BUILDING A WHOLE LIFE FROM THE BEGINNING
Jesus made a profound statement about children when He told His disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Luke 18:16, NRSV). While the disciples feared that the children might bother Jesus, the Savior embraced them and affirmed their value.
Wise King Solomon said, “Children are a gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3, NASB). Seventh-day Adventists agree, creating a culture that encourages child development with youth clubs, summer camps and other outdoor events, international youth gatherings, weekly Sabbath school programs, mission trips, Vacation Bible Schools and a quality educational system from elementary to university level.
Solomon also offered this parenting advice: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22:6, NLT). The church supports parents through programs and publications, emphasizing the importance of early childhood training. The Seventh-day Adventist approach to child-rearing focuses on spiritual growth. But it also emphasizes healthy lifestyle choices and intellectual learning that leads to useful service in the community and in the world.
Children are a gift to be returned to God. As Ellen White, a co-founder of the church, said: “Fathers and mothers should look upon their children as younger members of the Lord’s family, committed to them to educate for heaven.” (“The Desire of Ages,” p. 515)