WHAT MARY BAKER EDDY WRITES ABOUT TEACHING CHILDREN
The following are a few citations from Mrs. Eddy’s writings relating to educating children.
“The entire education of children should be such as to form habits of obedience to the moral and spiritual law, with which the child can meet and master the belief in so-called physical laws a belief which breeds disease.” (S&H 62)
“Children should be allowed to remain children in knowledge, and should become men and women only through growth in the understanding of man’s higher nature.” (S&H 62)
“Children should be taught the Truth-cure, Christian Science, among their first lessons, and kept from discussing or entertaining theories or thoughts about sickness. To prevent the
experience of error and its sufferings, keep out of the minds of your children either sinful or diseased thoughts. The latter should be excluded on the same principle as the former. This makes Christian Science early available.” (S&H 236)
“Children should obey their parents; insubordination is an evil, blighting the buddings of self-government. Parents should teach their children at the earliest possible period the truths of health and holiness. Children are more tractable than adults, and learn more
readily to love the simple verities that will make them happy and good.
“Jesus loved little children because of their freedom from wrong and their receptiveness of right. While age is halting between two opinions or battling with false beliefs, youth makes easy and rapid strides towards Truth.” (S&H 236)
“A mother is the strongest educator, either for or against crime. Her thoughts form the
embryo of another mortal mind, and unconsciously mould it, either after a model odious to
herself or through divine influence, ‘according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.’ ” (S&H 236)
“Mothers should be able to produce perfect health and perfect morals in their children — and ministers, to heal the sick — by studying this scientific method of practicing Christianity.” (Miscellaneous Writings 5)
“All education should contribute to moral and physical strength and freedom.”
(Miscellaneous Writings 240)
“A child can measurably understand Christian Science, for, through his simple faith and
purity, he takes in its spiritual sense that puzzles the man. The child not only accepts Christian Science more readily than the adult, but he practices it.” (Message for 1900 6)
“Too much cannot be done towards guarding and guiding well the germinating and inclining thought of childhood. To mould aright the first impressions of innocence, aids in perpetuating purity and in unfolding the immortal model, man in His image and likeness. St. Paul wrote, ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, . . . but when I became a man, I put away childish things.'” (Miscellany 261)
“The entire purpose of true education is to make one not only know the truth but live it — to make one enjoy doing right, make one not work in the sunshine and run away in the storm, but work midst clouds of wrong, injustice, envy, hate; and wait on God, the strong deliverer, who will reward righteousness and punish iniquity.” (Miscellany 252)
“All education is work. The thing most important is what we do, not what we say.”
“It is a joy to know that they who are faithful over foundational trusts, such as the Christian education of the dear children, will reap the reward of rightness, rise in the scale of being, and realize at last their Master’s promise, ‘And they shall be all taught of God.'”
MRS. EDDY’S STAFF ON “SUBJECT FOR LESSONS”
The July 6, 1935 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel printed portions of two letters written by Mrs. Eddy’s secretarial staff regarding the By-Law “Subject for Lessons.” Although it is directed to the teachers in Sunday School, I believe it gives useful guidance to parents, as well. One letter reads in part:
“When our Leader gave the By-Law on ‘Subjects for Lessons’ in the Sunday School, it was not her intention to limit Sunday school instruction to the routine of memorizing the letter of the designated portions of the Scriptures. She meant that the children should be taught the meaning of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and its Spiritual Interpretation, and the Beatitudes.
“These spiritual fundamentals should be so set forth by means of practical illustrations and everyday examples of love, obedience, and good, that the child will catch their spirit, understand them, and as a result be interested in them.
“This work you will readily perceive, requires consecrated and intelligent effort on the part of all connected with the Sunday School. It means the demonstration of that love which does things. To teach a child the words, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me,’ is a comparatively easy task. To teach a child the meaning of that commandment so thoroughly that he can and will prove in his living that he actually has no other gods before good, is the grand privilege of the Christian Science Sunday School teacher.”
The text of the other letter follows: “In reply to your letter . . ., you may teach the children in the Sunday school anything in the Scriptures or in Christian Science that they can understand. Your authority for this is Art. XX, Sect. 2, of the Manual. Sect. 3 tells how to begin, or rather what to teach them first. After that, you may teach them anything that is absolute Christian Science, putting it to them in as simple a manner as possible, or in other words, adapt what you teach to a juvenile class. The Quarterly Lessons usually contain good material for this work. A Sunday School teacher should be governed by wisdom, and teach the children in the Sunday school the same as she
would instruct her own children if she had any.”
(The last letter bears the notation, “The above letter was practically dictated, and was read and approved by Mrs. Eddy.”)