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Your Children Can Be SELF-DISCIPLINED!
Plain Truth Magazine
April 1962
Volume: Vol XXVII, No.4
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Your Children Can Be SELF-DISCIPLINED!
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

Previous Issue: How To Teach Your Children Right Habits!

Why do some children LIKE school, and others do not? Why do some learn easily while others fail? What should you teach YOUR child before he goes to school?

   WHAT was your excuse for bad grades in school? A sickness that held you back? A teacher that "had it in" for you? You just "never could" get interested in history?
   What should you teach your children of pre-school age? How much should they know before attending school? How can you insure they are eager, attentive, learning children disciplined in study habits, and responsive to their teachers?
   Do you, as a parent, know what kind of a student your child is, or will make when placed in school? Do you know how he will get along with others?

Our Failing School Systems

   Remember the furor about schools when the Russians put "Sputnik" in orbit?
   Suddenly, Americans were made aware something was drastically wrong with our educational systems! Uniformed policemen were patrolling the hallways of some of our urban schools, a principal had committed suicide, teachers had been attacked on their way home at night, others were resigning their positions, or moving from big city schools to suburban areas.
   The Russians were stressing SCIENCE! They were surging ahead in the space race! Suddenly, Americans became concerned. Congressmen clamored for action a solution to our flagging educational systems an explanation for the failure to conquer space FIRST!
   American educational systems came under the spotlight. Nearly EVERYTHING was suggested as an answer, as the reason for our problem. Inadequate facilities, poorly trained teachers, not enough stress on mathematics and science, not enough attention to "brilliant" pupils, who were forced to remain in unclassified groups with slower students, and myriad other excuses were suggested.
   Yes, nearly everything was suggested as the real REASON for failing educational systems except the TRUTH!
   The real truth behind poor educational standards is LACK OF DISCIPLINE!
   Sluggish, inattentive, rebellious, poorly trained STUDENTS are the REAL REASONS for our inadequate educational systems!
   In the past series of articles, we have seen the clear proof of the huge cancer of child crime gnawing at the vitals of America. We have seen the proof of its direct association with delinquent PARENTS! The inescapable truth is that our failing school systems, our inadequately trained children who can't read, write, spell or work simple arithmetic problems, is also the DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY OF DELINQUENT PARENTS! Parents who never prepared their children for school, who didn't take an interest in WHAT the child was being taught or How he was taught, who didn't do a THING except heave a sigh of relief that at last, "Johnnie is in school" and out of the way!
   Today, youthful parents try to peddle their children to nursery schools, day-schools, kindergartens and the like LONG BEFORE the children are anywhere near the age when they should be away from their parents! A woman appearing on television recently said, "The children are all in school now, and I find myself with so much extra time" explaining why she, along with millions of other "modern mothers" was seeking a JOB away from home!
   Today, true to the prophecies of your Bible, parents are pursuing their OWN selfish pleasures, taking their pets to the kennel and their children to the nursery school, to get the little "house-apes" out of the way. Millions of parents look upon their own children as an unfortunate accident foisted upon them by due process of nature!
   It is the accepted practice, ignorantly approved and advocated by teachers themselves, to place little toddlers into a nursery school or kindergarten to PREPARE them for the first grade. Well why not a PRE-NURSERY school, and a PRE-KINDERGARTEN school, to PREPARE them for THESE "schools"? And then what about a PRE-PRE-KINDERGARTEN, so parents can abrogate their responsibility RIGHT AT BIRTH? What a hideous spectacle to the Creator God who blesses His children with tiny reproductions of themselves to turn them out to pasture like animals without parental guidance and training!

WHEN Should Children Enter School?

