4. Overcoming Obstacles In Teaching The Child
Teaching a child about healthful living would be easy if it were not for various obstacles that society, friends, and families sometimes present. Your efforts at educating your child can be undermined and undone by misinformed teachers, spouses, and playmates of the child.
If you want to make your teachings “stick,” you need to know how to handle the most common obstacles that will arise during the education of your child in the ways of healthful living.
4.1 Public Schools and Indoctrination
The public education system can often undo in a matter of weeks what you have spent years teaching your child. One mother who practices Natural Hygiene and follows the teachings of Life Science enrolled her son in kindergarten. She stressed to the teacher that the child was raised as a vegetarian, and she wanted her son to eat the lunch she packed for him each day instead of the usual school lunch.
All went well for a few weeks, or so the mother thought. One day she came to school unexpectedly early to take her son on a trip. She arrived at lunchtime, and saw her vegetarian child with a hot dog. The nervous teacher explained that she didn’t want the boy to feel different from his classmates, so she gave him what the other kids were eating. The young boy did not know that a hot dog came from a cow or that he was eating an animal. He thought he was getting an acceptable meal, like his friends.
The trouble with most public schools is that they perpetuate the same mistakes, false beliefs, and lies that you have tried to dispel in your child. Public education is not intentionally evil or destructive—it’s simply ignorant, and exposing your child to that type of ignorance can destroy years of careful teaching and explaining.
Dr. Shelton wrote that what now passes for education is “a miserable distortion of what it should be. The most vital facts of life are concealed and distorted. Each generation is thus forced to repeat the mistakes of the past, because it is left in ignorance of the vital forces and facts of life. When are we going to really begin educating our children?”
If you must place your child in public school, then you must also institute a home education program to combat some of the lies and half-truths that they will be taught. A child may grow very confused when he is told one thing by his teacher and another thing by his parents. In such cases, it is best to explain to the child how different people think in different ways. Then you must guide your child toward developing his own way of thinking and reasoning.
In fact, your best defense against the indoctrination of public education is to teach your child at a very early age to reason for himself.
Dr. Shelton writes: “Always give the child a reason why he shouldn’t pursue a line of conduct. If he is too young to understand the reason, tell him that he will be able to understand the reason later. Your child should be told why one way of living is superior to another way. Children should be allowed to use their own brains. The highest aim of education, whether it is at home or in the school, should be to help the child to attain rational self-control and righteous self-determination.”
4.2 Trouble at Home
Sometimes your greatest obstacle to teaching your child about healthful living practices may come from a spouse, grandparent, or other relative. For some reason or the other, one member of the family may feel negative or antagonistic to the teachings of Life Science or Natural Hygiene. Perhaps your wife or husband or mother or father is not in sympathy with your own healthy lifestyle. Such a split can make it difficult for the child to learn correct habits.
A classic example is the case of the father who was very much against the vaccination of his child before being admitted to a public school. The mother, however, could not understand why her husband was so upset. After all, she had been vaccinated, with no apparent harm, so she could not support her husband in this decision.
The child was caught in the middle. His father told him that all shots were harmful and needless; his mother told him that the doctor would have to give him a shot before ho could go to school. No matter what happened after that, the child would lose respect for one or the other parent.
If your spouse or a close family relative is absolutely dead set against your new healthful living practices and teachings, then you will have to reach some sort of arrangement. Parents who argue and fight continually do as much emotional harm to the child as any unhealthful habit.
The parents and relatives of the child must agree among themselves as to the approach to take in teaching the child. It is far better for both parents to strongly support some type of compromise approach than for them to be at odds. If a child sees the parents are not in agreement, then he may use one or the other to get his own way.
In this case, it is best that the parent who strongly advocates a healthful lifestyle to be a shining example to the child. By presenting a positive, happy, and enthusiastic example of health to the child, the parent will have a greater effect than the negative influences of the other spouse.
4.3 Trouble at Play
Another obstacle to teaching the child about healthful living may be playmates and friends of the child. Children who were not raised Hygienically may expose your child to negative habits. Realize that such exposure is inevitable, sooner or later, and that you must devise a way of dealing with these influences.
A child does not like to feel “different” or be called “strange” by his friends and playmates. He doesn’t want to feel out of the ordinary or be an object for ridicule. The child should not be isolated from other children simply because they have negative or unhealthful habits. It is necessary for the child to learn at
an early age that certain actions bring about certain results.
For example, any time that one of your child’s friends or playmates is sick, ask your child why he thought that his friend was sick. Then show him how he rarely becomes sick because of the habits he has formed. Don’t make your child feel superior to his playmates; simply show him how negative actions and habits on their part produce negative results. In other words, try to help him learn from the mistakes of his friends.
Instead of having your child change his positive behavior to match the negative habits of his playmates, see if he can influence his friends to become healthier and happier. One way of doing this is to invite your child’s friends over to share a meal with your family. If your child can share his health-building habits with his friends, then it becomes fun or like a game of discovery.
One excellent way to avoid strange feelings between your child and his playmates is to arrange a “Hygienic” style party for your child’s friends. Serve them natural treats, and plan wholesome group activities for them. You may win a few converts, and you’ll certainly be helping the other children in a small way.