Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 24—Counsel Regarding Age of School Entrance

Report of Interview

Report of a meeting of the Sanitarium [Cal.] Church School Board, held at “Elmshaven,” Sanitarium, Cal., Thursday Morning, January 14, 1904. 3SM 214.1

Sister White spoke for a time, as follows: 3SM 214.2

For years, much instruction has been given me in regard to the importance of maintaining firm discipline in the home. I have tried to write out this instruction, and to give it to others. In one of the forthcoming volumes of my writings [Education] will be published considerable additional matter on the training of children. 3SM 214.3

Those who assume the responsibilities of parenthood should first consider whether they will be able to surround their children with proper influences. The home is both a family church and a family school. The atmosphere of the home should be so spiritual that all the members of the family, parents and children, will be blessed and strengthened by their association with one another. Heavenly influences are educational. Those who are surrounded by such influences are being prepared for entrance into the school above. 3SM 214.4

Mothers should be able to instruct their little ones wisely during the earlier years of childhood. If every mother were capable of doing this, and would take time to teach her children the lessons they should learn in early life, then all children could be kept in the home school until they are eight, or nine, or ten years old. 3SM 214.5

But many who enter the marriage relation fail of realizing all the sacred responsibilities that motherhood brings. Many are sadly lacking in disciplinary power. In many homes there is but little discipline, and the children are allowed to do as they please. Such children drift hither and thither; there is nobody in the home capable of guiding them aright, nobody who with wise tact can teach them how to help father and mother, nobody who can properly lay the foundation that should underlie their future education. Children who are surrounded by these unfortunate conditions are indeed to be pitied. If not afforded an opportunity for proper training outside the home, they are debarred from many privileges that, by right, every child should enjoy. This is the light that has been presented to me. 3SM 215.1

Those who are unable to train their children aright, should never have assumed the responsibilities of parents. But because of their mistaken judgment, shall we make no effort to help their little ones to form right characters? God desires us to deal with these problems sensibly. 3SM 215.2

Church Schools to Be Connected With Sanitariums—In all our sanitariums the standard is to be kept high. With these institutions should be connected, as physicians, managers, and helpers, only those who keep their households in order. The conduct of the children has an influence that tells upon all who come to these sanitariums. God desires that this influence shall be reformatory. And this can be; but care is required. The father and the mother must give special attention to the training of each child. But you know how the families are up on this hillside. The patients understand how it is. The way it is presented to me is that it is a shame that there is not the influence over the young children that there should be. Every one of them should be employed in doing something that is useful. They have been told what to do. If the father cannot be with them, the mother should be instructed how to teach them. 3SM 215.3

But since I have been here, the light has been given me that the very best thing that can be done is to have a school. I had no thought that the very little ones would be embraced in the school—not the very little ones. But it would be best to have this school for those who can be instructed and have the restraining influence upon them which a schoolteacher should exert. We have a school here because the Word of God could not be taught in the other [public] school. Our brother [Anthony] that teaches that school is fully capable of carrying a school with teaching the Word. He is fully capable of doing that. He has his position, they have hired him, and as long as they let him stay undisturbed, he had better stay there. 3SM 216.1

School Privileges for Younger Children—But here is a work that must be done for the families, and for the children that are as old as seven years and eight years and nine years. We should have a lower department, that is a second department, where these children could be instructed. They will learn in school that which they frequently do not learn out of school, except by association.... 3SM 216.2

Now, it seems that the question is about these children going to school. I want to know from the parents, every one of them, who it is that feels perfectly satisfied with their children, as they are, without sending them to the school—to a school that has Bible lessons, has order, has discipline, and is trying to find something for them to do to occupy their time. I do not think there is anyone, if they come to understand it, who will have objections. 3SM 216.3

The Setting of the Early Counsel—But when I heard what the objections were, that the children could not go to school till they were ten years old, I wanted to tell you that there was not a Sabbathkeeping school when the light was given to me that the children should not attend school until they were old enough to be instructed. They should be taught at home to know what proper manners were when they went to school, and not be led astray. The wickedness carried on in the common schools is almost beyond conception. 3SM 216.4

That is how it is, and my mind has been greatly stirred in regard to the idea, “Why, Sister White has said so and so, and Sister White has said so and so; and therefore we are going right up to it.” 3SM 217.1

God wants us all to have common sense, and he wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things. 3SM 217.2

A Church School Versus Poor Home Management—Here is a Sanitarium, and that sanitarium must carry the highest possible influence inside and out. Then, if they see children who come there—sharp-eyed, lynx-eyed, wandering about, with nothing to do, getting into mischief, and all these things—it is painful to the senses of those that want to keep the reputation of the school. Therefore, I, from the light that God has given me, [declare that] if there is a family that has not the capabilities of educating, nor discipline and government over their children, requiring obedience, the very best thing is to put them in some place where they will obey. Put them in some place where they will be required to obey, because obedience is better than sacrifice. Good behavior is to be carried out in every family. 3SM 217.3

We are educating God's little ones in our homes. Now what kind of an education are we giving them? Our words, are they loose and careless and slack? Is there an overbearing disposition? Is there a scolding and fretting because parents have not the powers to manage? The Lord wants us to take all things into consideration. Every parent has on his hands a sum to prove: How are my children? Where are they? Are they coming up for God or for the devil? All these things are to be considered. 3SM 217.4

The book that is coming out will have much to say in regard to the great principles that are to be carried out in training the children, from the very baby in arms. The enemy will work right through those children, unless they are disciplined. Someone disciplines them. If the mother or the father does not do it, the devil does. That is how it is. He has the control.... 3SM 217.5

I shall not say so much now, because I want to understand just what I should speak on. I want the objections brought forth, why children should not have an education. 3SM 218.1