2. Adults Speaking With One Mind

By John Thiel, Child Training Series, Study 2, mp3

There is a very important principle in regards to child training. It’s not just speaking but it’s living the right thing together. As a little infant drifts into consciousness he is moulded by that which his conscious awareness picks up around him. That’s how an infant is moulded. It’s very unconscious as a tiny newborn but as it becomes conscious slowly but surely it begins picking up all the influences around it and those influences around it are moulding its personality. Therefore because we understand this we will be focusing on the visual, audio and the sensational culture that adults provide as the child is plunged into their culture. We well understand that if a baby grows up under the Asiatic influences, it becomes an Asiatic child. If the child is born in a different culture than the Asiatic, it might appear Asiatic but it is different from the Asiatic because it has grown up in a different culture.

What the child experiences moulds its particular culture or make up. When it comes to the culture of God’s world, many Christian parents hold a fallacy in child training.  They think as long as their children come through all right even though they may not make it (be saved). I remember studying with a young man and his wife who had contact with Adventists they were smoking and doing many other things. He asked me to study with them and said to me I might never be saved, I might never be amongst the 144,000 but I want my children to be amongst them. Can you see a flaw? Will his children be amongst them if he isn’t? It’s a very unusual thing if the child grows up and is saved. If he was thinking of training those children in the right direction, he would have to be in the right direction himself. He could not expect his children to not smoke if his children are growing up in a smoking’s home and are under all the other negative influences of the parents. How are we as adults moulded for the heavenly family?

2 Cor 3 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This is the important principle that lies at the basis of moulding the character, – by beholding. It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts.

It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell. PP 596

Your little infant has a law in its mind that it will gradually adapt itself to that which is trained to dwell upon They are beholding you, the adult world around them. That is what the law of the mind will pick up and develop. The constant exposure of the adult example is what the child will become. This frightens people.

Everything leaves its impress upon the youthful mind. The countenance is studied, the voice has its influence, and the deportment is closely imitated by them. Fretful and peevish fathers and mothers are giving their children lessons which at some period in their lives they would give all the world, were it theirs, could they unlearn. Children must see in the lives of their parents that consistency which is in accordance with their faith. By leading a consistent life and exercising self-control, parents may mould the characters of their children. {AH 322.2}

This is a reality that adults need to understand. The little children are watching you and the constant imagery that is placed in front of them is what is going to mould that child. Do you want to mould the character of your children? In our last study we saw this to be one of the most important jobs to do as parents. It is the actual behaviour of the adults that will mould the children. How important then is our subject? What we want our children to be is absolutely inseparable from what we are. If you don’t want your child to be what you’re like, then you have to change yourself so you can be what you want your child to be.

Every word, every action, of the parents is to be an object lesson of the right kind. Notebook Leaflets Vo 1 p 94

The child will pick up and be moulded by every word and every action. What a challenge.

Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. PP 308

Parents are to stand in the place of God to their children in the early years. Why, because those children can only be educated for God by the parents’ example. It is an irrevocable reality. Usually we read that statement to say children should be obedient to their parents, but this has a different slant as we look at it from this angle. The parents had better be good parents because they are in the place of God. We will see how this reverberates into every member of the adult world. Every adult is being looked upon as an example of what they are trying to learn. Parents who take this seriously who are trying to function harmoniously to help their children are in need of support when the church family comes together. If we take this seriously then the parents are dependent upon the church family taking it seriously as well. We can’t say those parents are doing something wrong with their children and forget that we might be doing something wrong as we influence the same children by our demeanour. Therefore the things that we are studying here apply to all parents and adults in the church. That is why it is important that we all study this. Adults are to display God to the children.

Has the truth taken possession of the souls of fathers and mothers, who stand in the place of God to their children? Historic Sketches 286.4

We need to study God correctly and stand in unity before our children. I reflect frequently to my early childhood. What was the imagery in my mind in my approach to adults? I remember clearly what the adults say was truth. I had an absolute confidence that what the adults said was right and I was wrong. I was relying on the adults to give me a correct understanding of what was right and wrong. I revered them closely. That is the imagery in the mind of the child. What the parents are doing around them they picked up as being the right thing. A child belives what his mummy and daddy say is truth. Later on they wake up that the adults of the world, hopefully not the church, have disappointed them bitterly. I still remember right to the age of twenty or twenty one where I thought my mother was right and my father was wrong and then I realised that although my mother was right in many areas she was wrong in some areas too and I was disappointed in what I had esteemed in my mother as perfect. Children will discover as they get older that they have been let down. This is the function of the mind of a child. It is dependent on the adults around them. We better get it right. Do you want to disappoint your little infant or child that what it trusted in was wrong? Then we better get it right. The child needs object lessons of the right kind. The very first principle of the object lesson is unity so that the child is not confused by what it is seeing and it can put its safe dependence on what it observes.

