Signs, Sept. 13, 1910
339. The inquiry of fathers and mothers should be, "What shall we do unto the child that shall be born unto us?" We have brought before the reader what God has said concerning the course of the mother before the birth of her children. But this is not all. The angel Gabriel was sent from the heavenly courts to give directions for the care of children after their birth, that parents might fully understand their duty.
About the time of Christ's first advent the angel Gabriel came to Zacharias with a message similar to that given to Manoah. The aged priest was told that his wife should bear a son, whose name should be called John. "And," said the angel, "thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost." This child of promise was to be brought up with strictly temperate habits. An important work of reform was to be committed to him, to prepare the way for Christ.
Intemperance in every form existed among the people. Indulgence in wine and luxurious food was lessening physical strength, and debasing the morals to such an extent that the most revolting crimes did not appear sinful. The voice of John was to sound forth from the wilderness in stern rebuke for the sinful indulgences of the people, and his own abstemious habits were also to be a reproof of the excesses of his time.
The True Beginning of Reform
The efforts of our temperance workers are not sufficiently far-reaching to banish the curse of intemperance from our land. Habits once formed are hard to overcome. The reform should begin with the mother before the birth
of her children; and if God's instructions were faithfully obeyed, intemperance would not exist.
It should be the constant effort of every mother to conform her habits to God's will, that she may work in harmony with Him to preserve her children from the health and life destroying vices of the present day. Let mothers place themselves without delay in right relations to their Creator, that they may by His assisting grace build around their children a bulwark against dissipation and intemperance. If mothers would but follow such a course, they might see their children, like the youthful Daniel, reach a high standard in moral and intellectual attainments, becoming a blessing to society and an honour to their Creator.
(1905) M.H. 383
340. The best food for the infant is the food that nature provides. Of this it should not be needlessly deprived. It is a heartless thing for a mother, for the sake of convenience or social enjoyment, to seek to free herself from the tender office of nursing her little one.
The mother who permits her child to be nourished by another should consider well what the result may be. To a greater or less degree the nurse imparts her own temper and temperament to the nursing child.
Health Reformer, September, 1871
341. In order to keep pace with fashion, nature has been abused, instead of being consulted. Mothers sometimes depend upon a hireling, or a nursing bottle must be substituted, for the maternal breast. And one of the most delicate and gratifying duties a mother can perform for her dependent offspring, which blends her life with its own, and which awakens the most holy feelings in the hearts of women, is sacrificed to fashion's murderous folly.
There are mothers who will sacrifice their maternal duties in nursing their children simply because it is too much trouble to be confined to their offspring, which is the fruit of their own body. The ballroom and the exciting scenes of
pleasure have had the influence to benumb the fine sensibilities of the soul. These have been more attractive to the fashionable mother than maternal duties to her children. Maybe she puts her children out to a hireling, to do those duties for them which should belong to herself exclusively. Her false habits make the necessary duties, which it should be her joy to perform, disagreeable to her, because the care of her children will interfere with the claims of fashionable life. A stranger performs the duties of the mother, and gives from her breast the food to sustain life.
Nor is this all. She also imparts her temper and her temperament to the nursing child. The child's life is linked to hers. If the hireling is a coarse type of woman, passionate and unreasonable; if she is not careful in her morals, the nursling will be, in all probability, of the same or similar type. The same coarse quality of blood, coursing in the veins of the hireling nurse, is in that of the child. Mothers who will thus turn their children from their arms, and refuse the maternal duties, because they are a burden which they cannot well sustain, while devoting their lives to fashion, are unworthy the name of mother. They degrade the noble instincts and holy attributes of women, and choose to be butterflies of fashionable pleasure, having less sense of their responsibility to their posterity than the dumb brutes. Many mothers substitute the bottle for the breast. This is necessary because they have not nourishment for their children. But in nine cases out of ten their wrong habits of dressing, and of eating from their youth, have brought upon them inability to perform the duties nature designed they should. . . . It ever has appeared to me to be cold, heartless business for mothers who can nurse their children to turn them from the maternal breast to the bottle. In that case, the greatest care is necessary to have the milk from a healthy cow, and to have the bottle, as well as the milk, perfectly sweet. This is frequently neglected, and as the result, the infant is made to suffer needlessly. Disturbances of the stomach and bowels are liable to occur, and the much-to-be-pitied infant becomes diseased, if it were healthy when born.
