03 A Child’s Sense of Self-Importance

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By John Thiel, Child Training Series, Audio: mp3

The most important part of parenthood is to mould the character of the infant and the child as it grows. That deliberate work of the parent is affected by the adult world around the parent. The adult world that surrounds the child as it grows from infancy to youth and adulthood is that which affects its character as well. It is important that as we meet together regularly we are all conscious that we are moulding the character of the infants by our demeanour. What I want to centre our attention on is the character that we are trying to mould or trying to avoid from moulding incorrectly.

The Work of the Mother

No other work can equal hers in importance. She has not, like the artist, to paint a form of beauty upon canvas, nor, like the sculptor, to chisel it from marble. She has not, like the author, to embody a noble thought in words of power, nor, like the musician, to express a beautiful sentiment in melody. It is hers, with the help of God, to develop in a human soul the likeness of the divine. {MH 377.1}

That runs cold shivers down my spine every time I read it. A parent, mother, father and the adults are to mould a character that is in the similitude of the divine. That is what we are looking at, the similitude, or the likeness of the divine. Think about this. The human parent is trying to mould a character in the child that is to develop into the similitude of the divine. The poetic description I read here is perfect. Mothers want to do some great work. They think the housework is so menial and they would rather be an artist, author, sculptor, or musician or whatever they want to be but it is hers with the help of God to develop within the child the likeness of the divine within the human soul. What an important subject then to study so that we know what we are actually trying to do.

The law requires righteousness,–a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God’s holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. DA 762

Jesus covers our past. Let’s always remember that. All your past is covered by His perfection.

More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character. DA 762

In our conversion and gospel experience as an adult, Jesus is developing in us the similitude of the divine character.

…a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. DA 762

What the Lord is doing with us according to this statement is what we are called upon to do to our little children. This is what Jesus is doing with us. The character of Jesus that is the divine similitude and as we are trying to bring out in our children the character of Jesus, Jesus is trying to bring it out in us. What is the central component the very heart throb of that divine nature?

Philippians 2: 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

What’s one word that comprises the essence of the divine similitude? Selflessness. This is the very genetic make-up of the similitude of the divine. This is what parents are to develop in the child; selflessness. When the child is born, what is it born with? Every scientist tells you the child is egocentric.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

What a demoralising statement. My precious little baby has foolishness bound in its heart.

Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. 5BC:1128

Abraham

Inborn in a little baby is foolishness or propensity not to disobedience but of disobedience. That’s in the child when it is born. There is a big difference between the words of and to. Foolishness is in every infant that is born. That propensity causes it to be disobedient. This is what we are trying to develop into the similitude of the divine in this culture of propensity of disobedience. How do you go about it? Let’s go to Abraham’s example.

Genesis 18:19 For 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; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

God knew Abraham that he would command his household after him. Let the Spirit of Prophecy assist us.

Abraham’s affection for his children and his household led him to guard their religious faith, to impart to them a knowledge of the divine statutes, as the most precious legacy he could transmit to them, and through them to the world. All were taught that they were under the rule of the God of heaven. There was to be no oppression on the part of parents and no disobedience on the part of children. PP 142.1-3.

Can you see the difficulty? Those of us, who have had children and made our mistakes, can see how difficult it is to keep a child obedient (when it has the foolishness of the propensity of disobedience in it), while at the same time not oppress it and but steer it into perfect obedience. This is something we need to learn from God.

God’s law had appointed to each his duties, and only in obedience to it could any secure happiness or prosperity. PP 142.1-3.

His own example, the silent influence of his daily life, was a constant lesson. The unswerving integrity, the benevolence and unselfish courtesy, which had won the admiration of kings, were displayed in the home. There was a fragrance about the life, a nobility and loveliness of character, which revealed to all that he was connected with Heaven. He did not neglect the soul of the humblest servant. In his household there was not one law for the master and another for the servant; a royal way for the rich and another for the poor. All were treated with justice and compassion, as inheritors with him of the grace of life. He will command his household. There would be no sinful neglect to restrain the evil propensities of his children, no weak, unwise, indulgent favoritism; no yielding of his conviction of duty to the claims of mistaken affection. Abraham would not only give right instruction, but he would maintain the authority of just and righteous laws. PP 142.1-3.

