Wasted Time

Wasted Time – Loss of Intellect, Great Poverty, Unbearable Sorrow

Question No. 167:

“Can you help me to know with what to occupy children up to the age of twelve?” {3SC7: 11.1.1}


Most children in this Laodicean age, are raised up like plants instead of like trained human beings. Because of the parents’ poor judgment and blind love, the children are left ignorant of life’s duties, and the result is that when they are grown up and obliged to care for themselves, they find life a drudgery instead of a joy, and anything they attempt to do appears to them as being hard and impossible. Their homes are untidy and unsanitary–unfit to live in. Such children may be compared with grass hoppers; who, playing, singing, and sunning themselves all the summer long, giving no thought for the approaching winter, when the green grass shall disappear and cold weather set in, find themselves unprepared, and thus starve and freeze, while the ant, who has busily worked the whole summer through, has plenty to eat and a good warm place to live in. {3SC7: 11.1.2}

Parents who allow their children to fool away their time, are laying snares before them, and thus unfitting them for this life and for the life to come. {3SC7: 11.1.3}

There are many useful as well as edifying pursuits for children, the faithful pursuance of which means much to the child’s success both in this life and the life to come. {3SC7: 11.1.4}

Among these pursuits are the various household duties, such as washing windows, sweeping, dusting, making beds, washing dishes, scrubbing floors and woodwork, baking, cooking, and even making simple articles of clothing. Then there are the outdoor duties, such as gardening and keeping the premises neat and clean, besides many other such practical pursuits, including the making of purchases economically and in a business-like manner. {3SC7: 11.2.4}

Also, reading and memorizing passages from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy will greatly aid not only in occupying, but also in strengthening, the child’s mind. {3SC7: 11.2.5}

It is both possible and beneficial to the training of the child to correlate with gardening, etc., such subjects as arithmetic; for example, when teaching the children how to plant seed, it is well at the same time to teach them how to count as they drop each seed into the ground. {3SC7: 11.2.6}

Teach your children to bear responsibility–assign certain home duties to them, and when they learn to master one thing, promote them to another. The home should be a school. Where there are several children in the home, the daily home duties should be divided among them, while the parents assume the duties of teachers. In this way the children will not only keep themselves from mischief and bad company, but also make themselves useful, and at the same time build strong physiques and characters. {3SC7: 11.2.7}

If you make your children do the work by scolding them, you will be teaching them to hate both yourself and the work, and hence, instead of training them to love a life that will make them happy and useful, you will be driving them to do the very thing that you are trying to keep them from doing. {3SC7: 12.1.1}

Make them love their work by keeping up their interest in it. Be as God. Teach them in the same manner in which He is teaching you. He never scolds you. He demonstrates His love for you, then explains the right and wrong sides of life, and plainly warns you of the results that will follow in whichever course you may pursue–a blessing from the one and a cursing from the other. Be careful that while doing this you do not turn them against God by saying that if they are not good, He will punish them in this way or in that way, but rather teach them that their own evil course will lead them to reap only curses, while God is pleading with them to avoid the evil results. {3SC7: 12.1.2}

While teaching them these two consequences, use simple illustrations, such as, for example, that if they neglect to brush their teeth after meals, the result ultimately will be suffering from tooth ache, and thus that any violation of the laws of God, will in like manner naturally result in pain and sorrow. {3SC7: 12.1.3}

Do not make them lose respect for you or for your religion. If your course leads them to rule over you instead of you over them, you will lose them and cause God to ask you: “Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? What wilt thou say when He shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chiefs over thee” instead of your being captains over them: “shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail?” (Jer. 13:21, 22.) {3SC7: 12.1.4}

“Let not your unchristlike character misrepresent Jesus. Do not keep the little ones away from Him by your coldness and harshness. Never give them cause to feel that heaven will not be a pleasant place to them if you are there. Do not speak of religion as something that children cannot understand, or act as if they were not expected to accept Christ in their childhood. Do not give them the false impression that the religion of Christ is a religion of gloom, and that in coming to the Saviour they must give up all that makes life joyful. {3SC7: 12.1.5}

“As the Holy Spirit moves upon the hearts of the children, cooperate with His work. Teach them that the Saviour is calling them, that nothing can give Him greater joy than for them to give themselves to Him in the bloom and freshness of their years. {3SC7: 12.1.6}

“The Saviour regards with infinite tenderness the souls whom He has purchased with His own blood. They are the claim of His love. He looks upon them with unutterable longing. His heart is drawn out, not only to the best-behaved children, but to those who have by inheritance objectionable traits of character. Many parents do not understand how much they are responsible for these traits in their children. They have not the tenderness and wisdom to deal with the erring ones whom they have made what they are. But Jesus looks upon these children with pity. He traces from cause to effect. {3SC7: 12.2.1}

“The Christian worker may be Christ’s agent in drawing these children to the Saviour. By wisdom and tact he may bind them to his heart, he may give them courage and hope, and through the grace of Christ may see them transformed in character, so that of them it may be said, ‘Of such is the kingdom of God’.”–“The Desire of Ages,” p. 517. {3SC7: 12.2.2}