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Child Guidance

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    Chapter 21—Industry

    A Safeguard for the Young—One of the surest safeguards of the young is useful occupation. Children who are trained to industrious habits, so that all their hours are usefully and pleasantly employed, have no inclination to repine at their lot and no time for idle daydreaming. They are in little danger of forming vicious habits or associations.1Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 122.CG 122.1

    There is untold value in industry. Let the children be taught to do something useful. More than human wisdom is needed that parents may understand how best to educate their children for a useful, happy life here and for higher service and greater joy hereafter.2Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 125.CG 122.2

    Assign Tasks Appropriate to Age and Ability—From infancy children should be trained to do those things which are appropriate for their age and ability. Parents should now encourage their children to become more independent. Serious troubles are soon to be seen upon the earth, and children should be trained in such a way as to be able to meet them.3The Signs of the Times, August 13, 1896.CG 122.3

    Teach your children to be useful, to bear burdens according to their years; then the habit of laboring will become second nature to them, and useful work will never seem like drudgery.4The Review and Herald, June 24, 1890.CG 122.4

    The Fruitage of Idleness—Parents cannot commit a greater sin than to neglect their God-given responsibilities in leaving their children with nothing to do; for these children will soon learn to love idleness and grow up to be shiftless, useless men and women. When they become old enough to earn their living and are taken into employment, they will work in a lazy, droning way and will think they will be paid just the same if they idle away their time, as if they did faithful work. There is every difference between this class of worker and the one who realizes that he must be a faithful steward. In whatever line of work they engage, the youth should be “diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”; for he that is unfaithful in that which is least is unfaithful also in much.5Manuscript 117, 1899.CG 122.5

    If children have proper home training, they will not be found upon the streets, receiving the haphazard education that so many receive. Parents who love their children in a sensible way will not permit them to grow up with lazy habits and ignorant of how to do home duties. Ignorance is not acceptable to God and is unfavorable for the doing of His work.6Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 149.CG 123.1

    The Wise Use of Time—Where there is an abundance of idleness, Satan works with his temptations to spoil life and character. If youth are not trained to useful labor, whether they be rich or poor, they are in peril; for Satan will find employment for them after his own order. The youth who are not barricaded with principle do not regard time as a precious treasure, a trust from God, for which every human being must give an account.7Manuscript 43, 1900.CG 123.2

    Children should be educated to make the very best use of their time, to be helpful to father and mother, to be self-reliant. They should not be allowed to consider themselves above doing any kind of labor that is necessary.8Letter 11, 1888.CG 123.3

    The value of time is beyond computation. Time squandered can never be recovered.... The improvement of wasted moments is a treasure.9Manuscript 117, 1899.CG 123.4

    Overcome Every Indolent Habit—In His Word God has marked out a plan for the education of children, and this plan parents are to follow. They are to teach their children to overcome every indolent habit. Each child should be taught that he has a work to do in the world.10Manuscript 98, 1901.CG 124.1

    Laziness and indolence are not the fruit borne upon the Christian tree.11Manuscript 24, 1894.CG 124.2

    Indolence is a great curse. God has blessed human beings with nerves, organs, and muscles; and they are not to be allowed to deteriorate because of inaction, but are to be strengthened and kept in health by exercise. To have nothing to do is a great misfortune, for idleness ever has been and ever will be a curse to the human family.12Manuscript 60, 1894.CG 124.3

    Children, never prove unfaithful stewards in the home. Never shirk your duty. Good hard work makes firm sinews and muscles. In promoting the prosperity of the home, you will bring the richest blessing to yourselves.13Manuscript 117, 1899.CG 124.4

    Why Work Before Play?—My mother taught me to work. I used to ask my mother, “Why must I always do so much work before I play?” “It is to educate and train your mind for useful labor, and another thing, to keep you out of mischief; and when you get older, you will thank me for it.” When one of my little girls [a granddaughter] said to me, “Why must I knit? Grandmothers knit,” I replied, “Will you tell me how grandmothers learned to knit?” “Why, they began when they were little girls.”14Manuscript 19, 1887.CG 124.5

    Value of a Daily Program—As far as possible, it is well to consider what is to be accomplished through the day. Make a memorandum of the different duties that await your attention, and set apart a certain time for the doing of each duty. Let everything be done with thoroughness, neatness, and dispatch. If it falls to your lot to do the chamber work, then see that the rooms are well aired, and that the bed clothing is exposed to the sunlight. Give yourself a number of minutes to do the work, and do not stop to read papers and books that take your eye, but say to yourself, “No, I have just so many minutes in which to do my work, and I must accomplish my task in the given time.” ...CG 124.6

    Let those who are naturally slow of movement seek to become active, quick, energetic, remembering the words of the apostle, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”CG 125.1

    If it falls to your lot to prepare the meals, make careful calculations, and give yourself all the time necessary to prepare the food, and set it on the table in good order, and on exact time. To have the meal ready five minutes earlier than the time you have set is more commendable than to have it five minutes later. But if you are under the control of slow, dilatory movements, if your habits are of a lazy order, you will make a long job out of a short one; and it is the duty of those who are slow to reform and to become more expeditious. If they will, they can overcome their fussy, lingering habits. In washing dishes they may be careful and at the same time do quick work. Exercise the will to this end, and the hands will move with dispatch.15The Youth's Instructor, September 7, 1893.CG 125.2

    Blend the Physical With the Mental—When children were sent into my family to board, and they would say, “My mother does not want me to do my washing,” I would say, “Well, shall we do it for you and charge you half a dollar more for your board?” “Oh, no! Mother doesn't want to pay any more for me.” “Well, then,” I would say, “you may get up in the morning and do it for yourself. God never designed that you should be waited upon by us. Instead of your mother getting up and getting breakfast in the morning while you lie in bed, you should be the one to say, ‘Mother, don't you get up in the morning. We will take hold of these burdens and perform these duties.’ You should let those whose hairs are growing gray take their rest in the morning.”CG 125.3

    Why is this not so? Where is the trouble? It is with the parents who let their children come up without bearing any burdens in the family. When these children go out to school, they say, “Ma says she doesn't want me to work.” Such mothers are foolish. They spoil their children and then send them to the school to spoil it.... Work is the very best discipline they can have. It is no harder for them than for their mothers. Blend the physical labor with the mental, and the powers of the mind will develop far better.16Manuscript 19, 1887.CG 126.1

    Devise Ways—Parents should devise ways and means for keeping their children usefully busy. Let the children be given little pieces of land to cultivate, that they may have something to give as a freewill offering.17Manuscript 67, 1901.CG 126.2

    Allow them to help you in every way they can, and show them that you appreciate their help. Let them feel that they are a part of the family firm. Teach them to use their minds as much as possible, so to plan their work that they may do it quickly and thoroughly. Teach them to be prompt and energetic in their work, to economize time so that no minutes may be lost in their allotted hours of work.18Manuscript 60, 1903.CG 126.3

    Labor Is Noble—Let us teach the little ones to help us while their hands are small and their strength is slight. Let us impress upon their minds the fact that labor is noble, that it was ordained to man of heaven, that it was enjoined upon Adam in Eden, as an essential to the healthy development of mind and body. Let us teach them that innocent pleasure is never half so satisfying as when it follows active industry.19Pacific Health Journal, May, 1890.CG 127.1

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