The Health Reformer


October 1, 1866

Parents Their Own Physicians


No woman should become a mother unless she is capable of being physician to her offspring. How can mothers turn over their tender children to the care of a strange physician, for him to dose them with drugs, the true nature of which she has no knowledge. Such a course is a sin in the sight of Heaven. Ignorance is no excuse for parents. Why do not those who take such responsibilities, educate themselves? They should read and investigate with a prayerful heart, until they can understand the wants of their children, and watch with jealous care, [lest] these little sunbeams, which are given them to lighten their pathway, be shrouded in darkness by disease and death. No stranger's hand should be trusted to perform those services for her dear ones, which a mother's affection alone can understand. Parents and children should educate themselves in all that concerns their life and health. When children understand the science of human life, then, and not till then, are they prepared to attend to the sciences as taught in the common schools. HR October 1, 1866, par. 1

Parents have frequently told me that they knew nothing of the nature of disease, and were their children sick, they should not know what to do for them,—that they had always trusted to a physician. Mothers ought to know what to do in any common case of sickness of their children. It is a sin for them not to know. Who should better understand the wants of a sick child than its parents, especially the mother? And yet parents plead ignorance, and if their dear children are slightly indisposed, they do not know what to do, and send for the doctor, who deals out his concentrated poisons with a lavish hand. These lessen the child's hold on life, and if they do not actually cause its death, they obstruct nature's efforts, and break down some part of her fine machinery, which can never be repaired, and the victim is a sufferer as long as life lasts. HR October 1, 1866, par. 2

In nine cases out of ten, the indisposition of children can be traced to some indulgence of the perverted appetites. Perhaps it is an exposure to cold, want of fresh air, irregularity in eating, or improper clothing; and all the parents need do, is to remove the cause, and secure for their children a period of quiet and rest, and abstain for a short period from food. An agreeable bath, of a proper temperature, will remove impurities from the skin, and then unpleasant symptoms may soon disappear; and all of this, too, without poisonous drugs, or having a doctor's fee to pay. HR October 1, 1866, par. 3

Many parents, rather than to take the trouble to thoroughly investigate the cause of their children's indisposition, turn them over to the doctor, and administer anything he may choose to prescribe. If the anxious parent ventures to make an inquiry in regard to the drug, she is told it is “perfectly harmless;” that if it does them no special good, “it will not injure them.” Concentrated poisons are dealt out, the names of which are concealed in some technical terms, which the parents know nothing of; and because of their inexcusable ignorance, the lives of their children are sacrificed, and the parents too frequently charge their afflictions to Providence. HR October 1, 1866, par. 4

In such cases perhaps, if nature had been left to herself, she would have recovered the abuse the system had suffered, but she was not allowed the privilege. A poisonous drug is introduced into the system, binding down the efforts of nature, until she is compelled to give up the struggle. Do the parents then see their folly, and awake and investigate for themselves, feeling that their children are too dear to be trusted in a stranger's hands to receive any mixture he may please to deal out? No, they seem blinded, and infatuated; habits and customs, like iron bands, gird them about, and they make no effort to break them. If other loved ones are made sick by the wrong course pursued toward them, the doctor is again sent for to deal out his miserable drugs, which have so long cursed the human family and filled our graveyards, and the little life-forces left, are crushed out, and death closes the scene. HR October 1, 1866, par. 5

I have known instances where two or three in the same family have died, one after another, and yet the same physician was summoned to attend them all. I had not a doubt but that careful nursing, letting alone drugs entirely, with a little moral courage and firmness, used by the parents to restrict the diet of their children, would have saved them. There never can be a better condition of things, until parents understand the obligations resting upon them to bring up their children healthfully. It is impossible to conform to the present customs of society and do this. There is need of reform. Parents should live more for their children, and not so much for visitors. It should not be their study how to furnish a luxurious table to please the appetites of visitors. By so doing, they tempt their children to eat things which will prove injurious to health, and which will encourage and strengthen the animal appetites, and have a direct influence to weaken and debase the higher faculties. HR October 1, 1866, par. 6

Children, judging of the course pursued by their parents, take it for granted that the highest object in life, and that which yields the greatest amount of happiness, is to be able to prepare a table spread with luxurious food. They are taught that we “live to eat,” instead of “eating to live.” The time devoted in studying how to prepare food in a manner to suit the perverted appetite, is worse than lost. Such knowledge is a curse to parents and children; for they are only learning the most successful way to tear down and debase the physical, mental, and moral faculties, by gluttony. Then, as a natural result, comes sickness, and next the doctor and poisonous drugs. HR October 1, 1866, par. 7

It is thus that the human family are successfully destroying themselves, and deteriorating the race, and then they lay the result of their sinful course to a “mysterious Providence.” Time, strength and money, are devoted to the unworthy object of keeping pace with fashionable customs of society, and the health of the body and soul is sacrificed to this end. Yet those who are guilty in this respect, will tell you they do not understand how to take care of themselves or their children, when sick. How much better would it be for parents and children, if the time and means that are devoted to preparing food to suit the depraved appetite, were occupied in acquiring a knowledge of their physical being, and in learning how to take care of their own bodies, and in teaching their children the same. Children should be taught, by precept and example, that God did not design that we should live merely for present gratification, but for our ultimate good. God has formed laws which govern our constitutions, and these laws which he has placed in our being, are divine, and for every transgression there is affixed a penalty, which must sooner or later be realized. The majority of diseases which the human family have been, and still are suffering under, they have created by ignorance of their own organic laws. They seem indifferent in regard to the matter of health, and work perseveringly to tear themselves to pieces, and when broken down, and debilitated in body and mind send for the doctor and drug themselves to death. HR October 1, 1866, par. 8

E. G. W.