Mind, Character and Personality/Balance in Education
Education Has Eternal Implications.—Education is a work the effect of which will be seen throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.—Testimonies for the Church 6:154 (1900).
To Restore Harmony in the Being—The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised and a life of probation was granted to man. To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created is the great object of life—the object that underlies every other. It is the work of parents and teachers, in the education of the youth, to cooperate with the divine purpose; and in so doing they are “laborers together with God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, 595 (1890).
All Capabilities to Be Developed—All the varied capabilities that men possess—of mind and soul and body—are given them by God to be so employed as to reach the (p.360) highest possible degree of excellence. But this cannot be a selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love. Every faculty, every attribute, with which the Creator has endowed us is to be employed for His glory and for the uplifting of our fellowmen. And in this employment is found its purest, noblest, and happiest exercise.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 595 (1890).
True Education Is Broad—True education means more than taking a certain course of study. It is broad. It includes the harmonious development of all the physical powers and the mental faculties. It teaches the love and fear of God and is a preparation for the faithful discharge of life’s duties.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 64 (1913).
All-round Development for Every Duty—And those who would be workers together with God must strive for perfection of every organ of the body and quality of the mind. True education is the preparation of the physical, mental, and moral powers for the performance of every duty; it is the training of body, mind, and soul for divine service. This is the education that will endure unto eternal life.—Christ’s Object Lessons, 330 (1900).
All Powers to Reach Their Highest Potential—God designs that the college at Battle Creek shall reach a higher standard of intellectual and moral culture than any other institution of the kind in our land. The youth should be taught the importance of cultivating their physical, mental, and moral powers that they may not only reach the highest attainments in science, but through a knowledge of God may be educated to glorify Him; that they may develop symmetrical characters, and thus be fully prepared for usefulness in this world and obtain a moral fitness for the immortal life.—Testimonies for the Church 4:425 (1880).
Knowledge of Science of All Kinds Is Power—The schools established among us are matters of grave (p.361) responsibility, for important interests are involved. In a special manner our schools are a spectacle unto angels and to men. A knowledge of science of all kinds is power, and it is in the purpose of God that advanced science shall be taught in our schools as a preparation for the work that is to precede the closing scenes of earth’s history. The truth is to go to the remotest bounds of the earth, through agents trained for the work. But while the knowledge of science is a power, the knowledge which Jesus in person came to impart to the world was the knowledge of the gospel. The light of truth was to flash its bright rays into the uttermost parts of the earth, and the acceptance or rejection of the message of God involved the eternal destiny of souls.—The Review and Herald, December 1, 1891. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 186.)
Youth to Be Thinkers—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, 18 (1903).
True Education Develops Character—The education and training of the youth is an important and solemn work. The great object to be secured should be the proper development of character, that the individual may be (p.362) fitted rightly to discharge the duties of the present life and to enter at last upon the future, immortal life. Eternity will reveal the manner in which the work has been performed. If ministers and teachers could have a full sense of their responsibility, we should see a different state of things in the world today. But they are too narrow in their views and purposes. They do not realize the importance of their work or its results.—Testimonies for the Church 4:418 (1880).
Greatest Value Is to Build Character—The students [in the Avondale school] work hard and faithfully. They are gaining in strength of nerve and in solidity as well as activity of muscles. This is the proper education which will bring forth from our schools young men who are not weak and inefficient, who have not a one-sided education, but an all-round physical, mental, and moral training. The builders of character must not forget to lay the foundation which will make education of the greatest value. This will require self-sacrifice, but it must be done. The physical training will, if properly conducted, prepare for mental taxation. But the one alone always makes a deficient man.
The physical taxation combined with mental effort keeps the mind and morals in a more healthful condition, and far better work is done. Under this training students will come forth from our schools educated for practical life, able to put their intellectual capabilities to the best use. Physical and mental exercise must be combined if we would do justice to our students. We have been working on this plan here [Australia] with complete satisfaction, notwithstanding the inconvenience under which students have to labor.— Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers 4, August 27, 1895, 16. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 241.)
Many Fail to Understand True Principles—Many students are in so great haste to complete their education that they are not thorough in anything which they undertake. Few have sufficient courage and self-control to act (p.363) from principle. Most students fail to understand the true object of education, and hence fail to take such a course as to secure this object. They apply themselves to the study of mathematics or the languages, while they neglect a study far more essential to the happiness and success of life. Many who can explore the depths of the earth with the geologist or traverse the heavens with the astronomer show not the slightest interest in the wonderful mechanism of their own bodies. Others can tell just how many bones there are in the human frame and correctly describe every organ of the body, and yet they are as ignorant of the laws of health and the cure of disease as though life were controlled by blind fate instead of definite and unvarying law.—The Signs of the Times, June 29, 1892. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 71, 72.)
