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Those Juniors, Part 19: Pursuing the Practical, #3

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: If you want to have the greatest amount of power through influencing (or tempting) you children/students to do good and be good, you must pursue the practical.

Discover or Suggest Their Vocations and Refer to Them Frequently
At a workers’ meeting in Lodi, California, I heard Elder George H. Loewen give an apt illustration of the power of deliberate interest on the part of parents in the vocations of their children.

A Sabbath school teacher, chatting with the little boys in her class, said: “What are you going to be when you grow up, Johnnie?”

“A doctor,” Johnnie replied proudly. “Father says so.”

“And what are you going to be Tommy?”

“A teacher,” replied Tommy cheerfully. “Father says so.”

“And, Henry, what are you going to be?” the teacher continued.

Henry looked somewhat downcast as he replied, “Nothin’. Father says so!”

Look out, parents and teachers! It does make a difference how we talk to our boys and girls about what they might be doing—tomorrow.

Play Doctor, Preacher, Teacher, Nurse
We used to do it when we were three, four, or five years old, didn’t we? I’ve taken my turn as patient, as doctor, or as nurse while my own little ones have romped all over me, but I think we should do more of it. Instead of leaving the children to themselves to play pirates and kidnappers, why not play with them and play church, play school, or play house? This play age and this play time can be a very important factor in the tempting of our children to things worthwhile.

Give Them Seventh-day Adventist Heroes
Primaries and juniors are hero worshippers. It is part of their natural development. Why not supply Seventh-day Adventist heroes for them? Put their pictures on the wall, make a scrapbook of Seventh-day Adventist pictures and hero stories and talk about them. How much better to do this than to leave them alone to find their heroes from Hollywood, for heroes they will have.

I can well remember the heroes I have had in my life. Missionary Gates, who told us stories about the Pitcairn; Missionary Munson, who taught us to sing, “Jesus Loves Me” in the Malayan language; Missionary Anderson, who wrote that wonderful book, On the Trail of Livingstone; Missionary Jones, of the South Seas; Missionary Stahl, apostle to the South American Indians; and our beloved Elder W. A. Spicer. Of course, there have been many others, but these men stand out. I have their pictures in a special folder in my file. Their impress is in my heart and on my work.

What a sobering thought to every leader—that he is somebody’s hero. I can never forget the first time that I realized a ten-year-old wanted to be like me. I was a junior in Avondale College. I had been home for maybe my last vacation, and father had arranged for me to break my journey on the way back to school and spend a Sabbath in Mount Gambier, where I had lived as an eleven-year-old boy.

Elder Brown met me at the train and took me to church. They asked me to preach, and I was delighted. They asked me to take the young people’s meeting, and I was thrilled. Then Elder Brown took me to his home and showed me the guest room. “This is where the conference president stays when he comes to Mount Gambier,” he said, “and this will be your room tonight.” Oh, what a room it was! What an honor it was!

Supper was over. We sat around the fire. Bonnie and his sisters joined in some of the reminiscing, and then it was time for the little folks to go to bed. We “old” folks stayed up quite a bit longer. Then, finally, we all yawned, and I began to think about that bed in that guest room. “Well, I suppose we might as well go to rest,” suggested Elder Brown, and I was just opening the door to the guest room after saying good night when he added, “Of course, Eric, we want you to occupy the guest room, but young Bonnie said, as we put him to bed, ‘Oh, Dad, can’t Eric sleep with me?’ Of course he has a nice comfortable bed, too— If you would like to, it would please him so much.” For just a second I wavered, as that beautiful, honorable guest room faded out of my life. Then I said, “Of course, I’d like to crawl in with Bonnie.”

The little rascal was sound asleep and didn’t even know I had slept with him until he woke up in the morning.

“Eric,” he sputtered, “did you sleep with me?”


“All night?”


“And I didn’t know it!” We talked and chatted for a little while; then it was time to get up. I dressed and washed my face in a big porcelain basin. You remember years ago the water was in a big jug in the bedroom, and after you washed you had to open the window to throw the dirty water out.

Well, I had just opened the window and turned around to get the basin when Bonnie sprang out of bed, put his hands on the basin, and said imploringly, “Aw, Eric, can’t I wash my face in your water?” I let him. For a moment I was dumfounded, but as I saw that ten-year-old boy washing his face in my water, I re-dedicated my heart to God and prayed, “O God, help me so to live that it will always be safe for the boys and girls to wash their faces in my water.”

You are somebody’s hero. Be a true one and help to find other heroes for him to emulate. Talk about them, read about them, then get him to thinking by saying, “Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that thrilling? Wouldn’t you like to be like that?”

Goldsmith had the vision when he wrote:

“Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e’en his failings lean’d to virtue’s side;
But in his duty prompt at every call;
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all;
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.”

(Next week: “Concrete Correction.”)

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

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