Child Guidance


Chapter 17—Cleanliness

God Is Particular—The Lord commanded the children of Israel to wash their clothes and put away all impurity from their encampment, lest in passing by He should see their uncleanness. God is passing by our homes today, and He looks upon the unsanitary conditions of families and the lax habits. Had we not better reform, and that without delay? CG 106.1

Parents, God has made you His agents, that you may instill right principles in the minds of your children. You have in trust the Lord's little ones, and that God who was so particular that the children of Israel should grow up with habits of cleanliness will not sanction any impurity in the home today. God has given you the work of educating your children in these lines, and in training your children in habits of cleanliness, you teach them spiritual lessons. They will see that God would have them clean in heart as well as in body, and will be led to an understanding of the pure principles which God designs should prompt every act of their lives.1 CG 106.2

If God was so particular to enjoin cleanliness upon those journeying in the wilderness, who were in the open air nearly all the time, He requires no less of us who live in ceiled houses, where impurities are more observable and have a more unhealthful influence.2 CG 106.3

Cleanliness Should Become Second Nature—Uncleanness in the home is a great mistake, for it is educating in its effects and casts its influence abroad. Even in babyhood a right direction should be given to the minds and habits of children.... Show them that uncleanness, whether in body or dress, is objectionable to God. Teach them to eat in a clean manner. Constant vigilance must be exercised that these habits may become second nature to them.... Impurity will be despised as it should be.... CG 106.4

Oh, that all would understand that these small duties are not to be neglected. The whole of their future life will be shaped by the habits and practices of their childhood. Children are peculiarly susceptible to impressions, and sanitary knowledge may be imparted to them by not permitting disorder.3 CG 107.1

Teach Love for Cleanliness and Hatred for Dirt—You should cultivate a love for neatness and strict cleanliness.4 CG 107.2

Dress your children simply and plainly. Let their clothes be made of durable material. Keep them sweet and clean. Teach them to hate anything like dirt and filth.5 CG 107.3

Let the strength which is now given to the unnecessary planning of what you shall eat and drink, and wherewithal you shall be clothed, be directed to keeping their persons clean and their clothes neat. Do not misunderstand me in this. I do not say that you must keep them indoors, like dolls. There is nothing impure in clean sand and dry earth; it is the emanations from the body that defile, requiring the clothing to be changed and the body washed.6 CG 107.4

Keep Premises Clean—Whole families might be helped and blessed if parents would find something for their children to do. Why are not ministers and teachers more explicit on this subject that means so much to physical health and spiritual soundness? The boys and girls of the family should feel that they are a part of the home firm. They should strive to keep the premises cleansed from every unpleasant sight. Instruction in these lines should be given.7 CG 107.5

Every form of uncleanliness tends to disease. Death- producing germs abound in dark, neglected corners, in decaying refuse, in dampness and mold and must. No waste vegetables or heaps of fallen leaves should be allowed to remain near the house to decay and poison the air. Nothing unclean or decaying should be tolerated within the home. In towns or cities regarded perfectly healthful, many an epidemic of fever has been traced to decaying matter about the dwelling of some careless householder. Perfect cleanliness, plenty of sunlight, careful attention to sanitation in every detail of the home life, are essential to freedom from disease and to the cheerfulness and vigor of the inmates of the home.8 CG 108.1

Personal Cleanliness Essential to Health—Scrupulous cleanliness is essential to both physical and mental health. Impurities are constantly thrown off from the body through the skin. Its millions of pores are quickly clogged unless kept clean by frequent bathing, and the impurities which should pass off through the skin become an additional burden to the other eliminating organs. CG 108.2

Most persons would receive benefit from a cool or tepid bath every day, morning or evening. Instead of increasing the liability to take cold, a bath, properly taken, fortifies against cold because it improves the circulation; the blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow is obtained. The mind and the body are alike invigorated. The muscles become more flexible; the intellect is made brighter. The bath is a soother of the nerves. Bathing helps the bowels, the stomach, and the liver, giving health and energy to each, and it promotes digestion. CG 108.3

It is important also that the clothing be kept clean. The garments worn absorb the waste matter that passes off through the pores; if they are not frequently changed and washed, the impurities will be reabsorbed.9 CG 109.1

Clean Surroundings Are an Aid to Purity—I have often seen children's beds in such a condition that the foul, poisonous odor constantly rising from them was to me unendurable. Keep everything the eyes of the children rest upon and that comes in contact with the body, night or day, clean and wholesome. This will be one means of educating them to choose the cleanly and the pure. Let the sleeping room of your children be neat, however destitute it may be of expensive furniture.10 CG 109.2

Maintain a Proper Balance—Cleanliness and order are Christian duties, yet even these may be carried too far and made the one essential, while matters of greater importance are neglected. Those who neglect the interests of the children for these considerations are tithing the mint and cummin, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law—justice, mercy, and the love of God.11 CG 109.3