The Review and Herald


August 1, 1899

Disease and Its Causes


The mother frequently sends her children from her presence because she thinks she can not endure the noise occasioned by their happy frolics. But with no mother's eye over them to approve, or disapprove, at the right time, unhappy differences often arise. A word from the mother would set all right again. They soon become weary, and desire change, and go into the street for amusement; and pure, innocent-minded children are driven into bad company, and evil communications breathed into their ears corrupt their good manners. The mother often seems to be asleep to the interest of her children, until she is painfully aroused by the exhibition of vice. The seeds of evil were sown in their young minds, promising an abundant harvest. And it is a marvel to her that her children are so prone to do wrong. Parents should begin in season to instil into infant minds good and correct principles. The mother should be with her children as much as possible, and should sow precious seed in their hearts. RH August 1, 1899, par. 1

The mother's time belongs in a special manner to her children. They have a right to her time as no others can have. In many cases mothers have neglected to discipline their children, because it would require too much of their time, which they think must be spent in the cooking department, or in preparing their own clothing, and that of their children, according to fashion, to foster pride in their young hearts. In order to keep their restless children still, they have given them cake or candies, almost any hour of the day, and their stomachs are crowded with hurtful things at irregular periods. Their pale faces testify to the fact that mothers are doing what they can to destroy the remaining life forces of their poor children. The digestive organs are constantly taxed, and are not allowed periods of rest. The liver becomes inactive, the blood impure, and the children are sickly and irritable, because they are real sufferers from intemperance; and it is impossible for them to exercise patience. RH August 1, 1899, par. 2

Parents wonder that children are so much more difficult to control than they used to be, when in most cases their own criminal management has made them so. The quality of food they bring upon their tables, and encourage their children to eat, is constantly exciting their animal passions, and weakening the moral and intellectual faculties. Very many children are made miserable dyspeptics in their youth by the wrong course their parents have pursued toward them in childhood. Parents will be called to render an account to God for thus dealing with their children. RH August 1, 1899, par. 3

Many parents do not give their children lessons in self-control. They indulge their appetite, and form the habits of their children, in childhood, to eat and drink according to their desires. So will they be in their general habits in their youth. Their desires have not been restrained; and as they grow older, they will not only indulge in the common habits of intemperance, but they will go still further in indulgences. They will choose their own associates, although corrupt. They can not endure restraint from their parents. They will give loose rein to their corrupt passions, and will have but little regard for purity or virtue. This is the reason there is so little purity and moral worth among the youth of the present day, and is the great cause why men and women feel under so little obligation to render obedience to the law of God. Some parents have not control over themselves. They do not control their own morbid appetites, or their passionate tempers; therefore they can not educate their children in regard to the denial of appetite, nor teach them self-control. RH August 1, 1899, par. 4

Many mothers feel that they have not time to instruct their children; and in order to get them out of the way, and get rid of their noise and trouble, they send them to school. The schoolroom is a hard place for children who have inherited enfeebled constitutions. Schoolrooms generally have not been constructed with reference to health, but with regard to cheapness. The rooms have not been arranged so that they can be ventilated, as they should be, without exposing the children to severe colds. And the seats have seldom been made so that the children can sit with ease, and keep their little, growing frames in a proper posture to insure healthy action of the lungs and heart. Young children can grow into almost any shape, and can, by habits of proper exercise and correct positions of the body, obtain healthy forms. It is destructive to the health and life of young children for them to sit in the schoolroom, upon hard, ill-formed benches, from three to five hours a day, inhaling the impure air caused by many breaths. The weak lungs become affected; and the brain, from which the nervous energy of the whole system is derived, becomes enfeebled by being called into active exercise before the strength of the mental organs is sufficiently matured to endure fatigue. RH August 1, 1899, par. 5

In the schoolroom the foundation has been surely laid for diseases of various kinds. But, more especially, the most delicate of all organs, the brain, has often been permanently injured by too great exercise. This has often caused inflammation, then dropsy of the head, and convulsions, with their dreaded results. And the lives of many have been thus sacrificed by ambitious mothers. Of those children who have apparently had sufficient force of constitution to survive this treatment, there are very many who carry the effects of it through life. The nervous energy of the brain becomes so weakened that after they come to maturity, it is impossible for them to endure much mental exercise. The force of some of the delicate organs of the brain seems to be expended. RH August 1, 1899, par. 6

And not only has the physical and mental health of children been endangered by their being sent to school at too early a period, but they have been the losers in a moral point of view. They have had opportunities to become acquainted with children who were uncultivated in their manners. They were thrown into the society of the coarse and rough, who lie, swear, steal, and deceive, and who delight to impart their knowledge of vice to those younger than themselves. Young children, if left to themselves, learn the bad more readily than the good. Bad habits agree best with the natural heart; and the things which the children see and hear in infancy and childhood are deeply imprinted upon their minds; and the bad seed sown in their young hearts will take root, and will become sharp thorns to wound the hearts of their parents. RH August 1, 1899, par. 7

During the first six or seven years of a child's life special attention should be given to its physical training, rather than the intellectual. After this period, if the physical constitution is good, the education of both should receive attention. Infancy extends to the age of six or seven years. Up to this period, children should be left, like lambs, to roam about the house, and in the yard, in the buoyancy of their spirits, skipping and jumping, free from care and trouble. RH August 1, 1899, par. 8

Parents, especially mothers, should be the only teachers of such infant minds. They should not educate from books. The children generally will be inquisitive to learn the things of nature. They will ask questions in regard to the things they see and hear, and parents should improve the opportunity to instruct, and patiently answer these little inquiries. They can, in this manner, get the advantage of the enemy, and fortify the minds of their children, by sowing good seed in their hearts, leaving no room for the bad to take root. The mother's loving instruction at a tender age is what is needed by children in the formation of character. RH August 1, 1899, par. 9