Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Methods of Teaching - Chapter 4

"Wow! What an amazing chapter. So much to learn and unlearn. This weeks focus is on the 'Methods of Teaching', and there are so many crucial factors.

These are the main points/methods:
  • Prepare the way for your child to OBEY, cheerfully.
    • To prepare would mean to find the most suitable way to get them to do what you have asked. I have found that the easiest way to get them to obey is if I ask them with the right attitude and have a BIG smile on my face. At times I have made a game out of it and to see who can do the job the quickest or before mummy.
    • I really enjoyed reading about what we should get our children to pray for: 'Teach them to ask the Lord to help them in the little things of life; to be wide awake to see the small duties which need to be done; to be helpful in the home." What a wonderful thing to be able to teach our children.
  • Restful spirit and a loving heart
    • When we have a restful spirit and a loving heart it will "imbue them with pure aspirations, and cultivate in them a love for things honest and pure and holy." It is important that we learn the right methods and acquire tact when dealing with our children. It is also important to realise that all children are different and what may work for one family may not always work for yours. We must study the different methods and think if they will work in our circumstances and with the different temperaments that our children have. I know that what I deal with my eldest child will not work on my youngest - I have always had to vary the way I teach and discipline.
  • Quiet and gentle manner
    • This is important because it "tends to quiet the nerves of the little one." I especially noticed this in my first child. I was unsure of what I was doing and I was often in distress trying to figure out what to do. When I was uptight and emotional I saw it replicated in my infant. I still see it now. When I am stressed or not as pleasant as I should be, the boys just copy.
  • Song, prayer and lessons from scripture
    • "The Lord had directed that the children, even from babyhood, should be taught of His goodness and His greatness, especially as revealed in His law and shown in the history of Israel.". What better way to teach this then through song, prayer and lessons. Music and song is so influential. How many times does your child have to hear a Sabbath School song before he knows if off by heart? What a wonderful way for your child to memorize such wonderful things about God. Again I will mention the 'Thy Word Creation' song books, they are wonderful! It is a scripture passage done to music with a book to go along with it. My boys have been doing these books for quite some time and they have truly been a blessing. We are currently learning Isaiah 53 and looking forward to knowing it off by heart. We must also keep in mind how the wrong type of music and songs influence our children.
  • Teach with kindliness and affection
    • As parents we are to govern the house and the children are required to obey. 'The restless spirit naturally inclines to mischief' so we need to instruct them in the path they should go and give their active minds and hands something good to do. If we do not keep our children busy in good things and let them do as they please, they 'will give heed to that which Satan may suggest'. We are not to scold and belittle them, we need to win them with our kindliness and love for them and talk to them as you have confidence in them. We need to encourage them when they do good. Whenever I encourage and thank my children for something they have done, they want to do it more and MORE! Encouragement and thanks is a wonderful things which we all like to receive. Use it on your children.
  • Take time to reason 
    • As a child grows they like to ask 'why?' My eldest boy like to understand why things are being done a certain way. Not to answer back or be rude, but he genuinely likes to understand the reasoning behind some of our decisions. When we explain patiently he is happy, content and willing to do what we have asked. Yes, there are times when we need our children just to obey without demanding to know 'why?', but you can judge when that may be required.
  • Vary the manner of instruction
  • Outdoors
    • We are to teach lessons from nature to our children. It is very good for our children to cultivate the soil and look after their own gardens of produce and flowers. When our children are thus taught they are brought into direct contact with natures God. This type of education is in accordance to Gods plan. It is also very beneficial to a child who finds school work taxing and difficult. No matter where you live (even a unit or apartment) you can still have a little garden, even if it is in pots on a balcony.
  • Lessons to be short and interesting
