Spalding and Magan Collection


Domestic Education

Bismark, Tasmania,

April 22, 1895.

Dear Brother Olsen,

I have written largely with reference to students spending an unreasonably long time in gaining an education; but I hope I shall not be misunderstood in regard to what is essential education. I do not mean that a superficial work should be done, that may be illustrated by the way in which some portions of the land are worked in Australia. The plow was put into the soil to the depth of only a few inches, the ground was not prepared for the seed, and the harvest was meager, corresponding to the superficial preparation that was given to the land. SpM 9.2

God has given inquiring minds to youth and children. Their reasoning powers are entrusted to them as precious talents. It is the duty of parents to keep the matter of their education before them in its true meaning: for it comprehends many lines. They should be used in the service of Christ for the uplifting of fallen humanity. Our schools are the Lord's special instrumentality to fit up the children and the youth for missionary work. Parents should understand their responsibility, and help their children to appreciate the great blessings and privileges that God has provided for them in educational advantages. SpM 9.3

But their domestic education should keep pace with their education in literary lines. In childhood and youth, practical and literary training should be combined, and the mind stored with knowledge. Parents should feel that they have solemn work to do, and should take hold of it earnestly. They are to train and mold the characters of their children. They should not be satisfied with doing a surface work. Before every child is opened up a life involved with highest interests; for they are to be made complete in Christ through the instrumentalities which God has furnished. The soil in the heart should be preoccupied, the seeds of truth should be sown there in the earliest years. If parents are careless in this matter, they will be called to account for their unfaithful stewardship. Children should be dealt with tenderly and lovingly, and taught that Christ is their personal Saviour, and that by the simple process of giving their hearts and minds to Him, they become His disciples. SpM 9.4

Children should be taught to have a part in domestic duties. They should be instructed how to help father and mother in little things that they can do. Their minds should be trained to think, their memories tasked to remember their appointed work, and in the training to habits of usefulness in the home, they are being educated in doing practical duties appropriate to their age. If children have proper home training, they will not be found upon the streets receiving the haphazard education that so many do. Parents who love their children in a sensible way will not permit them to grow up with lazy habits, and ignorant of how to do home duties. Ignorance is not acceptable to God, and is unfavorable for the doing of His work. To be ignorant is not to be considered a mark of humility, or something for which men should be praised. But God works for His people in spite of their ignorance. Those who have had no opportunity for acquiring knowledge (or who have had opportunity and have failed to improve it), and become converted to God, can be useful in the service of the Lord through the operation of His Holy Spirit. But those who have education, and who consecrate themselves to the service of God, can do service in a greater variety of ways and can accomplish a much more extensive work in bringing souls to the knowledge of the truth than can those who who are uneducated. They are on vantage ground, because of the discipline of mind which they have had. SpM 10.1

We should not depreciate education in the least; but would counsel that it be carried forward with a full sense of the shortness of time and the great work that has to be accomplished before the coming of Christ. We would not have the students receive the idea that they can spend many years in acquiring an education. Let them use the education that they can acquire in a reasonable time in carrying forward the work of God..... SpM 10.2

Ellen G. White