Child Guidance

Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com

Chapter 7—Practical Lessons from Nature’s Book

God’s Voice in His Handiwork—Wherever we turn, we hear the voice of God and behold His handiwork. From the solemn roll of the deep-toned thunder and old ocean’s ceaseless roar, to the glad songs that make the forests vocal with melody, nature’s ten thousand voices speak His praise. In earth and sea and sky, with their marvelous tint and color, varying in gorgeous contrast or blended in harmony, we behold His glory. The everlasting hills tell of His power. The trees that wave their green banners in the sunlight, and the flowers in their delicate beauty, point to their Creator. The living green that carpets the brown earth tells of God’s care for the humblest of His creatures. The caves of the sea and the depths of the earth reveal His treasures. He who placed the pearls in the ocean and the amethyst and chrysolite among the rocks is a lover of the beautiful. The sun rising in the heavens is a representative of Him who is the life and light of all that He has made. All the brightness and beauty that adorn the earth and light up the heavens speak of God. CG 53.1Shall we, then, in the enjoyment of His gifts, forget the Giver? Let them rather lead us to contemplate His goodness and His love. Let all that is beautiful in our earthly home remind us of the crystal river and green fields, the waving trees and living fountains, the shining city and the white-robed singers, of our heavenly home—that world of beauty which no artist can picture, no mortal tongue describe. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.1CG 53.2Of God’s Love and Character—Mothers … should not be so engrossed with the artificial and burdened with care that they cannot have time to educate their children from God’s great book of nature, impressing their young minds with the beauties of opening buds and flowers. The lofty trees, the lovely birds caroling forth their happy songs to their Creator, speak to their senses of the goodness, mercy, and benevolence of God. Every leaf and flower with their varied tints, perfuming the air, teach them that God is love. All that is good and lovely and beautiful in this world speaks to them of the love of our heavenly Father. The character of God they may discern in His created works.2CG 54.1Of God’s Perfection—As the things of nature show their appreciation of the Master Worker by doing their best to beautify the earth and to represent God’s perfection, so human beings should strive in their sphere to represent God’s perfection, allowing Him to work out through them His purposes of justice, mercy, and goodness.3CG 54.2Of the Creator and the Sabbath—Who gives us the sunshine which makes the earth bring forth and bear? and who the fruitful showers? Who has given us the heavens above and the sun and stars in the heavens? Who gave you your reason, and who keeps watch over you from day to day? … Every time we look at the world, we are reminded of the mighty hand of God which called it into existence. The canopy over our head, and the earth beneath covered with a carpet of green, call to remembrance the power of God and also His loving-kindness. He might have made the grass brown or black, but God is a lover of the beautiful, and therefore He has given us beautiful things upon which to look. Who could paint upon the flowers the delicate tint with which God has clothed them? … CG 54.3We can have no better lesson book than nature. “Consider the lilies of the field; … they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Let the minds of our children be carried up to God. It is for this that He has given us the seventh day and left it as a memorial of His created works.4CG 55.1Obedience to Law—The same power that upholds nature is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart’s action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same—a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator’s will. To transgress His law—physical, mental, or moral—is to place one’s self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin. CG 55.2To him who learns thus to interpret its teachings, all nature becomes illuminated; the world is a lesson book, life a school. The unity of man with nature and with God, the universal dominion of law, the results of transgression, cannot fail of impressing the mind and molding the character. These are lessons that our children need to learn.5CG 55.3Other Lessons From Nature’s Laws—In the cultivation of the soil the thoughtful worker will find that treasures little dreamed of are opening up before him. No one can succeed in agriculture or gardening without attention to the laws involved. The special needs of every variety of plant must be studied. Different varieties require different soil and cultivation, and compliance with the laws governing each is the condition of success. CG 56.1The attention required in transplanting, that not even a root fiber shall be crowded or misplaced, the care of the young plants, the pruning and watering, the shielding from frost at night and sun by day, keeping out weeds, disease, and insect pests, the training and arranging, not only teach important lessons concerning the development of character, but the work itself is a means of development. In cultivating carefulness, patience, attention to detail, obedience to law, it imparts a most essential training. CG 56.2The constant contact with the mystery of life and the loveliness of nature, as well as the tenderness called forth in ministering to these beautiful objects of God’s creation, tends to quicken