Counteracting Old World Influences on Children
1. Why should not children be allowed to develop according to their own inclinations?
SOME modern educators teach that children should be allowed to develop according to their own inclinations and inhibitions. This course is wrong and contrary to Scripture. The child during its impressionable years requires strong parental guidance and direction. To expose the fallacy of modern educators Paul said that when he was a babe his reasoning was unsound and incomplete. He wrote: “When I was a babe, I used to speak as a babe, to think as a babe, to reason as a babe; but now that I have become a man, I have done away with the traits of a babe.” (1 Cor. 13:11, NW) Thus for this reason children are not to be left to their foolish reasonings and mischief-making. Here is where the “rod of correction” is necessary to give that proper bent to the child.
2. How does juvenile domination develop, and what should be done about it?
2 The above incorrect theory of the moderns leads to a further trouble in households. That is, children want to become bosses and do begin to exercise rulership. They actually come to the point where they tell their parents what to do. This also means that children are allowed to have their own selfish way, are provided with everything they ask for and finally get spoiled and become unmanageable. This situation is extremely dangerous, as the heart of the child has been trained to lean on its own immature, unexperienced understanding. As a novice he falls easy victim to every glittering snare of the great adversary Satan. (1 Tim. 3:6, NW) Wise King Solomon warned against rulership of mature people by a child, a mere boy, when he wrote: “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a boy, and your princes feast in the morning!” (Eccl. 10:16, AT) Paul shows that though a child is an heir to become a ruler, yet while he is in his minority he is under men in charge and not allowed to rule: “Now I say that as long as the heir is a babe he does not differ at all from a slave, lord of all things though he is, but he is under men in charge and under stewards until the day his father appointed beforehand.” (Gal. 4:1, 2, NW) This was the position of Jesus. Though he was destined to be the king of the new world, yet during his minority as a man child he subjected himself to his lowly earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. Juvenile domination in Christian households is highly improper and should be terminated promptly by means of the “rod of correction”.
3. What wise course is followed by minors in custody of theocratic parents?
3 To the children the Bible clearly says: “Honor your father and mother.” Paul also instructs, “Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord.” (Eph. 6:1, 2, NW) Do not be like the children in Satan’s old world society where they insist on their own selfish ways and expect a little bribe to be good and to obey. This reminds one of a little story on this point. A mother not governed by Biblical principles says to her little child, “Child, why do I always have to pay you money to be good. Why don’t you be good for nothing like your father?” While such are the ways under the old world society, youngsters in custody of theocratic parents are most fortunate and are rich in the favors of the Lord. Theocratically trained children delight to obey their father and mother. They like to be good because this is the right thing to do. In this way they learn to be obedient to their great Father in heaven, Jehovah.
FIELDS OF EDUCATION
4, 5. (a) What fields of education are available today? (b) To what extent do Jehovah’s witnesses use the nontheocratic schools of the land?
4 In surveying the vast amount of education good and bad available today, what practical course can be suggested to equip the young for a most profitable future in the new world society? At the outset it seems we must recognize there are two fields to consider: first, the untheocratic field, and, second, the theocratic field of education. Of these two the theocratic field is superior and must receive the greater attention.
5 The field of untheocratic education covers the use of our modern public and private schools. Many of these schools are operated by the government and the law requires the attendance at some approved school up to certain ages, such as 15 or 16; some states, up to 18. With these education laws Jehovah’s witnesses can safely comply. However, these schools are resorted to by Jehovah’s witnesses only for basic secular studies in reading, writing, mathematics and some of the arts. Where a choice is offered, other studies, as music, typewriting, shorthand, and foreign languages, will be found very useful. In the high schools it would be well for the teen-age girls to take additional courses in home economics or domestic sciences. For the teen-age boys in high schools they might find it well to specialize in some field of technical work. Learning a trade or becoming proficient in some constructive line of business will always be a definite asset for them. Remember the apostle Paul as a youth learned to be a tentmaker. (Acts 18:3) When Paul’s missionary funds were low he could always resort to tentmaking to obtain needed funds.