   Children vary, of course. There are different levels of mentality, of intelligence. These factors are primarily determined by heredity and environment. Although lamentable, most school systems are understaffed and poorly equipped to differentiate, offering specialized teaching to the slower pupils, and more advanced training to the superior ones.
   However, for the sake of coming to a right understanding of these most important points about your children, let's concern ourselves with the average young child.
   Many parents are in a frightful hurry to get their children OUT of the home, and into some sort of formal education! A desire for more time, for another job, for belonging to various and sundry "social" clubs and groups has led countless young mothers to give rise to a burgeoning new profession in our land. It is the "day school," the "nursery school" and the "kindergarten!"
   Many parents try to enroll their children in a public school at 5 years of age, or one year prior to the standard entrance age in most school districts. Seemingly their only concern is to GET RID of their children get them in SCHOOL as soon as possible! How many ladies' magazines, novels, TV serials and movies have portrayed the "typical" harassed mother in America who sends her poor, shuffling, bumbling clod of a husband off to work with a disinterested peck for a kiss, and then, hair streaming, apron strings flying, bustles busily through the house, scrubbing, dressing, feeding and shoving her children out the door, to collapse on the couch with exhaustion, a cup of coffee, and her favorite love story?
   WHY, oh WHY is it such a DISGRACE to WORK in America and Britain today? WHY is it such a DISGRACE for parents to really take the time to TEACH their children? WHY are such normal, natural, wholesome and GOOD things as HOMEMAKING, COOKING, and TEACHING CHILDREN AT HOME looked upon as mere BONDAGE AND DRUDGERY?
   Many parents will IMPLORE school officials to allow them to register their children in school EARLY! But has there ever been a parent who wanted to enroll him LATE, because he felt there were still a number of really IMPORTANT things, he, the parent, should yet teach the child in preparation for school?
   Decades of experience with growing children has taught teachers that a child is still too immature, too much a little infant to really be placed in a classroom environment before he is six full years of age. Most teachers are very reluctant to admit children under their sixth birthday for that reason, and rightly so.
   The average child should never be placed in ANY kind of school, for WHATEVER reason until after he is six. However, today there are so many BROKEN HOMES, so many divorcees with children, so many homes with parents striving frantically to live far beyond their means, and holding down two jobs, that myriads of children ARE, through one excuse or another, placed in schools even at age THREE! Here is another heartbreaking tragedy of our age!
   There are, to be sure, inescapable situations that would demand that a child be cared for by a responsible, bona-fide nursery school. However, never forget that such situations are the direct result of the parent's SINS, and that they are causing the children to SUFFER for it! There is nothing NORMAL about tiny children barely able to talk being "farmed out" to OTHERS for rearing! Millions of helpless, innocent little toddlers have had to pay dearly for their parents' mistakes!
   The best way is to place your children into the school Systems NOT ONE MINUTE BEFORE YOU ARE REQUIRED TO DO SO BY LAW! They need training YOU, as their parent, can give them FAR MORE than they need to be hurried into learning the "three Ys" from professional teachers!
   Then, when the normal time prescribed by law has arrived for beginning your children in school, INVESTIGATE the school. TALK to the teachers and officers. VISIT the premises, and look into the classrooms and facilities. FIND OUT what kind of DISCIPLINE the school maintains, if any, in today's rebellious age and inform the teacher you want your child to receive any and all appropriate and loving DISCIPLINE that is necessary!

HOW MUCH Should Your Child Know Before Going to School?

