Child Guidance


Chapter 3—When to Begin the Child's Training

Education Begins With the Infant—The word “education” means more than a course of study at college. Education begins with the infant in its mother's arms. While the mother is molding and fashioning the character of her children, she is educating them.1 CG 26.1

Parents send their children to school; and when they have done this, they think they have educated them. But education is a matter of greater breadth than many realize: it comprises the whole process by which the child is instructed from babyhood to childhood, from childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood. As soon as a child is capable of forming an idea, his education should begin.2 CG 26.2

Start When the Mind Is Most Impressible—The work of education and training should commence with the babyhood of the child; for then the mind is the most impressible, and the lessons given are remembered.3 CG 26.3

Children should virtually be trained in a home school from the cradle to maturity. And, as in the case of any well-regulated school, the teachers themselves gain important knowledge; the mother especially, who is the principal teacher in the home, should there learn the most valuable lessons of her life.4 CG 26.4

It is a parent's duty to speak right words.... Day by day parents should learn in the school of Christ lessons from One that loves them. Then the story of God's everlasting love will be repeated in the home school to the tender flock. Thus, before reason is fully developed, children may catch a right spirit from their parents.5 CG 26.5

Give Study to the Early Training—The early training of children is a subject that all should carefully study. We need to make the education of our children a business, for their salvation depends largely upon the education given them in childhood. Parents and guardians must themselves maintain purity of heart and life, if they desire their children to be pure. As fathers and mothers, we should train and discipline ourselves. Then as teachers in the home, we can train our children, preparing them for the immortal inheritance.6 CG 27.1

Make a Right Beginning—Your children are God's property, bought with a price. Be very particular, O fathers and mothers, to treat them in a Christlike manner.7 CG 27.2

The youth should be carefully and judiciously trained, for the wrong habits formed in childhood and youth often cling to the entire life-experience. May God help us to see the necessity of beginning right.8 CG 27.3

Importance of Training the First Child—The first child especially should be trained with great care, for he will educate the rest. Children grow according to the influence of those who surround them. If they are handled by those who are noisy and boisterous, they become noisy and almost unbearable.9 CG 27.4

The Plant—An Object Lesson in Child Training—The gradual development of the plant from the seed is an object lesson in child training. There is “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28. He who gave this parable created the tiny seed, gave it its vital properties, and ordained the laws that govern its growth. And the truths taught by the parable were made a reality in His own life. He, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, became a babe in Bethlehem, and for a time represented the helpless infant in its mother's care. In childhood He spoke and acted as a child, honoring His parents, and carrying out their wishes in helpful ways. But from the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in grace and in a knowledge of truth.10 CG 27.5