Home Education Means Much

The life lessons a child receives at home are of great importance. Abraham was called the father of the faithful (Hebrews 11:8-19). Among the things that made him a remarkable example of godliness was the strict regard that in his home he paid to the commands of God. He cultivated home religion. [The God] who sees the education given in every home, and who measures the influence of this education, said, "I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment" (Genesis 18:19) 1.

 

To command one’s children seems to be such a harsh word – unless it is understood in the context of Ephesians 6:4: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Here, the Apostle Paul brings balance to an otherwise authoritarian-type statement.

 

In the book of Deuteronomy, God commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their people.2 These instructions are relevant to parents of today as well. In Deuteronomy 6:7 the Lord instructs parents: “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.”

 

To teach diligently is very hard work requiring constant attention to words, actions, facial expressions, situations, opportunities and external influences. It requires the parent to be attentive to, and take advantage of, teachable moments and opportunities. This hard work is possible, though. Some of the Biblical examples who have gone before us are Moses, Joseph, Samuel, Esther, Jesus, Timothy. All of these had diligent parents who followed God’s instructions.

 

Perhaps one of the most profound non-Biblical examples of diligent instruction can be found in the fame and fortune of a child celebrity named Shirley Temple. At the tender age of just three years, Shirley Temple embarked on an acting career that awed the world audience.

 

Behind the scenes, and ever present with a vigilant eye, was her mother. During mealtimes, bath times and play times, Shirley was coached and rehearsed. Her bedtime stories were acting scripts which she memorized in their entirety. Singing and dancing were regular activities practiced with the most talented instructors. Her product endorsements were carefully monitored. Her associations, both adult and child alike, were scrutinized and limited.

 

According to the official studio documentary of her life, many of the children who attended her publicized birthday parties were never acquainted with Shirley; they were simply “extras on the set.” The birthday gifts she received were never opened by Shirley; they were instead donated to underprivileged children. Her elementary education was attentively provided by one teacher who was conscientiously chosen.

 

If the diligent oversight and instruction of a mother can secure worldly fame and fortune for a young child, remember the promise of God: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (2 Corinthians 2:9).

 

Fathers and mothers are to give diligent oversight and instructions to their children. Thoughts of God can be associated with all the events of daily life.3 When a young child finds a rock, the parent has an opportunity to retell the story of the wise man who built a house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-27) followed by a recitation of Psalm 18:2: “The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength in whom I will trust.”

 

When the young toddler throws food on the floor, the parent has the opportunity to stop the behavior, provide correction, and then retell the story of the loaves and fishes (John 6:1-14), emphasizing how Jesus instructed the gathering up of all the leftover food so none would be wasted.

 

The mighty works of God should be recounted with eloquence and reverential awe throughout the day, not just during morning and evening worship. The great truths of God's providence and of the future life should be impressed on the young mind. In this way, the young child will become acquainted with the true, the good, the beautiful.3 Talk of heavenly angels at Christmas time can naturally lead to talks about a personal guardian angel. Beholding the beauty of nature or tasting of some sweet fruit can lead to a discussion of the wonderful food God has made for us.

By the use of figures and symbols the lessons should be illustrated, and thus more firmly fixed in the memory. Through this animated imagery the child can be initiated, almost from infancy, into the mysteries, the wisdom, and the hopes of all Christians, and guided in a way of thinking and feeling and anticipating, that reaches beyond things seen and transitory, to the unseen and eternal 4.


 © 2010, C. Gillan Byrne


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Complete Published writings of EGW

 

1 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Importance of the Home School (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 18, ¶4). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

2 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Importance of the Home School (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 18, ¶4). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

 

3 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Importance of the Home School (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 18, ¶5). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

 

4 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Importance of the Home School (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 19, ¶1). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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