   Some parents diligently teach their children the alphabet before placing them in school. Others teach their children how to READ simple stories. Some even have their six-year-olds doing simple arithmetic before going to the first grade! Buy WHY? "Why," they might answer, "because I want my child to get a 'head start!' I want him to learn a little faster and not just be an 'average' child! "
   What a PITY it is that thousands of little children are warped and twisted into all sorts of moral and mental shapes by conceited and vain parents who are full of ego and selfishness!
   Parents who teach their children these things prior to their first year in school are certainly in the minority. But in a far greater minority are those who teach their children the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS OF ALL HOW TO LEARN!
   Your child does not need to know the alphabet, or how to count, or how to spell before being registered in a competent school. But your child does need to know HOW to learn when he gets there!
   Make no mistake! The greatest key to learning is DISCIPLINE! A disciplined mind, an attentive mind, a thoughtful mind, a mind that never varies, that is always responsive, eager to learn, that is diligent to Do what the teacher says THIS is the mind that will really LEARN in school!
   In the last number, we saw many of the right habits children should be taught in the home. Re-read that issue, be sure you really UNDERSTAND it, and that you are beginning to APPLY it in your own home! Then realize HOW the habits of COMING when called, of LISTENING to instructions, and answering correctly, will stand your children in good stead in the classroom.
   It is only by teaching your child the real meaning of DISCIPLINE, and how to be self-disciplined that he will become a really "good" student!
   You don't need to teach him how to read you need to teach him to LISTEN TO THE TEACHER! You don't need to teach him how to count you need to teach him to LISTEN TO THE TEACHER!

Your Child's First Day in School

   Proudly, mother watches Johnnie enter the school building. It's his very first day! Mother might be proud but not Johnnie! He's just plain scared, nervous, excited, apprehensive, thrilled, interested, confident and fearful all at the same time! New sights, new sounds, new smells and for the first time in his life, a restroom with a label on it! Poor Johnnie! He's never BEEN with so many children all at the same time before!
   Can we, as parents, get the picture?
   Perhaps the majority of parents have sent their children to school without any thought of real preparation for school.

DISCIPLINE Most Important

   Without exception, a well-disciplined child will be a good student! He might not be an all "A" student, since this also hinges on his heredity and his capacity but he will invariably learn more rapidly, and retain more fully, than others of his same capacity who are Undisciplined!
   Space does not permit the publication of the literal TONS of evidence of the, virtual BEDLAM reigning in so many public schools in our lands today! Suffice it to say that America and Britain, swallowing the permissive swill of so-called child "psychology" have allowed their school systems to become, in many instances, mere mockery! With the teachers unable to administer proper discipline, with groups of "do-gooders" advocating the stripping of the ten commandments from the bulletin boards, and with the tremendous pressure exerted on so many schools through forced integration, is it any wonder our schools are falling far short?
   But what about YOUR child? Your child is YOUR responsibility! Even though there are frightfully serious handicaps in today's Babylon of confusion, you, as a loving and conscientious parent, can instill right values and principles in YOUR child, and he can learn.
   More important than any memory work, such as the alphabet or numbers, and more important than any other thing that a child should learn is DISCIPLINE! A well-disciplined child will invariably learn while others are standing still.
   What then, are some of the most important HABITS that will aid your child in learning? WHAT should your child learn BEFORE going to school?
   In the last number, we covered most of the basic, vitally important RIGHT HABITS that every child should be taught. Now, in the light of preparation for his first experience in the classroom, let's briefly review one of the most important ones.

Teach Your Child to LISTEN to Your Instructions!

