Phases of Progress

Children may be admitted to membership in The Mother Church at the age of twelve. They may also continue in the Sunday school to the age of twenty. In the branch churches, too, there is a period of years during which boys and girls, young men and young women, have both of these opportunities. For their future, these years are exceedingly important. The whole of childhood and of youth is a preparation for adult life, even as every year of manhood or womanhood should include further preparation for greater usefulness. Of all years, however, those between twelve and twenty are likely to be most important for gaining and increasing the desires and qualities which will count in the future for individual happiness and public service.

It is evident, therefore, that not only parents but also teachers, religious and secular, have active obligations corresponding to the requirements of the young lives which they can help to direct and develop. Of all influences to be exerted the most effective are education and example, both of which are available to parents as well as teachers. Naturally, parents have the largest obligation because their opportunity begins earliest and may continue longest. Even more than parents and other teachers, however, Sunday school teachers may have the attention of children and young people for the discussion of religious subjects. These teachers, therefore, may be particularly able to communicate to children and young people an interest in religion or spirituality as such, and may help them to find and maintain permanently the correct adjustment between this subject and the other interests of adult life.

For one thing, as boys and girls approach the age when they cannot continue in Sunday school, their parents and their Sunday school teachers should make sure that they know what is to be got and given by church membership and by class instruction from an authorized teacher. As students in a secular school are prepared to commence a larger life when they complete certain studies, even so and more should pupils in Christian Science Sunday Schools be given an interest in and prepared for the opportunities for Christian service which await their beginning of adult life. It is important, of course, that children should take the natural steps of progress by their own volition. Forward steps taken merely to please somebody are not likely to be kept up.

The Gate Beautiful
July 19, 1930

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