed. Patiently, carefully, diligently, mercifully, children should be trained. Upon all parents rests the obligation of giving their children physical, mental, and spiritual instruction. It is essential ever to keep before children the claims of God.CG 493.1

    Physical training, the development of the body, is far more easily given than spiritual training....CG 493.2

    Soul culture, which gives purity and elevation to the thoughts and fragrance to word and act, requires more painstaking effort. It takes patience to keep every evil motive weeded from the garden of the heart.CG 493.3

    The spiritual training should in no case be neglected. Let us teach our children the beautiful lessons of God's Word, that through these they may gain a knowledge of Him. Let them understand that they should do nothing which is not right. Teach them to do justice and judgment. Tell them that you cannot permit them to take a wrong course. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ present them to God at the throne of grace. Let them know that Jesus lives to make intercession for them. Encourage them to form characters fashioned after the divine similitude.1The Review and Herald, September 15, 1904.CG 493.4

    Knowledge of God and Christ Is Fundamental—The spiritual training should in no case be neglected, for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10. By some, education is placed next to religion, but true education is religion.2Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 108.CG 493.5

    Define Practical Religious Experience—Practical instruction in religious experience is what Christian parents should be prepared to give their children. God requires this of you, and you neglect your duty if you fail to perform this work. Instruct your children in regard to God's chosen methods of discipline and the conditions of success in the Christian life. Teach them that they cannot serve God and have their minds absorbed in overcareful provision for this life; but do not let them cherish the thought that they have no need to toil and may spend their leisure moments in idleness. God's Word is plain on this point.3Testimonies For The Church 5:42.CG 494.1

    Teach the Knowledge of God—To know God is eternal life. Are you teaching this to your children, or are you teaching them to meet the world's standard? Are you getting ready for the home that God is preparing for you? ... Teach your children of the Saviour's life, death, and resurrection. Teach them to study the Bible.... Teach them to form characters that will live through the eternal ages. We must pray as we never have before that God will keep and bless our children.4Manuscript 16, 1895.CG 494.2

    Teach Daily Repentance and Forgiveness—It is not essential that all shall be able to specify to a certainty when their sins were forgiven. The lesson to be taught the children is that their errors and mistakes are to be brought to Jesus in their very childhood of life. Teach them to ask His forgiveness daily for any wrong that they have done, and that Jesus does hear the simple prayer of the penitent heart, and will pardon, and receive them, just as He received the children brought to Him when He was upon earth.5Manuscript 5, 1896.CG 494.3

    Teach Sound Doctrine—Those who have seen the truth and felt its importance, and have had an experience in the things of God, are to teach sound doctrine to their children. They should make them acquainted with the great pillars of our faith, the reasons why we are Seventh-day Adventists—why we are called, as were the children of Israel, to be a peculiar people, a holy nation, separate and distinct from all other people on the face of the earth. These things should be explained to the children in simple language, easy to be understood; and as they grow in years, the lessons imparted should be suited to their increasing capacity, until the foundations of truth have been laid broad and deep.6Testimonies For The Church 5:330.CG 495.1

    Instruct Briefly and Frequently—Those who give instruction to children and youth should avoid tedious remarks. Short talks, right to the point, will have a happy influence. If there is much to be said, make up for brevity by frequency. A few interesting remarks, every now and then, will be more helpful than to give all the instruction at once. Long speeches tire the minds of the young. Too much talk will lead them even to loathe spiritual instruction, just as overeating burdens the stomach and lessens the appetite, leading to a loathing for food.7Gospel Workers, 208, 209.CG 495.2

    The Evenings Are Precious Seasons—The home should be made a school of instruction rather than a place of monotonous drudgery. The evenings should be cherished as precious seasons, to be devoted to the instruction of the children in the way of righteousness.8Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 48.CG 495.3

    Recount God's Promises—We need to recognize the Holy Spirit as our enlightener. That Spirit loves to address the children and discover to them the treasures and beauties of the Word. The promises spoken by the great Teacher will captivate the senses and animate the soul of the child with a spiritual power that is divine. There will grow in the receptive mind a familiarity with divine things which will be as a barricade against the temptations of the enemy.9Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 172.CG 495.4