(1865) H. to L., ch. 2, pp. 39, 40
342. The period in which the infant receives its nourishment from the mother, is critical. Many mothers, while nursing their infants, have been permitted to overlabor, and to heat their blood in cooking, and the nursling has been seriously affected, not only with fevered nourishment from the mother's breast, but its blood has been poisoned by the unhealthy diet of the mother, which has fevered her whole system, thereby affecting the food of the infant. The infant will also be affected by the condition of the mother's mind. If she is unhappy, easily agitated, irritable, giving vent to outbursts of passion, the nourishment the infant receives from its mother will be inflamed, often producing colic, spasms, and, in some instances, causing convulsions and fits. The character also of the child is more or less affected by the nature of the nourishment received from the mother. How important then that the mother, while nursing her infant, should preserve a happy state of mind, having the perfect control of her own spirit. By thus doing, the food of the child is not injured, and the calm, self-possessed course the mother pursues in the treatment of her child has very much to do in moulding the mind of the infant. If it is nervous, and easily agitated, the mother's careful, unhurried manner will have a soothing and correcting influence, and the health of the infant can be very much improved.
Infants have been greatly abused by improper treatment. If it was fretful, it has generally been fed to keep it quiet, when, in most cases, the very reason of its fretfulness was because of its having received too much food, made injurious by the wrong habits of the mother. More food only made the matter worse, for its stomach was already overloaded.
Regularity in Eating
(1865) H. to L., ch. 2, p. 47
343. The first education children should receive from the mother in infancy should be in regard to their physical health. They should be allowed only plain food, of that quality that would preserve to them the best condition of
health, and that should be partaken of only at regular periods, not oftener than three times a day, and two meals would be better than three. If children are disciplined aright, they will soon learn that they can receive nothing by crying or fretting. A judicious mother will act in training her children, not merely in regard to her own present comfort, but for their future good. And to this end she will teach her children the important lesson of controlling the appetite, and of self-denial, that they should eat, drink, and dress in reference to health.
(1880) 4T 502
344. Your children should not be allowed to eat candies, fruit, nuts, or anything in the line of food, between their meals. Two meals a day are better for them than three. If the parents set the example, and move from principle, the children will soon fall into line. Irregularities in eating destroy the healthy tone of the digestive organs, and when your children come to the table, they do not relish wholesome food; their appetites crave that which is the most hurtful for them. Many times your children have suffered from fever and ague brought on by improper eating, when their parents were accountable for their sickness. It is the duty of parents to see that their children form habits conducive to health, thereby saving much distress.
Health Reformer, September, 1866
345. Children are also fed too frequently, which produces feverishness and suffering in various ways. The stomach should not be kept constantly at work, but should have its periods of rest. Without it children will be peevish and irritable and frequently sick. [CHILDREN TO BE TAUGHT WHEN AND HOW TO EAT--288] [EARLY TRAINING OF DANIEL--241] [SEE SECTION IX, REGULARITY IN EATING]
Early Education of the Appetite
(1905) M.H. 383-385
346. The importance of training children to right dietetic habits can hardly be overestimated. The little ones need to
learn that they eat to live, not live to eat. The training should begin with the infant in its mother's arms. The child should be given food only at regular intervals, and less frequently as it grows older. It should not be given sweets, or the food of older persons, which it is unable to digest. Care and regularity in the feeding of infants will not only promote health, and thus tend to make them quiet and sweet-tempered, but will lay the foundation of habits and will be a blessing to them in after years.
As children emerge from babyhood, great care should still be taken in educating their tastes and appetite. Often they are permitted to eat what they choose and when they choose, without reference to health. The pains and money so often lavished upon unwholesome dainties lead the young to think that the highest object in life, and that which yields the greatest amount of happiness, is to be able to indulge the appetite. The result of this training is gluttony, then comes sickness, which is usually followed by dosing with poisonous drugs.
Parents should train the appetites of their children, and should not permit the use of unwholesome foods. But in the effort to regulate the diet, we should be careful not to err in requiring children to eat that which is distasteful, or to eat more than is needed. Children have rights, they have preferences, and when these preferences are reasonable, they should be respected....
