Lt 53, 1898


Lt 53, 1898

Teachers and Students in Our Schools


June 12, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in CD 334, 340; 5MR 222-224.

To the Teachers and Students in Our Schools:

There are many in our world who think that to learn a trade would be lowering to their dignity. Such have an incorrect idea of what constitutes true dignity. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud Jesus Christ, one with the Father, and Commander of the heavenly hosts, led the children of Israel in their journeyings through the wilderness. To this encampment of more than a million people He gave special direction that every youth should learn a trade and gain a knowledge of practical life, that he might be self-supporting. Lt53-1898.1

The great work essential for parents to do is to find some employment for their children which will involve the bearing of responsibilities proportioned to their age and strength. The active brains and hands of children must be employed, and if parents neglect this work, they do their children great injury, for they leave the way open for Satan to find them something to do. But by giving children something to interest them and keep them busy, fathers and mothers carry out the requirements of God. Lt53-1898.2

The mother is to teach her children that as members of the household they are to act their part in cheerfully carrying the burdens of the home. She is also to explain to them the construction of the muscles of the body, and their connection with the nerves, which our wise heavenly Father has provided us the means whereby the human machinery is kept in motion. Every organ of the body is a servant to the mind, and has its part to perform. David exclaimed, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”; and yet how few have any special interest in the construction of the human habitation. [Psalm 139:14.] Lt53-1898.3

Every mother should be the first teacher of her children. The home should be the place where every child receives its first lessons. The custom now followed is for children when very young to begin to take music lessons. Even though the parents are poor, they will pay a music teacher. Everything is made secondary to this object. This is not wise. It is not the best thing for a nervous child’s health to set him at music when he is young. Let the mother teach her children how to use their muscles and nerves, and to make music in the home by doing acts of usefulness, but relieving her of some of her burdens. Let her teach them to use the needle, to keep their clothing in repair, to cook their food. Accustom them to bear burdens. Then intellect is strengthened by use. The perception is taught by seeing what needs to be done. The memory is helped by acting a faithful part. The best music children can learn is to know how to save their mother’s steps. Lt53-1898.4

The mother may feel that it would be easier to avoid the duty of educating her children to find their chief exercise and recreation in bearing burdens. She may think it hard to open before them the knowledge of their own bodies. But she does her children great harm if she neglects to give them this education. Their Creator furnished them with this wonderful machinery that it might be exercised, and strengthened by use. The muscles are dependent on the brain and nerves for the power of action. The mind wills to move the limbs. To keep this machinery in working order, it is essential that brain, bone, and muscle be brought into action. The exercise of the muscles quickens the circulation of the blood. How important then that parents understand the philosophy of the healthful action of brain, bone, muscles, and nerves, and how needful that they educate their children in this line. Lt53-1898.5

Simple lessons in the use of the various organs of the body should be given to children to commit to memory. The idea that it is physical exercise that strengthens every organ and gives new life and nourishment to every part of the living machinery, should be firmly imprinted on the mind. This is the law that God has ordained shall govern the body. Every part must be exercised. The harmonious working of the whole is required in order for the members of a family to do service in the home, and help each other to acquire education and discipline. The brain must plan and devise, and the muscles must carry out the will of the brain. Lt53-1898.6

If in early years children were thus trained to habits of usefulness in the home, they would obtain an education far superior to that gained by close confinement in the schoolroom. But if part of the muscles are unused, it will soon be seen that the blood does not nourish these muscles. The limbs do not increase in size and strength as they would if they were used. Students who have but little exercise in the open air soon grow weak and lose flesh. The brain is overworked, while the physical organs are left to rust with inaction. Inactivity is not the law the Lord has ordained for the human body; and if this law is followed, feebleness, debility, and disease will come as the result. But nerves and muscles will increase and strengthen if they are exercised. Lt53-1898.7

We lose or gain physical strength just in accordance with the way in which we treat the body. When the largest portion of time is devoted to brain work, the organs of imagination lose their freshness and power, while the physical organs lose their healthy tone. The brain is morbidly excited by being constantly exercised, while the muscular system is weak from lack of exercise. There is a manifest loss of strength and increase of debility, which in time makes its influence felt on the brain. As far as possible, harmony should be preserved between the mental and physical powers. This is necessary for the health of the entire system. Lt53-1898.8

Parents should realize that they are the guardians of their children, and that they are to give these children occupation for mind and body that will interest them, and at the same time give them the satisfaction that they are helping to bear the burdens of the home. The exercise gained in mere play does not give the inspiration that quickens every organ of the body. Exercise merely for exercise soon becomes uninteresting. Let children take exercise by performing the duties of the home, thus relieving the overtaxed mother. If daughters would follow this plan, instead of allowing their time to be occupied by a round of selfish pleasure, they would enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that they had done their duty and borne their share of the home duties. Lt53-1898.9

Children and youth, young men and young women, should be ambitious to do something that will be beneficial to others, as well as to themselves. They should seek to prolong the life of their mother by giving her pleasure. This they cannot fail to do if they engage in useful domestic exercise. Such efforts will be rewarded with health of body and peace of mind, for the approval of God rests with loving assurance upon children who strive to share in the duties of the home. Lt53-1898.10

Thus children may be educated to minister in the home, and at the same time obtain the exercise so essential to their health. As they increase the enjoyment of the family circle by bearing their share of the burdens that some one must bear, they carry with them a fragrant atmosphere, and the mother, as well as the children, is blessed by their faithful performances of home duties. Lt53-1898.11

By precept and example children should be taught to be truthful and unselfish. They should not be allowed to cherish habits of indolence. Their hands should not be folded in idleness. We may overcome selfishness by accustoming ourselves to think of and care for others. This closes the door to many temptations. Wise instruction on this point, given in a calm, decided manner, will bring its returns. Angels of God co-operate with parents who strive to do this God-given work, imparting to them strength and efficiency. Heavenly satisfaction is the fruit of virtuous industry and of the cultivation of habits of loving to do good. Lt53-1898.12