Young Disciple Blog Back to Subscribe RSS

Those Juniors, Part 14: Tempting to Teach, # 1

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: It is deduction that is easier; it requires little thought, and the teacher does the explaining. But it is induction that makes a lasting impression on the students. Teaching should be a process of retaining knowledge, which is best done through induction.

Referring to the clever way in which the unjust steward prepared for his future, Christ said, “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”1  We do not understand that Christ was approving dishonesty, but He was commending the ability to think ahead and plan. It is evidently possible to learn something good from a bad man.

During the war it was demonstrated time and time again that much could be learned from a study of the strategy and the captured weapons of the enemy. It is also possible for us to learn valuable lessons from the strategy and weapons of our archenemy Satan.

We need not make our study long or detailed before we discover the fact that whatever weapon Satan uses, or whether he is interested in making a drunkard, a liar, or a murderer, his most successful method is temptation.

Turning to Webster’s dictionary, we find that the word “tempt” comes from the Latin temptare, meaning “to handle, feel, attack, try, test, urge”; and he defines it: “1. To put to trial; to prove; test; try. 2. To endeavor to persuade; to induce; incite. 3. To lead, or endeavor to lead, into evil; to entice to what is wrong by promise of pleasure or gain; to seduce.”

You notice at once that temptation is not limited to evil, and I firmly believe it is possible to affect our juniors with a strong inclination to do right, and render them strongly disposed to do good. In other words, I believe we can learn how to tempt our children to do good and to be good.

We have already studied the structure of the idea and how ideas enter the mind through the avenues of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and feeling. Let us now liken the field of conscious thought to the field of vision. With our eyes we see everything within a rough circle. But there is one thing that falls within the focus of the eye that is seen more distinctly than anything else. Looking at the preacher in church, we see the preacher, the pulpit, the chairs, the choir, the flag. But, if we are looking at the preacher, his face is more distinct than anything else. We can change our vision and look at the flag. We can still see the preacher, but now the flag is in the focus of the vision and can be seen clearer than anything else. You notice that though we can see many things at once, only one thing at a time can fall within the focus of vision.

Similarly, if we let a circle represent the field of conscious thought, all the ideas we ever had would be within that circle, but only one idea at a time could sit on the throne of the mind and be thought about. As we read these words we know where our children are, what we had for supper, what we intend to do next, but all these ideas are in the threshold of the mind, and on the throne of conscious thought would be this idea of tempting children to do good.

Passive ideas, like furniture in a room, rest in the mind until they are dragged by the will or some strong associated idea to the throne to be thought about. Homework, practice, geography lessons, are like that, and sometimes it even takes something more than the will to drag these passive ideas to the throne. But, say, the idea of getting married is not like that! If you are about to be married, you don’t have to make yourself think about being married. All you have to do is stop thinking about something else and clear the throne; then up hops this very active idea and just makes you think about it. Indeed, when the time of her wedding is approaching, if the young woman wakes up in the middle of the night, here comes that active idea, and she thinks over the invitations to be sent out, the dresses to make, what kind of cake she is going to have, etc. Oh, yes, getting married is an active idea. So is graduating and going for a holiday, and so are evil thoughts.

Do you know it is possible to turn a passive idea into an active idea? Let us read what John Adams, professor of education in the University of London, says:

“Of the enormous number of ideas that have passed through our consciousness, a proportion will probably never return. But every idea that has once been in consciousness has the chance of being recalled, and every time an idea is recalled, it increases its chance of being recalled again. In other words, the oftener an idea is recalled to consciousness, the greater its presentative activity.”2

He continues the thought by saying further, “If the idea of an action becomes vivid in the mind, there is a strong tendency for that idea to pass over into action. If we think earnestly about a certain action, we find ourselves impelled to perform that action. If you make a clear picture in your mind of yourself performing some action, you will find that the longer you dwell on this picture the stronger becomes your inclination to perform the action, and if you retain the picture long enough, the inclination becomes practically irresistible.”3

This simply means that we can deliberately recall a passive idea to the focus of thought through any of the five avenues, and that every time it is recalled it gets stronger and stronger, until it not only can become an active idea, but in the process there is developed an irresistible urge to imitate it.

(Next week: “Tempting to Teach, Part 2.”)

1. Luke 16:8.
2. John Adams, Primer on Teaching, pp. 23, 24.
3. Ibid., pp. 26, 27.

Copyright © 1973 by Eric B. Hare. Used by permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment