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Those Juniors, Part 17 - Pursuing the Practical #1

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: There are different types of ideas. Contrary ideas are part of what forms the law of substitution, which can be employed to influence children to a higher standard of thinking and reasoning—and eventually, behaving.

Let us consider a few very practical suggestions that will help us tempt our children to do good.

Educate Them in Our Own Christian Schools
We should place our children in an atmosphere in harmony with God’s plan. “Parents and teachers do not estimate the magnitude of the work given them in training the young. The experience of the children of Israel was written for us, ‘upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ As in their day, so now the Lord would have the children gathered out from those schools where worldly influences prevail, and placed in our own schools, where the Word of God is made the foundation of education. . . .

“Only the power of God can save our children from being swept away by the tide of evil. The responsibility resting upon parents, teachers, and church members, to do their part in co-operation with God, is greater than words can express.”1

“Little do parents consider that injurious impressions are far more readily received by the young than are divine impressions. ... If they hear the principles of religion slurred, and our faith belittled; if sly objections to the truth are dropped in their hearing, these things will fasten in their minds, and mold their characters. ...

“Let the youth be placed in the most favorable circumstances possible; for the company they keep, the principles they adopt, the habits they form, will settle the question of their usefulness here, and of their future, eternal interests, with a certainty that is infallible.”2

These statements mean a great deal more to me since we have seen the proof of them in the case of our little deaf girl. You will remember my saying she attended an aural school for six years. That was the best school, I believe, on the West Coast. The teachers were all specialists. But it was a public school. We felt, however, that under the circumstances, God would certainly smile upon us with approval, and He did, because she made marvelous progress. However, with this progress year by year major problems developed. One year it was rings. “Dorothy has a ring and Marjorie has a ring and teacher has a ring, and why can’t I have a ring?” she wept.

Another year it was dancing. And do you remember that year when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came to town? Dear me, we nearly went crazy! Believe it or not, practically the whole school program was focused on Snow White and Droopy and Snoopy and what have you. They drew them for art, talked about them for conversation, read about them for reading, until every time we passed a theater advertising Snow White we had a fuss. “Teacher says it’s all right to go. Dorothy has been many times. Marjorie has been many times. Why can’t I go just once?”

Then one day when she was ten years old she figured it all out. It was the Sabbath School that stood in her way. Dorothy didn’t go to Sabbath School, and she could go to shows and dance and wear rings. Marjorie didn’t go to Sabbath School, and she went to shows. That was it! So she thereupon decided she did not want to go to Sabbath School; she would rather go to confessional with Dorothy!

One day we asked her to ask a blessing at the table and to our great astonishment she crossed herself. We nearly fainted! Then we did a little inquiring and discovered that eighty per cent of the children in that school and one hundred per cent of the teachers were Roman Catholics. No, they didn’t teach religion. We knew those teachers personally, and they were lovely ladies. They didn’t have to teach religion. They only lived it, and there we were—our little girl had decided to be a Roman Catholic, too.

That year my tenure of office as Sabbath School and Missionary Volunteer secretary in that conference was up, and we moved to another conference. We prayed earnestly that God would bless the foundation work our daughter had had in lip reading, so that she could now study with normal children in one of our own schools. With fear and trembling we took her to the fourth-grade room in our own church school. I shall never forget the courage with which her teacher, Miss Willamae Hawkins, faced the task. I shall never forget how we struggled to put into practice every principle in this chapter, never daring to criticize or condemn the Roman Catholic Church, but always praising and magnifying the good of everything and everybody who was Seventh-day Adventist. Little by little the resistance wore down, and after about a year we went to our La Sierra College for the week end. Verna Mae, our little daughter, was thrilled. “Daddy, is this an SDA college?”

“Yes, my dear.”

“Daddy, is this part of the SDA college, too?”

“Yes, my dear.” And so on all around the campus. On our way home to Glendale I noticed she was quietly writing in the back seat. The next morning as I drove to work the little piece of paper was still there. I picked it up. It was a letter she had started to her little friend Dorothy, and it said:


“Please forgive my sins to you. I am not going to be Roman Catholic. I am going to be Seventh-day Adventist. Please tell Marjorie to forgive me, too.”

I still have that little piece of paper. It is worth its weight to me in gold. You do not wonder that I declare that if you want your children to be with you in the kingdom of heaven, you must sacrifice anything to educate them in our own schools.

(Next week: “Pursuing the Practical, Part 2.”)

1. Counsels to Teachers, p. 166.
2. Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 544, 545.

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

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