   "He is governed BEST who is governed LEAST!" goes the saying. But no one can be truly self-governed until he has learned HOW to BE governed! When your children begin in school, a great deal of the time they will have to be SELF-governed!
   In today's unhappy situations, classrooms are bulging, teachers overworked, underpaid, and often poorly trained! Classes are mixed according to various ages, mental abilities, race, religion, and so-on.
   The average pupil can get virtually NO personalized instruction in the large city school systems of this pulsating Babylon of confusion we call "society!" Therefore, he will simply HAVE to be well enough disciplined,. and SELF-disciplined, at that, that he will learn IN SPITE of terrible handicaps!
   But what a task! You, as the parent, in today's world have a tremendous responsibility perhaps far greater than you've ever before realized.
   Begin giving your child a basis for attentiveness, alertness, careful LISTENING to instructions with your mind set on the long-range goals! THINK! Think of how badly he will need this GOOD habit later, when he's in a classroom literally FILLED with distractions, noises, confusion, disobedient children and, in some cases, a disinterested teacher! Be diligent in PREPARING your child for such an eventuality!
   Begin' speaking only once. Speak firmly, quietly, telling your child to do certain tasks, one after the other. Tell him to fold his clothes, clean the room, draw the drapes, put certain articles in certain places.
   Get him accustomed, to following detailed instructions, one after the other in proper order! He will be learning a vitally important lesson that will be a great aid to learning later on!
   Remember to apply always, and never failingly, swift, sure, and yet loving PUNISHMENT for infractions! PATIENTLY explain the whole procedure. Tell your child EXACTLY what is required of him then SEE that he follows through with your instructions to the ABSOLUTE LETTER!
   If you tell him to pick up his toys, THEN get his book and color, or THEN put on his coat to go outside, MAKE SURE HE DOES IT JUST EXACTLY IN THAT ORDER!
   A child will deliberately do things contrary to the WAY in which you tell him! But what is his ATTITUDE? What is the LOOK on his face? It is far more important that you as the parent come to recognize his ATTITUDE of rebellion or of uncooperativeness than merely making him perform the prescribed tasks although both are surely important!
   A first-grade teacher was telling me how a child, when told to sit up straight, would slowly "wriggle" in, a serpentine motion until FINALLY, after what seemed like MINUTES of ONE PART OF THE BODY AFTER THE OTHER "straightening up" he would be erect in. his seat! There is a case of OPEN REBELLION!
   What if a child is told to fold his hands, and place them on the table?
   What if the child does NOT DO IT? Or what if he is SLOW to do it? What EXCUSE would the average parent give? That he is TIRED, nervous, sick, or "didn't understand?" Probably but we really KNOW BETTER, don't we? We know that if the child were OLDER, and more independent, he would be saying with a level stare "No! I'm not about to obey you!" But, since he is a child, we tend to EXCUSE, slowness to obey, and deliberate rebellion.
   Make sure your child LISTENS to your instructions, and then MAKE him carry them out, and carry them out cheerfully, and in a willing spirit! It isn't easy it won't happen the first few times, or even the first SEVERAL times but if you DILIGENTLY apply what you have seen in this series of articles, IT CAN AND WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED!

Teach Your Child to SIT STILL

   Notice the example of a child going to school for the first time in his life.
   In all of his youthful six years, he has never been actually TAUGHT to simply sit still for any considerable length of time! All of a sudden, he is thrown together with dozens and dozens of other children his own age, in strange surroundings, under a teacher he knows not, and is told to SIT STILL at his desk for perhaps many hours during the course of a day! He simply is unable. He CAN'T accomplish it so quickly! Hence, first, second and third grade teachers will tell you with almost one voice that their biggest problem is with a group of "fidgeters" who squirm, and writhe in their seats, look out the window, play with pencils, cards or papers, and who simply seem to be UNABLE to SIT STILL while in school!
   Why? Simply because they have never been taught at home! Too many parents today wish to abdicate their responsibility of teaching their children ANYTHING merely expecting to push them off on, a school system and have the well-trained teachers, by means of some unknown procedures and near-miracles, turn out decent, respectful, humble, obedient, kind and loving future citizens! This is nothing more than an idle dream an abysmal miscalculation.
   A child may be taught to sit still while still very young! Picking up the child after it has had a lot of activity and simply placing it in a chair or on the sofa and saying, "Sit!" is ample. If the child gets down, just one sharp swat on the buttocks, being placed back in the sofa and then being told with a pointed finger, "Sit" again might well accomplish a great deal as a first lesson. However once you have begun even this first lesson KEEP AT IT! You may be absolutely guaranteed, that whether it takes five or six spankings on this one occasion for the child to associate immobility in the chair with the command "Sit!" he will certainly learn it. This should be learned very quickly after the child learns to walk.

(To be continued next issue)

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Plain Truth MagazineApril 1962Vol XXVII, No.4
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