A quiet example, a loving nature, yet no sinful neglect to restrain the evil propensities of his children. There was an example in Abraham’s child training which was commanded by his own powerful example. There was gravity as a fragrance around him so the children were surrounded by control that came from his person, a majestic force that the child could feel; a loving and firm, resistless power. The other aspect was restraint. There was no indulgence involved in it. This is what we need to understand in the development of our children. To restrain evil propensities they are the opposite to the divine.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

With whom does God dwell? What is the divine component here? If He dwells in a high and lofty place with somebody who is of a humble and contrite spirit, what sits on the throne; the very thing that He enjoys – a humble, contrite spirit, isn’t that what He is and likes to sit with? We are to restrain that propensity of disobedience and create a contrite and humble propensity.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Did you notice that He wants us to have the similitude of the divine? What is that? The younger is to submit him or her self to the elder but is that all? It says, yea all of you be subject on to another and be clothed with humility. Didn’t God demonstrate that to us? He was humbly submissive to sinners such as you and I. He resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. He sits on the throne with the humble and contrite in spirit. What a meditation. This is what has to be developed in our children. Let us examine the means of restraint that moulds this similitude of the divine. It is, to train a child born with the propensity of disobedience, to exercise a restraint that moulds in them a contrite and humble spirit, the opposite of the child’s natural tendency. Proverbs says the rod of correction will teach it. Most people read that to mean, give it the works [hard spankings]. The rod of correction is more than simply a stick. Remember when Jesus comes He will rule the world with a rod of iron? What’s that? Does He give them a belting? No, it’s His word that has a powerful impact, it actually does something.

Look how beautiful a little infant is, especially your own. It is foolish. And because it is foolish, what do you do in its very early receptive stages? What do parents often do? They say, “Isn’t she lovely?” and parade it off to the people. The child receives all this attention. What is it doing to the sensitivities that are awakening in that child? Think about it. That child with its foolishness will respond with foolishness. The child will actually develop foolishness. Think about everything you do and say to that child. The child is looking at and sensing your atmosphere. As the adults go around and tweak its cheek, and goo and gaa what do you think is coming into the foolish-bound heart? The child thinks, “Oh, this is nice, I’m being paid attention to by all these big people. They are all my servants.” That is what is gradually being instilled into the child because it’s already there; the foolishness of disobedience. Adults that communicate these exhibitions of fondness are actually drawing out the selfish propensity in the child, drawing it into existence more and more.

In many families, the seeds of vanity and selfishness are sown in the hearts of the children almost during babyhood. CG 140:2-3

What is the child being seeded with? “They’re paying attention to me!” – vanity. Right there in babyhood.

Their cunning little sayings and doings are commented upon and praised in their presence, and repeated with exaggerations to others. The little ones take note of this and swell with self-importance. CG 140:2-3

This is the child’s sense of self-importance. How is it engendered? When you’re trying to take self out of it, instead it is actually engendered by you paying attention to it and drawing out all its smartness and all its cute little ways; commenting upon them and enlarging them in the hearing of those around you. The little ones take note of this and swell with self-importance.

They presume to interrupt conversations and become forward and impudent. Flattery and indulgence foster their vanity and willfulness, until the youngest not unfrequently rules the whole family, father and mother included. CG 140:2-3

Where did it come from? It’s already bound in the child and if you don’t want this to be developed, you must not even countenance it. If you countenance it, the child will surely exercise it. Right from the very arms in babyhood the adults have already sown seeds that make the child develop a sense of self-importance. Adults please don’t pay attention to the little ones. But that’s cruel, they’re so cute and when they smile they tickle your fancy and you go and say hello. The child says that adult really likes me; that self importance. You want to develop in the child selflessness.

