Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 174, 1902

Talk/School Discipline

Fernando, California

October 1, 1902

Previously unpublished.

(Remarks by Mrs. E. G. White, at Fernando, California, October 1, 1902, to the Fernando School Faculty.) 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 1

From year to year we have planned how to keep the students in right lines, how to arrange the work so that they can all have a heart in it themselves but we have not spent enough time and thought in planning as to what we ought to do ourselves to make the work successful. In many cases I know that the teachers have not had the experiences they ought to have had. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 2

I am certain that in this school there will be things that will try human nature, that will tax your forbearance. It is more than we could expect that a whole term should pass by without some unadvised and hasty words being spoken—perhaps not angry words, but words without due judgment and forethought. It seems to me, in our little meetings that we have from time to time, we ought to put in at least half the time relating our own experiences. I believe that when the Spirit of God has said that we have given wrong advice, we ought to tell of it. We must set an example in these things which we desire our students to follow. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 3

I am satisfied that if the teachers would place themselves in their daily experience where they would like to see the students in their experience, there would be an influence go out from the teachers that would be hard to resist; on the other hand, if the students do not see in their teachers a spirit of renouncing and confessing the mistakes they make, there will be engendered in some a spirit to circumvent the teachers. Generally, if a public confession has been made, or if the wrong has been made right, the students will not make a handle of it. Confession on the part of a teacher goes a long way with an obdurate student. The very one who is so hard-hearted is of the most generous disposition when converted. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 4

C. Santee: This morning I was pleased. There was one student who said his own mother did not know about his going to school. She was afraid of it. This morning that same young man said, “I want to go to work, and do what should be done.” I told him, “If you take hold to make something of yourself, everybody will stand by you.” Tears came into his eyes as soon as I spoke in this way. We must not get above our students. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 5

It seems to me that if Sister White could use all the time while with us this morning, it would be well, for soon she will be away from us. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 6

Mrs. White: There have been many cases presented before me from time to time of both good and poor management, in households and also in schools. We all know that there are varied dispositions and characters in the students that come to our schools; and we know, also, that there are homes where the children are not under discipline, and where there is [no] management. Sometimes the children have been allowed to have their own way, to do just as they please. That makes it very hard for the teachers in the school. There are some here, I presume, to whom the grace of God working upon the heart of the teacher will be one of the greatest helps—it will be the help, the supreme help, to the student. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 7

You will have difficult subjects here to manage; but I know, from the light God has given me, that you are in a place where the surroundings are in every way favorable. Here you can watch for souls as those that must give an account. And if you will watch in that way, and not show that you are grownup men and women who have left their childhood behind, you will help your students over many a difficulty. This trying to imitate the Master is the best school to fit teachers for the higher school. Try to learn just how Jesus has to bear with us. We make our Saviour bear so much with our own infirmities. Keep thinking of this, and try to make it just as pleasant as possible for those under your care. When this is done, and the students find that you have a sympathetic heart, they will not brace themselves against you. But that very bracing, that stubbornness, is a faculty that, when converted, is of high value. So you do not want to break it or cut it down, but you want it to be converted; and just as soon as it is converted, you have a faculty which will be of the greatest value to the Christian. Christ says of us, as He sees the stubbornness of the will, I will take that will, and bring it into My service, and it shall be one of My greatest helps to help others. He takes the different traits of character, and says, I will take this trait, and that trait, and with My Spirit I will mold and fashion them, and they shall be My helping hand in assisting others who are of the same character to be converted to God. Another thing: at the very commencement of the school try to get the students to unite with you in the work on the land. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 8

E. S. Ballenger: Would you advise leaving a part of the campus for a playground for the boys? 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 9

Mrs. White: I thought you were going to educate these youths to labor. That is the point. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 10

E. S. Ballenger: The playground would better be a garden, then. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 11

Mrs. White: Everything that we have is to be put to use. Let the students understand that God has given us these hands, and this brain, not to learn how to play, but to learn how to become useful in the home, in the school, and in the church. What they need to learn is how to train every faculty to accomplish the very greatest good. To learn how to play is not what they are here for. It is to teach them how to study the Scriptures, how to be useful and do their duty. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 12

Teachers, take your pupils with you into the field, and say, “We will do this.” Lay out the work that they should accomplish in manual labor. All the education they can get in manual labor will be of great advantage to them. They must learn the use of bone and muscle. They must be educated how to work. If there are houses to build, and there are houses to build here, let a carpenter come and show them how to make the different parts of that building. Educate them in whatever you have to do in cultivating the land. In doing this you are giving them information that will be worth gold and silver to them; then they will have a trade; and when they go out as laborers to any foreign field, where there is no one to do these things—say on an island of the sea—they will know how to take hold and do for themselves. That is how we taught the students in Australia. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 13

If you labor in this way as the Lord has directed, brethren, then when you come to an emergency and do not know what to do, ask the Lord, and He will tell you. You cannot tell what you are going to do in the future; but as matters develop, go to the Lord with your burdens; He will help you and strengthen you and will give you wisdom and understanding. You cannot create an emergency beforehand and then tell what you will do; but let the emergency come, and the Lord will give you understanding and wisdom how to manage. 17LtMs, Ms 174, 1902, par. 14