By Pastor John M. Opperman
INFANCY AND NURSERY
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.
PHYSICALLY HE OR SHE IS AN ACTOR
Man says, “Sit still.”
God says, “Wiggle.”
There is a reason for all this activity. It fills a distinct purpose:
||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%.
||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.
||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.
MENTALLY HE OR SHE IS A DISCOVERER
The child at birth has no conscious intelligence.
He or she has no
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.
MORALLY THE CHILD IS AN IMITATOR:
||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
||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 ROLL - INFANCY
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
||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.
||To establish a point of contact between church and
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.”
||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.
HOW TO TEACH BABIES
||Have clean, comfortable quarters.
||If possible, hold baby while feeding.
||Sing or quote scriptures while holding the child or
while they are playing.
||Keep babies clean – change them if it is needed or
they feel neglected.
||Babies learn even while sleeping in the nursery.
||SMILE! Be cheerful. Babies reflect teachers
|If the teacher is nervous, then the babies
are also nervous.
|If the teacher is upset, then the babies are
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'?"
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A CHILD!