Home, The First School

It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin.  Here, with parents as instructors, the child is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout life – lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control, love and kindness.1 Academics will naturally follow, but the formation of a right character must be conscientiously cultivated and trained.
 
 
The influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil. They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side, they become a far-reaching power for truth and righteousness. If the child is not purposefully instructed to do right and to shun evil, Satan will surround the child with enticements and influences that will educate the child through agencies of his choosing.2

 

Trying to shelter the young child from these enticements and influences is a moment by moment challenge requiring constant prayer. For example, every time I enter a store with my 2 year old, we are accosted by the music. As musicians, we are drawn to melodies and rhythms. My husband is drawn to lyrics. When we enter a store, I purposefully start singing a Scripture song, Sabbath School song or hymn. My daughter focuses on me and we enjoy our shopping trip, singing to our own music, often making up new words to familiar tunes.

 

If I fail to do this simple little activity, I have noticed my daughter will hear and begin to bebop to the songs playing over the store’s speaker system. As cute as it may be to see her keeping time with the music, I know that Satan’s influence is more powerful than mine and I must quickly jump into action. A silent, short prayer for assistance from God, it is my responsibility to redirect her attention. No stern word or punishment would be appropriate. My little one is responding to her environment; it is my job to help change that environment.

 

On occasion, I have found it necessary to ask a store or restaurant manager to turn down the music volume. This takes some fortitude on my part mixed well with politeness. At one restaurant, the server told us that she did not know how to turn down the volume and that the manager had left for a while. My husband and I said, “Thank you for trying. Could we get our meal to go, please?” This response was to teach two lessons: First, you must make tough decisions regarding your environment. Second, you must always pay your bill, even if not satisfied.

 

During the month of October, when Halloween is in full swing, I have opted not to take my daughter shopping with me. The images displayed in store windows, restaurants and in the neighborhood are too invasive. It is impossible to completely shield her. When she does see the Halloween décor, I redirect her eyes and then carefully explain what she saw and why it is something we don’t want to be around. For instance, “Oh, that is a scary man. We don’t want to look at that; we don’t want to be around that; we don’t want to be scared. That is not good.” Sometimes I might sneak in: “Jesus will never scare us.” To my surprise, four months later, while in the grocery store, my little one saw Spiderman on the package of some item. She pointed at him and said: “That is scary. We must get away from him.” I heartily agreed and we moved quickly to another isle while I silently thanked God for His constant, vigilant guarding of my child.

 

Music and Halloween are just two examples. Television, videos, news programs, conversation, manners, and a myriad of other influences impact the young child on a continual basis. The principle is the same, though: Guide the young child’s life lessons, teaching them how to discern right from wrong, good from bad and how to respond so as to positively impress others.

 


 

 © 2010, C. Gillan Byrne

 



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1White, E. G. 1954;2002. Child Guidance [CG]. Review and Herald Publishing Association. Pg. 17 para 1.

2White, E. G. 1954;2002. Child Guidance [CG] . Review and Herald Publishing Association Pg. 17 para 2.

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