Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students


The Child's First School

In His wisdom the Lord has decreed that the family shall be the greatest of all educational agencies. It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school. Here, with his parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout life—lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control. The educational influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil. They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side, they become a far-reaching power for truth and righteousness. If the child is not instructed aright here, Satan will educate him through agencies of his choosing. How important, then, is the school in the home! CT 107.1

In the home school—the first grade—the very best talent should be utilized. Upon all parents there rests the obligation of giving physical, mental, and spiritual instruction. It should be the object of every parent to secure to his child a well-balanced, symmetrical character. This is a work of no small magnitude and importance—a work requiring earnest thought and prayer no less than patient, persevering effort. A right foundation must be laid, a framework, strong and firm, erected, and then day by day the work of building, polishing, perfecting, must go forward. CT 107.2

Children may be trained for the service of sin or for the service of righteousness. Solomon says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. This language is positive. The training that Solomon enjoins is to direct, educate, develop. But in order for parents to do this work, they must themselves understand the “way” the child should go. It is impossible for parents to give their children proper training unless they first give themselves to God, learning of the Great Teacher lessons of obedience to His will. CT 108.1

Physical training, the development of the body, is far more easily given than spiritual training. The nursery, the playground, the workshop; the sowing of the seed, and the gathering of the harvest—all these give physical training. Under ordinarily favorable circumstances a child naturally gains healthful vigor and a proper development of the bodily organs. Yet even in physical lines the child should be carefully trained. CT 108.2

Soul culture, which gives purity and elevation to the thoughts and fragrance to word and act, requires more painstaking effort. It takes patience to keep every evil motive weeded from the garden of the heart. The spiritual training should in no case be neglected; for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10. By some, education is placed next to religion, but true education is religion. The Bible should be the child's first textbook. From this book, parents are to give wise instruction. The word of God is to be made the rule of the life. From it the children are to learn that God is their Father; and from the beautiful lessons of His word they are to gain a knowledge of His character. Through the inculcation of its principles they are to learn to do justice and judgment. CT 108.3

For some reason many parents dislike to give their children religious instruction, and they leave them to pick up in Sabbath school the knowledge which it is their privilege and duty to impart. Such parents fail to fulfill the responsibility laid upon them, to give their children an all-around education. God commands His people to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. What does this mean—the nurture and admonition of the Lord? It means to teach them to order the life by the requirements and lessons of the word; to help them to gain a clear understanding of the terms of entrance into the city of God. Not to all who would enter will the gates of that city be opened, but to those only who have studied to know God's will, and have yielded their lives to His control. CT 109.1

Parents, let the instruction you give your children be simple, and be sure that it is clearly understood. The lessons that you learn from the word you are to present to their young minds so plainly that they cannot fail to understand. By simple lessons drawn from the word of God and their own experience, you may teach them how to conform their lives to the highest standard. Even in childhood and youth they may learn to live thoughtful, earnest lives that will yield a rich harvest of good. CT 109.2