Education Is Not of Brain Alone—Students who have gained book knowledge without gaining a knowledge of practical work cannot lay claim to a symmetrical education. The energies that should have been devoted to business of various lines have been neglected. Education does not consist in using the brain alone. Physical employment is a part of the training essential for every youth. An important phase of education is lacking if the student is not taught how to engage in useful labor.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 307, 308 (1913).
Physical and Mental to Be Equally Taxed—Much has been said and written in regard to the importance of training the mind for its highest service. This has sometimes led to the opinion that if the intellect is educated to put forth its highest powers, it will strengthen the physical and moral nature for the development of the whole man. Time and experience have proved this to be an error. We have seen men and women go forth as graduates from college who were in no way qualified to make a proper use of the wonderful physical organism with which God had provided them. The whole body is designed for action, not for inaction. (p.364)
If the physical powers are not taxed equally with the mental, too much strain is brought upon the latter. Unless every part of the human machinery performs its allotted tasks, the mental powers cannot be used to their highest capability for any length of time. Natural powers must be governed by natural laws, and the faculties must be educated to work harmoniously and in accord with these laws. The teachers in our schools can disregard none of these particulars without shirking responsibility. Pride may lead them to seek for a high worldly standard of intellectual attainment that students may make a brilliant show; but when it comes to solid acquirements—those which are essential to fit men and women for any and every emergency in practical life—such students are only partially prepared to make life a success. Their defective education often leads to failure in whatever branch of business they undertake.—Testimonies for the Church 5:522 (1889).
Not to Escape Life’s Burdens—Let the youth be impressed with the thought that education is not to teach them how to escape life’s disagreeable tasks and heavy burdens; that its purpose is to lighten the work by teaching better methods and higher aims. Teach them that life’s true aim is not to secure the greatest possible gain for themselves but to honor their Maker in doing their part of the world’s work and lending a helpful hand to those weaker or more ignorant.—Education, 221, 222 (1903).
Harmonious Development Needed—The right use of one’s self is the most valuable lesson that can be learned. We are not to do brain work and stop there, or make physical exertion and stop there; we are to make the best use of the various parts that compose the human machinery—brain, bone, muscle, head, and heart.—The Youth’s Instructor, April 7, 1898. (Sons and Daughters of God, 171).
Ignorance Does Not Increase Spirituality—Young men should not enter upon the work of explaining the (p.365) Scriptures and lecturing upon the prophecies when they do not have a knowledge of the important Bible truths they try to explain to others. They may be deficient in the common branches of education and therefore fail to do the amount of good they could do if they had had the advantages of a good school. Ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality of any professed follower of Christ. The truths of the Divine Word can be best appreciated by an intellectual Christian. Christ can be best glorified by those who serve Him intelligently. The great object of education is to enable us to use the powers which God has given us in such a manner as will best represent the religion of the Bible and promote the glory of God.—Testimonies for the Church 3:160 (1872).
Education Requires Painstaking Efforts—Teachers should lead students to think and clearly to understand the truth for themselves. It is not enough for the teacher to explain or for the student to believe; inquiry must be awakened, and the student must be drawn out to state the truth in his own language, thus making it evident that he sees its force and makes the application. By painstaking effort the vital truths should thus be impressed upon the mind. This may be a slow process, but it is of more value than rushing over important subjects without due consideration. God expects His institutions to excel those of the world, for they are His representatives. Men truly connected with God will show to the world that a more than human agent is standing at the helm.—Testimonies for the Church 6:154 (1900).
Set Up Well-defined Landmarks—Let the youth set up well-defined landmarks by which they may be guided in emergencies. When a crisis comes that demands active, well-developed physical powers and a clear, strong, practical working mind; when difficult work is to be done where every stroke must tell, and perplexities can be met only through seeking wisdom from God, then the youth (p.366) who have learned to overcome difficulties by earnest labor can respond to the call for workers, “Here am I, send me.” Let the hearts of young men and young women be as clear as crystal. Let not their thoughts be trivial, but sanctified by virtue and holiness. They need not be otherwise. With purity of thought through sanctification of the Spirit, their lives may be refined, elevated, ennobled.— Letters to Physicians and Ministers 1, July 1900, 31,32.
Formation of Right Habits Important—It should be the fixed purpose of every youth to aim high in all his plans for lifework. Adopt for your government in all things the standard that God’s Word presents. This is the Christian’s positive duty, and it should be also his positive pleasure. Cultivate respect for yourself because you are Christ’s purchased possession. Success in the formation of right habits, advancement in that that is noble and just, will give you an influence that all will value. Live for something besides self.
