The Health Reformer


December 1, 1872

Proper Education


In the early education of children, many parents and teachers fail to understand that the greatest attention needs to be given to the physical constitution, that a healthy condition of body and brain can be secured. It has been the custom to encourage children to attend school when they are mere babies, needing a mother's care. Children of a delicate age are frequently crowded into ill ventilated school rooms, to sit upon poorly-constructed benches, and the young and tender frames have, through sitting in wrong positions, become deformed. HR December 1, 1872, par. 1

The disposition and habits of youth will be very likely to be manifested in the matured man. You may bend a young tree to almost any form that you may choose, and let it remain and grow as you have bent it, and it will be a deformed tree, and will ever tell of the injury received at your hand. You may, after years of growth, try to straighten the tree, but all your efforts will prove unavailing. It will ever be a deformed tree. This is the case with the minds of youth. They should be carefully and tenderly trained in childhood. They may be educated in the right direction or in the wrong, and they will in their future life pursue the course in which they were directed in youth. The habits formed in youth will grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength, and will generally be the same in after life, only continue to grow stronger. HR December 1, 1872, par. 2

We are living in an age when almost everything is superficial. There is but little stability and firmness of character, because the training and education of children from their cradle is superficial. Their character is built upon sliding sand. Self-denial and self-control have not been molded into their characters. They have been petted and indulged until they are spoiled for practical life. The love of pleasure controls minds, and children are flattered and indulged to their ruin. Children should be trained and educated so that they may calculate to meet with difficulties, and expect temptations and dangers. They should be taught to have control over themselves, and to nobly overcome difficulties; and if they do not willfully rush into danger, and needlessly place themselves in the way of temptation; if they avoid evil influences and vicious society, and then are unavoidably compelled to be in dangerous company, they will have strength of character to stand for the right and preserve principle, and will come forth in the strength of God with their morals untainted. The moral powers of youth who have been properly educated, if they make God their trust, will be equal to stand the most powerful test. HR December 1, 1872, par. 3

There is sufficient cause for mourning by fathers and mothers as they witness the steady and rapid increase of sins and crimes among children and youth of this age. The great proportion of sins and suffering of children and youth, proceed immediately from the appetites and propensities. HR December 1, 1872, par. 4

Through the channel of appetite, the passions are inflamed, and the moral powers are paralyzed, so that parental instruction in the principles of morality and true goodness falls upon the ear without affecting the heart. The most fearful warnings and threatenings of the word of God are not powerful enough to arouse the benumbed intellect and awaken the violated conscience. HR December 1, 1872, par. 5

The indulgence of appetite and passion fever and debilitate the mind, and disqualify for education. Our youth need a physiological education as well as other literary and scientific knowledge. It is important for them to understand the relation that their eating and drinking, and general habits, have to health and life. As they understand their own frames, they will know how to guard against debility and disease. With a sound constitution, there is hope of accomplishing almost anything. Benevolence, love, and piety, can be cultivated. A want of physical vigor will be manifested in the weakened moral powers. The apostle says, “Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” HR December 1, 1872, par. 6

A solemn duty is resting upon parents in regard to their children. The exciting amusements of our time keep the minds of men and women, but more especially the youth, in a fever of excitement, which is telling upon their stock of vitality in a far greater degree than all their studies and physical labors, and have a tendency to dwarf the intellect and corrupt the morals. HR December 1, 1872, par. 7

Many bemoan the disobedience of Adam, which resulted in bringing sin, suffering, and death, into the world. Surely, such should cease to transgress. But instead of doing better themselves than Adam did, they follow a course of transgression, thereby increasing the tide of woe. But let the children of Adam, who have the example of their father before them with all its terrible results, stop sinning, instead of complaining of their father, while they themselves are doing worse than he did. HR December 1, 1872, par. 8

Men seem not to be satisfied with the result of Adam's trial in disobedience. While they bemoan Adam's weakness in yielding to temptation and breaking the Father's law, they defy the law of God in disregarding his prohibitions and follow in a course of disobedience to learn when too late that the wages of sin is death and that God means what he says. HR December 1, 1872, par. 9

If we wish to manifest how much greater wisdom we should have shown were we in Adam's place, tempted as he was, we need not go back to occupy his position, to give evidence of our firmness and moral rectitude. We have ample opportunities to show our strength of moral power in resisting the temptations of our time. HR December 1, 1872, par. 10

