Selected Messages Book 3


The Kind of Education the Children Need

I say, these little children that are small ought to have education, just what they would get in school. They ought to have the school discipline under a person who understands how to deal with children in accordance with their different temperaments. They should try to have these children understand their responsibilities to one another, and their responsibility to God. They should have fastened in their minds the very principles that are going to fit them for the higher grade and the higher school. 3SM 220.1

There is a higher school that we are all going to, and unless these children are brought up with the right habits and the right thoughts, and the right discipline, I wonder how they will ever enter that school above? Where is their reverence? Where are their choice ideas that they should cultivate? And all these things. It must be an everyday experience. 3SM 220.2

The mother, as she goes around, is not to fret and to scold, and to say, “You are in my way, and I wish you would get away, I wish you would go outdoors,” or any such thing. She is to treat her children just as God should treat His older children. He calls us children in His family. He wants us educated and trained according to the principles of the Word of God. He wants this education to commence with the little ones. If the mother has not the tact, the ingenuity, if she does not know how to treat human minds, she must put them under somebody that will discipline them and mold and fashion their minds. 3SM 220.3

Now, have I presented it so that it can be understood? Is there any point, Willie, that I have in the book that I have not touched here? 3SM 221.1

W. C. White: I don't know. I find, Mother, that our people throughout the States and throughout the world, I must say, sometimes make very far-reaching rulings based on an isolated statement. 3SM 221.2

Now, in my study of the Bible and in my study of your writings, I have come to believe that there is a principle underlying every precept, and that we cannot understand properly the precept without grasping the principle. 3SM 221.3

I have believed that in some of the statements which have created a good deal of controversy—like your counsels concerning the use of butter, and your statement that the only teacher that a child should have until it was eight or ten years old—it was our privilege to grasp the principle. I have believed that in the study of those statements that we should recognize that every precept of God is given in mercy, and in consideration of the circumstances. 3SM 221.4

God said, “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder”; and yet Christ explains the law of divorce as given because of the hardness of their hearts. Because of the degeneracy of the people a divorce law which was not in God's original plan was permitted. I believe that the principle should be understood in regard to such isolated statements as your protest against the use of butter, and the statement that the child should have no other teacher than the mother until it was eight or ten years old. 3SM 221.5

Now, when that view was given you about butter, there was presented to you the condition of things—people using butter full of germs. They were frying and cooking in it, and its use was deleterious. But later on, when our people studied into the principle of things, they found that while butter is not best, it may not be so bad as some other evils; and so in some cases they are using it. 3SM 221.6

I have supposed that this school question was the same. The ideal plan is that the mother should be the teacher—an intelligent teacher such an one as you have described this morning. But I have felt that it was a great misfortune to our cause from Maine to California, and from Manitoba to Florida, that our people should take that statement that the child should have no teacher but the parent until it is eight or ten years old, as a definite forbidding of those children to have school privileges. If I understand it, that is really the question before us this morning. 3SM 222.1

When the brethren study this matter from the standpoint of the good of the child, from the standpoint of fairness to the parents, as far as I can see, they all acknowledge that there are conditions in which it would be better for the child to have some school privilege than to be ruled out. But there is the precept, a child shall have no teacher but the parents until it is eight or ten years old; that settles it.... 3SM 222.2

Sister White: Well, if parents have not got it in them you might just as well stop where you are. Therefore, we have got to make provision, because there are a good many parents that have not taken it upon themselves to discipline themselves.... 3SM 222.3

I believe that the people about here that have advantages can each do a little something to support a school for the others. I am willing to do it. I do not think that should be a consideration that should come in at all. [We talk of] “the expense,” “the expense,” “the expense”—it is nothing at all to have the weight of a thimbleful of expense. 3SM 222.4