the mind and refine and elevate the character; and the lessons taught prepare the worker to deal more successfully with other minds.6CG 56.3Lessons From Seed Sowing—The parable of the sower and the seed conveys a deep spiritual lesson. The seed represents the principles sown in the heart, and its growth the development of character. Make the teaching on this point practical. The children can prepare the soil and sow the seed; and as they work, the parent or teacher can explain to them the garden of the heart, with the good or bad seed sown there; and that as the garden must be prepared for the natural seed, so the heart must be prepared for the seed of truth. As the plant grows, the correspondence between the natural and the spiritual sowing can be continued.7CG 56.4As the seed is cast into the ground, they can teach the lesson of Christ’s death; and as the blade springs up, the truth of the resurrection.8CG 57.1The Garden of the Heart Needs Cultivating—From the tilling of the soil, lessons may constantly be learned. No one settles upon a raw piece of land with the expectation that it will at once yield a harvest. Diligent, persevering labor must be put forth in the preparation of the soil, the sowing of the seed, and the culture of the crop. So it must be in the spiritual sowing. The garden of the heart must be cultivated. The soil must be broken up by repentance. The evil growths that choke the good grain must be uprooted. As soil once overgrown with thorns can be reclaimed only by diligent labor, so the evil tendencies of the heart can be overcome only by earnest effort in the name and strength of Christ.9CG 57.2Growth in Grace—Tell your children about the miracle-working power of God. As they study the great lesson book of nature, God will impress their minds. The farmer plows his land and sows his seed, but he cannot make the seed grow. He must depend on God to do that which no human power can do. The Lord puts His vital power into the seed, causing it to spring forth into life. Under His care the germ of life breaks through the hard crust encasing it, and springs up to bear fruit. First appears the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. As the children are told of the work that God does for the seed, they learn the secret of growth in grace.10CG 57.3Rising Above Surroundings—In America we have the fresh water lilies. These beautiful lilies come up pure, spotless, perfect, without a single mar. They come up through a mass of debris. I said to my son, “I want you to make an effort to get me the stem of that lily as near the root as possible. I want you to understand something about it.” CG 58.1He drew up a handful of lilies, and I looked at them. They were all full of open channels, and the stems were gathering the properties from the pure sands beneath, and these were being developed into the pure and spotless lily. It refused all the debris. It refused every unsightly thing, but there it was developed in its purity. CG 58.2Now this is exactly the way that we are to educate our youth in this world. Let their minds and hearts be instructed who God is, who Jesus Christ is, and the sacrifice that He has made in our behalf. Let them draw the purity, the virtue, the grace, the courtesy, the love, the forbearance; let them draw it from the Source of all power.11CG 58.3Lessons in Trust and Perseverance—“Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: … and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.” “Go to the ant; … consider her ways.” “Behold the birds.” “Consider the ravens.” Job 12:7, 8; Proverbs 6:6; Matthew 6:26, American Standard Version; Luke 12:24. CG 58.4We are not merely to tell the child about these creatures of God’s. The animals themselves are to be his teachers. The ants teach lessons of patient industry, of perseverance in surmounting obstacles, of providence for the future. And the birds are teachers of the sweet lesson of trust. Our heavenly Father provides for them; but they must gather the food, they must build their nests and rear their young. Every moment they are exposed to enemies that seek to destroy them. Yet how cheerily they go about their work! How full of joy are their little songs! CG 58.5How beautiful the psalmist’s description of God’s care for the creatures of the woods—“The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; And the rocks for the conies.” Psalm 104:18. He sends the springs to run among the hills, where the birds have their habitation and “sing among the branches.” Psalm 104:12. All the creatures of the woods and hills are a part of His great household. He opens His hand and satisfies “the desire of every living thing.” [Psalm 145:16.]12CG 59.1The Insects Teach Industry—The industrious bee gives to men of intelligence an example that they would do well to imitate. These insects observe perfect order, and no idler is allowed in the hive. They execute their appointed work with an intelligence and activity that are beyond our comprehension…. The wise man calls our attention to the small things of the earth: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise; which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” We may learn from these little teachers a lesson of faithfulness. Should we improve with the same diligence the faculties which an all-wise Creator has bestowed upon us, how greatly would our capacities for usefulness be increased. God’s eye is upon the smallest of His creatures; does He not, then, regard man formed in His image, and require of him corresponding returns for all the advantages He has given him?13CG 59.2

Photo by Emiliano Arano on Pexels.com