Testimonies, Vol. 5

My brother, my sister, may the Lord impart wisdom to you both, that you may know how to deal with minds. May the Lord teach you how great things He can do if you will only believe. Carry Jesus with you, as your companion, into the schoolroom. Keep Him before you when you speak, that the law of kindness may proceed from your lips. Do not permit anyone to mould you in this matter. Allow the children under your care to have an individuality, as well as yourselves. Ever try to lead them, but never drive them.

I see some things here in Switzerland that I think are worthy of imitation. The teachers of the schools often go out with their pupils while they are at play and teach them how to amuse themselves and are at hand to repress any disorder or wrong. Sometimes they take their scholars out and have a long walk with them. I like this; I think there is less opportunity for the children to yield to temptation. The teachers seem to enter into the sports of the children and to regulate them. I cannot in any way sanction the idea that children must feel that they are under a constant distrust and cannot act as children. But let the teachers join in the amusements of the children, be one with them, and show that they want them to be happy, and it will give the children confidence. They may be controlled by love, but not by following them at their meals and in their amusements with a stern, unbending severity.

Let me say here that those who have never had children of their own are not usually the best qualified to manage wisely the varied minds of children and youth. They are apt to make one law, from which there can be no appeal. Teachers must remember that they themselves were once children. They


should adapt their teaching to the minds of the children, placing themselves in sympathy with them; then the children can be instructed and benefited both by precept and example.

May the spirit of Jesus come in to mould your hearts, to fashion your characters, to elevate and ennoble your souls! Christ said to His disciples: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." There is need of laying aside these cast-iron rules, of coming down from these stilts, to the humbleness of the child. Oh, that some of the spirit of severity may change to a spirit of love, that happiness and sunshine may take the place of discouragement and grief!

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