    • Even as an adult I find it very difficult to concentrate if a lesson is long and not interesting, so we must be veen more careful when teaching our children. Say it Simply, say it often so that the children will not loath spiritual instruction.
  • Encourage independent thinking
    • We need to let our children to draw out lessons and truths for themselves. It is important to ask your child what they have learnt from a particular story or object lesson. Let them think it through and if they need help then give some main points to consider. Especially when you are outdoors ask them questions about why God made things the way He did.
  • Direct childhood activity
    • We shouldn't stop our children from being a child and playing and having fun but we should direct and guide their activity into 'something... that will advance them in physical and mental attainments.' I know this is important, and to be honest with you time consuming and difficult at times. I have 2 very active boys and to keep them busy all the time in doing good is a full time job on its own but it is well worth the effort. Yes it takes imagination, creativity and patience but God will provide it all if we rest our trust on Him. This is my work in progress at the moment and I REALLY need Gods help especially with baby boy number 3 due in a few weeks - pray for me please!
  • Teach helpfulness at an early age
    • When my youngest boy was just crawling around he just wanted to help (just as all little toddlers do), so I would give him a cloth and tell him to dust all the legs of the chairs and anything he could reach. How he loved to help mummy!! Yes it would of been easier just to ignore him and tell him to play with something, but what a blessing now. He loves to help and work! Yes, we are continually teaching him new things and it takes time and patience, but trust me, it will all be worth it one day. We need to teach them to put others happiness first and to look for opportunities to help family members and others in our community as this brings true joy. Remember that you are the best example.
  • Little attentions, often repeated.
    • Think of a GARDENER - he doesn't roughly pull out the weeds or violently dig the soil. He is gentle and often tends to his plants. We are to be like this with our child. We are not to be rough and demanding. These are Gods children, He has given them to us and we are accountable for how we bring them up. Let us learn to be 'gardeners' and our children 'plants'.
  • Give attention to little things
    • We need to teach our children to be faithful in the little jobs so that they will be given bigger and more important tasks in the future for which they will be qualified.
  • Talented children need greater care
    • Greater care is needed for those children who are talented and who possess personal attractions. How many times have we seen these things turned into a curse? This draws us to the next point:
  • Refrain from undue notice or flattery
    • We need to learn to not put our children on display or exhibition for their varied talents or personal attractions. We are to give them little notice in these things and not to flatter them. One reason that children are so bold and forward is because  they are 'noticed and praised too much, and their smart, sharp sayings repeated in their hearing.'
  • Read to your children
    • 'Take time to read to your children. . . . Form a home reading circle, in which every member of the family shall lay aside the busy cares of the day, and unite in study'. My boys favourite time of the day would be when we sit down together for worship or anytime during the day and read together the Bible stories or character building stories. Children love to have stories read to them.
  • Train not tell
    • Don't tell your children what to do without explaining first how to do it. Its like someone telling me to make a 3 tiered carob cake with a coconut icing without giving me a recipe. It would be difficult and frustrating.
  • Educate for self-control
    • This is difficult and takes time, it doesn't happen over night. It is with out consistent support and prayer that our children can obtain self-control. We want our children to do things because of a willing heart not from force. We want our children to make the right choices by themselves. I wish there was a simple and easy formula to follow even for us adults. All I know is that when we let Christ live through us it is much easier, and this is something that you are to patienly and consistenly teach your child and to talk about with them. Again, your example if the most important to them.
There is so much to consider and note in this chapter. I could spend a few months putting these things into practise and correcting the things I have not done well, and God willing I will start correcting those bad habits of mine and the children NOW!