But few parents realize that their children are what their example and discipline have made them, and that they are responsible for the characters their children develop. If the hearts of Christian parents were in obedience to the will of Christ, they would obey the injunction of the heavenly Teacher: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” If those who profess to be followers of Christ would do this, they would give not only to their children, but to the unbelieving world, examples that would rightly represent the religion of the Bible. If Christian parents lived in obedience to the requirements of the divine Teacher, they would preserve simplicity in eating and in dressing more in accordance with natural law. They would not then devote so much time to artificial life in making cares and burdens for themselves that Christ has not laid upon them, but positively bade them avoid. If the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, were the first and all important consideration with parents, but little precious time would be lost in needless ornamentation of the outward, while the minds of their children are almost entirely neglected. The precious time devoted by many parents to dressing their children for display in their scenes of amusement might better, far better, be spent in cultivating their own minds, in order that they may be competent to properly instruct their children. It is not essential to the happiness of these parents to use precious probationary time God has lent them, in dressing, in visiting, and gossiping. HR December 1, 1872, par. 11

Many parents plead that they have so much to do that they have not time to improve their minds, or to educate their children for practical life, or to teach them how they may become lambs of Christ's fold. HR December 1, 1872, par. 12

Parents will never realize the almost infinite value of the time they misspend until the final settlement, when the cases of all will be decided, and the acts of our entire life are opened to our view in the presence of God, and the Lamb, and all the holy angels. Very many parents will then see that their wrong course determined the destiny of their children. Not only have they failed to secure for themselves the words of commendation from the King of glory, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord;” but they hear the terrible denunciation, Depart. This separates their children forever from the joys and glories of Heaven, and from the presence of Christ. And they themselves also come under his denunciation, Depart,“thou wicked and slothful servant.” Jesus will never say, “Well done,” to those who have not earned the well done by their faithful lives of self-denial and self sacrifice to do others good, and to promote his glory. Those who have lived principally to please themselves instead of doing others good are meeting with infinite loss. HR December 1, 1872, par. 13

If parents could be aroused to sense the responsibility in the work of educating their children, more of their time would be devoted to prayer, and less to needless display. They should educate them to understand that health is indispensable to their usefulness and enjoyment in this life; and that health, strength, and their power to do good, depend upon their obedience to the laws of their being. Parents should reflect, and pray earnestly to God for wisdom and divine aid to properly train their children, that they may develop characters that God will approve. Their anxiety should not be how they can educate their children that they may be praised and honored of the world, but how they can educate them to form beautiful characters that God can approve. Much prayer and study are needed for heavenly wisdom to know how to deal with young minds; for very much is depending upon the direction parents give to the minds and wills of their children. HR December 1, 1872, par. 14

In order to arouse the moral sensibilities of your children to the claims that God has upon them, you should imprint upon their minds and hearts how to obey the laws of God in their physical frames; for health has a great deal to do with their intellect and morals. If they have health and purity of heart, they are then better prepared to live and be a blessing to the world. To balance their minds in the right direction and at the right time is a most important work; for very much depends on the decisions made at the critical moment. How important, then, that the minds of parents should be as free as possible from perplexing, wearing care in needless things, that they may think and act with calm consideration, wisdom, and love, making the physical and moral health of their children the first and highest consideration. The inward adorning should be the great object for parents to attain for their dear children. Parents cannot afford to have visitors and strangers claim their attention, and rob them of life's great capital, which is time, making it impossible for them to give their children patient instruction, which they must have every day to give right direction to their developing minds. HR December 1, 1872, par. 15

This lifetime is too short to be squandered in vain and trifling diversion, in unprofitable visiting, in needless dressing for display, or in exciting amusements. We cannot afford to squander time given us of God to bless others, and for us to improve in laying up a treasure for ourselves in Heaven. We have none too much time for the discharge of necessary duties. We should give time for the culture of our own hearts and minds, in order to qualify us for our life's work. To neglect these essential duties, in conforming to the habits and customs of fashionable, worldly society, is doing ourselves and our children a great wrong. HR December 1, 1872, par. 16

Mothers who have youthful minds to train, and the character of children to form, should not seek vain excitement in order to be cheerful and happy. They have their important lifework. They and theirs cannot afford to spend time in an unprofitable manner. Time is one of the important talents which God has intrusted to us, and for which he will call us to account. A waste of time is a waste of intellect. The powers of the mind are susceptible of high cultivation. It is the duty of mothers to cultivate their minds, and keep their hearts pure, and improve every means in their reach for their intellectual and moral improvement, that they may be qualified to improve the minds of their children. HR December 1, 1872, par. 17

Those who indulge a disposition to love to be in company will soon feel restless, unless visiting or entertaining visitors. The power of adaptation to circumstances, the necessary sacred home duties, will seem commonplace and uninteresting. They have no love for self examination or self-discipline. The mind hungers for the varying, exciting scenes of worldly life. Children are neglected for the indulgence of inclination. And the recording angel writes, “Unprofitable servants.” God designs, that our minds should not be purposeless, but that we should accomplish good in this life. HR December 1, 1872, par. 18

E. G. W.