The disposition formed by this sort of training cannot be laid aside as the child matures to riper judgment. CG 140:2-3

You are sowing the seed and as the child grows to riper judgment, this kind of self-importance cannot be laid aside.

It grows with his growth, and what might have appeared cunning in the baby, becomes contemptible and wicked in the man or woman. They seek to rule over their associates; and if any refuse to yield to their wishes, they consider themselves aggrieved and insulted. CG 140:2-3

Have you ever watched the child when you cross its path? It is grieved and insulted, it forces itself, and you jump to attention because the child is screaming. Let that continue to grow older and it will be a man or a woman who will make you jump to attention.

This is because they have been indulged to their injury in youth, instead of being taught the self-denial necessary to bear the hardships and toils of life. CG 140:2-3

If a child is not indulged in its cuteness, it will drop into a sense of I’m not important and it will grow up with that. With whom do you like to be in association? Someone who throws his or her self-importance around or somebody who feels very unimportant? In what we do with the little child, we are looking at the very grassroots, the very genetics of something we don’t like in the adult. That is what this is about. Instead of provoking this in the child as we have just described it, what will we do? Will we deal kindly with the child but not jump at its cuteness? When the child is seeking for attention, assess whether it has a need and kindly relieve the need. But when you have relieved the need do not play with it as a toy, put it down and leave it alone. The child doesn’t need in its developmental stages to be supported in its natural foolishness. It needs no support at all. Let the child discover that its natural foolishness is nothing to be responded to.

Give children but little notice. CG 37-38

You say, “But I wanted to have a little child to spend my time with and enjoy.” Of course you enjoy it, its gorgeous but keep it to yourself. If you want it to remain gorgeous, give it little attention. That doesn’t mean you don’t be kind to it, it just means treat it kindly and put it aside and let it sort itself out. The most beautiful thing to see is a little child is when it lies there just looking up. Then adults come and say, “You’re so lovely.”. That’s destroying it. Why even stimulate its responsiveness to your cooing over it when it’s quite happy? Just look at it from a distance and admire it. Let them learn to amuse themselves. The worst thing parents can do is put all those little coloured dangling excitement things over their cot and make them look at all this. I watched a little baby once and because these things were hung over it, it was reaching out for them but was unable to touch them, so it became all stressed up. What are you doing to the child? That goes on from babyhood right through their years in the majority of cases. Babies and children are constantly given something to pay attention to their demands and desires and their foolishness.

Do not put them on exhibition before visitors as prodigies of wit or wisdom, but leave them as far as possible to the simplicity of their childhood. One great reason why so many children are forward, bold, and impertinent is they are noticed and praised too much, and their smart, sharp sayings repeated in their hearing.

Endeavor not to censure unduly, nor to overwhelm with praise and flattery. Satan will all too soon sow evil seed in their young hearts, and you should not aid him in his work.

Can you see what Abraham did? He did exactly that. He didn’t oppress neither did he indulge. He required restraint.

When they are among other adults later on, Satan will try to sow these seeds but if you have done it already in babyhood, in the most unexpected way, Satan has got his own way already. We are dealing with a child that has the inherent propensities of disobedience. We don’t want it to become exhibited therefore don’t even provoke them in any way. Leave them alone to amuse themselves and then surround them as they grow up with the gravity of the example of firmness and restraint. Those children who are natural and unaffected are the most attractive.

It is not wise to give children special notice. . . . Vanity should not be encouraged by praising their looks, their words, or their actions. Nor should they be dressed in an expensive and showy manner. This encourages pride in them and awakens envy in the hearts of their companions. CG 139.3

Did you notice a very important word – awakens? It’s already there. It doesn’t need to be awakened. That’s the key word. The foolishness is there let it remain asleep. As you make it stay asleep, you surround the child with the gravity of the display that Abraham displayed. That will actually develop the similitude of the divine, the contrite, humble selflessness. This is a very important understanding.