Mothers who gratify the desires of their children at the expense of health and happy tempers, are sowing seeds of evil that will spring up and bear fruit. Self-indulgence grows with the growth of the little ones, and both mental and physical vigour are sacrificed. Mothers who do this work reap with bitterness the seed they have sown. They see their children grow up unfitted in mind and character to act a noble and useful part in society or in the home. The spiritual as well as the mental and physical powers suffer under the influence of unhealthful food. The conscience becomes stupefied, and the susceptibility to good impressions is impaired.
While the children should be taught to control the appetite, and to eat with reference to health, let it be made plain that they are denying themselves only that which would do them harm. They give up hurtful things for something better. Let the table be made inviting and attractive, as it is supplied with the good things which God has so bountifully bestowed. Let mealtime be a cheerful, happy time. As we enjoy the gifts of God, let us respond by grateful praise to the Giver.
(1875) 3T 564
347. Many parents, to avoid the task of patiently educating their children to habits of self-denial, and teaching them how to make a right use of all the blessings of God, indulge them in eating and drinking whenever they please. Appetite and selfish indulgence, unless positively restrained, grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength. When these children commence life for themselves, and take their place in society, they are powerless to resist temptation. Moral impurity and gross iniquity abound everywhere. The temptation to indulge taste and to gratify inclination has not lessened with the increase of years, and youth in general are governed by impulse, and are slaves to appetite. In the glutton, the tobacco devotee, the winebibber, and the inebriate, we see the evil results of defective education.
Indulgence and Depravity
(1864) Sp. Gifts IV , 132, 133
348. Children who eat improperly are often feeble, pale, and dwarfed and are nervous, excitable, and irritable. Everything noble is sacrificed to the appetite, and the animal passions predominate. The lives of many children from five to ten and fifteen years of age seem marked with depravity. They possess knowledge of almost every vice. The parents are, in a great degree, at fault in this matter, and to them will be accredited the sins of their children which their improper course has indirectly led them to commit. They tempt their children to indulge their appetite by placing upon their tables flesh meats and other food prepared with spices,
which have a tendency to excite the animal passions. By their example they teach their children intemperance in eating. They have been indulged to eat almost any hour of the day, which keeps the digestive organs constantly taxed. Mothers have had but little time to instruct their children. Their precious time was devoted to cooking various kinds of unwholesome food to place upon their tables.
Many parents have permitted their children to be ruined while they were trying to regulate their lives to fashion. If visitors are to come, they wish to have them sit down to as good a table as they would find among any of their circle of acquaintances. Much time and expense are devoted to this object. For the sake of appearance, rich food is prepared to suit the appetite, and even professed Christians make so much parade that they call around them a class whose principal object in visiting them is for the dainties they get to eat. Christians should reform in this respect. While they should courteously entertain their visitors, they should not be such slaves to fashion and appetite.
(1890) C.T.B.H. 141
349. Food should be so simple that its preparation will not absorb all the time of the mother. It is true, care should be taken to furnish the table with healthful food prepared in a wholesome and inviting manner. Do not think that anything you can carelessly throw together to serve as food is good enough for the children. But less time should be devoted to the preparation of unhealthful dishes for the table, to please a perverted taste, and more time to the education and training of the children. 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.
Letter 72, 1896
350. Highly seasoned meats, followed by rich pastry, is wearing out the vital organs of the digestion of children. Were they accustomed to plain, wholesome food, their appetites
would not crave unnatural luxuries and mixed preparations . . . . Meat given to children is not the best thing to ensure success. . . . To educate your children to subsist on a meat diet would be harmful to them. It is much easier to create an unnatural appetite than to correct and reform the taste after it has become second nature.
(1875) 3T 563
351. Many mothers who deplore the intemperance which exists everywhere, do not look deep enough to see the cause. They are daily preparing a variety of dishes and highly seasoned food, which tempt the appetite and encourage overeating. The tables of our American people are generally prepared in a manner to make drunkards. Appetite is the ruling principle with a large class. Whoever will indulge appetite in eating too often, and food not of a healthful quality, is weakening his power to resist the clamours of appetite and passion in other respects in proportion as he has strengthened the propensity to incorrect habits of eating. Mothers need to be impressed with their obligation to God and to the world to furnish society with children having well-developed characters. Men and women who come upon the stage of action with firm principles will be fitted to stand unsullied amid the moral pollutions of this corrupt age. . . .
The tables of many professed Christian women are daily set with a variety of dishes which irritate the stomach and produce a feverish condition of the system. Flesh meats constitute the principal article of food upon the tables of some families, until their blood is filled with cancerous and scrofulous humours. Their bodies are composed of what they eat. But when suffering and disease come upon them, it is considered an affliction of Providence.
