"As the twig is bent"

The saying, "As the twig is bent, the tree's inclined," surely constitutes a plea to parents and guardians to incline the thoughts of children to God, good. A beautiful example of obedience in childhood, bearing abundant fruit in after years, is found in the case of Samuel, who, on hearing himself called, obeyed Eli's behest and to this divine call replied, "Speak; for thy servant heareth." When Eli himself called him later, the child cried, "Here am I." It is significant that when Samuel grew to manhood he discerned, in advance of his contemporaries, the spirit of true obedience and said: "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."

Amid the complex influences of to-day, what a protection it is to the child to be trained in obedience to divine Principle, Love, while his thought is plastic and perhaps more easily amenable to right influences than when he is older. The Ten Commandments are among the first lessons taught in the Christian Science Sunday School, and Mrs. Eddy writes regarding certain of them, "Obedience to these commandments is indispensable to health, happiness, and length of days" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 67). What parents uninstructed in Christian Science have given to obedience to the Ten Commandments this exalted place as sponsor of health, happiness, and longevity? Parents and guardians whose concept of love lies in yielding to the children's selfish desires in order to let them have what is called "a good time" are laying up for them nothing but a hard time in years to come, for, as the children become little tyrants, so in increasing measure the errors of self-will, impatience, and selfishness tyrannize over them, and peace is jeopardized.

Lovingly our Leader points out, in relation to the rearing of the child, that "if you educate him to love God, good, and obey the Golden Rule, he will love and obey you without your having to resort to corporeal punishment" (ibid., p. 51). Loving obedience to good holds the clue to health, happiness, and success. The spontaneously loving and unspoiled child, ready to be of service, ready with Samuel's cheery response, "Here am I," is in every way freer, happier, healthier, more contended, more blessed, than the self-centered child, whose every whim may be indulged, yet never satisfied. The wise parent, therefore, exacts obedience from his child, even though at times it may seem to be reluctant obedience.

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Notes from the Publishing House
June 8, 1929

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