    Make Religious Instruction Pleasant—Religious instruction should be given to children from their earliest years. It should be given, not in a condemnatory spirit, but in a cheerful, happy spirit. Mothers need to be on the watch constantly, lest temptation shall come to the children in such a form as not to be recognized by them. The parents are to guard their children with wise, pleasant instruction. As the very best friends of these inexperienced ones, they should help them in the work of overcoming, for it means everything to them to be victorious. They should consider that their own dear children who are seeking to do right are younger members of the Lord's family, and they should feel an intense interest in helping them to make straight paths in the King's highway of obedience. With loving interest they should teach them day by day what it means to be children of God and to yield the will in obedience to Him. Teach them that obedience to God involves obedience to their parents. This must be a daily, hourly work. Parents, watch, watch and pray, and make your children your companions.10Testimonies For The Church 6:93, 94.CG 496.1

    Teach Spiritual Lessons From Domestic Tasks—God has given to parents and teachers the work of educating the children and youth in these lines, and from every act of their lives they may be taught spiritual lessons. While training them in habits of physical cleanliness, we should teach them that God desires them to be clean in heart as well as in body. While sweeping a room, they may learn how the Lord purifies the heart. They would not close the doors and windows and leave in the room some purifying substance, but would open the doors and throw wide the windows, and with diligent effort expel all the dust. So the windows of impulse and feeling must be opened toward heaven, and the dust of selfishness and earthliness must be expelled. The grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind, and every element of the nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God. Disorder and untidiness in daily duties will lead to forgetfulness of God and to keeping the form of godliness in a profession of faith, having lost the reality. We are to watch and pray, else we shall grasp the shadow and lose the substance.CG 496.2

    A living faith like threads of gold should run through the daily experience in the performance of little duties.11Testimonies For The Church 6:170, 171.CG 497.1

    Heart Education Versus Book Learning—It is right for the youth to feel that they must reach the highest development of their mental powers. We would not restrict the education to which God has set no limit. But our attainments will avail nothing if not put to use for the honor of God and the good of humanity. Unless our knowledge is a steppingstone to the accomplishment of the highest purposes, it is worthless....CG 497.2

    Heart education is of more importance than the education gained from books. It is well, even essential, to obtain a knowledge of the world in which we live; but if we leave eternity out of our reckoning, we shall make a failure from which we can never recover.12Testimonies For The Church 8:311.CG 497.3

    Mutual Benefits—Our children are the Lord's property; they have been bought with a price. This thought should be the mainspring of our labors for them. The most successful methods of assuring their salvation and keeping them out of the way of temptation is to instruct them constantly in the Word of God. And as parents become learners with their children, they will find their own growth in a knowledge of the truth more rapid. Unbelief will disappear; faith and activity will increase; assurance and confidence will deepen as they thus follow on to know the Lord.13The Review and Herald, May 6, 1909.CG 498.1

    How Parents May Be Stumbling Blocks—What example do you give your children? What order do you have at home? Your children should be educated to be kind, thoughtful of others, gentle, easy to be entreated, and, above everything else, to respect religious things and feel the importance of the claims of God.14Testimonies For The Church 5:424.CG 498.2

    Boys and girls may early reveal deep and symmetrical piety if the means which God has ordained for the guidance of every family is followed in His fear and love. They will demonstrate the value of correct training and discipline. But the impression made upon the mind of children by the words of the teacher of truth is often counteracted by the words and actions of the parents. The susceptible though wayward hearts of children are often impressed by the truth, but often temptations come to them through father or mother, and they fall a prey to Satan's devices. It is almost impossible to set the feet of children in safe paths when the parents do not co-operate. Evil sentiments, falling from the lips of injudicious parents, are the chief hindrance to genuine conversions among children.15Manuscript 49, 1901.CG 498.3

    Live in Harmony With Your Prayers—“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” When you pray, present this promise. It is our privilege to come to Him with holy boldness. As in sincerity we ask Him to let His light shine upon us, He will hear and answer us. But we must live in harmony with our prayers. They are of no avail if we walk contrary to them. I have seen a father who, after reading a portion of scripture and offering prayer, would often, almost as soon as he had risen from his knees, begin to scold his children. How could God answer the prayer he had offered? And if, after scolding his children, a father offers prayer, does that prayer benefit the children? No; not unless it is a prayer of confession to God.16Manuscript 114, 1903.CG 499.1

