The Health Reformer



February 1, 1878

Our Children—Importance of Early Training


Many parents cause their children to be involuntary commandment breakers. They leave them to come up, following their own inclinations, and studying their own pleasure. The weary mother toils under her own burdens, and also those burdens which her children, and especially her daughters, should help her to bear. Her spirit groans because of the utter want of sympathy and assistance manifested toward her by her daughters, who are selfish, willful, caring only for their own ease and gratification. Both sons and daughters seem bent only upon their own pleasure, thinking and caring little for their parents. HR February 1, 1878, par. 1

This class of youth continually transgress the first four commandments, enjoining upon them supreme love to God, and also the last six, which point out their duty to their fellow-creatures. God has enjoined duties and responsibilities upon every son and daughter of Adam, and the child who is brought up to be useful, to assist his parents, and to follow some stated occupation, is much happier than the idler. He escapes many temptations to sin which beset the latter, and he matures at length into an earnest, active worker, whose capabilities have been thoroughly cultivated and made valuable by the system and discipline of early life. HR February 1, 1878, par. 2

The physical and mental growth of the youth of this age is in a great degree retarded or dwarfed by their intemperate habits. In eating, drinking, studying, in their amusements and occupations, there is a tendency to excess, irregularity, and demoralization. The training, or lack of training, at home and in school, only makes the evil worse, and prepares the young man for more decided vices, and the young woman for the follies and abuses of fashionable life. HR February 1, 1878, par. 3

All this might be, as a rule, avoided, did the parents but see their duty plainly, and perform it unflinchingly. When children are young, it is a comparatively easy matter to direct their minds into proper channels, to systematize their daily pursuits, to teach them order and regularity, and to instill into their minds and hearts a proper sense of their responsibility to God and to their fellow-creatures. But when the habits are formed, the inclinations bent in the wrong direction, the evil seed sown in the mind, it is almost impossible to mold the character anew. HR February 1, 1878, par. 4

The gravest responsibilities therefore rest upon fathers and mothers while their children are growing up around them, subject to their influence and will. With fear and trembling, and much earnest prayer, should they fulfill the trust which God has given them. In the rush and hurry of business, parents, and especially fathers, are too apt to neglect the young family growing up in their homes. They seem to think that if the children are well fed, clothed, and sent to school; their duty is fully performed. The mother is presumed to attend to all matters pertaining to moral discipline; and if she fails in this, the children grow up untutored, erratic, and indolent. HR February 1, 1878, par. 5

Children, in their early training, need the firm, restraining influence of the father, combined with the gentle, sympathetic love of the mother, in order to perfect noble characters, and be fitted for the grave duties of life. HR February 1, 1878, par. 6

Money, houses, lands, and merchandise, all sink into insignificance when compared with the importance of properly educating and directing the mental, moral, and physical forces of our children. It is of little consequence whether we leave them large or small possessions, compared with the importance of giving them well-developed characters, unswerving rectitude, and noble purpose. Such a legacy is more precious than treasures of gold, and will never depreciate in value. No accident, nor time, nor change can affect it. Property may be swept away; but this sacred legacy remains untarnished, and will win for its possessor untold riches in the eternal future. HR February 1, 1878, par. 7

There is a positive necessity for parents to combine their human efforts with divine power in the management of their children, if they would secure to them the noblest virtue, purity of motives, and a high sense of honor, as the ruling principles of their lives. This would elevate the standard of morality in families. But the great excuse which parents give for neglecting the moral culture of their children is want of time. If mothers would dispense with the endless dressing, stitching, and visiting imposed upon them by fashionable life, they would find many hours gained for association with, and training of, their children. They would then find time to become acquainted with their individual temperaments and characters, and learn how best to manage them to secure the desired results. They would lose, in a great measure, the irritability caused by many conflicting interests, and which too often renders them unfit to deal with their children. HR February 1, 1878, par. 8

The minds of many women are exercised almost entirely upon fashion and display; their inventive powers are daily taxed to prepare new dishes to tempt the appetite; and all their Heaven-given intelligence subverted to meet the demands of a false and demoralized state of society. This bondage of custom in which women are held, robs children of their God-given rights, casts them, morally feeble, and incapable, upon the world, to be overtaken by intemperance and crime. HR February 1, 1878, par. 9

Children are coming up all over our land without self control, with no fixed principles, no stability, and no religion. They drift into society, form evil associations, become familiar with sin, repudiate the counsel of parents, and rush headlong into vice. Oh, that parents would arouse to a sense of their dangerous negligence toward the children that God has given them to rear to his glory. Oh, that they would determine to press back the baleful influences that are driving our youth to destruction. Oh, that they would realize of how little importance is the amassing of wealth, the friendship of the world, the dictates of fashion, compared with the sacred duty of rearing their children in the fear of God, and to take their places on the side of Right and Reform. HR February 1, 1878, par. 10