Please download the next study guide for chapter 5. Blessings!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When to begin the childs training - Chapter 3

"True education embraces physical, mental, and moral training, in order that all the powers shall be fitted for the best development, to do service for God, and to work for the uplifting of humanity." {CSA 65.2}

A true education is much more then I ever thought it to mean. Most people would say that an education is a course of study, true, but we are wanting a TRUE education. One that will fit us for our heavenly home above and also fit us for service here on earth. Our main responsibility to our children is to mold and fashion their CHARACTER.

"Character does not come by chance. It is not determined by one outburst of temper, one step in the wrong direction. It is the repetition of the act that causes it to become habit, and molds the character either for good or for evil. Right characters can be formed only by persevering, untiring effort, by improving every entrusted talent and capability to the glory of God."  {CG 164.1} 

So when should the childs 'true education' begin? When the infant is in the mothers arms and is able to form it's own idea. So when is that you may ask? I have seen in my children that it has been very early on in their babyhood, even in the first few months. It is amazing how a baby can even learn how to get something it wants by screaming and demanding attention. Yes, babies cry as a form of communication, I completely recognize that, but there is a difference between a need and a demanding want. So why should the education and training of a child commence at babyhood? "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."  {CG 26.3}  

As a parents, we must be first trained and disciplined ourselves before we can train our children. Our children are God's property and they have been bought with a price, the price of Christs blood at Calvary. Parents - these children are not yours, they are Christs and need to be treated in a Christlike manner. Are you doing your best? I pray for forgiveness in my many mistakes, but God is merciful and He is working with us all.

This statement I found had great impact on me:  
"The first child especially should be trained with great care, for he will educate the rest."  {CG 27.4} 
How I have found this to be true. Younger siblings love to copy and follow in the footsteps of their older brother/sister, they want to be just like them. It also works in the same way with the older sibling; they want to be like their parents and will copy what they do. It is a chain reaction that starts off with us! Are we giving the right example that we want passed down through all of our generations? We definetly have something to consider here. Let us prayerfully and with earnest endeavour do our part.

God Bless!

Please find next weeks study here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The First Teachers - Chapter 2

Dear fathers and mothers. What a solemn responsibility we have as the first teachers of our child. Our Heavenly Father has entrusted us to take care of the children we are given and to educate them for the family above. So when does the education of the child begin and what is 'true' education?

You may find it startling to read that the preparation for the training of the child is to begin before birth. How can this be? Please read this:
  • If before the birth of her child she is self-indulgent, if she is selfish, impatient, and exacting, these traits will be reflected in the disposition of the child. Thus many children have received as a birthright almost unconquerable tendencies to evil. But if the mother unswervingly adheres to right principles, if she is temperate and self-denying, if she is kind, gentle, and unselfish, she may give her child these same precious traits of character. {AH 256.2}
  • Every woman about to become a mother, whatever may be her surroundings, should encourage constantly a happy, cheerful, contented disposition, knowing that for all her efforts in this direction she will be repaid tenfold in the physical, as well as the moral, character of her offspring. {AH 258.4} 
What a responsibility rests on us mothers to the well being and character of our child!! I feel so inadequate on this point as I am currently pregnant and this past year has been such a hard one for our family. A pray that the Lord will have mercy on me and will wink at my lack and that I may still have a child that will reflect His character. What a solemn responsibility!

Today while I was driving to the markets, I passed the University hear and started thinking of how I would like to take up some course of study. My mind started wandering in all directions of what I could study. When I came home and started going over my Child Guidance (CG) study I again came across '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}  Well no time for uni study - I have a clear direction of what I should be studying now! Please have a look at this statement:  'Health is a great blessing, and can be secured only in obedience to natural law. Good health is necessary for the enjoyment of life. A calm, clear brain, and steady nerve, are dependent upon a well-balanced circulation of the blood. In order to have good blood, we must breathe well.  Mothers are accountable, in a great degree, for the health and lives of their children, and should become intelligent in regard to laws upon which life and health depend. Their work does not end here. They should carefully educate their children upon this subject, that they may, by obedience to nature's laws, avoid disease, and secure health and happiness. It is not necessary that all mothers should teach their children all the details of physiology and anatomy. But they should avail themselves of all the means within their reach to give their children instruction relative to the simple principles of hygiene.'  {HR, November 1, 1871 par. 2}

It is a fact (and a sad one) that parents are neglecting their home duties in regards to forming their children's characters. It seems as though everywhere you turn these days you are faced with children and youth who are disrespectful, impatient, rude... the list goes on. I in no ways am saying that my children have got the right characters - BUT it is definitely something that we are CONTINUALLY working on. You just have to set a bad example ONCE, and you have sown seeds that take time to pull out. Beside US setting the right example, there are some fabulous resources out there to help us along the way. With our boys we have used the 'Ladder of Life' series which you can purchase through the ABC shop. It is a set of Character building books and with it comes a teacher manual and songbook with additional activities and songs that will help instill in the child's mind the lessons learnt. As they grow older there are more resources such as the 'Character First' binders (primary school level) or the 'Character Sketches' books (high school level). There are also so many free christian resources on the Internet so please have a look.

