Child Guidance


Chapter 23—Self-Denial, Unselfishness, and Thoughtfulness

Lessons That Are Needed in Every Home—In every home there should be taught lessons of self-denial. Fathers and mothers, teach your children to economize. Encourage them to save their pennies for missionary work. Christ is our example. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He taught that all should come together in love and unity, to work as He worked, to sacrifice as He sacrificed, to love as the children of God.1 CG 131.1

Learn the lesson of self-denial, and teach it to your children. All that can be saved by self-denial is needed now in the work to be done. The suffering must be relieved, the naked clothed, the hungry fed; the truth for this time must be told to those who know it not.2 CG 131.2

Sacrifice Should Become Habitual—By precept and example, teach self-denial, economy, largeheartedness, and self-reliance. Everyone who has a true character will be qualified to cope with difficulties and will be prompt in following a “Thus saith the Lord.” Men are not prepared to understand their obligation to God until they have learned in Christ's school to wear His yoke of restraint and obedience. Sacrifice is the very beginning of our work in advancing the truth and in establishing institutions. It is an essential part of education. Sacrifice must become habitual in all our character building in this life, if we would have a building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.3 CG 131.3

A Self-denial Box—Children are to be educated to deny themselves. At one time, when I was speaking in Nashville, the Lord gave me light on this matter. It flashed upon me with great force that in every home there should be a self-denial box, and that into this box the children should be taught to put their pennies they would otherwise spend for candy and other unnecessary things.... CG 132.1

You will find that as the children place their pennies in these boxes, they will gain a great blessing.... Every member of the family, from the oldest to the youngest, should practice self-denial.4 CG 132.2

Children Should Not Be the Center of Attraction—Children of two to four years of age should not be encouraged to think that they must have everything that they ask for. Parents should teach them lessons of self-denial and never treat them in such a way as to make them think they are the center, and that everything revolves about them. CG 132.3

Many children have inherited selfishness from their parents, but parents should seek to uproot every fiber of this evil tendency from their natures. Christ gave many reproofs to those who were covetous and selfish. Parents should seek, on the first exhibition of selfish traits of character, whether in their presence, or when in association with other children, to restrain and uproot these traits from the character of their children.5 CG 132.4

Some parents give much time and attention to amusing their children, but children should be trained to amuse themselves, to exercise their own ingenuity and skill. Thus they will learn to be content with very simple pleasures. They should be taught to bear bravely their little disappointments and trials. Instead of calling attention to every trifling pain or hurt, divert their minds; teach them to pass lightly over little annoyances or discomforts.6 CG 132.5

The Grace of Self-forgetfulness—One of the characteristics that should be especially cherished and cultivated in every child is that self-forgetfulness which imparts to the life such an unconscious grace. Of all excellences of character this is one of the most beautiful, and for every true lifework it is one of the qualifications most essential.7 CG 133.1

Study how to teach the children to be thoughtful of others. The youth should be early accustomed to submission, self-denial, and regard for others’ happiness. They should be taught to subdue the hasty temper, to withhold the passionate word, to manifest unvarying kindness, courtesy, and self-control.8 CG 133.2

How carefully should parents manage their children in order to counteract every inclination to selfishness! They should continually suggest ways by which their children may become thoughtful for others and learn to do things for their fathers and mothers, who are doing everything for them.9 CG 133.3