We repeat, intemperance commences at our tables. The appetite is indulged until its indulgence becomes second nature. By the use of tea and coffee, an appetite is formed for tobacco, and this encourages the appetite for liquors.
(1905) M.H. 334
352. Let parents begin a crusade against intemperance at their own fireside, in the principles they teach their children to follow from infancy, and they may hope for success.
[C.T.B.H. 46] (1890) C.H. 113
353. Parents should make it their first object to become intelligent in regard to the proper manner of dealing with their children, that they may secure to them sound minds in sound bodies. The principles of temperance should be carried out in all the details of home life. Self-denial should be taught to children, and enforced upon them, so far as consistent, from babyhood. [IRRITATING FOODS THAT CAUSE A THIRST WATER WILL NOT QUENCH-- 558]
(1875) 3T 488, 489
354. Many parents educate the tastes of their children, and form their appetites. They indulge them in eating flesh meats, and in drinking tea and coffee. The highly seasoned flesh meats and the tea and coffee, which some mothers encourage their children to use, prepare the way for them to crave stronger stimulants, as tobacco. The use of tobacco encourages the appetite for liquor; and the use of tobacco and liquor invariably lessens nerve power.
If the moral sensibilities of Christians were aroused upon the subject of temperance in all things, they could, by their example, commencing at their tables, help those who are weak in self-control, who are almost powerless to resist the cravings of appetite. If we could realise that the habits we form in this life will affect our eternal interests, that our eternal destiny depends upon strictly temperate habits, we would work to the point of strict temperance in eating and drinking.
By our example and personal effort we may be the means of saving many souls from the degradation of intemperance, crime, and death. Our sisters can do much in the great work for the salvation of others by spreading their tables with only healthful, nourishing food. They may employ their precious time in educating the tastes and appetites of their children,
in forming habits of temperance in all things, and in encouraging self-denial and benevolence for the good of others. Notwithstanding the example that Christ gave us in the wilderness of temptation by denying appetite and overcoming its power, there are many Christian mothers, who, by their example and by the education which they are giving their children, are preparing them to become gluttons and winebibbers. Children are frequently indulged in eating what they choose and when they choose, without reference to health. There are many children who are educated gourmands from their babyhood. Through indulgence of appetite they are made dyspeptics at an early age. Self-indulgence and intemperance in eating grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength. Mental and physical vigour are sacrificed through the indulgence of parents. A taste is formed for certain articles of food from which they can receive no benefit, but only injury, and as the system is taxed, the constitution becomes debilitated. [THE FOUNDATION OF INTEMPERANCE--203]
Teach an Abhorrence for Stimulants
(1890) C.T.B.H. 17
355. Teach your children to abhor stimulants. How many are ignorantly fostering in them an appetite for these things! In Europe I have seen nurses putting the glass of wine or beer to the lips of the innocent little ones, thus cultivating in them a taste for stimulants. As they grow older, they learn to depend more and more on these things, till little by little they are overcome, drift beyond the reach of help, and at last fill a drunkard's grave.
But it is not thus alone that the appetite is perverted and made a snare. The food is often such as to excite a desire for stimulating drinks. Luxurious dishes are placed before the children,--spiced foods, rich gravies, cakes, and pastries. This highly seasoned food irritates the stomach, and causes a craving for still stronger stimulants. Not only is the appetite tempted with unsuitable food, of which the children are allowed to eat freely at their meals, but they are permitted to
eat between meals, and by the time they are twelve or fourteen years of age they are often confirmed dyspeptics.
You have perhaps seen a picture of the stomach of one who is addicted to strong drink. A similar condition is produced under the irritating influence of fiery spices. With the stomach in such a state, there is a craving for something more to meet the demands of the appetite, something stronger, and still stronger. Next you find your sons out on the street learning to smoke.
Foods Especially Injurious to Children
[C.T.B.H. 46, 47] (1890) C.H. 114
356. It is impossible for those who give the reins to appetite to attain to Christian perfection. The moral sensibilities of your children cannot be easily aroused, unless you are careful in the selection of their food. Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family. Flesh meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect. The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood. The grease cooked in the food renders it difficult of digestion. The effect of cheese is deleterious. Fine-flour bread does not impart to the system the nourishment that is to be found in unbolted-wheat bread. Its common use will not keep the system in the best condition. Spices at first irritate the tender coating of the stomach, but finally destroy the natural sensitiveness of this delicate membrane. The blood becomes fevered, the animal propensities are aroused, while the moral and intellectual powers are weakened, and become servants to the baser passions. The mother should study to set a simple yet nutritious diet before her family.
