Manuscript Releases, vol. 7 [Nos. 419-525]

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Children's Diet Should be Carefully Controlled

The food eaten by children with whom I have become acquainted when on the cars, did not make good blood, or good tempers. These children were frail. Some had sores on the head, face, and hands. Others had sore eyes, which destroyed the beauty of their faces. Others, though suffering from no skin eruption, were afflicted with catarrh, difficulty of the throat, chills, and fever. Their parents were kept in continual worry and perplexity. 7MR 1.2

I noticed one boy, three years of age, who had bowel difficulty. He had considerable fever. The mother seemed to think that food would help his case, and every time he asked for food, she gave him fried chicken, bread and butter, or rich cake. Another child of about ten years was suffering from fever, and was disinclined to eat. Yet the mother urged her to eat this and that. Children, sick, complaining, and feverish, were urged to eat food unfit to be placed in any human stomach, even if in the most healthy condition. 7MR 1.3

These children thus injudiciously treated, were creatures of circumstance, made miserable because of the course pursued toward them by their parents, who must have been very ignorant of the laws of life and health. These laws should govern the appetites and passions of parents. Then parents will be fitted to educate their offspring. 7MR 2.1

We were pained to hear the mothers’ fretful chiding, as they sought to hold in check the outbursts of temper exhibited by the children. But these mothers did not control themselves; how then could they expect their children, with their perverted habits, to have tranquil tempers. Both parents and children ate at irregular intervals all through the day, after eating heartily three times a day. The boy on the cars who sold cakes, candies, nuts, and fruit, was freely patronized by the indulgent parents. 7MR 2.2

We felt sorry for these mothers; they had such a worn, worried look, and were pictures of discouragement. I frequently heard them relating their own sufferings and their poor childrens’ ailments, and telling what the doctor had said of them from time to time. Many said that they were seeking a more healthful climate; for they and their children were always sick.—Manuscript 1, 1876, 2, 3. (“Diet,” June 12, 1876.) 7MR 2.3