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Letting Children Free to Develop?

I’ve used this illustration before, but I think it speaks so well as to the nature of guidance and children:

A Gentleman was once talking with a man who told him that he did not believe in giving little children any moral instruction whatsoever. His theory was that the child’s mind should not be prejudiced in any direction, but when he came to years of discretion he should be permitted to choose his religious opinions for himself.

The gentleman who listened to this theory said nothing; but after a while he asked his visitor if he would like to see his garden. The man said he would, and he took him out into the garden, where only weeds were growing. The man looked at him in surprise, and said, “Why this is not a garden! There is nothing but weeds here!”

“Well, you see,” said the gentleman, “I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way, I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself and to choose its own production.” (Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.)

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