1. Life in This Fast Age

By John Thiel, Child Training Series, Study 1, mp3

We are commencing a set of lectures on training children.  The time in which we are living and in which we are training our children is relative.  These lectures are not a mere set of guidelines by another human lecturer.  You can go to so many different lectures and read books on child training, but as you compare them, you will find a discordant note among them, as they don’t all agree.  The parent is still left with a choice of which one is right and wrong.  In these lectures we are researching a “Thus saith the Lord.” in reference to child training.  We are seeking to come to terms with the truth and nothing else can deviate from a plain directive from God’s Word.  God outlines that there is no other way.  What God says it is; it is not barbarity.

Psalms 89:34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

God says, whatever I have stated will not be altered, it is a fact and there is no alternative.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

What comes out of his lips there is no variation.  There is not even a shadow of turning.  As we come to this subject of child training, we will see what he says in reference to where we should go for the counsel of his subject.

The Old Ways

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein].

On the subject of child training God says stand in the ways. There are many different ways, suggestions, guidelines and teachings but he says as you stand in the way you are to ask for the old paths, old fashioned and where the good way is and to walk therein.  If you are going to go according to the old paths, whom do you ask?

Deuteronomy 32:7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Where can young parents go for help?  We shall go to God to understand the old ways.  Who does he speak to us through in reference to the old ways?  Go to Adam, Abraham, and the elders.  Those who have experienced the old ways and they will tell you what the old way is.  We are here to examine old-fashioned child training.  You can’t have old-fashioned child training unless you go to those before you.  What was it in your day?  The elders have to say what it was in the day of their fathers.  I am particular in following and copying those things that were correct in the past. This is what makes me different to a lot of teachers today as I’m holding onto the old paths. The path is to learn from those who have gone before us as God has directed them.

Do not expect a change to be wrought in your children without patient, earnest labor, {ST, May 4, 1888 par. 9}

If you have children, you have an earnest labour ahead of you.

Do not expect a change to be wrought in your children without patient, earnest labor, mingled with fervent prayer. To study and understand their varied characters, and day by day to mould them after the divine Model, is a work demanding great diligence and perseverance, and much prayer, with an abiding faith in God’s promises. Make it a careful study how to discharge your duties. Counsel with those of experience. {ST, May 4, 1888 par. 9} 

You don’t just need to counsel with those of experience who have made a success.  You can counsel with those who have made mistakes as they can counsel you not to do the same.  What did King David say?  Forgive and cleanse me. What for?  Forgive and cleanse me so I can teach others. Counsel with those who’ve had experience good or bad as they can help you.

 We are living in a solemn time; an important work is to be done for our own souls and for the souls of others. Those who are so independent, so self-sufficient, that they see no need of counseling with their experienced brethren, will suffer great loss. {PUR, December 5, 1901 par. 6}

If I had taken more notice of my parents, I wouldn’t have suffered the loss I have now.

God desires us to have that independence of character which will give us strength to be resolute for the right under all circumstances; strength to overcome bad habits, and to walk in the light; strength to separate ourselves forever from that which we see to be wrong. This independence comes from God, and, in order to gain it, we must maintain a close connection with Him. {PUR, December 5, 1901 par. 6}

 When we go to the Lord and earnestly plead for wisdom; when we truly long for His guidance in all things, not wishing our own way, but earnestly desiring to walk in His way, then we are glad to advise with those of experience, those who desire to see us do good work for the Master. {PUR, December 5, 1901 par. 9}

If I want His way then I will be glad to counsel with those of experience.

..those who desire to see us do good work for the Master. After we have earnestly sought the Lord for light, often our duty is made plain to us as we counsel with others. {PUR, December 5, 1901 par. 9}

What comes first?  Counsel with the Lord and when you have done that counsel with others and your duty will be made plain to you.

When we feel sure that we know the right way, and will listen to nothing unless it agrees with our ideas, we are in no condition to be shown the true path, and are in danger of making mistakes. {PUR, December 5, 1901 par. 9}

We are told that it is absolutely essential and valuable to counsel with those who are years in advance of experience.  We want to follow this path in these lectures. To build with years of experience in conjunction with God’s word.  To preface these lectures I want to point to this terminology ‘The Present Fast Age’.