I REALLY don't think we are praying and doing enough for our children so that they may not yield to temptation. We seem to think that we have time on our side and it will all work out fine in the long run. You are mistaken!! I remember thinking that when Danny (my eldest) was just toddling around. I was a little lax at times and thought that I could fix all the problems when he was a little older and easier to reason with - what a mistake! Trust me - before you know it they will be 6 and then 10, a teen and then an adult, do what you must do NOW! There is no time to waste, and there is precious time to regain. God cannot do His part if we are not doing ours. We need to 'bravely and cheerfully' take up our work with 'unwearying endeavour'. Yes you may feel tired, exhausted and see no results for a time, but have FAITH! God will work with our efforts and you will see results!

Let's sit back and think about the possibilities of what Zacharias and Elizabeth could of done when they knew that they were to miraculously have a son and he would have a special work to do for the Lord.
  • They could of reasoned that God will take care of him as he had a special work to do
  • They could of half hearted trained John. Sometimes correcting but also ignoring and turning a blind eye to the character faults of John
  • They could of pleaded with God for His help and done their part faithfully in bringing John up for the Lord
So what did they do? They moved to a quiet place in the country where John would not be exposed to the temptations of a city life or 'induced to depart from counsel and instruction of his parents'. They acted their part in developing his character. I look at this scenario and I wonder 'What are we doing for our children to make the path easier for them? Are we putting them in situations where they are tempted to go opposite to their parents instruction or to see bad examples set before them?' We need to understand that our children have been entrusted to us by God and we have a responsibility to raise them up for the family above. 

We must remember that there is someone else who is ready to train your children if you are not. Do you know who it is? Satan! He is ready to sow his seeds into their hearts, but we are not to allow this. We are to teach our little ones about Christ and to lead them to him. In our chapter this week we read of the ways that this can be done and the disciplines they need.
  1. Industry - From infancy children should be trained to do those things which are appropriate for their age and ability. Parents should now encourage their children to become more independent. Serious troubles are soon to be seen upon the earth, and children should be trained in such a way as to be able to meet them. Teach your children to be useful, to bear burdens according to their years; then the habit of laboring will become second nature to them, and useful work will never seem like drudgery. Parents cannot commit a greater sin than to neglect their God-given responsibilities in leaving their children with nothing to do; for these children will soon learn to love idleness and grow up to be shiftless, useless men and women. {CG 122.5} 
  2. Neatness and Order - These are great points, but keep in mind that if we want our children to be neat and tidy we must set the perfect example. 
    • As the guardian and teacher of your children, you are in duty bound to do every little thing in the home with nicety and in order. Teach your children the invaluable lesson of keeping their clothing tidy. Keep your own clothing clean and sweet and respectable. . . . {CG 110.2}   
    • Begin early to teach the little ones to take care of their clothing. Let them have a place to lay their things away and be taught to fold every article neatly and put it in its place.{CG 111.2} 
    • If the children have a room which they know is their own, and if they are taught how to keep it tidy and make it pleasant, they will have a sense of ownership--they will feel that they have within the home a home of their own, and will have a satisfaction in keeping it neat and nice. The mother will necessarily have to inspect their work and make suggestions and give instruction. This is the mother's work.  {CG 111.3 
It would be of great value to have a schedule. The children would then know what is expected of them and they would have their duties to fulfill.

It is true that the mother is to stand preeminent in the work of training the children, but father and mother should be closely united in this work. They are to always be tender and very guarded in their speech. They should always be courteous and kind to each other and never differ in the presence of their children. Parents, if you are to take these things to heart and do them, your home will have a pleasant and wholesome atmosphere. Isn't it worth it?!

I am not sure about you, but we have had days in our home (Lord forgive) where I have woken up on 'the wrong side of the bed' as they say it. And you know what? The children have too! Do you know why? Because my 'bad' attitude has brought an 'unwholesome' atmosphere in the home and they have just followed my leading. Then there are the times in our home where we have made a conscious and prayerful effort to bring sunshine into our homes, and guess what?! The children always respond in the same way and the home is the most beautiful place to be in, a place where angels love to dwell.

