The Health Reformer


December 1, 1877

Education of our Daughters


In the Word of God we find a beautiful description of a happy home and the woman who presides over it: “Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” What greater commendation can be desired by the mistress of a home, than that which is here expressed. The apostle recognizes the importance of the family relations, and the powerful influence of the home. In his epistles he enjoins certain rules upon families. He says of the children, “Let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents; for that is good and acceptable before God.” HR December 1, 1877, par. 1

Children can be educated to be helpful. They are naturally active and inclined to be busy; and this activity is susceptible of being trained and directed in the right channel. Children may be taught, when young, to lift daily their light burdens, each child having some particular task for the accomplishment of which he is responsible to his parents or guardian. They will thus learn to bear the yoke of duty while young; and the performance of their little tasks will become a pleasure, bringing them a happiness that is only gained by well-doing. They will become accustomed to work and responsibility, and will relish employment, perceiving that life holds for them more important business than that of amusing themselves. HR December 1, 1877, par. 2

In the fulfillment of their apportioned tasks, strength of memory and a right balance of mind may be gained, as well as stability of character and dispatch. The day, with its round of little duties, calls for thought, calculation, and a plan of action. As the children become older, still more can be required of them. It should not be exhaustive labor, nor should their work be so protracted as to fatigue and discourage them; but it should be judiciously selected with reference to the physical development most desirable, and the proper cultivation of the mind and character. HR December 1, 1877, par. 3

Work is good for children; they are happier to be usefully employed a large share of the time; their innocent amusements are enjoyed with a keener zest after the successful completion of their tasks. Labor strengthens both the muscles and the mind. Mothers may make precious little helpers of their children; and, while teaching them to be useful, they may themselves gain knowledge of human nature, and how to deal with these fresh, young beings, and keep their hearts warm and youthful by contact with the little ones. And as their children look to them in confidence and love, so may they look to the dear Saviour for help and guidance. HR December 1, 1877, par. 4

Children that are properly trained, as they advance in years, learn to love that labor which makes the burdens of their friends lighter. This daily employment closes the door to many temptations to which the indolent are exposed. It is to be deeply regretted that the children of the wealthy are not, as a class, educated to useful physical labor. Riches may be considered a misfortune if they lead their possessor to look upon labor as undignified and degrading. HR December 1, 1877, par. 5

The world is full of young men and women who pride themselves upon their ignorance of any useful labor; and they are, almost invariably, frivolous, vain, fond of display, unhappy, unsatisfied, and too often dissipated and unprincipled. Such characters are a blot upon society, and a disgrace to their parents. They fill no place in the world, but are an incubus upon it. HR December 1, 1877, par. 6

Many who consider it necessary for a son to be trained with reference to his own future maintenance seem to consider it entirely optional with herself, whether or not their daughter is educated to be independent and self-supporting. She usually learns little at school which can be put to practical use in earning her daily bread; and receiving no instruction at home in the mysteries of the kitchen and domestic life, she grows up utterly useless, a burden upon her parents. HR December 1, 1877, par. 7

She spends her time in visiting, gossiping, and in other unprofitable ways, having no aim or object in life, but to get as much pleasure out of it as possible. But let fortune change, let riches take wings and fly away, and she finds herself without resources, with no means of supporting herself, no knowledge that she can turn to any account. She has never learned even to wait upon herself, and is wholly unfitted for the stern realities of life. HR December 1, 1877, par. 8

A woman who has been taught to take care of herself, is also fitted to take care of others. She will never be a drug in the family or in society. When fortune frowns, there will be a place for her somewhere, a place where she can earn an honest living, and assist those who are dependent upon her. Woman should be trained to some business whereby she can gain a livelihood if necessary. Passing over other honorable employments, every girl should learn to take charge of the domestic affairs of home, should be a cook, a housekeeper, a seamstress. She should understand all those things which it is necessary that the mistress of a house should know, whether her family are rich or poor. Then, if reverses come, she is prepared for any emergency; she is, in a manner, independent of circumstances. HR December 1, 1877, par. 9

The fashionable waste of time encouraged or tolerated in children, and especially in daughters, lays the foundation for corrupt morals, and an enfeebled body. Fathers and mothers, how are your children coming forth from under your hand? Are you training your daughters aright, laying for them the foundation of virtuous characters, and teaching them that life is not what it is represented to be in novels, but a reality, claiming earnest thought and labor? HR December 1, 1877, par. 10

Girls should be taught that the true charm of womanliness is not alone in beauty of form or feature, nor in the possession of accomplishments; but in a meek and quiet spirit, in patience, generosity, kindness, and a willingness to do and suffer for others. They should be taught to work, to study to some purpose, to live for some object, to trust in God and fear him, and to respect their parents. Then, as they advance in years, they will grow more pure minded, self-reliant, and beloved. It will be impossible to degrade such a woman. She will escape the temptations and trials that have been the ruin of so many. HR December 1, 1877, par. 11

A serious error lies at the foundation of the fashionable education of girls; it is the idea that they have no individuality of character, and therefore no need of any special training such as is given to boys in order to prepare them for the battle of life. Many are taught from babyhood that it is ladylike to be helpless, and that it is almost a disgrace to engage in household labor. But, when the tenderly reared daughter of wealthy parents meets with misfortune, and is left without means or friends, and unacquainted with any labor that might keep starvation from her door, then it is that she wakes up, when it is too late, to the terrible mistake of her early life, and the criminal blindness of her overfond parents. Hundreds and thousands of delicately reared women are today struggling with poverty and want, who might be independent and happy if they had been taught usefulness and industry in early life. HR December 1, 1877, par. 12

It is as essential for our daughters to learn the proper use of time as it is for our sons, and they are equally accountable to God for the manner in which they occupy it. Life is given us for wise improvement of the talents we possess. The greater our opportunities, the greater is our responsibility to the Giver of all good gifts. We are God's property, and must render an account of all our actions to him. How poor will our lives appear in his sight if they are destitute of noble, unselfish actions; if they have been spent in idleness, pleasure-seeking, and frivolity. HR December 1, 1877, par. 13

Adam was placed in glorious Eden as the king of the whole earth; yet there was given him a work to do; the Creator required him to dress and take care of the garden. Thus divine wisdom saw it was best for sinless man to have employment; how much more necessary, then, is it for the fallen race to occupy their time with useful labor, thus shutting the door against many temptations, and guarding against the encroachments of the evil one. HR December 1, 1877, par. 14

Those who have nothing to do are the most miserable of mortals. It is an unsatisfying life that is guided only by inclination and love of pleasure, in which we look in vain for some generous deed, some earnest, active work, that has blessed the world. In looking over the record of each day, we should be able to find a balance to our account above selfish gratification; something accomplished that elevates ourselves, benefits our fellow-creatures, and is acceptable to God. HR December 1, 1877, par. 15