I would that parents had sanctified intelligence, that they might see the necessity of working in unity. The husband, wife, and children are a firm. They should look upon themselves as God’s agents who are to work together intelligently, regarding the family as a divine institution. Parents need to remember that they occupy the place of God to their children. Just as you deal with your children, parents, so will God deal with you. Their lack of experience is to be supplied by wise precepts and godly practice. This work is to begin in their early years, when the heart is tender and impressible, and is to be carried forward step by step. Every word, every action, of the parents is to be an object lesson of the right kind. They should not act impulsively, but as though realizing that God sees them, that the heavenly universe witnesses every act when dealing with each other and with their children. {1NL 93.4}

Here is the key of the subject we are studying. What happens when father and mother disagree and express their variance by words and actions? The child hears, “Darling can you do this?” The child watches and the darling says, “No.” or “I don’t want to” or says nothing and goes and does the opposite. What happens to the child?

Sometimes the father casts reflections on the mother. He sternly disciplines the children, as if to disparage the mother’s tenderness and love. Because of this the mother thinks she must bestow on them increased affection, and gratify and indulge their inclinations. Thus she seeks to counteract the father’s impatience and severity; but oh, how God is dishonored. The family is demoralized, and the children are confused in regard to true discipline and correct education. {1NL 94.1}

Here is the sad fact that children are confused. As you let this sink in, what a sad situation it is today. What’s it like in your home? Is God clearly conveyed to the children by the parents providing a perfect united front to the children? If that applies to the parents, how is it with the church? The children are watching the constant influence at home and every Sabbath when they come to church they watch the constant influence of the adults among each other in front of the children. This is an extremely important understanding. The children are looking for a demonstration of God. The children learn by observation by their senses. Do they sense an atmosphere?

The atmosphere surrounding the souls of fathers and mothers fills the whole house, and is felt in every department of the home. {AH 16.1}

To a large extent parents create the atmosphere of the home circle and when there is disagreement between father and mother the children partake of the same spirit. The children will partake of the same spirit as the parents. Have you ever had disagreements between each other as parents and then you find a disagreement note between your child and you? That’s where it came from. How else can they get it? It is absolutely imperative that there be an atmosphere of agreement between the adults if we are going to train children correctly.

Parents should keep the atmosphere of the home pure and fragrant with kind words, with tender sympathy and love; but at the same time they are to be firm and unyielding in principle. {AH 434.5}

If you want your children to become tender and thoughtful, how will they become tender and thoughtful? By a tender and thoughtful demeanour and attitude of the parents. If you have become estranged and failed to be Bible Christians do you give up? No. Your children need to be cared for. This is one of the most bewildering things I have observed. Marriage falls into disarray between the husband and wife and people just focus on their bad experience instead of realising the needs of their children. As a consequence the children are thrown into chaos.

If you have become estranged and have failed to be Bible Christians, be converted; for the character you bear in probationary time will be the character you will have at the coming of Christ. If you would be a saint in heaven, you must first be a saint on earth. The traits of character you cherish in life will not be changed by death or by the resurrection. You will come up from the grave with the same disposition you manifested in your home and in society. {AH 16}

The children will pick up this sad reality.

We are to strive earnestly through the grace given us to represent Christ, and not to make prominent our own crude ideas, our own objectionable traits of character. We are ever to keep our will in subjection to God’s will, and be willing to be disciplined by His Holy Spirit, that we may shed forth His beams of light. We should manifest His love in our home, and when we are away from home we shall carry the same pleasant disposition, and manifest forbearance, meekness, courage, and love in the Lord. {13MR 78.3}

All murmuring and complaining will be put aside as unworthy of the children of the heavenly King, unworthy of the members of the royal family, who are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus. {13MR 79.1}

The children are to see God in the adults if we want them to have God in their heart. Because we have seen that this unity is so essential, what do we do when a parent or adult says or does something wrong in front of a child? We must say nothing. Don’t correct the parent or adult in front of the child because it confuses the child. Talk about it when the bedroom door is locked. Children are not to be involved in husband-wife relationships so a husband and wife must not discuss things in front of the children. In front of the children they need to present a united front. If this isn’t done, your children won’t grow up the way you want them to. We are to exercise love, courtesy and tender affection instead of a cold front. As they get older there is no security if that is their experience. Never expose a child to parents correcting each other. There is no excuse.