"The standard which every parents must raise is given 'They shall keep the way of the Lord' ".

Is this your prayer for the week? It is surely mine.

God Bless.

Please click here for next weeks study.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Welcome to everyone who is taking part in the Child Guidance studies. Yesterday at Toowoomba Central SDA Church we started on chapter 1 and what a blessing! In all our hope we thought we would get through all 6 questions in 1 hour, but in reality we got through 2 questions :o)

So much to discuss and talk about, we could have spent all afternoon in this first chapter, thus the reason for the 'Child Guidance' studies to go online.

If you do not have the study sheet for chapter 1 here it is.

May I remind you that the thoughts expressed on this blog are mine and I would REALLY appreciate your comments and thoughts so that we may all learn from each other. So let our journey begin!

I still remember the first time I read through 'Child Guidance' by Ellen G. White. I THOUGHT there was no pratical advice JUST theory - how I was mistaken! If we seek we will find - it is a promise. So when I came across the '7 lessons that we should teach our children' I was impressed to dig a little deeper and find out what SOP (Spirit of Prophecy) meant in a practical sense. So here is the information that I found which was a REAL blessing. Here is a summary:
  • Respect - Is best learnt when seen in BOTH parents showing love and respect to each other. I also found a great set of studies for children at this site:
  • Obedience - Administer the rule of the home with LOVE and not the rod of iron. I once heard a lady say that when ever she had to correct her child or if she was starting to get a little agitated with the childs behaviour she would PURPOSEFULLY lower her voice and speak gently. This is a great habit to have which I am prayerfully learning.
  • Reverence - If you want your child to be reverent and have an interested in the Word of God, they MUST see YOU being interested in it. Being in nature, and telling of the wonderous works of God leads your childs heart to reverence God. It is a great reminder that nature is the second text book after the Bible that the child should learn from.
  • Self-Control - If you want to teach lessons in self-control to your child, you have to learn them first. If you are easily agitated and impatient with your child, how are they to act any better. Great food for thought!
  • Kindness - We must set the example.
  • Patience - Every time you scold and get upset, you lose a precious opportunity in giving and lesson in patience. We must guard every word that we speak.
  • Thoughtful of Others - Again this is set by example.
As you may have noticed, WE need to have learnt all these lessons before we expect our children to be able to learn them. We need to spend more time on our knees in prayer asking God for His help to change us so we can teach our children and waste no more time!

A question raised at the study was "How do you get your child to sit still in church?". I remember asking that same question when my boys were younger and I received a wonderful response from a dear friend of mine, "Start family worship, state the rules of sitting quietly and the practise at home will prepare them for church.". Of course - why hadn't I thought of it! Practise makes perfect right? Yes we still had trials, especially at home when we were teaching our boys to sit still, but within a week they knew exactly what was expected of them and they were sitting still. We also pack a 'Sabbath bag' which consists of Bible books which are new or have not been seen for a while. This makes sitting through the sermon easier for them. And when to stop providing books for them to look at is another question? Parental judgement would have to take place for each individual child.

