1. TEACHING THEM DILIGENTLY
a. What responsibility rests on parents as the first educators of children? Deuteronomy 6:6–9.
“As a preparation for teaching His precepts, God commands that they be hidden in the hearts of the parents. ‘These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart,’ He says; ‘and thou shalt teach them diligently.’ Deuteronomy 6:6, 7. In order to interest our children in the Bible, we ourselves must be interested in it. To awaken in them a love for its study, we must love it.”—Education, p. 187.
b. Who was instrumental in establishing the faith of Timothy? 2 Timothy 1:5. What vital role do mothers play in every facet of education?
“Especially does responsibility rest upon the mother. She, by whose lifeblood the child is nourished and its physical frame built up, imparts to it also mental and spiritual influences that tend to the shaping of mind and character.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 372.
2. LOCATION OF THE HOME
a. With the examples of Abraham and Lot before us, what considerations should take precedence in the choice of a home? Genesis 13:11, 12.
“In choosing a home, God would have us consider, first of all, the moral and religious influences that will surround us and our families. . . .
“Instead of dwelling where only the works of men can be seen, where the sights and sounds frequently suggest thoughts of evil, where turmoil and confusion bring weariness and disquietude, go where you can look upon the works of God. Find rest of spirit in the beauty and quietude and peace of nature. . . .
“The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. . . . The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings—the handiwork of the great Master Artist. In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time—that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and luxury, but in communion with God through His created works.”—The Adventist Home, pp. 131, 132.
b. What choice of location did John the Baptist make in view of his mission? Matthew 3:1.
“John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, received his early training from his parents. The greater portion of his life was spent in the wilderness. . . . It was John’s choice to forego the enjoyments and luxuries of city life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial.”—The Adventist Home, p. 133.
“There is not one family in a hundred who will be improved physically, mentally, or spiritually, by residing in the city.”—Country Living, p. 13.
“Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits. . . . God will help His people to find such homes outside of the cities.”—Medical Ministry, p. 310.
3. THE CHILD’S FIRST SCHOOL
a. Who has God ordained to be the child’s first teachers? Proverbs 1:8.
“Parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age. As fast as their minds can comprehend it, the parents should open before them God’s great book of nature. The mother should have less love for the artificial in her house and in the preparation of her dress for display, and should find time to cultivate, in herself and in her children, a love for the beautiful buds and opening flowers. By calling the attention of her children to their different colors and variety of forms, she can make them acquainted with God, who made all the beautiful things which attract and delight them. She can lead their minds up to their Creator and awaken in their young hearts a love for their heavenly Father, who has manifested so great love for them. Parents can associate God with all His created works. The only schoolroom for children from eight to ten years of age should be in the open air amid the opening flowers and nature’s beautiful scenery. And their only textbook should be the treasures of nature. These lessons, imprinted upon the minds of young children amid the pleasant, attractive scenes of nature, will not be soon forgotten.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 137.
“In His wisdom the Lord has decreed that the family shall be the greatest of all educational agencies. It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school.”—The Adventist Home, p. 182.
b. What counsel should encourage parents to educate their own children as long as possible? Psalm 34:13, 14.
“Some fathers and mothers are so indifferent, so careless, that they think it makes no difference whether their children attend a church school or a public school. ‘We are in the world,’ they say, ‘and we cannot get out of it.’ But, parents, we can get a good way out of the world, if we choose to do so. We can avoid seeing many of the evils that are multiplying so fast in these last days. We can avoid hearing about much of the wickedness and crime that exist.”—Ibid., p. 406.
“Neither the church school nor the college affords the opportunities for establishing a child’s character building upon the right foundation that are afforded in the home.”—Child Guidance, p. 170.
4. LESSONS OF RESPONSIBILITY AND INDUSTRY
a. How are parents to educate their children in order to best prepare them to be responsible adults? Proverbs 22:6.
“Children as well as parents have important duties in the home. They should be taught that they are a part of the home firm. They are fed and clothed and loved and cared for; and they should respond to these many mercies by bearing their share of the home burdens and bringing all the happiness possible into the family of which they are members.
“Let every mother teach her children that they are members of the family firm and must bear their share of the responsibilities of this firm. Every member of the family should bear these responsibilities as faithfully as church members bear the responsibilities of church relationships.
“Let the children know that they are helping father and mother by doing little errands. Give them some work to do for you, and tell them that afterward they can have a time to play.
“Children have active minds, and they need to be employed in lifting the burdens of practical life. . . . They should never be left to pick up their own employment. Parents should control this matter themselves.”—The Adventist Home, p. 282.
“Allow them to help you in every way they can, and show them that you appreciate their help. Let them feel that they are a part of the family firm. Teach them to use their minds as much as possible, so to plan their work that they may do it quickly and thoroughly.”—Child Guidance, p. 126.
b. What character trait is essential for usefulness? Proverbs 22:29.
“One of the surest safeguards of the young is useful occupation. Children who are trained to industrious habits, so that all their hours are usefully and pleasantly employed . . . are in little danger of forming vicious habits or associations. . . .
“Habits of industry and thoroughness will be an untold blessing to the youth in the larger school of life, upon which they must enter as they grow older.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 122, 123.
5. A SACRED WORK
a. How does the Bible describe the sacred work of heads of families? Psalm 128; Isaiah 8:18.
“Parents, you carry responsibilities that no one can bear for you. As long as you live, you are accountable to God to keep His way. . . . Parents who make the word of God their guide, and who realize how much their children depend upon them for the characters they form, will set an example that it will be safe for their children to follow.”—The Adventist Home, p. 187.
“After the minister has done all he can do for the church by faithful, affectionate admonition, patient discipline, and fervent prayer to reclaim and save the soul, yet is not successful, the fathers and mothers often blame him because their children are not converted, when it may be because of their own neglect. The burden rests with the parents; and will they take up the work that God has entrusted to them, and with fidelity perform it?”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 495.
“Do not depend upon the teachers of the Sabbath school to do your work of training your children in the way they should go. The Sabbath school is a great blessing; it may help you in your work, but it can never take your place. God has given to all fathers and mothers the responsibility of bringing their children to Jesus, teaching them how to pray and believe in the word of God.”—The Adventist Home, p. 189.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why are parents considered the primary educators of children?
2. How is the environment of the home related to the work of education?
3. What are the potential results of young children spending every day away from home?
4. How is the home education central to usefulness for the rest of your life?
5. Why are some parents tempted to blame the church for their own failures?