Home Education: A Vital Asset to Children
“What we call learning is only a process of recollection” – Plato
We often hear people asking little children such questions as; what is your favourite toy, game or book? Why do you choose the type of toy among many others and so on? Let us realize that, what we want to become in future is determined in the formative years, that is, from birth to about fourteen years. These are crucial years for home education. Apart from our usual school lessons, playing with our toys and games, and musical instruments, we can also gain valuable knowledge from our parents. Let us ask them questions for them to instruct us.
All the wisdom teachers of humanity have been well trained and instructed by the age of twelve. From our great book – the Bible, we will remember that, the boy Samuel was dedicated to the temple from about the age of three. It was around the age of twelve that God called him three times when he was sleeping in the temple. What did he say? After obtaining instruction from his superior, the high priest, he answered, “Lord speak, for thy servant heareth”.
The wisdom King of the old dispensation, Solomon, was also found proven by the age of twelve. From about the age of three, he was instructed by the good prophet – Nathan. When King David wanted someone to succeed him on the throne, he had to test the worthiness of the subjects. So, according to Corinne Heline, another pioneer who used to sleep with the Bible in her teenage years, the king propounded three great questions. Did you know? It was the boy Solomon who could answer all the questions correctly and promptly. Therefore, when the time came for the succession, he was the ideal choice. It was immediately after he was crowned king, that he asked God for wisdom and understanding to guide his people.
Self-less service and obedience are the important qualities to be cultivated during these periods in our training. We will not forget that, the master Jesus Himself, who is our ideal, came to earth to serve. He was indeed a servant of servants. He served and obeyed His parents as well as other parents. He was a king, yet he did do chores that were considered menial. He was therefore called a ‘servant king’. As children, we should try to follow His example in our homes.
In our own time, we can recall some famous people who were trained at a tender age for the role they were to play in shaping the course of history in a positive way. Let us remember that to be famous is to do good and spread that ‘good news’ in the world where we live with due humility. The father of democracy, Abraham Lincoln, the former president of America was well instructed by his parents during these formative years. Is it surprising, children, that he was the president who abolished the inhuman slave trade? Let us also remember the great philosophers such as Rudolf Steiner and Many P. Hall whose formative years were put on a sound footing. Booker T. Washington was also born and instructed to guide his people – the blacks of America. In doing so, he did ultimately serve humankind. Many souls of all times have had some form of training in these formative years. We cannot mention all these people, especially those unsung heroes and heroines who have done equally good things in their communities in all times.
The big question is, what makes these years so important in the development of character? Well, let us examine the matter briefly, so that we can shape our lives through sound discipline. Max Heindel, the famous educator who was specially selected to instruct humanity, has shown us in his book – Rosicrucian Principle in Child Training that, our body system is composed of finer vehicles. The body we bring to birth, called the ‘physical body’, which we see, is developed in the womb. The first finer body called the ‘vital body’, is developed from birth to the seventh year. The next finer body, also called the ‘desire body’, is developed from the seventh to about the fourteenth year. This is the crucial stage in our development. When something goes wrong here, our future lives go on the rocks. It then takes a long period of experiences before we are able to find our bearing in life again. Let us, however, be grateful and persevere, when such a situation arises, for we are in this world purposely to gain experience. Again, in God’s kingdom everything is working for good.
The last of our finer bodies is developed from the fourteenth until the twenty-first year. This period is when the mind is developed. Do we now understand why people were not allowed to vote in elections until the age of twenty-one? Now, however, the eligible age for exercising franchise in some countries has been reduced to eighteen years. At this age we have become really matured and we can take our place in society and make important decisions concerning our private lives and be fully responsible for our actions. However, we are fully matured at the age of twenty-eight. We will not forget these epoch-making years. Will we?
In our first seven years, we imitate a lot and experiment with different toys and various games. We can see that the nursery ground provides some of these trainings. The use of rhymes is also excellent for this. Good music should also be used at this stage. The training we need from the age of seven to fourteen years includes play, adaptability with different games and instruments, repetitions and the use of devotional instruction in morality. We need to use stories from our religious books for the moral side of our nature at home. For Christians, the Bible is a very good source of instruction. The lessons we need from the age of fourteen to twenty-one are that of concentration, studies and a bit of independent thinking.
When this essential knowledge is adhered to, and the trainings given, we can go through secondary and university education or other vocational training without any trouble. Psychologists have recognized the importance of these stages in human development and are constantly devising ways and means to help in the training of children in the early stages through the educational system. When this is backed by sound home instruction, a balanced upbringing is made possible. We hope, with time, some of the numerous challenges associated with teenagers would be minimized or even avoided. Let us all remember that these years are the development of our future characters and our usefulness in society, for “Character is destiny”