Teach the children that the true adorning is not outward. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3, 4.

This is so different to that which is inborn. That which is engendered in that little child gradually grows and becomes an adult. We will turn to the example of a child that was brought up in Christian circle. That beautiful childlike simplicity of submission and Christ-like selflessness was commented on. Look what happened.

I have felt very sad in regard to you. In the meetings held in —–, I dwelt upon general principles, and sought to reach hearts by bearing a testimony which I hoped would effect a change in your religious life. I have tried to write, as given in Testimony No. 12, in regard to the dangers of the young. That view was given in Rochester. There I was shown that a mistake had been made in your instruction from your childhood up. Your parents had thought, and had talked it in your hearing, that you were a natural Christian. 2T 173-174

What did that do to this child?

Your sisters had a love for you, which savored of idolatry more than of sanctification. Your parents have had an unsanctified love for their children, which has blinded their eyes to their defects. At times, when they have been somewhat aroused, this has been different. But you have been petted and praised until your eternal interest is endangered. 2T 173-174

This natural Christian was petted and praised for their natural condition of being Christ-like, and that bought a disastrous attack upon her eternal interest.

I saw that you do not know yourself. You have a self-righteousness which fastens you in deception in regard to your spiritual attainments. 2T 173-174

What was developed in this child? The condition of the Laodicean; we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. Where has that been instilled; in the children of Adventists all through the generations?

At times you have felt something of the influences of the Spirit of God. But to the transformation by the renewing of the mind you are a stranger. Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. You have not had this experience, therefore have no anchor. You are not a Christian, and yet it has been talked to you all your life that you were a natural Christian. You have taken it for granted that you were all right, when you were very far from being accepted of God. This deception has grown with your growth, and strengthened with your strength, and threatens to prove your ruin. Your parents have felt jealous for their children, and if reports of supposed slights have been brought to them by their children, they have felt interested and aroused at once, and have sympathized with them, and stood directly in the way of their spiritual good. {2T 174.1}

What do parents do? Their children have been mistreated and they say oh, you poor thing and they began to sympathise with the way those children have been mistreated. When others mistreated my children, I said, “Well, what did you do?” They said, “Nothing Dad.” Then I would say, “Why did they mistreat you?” I didn’t say any more, I just got them to realise that what reflects back at one is usually onesself. As a result, they learnt the hard lesson of just being quiet. Consequently, they were left alone for a long time. Do you notice that the child’s natural condition of foolishness, which is engendered and awakened as it grows, becomes the adult?

It grows with his growth, and what might have appeared cunning in the baby, becomes contemptible and wicked in the man or woman. They seek to rule over their associates; and if any refuse to yield to their wishes, they consider themselves aggrieved and insulted. CG 140.

As the adult comes into function, that which has been entrenched through childhood becomes a ruling force. That is played out in a church setting when the children who have been brought up in the ranks of Seventh-Day Adventism or within the ranks of the Jewish faith as in apostle Paul’s period have been given too much attention as children.

These prejudices strengthened with the passing of the years, until some of the leaders determined that the work of preaching the gospel must henceforth be conducted in accordance with their own ideas. If Paul would conform his methods to certain policies which they advocated they would acknowledge and sustain his work; otherwise they could no longer look upon it with favor or grant it their support. These men had lost sight of the fact that God is the teacher of His people; that every worker in His cause is to obtain an individual experience in following the divine Leader, not looking to man for direct guidance; that His workers are to be molded and fashioned, not after man’s ideas, but after the similitude of the divine. AA 401

Did you notice with Abraham the child was to be paid little attention to? This was so that the child will develop its natural simplicity without receiving anything to stir the foolishness in its heart and then only surround it with the examples of Jesus and the gentle, kind treatment of courtesy. That’s how the child will develop the right things and that’s the way that adults must be left to work. We don’t have to have leaders or parents of adults telling them how they are to work. They are to be left like the child is left to develop its own discoveries in the fear of the Lord. That’s what began the problems in the church then and haven’t we met it too? The new modeling of the cause, when these youngsters now adults now begin to rule over their fellow man. Where did it come from? It came from babyhood. If in babyhood the child doesn’t have that, it will never be oppressive to another person in adulthood.