Parents, when the church school teacher tries to train and discipline your children that they may gain eternal life, do not in their presence criticize his actions, even though you may think him too severe. If you desire them to give their hearts to the Saviour, co-operate with the teacher’s efforts for their salvation. How much better it is for children, instead of hearing criticism, to hear from the lips of their mother words of commendation regarding the work of the teacher. Such words make lasting impressions and influence the children to respect the teacher. {CG 325.5}

If criticism or suggestion in regard to the teacher’s work becomes necessary, it should be made to him in private. If this proves ineffective, let the matter be referred to those who are responsible for the management of the school. Nothing should be said or done to weaken the children’s respect for the one upon whom their well-being in so great degree depends. {CG 326.1}

They respect the adults. If the parents disparage the adults or the teacher in front of the children, how can the child be benefited? The child is to be encouraged by the good things the teacher is doing. The child will ignore the negative but if you announce the negatives, these will become big to the children. So in our interactivities with each other, it is the constant example we must focus on and ignore the little slips here and there. Don’t become fretful if it is not a constant thing. If it is constant, deal with it privately as adults but it is not to be brought to the mind of the child.

Nothing should be said or done to weaken the children’s respect for the one upon whom their well-being in so great degree depends. {CG 326.1}

As it is between husband and wife so it is between adults and adults that nothing should be said or done so that the imagery of the child is not marred in the adult world in the ranks of God’s people.

While you should treat your visitors kindly and make them feel at home, you should ever remember that you are a teacher to the little ones God has given you. They are watching you, and no course of yours should direct their feet in the wrong way.{AH 450}

If there is a situation that is not quite perfect, the child should never be directed to the imperfection because it will direct the child in the wrong way. The child will become a critical person. Do you like contentious children? Then teach them not to be contentious by your example. What do you talk about at home after church when you have your children around you?

Satan has many helpers. Many who profess to be Christians are aiding the tempter to catch away the seeds of truth from other hearts. Many who listen to the preaching of the word of God make it the subject of criticism at home. They sit in judgment on the sermon as they would on the words of a lecturer or a political speaker. The message that should be regarded as the word of the Lord to them is dwelt upon with trifling or sarcastic comment. The minister’s character, motives, and actions, and the conduct of fellow members of the church, are freely discussed. Severe judgment is pronounced, gossip or slander repeated, and this in the hearing of the unconverted. Often these things are spoken by parents in the hearing of their own children. Thus are destroyed respect for God’s messengers, and reverence for their message. And many are taught to regard lightly God’s word itself. {COL 45.1}

Let adults speak and act in the right way in unity. It is important that members and those who attend church regularly need to be at these meetings so that the children don’t receive mixed messages by the adults communicating differently than what we as parents want to be communicating to them so there will be no adult contraries.

Visiting Adults

When visiting adults do or say negative things in front of our children, how do we deal with that? Is a visitor constantly in the face of the children? No, therefore we can ignore it. It is the constant example that will mould your child. The short exposure of a visiting adult and with nothing mentioned about their faulty behaviour will do no harm but if you mention it the child will pick up on it. Don’t raise anything negative as the child does not notice many things. They are busy in their own world. We are to show courtesy and respect the mistakes the children notice and if they don’t notice, there is no reason to say anything. If you can see a visiting adult making prominent move towards your children to entertain them, just steer the conversation with them on spiritual things that will bring their attention away from the children. Teach our children to be respectfully unobtrusive not entering into adult conversation and thereby protecting them from the inroads of adults influencing them. Visitors are to be there for the sake of the message and the children are to be respectfully unobtrusive so the visiting adults hardly notice them. Visiting adults who may have a fearful influence upon our children can be ignored, as it is a non-constant influence.

There are four points to consider;

• Non-constant influences can be ignored

• Explain to the older children not to enter into adult conversation

• Divert the visitors from the children

• Teach children to be unobtrusive

Let not a mother allow her mind to be occupied with too many things. . . . With the greatest diligence and the closest watchfulness she must care for the little ones who, if allowed, will follow every impulse springing out of the fullness of their unpracticed, ignorant hearts. In their exuberance of spirit they will give utterance to noise and turbulence in the home. This should be checked. Children will be just as happy if they are educated not to do these things. They are to be taught that when visitors come, they are to be quiet and respectful. {CG 97.1}

If the child is quiet and respectful, the visitors won’t meddle with the children because they hardly know they are there.

Give children but little notice. Let them learn to amuse themselves {CG 37}

In today’s society much attention is given to the children as though the children are the kings and queens of the household. This is a big mistake. That’s what makes children very obtrusive as the children draw the attention of the adults. Children should be unnoticed. In modern teaching that is interpreted as not caring for your children and neglecting them but this is Satan’s way. The children will be just as happy to amuse themselves.


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Posted on 03/03/2013, in Child Training (Series). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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