Counteracting Evil Tendencies
(1875) 3T 567, 568
357. Will mothers of this generation feel the sacredness of their mission, and not try to vie with their wealthy neighbours
in appearances, but seek to excel them in faithfully performing the work of instructing their children for the better life? If children and youth were trained and educated to habits of self-denial and self-control, if they were taught that they eat to live instead of living to eat, there would be less disease and less moral corruption. There would be little necessity for temperance crusades, which amount to so little, if in the youth who form and fashion society, right principles in regard to temperance could be implanted. They would then have moral worth and moral integrity to resist, in the strength of Jesus, the pollutions of these last days. . . . Parents may have transmitted to their children tendencies to appetite and passion, which will make more difficult the work of educating and training these children to be strictly temperate, and to have pure and virtuous habits. If the appetite for unhealthful food and for stimulants and narcotics, has been transmitted to them as a legacy from their parents, what a fearfully solemn responsibility rests upon the parents to counteract the evil tendencies which they have given to their children! How earnestly and diligently should the parents work to do their duty, in faith and hope, to their unfortunate offspring!
Parents should make it their first business to understand the laws of life and health, that nothing shall be done by them in the preparation of food, or through any other habits, which will develop wrong tendencies in their children. How carefully should mothers study to prepare their tables with the most simple, healthful food, that the digestive organs may not be weakened, the nervous forces unbalanced, and the instruction which they should give their children counteracted, by the food placed before them. This food either weakens or strengthens the organs of the stomach, and has much to do in controlling the physical and moral health of the children, who are God's blood-bought property. What a sacred trust is committed to parents, to guard the physical and moral constitutions of their children, so that the nervous system may be well balanced, and the soul not be endangered! Those who indulge the appetite of their children, and do not control their passions, will see the terrible mistake they have made,
in the tobacco-loving, liquor-drinking slave, whose senses are benumbed, and whose lips utter falsehoods and profanity.
The Cruel Kindness of Indulgence
(1873) 3T 141
358. I was shown that one great cause of the existing deplorable state of things is that parents do not feel under obligation to bring up their children to conform to physical law. Mothers love their children with an idolatrous love, and indulge their appetite when they know it will injure their health, and thereby bring upon them disease and unhappiness. This cruel kindness is manifested to a great extent in the present generation. The desires of children are gratified at the expense of health and happy tempers, because it is easier for the mother, for the time being, to gratify them than to withhold that for which they clamour.
Thus mothers are sowing the seed that will spring up and bear fruit. The children are not educated to deny their appetites and restrict their desires. And they become selfish, exacting, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy. Mothers who are doing this work will reap with bitterness the fruit of the seed they have sown. They have sinned against Heaven and against their children, and God will hold them accountable.
(1890) C.T.B.H. 76, 77
359. When parents and children meet at the final reckoning, what a scene will be presented! Thousands of children who have been slaves to appetite and debasing vice, whose lives are moral wrecks, will stand face to face with the parents who made them what they are. Who but the parents must bear this fearful responsibility? Did the Lord make these youth corrupt? Oh, no! Who, then, has done this fearful work? Were not the sins of the parents transmitted to the children in perverted appetites and passions? and was not the work completed by those who neglected to train them according to the pattern which God has given? Just as surely as they exist, all these parents will pass in review before God.
Observations While Travelling
Health Reformer, December, 1870
360. While upon the cars, I heard parents remark that the appetites of their children were delicate, and unless they had meat and cake, they could not eat. When the noon meal was taken, I observed the quality of food given to these children. It was fine wheaten bread, sliced ham coated with black pepper, spiced pickles, cake, and preserves. The pale, sallow complexion of these children plainly indicated the abuses the stomach was suffering. Two of these children observed another family of children eating cheese with their food, and they lost their appetite for what was before them until their indulgent mother begged a piece of the cheese to give to her children, fearing the dear children would fail to make out their meal. The mother remarked, My children love this or that, so much, and I let them have what they want; for the appetite craves the kinds of food the system requires.
