Education and Character

True education does not ignore the value of scientific knowledge or literary acquirements; but above information it, values power; above power, goodness; above intellectual acquirements, character. The world does not so much need men of great intellect as of noble character. It needs men in whom ability is controlled by steadfast principle. {Education 225.1}

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom.” “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright.” Proverbs 4:7; 15:2. True education imparts this wisdom. It teaches the best use not only of one but of all our powers and acquirements. Thus, it covers the whole circle of obligation—to ourselves, to the world, and to God. {Education 225.2}

Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now. 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. {Education 225.3}

Source and aim of true education (5)

Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth. {Education 18.3}

He who co-operates with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and moulding the character into harmony with His, does a high and noble work. As he awakens a desire to reach God’s ideal, he presents an education that is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe; an education that cannot be completed in this life, but that will be continued in the life to come; an education that secures to the successful student his passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher grade, the school above. {Education 19.1}

Source and aim of true education (4)

Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator— individuality, power to think and to do. The men in whom this power is developed are the men who bear responsibilities, who are leaders in enterprise, and who influence character. It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men’s thought. Instead of confining their study to that which men have said or written, let students be directed to the sources of truth, to the vast fields opened for research in nature and revelation. Let them contemplate the great facts of duty and destiny, and the mind will expand and strengthen. Instead of educated weaklings, institutions of learning may send forth men strong to think and to act, men who are masters and not slaves of circumstances, men who possess breadth of mind, clearness of thought, and the courage of their convictions. {Education 17.2}

Source and aim of true education (3)

Since God is the source of all true knowledge, it is, as we have seen, the first object of education to direct our minds to His own revelation of Himself. Adam and Eve received knowledge through direct communion with God; and they learned of Him through His works. All created things, in their original perfection, were an expression of the thought of God. To Adam and Eve nature was teeming with divine wisdom. But by transgression man was cut off from learning of God through direct communion and, to a great degree, through His works. The earth, marred and defiled by sin, reflects but dimly the Creator’s glory. It is true that His object lessons are not obliterated. Upon every page of the great volume of His created works may still be traced His handwriting. Nature still speaks of her Creator. Yet these revelations are partial and imperfect. And in our fallen state, with weakened powers and restricted vision, we are incapable of interpreting aright. We need the fuller revelation of Himself that God has given in His written word. {Education 16.3}

The Holy Scriptures are the perfect standard of truth, and as such should be given the highest place in education. To obtain an education worthy of the name, we must receive a knowledge of God, the Creator, and of Christ, the Redeemer, as they are revealed in the sacred word. {Education 17.1}

Source and aim of true education (2)

In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source. Wherever we turn, in the physical, the mental, or the spiritual realm; in whatever we behold, apart from the blight of sin, this knowledge is revealed. Whatever line of investigation we pursue, with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate. {Ed 14.2}

In this communion is found the highest education. It is God’s own method of development. “Acquaint now thyself with Him” (Job 22:21), is His message to mankind. The method outlined in these words was the method followed in the education of the father of our race. When in the glory of sinless manhood Adam stood in holy Eden, it was thus that God instructed him. {Ed 14.3}

In order to understand what is comprehended in the work of education, we need to consider both the nature of man and the purpose of God in creating him. We need to consider also the change in man’s condition through the coming in of a knowledge of evil, and God’s plan for still fulfilling His glorious purpose in the education of the human race.

{Ed 14.4}

Source and aim of true education (1)

Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come. {Education 13.1}

The source of such an education is brought to view in these words of Holy Writ, pointing to the Infinite One: In Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom.” Colossians 2:3. “He hath counsel and understanding.” Job 12:13. {Education 13.2}

In these days much is said concerning the nature and importance of “higher education.” The true “higher education” is that imparted by Him with whom “is wisdom and strength” (Job 12:13), out of whose mouth “cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6. {Education 14.1}

The prevailing influence in the world is to suffer the youth to follow the natural turn of their own minds. And if very wild in youth, parents say they will come right after a while and, when sixteen or eighteen years of age, will reason for themselves and leave off their wrong habits and become at last useful men and women. What a mistake! For years they permit an enemy to sow the garden of the heart; they suffer wrong principles to grow, and in many cases all the labor afterward bestowed on that soil will avail nothing…. {AH 200.4}

 

Some parents have suffered their children to form wrong habits, the marks of which may be seen all through life. Upon the parents lies this sin. These children may profess to be Christians; yet without a special work of grace upon the heart and a thorough reform in life, their past habits will be seen in all their experience, and they will exhibit just the character which their parents allowed them to form. {AH 201.1}

 

The young should not be suffered to learn good and evil indiscriminately, with the idea that at some future time the good will predominate and the evil lose its influence. The evil will increase faster than the good. It is possible that after many years the evil they have learned may be eradicated; but who will venture this? Time is short. It is easier and much safer to sow clean, good seed in the hearts of your children than to pluck up the weeds afterward. Impressions made upon the minds of the young are hard to efface. How important, then, that these impressions be of the right sort, that the elastic faculties of youth be bent in the right direction. {AH 201.2}

Family today
• The father is the head of the family (Ephesians 5:23), so he is responsible for representing Christ’s character at home (Ephesians 5:25).
• The mother is the greatest influence in the personality, character, and temperament of their children.
• Parents must work together in educating their children.
• In the Bible, parents are told to teach their children how to love God and obey Him (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
• Children will be responsible for their actions once they become adult. However, parents are responsible for planting the seed in them that will grow for eternal life (Proverbs 22:6).

 

How to educate:

Communication
• Appropriate communication is essential in education. Parents must devote time to communicating with their children (not just talking, but also listening to them).
• Communication must include an emotional side too. Parents should show love in every action.
• We should always ask God for wisdom on how to properly imprint the Christian values on the hearts of our children, by using our words and our example.
• The time we spent communicating with each member of our family will be worth it.

Organization
• It’s important to set a specific time apart for sharing God’s wisdom and promises with our children.
• Pray with them and schedule a morning and/or evening family worship time.
• “Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old, he will stay on course.” (Proverbs 22:6 VOICE).

In the education of your children lay not the grand truths of the Bible to one side, supposing that the Sabbath school and the minister will do your neglected work. The Bible is not too sacred and sublime to be opened daily and studied diligently. The truths of the word of God are to be brought into contact with the supposed little things of life. If rightly regarded they will brighten the common life, supplying motives for obedience and principles for the formation of a right character. {AH 189.2}

Parental Responsibilities Which No One Else Can Bear—Parents, you carry responsibilities that no one can bear for you. As long as you live, you are accountable to God to keep His way…. Parents who make the word of God their guide, and who realize how much their children depend upon them for the characters they form, will set an example that it will be safe for their children to follow. {AH 187.1}

Fathers and mothers are responsible for the health, the constitution, the development of the character of their children. No one else should be left to see to this work. In becoming the parents of children, it devolves upon you to co-operate with the Lord in educating them in sound principles. {AH 187.2}

A Precious Trust—Children are committed to their parents as a precious trust, which God will one day require at their hands. We should give to their training more time, more care, and more prayer. They need more of the right kind of instruction…. {AH 161.1}

Remember that your sons and daughters are younger members of God’s family. He has committed them to your care, to train and educate for heaven. You must render an account to Him for the manner in which you discharge your sacred trust. {AH 161.2}