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.


  1. Hi Melissa thanks for another great post. I really enjoyed your presentation today. A quick question: I agree with you that it is important to raise your children to be healthy. How did/do you get your kids to eat their veggies? Do your kids have to finish everything on their plates? What are your meal time rules? If it is not too personal, im also very interested to hear about your children's daily schedule. Thanks!!!!

    1. Thankyou for your comment Anca. I have been thinking about your question "How did you get your kids to eat their veggies?". To be honest with you we had no difficulty at all and we still don't. It could be a few factors:
      1. My husband and I love our greens and fresh vegetables so my boys have always seen us eat them and naturally followed suit.
      2. When my boys were very little (crawling), they would crawl up to the vegetable garden, tear off some green leaves of kale, beetroot, spinach, rocket, etc... and munch it all down. I never stopped them and only encouraged them.
      3. At a young age we gave them 'green drinks'. And i mean GREEN - have a look at for our green drink recipe. My boys LOVE their green drinks.
      4. Before each savoury main meal we would give the boys their salad first. This had to be finished before they got their other food, but to be honest it was never an issue and they never complained just asked for more.

      In answer to your question "Do your kids have to finish everything on their plates?". DEFINETLY - whatever is served they must finish. We will serve a little first and if they want more they can, but it must be all finished.

      Our meal time rules are as follows:
      1. Sitting at the table to eat, no walking around with food.
      2. Eating over their plate, using cutlery and napkins.
      3. No talking with food in your mouth
      4. Chewing with your mouth closed
      5. Using manners at all times to ask for things
      6. Must thank the 'chef' and ask to be excused before leavig the table.
      7. Take plates to the kitchen and clean up the table when everyone has finished eating

      This is how our family operates, but each family is different. You need to work out what will be best for your family. But remember to expect more, not less.

      In regards to sharing our children's daily schedule, I would be more then happy to. Just need a bit extra time to put that together for you.

      God Bless!

  2. Thank you so much Melissa!!! I have much to implement in this regard.