As parents we have the obligation of giving physical, mental and spiritual instruction. These 3 elements of a balanced character will be looked more in depth as we progress through the book, but lets take a sneak peak of what it might entail.
  • Physical 
    •  Health - What are we feeding our children? Is it food that will give them strength and a clear mind to fight their battles each day. "Our bodies are constructed from what we eat; and in order to make tissues of good quality, we must have the right kind of food, and it must be prepared with such skill as will best adapt it to the wants of the system. It is a religious duty for those who cook to learn how to prepare healthful food in a variety of ways, so that it may be both palatable and healthful."  {CG 373.2}  
    • Exercise -  "In the children and youth an ambition should be awakened to take their exercise in doing something that will be beneficial to themselves and helpful to others. The exercise that develops mind and character, that teaches the hands to be useful and trains the young to bear their share of life's burdens, is that which gives physical strength and quickens every faculty. And there is a reward in virtuous industry, in the cultivation of the habit of living to do good."  {AH 506.2} 
    • Learning a trade - "Schools should be established that, in addition to the highest mental and moral culture, shall provide the best possible facilities for physical development and industrial training. Instruction should be given in agriculture, manufactures--covering as many as possible of the most useful trades--also in household economy, healthful cookery, sewing, hygienic dressmaking, the treatment of the sick, and kindred lines. Gardens, workshops, and treatment rooms should be provided, and the work in every line should be under the direction of skilled instructors. The work should have a definite aim and should be thorough. While every person needs some knowledge of different handicrafts, it is indispensable that he become proficient in at least one. Every youth, on leaving school, should have acquired a knowledge of some trade or occupation by which, if need be, he may earn a livelihood."  {CG 357.3} 
  • Mental - We need to expect our children to be thorough in their school work and to be able to read, spell, write clearly and do their maths to the best of their ability before they are to take the next step into other subjects.
  • Spiritual - "Our heavenly Father, in giving His Word, did not overlook the children. In all that men have written, where can be found anything that has such a hold upon the heart, anything so well adapted to awaken the interest of the little ones, as the stories of the Bible? In these simple stories may be made plain the great principles of the law of God. Thus by illustrations best suited to the child's comprehension, parents and teachers may begin very early to fulfil the Lord's injunction concerning His precepts: 'Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up'." {PH124 3.1} 
God is so good! In talking to the Hebrew people, he told them how to teach their children so that they may stay in close relation to Himself:
  • To teach the children Gods requirements - COMMANDMENTS. 'Thy Word Creations' have a wonderful scripture memory book and CD which teaches children the 10 commandments. Don't be overwhelmed by the length of the commandments - God has made our childrens brains like sponges, they soak up information especially through repitition.
  • To acquaint children with all His dealing with His people - Read the bible. Start when they are young and they will have a desire for the stories of the Bible
  • Thoughts of God were associated with all the events of daily life - You know the verse "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deut 6:7
  • Deliverence of His people recounted with eloquence and reverential awe - Again the stories from the Bible
  • Providence and future life to be impressed on young minds - Children love to hear about heaven and to imagine of how it is going to be. Don't stop telling them about how good Heaven will be and what they would like to see and do there. Get them excited!
And how did the Hebrew people teach these lessons and firmly fix them into memory of the children? By the use of figures and symbols the lessons given were illustrated, and thus more firmly fixed in the memory. Through this animated imagery the child was, almost from infancy, initiated into the mysteries, the wisdom, and the hopes of his fathers, and guided in a way of thinking and feeling and anticipating, that reached beyond things seen and transitory, to the unseen and eternal.  {CG 19.1} Teach with - pictures, felts, drawings... Betty Lukens Bible Felts are fantastic!

Jesus secured His education in His home and He is our childs perfect pattern. He was faithful and cheerful in bearing household burdens. A question which I often ponder is about 'Chores' and what is to be expected of a child. This qoute is a good reminder:  "Each child in the family should have a part of the home burden to bear and should be taught to perform his task faithfully and cheerfully. If the work is portioned out in this way, and the children grow up accustomed to bearing suitable responsibilities, no member of the household will be overburdened, and everything will move off pleasantly and smoothly in the home" CG 350.
It is amazing how a child is born with a desire to help. Do not stop them even though it may seem much quicker to do it yourself and less of a hassle. When Marco (my youngest son) was crawling and toddling around, I would give him a cloth to wipe down the furniture. He would crawl around wiping the legs of the chairs, table tops, anything that he could reach. As my boys grew I introduced visual picture charts so they could see what their chores were, and when they had completed a task they would velcro a 'tick' next to the picture. When they had put all their 'ticks' up they would call me and I would check their work. They loved their charts and we rarely had to remind them to do their chores.
At the age of 4 and 6 they are a real blessing. I no longer have to water my garden, feed the animals, take out the compost or the rubbish bins, I don't even have to get wood for the fire! And all of this with cheerfulness and willing heart. I can't believe we have reached this far - truly it is worth the painstaking effort you must put in the beginning!

I pray that this study has been a blessing as it has been to me. Please share your thoughts, trials and questions so that we may all help and learn from each other. Looking forward to next weeks study.

In preparation for next week please complete the study guide for chapter 2.

Psalm 127:3      Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.