    When Children Are Ready for Baptism—Never allow your children to suppose that they are not children of God until they are old enough to be baptized. Baptism does not make children Christians; neither does it convert them; it is but an outward sign, showing that they are sensible that they should be children of God by acknowledging that they believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and will henceforth live for Christ.17Manuscript 5, 1896.CG 499.2

    Parents whose children desire to be baptized have a work to do, both in self-examination and in giving faithful instruction to their children. Baptism is a most sacred and important ordinance, and there should be a thorough understanding as to its meaning. It means repentance for sin, and the entrance upon a new life in Christ Jesus. There should be no undue haste to receive the ordinance. Let both parents and children count the cost. In consenting to baptism of their children, parents sacredly pledge themselves to be faithful stewards over these children, to guide them in their character building. They pledge themselves to guard with special interest these lambs of the flock, that they may not dishonor the faith they profess....CG 499.3

    When the happiest period of their life has come, and they in their hearts love Jesus and wish to be baptized, then deal faithfully with them. Before they receive the ordinance, ask them if it is to be their first purpose in life to work for God. Then tell them how to begin. It is the first lessons that mean so much. In simplicity teach them how to do their first service for God. Make the work as easy to be understood as possible. Explain what it means to give up self to the Lord, to do just as His Word directs, under the counsel of Christian parents.18Testimonies For The Church 6:93, 94.CG 500.1

    Parents’ Duty After Baptism—After faithful labor, if you are satisfied that your children understand the meaning of conversion and baptism and are truly converted, let them be baptized. But, I repeat, first of all prepare yourselves to act as faithful shepherds in guiding their inexperienced feet in the narrow way of obedience. God must work in the parents that they may give to their children a right example in love, courtesy, and Christian humility, and in an entire giving up of self to Christ. If you consent to the baptism of your children and then leave them to do as they choose, feeling no special duty to keep their feet in the straight path, you yourselves are responsible if they lose faith and courage and interest in the truth.19Testimonies For The Church 6:94, 95.CG 500.2

    God calls upon you to teach them to prepare to be members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Co-operate with God by working diligently for their salvation. If they err, do not scold them. Never taunt them with being baptized and yet doing wrong. Remember that they have much to learn in regard to the duties of a child of God.20Manuscript 80, 1901.CG 500.3

    Preparation for Special Convocations—Here is a work for families to engage in before coming up to our holy convocations. Let the preparation for eating and dressing be a secondary matter, but let deep heart-searching commence at home. Pray three times a day, and like Jacob, be importunate. At home is the place to find Jesus; then take Him with you to the meeting, and how precious will be the hours you spend there. But how can you expect to feel the presence of the Lord and see His power displayed, when the individual work of preparation for that time is neglected?CG 501.1

    For your soul's sake, for Christ's sake, and for the sake of others, work at home. Pray as you are not accustomed to pray. Let the heart break before God. Set your house in order. Prepare your children for the occasion. Teach them that it is not of so much consequence that they appear with fine clothes as that they appear before God with clean hands and pure hearts. Remove every obstacle that may have been in their way—all differences that may have existed between themselves or between you and them. By so doing you will invite the Lord's presence into your homes, and holy angels will attend you as you go up to the meeting, and their light and presence will press back the darkness of evil angels.21Testimonies For The Church 5:164, 165.CG 501.2

    Sow the Seeds of Truth in Faith—The work of the sower is a work of faith. The mystery of the germination and growth of the seed he cannot understand, but he has confidence in the agencies by which God causes vegetation to flourish. He casts away the seed, expecting to gather it manyfold in an abundant harvest. So parents and teachers are to labor, expecting a harvest from the seed they sow.22Education, 105.CG 501.3

    We should ask the blessing of God on the seed sown, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit will take hold of even the little ones. If we exercise faith in God, we shall be enabled to lead them to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. This is a work of the greatest consequence to the younger members of the Lord's family.23Testimonies For The Church 6:105.CG 502.1

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