6. Why is it well for boys and girls to specialize in the crafts and art of out time?
6 Not only will this help the youths to be self-supporting and to make a success of the pioneer service later, but such specialized training in the arts and crafts of our day will enable them to make a practical contribution toward the building of Paradise in the earth after Armageddon. It staggers the imagination when one contemplates the post-Armageddon needs for skills. Why, the engineering works and agricultural projects at that time will be tremendous. Not only will there be almost an endless building program for the civilization of the survivors, but think of the multitudes who will come back in the resurrection who will have to be provided with homes, food and clothing. It seems reasonable that all of these necessities would have to be produced ahead of time to give the resurrected ones a decent reception in a land of plenty. So to every young man and young woman the counsel is given to train himself now intellectually and practically not only for the remaining years before the disappearance of this old world, but prepare for a full share in building the enduring Paradise civilization that will stand forever as a tribute to Jehovah’s goodness.
7. What advice is given as to sports?
7 A brief word about sports. Sports in modern schools are greatly overemphasized. Much time is wasted that could be better spent in learning profitable matters or in preaching activity. Sports as organized today are conducive to hero worship, which is dangerous and unchristian. Once in a while a game of ball or other sport can be innocently indulged in as genuine recreation and such is profitable. But to have one’s mind as a youth constantly filled with sports seven days a week is unwise and unwholesome. Paul’s advice 1900 years ago to young Timothy, who lived in the midst of the sports-maddened Greek world, is timely counsel for us today. “For bodily training is beneficial for a little, but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.”—1 Tim. 4:8, NW.
FOUR SCRIPTURAL CATEGORIES
8, 9. (a) What four categories of theocratic education are available? (b) Who should take the lead in home training of children?
8 So much for the untheocratic field of education. But now for the theocratic field of training, which is most vital and which truly prepares children for life everlasting in divine favor. Modern theocratic education falls into four categories similar to those briefly described of Biblical times. The four divisions are, namely, first, at home; second, on the work; third, congregationally; and fourth, at assemblies.
9 Just as Jehovah is the great Teacher of his household, so the father as head of the house should take the lead in home theocratic education. (1 Thess. 2:11) Likewise God’s wifely organization as a mother teaches her spiritual offspring; so, too, the human mother is to serve as a co-educator. Daily the theocratic father and mother should give oral instruction to their children. How better can this be done than at mealtimes? Especially at the morning and evening meals. At the morning meal the oral instruction should center around the daily text and comment provided by the Society in its annual yearbooks. There is always ample material in the comments which the father and the mother can enlarge upon from their own theocratic experiences. These can be related with great practical profit to the children.
10. What suggestions are given for effective home training?
10 Inasmuch as children in Biblical times memorized Scripture texts it is suggested as a good idea for the children to memorize each day’s text from the Yearbook. A short drill could be conducted mornings before the text is discussed by the family to see that the children have properly committed the text to memory. Then when father returns home for the evening meal a check-up could be made that the text is still remembered. By way of example, Timothy from infancy doubtless learned by heart much of the holy writings. (2 Tim. 3:15) At the evening meals further helpful training can be offered by both father and mother in recounting profitable theocratic experiences of the day by their having preached the Kingdom message “in favorable season” or “in troublesome season”. (2 Tim. 4:2, NW) As the children become older they can share in these mealtime Biblical discussions and reports. It cannot be overemphasized, the vital need there is for a daily program of theocratic instruction in the home. Additionally, proper manners, discipline and respect for older ones should be daily inculcated. Mothers and fathers should be companionable with their children. Be their best pals. Gain and retain their confidence at all times.
