The Health Reformer

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June 1, 1877

The Importance of Early Training

EGW

The young men of our time, who are coming upon the stage of action, will give tone to our national character. The elevation or deterioration of the future of society will be determined by the manners and morals of the youth growing up around us. As the youth are educated, and as their characters are molded in their childhood to virtuous habits, self-control, and temperance, so will their influence be upon society. If they are left unenlightened and uncontrolled, and as the result become self-willed, intemperate in appetite and passion, so will be their future influence in molding society. HR June 1, 1877, par. 1

The company which the young now keep, the habits they now form, and the principles they now adopt, are the index to the state of society for years to come. These young men, growing up to years of accountability, will have a voice in our legislative and other deliberative councils. Upon them will devolve the responsibility of enacting laws and executing them. In view of these things, should not parents realize the great responsibility resting upon them so to educate and discipline their children in the formation of character that they may be a blessing to the world? Whatever is good, virtuous, and ennobling, or whatever is bad, vicious, or debasing in the character of man, will leave its impress upon society. The learning, pleasing address, and with which young men may possess, with unsound principles, make their influence upon society more dangerous. If young men make their model an exalted one, having pure morals and firm principles, and if blended with this are affability and true Christian courtesy, there is a refined perfection to the character which will win its way anywhere, and a powerful influence will be wielded in favor of virtue, temperance, and righteousness. Such characters will be of the highest value to society, more precious than gold. Their influence is for time and for eternity. HR June 1, 1877, par. 2

How can mothers who have the care of training their children feel that this is unimportant work? And yet how many mothers are continually sighing for a freedom from family cares, and have a yearning desire for missionary labor. Some feel that time is wasted that is devoted to their children and to household duties. They would not feel thus, did they fully realize the greatness of their work in molding the minds and forming the characters of their children. The queen upon her throne has not a work equal to that of the faithful mother who is bringing up her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Mothers who sense this work will not complain of time hanging heavily upon their hands, neither will they allow the follies of fashionable life to rob their children of the education and discipline they should give them; for in a great measure they hold the future destiny of their children in their hands. The education in childhood has a bearing upon the whole after-life. This is the season when the affections are the most ardent, the heart most impressible. The physical, mental, and moral are susceptible of the highest cultivation and the most marked improvement. HR June 1, 1877, par. 3

Home missionaries are wanted. The parents must be first to become intelligent in regard to the laws of life and health, and feel the necessity of connecting with Heaven that they may have the help of God to combine with their human efforts to be faithful to their God given trust in their home-missionary work in training their children. Here are the developing minds of children, with their varied temperaments and capabilities, to be studied with the object of strengthening the weak points in their characters and repressing the strong ones, that they may have well-balanced minds and symmetrical characters. We meet everywhere men and women who show the marks of deficient training in their one-sided, inharmonious characters. HR June 1, 1877, par. 4

The mother who cheerfully takes up the duties lying directly in her path will feel that life is to her precious because God has given her a work to perform. In this work she need not necessarily dwarf her mind nor allow her intellect to become enfeebled. HR June 1, 1877, par. 5

If there is any post of duty above another which requires a cultivation of the mind, where the intellectual and physical powers require healthy tone and vigor, it is the training of children. The wife and mother should not sacrifice her strength and allow her powers to lie dormant, leaning wholly upon her husband. Her individuality cannot be merged in his. She should feel that she is her husband's equal, to stand by his side, she faithful at her post of duty and he at his. Her work in the education of her children is in every respect as elevated and ennobling as any post of duty he may be called to fill, even if it is to be the chief magistrate of the nation. The Christian mother's sphere of usefulness should not be narrowed by her domestic life. The salutary influence which she exerts in the home circle she may and will make felt in more wide-spread usefulness in her neighborhood and in the church of God. Home is not a prison to the devoted wife and mother. The mother, in the education of her children, is in a continual school. While teaching her children, she is herself learning daily. The lessons which she gives her children in self-control must be practiced by herself. In dealing with the varied minds and moods of her children, she needs keen perceptive powers or she will be in danger of misjudging and of dealing partially with her children. The law of kindness she should practice in her home life if she would have her children courteous and kind. Thus they have lessons repeated by precept and example, daily. HR June 1, 1877, par. 6

A great and important field of labor is before the mother at home. If Christian mothers will present to society children with integrity of character, with firm principles and sound morals, they will have performed the most important of all missionary labors. Their children, thoroughly educated to take their places in society, are the greatest evidence of Christianity that can be given to the world. The faithful mother will not, cannot, be a devotee of fashion, neither will she be a domestic slave, to humor the whims of her children, and excuse them from labor. She will teach them to share with her domestic duties, that they may have a knowledge of practical life. If the children share the labor with their mother, they will learn to regard useful employment as essential to happiness, ennobling rather than degrading. But if the mother educates her daughters to be indolent while she bears the heavy burdens of domestic life, she is teaching them to look down upon her as their servant, to wait on them and do the things they should do. The mother should ever retain her dignity. It is for her own interest, and that of her family, to save herself all unnecessary taxation, and to use every means at her command to preserve life, health, and the energies which God has given her; for she will need the vigor of all her faculties for her great work. A portion of her time should be spent out-of-doors, in physical exercise, that she may be invigorated to do her work in-doors with cheerfulness and thoroughness, being the light and blessing of the home. HR June 1, 1877, par. 7

The time of the Christian mother is too important to be devoted to unnecessary stitching, plaiting, and ruffling for outward display, to meet the demands of fashion. There is a higher work for you, mothers, than this. There is reason for deep solicitude on your part for your children, who have temptations to encounter at every advance step. It is impossible for them to avoid contact with evil associates. As they walk the streets of the city, they will see sights, hear sounds, and be subjected to influences, which are demoralizing, and which, unless they are thoroughly guarded, will imperceptibly but surely corrupt the heart and deform the character. There is no virtue in closing the eyes to these threatening dangers while you are allowing your minds to become infatuated and held in slavery to fashion's claims. Heavy responsibilities devolve upon you, as parents, to make home attractive, and to educate and mold the minds of your children, that they may have decision of character to firmly resist the evil and choose the good; that “your sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that your daughters may be as corner-stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” This work will ennoble and elevate the mother as well as her children, and will bring valuable returns. HR June 1, 1877, par. 8

The intellects of your children are taking shape, the affections and characters are being molded, but after what pattern? Let the parents remember that they are agents in these transactions. And when they may be sleeping in the grave, their work left behind is enduring, and will bear testimony of them whether it is good or bad. HR June 1, 1877, par. 9