Child Guidance


Chapter 2—The First Teachers

Parents to Understand Their Responsibility—The father and the mother should be the first teachers of their children.1 CG 21.1

Fathers and mothers need to understand their responsibility. The world is full of snares for the feet of the young. Multitudes are attracted by a life of selfish and sensual pleasure. They cannot discern the hidden dangers or the fearful ending of the path that seems to them the way of happiness. Through the indulgence of appetite and passion, their energies are wasted, and millions are ruined for this world and for the world to come. Parents should remember that their children must encounter these temptations. Even before the birth of the child, the preparation should begin that will enable it to fight successfully the battle against evil.2 CG 21.2

More than human wisdom is needed by parents at every step, that they may understand how best to educate their children for a useful, happy life here, and for higher service and greater joy hereafter.3 CG 21.3

Child Training an Important Part of God's Plan—The training of children constitutes an important part of God's plan for demonstrating the power of Christianity. A solemn responsibility rests upon parents so to train their children that when they go forth into the world, they will do good and not evil to those with whom they associate.4 CG 21.4

Parents should not lightly regard the work of training their children, nor neglect it upon any account. They should employ much time in careful study of the laws which regulate our being. They should make it their first object to become intelligent in regard to the proper manner of dealing with their children, that they may secure to them sound minds in sound bodies.... CG 21.5

Many who profess to be followers of Christ are sadly neglectful of home duties; they do not perceive the sacred importance of the trust which God has placed in their hands, to so mold the characters of their children that they will have the moral stamina to resist the many temptations that ensnare the feet of youth.5 CG 22.1

Co-operation With God Is Necessary—Christ did not ask His Father to take the disciples out of the world, but to keep them from the evil in the world, to keep them from yielding to the temptations which they would meet on every hand. This prayer fathers and mothers should offer for their children. But shall they plead with God, and then leave their children to do as they please? God cannot keep children from evil if the parents do not co-operate with Him. Bravely and cheerfully parents should take up their work, carrying it forward with unwearying endeavor.6 CG 22.2

If parents would feel that they are never released from their burden of educating and training their children for God, if they would do their work in faith, co-operating with God by earnest prayer and work, they would be successful in bringing their children to the Saviour.7 CG 22.3

How One Couple Met Their Responsibilities—An angel from heaven came to instruct Zacharias and Elizabeth as to how they should train and educate their child, so as to work in harmony with God in preparing a messenger to announce the coming of Christ. As parents they were to faithfully co-operate with God in forming such a character in John as would fit him to perform the part God had assigned him as a competent worker. CG 22.4

John was the son of their old age, he was a child of miracle, and the parents might have reasoned that he had a special work to do for the Lord and the Lord would take care of him. But the parents did not thus reason; they moved to a retired place in the country, where their son would not be exposed to the temptations of city life, or induced to depart from the counsel and instruction which they as parents would give him. They acted their part in developing a character in the child that would in every way meet the purpose for which God had designed his life.... They sacredly fulfilled their obligation.8 CG 23.1

Regard Children as a Trust—Parents are to look upon their children as entrusted to them of God to be educated for the family above. Train them in the fear and love of God; for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”9 CG 23.2

Those who are loyal to God will represent Him in the home life. They will look upon the training of their children as a sacred work, entrusted to them by the Most High.10 CG 23.3

Parents to Qualify as Christian Teachers—The work of parents, which means so much, is greatly neglected. Awake, parents, from your spiritual slumber and understand that the very first teaching the child receives is to be given to him by you. You are to teach your little ones to know Christ. This work you must do before Satan sows his seeds in their hearts. Christ calls the children, and they are to be led to Him, educated in habits of industry, neatness, and order. This is the discipline Christ desires them to receive.11 CG 23.4

Sin will lie at the door of parents unless they take themselves in hand and qualify themselves to become wise, safe, Christian teachers.12 CG 24.1

Unity Between Parents Is Necessary—Husband and wife are to be closely united in their work in the home school. They are to be very tender and very guarded in their speech, lest they open a door of temptation through which Satan will enter to obtain victory after victory. They are to be kind and courteous to each other, acting in such a way that they can respect one another. Each is to help the other to bring into the home a pleasant, wholesome atmosphere. They should not differ in the presence of their children. Christian dignity is ever to be preserved.13 CG 24.2

The Special Instructor Given for Every Child—The mother must ever stand preeminent in this work of training the children; while grave and important duties rest upon the father, the mother, by almost constant association with her children, especially during their tender years, must always be their special instructor and companion.14 CG 24.3

An Education Broader Than Mere Instruction—Parents must learn the lesson of implicit obedience to God's voice, which speaks to them out of His Word; and as they learn this lesson, they can teach their children respect and obedience in word and action. This is the work that should be carried on in the home. Those who do it will reach upward themselves, realizing that they must elevate their children. This education means much more than mere instruction.15 CG 24.4

Haphazard Work Not Acceptable—Haphazard work in the home will not pass the review in the judgment. Faith and works are to be combined by Christian parents. As Abraham commanded his household after him, so they are to command their households after them. The standard which every parent must raise is given: “They shall keep the way of the Lord.” Every other way is a path which leads, not to the city of God, but to the ranks of the destroyer.16 CG 25.1

Let Parents Review Work—Will parents review their work in the educating and training of their children, and consider whether they have done their whole duty in hope and faith that these children may be a crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus? Have they so labored for the welfare of their children that Jesus can look down from heaven and by the gift of His Spirit sanctify their efforts? Parents, it may be yours to prepare your children for the highest usefulness in this life, and to share at last the glory of that which is to come.17 CG 25.2