The Health Reformer


January 1, 1873

Earnest Words to Mothers


The following excellent article from the Herald of Health, should be carefully read and thoughtfully pondered. HR January 1, 1873, par. 1

E. G. W.

I write unto you, mothers, that you may purify the world. HR January 1, 1873, par. 2

Let us lay aside for a time the subjects of “equal rights,” woman's capacity for political privileges, and the great necessity for new avenues in which she may labor and obtain an honest livelihood—subjects which are inspiring and agitating so many noble hearts and ready pens, and look still deeper, into something pertaining to the inner sanctities of home-life, the fountain from which should always flow pure, sweet waters, preparing and strengthening all who taste them to meet and overcome life's temptations. HR January 1, 1873, par. 3

I have addressed myself to mothers. My words should interest all who have charge of children, but mothers more particularly, on account of the great and lasting influences which they exert upon the hearts and characters of those who look up to them as an embodiment of all that is best and dearest, and because the duties of which I am to speak are intrinsically a mother's, and should never be given up to, or left for, another to perform. HR January 1, 1873, par. 4

There is a painful, and remarkable ignorance among your girls, and many not young, with regard to their physical constitution and development. They are taught mathematics, languages, the sciences and “accomplishments,” and perhaps skim over the surface of physiology, but how many others teach their children this most important of all sciences? How many explain the structure, nature, and function of each organ, and the relation it bears to life; the right manner of use, and the terrible consequences of abuse, and show them how to live so that they may make the body a fitting “temple of the living God!” HR January 1, 1873, par. 5

I may overestimate this ignorance, but I know very many girls whose only knowledge of laws—a right understanding of which is of the utmost importance, and bears the closest relation to their future health, happiness, and usefulness—has been attained from school-mates, alike destitute of a mother's instruction, or from forbidden books. HR January 1, 1873, par. 6

And are they thankful for this knowledge? Do they feel that they have learned something useful and beneficial? Ah, no! The fruits of deceit and concealment are a burden, not a blessing. It is something to be thought of with blushes, to be kept from a mother's ear, to be talked of in secret places, and as if it were impure. HR January 1, 1873, par. 7

Why is this? Is it because the laws which govern our bodies, our whole lives, are impure, unworthy to be studied? Do we thus regard our heavenly Father? Should we thus degrade his works? HR January 1, 1873, par. 8

These laws are the same as those which govern the lives of plants and animals. Children are taught of those—taught to look with admiration and delight at the development of the beautiful blossom from the tiny germ, and its final transformation into the perfect flower and fruit, but of themselves, God's “noblest work,” they are left in ignorance. Better, far, that as little children, they should be taught of their own structure and development, as of the plants and trees, and taught to trace in it God's loving mind and hand, than at the age when they most need care and sympathy, when mysterious feelings are pressing upon them, and the great questions of life rise before them, that they should be forced to learn from playmates, or ignorant, perhaps vulgar, servants, those things which it should be a mother's privilege to teach, and of the sacredness of which they can not have too high a conception! HR January 1, 1873, par. 9

“But,” say some mothers, “I tell my children all that is necessary, there is time enough.” And, “I can not speak of these things, it is too embarrassing;” “I do it, but it is mortifying.” (These are from life.) HR January 1, 1873, par. 10

Do you tell them all that is necessary? Do you know all that you ought of these wonderful matters, these daily miracles? Have you labored earnestly to inform yourself concerning these laws? Do you tell your daughters, yes, and your boys, that “a corrupt tree can not bring forth good fruit;” That our moral and physical qualities are transmitted from generation to generation, and that we are all more or less responsible for the lives which may spring from ours; that all our actions, from childhood up, are laying the foundations not only of our own character, but of “generations yet unborn?” HR January 1, 1873, par. 11

I know good, conscientious mothers, whose children have suffered years of sickness and pain from a most unnecessary and really culpable lack of knowledge of simple cause and effect. Is there time “enough?” I know young wives and mothers who have entered upon married life as ignorant and thoughtless of its responsibilities and duties as children. One said to me, “my mother didn't tell me anything, I don't think it is right;” and another, almost a child, suffering from hereditary scrofula, “I am afraid my baby will have it. I wish he had never been born. But I didn't know about these things!” HR January 1, 1873, par. 12