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Successful Child Training | Charles E. Orr

Mental Training

The mental, moral, and spiritual training of children go hand in hand. We shall address each in turn, but each has a great influence upon the other. It is true that the intellect may be highly trained while the moral condition is ignored, but such an individual is out of harmony with true manhood and womanhood. Or the spiritual and moral being may be prospering, but if the mental powers are neglected, that person is still not in perfect harmony with the Creator’s design. Without a blending of the intellectual, moral, and spiritual forces there can be no perfect character in the fullest sense. We do not mean by this that man must be a philosopher or a scientist to be a moral or spiritual man. Nor do we consider as second-rate any of God’s special children who face life with various mental handicaps. But we mean that for man to be of perfect character in every respect and to glorify God in the whole realm of his being, he must cultivate every talent God has given him.

It is through the mental powers that we acquaint our children with God: “Faith cometh by hearing.”* (Romans 10:17) In order to know and understand God we must have a sound mind. A sound mind is helpful to the enjoyment of grace, and grace is helpful to the enjoyment of a sound mind; so to enjoy existence requires a soundness in every part. Therefore we should be diligent to properly build and train our children’s mental powers.

Parents cannot be too careful about the impressions made in the mentality of their children; it can affect their morality and spirituality ever after. Select such books for them as will develop the mental faculties, something that contains food for the brain. In caring for our child’s physical health, we realize there are many things that do not supply the nutrition needed for the body’s development. Children fed such a diet would become weak and unhealthy. There are also types of literature that do not build the brain, and a diet of such reading will certainly weaken the mental powers. Stimulants are harmful to the physical system, and there are also stimulating fantasies that are harmful to the mental system. We are persuaded it were better if the unreal, fairy stories were excluded from the child’s reading and replaced with something real. Select pure literature, for reading that produces pure thoughts in the child’s mind both improves his moral state, and furnishes the best mental food.

Provide a good education for your children. It is a duty you owe to them and to God. Encourage them in a love of learning, and keep before them the ultimate goal—a developed mind for the glory of God. Do not think the buying of a good book an unnecessary expense. Better make a physical sacrifice than a mental one. Provide your children with pure literature and inspire their ideals with reading experiences that are firmly grounded in the wisdom of God’s Word. Guard your children from the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual corruption of worldly entertainment choices. Do your best to provide wholesome activities that will engage their growing minds and reward their interest in worthwhile pursuits. God will bless you in all your efforts in this direction (Psalm 112:1; Deuteronomy 30:19).

Much more could be said upon this subject, but with these few suggestions we will leave the interested and inventive mind to enlarge.