This might be correct if the appetite had never been perverted. There is a natural and a depraved appetite. Parents who have taught their children to eat unhealthful, stimulating food, all their lives, until the taste is perverted, and they crave clay, slate pencils, burned coffee, tea grounds, cinnamon, cloves, and spices, cannot claim that the appetite demands what the system requires. The appetite has been falsely educated, until it is depraved. The fine organs of the stomach have been stimulated and burned, until they have lost their delicate sensitiveness. Simple, healthful food seems to them insipid. The abused stomach will not perform the work given it, unless urged to it by the most stimulating substances. If these children had been trained from their infancy to take only healthful food, prepared in the most simple manner, preserving its natural properties as much as possible, and avoiding flesh meats, grease, and all spices, the taste and appetite would be unimpaired. In its natural state, it might indicate, in a great degree, the food best adapted to the wants of the system.
While parents and children were eating of their dainties, my husband and myself partook of our simple repast, at our
usual hour , at 1 P. M., of graham bread without butter, and a generous supply of fruit. We ate our meal with a keen relish, and with thankful hearts that we were not obliged to carry a popular grocery with us to provide for a capricious appetite. We ate heartily, and felt no sense of hunger until the next morning. The boy with his oranges, nuts, popcorn, and candies, found us poor customers.
The quality of food eaten by parents and children could not be converted into good blood or sweet tempers. The children were pale. Some had disgusting sores upon their faces and hands. Others were nearly blind with sore eyes, which greatly marred the beauty of the countenance. And still others showed no eruption upon the skin, but were afflicted with cough, catarrh, or difficulty of throat and lungs. I noticed a boy of three years, who was suffering with diarrhea. He had quite a fever, but seemed to think all he needed was food. He was calling, every few minutes, for cake, chicken, pickles. The mother answered his every call like an obedient slave; and when the food called for did not come as soon as was desired, as the cries and calls become unpleasantly urgent, the mother answered, "Yes, yes, darling, you shall have it." After the food was placed in his hand, it was thrown passionately upon the car floor, because it did not come soon enough. One little girl was partaking of her boiled ham, and spiced pickles, and bread and butter, when she espied a plate I was eating from. Here was something she did not have, and she refused to eat. The girl of six years said she would have a plate. I thought it was the nice red apple I was eating she desired; and although we had a limited amount, I felt such pity for the parents, that I gave her a fine apple. She snatched it from my hand, and disdainfully threw it quickly to the car floor. I thought, This child, if permitted to thus have her own way, will indeed bring her mother to shame.
This exhibition of passion was the result of the mother's course of indulgence. The quality of food she provided for her child was a continual tax to the digestive organs. The blood was impure, and the child sickly and irritable. The quality of food given daily to this child was of that nature to
excite the lower order of passions, and depress the moral and intellectual. The parents were forming the habits of their child. They were making her selfish and unloving. They did not restrain her desires, or control her passions. What can they expect of such a child, should she come to maturity? Many do not seem to understand the relation the mind sustains to the body. If the system is deranged by improper food, the brain and nerves are affected, and the passions are easily excited.
A child of about ten years was afflicted with chills and fever, and was disinclined to eat. The mother urged her: "Eat a little of this sponge cake. Here is some nice chicken. Won't you have a taste of these preserves?" The child finally ate a large meal for a well person. The food urged upon her was not proper for the stomach in health, and should in no case be taken while sick. The mother, in about two hours, was bathing the head of the child, saying she could not understand why she should have such a burning fever. She had added fuel to the fire, and wondered that the fire burned. Had that child been left to let nature take her course, and the stomach take the rest so necessary for it, her sufferings might have been far less. These mothers were not prepared to bring up children. The greatest cause of human suffering is ignorance on the subject of how to treat our own bodies.
The inquiry with many is, What shall I eat, and how shall I live, to best enjoy the present time? Duty and principle are laid aside for present gratification. If we would have health, we must live for it. If we perfect Christian character, we must live for it. Parents are, in a great degree, responsible for the physical health and morals of their children. They should instruct their children and urge them to conform to the laws of health for their own sake, to save themselves unhappiness and suffering. How strange that mothers should indulge their children to the ruin of their physical, mental, and moral health! What can be the character of such fondness! These mothers make their children unfit for happiness in this life, and render the prospect of the future life very uncertain.
