Searchlights on Health/Save the Boys
SAVE THE BOYS.
PLAIN WORDS TO PARENTS.
1. With a shy look, approaching his mother when she was alone, the boy of fifteen said, "There are some things I want to ask you. I hear the boys speak of them at school, and I don't understand, and a fellow doesn't like to ask any one but his mother."
2. Drawing him down to her, in the darkness that was closing about them, the mother spoke to her son and the son to his mother freely of things which everybody must know sooner or later, and which no boy should learn from "anyone but his mother" or father.
3. If you do not answer such a natural question your boy will turn for answer to others, and learn things, perhaps, which your cheeks may well blush to have him know.
4. Our boys and girls are growing faster than we think. The world moves; we can no longer put off our children with the old nurses' tales; even MacDonald's beautiful statement,
- "Out of the everywhere into the there",
does not satisfy them when they reverse his question and ask, "Where did I come from?"
5. They must be answered. If we put them off, they may be tempted to go elsewhere for information, and hear half-truths, or whole truths so distorted, so mingled with what is low and impure that, struggle against it as they may in later years, their minds will always retain these early impressions.
6. It is not so hard if you begin early. The very flowers are object lessons. The wonderful mystery of life is wrapped in one flower, with its stamens, pistils and ovaries. Every child knows how an egg came in the nest, and takes it as a matter of course; why not go one step farther with them and teach the wonder, the beauty, the holiness that surrounds maternity anywhere? Why, centuries ago the Romans honored, and taught their boys to honor, the women in whose safety was bound up the future of their existence as a nation! Why should we do less?
7. Your sons and mine, your daughters and mine, need to be wisely taught and guarded just along these lines, if your sons and mine, your daughters and mine, are to grow up into a pure, healthy, Christian manhood and womanhood.
8. "How grand is the boy who has kept himself undefiled! His complexion clear, his muscles firm, his movements vigorous, his manner frank, his courage undaunted, his brain active, his will firm, his self-control perfect, his body and mind unfolding day by day. His life should be one song of praise and thanksgiving. If you want your boy to be such a one, train him, my dear woman, to-day, and his to-morrow will take care of itself.
9. "Think you that good seed sown will bring forth bitter fruit? A thousand times, No! As we sow, so shall we reap. Train your boys in morality, temperance and virtue. Teach them to embrace good and shun evil. Teach them the true from the false; the light from the dark. Teach them that when they take a thing that is not their own, they commit a sin. Teach them that sin means disobedience of God's laws of every kind.
10. "God made every organ of our body with the intention that it should perform a certain work. If we wish to see, we use our eyes; if we want to hear, our ears are called into use. In fact, nature teaches us the proper use of all our organs. I say to you, mother, and oh, so earnestly: 'Go teach your boy that which you may never be ashamed to do, about these organs that make him specially a boy.'
11. "Teach him they are called sexual organs; that they are not impure, but of special importance, and made by God for a definite purpose. Teach him that there are impurities taken from the system in fluid form called urine, and that it passes through the sexual organs, but that nature takes care of that. Teach him that these organs are given as a sacred trust, that in maturer years he may be the means of giving life to those who shall live forever.
12. "Impress upon him that if these organs are abused, or if they are put to any use besides that for which God made them and He did not intend they should be used at all until man is fully grown they will bring disease and ruin upon those who abuse and disobey the laws which God has made to govern them. If he has ever learned to handle his sexual organs, or to touch them in any way except to keep them clean, not to do it again. If he does he will not grow up happy, healthy and strong.
13. "Teach him that when he handles or excites the sexual organs all parts of the body suffer, because they are connected by nerves that run throughout the system; this is why it is called 'self-abuse.' The whole body is abused when this part of the body is handled or excited in any manner whatever. Teach them to shun all children who indulge in this loathsome habit, or all children who talk about these things. The sin is terrible, and is, in fact, worse than lying or stealing. For, although these are wicked and will ruin their souls, yet this habit of self-abuse will ruin both soul and body.
14. "If the sexual organs are handled, it brings too much blood to these parts, and this produces a diseased condition; it also causes disease in other organs of the body, because they are left with a less amount of blood than they ought to have. The sexual organs, too, are very closely connected with the spine and the brain by means of the nerves, and if they are handled, or if you keep thinking about them, these nerves get excited and become exhausted, and this makes the back ache, the brain heavy and the whole body weak.
15. "It lays the foundation for consumption, paralysis and heart disease. It weakens the memory, makes a boy careless, negligent and listless. It even makes many lose their minds; others, when grown, commit suicide. How often mothers see their little boys handling themselves, and let it pass, because they think the boy will outgrow the habit, and do not realize the strong hold it has upon them. I say to you who love your boys 'Watch!'
16. "Don't think it does no harm to your boy because he does not suffer now, for the effects of this vice come on so slowly that the victim is often very near death before you realize that he has done himself harm. The boy with no knowledge of the consequences, and with no one to warn him, finds momentary pleasure in its practice, and so contracts a habit which grows upon him, undermining his health, poisoning his mind, arresting his development, and laying the foundation for future misery.
17. "Do not read this book and forget it, for it contains earnest and living truths. Do not let false modesty stand in your way, but from this time on keep this thought in mind 'the saving of your boy.' Follow its teachings and you will bless God as long as you live. Read it to your neighbors, who, like yourself, have growing boys, and urge them for the sake of humanity to heed its advice.
18. "Right here we want to emphasize the importance of cleanliness. We verily believe that oftentimes these habits originate in a burning and irritating sensation about the organs, caused by a want of thorough washing.
19. "It is worthy of note that many eminent physicians now advocate the custom of circumcision, claiming that the removal of a little of the foreskin induces cleanliness, thus preventing the irritation and excitement which come from the gathering of the whiteish matter under the foreskin at the beginning of the glands. This irritation being removed, the boy is less apt to tamper with his sexual organs. The argument seems a good one, especially when we call to mind the high physical state of those people who have practiced the custom.
20. "Happy is the mother who can feel she has done her duty, in this direction, while her boy is still a child. For those mothers, though, whose little boys have now grown to boyhood with the evil still upon them, and you, through ignorance, permitted it, we would say, 'Begin at once; it is never too late.' If he has not lost all will power, he can be saved. Let him go in confidence to a reputable physician and follow his advice. Simple diet, plentiful exercise in open air and congenial employment will do much. Do not let the mind dwell upon evil thoughts, shun evil companions, avoid vulgar stories, sensational novels, and keep the thoughts pure.
21. "Let him interest himself in social and benevolent affairs, participate in Sunday-school work, farmers' clubs, or any organizations which tend to elevate and inspire noble sentiment. Let us remember that 'a perfect man is the noblest work of God.' God has given us a life which is to last forever, and the little time we spend on earth is as nothing to the ages which we are to spend in the world beyond; so our earthly life is a very important part of our existence, for it is here that the foundation is laid for either happiness or misery in the future. It is here that we decide our destiny, and our efforts to know and obey God's laws in our bodies as well as in our souls will not only bring blessings to us in this life, but never-ending happiness throughout eternity."
22. A QUESTION. How can a father chew and smoke tobacco, drink and swear, use vulgar language, tell obscene stories, and raise a family of pure, clean-minded children? LET THE ECHO ANSWER.
- This quotation is an appeal to mothers by Mrs. P.B. Saur, M.D.