…the parents are so completely in bondage through their own indulgence and mistaken love for their children that they dare not pursue a decided course to make a change and restrain their too-fast children in this fast age. {2T 460.1}

Ellen White wrote that around the 1870s.  What was the problem in those times?  A too fast age!  If that was a too fast age then, can I suggest that we are four times faster today? We have a task if we have children today.  We have a task to handle children and circumstances in the training of our children that are nearly over the top of our heads.  It is nearly impossible, as our children will be ripped out from under us.  Babies develop faster now than before.  There is something hastening things up.  Young children are maturing into puberty much earlier today.  We are living in a time now where we need guidance of the old paths to slow down our children.

The Fast Developments around Us

One of the biggest fears affecting the minds of parents today is that their children will be left behind in development; they may say, “My child looks like it is being left behind from other children.”  In their interrelationship with children, some seem to be slow and we feel apologetic for it.  The mentality that exists in child training and rearing today is that we have to keep up with the Jones’s.  Parents compare their children and say, “Mine are going well.” and the other says, “Mine aren’t that fast.” Are we to keep up with this fast age in child training?  Let us read a thus saith Lord.

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

People compare themselves among themselves and then we begin to measure ourselves among ourselves.  There is a measure that I will remain under and not get beyond it.

2 Corinthians 10:13 But we will not boast of things without [our] measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

 10:14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond [our measure], as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in [preaching] the gospel of Christ:

Your child is unique. It has been given a certain dimension and measurement from God.  It might be a person who does not develop as fast another. Don’t try to keep up with the development of the faster ones.  Your child is unique.  Don’t compare it with others. Don’t compare your children with each other.  Each one has its own qualities.  The world is full of parents trying to keep up with each other and they are pushing their children in child development consequently the child’s nervous system is under strain.  This is not wise.

We are a church family, we see the children growing, and we see a child way behind and one way ahead.  Onlookers who are not responsible for the children tend to want to bring the children up to a place where they think they should be.  This is an important principle for the present age.  We are living in a fast age.  We are not to make comparisons.  God is saying this to us today.  If in this fast age we make comparisons, what damage will we do to our children?  Those children will be put under stress of not only keeping up with the Jones’s but one of emulation and trying to keep up, to win and get past the other one.  If we as parents and as church members hop on that bandwagon, we will make both parents and children stressed. We must stop that.  We don’t have to keep up with the fast age.  It’s too fast and it’s killing the human race.  Stress is wherever you look.  We want to come to the peace of the Lord.  Each child is unique and has its own gifts and qualities, which cannot be compared with another unique child.  Because your child has its own gifts, you as a parent need to carefully observe and consider what those gifts are and permit the gifts to develop.  Don’t push or coerce your child. Let it be the natural gift God has given that child.

The Child Jesus Christ

The following verse was written about Jesus after he was 12 years of age.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

At twelve years of age Jesus was for the first time permitted to go into the temple at Jerusalem under God’s tuition because up to the age of twelve the child was not able to take it in.  From the age of twelve Jesus developed.

Wonderful in its significance is the brief record of His early life: “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” In the sunlight of His Father’s countenance, Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”  Luke 2:52. His mind was active and penetrating, with a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years. Yet His character was beautiful in its symmetry. The powers of mind and body developed gradually, in keeping with the laws of childhood. {DA 68.2}

Jesus was ahead of his age in his wisdom, which was a particular unique aspect in his life. However, his development was not any faster within the laws of childhood.  In our study of children, we must understand this important principle; what it means within the laws of childhood.  There are laws in childhood that we need to understand and work alongside with right alongside of those children.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

What is the keyword in this text that deals with permitting the natural laws of childhood to take their course?  Nature.  The scientific study of the brain reveals that from the time of birth to twelve years of age there is the development of the brain and its physical recordings. From the years of twelve to twenty is  the mental structural development. From twenty-two to thirty is the spiritual development.  These laws of childhood continue through to thirty years of age. This is the reason why Jesus was not taken into the ministry until thirty.  If he would have been brought in earlier he would have been in danger of slipping up somewhere in the development of the physiology of his being.  He developed maturity at thirty.  We must work with this principle.

During the first six or seven years of a child’s life, special attention should be given to its physical training, rather than the intellect.  {CG 300.3}

This is a scientific statement as the development of the brain is going on from the age of six to twelve.

After this period, if the physical constitution is good, the education of both should receive attention. Infancy extends to the age of six or seven years. Up to this period children should be left, like little lambs, to roam around the house and in the yards, in the buoyancy of their spirits, skipping and jumping, free from care and trouble. {CG 300.3}

In this fast age what is happening to so many children before they can handle it?  They are being pushed into care and anxiety and dealing with serious questions.  That is not being free like a lamb or free from care.