Cause of Irritability and Nervousness
[C.T.B.H. 61, 62] (1890) F.E. 150, 151
361. Regularity should be the rule in all the habits of children. Mothers make a great mistake in permitting them to eat between meals. The stomach becomes deranged by this practice, and the foundation is laid for future suffering. Their fretfulness may have been caused by unwholesome food, still undigested; but the mother feels that she cannot spend time to reason upon the matter, and correct her injurious management. Neither can she stop to soothe their impatient worrying. She gives the little sufferers a piece of cake or some other dainty to quiet them, but this only increases the evil. Some mothers, in their anxiety to do a great amount of work, get wrought up into such nervous haste that they are more irritable than the children, and by scolding and even blows they try to terrify the little ones into quietude.
Mothers often complain of the delicate health of their children, and consult the physician, when, if they would but exercise a little common sense, they would see that the trouble is caused by errors in diet.
We are living in an age of gluttony, and the habits to which the young are educated, even by many Seventh-day Adventists, are in direct opposition to the laws of nature. I was seated once at the table with several children under twelve years of age. Meat was plentifully served, and then a delicate, nervous girl called for pickles. A bottle of chow-chow, fiery with mustard and pungent with spices, was handed her, from which she helped herself freely. The child was proverbial for her nervousness and irritability of temper, and these fiery condiments were well calculated to produce such a condition. The oldest child thought he could not eat a meal without meat, and showed great dissatisfaction, and even disrespect, if it was not provided for him. The mother had indulged him in his likes and dislikes till she had become little better than a slave to his caprices. The lad had not been provided with work, and he spent the greater portion of his time in reading that which was useless or worse than useless. He complained almost constantly of headache, and had no relish for simple food.
Parents should provide employment for their children. Nothing will be a more sure source of evil than indolence. Physical labour that brings healthful weariness to the muscles, will give an appetite for simple, wholesome food, and the youth who is properly employed will not rise from the table grumbling because he does not see before him a platter of meat and various dainties to tempt his appetite.
Jesus, the Son of God, in labouring with His hands at the carpenter's trade, gave an example to all youth. Let those who scorn to take up the common duties of life remember that Jesus was subject to His parents, and contributed His share toward the sustenance of the family. Few luxuries were seen on the table of Joseph and Mary, for they were among the poor and lowly.
Relation of Diet to Moral Development
(1890) C.T.B.H. 134
362. The power of Satan over the youth of this age is fearful. Unless the minds of our children are firmly balanced by religious principle, their morals will become corrupted by the vicious examples with which they come in contact. The greatest danger of the young is from a lack of self-control. Indulgent parents do not teach their children self-denial. The very food they place before them is such as to irritate the stomach. The excitement thus produced is communicated to the brain, and as a result the passions are aroused. It cannot be too often repeated, that whatever is taken into the stomach affects not only the body, but ultimately the mind as well. Gross and stimulating food fevers the blood, excites the nervous system, and too often dulls the moral perceptions, so that reason and conscience are overborne by the sensual impulses. It is difficult, and often well-nigh impossible, for one who is intemperate in diet to exercise patience and self-control. Hence the special importance of allowing children, whose characters are yet uniformed, to have only such food as is healthful and unstimulating. It was in love that our heavenly Father sent the light of health reform to guard against the evils that result from unrestrained indulgence of appetite.
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Are parents doing this when they prepare food for the table, and call the family to partake of it? Do they place before their children that only which they know will make the very best blood, that which will keep the system in the least feverish condition, and will place it in the best relation to life and health? Or do they, regardless of the future good of their children, provide for them unhealthful, stimulating, irritating food?
(1870) 2T 365
363. But even health reformers can err in the quantity of food. They can eat immoderately of a healthful quality of food. Some in this house err in the quality. They have never taken their position upon health reform. They have chosen to eat and drink what they pleased and when they pleased. They are injuring their systems in this way. Not only this, but they are injuring their families by placing upon their tables a feverish diet, which will increase the animal passions of their children, and lead them to care but little for heavenly things. The parents are thus strengthening the animal, and lessening the spiritual powers of their children. What a heavy penalty will they have to pay in the end! And then they wonder that their children are so weak morally!
Corruption Among Children
(1870) 2T 359-362
364. We live in a corrupt age. It is a time when Satan seems to have almost perfect control over minds that are not fully consecrated to God. Therefore there is a very great responsibility resting upon parents and guardians who have children to bring up. Parents have taken the responsibility of bringing these children into existence; and now what is their duty? Is it to let them come up just as they may, and just as they will? Let me tell you, a weighty responsibility rests upon these parents. . . .
