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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 82

How to Grow up Strong and Healthy

page 13

How to Grow up Strong and Healthy.

"A sound mind in a sound body" is what every young secularist should seek to acquire. Many people who think that they ate going to live after they are dead, care very little for their minds or their bodies either. They think that they are made of something beside their body, and that when their body dies this something will keep on living by itself. Of course those people who think their bodies are not themselves cannot prize and treasure it so much as those who think they are. They always look anxiously forward to the time when they hope to he free from their body; and wanting thus to get away from it, they do not like it, and so they do not take such care of it as they ought to. But it should not be so with the young secularist; he should carefully guard and try to improve what he has got. Now, we all know that if we are not careful in attending to our bodies (and by "our bodies" we mean every part of us), if we are not careful in attending to them, we know that they are almost certain to get diseased; and we do not wish for that We would not think of drinking poison, or cutting ourselves about, if we wish to preserve our bodies. All such dangers as those we understand, and therefore avoid. But there are other dangers besides those, dangers which we do not find out so easily, and which may exist around us for a long time without our knowing of them unless we are very careful. These are the sort of dangers that we intend to point out to our readers, so that they may bear them in mind, and always guard against them. It is no use our saying prayers, and going to churches to talk and hear a lot of nonsense. Life is too short for us to waste our time in that way. We should turn our time to good account; and what better could we do than see that our health remains good, and that the health of our friends remains good likewise.

A great many things affect our health, sometimes for good, and sometimes for bad. Our food, our clothing, our dwelling-places, our habits, the air we breathe—all these, and many other things, determine whether we shall be healthy and live long, or whether we shall become diseased and die in a short time.

We should not eat a certain food simply because it tastes nice. Too many are apt to do this; but they would not do so if they knew the risk they ran. Some of the most deadly poisons taste very nice, but we do not take them as food on that account for we know their nature. But we often eat and drink many things that are injurious, not knowing them to be so. In eating meat, for instance, we are apt to eat the flesh of an animal that has died from some disease; and so it is with fish. There are parts, too, which are frequently eaten, which our stomachs can scarcely digest, and which do more harm than good. Again, there is the danger of eating too much; many a person has brought on serious illness by this foolish practice, and in many cases the illness has ended in their death. Our vegetable food, too, though less dangerous than the animal food, is liable to contain many injurious substances, which we might never find out did we not try to. Not only do we need to know the proper food to select, but the proper way to prepare it, for some of the most wholesome articles of food may become the most injurious if badly cooked,

Our clothing is very important in affecting our health. We do not wear clothes for appearance sake only, but to protect us from the sudden changes in the weather, and from extreme heat or cold. But in clothing ourselves to afford us this protection, we have to be careful that our clothing lets enough air through it; for if it did not we should suffer far worse agony than page 14 either heat or cold could bring, We must also know how and when to change our clothing. Ignorance of this has caused many deaths.

We cannot say more on this subject at present; but must hastily conclude this short article with the following "Helth Alphabet," which we sincerely recommend every young secularist to commit to memory :—

"As soon as you are up, shake blankets and sheet;
Better be without shoes than sit with wet feet;
Children, if healthy, are active, not still;
Damp beds and damp clothes will both make you ill;
Eat slowly, and always chew your food well :
Freshen the air in the house where you dwell;
Garments must never be made to be tight;
Homes will be healthy if airy and light;
If you wish to be well, as you do I've no doubt,
Just open your windows before you go out;
Keep your rooms always tidy and clean;
Let dust on the furniture never be seen;
Much illness is caused by the want of pure air;
Now, to open the window be ever your care;
Old rags and old rubbish should never be kept;
People should see that their floors are well swept.
Quick movements in children are healthy and right;
Remember the young cannot thrive without light;
See that the cistern is clean to the brim;
Take care that your dress is all tidy and trim;
Use your nose to find out if there be a bad drain—
Very sad are the fevers that come in its train;
Walk as far as you can without feeling fatigue—
Xerxes could walk for full many a league,
Your health is your wealth which your wisdom must keep;
Zeal will help a good cause, and the good you will reap."