No one man is ever to set himself up as a ruler, as a lord over his fellowmen, to act out his natural impulses. Medical Ministry 165.3-4

What is bound in the heart of the child? Propensities of disobedience, the natural impulses are bound in his heart. No man is to act that out on another person.

No one man’s voice and influence should ever be allowed to become a controlling power. Those who oppress their fellow workers in our institutions, and who refuse to change their manner of treating helpers under their charge, should be removed. As overseers, they should have exerted a superior, refining influence for the right. Medical Ministry 165.3-4

This is the way of leadership and parenthood exerting a superior refining influence for the right. The child or the people who are under the influence of leaders are not to be oppressed.

Their investment with power makes it all the more necessary for them to be models of true Christianity. Medical Ministry 165.3-4

Abraham was a model not an oppressor.

I am instructed by the Lord to say that position never gives a man grace or makes him righteous. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Some men entrusted with positions of responsibility entertain the idea that position is for the aggrandizement of self. Medical Ministry 165.3-4

Isn’t that what has been trained into the child? The child has been made to feel that he or she can aggrandize itself, “The adults are palavering around me, I can exert myself.” and so it is extended in the church thereafter.. Mould the right spirit by restraining its foolishness not awakening it and paying no attention to it.

Moulding the Right Character Traits

The little ones should be educated in childlike simplicity. They should be trained to be content with the small, helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years. CG 139.1-2

This is where this too fast age has failed them. We actually prompt and fast-feed the children.

They should be trained to be content with the small, helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years. Childhood answers to the blade in the parable, and the blade has a beauty peculiarly its own. CG 139.1-2

It is a little blade with no fruit on it.

Children should not be forced into a precocious maturity, but as long as possible should retain the freshness and grace of their early years. The more quiet and simple the life of the child–the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature–the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength. Parents should by their example encourage the formation of habits of simplicity, and draw their children away from an artificial to a natural life. CG 139.1-2

We should not push them into it the artificial. We need to keep them in a state of natural simplicity educating the children to be content with the little things.

When I was a brick layer I saw the trowel and wanted to get to work but instead I was told to go and mix the mortar and push the heavy wheelbarrow, I did no bricklaying whatsoever for a whole year. I was to be content with the little duties. Precocious maturity, do you know what precocious means? It means flowering or fruiting early prematurely developed in some faculty of action. Think about what this means. You have a little child, two or three 3 years old. Do you expect that child to have to learn the complicated things in the kitchen, the complicated things from that age to about 7 years old? Do you expect that child to handle tools, knives, and instruments of the kitchen? Do you train it at that age? It’s just like the apprentice bricklayer wanting to get to hold the trowel. I didn’t get to handle that trowel until I learned how to mix mortar properly and all those small things that didn’t interest me – they were boring. Have you ever heard children say I’m bored mum. Why? Because the parent has already triggered it into excitements which it didn’t need. We are to hold them in a position that they should be trained to be content with the small helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years. A blade cannot bear a heavy burden. If you put a lump of dirt on it, it will flop. A child is a child and it cannot handle certain things.

Let’s apply all this. There is a German saying that says, “knife, and fork, scissor and flame is not for little children.” What do you do? Do you give your little children a knife? That is not for that little child, it does not know how to handle it and even if you teach it how to handle it, it has a careless little mind that is not as watchful, as an adult should be. It will do something with that knife that will do damage because you can’t expect it to deal with it. Would you give it a match to play with? Some people do, they think they’re doing good. No. The child has no capacity to deal with a flame, scissors, or fork.

