Education is a subject which has been widely discussed in the society in which we live. Many questions continue to arise. Are we educating our children through the correct role models which were instructed by God through His Word? Are we using the Bible as our manual and the Spirit of Prophecy as our inspiration?
We know of the negligence of many parents in the formation of characters similar to that of the Savior. A void exists where the correct method of education has been ignored. The home should be the first school of our children. "It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school. Here, with his parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout his life" (Child Guidance, page 17). "Too much importance cannot be placed upon the early training of children. The lessons learned and the habits formed during the years of infancy and childhood have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years" (The Ministry of Healing, page 380).
True education means more than following a certain course of study. It also means more than the preparation for this present life. It takes hold of the whole being and the entire period of existence. The true education prepares a child to face society and teaches the child to value divine concepts.
The most important age range in the child's education are the first seven years of life. During this period, the child's character is formed for his/her entire life. "Deny them anything rather than the education that they should receive in their earliest years" (Child Guidance, page 17). The education of children begins in the relationship and in the union of the parents. It is necessary to have a very strong union; there needs to be much collaboration. It is important to be courteous and kind with each other and to refrain from disagreeing in the presence of your children.
Parents should be careful about using the correct manner of educating their children so that they are successful. "Not by scolding, for it will do no good. Talk to your children as if you had confidence in their intelligence. Deal with them kindly, tenderly, lovingly" (Child Guidance, page 33).
Parents should be models of self-control. The mother needs to be calm and patient; she should not try to accomplish everything in a hurry. She should have self-control and be free from all types of excitement. "Fathers and mothers, when you control yourselves, you will gain great victories in controlling your children" (Child Guidance, page 217). "At all times the mother should endeavor to be quiet, calm, and self-possessed. Many infants are extremely susceptible to nervous excitement, and the mother's gentle, unhurried manner will have a soothing influence that will be of untold benefit to the child" (The Ministry of Healing, page 381).
Never should parents give in to their child's will. The child should be taught to accept the order of the parents as the decisive word. Many times parents satisfy the desires of their children so the parent will not be bothered.
The child needs to have discipline from an early age. When a child is not disciplined carefully and tenderly, this will later be reflected in a character with undesirable traits. How interesting is the proverb, As the tree grows, so does its branches. "How many lives are wrecked, how many crimes are committed, under the influence of a quick-rising passion that might have been checked in childhood, when the mind was impressible, when the heart was easily influenced for right and was subject to a fond mother's will. Inefficient training of our children lies at the foundation of a vast amount of moral wretch-edness" (Child Guidance, page 214).
Education in the home should never be considered as a secondary question. It is necessary to give extra attention to the child's education.
Jesus acquired His education in the home. His mother was His first teacher. She taught Him humility, honesty, and above all, to carry out His part of the household responsibilities. He learned a profession, working as a carpenter with His father. He was an exemplary son.
If there were more mothers like Mary in our world today, there would be more children like Jesus. It is certain that we would not have so much wickedness, disgrace, and so many broken homes, which bring unhappiness to man and to God. "Most of the evils that are bringing misery and ruin to the race might be prevented, and the power to deal with them rests to a great degree with parents" (The Ministry of Healing, page 380).
Whenever we have the task of educating our children, we should first seek Divine knowledge. "Before correcting them, go by yourself, and ask the Lord to soften and subdue the hearts of your children and to give you wisdom in dealing with them" (Child Guidance, page 244).
We know that the task of educating is very difficult when we try to do it alone. For this reason, the importance of family worship should be a priority in our homes. We need to find suitable occasions to show these little ones the love of Jesus. "The angels of God are present, noting how the younger members of the Lord's family are treated. The religion of the home will surely be brought into the church" (Child Guidance, page 552).
We need to be aware that the time of the end is near. Christ is returning. And what is being done in favor of the education of our children? Have we been exemplary parents? Have we, as mother's and father's, given our children the correct education, having education as the primary work in our lives? The negligence of this responsibility reflects a refusal to do the will of God.
As parents we should make our hearts humble before the Lord and seek divine knowledge to carry out this task. We should begin now, without procrastinating, giving our children daily religious instruction.
Our children need to be educated. They need to be taught the principles of love, faithfulness, mutual respect, and friendship. If we educate in this manner, we will be participants in the joy of Christ. We will be doing our part to form a great family in heaven, and we will be beside a host of angels to hear these words from Jesus, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34).
The family should be the center of Christianity. It should consist of a loving father and a calm mother who are always willing to teach the children about the Savior. It is in the home that the degree of Christianity of each member is revealed, and depending on the atmosphere in which the child lives, his attitude will reflect the decision of whether it is worthwhile to be worthwhile to be a Christian or not. However, the responsibility which falls on the parents is very extenuating; it will indirectly be deciding the direction of the children's decisions, especially the decision on whether or not to follow Jesus.
The word "educate" comes from a Latin root "educare" which gives the idea of taking from within. True education is not transmitted through words but with attitudes. Only 30 percent of the time spent with your child, in reference to education, should be spent with words, the remaining 70 percent should be expressed in attitudes. Personal example is the best educational method to teach truth to small ones.
There is a Chinese proverb which says, "Words teach, example attracts." Words as well as example are important, but words without example lose their mean-ink. There are many parents among us who are adept in expressing words "do as I say, but not as I do." The result can be seen in a society which is corrupt and destitute of moral and divine values.
Paraphrasing the words of Ellen White in the book Education, page 57, "The greatest want of the world is the want of parents—parents who will not be bought or sold, parents in their innermost souls who are true and honest, parents whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, parents who will stand for the right though the heavens fall."