The GOSPEL TRUTH
THE TRAINING OF CHILDREN ....OR,
HOW TO MAKE THE CHILDREN INTO
SAINTS AND SOLDIERS OF JESUS CHRIST
GENERAL OF THE SALVATION ARMY
1888 - SECOND EDITION
SOME OTHER CONDITIONS OF HEALTH.
1. Will you name another important condition or health?
Another leading condition of health, second only in importance to wholesome food, is CLEANLINESS.
The importance of the children being kept clean is more clearly seen and appreciated in our time amongst working people than formerly, but with multitudes of people there is still room for improvement. A child should be washed all over every day when possible. Where there is sufficient vigour of constitution, we recommend a cold bath every morning, the year round.
Children should be taught to take a sponge bath where the plunge is not convenient. This is very simple, and may be taken where bathing is only practicable under difficulties. (See "Hint's on the Water Treatment," further on.)
2. What is the next condition of health which is of importance?
Every effort should be made to provide the children with suitable clothing. From what has been said on dress in a former chapter, it will be understood that we do not mean what is expensive. Plain healthy dress can be had in this country at a very moderate price; and if clothes be used and mended with some care, they will, as a rule, last a very long time. The very poorest can, with the practice of a little economy, dress themselves very neatly and meet every requirement of health.
(1.) In the first place the clothing should be clean. Where the children have employments that soil and dirty their clothes, they should, if possible, change before they go to meetings or sit down to meals, or mix with their families or other people. It is of importance to health that the under garments, and specially those worn next to the skin, should be changed at reasonable periods. If it can be avoided, it is not wise to sleep in the same vest at night that has been worn through the day. We do not say that the keeping of these rules is absolutely necessary to health. Many of our poor people may find it difficult to comply with them, we suppose, but where such changes can be made, they are to be recommended.
(2.) To be healthy, clothing should be such as can be worn with comfort. Never mind the fashion. As a rule, what is comfortable will be found to be healthy, and if not comfortable, reject it, and despise the fashion that would impose it upon you. Of course the uniform saves Salvationists from all trouble on questions of this sort.
(3.) Clothing should be sufficiently warm in cold weather. Some mothers practise actual cruelty in sending their children out in the cold winds and biting frosts only half-clad, just because it may be the custom of other people to do so, or because such clothing as they have may not meet their fancy, or fit their pride. In this way, colds are contracted, and foundations laid for future consumptions and rheumatisms, and nobody knows how much other misery. Where mothers have not the means to procure sufficiently warm garments, this is excusable; but where, from ignorance or want of thought, or what is worse still, from want of feeling, such treatment is dealt out to the children it is absolutely cruel. In this changeable damp climate warmth is only next in importance to food.
Special care should be taken of the chest. With delicate children the arms and legs should be kept covered, and special care should be taken to keep the chest and feet warm. It is astonishing how many mothers, so attentive and watchful in other respects, do not see the importance of this.
Babies will scream in the cot, and children will lie sleepless in bed, while mothers will wonder what the reason is, and feed and dose them in vain. Cold feet will often be the last thing to occur to them, and yet how often here will be the simple explanation of the difficulty!
3. What other condition of health is worthy of being considered here?
A sufficient amount of EXERCISE. Let the children do so much physical bodily movement every day. Let them run, walk, leap, jump, skip, or swing, as there is opportunity. Let them have gymnastics if you can. Girls, as well as boys, should move their limbs, work their muscles, and circulate their blood; by doing all of these things, they will improve their appetites, and altogether help their health.
This should be done every day, out of doors if possible. Don't be afraid of the clouds, or the threatened rain, or the dirt under feet, or the damp, or the atmosphere. Get them out, on to the hills, into the fields, or parks, or somewhere where the winds can blow on them, where they can breathe some fresh air, and take in vigour for the future.
When they cannot get out, give them, if you can, a room to romp in indoors at the top of the house, out of hearing, or in the basement. In small houses, where parents have no such rooms, it is a good plan for the mother to make herself a bit of fire in a bed-room, and retire there for an hour or two with her sewing or other occupation, leaving the children the kitchen to have a game in, having taken means to protect them from the fire and any instrument of danger.
4. What is the next condition of health?
Keep your ROOMS AS WELL VENTILATED as possible. Rooms from which every breath of fresh air is excluded mean weakness, nervousness, sickness, fever, and shortened lives. If cold water is used in the morning the danger of taking cold will be very small, and the terrible fear of a draught will vanish. Anyhow, windows should be frequently opened, if they have to be shut again. Always remember in sickness the importance of ventilation.
5. What other condition of health have you to name?
HAPPINESS. Happiness is certainly necessary to a state of bodily well-being. We cannot very well see how a child can be well if it is unhappy, and we have no doubt that many adult people mope and fret themselves into fevers and distempers and early graves. If this be true of men and women, how much more is it true of children, who cannot fortify their minds and encourage themselves with thoughts of a brighter future, as men and women can?
The little things do not have any calculation about weeping enduring for a night and joy coming in the morning. They are taken up with the present moment. They cry themselves to sleep without any reckoning about their recovering the loss they have suffered, or getting used to the new condition of things. We have often been pained at the want of feeling in persons in charge of young children, and sometimes of mothers themselves with respect to their little trials and griefs. Such persons seem to forget that the pungency of sorrow is not according to the magnitude of its cause, but according to the weakness and sensitiveness of the person who has to bear it. If a little child feels as if her heart was breaking, it does not much signify-so far as her present anguish goes-whether it be on account of the loss of her mother or of her doll, and so proportionately all the way through childhood. Parents should seize opportunities of trial and sorrow for endearing themselves to their children, and exhibiting to them the spirit of Jesus, by pouring out their sympathy according to the occasion, and by making every effort to heal the wound.
On the other hand, we do not recommend a weak and foolish condolence under every little disappointment and grief which children bring on themselves by their petulance and self -will. Spoilt children live in a feverish, disagreeable, dissatisfied condition because they cannot have all they want or always do as they like, which, no doubt, is a frequent cause of at least some of the disorders and sicknesses that come upon them. If you want to make and keep your children well, make, and, as far as in you lies, keep them happy.
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