That’s the German saying but take this a step further. I wear a watch. When I was a 10 year old, I looked at all my classmate’s and saw they wore watches. I said to my father and mother, “ Can I have a watch?” they said “You’re a child, you don’t need a watch.” I answered,  “But all the others have one.” They replied, “When you’re old enough to have respect for an expensive item, then you can have it.” It was very humiliating.

Do you let your children handle expensive technology like your phone? They don’t know how to use it and if you teach them, they still don’t have the capacity to know how it should be handled, and they will still make serious mistakes and your child will ruin your instrument. This is all precocious maturity.

Here is an illustration, [holding up a damaged hymnal] This hymnbook is very precious, we want to keep it neat, and intact, we don’t want it to be damaged. Have you given your little infants a hymnbook? Have you watched what they do? Parents are happily singing and they think their child is singing happily too but they hold the book by one end, fold it back and look at the result – pages missing, covers torn off and so we need to repair them. This is because children don’t know how to handle something very sacred. We let the children do these things without them understanding the very sacred and carefulness that needs to be nurtured there. Our books and important things have been ruined and mishandled and we think the children are terrible. No, children aren’t terrible, children are beautiful human beings however, they are not yet able to take the responsibilities that we precociously place to their hands.

Then comes the little children with the adults, they come in and interrupt conversations. Why? What did we read? Because they have a sense of self-importance because the adults went coo, coo, gaa, goo and they feel now, they are getting older, the adults and parents still have to pay attention to me. So when two adults are speaking they barge right in and enter into the conversation and when they are told no they stand there and listen to adult’s conversations. What are you doing? The child wants to be privy to the adults or Mummy and daddy’s converstaion and they think they are important because they are involved in adult conversation. It is way above their mental development. That’s why little children call me John instead of Uncle John. They call adults by their Christian name instead of aunty or uncle or Mr or Mrs. Do you know, if we are brothers and sisters in Christ and the children what does that make us to them and what does it make them to us? When your brothers or sisters have children, what do they call you? They call you uncle or aunty. That is the way my parents taught me to address my elders; Uncle and Aunty or Mr. and Mrs. but never by their first name. These are the respectful ways.

Involving Children in the Adult Style of Helping

Remember they must be first content with little help, menial duties. We raised that question that the kitchen is being handled by adults and the children think they can come in and do certain things. I have seen where children have been in the way when there was something hot being passed and it was nearly spilled over them. Little children don’t know or understand what is going on unless they are actually solicited to do something simple. Often they want to do something that is beyond their years because they’re bored with the simple things. We must teach and educate in them childlike simplicity to be content with the small helpful duties, something you know they can handle very well without running into any danger.

Dress

Do you dress a child in exactly the same way as a mature adult? A man wears a suit do you dress your little toddler in a man’s suit. What happens to that child? He thinks, “Look I’m dressed like a big man.” What did we read? We are not to dress in an expensive, showy manner.

What we dress our children in must be in accordance with their age and their messiness. They are not capable of keeping a suit neat and clean. Dressing children in adult style clothing is all part of developing in the child, a self-important mentality. We are looking at developing in the child the likeness of the divine.

The Similitude of the Divine

One of the questions that arose at the beginning of our presentations was; how do children deal with the faults and sinfulness of the other children around them? How do we demonstration to them their attitude to children that are playing up around them? Children learn by example. What is the similitude of the divine? Jesus is the best example. Where did He grow up? Nazareth. It was a byword of Israel; “Can any good thing to come out of Nazareth?” And there was Jesus. How do you think He handled all the naughty children around Him? What should we train in the children when they start telling us about the naughty children in their vicinity and how shall we help them to regard the naughtiness in the other children? If you know your child has been doing the right, you assure your child of the right it has been doing. There’s nothing wrong with assuring that what they are doing is right. It is also to do with what they see in adults. We are to develop in them the response of the similitude of the divine.

As a child, Jesus manifested a peculiar loveliness of disposition. His willing hands were ever ready to serve others. DA 68.3

He served others, including all those naughty children.

