Lesson 6-Physical Culture
“Mental, Physical, Spiritual”
The Desire of Ages 68-74, 84-92
Jesus Works in the Carpenter Shop
The Bible says of Christ “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” In this verse, we see mentioned the mental, physical and spiritual growth of Christ-the subject our discussion today.
If we want our children to be pure, we must train them to be diligent workers. Work will save not only save them from a multitude of evils, but will train them in habits that will benefit them in this life and the life to come.
“Christ was the only sinless one who ever dwelt on earth; yet for nearly thirty years He lived among the wicked inhabitants of Nazareth. This fact is a rebuke to those who think themselves dependent upon place, fortune, or prosperity, in order to live a blameless life. Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness.” (DA 72)
It is not enough for our children to complete the job; they must perform and complete it with a good attitude. This will require much patience and spirituality. “Jesus carried into His labor cheerfulness and tact.”
“The more quiet and simple the life of the child-the more free from artificial excitement, and the more in harmony with nature-the more favorable is it to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength. (DA 74)
The nature lesson for this section is on the tree, and what a fitting example it is. As Jesus worked with trees (wood) in the carpenter’s shop, so He works with us to fashion and make us into something beautiful.
Trees must have sunlight to grow. Christ is the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings. Trees must have water and light. Christ is the Living Water and He is the Light of the world as well as a light that lights each step of the path we must take. “A tree must have food to live. A man must have spiritual food to live spiritually.”
The lesson also nicely parallels traits of a man and a tree:
In the beginning, physical labor was a blessing and a joy. God put both Adam and Eve in a garden to work to make it beautiful. Their work was not drudgery. After sin, work is no longer enjoyable in the same way, but it still provides benefits to us physically and well as mentally and spiritually. Gardening especially can be very rewarding and yield results that benefit a family or entire community.
“At the creation, labor was appointed as a blessing. It meant development, power, happiness. The changed condition of the earth through the curse of sin has brought a change in the conditions of labor; yet though now attended with anxiety, weariness, and pain, it is still a source of happiness and development. And it is a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence and promotes industry, purity, and firmness. Thus it becomes a part of God’s great plan for our recovery from the Fall.”
“As a rule, the exercise most beneficial to the youth will be found in useful employment. The little child finds both diversion and development in play; and his sports should be such to promote not only physical, but mental and spiritual growth. As he gains strength and intelligence, the best recreation will be found in some line of effort that is useful. That which trains the hand to helpfulness, and the young to bear their share of life’s burdens, is most effective in promoting the growth of mind and character.”
Both boys and girls should learn life skills. This includes boys being able to cook, clean and wash dishes as well as girls learning to take care of their cars and do yard work.
“Since both men and women have a part in homemaking, boys as well as girls, should gain knowledge of household duties. To make a bed and put a room in order, to wash dishes, to prepare a meal, to wash and repair his own clothing, is a training that need not make any boy less manly; it will make him happier and more useful. And if girls, in turn, could learn to harness and drive a horse, [fix and drive a car], and to use the saw and the hammer, as well as the rake and the hoe, they would be better fitted to meet the emergencies of life.”
In studying agriculture and/or having a garden, students can learn much in regard to “the nature and preparation of the soil, the value of different crops, and the method of production while at the same time experiencing the “invigorating effect of exercise, sunshine, and pure air.”
An entire list including useful Labor, Nature and Hobbies, and Missionary Activities is included in the lesson on pages 259-261
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
While we should teach our children to be diligent and work hard, we must also make time for their recreation-a time to come aside from their labors and be refreshed. There must be a balance of school work, labor and recreation.
“Again, excessive study, by increasing the flow of blood to the brain, creates morbid excitability that tends to lessen the power of self-control, and too often give sway to impulse or caprice. Thus the door is opened to impurity. The misuse or nonuse of the physical powers is largely responsible for the tide of corruption that is overspreading the world. ‘Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness,’ are as deadly foes to human progress in this generation as when they led to the destruction of Sodom.”
“Teach the students that right living depends on right thinking, and that physical activity is essential to purity of thought.”
“There is a distinction between recreation and amusement. Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from the ordinary cares and occupation, it affords refreshment for mind and body, and thus enables us to return with a new vigor to the earnest work of life. Amusement, on the other hand is sought for the sake of pleasure and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work and thus proves a hindrance life’s true success.” (MCP 313)
“It is the privilege and duty of Christians to seek to refresh their bodies and spirits and invigorate their bodies by innocent recreation, with the purpose of using their physical and mental powers to the glory of God. Our recreation should not be scenes of senseless mirth, taking the form of the nonsensical. E can conduct them in such a manner as will benefit and elevate those with whom we associate and better qualify us and them to more successfully attend to the duties devolving upon us as Christians…The religion of Christ is cheering and elevating in its influence. It is above everything like foolish jesting and joking, vain and frivolous chitchat. In all our seasons of recreation we may gather from the Divine Source of strength fresh courage and power, that we may the more successfully elevate our lives to purity, true goodness, and holiness.” (My Life Today 211)