The mother should be the teacher, and home the school where every child receives his first lessons; and these lessons should include habits of industry. Mothers, let the little ones play in the open air; let them listen to the songs of the birds and learn the love of God as expressed in His beautiful works. {CG 301.1}

Let them roam with no pressure.  Let them bask in nature without any pressure of education apart from learning practical habits.

Teach them simple lessons from the book of nature and the things about them; and as their minds expand, lessons from books may be added and firmly fixed in the memory. {CG 301.1}

When should the books come in?  From the years of six and seven and if their physical condition is being strengthened, you may begin to add the intellectual.  This is the pace of childhood development.

But let them also learn, even in their earliest years, to be useful. Train them to think that, as members of the household, they are to act an interested, helpful part in sharing the domestic burdens, and to seek healthful exercise in the performance of necessary home duties. {CG 301.1}

The Practical Not the Intellectual

As the practical is developing you can then at the age of six or seven and introduce something else.  Nurture the children and don’t make comparisons.  We are to nurture within the laws of childhood.  In this fast age we are living in children  go to a nurseries and what are they doing to the children?  They are force-feeding them.  They grow faster than is natural.  This is what they are doing with children.  They are force feeding them and putting something else in their development beyond their natural stages.  Why are the statistics showing that a lot of youths are taking their lives after 16 or 17 years of age?  They are carrying stresses they are not capable of dealing with.  Nurture the natural development.  What is meant with natural development spiritually?  It means to develop in the child a natural spiritual development without any force-feeding.

Deuteronomy 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

Your child is to be left as free as a lamb but in the midst of that while learning to do duties around the house, you are to speak about the things of God and about the commandments of God. Surround your child with the natural ingredients of God’s word.  Surround the children with things through plain and normal conversation without the things of school thus the development naturally takes place and there is no force feeding.


The young are often urged to speak or pray in meeting; they are urged to die to self. At every step of the Christian way, they are urged. Such religion is worth nothing. {ST, May 1, 1884 par. 2}

If you want your children to develop naturally and in tune, leave them alone.  Surround them with the atmosphere of what you want them to be.  They are sponges.  If you say all right children, we are going to sing upfront the child shrivels.  But if you leave the child to sing up the back, how will it sing?  It will sing naturally.  The child is being urged to sing beyond its natural desire to do so.  Let the child do it when it’s ready.  It will do it with its natural desire to sing. It’s not wrong for children to sing up the front but let the child do it naturally not by force.


The world put children to preschool at the age of four. They should not be intellectual until six or seven.  Let them be free.

Sister White: Brother Leininger’s children had no need to have died, but they were not under the discipline of the care that they ought to have had. The Lord wants us to have that education that we can utilize, and the most simple education that the children can have now is the very best for them. Then there will be a reaching out after more and more education, as years come on. {6MR 370.2}

If you use the most simple educational material for the child, which it can utilise, the child will want more naturally.

But they are not to stuff themselves right now with things clear beyond their years. {6MR 370.2}

We must be astute.  We must be clear in our mind where the child is in its development.

It is not the right thing to do. We have got to have our A.B.C., and the Alpha is not the Omega. We must learn that. {6MR 370.2}


Sister White: I cannot see a particle of sense in that. Just cut off some of those studies. Teach them the Bible. Have that as one of their living, practical points of education. That is what it ought to be. We should take no account of how many things they bring out in some other schools. We are on a different road. {6MR 372.4}

The road that the public schools are on is a different road to us.  Concentrate on gaining the deep appreciations of the Bible by surrounding them naturally.  The education world has discovered that and now they are taking the children into play education.  It is most obnoxious to a child to have to be separated from mum and dad to go to school.  It is a stress.  They can do it at home and then slowly and systematically by speaking about things the children can develop what I have often referred to as the things of heaven. That is a natural nurturing education.

Character Development

If you take the children into a church setting, the same principle must apply.  The children must find a natural flow.

God has given parents their work, to form the characters of their children after the divine Pattern. {CG 169.1}

By His grace they can accomplish the task; but it will require patient, painstaking effort, no less than firmness and decision, to guide the will and restrain the passions. A field left to itself produces only thorns and briers. He who would secure a harvest for usefulness or beauty must first prepare the soil and sow the seed, then dig about the young shoots, removing the weeds and softening the earth, and the precious plants will flourish and richly repay his care and labor. {CG 169.1}

Did you know that parents are nurturing little plants?  Children are like a flower in his garden and if I’m a flower, I must develop and not be force-fed. Character development is part of this arrangement.

Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings, and never before was its diligent study as important as now. {CG 169.2}

The character of your children needs to be developed and molded.

Never was any previous generation called to meet issues so momentous; never before were young men and young women confronted by perils so great as confront them today. {CG 169.2}

Do you know what your children are going to have to confront?  It’s been hard on us young people.  How successful have we been?  Why it that the young people of today in the churches are having such a hard time?  They haven’t been trained and nurtured for this present fast age. They have had to meet stimulus outside of which they didn’t have guidance from the parents to meet. The children have grown up and now we have this problem.  I shudder to think of the children of today coming to a responsible age, what a mad house it will be, as they haven’t had character development.

Here is your work, parents, to develop the characters of your children in harmony with the precepts of the Word of God. This work should come first, for eternal interests are here involved. The character building of your children is of more importance than the cultivation of your farms, more essential than the building of houses to live in, or of prosecuting any manner of business or trade. {CG 169.3}

Character development needs absolute close attention and it is the mother’s foremost work.  She doesn’t have to develop capable piano playing or artwork, she has the task of providing in the child the development of the divine.  That is her responsibility. When we develop something in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, on those principles within the laws of childhood, we need to understand the practicality of this.

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The development within the laws of Childhood is the ability to have their senses exercised to discern.  The senses take a period to develop.  A baby can’t but as it gets older the senses need to be developed.

Identify the Principles that Will Govern

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

A baby has perfect faith.  It trusts you implicitly. Then comes the development of virtue in the child. With untrammeled interference, they develop and then slowly the practical incidents of life will increase their knowledge. As it gets on in years, having their senses exercised it will have more solid material.

Let mothers be careful not to make unnecessary requirements to exhibit their own authority before others. Give few commands, but see that these are obeyed. {CG 247.3}

Don’t expect your children to do things to display. As we are developing the child and its personality within the laws of childhood, the child must not be bombarded with too many expectations; just enough so the expectation can be acted upon. If your child is expected to do a heap of things and fails, it will frustrate him or her as it has too many things to think about.

As the child develops impliment only one or two responsibilities until it has learnt to practice what you have commanded. The worst thing you can do is to command something and then turn your back and let the child disrespect that.  Once you have commanded something, the child must do that.  Here are the nurturing developmental concepts.

The work of parents is continuous. It should not be laid hold of vigorously for one day and neglected the next. Many are ready to begin the work, but are not willing to persevere in it. They are eager to do some great thing, to make some great sacrifice; but they shrink from the unceasing care and effort in the little things of everyday life, the hourly pruning and training of the wayward tendencies, the work of giving instruction, reproof, or encouragement, little by little, as it is needed. They wish to see children correct their faults and form right characters at once, reaching the mountaintop at a bound, and not by successive steps; and because their hopes are not immediately realized, they become disheartened. {CG 242.1}

How many parents become disheartened because they can’t see what they need to do taking shape?  They want to see the child abound.  If you want your child to speed up and you don’t see it doing it, you become disheartened. This is another operative word in the fast age in which we live.  How do disheartened parents manifest themselves if their child isn’t making process? In today’s fast age, parents have become disheartened and consequently the children are left to do what they want to do. Because of the fast age, don’t expect too much because if you expect too much what will happen?  You will not train your children at all.  You will let them roam, as it’s too much. Don’t expect anything more than what is natural to their developments.  How long does it take to learn a language?  It takes a long time.  It takes twelve years and thereafter, another ten years and thereafter another ten years. Let it all be within the laws of childhood.


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Sabbath Sermons is a small resource information ministry in Australia standing upon the original platform of the Adventist truth. We are dedicated to spreading the special 'testing truths' for our time and are not affiliated with the various denominations. This website is administered by lay members only

Posted on 04/03/2013, in Child Training (Series), Restoring Old Paths and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m so much imprest to this studies,it is so impontant to my children in my family.i can use them to teach both to teachers and children in our home church school(Hillside prophet Pr.school),and the church members in all uor home churches.
    May you be blessed for this studies,this is the message needed in this last days by most parents and children.
    I hope to hear from you soon.
    Yours in faith
    Pastor Shem ontomwa mogoi.

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