Care For The Body

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 13 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, How To Rear Children)


In 1st Corinthians 6:19 and 20 Paul says, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." In Romans 12:1 he says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren , by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Hence, the body is a sacred thing to God, and it should be so to the child. Health is not just the business of the individual. When one is sick he causes inconvenience to the entire family and to all those in his little world. Somebody must care for him when he is sick; hence, he incapacitates at least one other person. Not only does he lose the services he performs to himself, but he causes those whom he serves to lose his services. Then also he runs the risk of giving his disease to the one who attends him. Then too, often someone has to finance him and care for his material needs while he is sick. Perhaps he is fortunate enough to have a generous and kind employer who will pay him while hi is ill. If improper care of the body caused the illness, he is doing his employer an injustice. Certainly not the least important fact is that it is only with our bodies that we can serve God. It matters not how spiritual we are, how alert our minds, or how warm our hearts, when our bodies are sick we cannot serve our Lord properly. Because of these and other things the child should be taught to care for his body. The following rules are good ones for him to follow:

1. Eat properly. As a man eats so is he. The physical and nervous energy depend largely on how and with what the body is fed. In order to eat properly one must be moderate in eating fats and sugars. In fact, I would suggest eating only raw sugar. He should avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco. He should avoid highly spiced foods, pickles, sauces, pastries, etc. He should drink at least three pints of water during the day. He should eat food as nearly as God prepared it as possible. For example, he should eat nuts instead of "snick-snack," fruit instead of candy, fruit juices instead of carbonated drinks, and simple vegetables (raw as often as possible) instead of highly seasoned mixtures of food. The child should be taught that a car will not run properly with too much gasoline or bad gasoline. The body cannot run as well with an excess of food or with improper food. Hence, having the proper diet and not overeating should be strongly stressed. It is my opinion that every family should become acquainted with a good health food store and eat as near to nature as possible.

2. Fresh air is important in the building of a strong body.

3. Proper exercise is necessary. Exercise not only increases the strength and size of the muscles but more important, it keeps the circulation of the blood normal in different parts of the body. By it the heart is developed and strengthened, the lungs are better supplied with oxygen, a better appetite is enjoyed, and the food is better digested. Everyone should have at least thirty minutes of vigorous exercise a day, but this should neither precede nor follow a meal.

It is said that Theodore Roosevelt was a very weak child but he exercised himself and lived in the out-of-doors in order to gain almost perfect health while he was yet a young man.

4. The child should get proper sleep. Children twelve and under should have about ten hours sleep. It is important that this sleep be a early as possible. It is better to retire early and rise early than to retire late and rise late. Sleep should not follow any meal. In fact, it is usually better to go to sleep on an empty stomach giving the heart rest through the night. It is also a good idea to have some kind of schedule as far as sleep is concerned. If possible, a regular time of retiring and rising is best.

5. Cleanliness is vital to good health. I think it is best for a child to have a daily bath, to dry himself vigorously, to wash his face several times a day giving special attention to the cleansing of the ear and nose. The fingernails should be kept very clean. The feet should be washed every night before retiring, and proper habits of personal cleanliness should be developed and practiced. Of course, this should be added to cleanliness at home. Dirty homes, soiled walls, dirty yards, excessive garbage, and decaying food all are sources of infection. We owe it to our neighbors to be clean. Someone has said, "If my neighbor's uncleanliness creates a poisonous atmosphere or conditions that menace my health, he will risk my freedom to live just as much as if he went about it with a pistol." He violates the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill."

6. Special care should be taken to warn the child of the effects of alcoholic beverages. Acquaint him with heroes in history who were teetotalers. Drive him to skid row and show him some drunks as they stagger down the street. Remind him that no one intends to be a drunkard when he begins to drink; when he takes his first drink he does not intend to make it a habit. Teach him that no one ever became an alcoholic without taking his first drink at one time.

It is said that Mr. Lincoln once received several baskets of wine from some friends who felt the city of Springfield had been honored. He returned the gift but thanked them for the kindness.

At one time at New Salem he had a business partner who insisted they sell liquors. Mr. Lincoln withdrew from the partnership.

In 1846 he spoke at a temperance rally in Springfield, Illinois. After he had spoken he offered the following pledge: "Whereas, the use of alcoholic liquors as a beverage is productive of pauperism, degradation and crime, and believing it is our duty to discourage that which produces more evil than good, we therefore pledge ourselves to abstain from the us of intoxicating liquors as a beverage."

Repeatedly Mr. Lincoln refused to have liquor in the White House. Find other great heroes who refused to drink or sell liquor. Remind your children of their total abstinence.

7. Every child should be warned of the danger of cigarettes. They should be reminded that the use of nicotine affects one's eyesight, causes diseases of the throat, and affects the heart circulation, the nervous system, etc. Tell the children that Dr. Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan, once removed the nicotine from one cigar, placed it in a little water, and injected it into a frog. The frog died instantly. It is said that a chemist tried this same experiment on a cat. The cat died within fifteen minutes. It is said that some dogs have been killed by the injection of one drop of nicotine. Teach the child to fear its deadly effects.

By proper teaching a child can have a longer and more useful life for God and for others. Much care should be taken to teach him that by proper eating, proper exercise, proper rest, and proper hygiene his life can be more fruitful and he can be of better service to mankind. In my book BLUE DENIM AND LACE I make this statement: "With my body I serve you and with my mind I love you. Hence, I pledge to keep a healthy mind that I may love you more and a healthy body that I may serve you better." Not only does a child owe it to himself but to his parents, to his future children, and to his friends to keep his body healthy. The greatest debt, however, is to his God Who own his body and bought it with a price.

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