Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850]


MR No. 821—Individuality in Educational Work

I am writing in Boulder Sanitarium and getting ready to start for Denver. I will present to you light given me and written directly after our [1901] General Conference in Battle Creek. The inquiry was made: Shall our nurses and helpers be set to pursue one line of work? Shall their whole study be to perfect themselves in that one line of work? I state here the light given me: Exigencies will oft require that there shall be a change from one line of work to another line of work, and it is important that the education given in all our institutions be one of diversity in unity. Not one is to be educated to pursue routine work in the sanitarium or in any of our institutions, so that hands and minds should be continually taxed with one long lesson of any order, because the mind needs to be worked on different lines of study which will not tax a certain class of organs too long at a time. 10MR 302.1

Change in lines of study in the schools is essential, and an intelligent growing knowledge. The mind must not be overtaxed with long application in one special lesson. It is not beneficial to the teacher, neither is it beneficial to the student. It becomes monotonous. Some can bear this concentrated effort: others become nervous, but do not understand the reason; but variety in daily studies is more restful to the brain than one monotonous line of study. Break it up: divert the mind: change it to different subjects, lest the monotony of one line of work disqualify the person for meeting the exigencies that will arise. 10MR 302.2

We see here in the sanitarium at Boulder that there is a necessity of each one standing in his lot and in his place. It would be wisdom to change the program, and often the one in service has complaints to make: he does not want to change. But while some serve all advantages, others see disadvantages in confining the mind to one class of studies. Some minds cannot endure the matter of one thing carried over for hours until the interest flags. Some minds are so constituted that they must have change in their studies. These students do not know what the matter is, but they are receiving brain damage. For some, the working forces need to be changed around to learn all jots and tittles of the work. Otherwise the work of the students will be most dry and monotonous, like the turning of a machine. 10MR 303.1

Counsel will be needed daily. Do not set students at work for hours on one lesson. Give them a change. The system, the mind, and the brain power of some will be injured by this kind of one-lesson plan. There should be change in the studies. Now, one teacher may think he sees a benefit to be derived. He does not know assuredly that the plans are the precise plans that must be followed. Be sure, teachers, that new plans are not invented to become a hindrance in the place of an advancement. And when you shall leave the school in other experienced hands you are not in any way to bind them to follow out your exact plan of recitations or of study. That which one mind will suppose to be the best plan may not be the best plan for others to follow.... Therefore those who shall serve in the place of another teacher should not suppose that his mind is to specify as to the studies of the students. 10MR 303.2

The Lord requires every person who shall take up responsibility to carry into that work intelligent, trained capabilities and work out his ideas conscientiously according to his previous knowledge and service in schools. The Lord has not designed any one special, exact plan in education. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. When men with their varied traits of character shall take up their appointed work as teachers and follow a plan of teaching according to their own capabilities, they are not to suppose they must be a facsimile of those teachers who served before them, lest they spoil their own record. One who has been a teacher many years, if he has not become intelligent in regard to the best way to plan and to carry on the work, then let him thoroughly experiment until he is satisfied, after prayerfully reasoning from cause to effect, that he has the right way. 10MR 304.1

All our institutions are to be educating schools. They are to become fully acquainted with all kinds of physical and mental acquirements, to bring in tact, a ready, healthful, diligent mind, and never let one mind suppose he is to be a criterion for other minds. All should improve in ingenuity and breadth. Never become narrow and so very precise that the real object of education becomes clogged in its advancement. Each soul is entrusted with talents according to his several abilities. One may have talents to be put in exercise, and he may be placed where he cannot show to good advantage if he supposes [that the] one who was before him expects him to do just as he has outlined for himself. No such measurement is to take place. Every soul is responsible to God and we are not to suppose [that] because a man is commended for the doing of a good work according to his ability, that another must go over his track and follow his exact measurement. Unfinished work will call for tact and adaptability.—Manuscript 170, 1901, 1-3. (Individuality in Educational Work,” May, 1901.) 10MR 304.2

White Estate

Washington D. C.,

October 3, 1980.