If your motives are pure and unselfish, if you are ever looking for work which somebody must do, if you are always on the alert to show kindly attentions and do courteous deeds, you are unconsciously building your own monument. This is the work that God calls upon all children and youth to do.— Letters to Physicians and Ministers 1, July 1900, 32.
Self-support an Important Part of Education—In acquiring an education many students would gain a most valuable training if they would become self-sustaining. Instead of incurring debts or depending on the self-denial of their parents, let young men and young women depend on themselves. They will thus learn the value of money, the value of time, strength, and opportunities, and will be under far less temptation to indulge idle and spendthrift habits. The lessons of economy, industry, self-denial, practical business management, and steadfastness of purpose, thus mastered, would prove a most important part of their (p.367) equipment for the battle of life. And the lesson of self-help learned by the student would go far toward preserving institutions of learning from the burden of debt under which so many schools have struggled and which has done so much toward crippling their usefulness.—Education, 221 (1903). Education Molds Social Fabric—Throughout the world, society is in disorder, and a thorough transformation is needed. The education given to the youth is to mold the whole social fabric.—The Ministry of Healing, 406 (1905).
Need for Schools to Teach Agriculture—Our schools could aid effectively in the disposition of the unemployed masses. Thousands of helpless and starving beings, whose numbers are daily swelling the ranks of the criminal classes, might achieve self-support in a happy, healthy, independent life if they could be directed in skillful, diligent labor in the tilling of the soil.—Education, 220 (1903). Education Continues Through Life—In the school of Christ, students are never graduated. Among the pupils are both old and young. Those who give heed to the instructions of the Divine Teacher constantly advance in wisdom, refinement, and nobility of soul, and thus they are prepared to enter that higher school where advancement will continue throughout eternity.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 51 (1913).
True Ambition—Dear youth, what is the aim and purpose of your life? Are you ambitious for education that you may have a name and position in the world? Have you thoughts that you dare not express, that you may one day stand upon the summit of intellectual greatness; that you may sit in deliberative and legislative councils and help to enact laws for the nation? There is nothing wrong in these aspirations. You may every one of you make your mark. You should be content with no mean attainments. Aim high and spare no pains to reach the standard.—The Review and Herald, August 19, 1884. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 82.) (p.368)
The Most Essential Knowledge—Let the youth advance as fast and as far as they can in the acquisition of knowledge. ... And as they learn, let them impart their knowledge. It is thus that their minds will acquire discipline and power. It is the use they make of knowledge that determines the value of their education. To spend a long time in study, with no effort to impart what is gained, often proves a hindrance rather than a help to real development. In both the home and the school it should be the student’s effort to learn how to study and how to impart the knowledge gained. Whatever his calling, he is to be both a learner and a teacher as long as life shall last.—The Ministry of Healing, 402 (1905).
The most essential education for our youth today to gain, and that which will fit them for the higher grades of the school above, is an education that will teach them how to reveal the will of God to the world.—The Review and Herald, October 24, 1907. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 512.)
The essential knowledge is a knowledge of God and of Him whom He has sent.
Every child and every youth should have a knowledge of himself. He should understand the physical habitation that God has given him and the laws by which it is kept in health. All should be thoroughly grounded in the common branches of education. And they should have industrial training that will make them men and women of practical ability, fitted for the duties of everyday life. To this should be added training and practical experience in various lines of missionary effort.—The Ministry of Healing, 402 (1905).
“What ‘University Course’ Can Equal This?”—“The great day of the Lord is near...” and a world is to be warned.... Thousands of the youth ... should be giving themselves to this work.... Let every Christian educator ... encourage and assist the youth under his care in gaining a preparation to join the ranks. (p.369)
There is no line of work in which it is possible for the youth to receive greater benefit.... They are co-workers with the angels; rather, they are the human agencies through whom the angels accomplish their mission. Angels speak through their voices, and work by their hands. And the human workers, cooperating with heavenly agencies, have the benefit of their education and experience. As a means of education, what “university course” can equal this?—Education, 270, 271 (1903).
To Impart Knowledge Is Essential—It is necessary to their complete education that students be given time to do missionary work—time to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of the families in the community around them. They should not be so loaded down with studies that they have no time to use the knowledge they have acquired. They should be encouraged to make earnest missionary effort for those in error, becoming acquainted with them and taking to them the truth. By working in humility, seeking wisdom from Christ, praying and watching unto prayer, they may give to others the knowledge that has enriched their lives.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 545, 546 (1913).