I have said that some of you are selfish. You have not understood what I have meant. You have studied what food would taste best. Taste and pleasure, instead of the glory
of God, and a desire to advance in the divine life, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God, have ruled. You have consulted your own pleasure, your own appetite; and while you have been doing this, Satan has been gaining a march upon you, and as is generally the case, has frustrated your efforts every time.
Some of you fathers have taken your children to the physician to see what was the matter with them. I could have told you in two minutes what was the trouble. Your children are corrupt. Satan has obtained control of them. He has come right in past you, while you, who are as God to them, to guard them, were at ease, stupefied, and asleep. God has commanded you to bring them up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. But Satan has passed right in before you and has woven strong bands around them. And yet you sleep on. May Heaven pity you and your children, for every one of you needs His pity.
Things Might Have Been Different
Had you taken your position upon the health reform; had you added to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, things might have been different. But you have been only partially aroused by the iniquity and corruption that is in your houses. . . .
You should be teaching your children. You should be instructing them how to shun the vices and corruptions of this age. Instead of this, many are studying how to get something good to eat. You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat, and your children partake of them. They are fed with the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then you come to meeting and ask God to bless and save your children. How high do your prayers go? You have a work to do first. When you have done all for your children which God has left for you to do, then you can with confidence claim the special help that God has promised to give you.
You should study temperance in all things. You must study it in what you eat and in what you drink. And yet you say, "It is nobody's business what I eat, or what I drink, or what I place upon my table." It is somebody's business,
unless you take your children and shut them up, or go into the wilderness where you will not be a burden upon others, and where your unruly, vicious children will not corrupt the society in which they mingle.
Teach Children How to Meet Temptation
[C.T.B.H. 63, 64] (1890) F.E. 152, 153
365. Set a guard over the appetite; teach your children by example as well as by precept to use a simple diet. Teach them to be industrious, not merely busy, but engaged in useful labour. Seek to arouse the moral sensibilities. Teach them that God has claims upon them, even from the early years of their childhood. Tell them that there are moral corruptions to be met on every hand, that they need to come to Jesus and give themselves to Him, body and spirit, and that in Him they will find strength to resist every temptation. Keep before their minds that they were not created merely to please themselves, but to be the Lord's agent for noble purposes. Teach them, when temptations urge into paths of selfish indulgences, when Satan is seeking to shut out God from their sight, to look to Jesus, pleading, "Save, Lord, that I be not overcome." Angels will gather about them in answer to their prayer, and lead them into safe paths.
Christ prayed for His disciples, not that they should be taken out of the world, but that they should be kept from evil,--that they might be kept from yielding to the temptations they would meet on every hand. This is a prayer that should be offered up by every father and mother. But should they thus plead with God in behalf of their children, and then leave them to do as they please? Should they pamper the appetite until it gets the mastery, and then expect to restrain the children? No; temperance and self-control should be taught from the very cradle up. Upon the mother must rest largely the responsibility of this work. The tenderest earthly tie is that between the mother and her child. The child is more readily impressed by the life and example of the mother than by that of the father,
because of this stronger and more tender bond of union. Yet the mother's responsibility is a heavy one and should have the constant aid of the father.
[C.T.B.H. 79, 80] (1890) F.E. 143
366. It will pay you, mothers, to use the precious hours which are given you by God in forming the character of your children, and in teaching them to adhere strictly to the principles of temperance in eating and drinking. . . .
Satan sees that he cannot have so great power over minds when the appetite is kept under control as when it is indulged, and he is constantly working to lead men to indulgence. Under the influence of unhealthful food, the conscience becomes stupefied, the mind is darkened, and its susceptibility to impressions is impaired. But the guilt of the transgressor is not lessened because the conscience has been violated till it has become insensible.
(1909) 9T 160, 161
367. Fathers and mothers, watch unto prayer. Guard strictly against intemperance in every form. Teach your children the principles of true health reform. Teach them what things to avoid in order to preserve health. Already the wrath of God has begun to be visited upon the children of disobedience. What crimes, what sins, what iniquitous practices, are being revealed on every hand! As a people, we are to exercise great care in guarding our children against depraved associates. [ THE COUNTRY HOME; ITS RELATION TO DIET AND MORALS--711 ]