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Child Guidance

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    Section 8—The Paramount Task—Character Development

    Chapter 31—Importance of Character

    The Only Treasure Taken From This World—A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life.1Christ's Object Lessons, 332.CG 161.1

    True Character a Quality of the Soul—Mental ability and genius are not character, for these are often possessed by those who have the very opposite of a good character. Reputation is not character. True character is a quality of the soul, revealing itself in the conduct.2The Youth's Instructor, November 3, 1886.CG 161.2

    A good character is a capital of more value than gold or silver. It is unaffected by panics or failures, and in that day when earthly possessions shall be swept away, it will bring rich returns. Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities that all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible—a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity.3Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 225, 226.CG 161.3

    Its Two Essential Elements—Strength of character consists of two things—power of will and power of self-control. Many youth mistake strong, uncontrolled passion for strength of character; but the truth is that he who is mastered by his passions is a weak man. The real greatness and nobility of the man is measured by his powers to subdue his feelings, not by the power of his feelings to subdue him. The strongest man is he who, while sensitive to abuse, will yet restrain passion and forgive his enemies.4Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 222.CG 161.4

    More Necessary Than Outward Show—If it were considered as important that the young possess a beautiful character and amiable disposition as it is that they imitate the fashions of the world in dress and deportment, we would see hundreds where there is one today coming upon the stage of active life prepared to exert an ennobling influence upon society.5Fundamentals of Christian Education, 69.CG 162.1

    Its Development Is the Work of a Lifetime—The formation of character is the work of a lifetime, and it is for eternity. If all could realize this, if they would awake to the thought that we are individually deciding our own destiny for eternal life or eternal ruin, what a change would take place! How differently would this probationary time be occupied, and what different characters would fill our world!6The Youth's Instructor, February 19, 1903.CG 162.2

    Development and Growth—The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a figure of the development of character. There can be no life without growth. The plant must either grow or die. As its growth is silent and imperceptible, but continuous, so is the growth of character. At every stage of development our life may be perfect; yet if God's purpose for us is fulfilled, there will be constant advancement.7Education, 105, 106.CG 162.3

    It Is the Harvest of Life—The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come. The harvest is a reproduction of the seed sown. Every seed yields fruit after its kind. So it is with the traits of character we cherish. Selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, self-indulgence, reproduce themselves; and the end is wretchedness and ruin. “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:8. Love, sympathy, and kindness yield fruitage of blessing, a harvest that is imperishable.8Education, 109.CG 162.4

    The Greatest Evidence of Christianity—If Christian mothers will present to society children with integrity of character, with firm principles and sound morals, they will have performed the most important of all missionary labors. Their children, thoroughly educated to take their places in society, are the greatest evidence of Christianity that can be given to the world.9Pacific Health Journal, June 1890.CG 163.1

    The Influence of One Child Properly Trained—No higher work was ever committed to mortals than the shaping of character. Children are not only to be educated, but trained as well; and who can tell the future of a growing child, or youth? Let the greatest care be bestowed upon the culture of your children. One child, properly disciplined in the principles of truth, who has the love and fear of God woven through the character, will possess a power for good in the world that cannot be estimated.10The Signs of the Times, July 13, 1888.CG 163.2

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