In every honest heart there must be an innate love for children. Their innocence, their purity, their quick receptivity to good, make an irresistible appeal to everyone who is awake to loveliness. Ever since Jesus said to his disciples, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God," the Christian world has recognized that it is only the cold, Pharisaical thought which would push children aside as troublesome and of little real importance.

         Jesus certainly loved little children, as may be seen from the fact that he so frequently used the child as an illustration to bring to the attention of his hearers the highest and most beautiful traits of character. When he taught positively, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven," he showed beyond the possibility of a doubt that without a correct mental attitude toward the child, there could be no right understanding of true spirituality.

         In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 60) Mrs. Eddy tells us, "A mother's affection cannot be weaned from her child, because the mother-love includes purity and constancy, both of which are immortal." This is the reason there has always been apparent in the human race sufficient protection for children to insure them some degree of care, education, and advancement. It is, however, Christian Science alone, which, in its revelation of God as divine Principle, provides the perfect, immutable law whereby the child thought can be not only understood but kept in the line of perpetual, right unfoldment.

         One of the great beauties of the teaching of Christian Science is that it shows every problem as a universal one. What is of real interest to one is of equal interest to all. Take for example the subject under consideration. While Christian Science does not in any way place upon anyone the responsibility of "bringing up" his neighbor's children, it does present as of paramount importance the necessity of everyone learning to understand and demonstrate in his own thinking and living the right understanding of childhood. It is inevitably true that no one can be helpful to a child, who has not first learned to demonstrate for himself, in some degree at least, his own relationship to God as His child. As he does this he will be able to bless all children through his true spiritual thinking in connection with every question.

         While Mrs. Eddy's instruction in regard to the education and care of children is very specific, it needs deep study of its rules and earnest application of them that right results may be won. That love of God, good, must be the actuating motive in all one's association with children as well as elsewhere is so plainly recognized as to be almost beyond the necessity of statement. That obedience to right authority is the first necessity in the education of any individual is another truism. These demands of Principle must, however, continually be met by everyone, and we can therefore scarcely remind ourselves too frequently of such fundamentals.

         No real success in life can ever be gained excepting through recognition of and obedience to right authority. Then such education can scarcely be begun too early with a child. Now right authority is always constituted of the intelligent demands of divine Principle, and obedience to these demands can only be met through learning and practicing self-mastery. To the human sense of things, to mention self-mastery and childhood in the same breath seems almost incongruous, Every child, however, has the problem of life to work out scientifically, and cannot be taught too early to know and love the simple truths of divine Mind, the practice of which invariably turns even the children away from selfishness and produces happiness and goodness.

         It is always possible to win implicit and unquestioning obedience from a child when obedience is insisted upon without self-will, and the human sense of authority is held as entirely subservient to the authority of God, divine Mind. The child must learn to respect and obey authority if he is to become the God-governed Christian Scientist who will prove a blessing to the world. To allow children to obey their own foolish wills without hindrance, for fear of expressing self-will in rebuking them, is to express weak selfishness. To educate a child properly, in any direction demands the understanding and demonstration in one's own life of the rules of Christian Science. One will thus discern the wisdom, intelligence, and love which are needed to magnify Principle that the child shall quickly learn so to love God, good, that he will naturally look to Him as a guide under all circumstances. Christian Science thus demonstrated in the home and Sunday school will educate the children into such a love of law and order as qualities of divine Mind that they will become later the law-abiding, law-respecting citizens which the world so greatly needs.

         The care of young children should always be approached from the standpoint that it is a holy work. What could be of greater importance than to care for the tender thought of the child that it may be kept "unspotted from the world," — free from all belief in evil as a reality or power. One must himself daily become more holy if he would impart holiness to the children. He must constantly be rising in the understanding of the all-power of God, good, and he will then be able to walk consciously in the footsteps of the Master, of whom it has been said: "He took little children in his arms and blessed them."


"Children" by Ella W. Hoag, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, August 23, 1919

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