Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Ms 22, 1904

Co-operation Between School and Home

St. Helena, California

January 1904

Portions of this manuscript are published in CG 260-261, 557-558; SD 321; CC 49. +Note

The work of the teachers in our schools is a part of the work of the Lord for this time. Church school teachers must not lightly regard the responsibilities of their work. Their influence is an important factor in the formation of the characters of the children and youth under their care. If they will strive diligently to keep the way of the Lord, they will be a blessing and a help to the students, aiding them to form characters that will stand in the day of judgment. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 1

Those who would be Christlike teachers must learn constantly in His school. Unless they have learned to obey God’s requirements, how can they teach their pupils to obey? Unless they have learned to be patient, they are not prepared to bear the many trials and annoyances of a schoolroom. The preparation they need to fit them to take charge of a church school will fit them also for efficient work in the church and Sabbath school. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 2

Unjust Criticism

The teachers in our church schools should not be left to carry alone the burden of training and educating children and youth. They need the sympathy, the kindness, the co-operation, and the love of every church member. There are church members who have been quick to catch up unkind suppositions and to speak disparagingly to the teacher before other church members, and even in the presence of children. Some have talked freely and bitterly concerning a teacher, when they have not clearly understood the matters regarding which they have spoken. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 3

This should not be. Let the one who thinks that a teacher has done wrong follow the directions that Christ has given. He says, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between him and thee alone.” [Matthew 18:15.] Until you have done this, you are not justified in telling others of your brother’s mistakes. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 4

Let the church members in places where church schools are established keep their own souls in the love of God, lest they become channels through which Satan communicates evil surmisings and false accusations. Let all rally to the support of the teacher. Commend the good, rather than censuring the mistakes. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 5

The Parents’ Responsibility

We are not to concern ourselves about the course that others are following so much as about the course that we ourselves are following. If the children attending a church school do not improve in manners, the parents should not unduly blame the teacher. They should rather closely examine themselves to see if in the home they are such teachers as God can approve. In many cases children are greatly neglected in the home and are more disorderly there than they are in the school. If children that for years have been neglected in the home are not led by the teacher to live Christian lives, shall the parents, because of this, set in circulation unkind criticisms regarding the teacher? Let them rather think of their own neglect. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 6

Parents have an important part to act in making the church school a success. When they faithfully act their part as teachers in the home, the work of the teacher will be greatly lightened. His hope and courage will be increased. But by a failure to govern their households, parents make the work of the teacher hard and discouraging. Parents whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ will refrain from finding fault and will do all in their power to encourage and help the one whom they have chosen as a teacher for their children. They will be willing to believe that he is just as conscientious in his work as they are in theirs. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 7

The teacher must make rules to guide the conduct of his pupils. These rules should be few and well considered; and when once made, they should be enforced. Every principle involved in them should be so placed before the student that he may be convinced of its justice. Thus he will feel a responsibility to see that the rules which he himself has helped to frame are obeyed. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 8

The parents should encourage the teacher by showing that they appreciate his efforts. Never should they say or do anything that will encourage insubordination in their children. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 9

Christ left the royal courts and came to our world to save the children as verily as to save their parents. And He desires the members of the church to co-operate with Him by setting children an example of strict obedience to God. It is essential to the complete success of a church school that the church members set an example of true piety. Their business transactions should be without spot or stain. They should reveal the true union of faith and works, that the students may not have before them the lives of unworthy church members whom Christ is ashamed to own as His brethren. The guardians of the church should do all in their power to keep the members from exerting an influence that will counterwork the efforts of the teacher. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 10

I am instructed to say to parents, Elevate the standard in your own homes. Teach your children to obey. Rule them by the combined influence of authority and affection. Let your lives be such that of you may be spoken the words of commendation spoken of Cornelius, of whom it is said that he “feared God, with all his house.” [Acts 10:2.] 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 11

A Reformation Needed

A reformation is needed among our children. Let there be harmonious co-operation between parents and teachers. Let a righteous influence be exerted in the home and in the school. Parents need to take an advanced step. Let them remember that everything that brings discord is the work of the enemy of souls. Let them carefully refrain from criticism of the teacher and begin to do practical missionary work in their own homes. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 12

Parents, how are you going to govern your families? Shall your children be lost because of your lack of faithfulness in the home? Neither you nor your children will prosper in any other path than the path of obedience. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 13

