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By Pastor John M. Opperman


By the age of seven, the child has received three-fourths of his or her education. Upon this foundation the subsequent physical, intellectual, and spiritual structure will be built. Failure in the superstructure will naturally result when the foundation is not properly laid in the early and the most impressionable years, and there will be a complete failure in later life. All must recognize the potential possibilities that are wrapped up in every newborn babe and the tremendous importance of making first impressions right impressions. Most of the perplexing problems that arise in childhood and adolescence can be answered by two words – BEGIN EARLIER. For this reason in the study and training of the child, we must commence at the very beginning in the study and training of the child.


Man says, “Sit still.”
God says, “Wiggle.”
There is a reason for all this activity. It fills a distinct purpose:

A. Activity is essential to growth.
The first six months his or her weight doubles, and in the first three years it increases four times. During the first year his or her height increases 50%, and in the first three years 75%.
B. Activity is essential to development.
We must be careful to distinguish between growth and development. Growth means simply increase in size. Development is a change in the character of the body tissues, which makes for maturity and strength. The child gradually pays attention to the impressions gained through touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing.
C. Generated energy requires an outlet.
The child’s program of continual eating and sleeping is storing up energy, which demands some avenue of escape. The effort of a child’s energy to find an outlet leads to his ceaseless activity.


The child at birth has no conscious intelligence.
He or she has no knowledge.
As they grow through activity, they learn through discovery. Strangely enough, from this educative process of the infant we have one of the first Laws of Pedagogy. The great aim of the teacher, we are told, is to make the pupil a Discoverer of Truth.

A. His or her religion will be a reflection of the religion they find about them.
There is no question but that the child in his or her earliest days is an imitator. “
A father started for his office one morning after a light fall of snow. Turning, he saw his two-year-old boy endeavoring to place his tiny feet in his own great footprints. The little fellow shouted, "Go on. I am coming, I am coming, Papa, right in your tracks." He caught the boy in his arms, carried him to his mother, and then started again to his office.
It had been his habit to stop on the way for a glass of liquor. As he stood on the threshold of the tavern that morning he seemed to hear a sweet voice calling, "Go on, I am coming, I am coming, Papa, right in your tracks." He stopped and looked the future squarely in the face and turned away.
B. Adult approval or disapproval of his or her first acts will be far-reaching.
In discipline there is a golden medium between severity and laxity. The boy or girl who is always beaten will be as bad as the boy or girl who is never restrained. Love and patience are the powers in family government. John Wesley’s mother declared that her two boys were brought up on prayer and hickory.


The cradle rolls ministers to the needs of children from birth until they are enrolled in the nursery of the Sunday school. Its purpose is threefold:
1. To enroll a new pupil for Sunday school.
The Sunday school has a direct contact with the children through the cradle roll. It shows an interest and responsibility for the infants. Since we want to get a child from the very beginning, it is very important that we start with the cradle roll.
2. To establish a point of contact between church and home.
A young professional man told this simple story:
 “A while ago a baby came to my home. The little fellow seemed to be a gift from God and my heart was filled with a sacred reverence and tenderness, which I did not have before. Your Cradle Roll visitor came down to my home and said they wanted the baby’s name to put on the Cradle Roll of the church. They would pray for the boy every day and remember him in sickness and on his birthday.
"Sometimes when I drive by your church I slow down a bit and say to myself, ‘My baby’s name is on the walls of that church some where and those people pray for him every day.’ I had forgotten God and had wandered far from the church, but this little child has led me back.”
3. To enlist parental training.
In many tactful ways the Cradle Roll superintendent or visitor is able to provide greater instruction to the parent. Many times a mother will welcome a child’s prayer suggestion. This is very important when we realize how much the child learns in its first two years. Many times this is before the child comes to the church.

Note:  Every Sunday school should have a Cradle Roll visitation committee. Visit every newborn baby in the church and make them welcome. Watch the papers for babies born in the church area. Contact the parents and then invite them to bring the baby to the Cradle Roll department.

A. Have clean, comfortable quarters.
B. If possible, hold baby while feeding.
C. Sing or quote scriptures while holding the child or while they are playing.
D. Keep babies clean – change them if it is needed or they feel neglected.
E. Babies learn even while sleeping in the nursery.
F. SMILE! Be cheerful. Babies reflect teachers feeling.
If the teacher is nervous, then the babies are also nervous.
If the teacher is upset, then the babies are also upset.

Matthew 21:16  Jesus said to them, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'?"




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