He manifested a patience that nothing could disturb, and a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity. In principle firm as a rock, His life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy. DA 68.3

How do I instill that into a child that comes to me talking about the negatives of another child and the wrong treatment and errors in others? How do I connect that? To be unselfishly courteous means to treat them nicely no matter how much they’re hurting you. To just bear with them and show them how Jesus would do that.

The life of Jesus was a life in harmony with God. While He was a child, He thought and spoke as a child; but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him. Yet He was not exempt from temptation. The inhabitants of Nazareth were proverbial for their wickedness. The low estimate in which they were generally held is shown by Nathanael’s question, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? John 1:46. Jesus was placed where His character would be tested. DA 711

Our children will be placed, like Jesus, where their character will be tested.

It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood. DA 711

What did He do when He was buffeted by the wrong behaviour of other children around Him?

But to every temptation He had one answer, It is written. He rarely rebuked any wrongdoing of His brothers, DA 88.3

That was their business. All He would concentrate on was;

…but He had a word from God to speak to them. Often He was accused of cowardice for refusing to unite with them in some forbidden act; but His answer was, It is written, The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28.

Instill in your child an answer that comes from the Word of God. Show the children how to respond to the negatives around them as Jesus did. Just speaking something from the Word in response to what is being done and said contrary to it.. Jesus didn’t want to do what they did but He continued to be kind. Don’t ridicule and spurn their presence with you, continue as Jesus did.

There were some who sought His society, feeling at peace in His presence; but many avoided Him, because they were rebuked by His stainless life. DA 88.3

That’s where you get the bullies in the world today. They will bully our children because they are so nice and quiet and different to them, they will hate them and bully them. Jesus was bullied too. But how did He respond?

Young companions urged Him to do as they did. He was bright and cheerful; they enjoyed His presence, and welcomed His ready suggestions; but they were impatient at His scruples, and pronounced Him narrow and strait-laced. Jesus answered, It is written, Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. Psalm 119:9, 11. Often He was asked, Why are you bent on being so singular, so different from us all? It is written, He said, Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways. Psalm 119:1-3. DA 88.3

That’s how you handle it and you teach your children to look to Jesus as the example in childhood. In our activities of child moulding, we want to shut out all the foolishness of propensity of disobedience. We do not want to countenance it and upholding all those lofty characteristics by talking of them and speaking of them with our children but let, them appreciate the beautiful things they can understand.

Names

What do we do with our children’s names? If you are trying to keep your child in a humble contrite spirit, do you do it by rubbishing its name as they do in the world? My son’s name is Nathanael, so what did he get named? They call him Nat. [A gnat is an insect]. What do you think that does to a child, especially when those nicknames are made a deleterious effect on the nature of the person? Is this the way to make them feel humble and contrite? No. We give them a name and we let them retain that name. There is a school of thought out there which says don’t call your children kids. Kids are baby goats. You can make a real point of this, but it is better calling them children rather than kids because that’s another psychological effect.

Summary

In summary, to mold the character of your child requires the restraint of the inborn corruption by giving it no provocation, not even countenancing it. Just leave it be while simultaneously and systematically installing the correct elements by the gravity of your example and by engaging its needful desire. A child has a desire in it to please. We can engage its desire to please in harmony with the laws of childhood. E.g. Mother, “You want to please me, just get those potatoes please, – thank you.” Child, “Can I peel them?” Mother, “No, knives are not for little children.” Child “Can I cut up that salad?” Mother, “Well, you can tear it apart if you want to help me, but no knives.” That is at home but be careful in the church kitchen when there is lots of ado, children are better left outside.

Things in the church are sacred if there is a sacred church office to fulfill it is not appropriate to let your children help, the duty has been given to the officers that handle the goods of God’s sacred worship. That maturity is not fit for the child. Instead engage the child’s desire to please in simple childhood law avoiding precocious maturity.

Amen


Posted on August 5, 2011, in Child Training. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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