The Health Reformer


March 1, 1877

The Duties of a Mother


The Christian mother, to a very great extent, has it within her power to secure to her children good constitutions, sound morals, and correct views of the duties and responsibilities of life. Thousands of mothers are today ignorant of the laws of health and morality, and utterly reckless in the management of their children. Thousands are ruined for life and rendered worthless to society through neglect of proper training in early youth. A failure of health prevents the cultivation and development of the mental faculties, the talents lie dormant in consequence, and the world loses the benefit of them. A knowledge of, and obedience to, the laws of nature would have preserved the healthful action of body and mind and given to humanity the blessing of many a life now wasted in uselessness. Through the inefficiency of parents, much good is lost to the world, and God is robbed of the glory he should receive through the proper direction of youthful talent and energy. HR March 1, 1877, par. 1

Mothers are not thoroughly qualified to discipline and educate the minds of the young, unless they have that knowledge of God by which they can conscientiously train their children for the highest usefulness in this life and for the future, immortal life. In the education of her children, the mother needs the wisdom which God alone can give her. She also needs health and its accompaniment of calm nerves, clear judgment, and sound reasoning powers. She will then have decision as well as gentleness, firmness as well as love, and will be able to hold the reins of guidance with a firm yet patient hand. She should cultivate that quiet dignity and independence of character which is necessary to her sacred life-work, and the proper conducting of her household. The customs and habits of the world in regard to the training of children should not turn a Christian mother from her course. In no case should she sacrifice her ideas of right because she sees many mothers yielding their scruples in order to gratify the inclinations of their children for questionable amusements, idleness, or a style of dress calculated to foster vanity and injure the health. HR March 1, 1877, par. 2

Indulgence of wrong desires and gratification of the animal passions are the order of the day in this age of the world. Youth is surrounded with the fascinations of pleasure and the seductive temptations of sin. For these reasons a great and important responsibility rests upon the Christian mother. It is hers, in a measure, to rectify the growing evils of the world by rearing her children in such a manner that they will take a firm stand for the right and cast their influence on the side of virtue. But the mother who submits her God-given womanhood to the slavery of fashion wastes, in useless labor and frivolity, time and energy which should be devoted to her sacred calling. She cannot feel a sense of her solemn responsibility to God and humanity. Satan has invented manifold temptations to divert the minds of mothers from their most important work. The matter of dress holds the larger share of women in the veriest bondage. The study of fashion-plates is pursued with untiring zeal, and is followed up by an endless round of cutting, fitting, stitching, ruffling, pointing, and plaiting, to arrange for vain display. All this costs time, money, and concentration of mind, for which no equivalent is returned. The mental powers are dwarfed for want of proper cultivation, and wretchedly abused by being almost wholly bent upon the object of preparing raiment for the body, while their children are on the way to ruin. HR March 1, 1877, par. 3

Many mothers are much more concerned as to the dress and adornment of their children than they are for their behavior and the proper direction of their minds. They will spend precious time in ruffling and trimming the garments of their little ones, while those who are to wear them are running in the streets, subject to the influence of vile associates and breathing in the atmosphere of vice. The hours that should be devoted to prayerful communion with them and a careful superintendence of their employments and amusements are worse than wasted in ornamenting the little suits which will serve to add the evil of vanity to the faults already acquired. A mother who prizes the approval of God and who is controlled by heavenly influences will not dare to waste her precious time, strength, and money, in arranging her own and her children's dress to meet the claims of custom. Fashion-loving mothers are daily giving their children lessons in devotion to dress, which they will never unlearn in afterlife. They are sowing seeds in those tender minds which will erelong bear fruit. “Sad will the harvest be!” “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” HR March 1, 1877, par. 4

It is the mother's duty constantly to educate her mind and heart for the grave duties devolving upon her, that she may successfully meet her increasing family cares. She should study the peculiarities in the temperaments of her children, and vary her discipline to suit their different dispositions; thus she will be able to mold their minds in the right shape. The usual management of children at the present time tends to weaken their moral power. They are allowed to be idle, and their active young minds, seeking employment, stumble into evil ways. They are not taught self-denial and prompt obedience, therefore they grow up selfish and incapable of taking up the earnest work of life. The example of most parents is demoralizing to the children, who naturally look to them for a pattern. If the parents are swept into the strong current of the world and follow its practices regardless of right or wrong, time or expense, certainly no better can be expected of their children. The lessons of precept and example given by parents to their children should tend to fit their characters for the higher, immortal life. They are thus qualified also for the greatest usefulness in this world. God has placed us here not to live for our own amusement, but to do good, to bless humanity, to prepare for Heaven. Every violation of moral obligation, with its burden of result, must be met and accounted for hereafter. HR March 1, 1877, par. 5

Especially are the mother's moments priceless; her work will be tested in the solemn day of accounts. Then it will be found that many of the failures and crimes of men and women have resulted from the ignorance and gross neglect of those whose duty it was to guide their childish feet in the right way. Then it will be found that many who have blessed the world with the light of genius and truth and holiness, owe the staunch principles and integrity that were the mainspring of their usefulness and success to the careful religious training of a praying Christian mother. HR March 1, 1877, par. 6