11. What heritage may be left children? How may this be done?
11 The greatest heritage one can leave his children is the desire to become an active minister of Jehovah. The primary occupation of all Jehovah’s witnesses is that of the ministry. Therefore they should employ the second method of instruction used in Biblical times, namely, that of instructing children while on the witness work. This means that it is well for the parents to take their youngsters with them in the various features of the field service. When Timothy was still very young, Paul took this spiritual “son” of his with him in the missionary service that he might learn by firsthand experience. (Acts 16:1-3) Let your son and your daughter become an apprentice to the ministry. As your children hear you defend the name of Jehovah and expound the good news of the incoming new world, they too will have well up in their hearts the desire to be zealous witnesses for Jehovah. From time to time in the house-to-house preaching activity allow them to add words to your testimony before the householder. This might be done by interrupting your witness by saying to your child something to this effect: “Tell the lady who Jehovah is,” or ask some other basic question on which the child can express itself. Take your child along with you to your home Bible studies and perhaps it can share in looking up some of the proof scriptures. In apprenticing the child in the ministry the secret is to give it some little part in the actual work of preaching.
12. What theocratic career may be planned for children, and how?
12 As the children get older it is well not to leave them idle. Gradually encourage them to give their own testimonies at the doors or on the streets or to have their own home Bible studies. Suggest that they become vacation pioneers during their summer holidays. Perhaps the desire to become a foreign missionary can be instilled in their hearts in the course of the years. This would mean that after their two years of full-time pioneer service they would qualify to attend the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead to prepare for the foreign missionary service. The highest career you can plan for your children is that of the full-time service as a minister. Work and plan to help them toward that most joyful and successful of careers.
13. What contribution can the congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses make toward Christian training of children?
13 In addition to training children while on the witness work, there is still a third force in the rearing of children. That third force is that of the local congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses. Children right from the start should be expected to accompany their parents to all meetings. Those who came to hear Jesus brought their children with them. (Matt. 15:38) They should learn to sit quietly and listen to all that goes on. Just like the little Davids and the little Sarahs in the days of ancient Israel who attended synagogue meetings, so too the modern little Davids and little Sarahs should be eager to attend every meeting. The other members of the congregation can contribute their part by befriending and speaking to all the youths in their midst. This has a beneficial effect on the children and makes them feel that they are part of a large family of God. When the boys get old enough they should be encouraged to enroll in the theocratic ministry school. There is no better training today in the Christian ministry than that offered by the Society at its congregational meetings of Bible study and its course in the theocratic ministry school. Let every son and daughter of Jehovah’s witnesses delight to take full part in such congregational meetings.
14. How should a fourth force or theocratic education be taken advantage of?
14 There is still a fourth force of education that theocratic parents should take advantage of. That is to take your whole family to every circuit, district and national assembly arranged for by the Society. Save up your money to this end. Do you know that the Israelites were enjoined by law to set aside their second tithe or ten per cent of their income to finance their three journeys to Jerusalem each year? (Deut. 14:22-26, AS) Weeks before the event build up a keen interest and desire to attend the assembly. Instruct your children while en route to the assembly city. Show them the scenic, geographic and other points of interest. Here is your opportunity to use the “book of nature” to broaden the minds of the young with travel. The theocratic child should be accustomed to mix with and meet people from distant communities. At the assembly see that the children meet your many friends from far and near. See that they attend the baptismal services to learn how this is done and what it signifies. Then when they are old enough to symbolize their dedication to Jehovah’s service, encourage them to take that proper step. While at the assembly discuss in company and in hearing of the young important points brought out at the sessions. In fact, for weeks following the assembly there should be much food for discussions at your evening mealtimes at home.
15. Finally, what are theocratic parents urged to do?
15 “Let the young children come to me and do not try to stop them.” (Luke 18:16, NW) Truly there is a wealth of theocratic training and education available to assist the Christian parent in leading his children to Christ Jesus as King of the new world. May every theocratic parent take heart and commence with a renewed interest the training of his children. Many will be your joys and great will be your satisfaction as you rear your children in the way of divine favor. Be God-fearing parents raising your children in godly devotion. Do all in your power to give them that glorious hope of everlasting life in the new world. Shield and protect them from the dangers and snares of the old world. Plant in their hearts the seed of truth and ever be busy in watering and nourishing the spiritual growth of your dear ones. Train your beloved ones now with that new world outlook which is sound, practical and, above all, brings them Jehovah’s blessing of endless life.