If you have failed in your duty to your families, confess your sins before God. Gather your children about you and acknowledge your neglect. Tell them that you desire to bring about a reformation in the home, and ask them to help you to make the home what it ought to be. Read to them the directions found in the Word of God. Pray with them, and ask God to spare their lives and to help them to prepare for a home in His kingdom. In this way you may begin a work of reformation, and then continue to keep the way of the Lord. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 14

Be pleasant. Never speak loud, passionate words. In restraining and disciplining your children, be firm, but kind. Encourage them to do their duty as members of the family firm. Express your appreciation of the efforts they put forth to restrain their inclinations to do wrong. Let the Word of God be your only rule. And keep ever in mind the responsibilities for which in the great day of judgment you must give account. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 15

Restrain every word that would arouse unholy temper. “Parents, provoke not your children to wrath,” is a divine injunction. [Ephesians 6:4.] Remember that they are young in years and experience. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 16

Of the patriarch Abraham, the Omniscient One said, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” [Genesis 18:19.] 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 17

Abraham’s household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the true God found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the faith. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 18

Abraham’s affection for his children and his household led him to guard their religious faith, to impart to them a knowledge of the divine statutes as the most precious legacy he could transmit to them and through them to the world. All were taught that they were under the rule of the God of heaven. There was to be no oppression on the part of parents and no disobedience on the part of children. God’s law had appointed to each his duties, and only in obedience could any secure happiness and prosperity. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 19

His own example, the silent influence of his daily life, was a constant lesson. The unswerving integrity, the benevolence and unselfish courtesy which had won the admiration of kings, was displayed in the home. There was a fragrance about the life, a nobility and loveliness of character, which revealed to all that he was connected with heaven. He did not neglect the soul of the humblest servant. In his household there was not one law for the master and one for the servant; a royal way for the rich and another for the poor. All were treated with justice and compassion as inheritors with him of the grace of life. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 20

He “will command his household.” [Verse 19.] There would be no sinful neglect to restrain the evil propensities of his children, no weak, unwise, indulgent favoritism, no yielding of his conviction of duty to the claims of mistaken affection. Abraham would not only give right instruction, but he would maintain the authority of just and righteous laws. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 21

How few there are in our day who follow this example. On the part of too many parents there is a blind and selfish sentimentalism, which is manifested in leaving children with their unformed judgment and undisciplined passions to the control of their own will. This is the worst cruelty to the youth and a great wrong to the world. Parental indulgence causes disorder in families and in society. It confirms in the young the desire to follow inclination instead of submitting to the divine requirements. Thus they grow up with a heart averse to doing God’s will, and they transmit their irreligious, insubordinate spirit to their children and their children’s children. Like Abraham, parents should command their households after them. Let obedience to parental authority be taught and enforced as the first step in obedience to the authority of God. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 22

The Lord is our Creator, and we are His children, subject to His rule. God’s method of government is an example of how parents are to train their children. There is no oppression in the Lord’s service, and there is to be no oppression in the home. Parents and guardians are to treat those under their care even as God treats His earthly children, with kindness and love. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 23

In the home and in the school there is to be strict and faithful discipline. Neither parents nor teachers are to allow disregard of their authority to go unnoticed. They are to make immediate efforts to lead the offender into right paths. Should they neglect to correct children when they do wrong, God would hold them accountable for the results of their neglect. But let them be sparing of censure. Let kindness be the law of the home and of the school. Let children to taught to keep the law of the Lord, and let a firm, loving influence restrain them from evil. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 24

Parents, humble your hearts before God. Begin a thorough work with your children. Plead with the Lord to forgive your disregard of His word in neglecting to train your children in the way they should go. Ask for light and guidance, for a tender conscience, and for clear discernment that you may see your mistakes and failures. God will bear such prayers from a humble and contrite heart. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 25

The world is watching and will take notice of every defect to be seen among Christ’s followers. Shall we co-operate with the great enemy of souls in accusing those who are trying to do the Lord’s work? Those who truly love Jesus will endeavor so to live that they may not in their lives misrepresent the character of their Master. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 26

We are not to be satisfied with a low standard. “if any man will come after Me,” Christ says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.] May God help fathers and mothers to purify their souls that they may stand before Him and before the world as those who are keeping the way of the Lord. 19LtMs, Ms 22, 1904, par. 27