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Child Guidance

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    Chapter 66—Teaching the Fundamental Principles of Dress

    A Necessary Part of Education—No education can be complete that does not teach right principles in regard to dress. Without such teaching, the work of education is too often retarded and perverted. Love of dress and devotion to fashion are among the teacher's most formidable rivals and most effective hindrances.1Education, 246.CG 419.1

    No Precise Style Given—No one precise style has been given me as the exact rule to guide all in their dress.2Letter 19, 1897.CG 419.2

    Neat, Attractive, Clean—The young should be encouraged to form correct habits in dress, that their appearance may be neat and attractive; they should be taught to keep their garments clean and neatly mended. All their habits should be such as to make them a help and comfort to others.3Testimonies For The Church 6:170.CG 419.3

    Let the attire be appropriate and becoming. Though only a ten-cent calico, it should be kept neat and clean.4Testimonies For The Church 4:642.CG 419.4

    Order and Correct Taste—In their dress they [Christians] avoid superfluity and display; but their clothing will be neat, not gaudy, modest, and arranged upon the person with order and taste.5Messages to Young People, 349.CG 419.5

    Correct taste is not to be despised or condemned. Our faith, if carried out, will lead us to be so plain in dress and zealous of good works that we shall be marked as peculiar. But when we lose taste for order and neatness in dress, we virtually leave the truth; for the truth never degrades but elevates.6Messages to Young People, 353.CG 419.6

    My sisters, your dress is telling either in favor of Christ and the sacred truth or in favor of the world. Which is it?7The Review and Herald, November 17, 1904.CG 420.1

    Good Taste in Colors and Figures—Taste should be manifested as to colors. Uniformity in this respect is desirable as far as convenient. Complexion, however, may be taken into account. Modest colors should be sought for. When figured material is used, figures that are large and fiery, showing vanity and shallow pride in those who choose them, should be avoided. And a fantastic taste in putting on different colors is bad.8Health Reformer. Quoted in Healthful Living, 120.CG 420.2

    Consider Durability and Service—Our clothing, while modest and simple, should be of good quality, of becoming colors, and suited for service. It should be chosen for durability rather than display. It should provide warmth and proper protection. The wise woman described in the Proverbs “is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with double garments.” [Proverbs 31:21, margin.]9The Ministry of Healing, 288.CG 420.3

    The Purchase of Good Material Is Economy—It is right to buy good material and have it carefully made. This is economy. But rich trimmings are not needed, and to indulge in them is to spend for self-gratification money that should be put into God's cause.10Counsels on Stewardship, 301.CG 420.4

    Remember the Needs of the Lord's Vineyard—We should dress neatly and tastefully; but, my sisters, when you are buying and making your own and your children's clothing, think of the work in the Lord's vineyard that is still waiting to be done.11Ibid.CG 420.5

    Worldlings spend much on dress. But the Lord has charged His people to come out from the world and be separate. Gay or expensive apparel is not becoming to those who profess to believe that we are living in the last days....CG 420.6

    Practice economy in your outlay of means for dress. Remember that what you wear is constantly exerting an influence upon those with whom you come in contact. Do not lavish upon yourselves means that is greatly needed elsewhere. Do not spend the Lord's money to gratify a taste for expensive clothing.12Manuscript 24, 1904.CG 421.1

    Simplicity in Dress Recommends the Wearer's Religion—Simplicity of dress will make a sensible woman appear to the best advantage.13The Review and Herald, November 17, 1904.CG 421.2

    Dress as Christians should dress—simply, plainly adorn yourselves as becometh women professing godliness, with good works.14The Review and Herald, December 6, 1881.CG 421.3

    Many, in order to keep pace with absurd fashion, lose their taste for natural simplicity and are charmed with the artificial. They sacrifice time and money, the vigor of intellect, and true elevation of soul, and devote their entire being to the claims of fashionable life.15Health Reformer, April, 1872.CG 421.4

    Dear youth, a disposition in you to dress according to the fashion, and to wear lace, and gold, and artificials for display, will not recommend to others your religion or the truth that you profess. People of discernment will look upon your attempts to beautify the external as proof of weak minds and proud hearts.16Testimonies For The Church 3:376.CG 421.5

    There Should Be No Inappropriate Display—I would remind the youth who ornament their persons and wear feathers upon their hats that, because of their sins, our Saviour's head wore the shameful crown of thorns. When you devote precious time to trimming your apparel, remember that the King of glory wore a plain, seamless coat. You who weary yourselves in decorating your persons please bear in mind that Jesus was often weary from incessant toil and self-denial and self-sacrifice to bless the suffering and the needy.... It was on our account that He poured out His prayers to His Father with strong cries and tears. It was to save us from the very pride and love of vanity and pleasure which we now indulge, and which crowds out the love of Jesus, that those tears were shed, and that our Saviour's visage was marred with sorrow and anguish more than any of the sons of men.17Testimonies For The Church 3:379, 380.CG 421.6

    Unnecessary Trimmings—Do without the unnecessary trimmings, and lay aside for the advancement of the cause of God the means thus saved. Learn the lesson of self-denial, and teach it to your children.18Counsels on Stewardship, 301, 302.CG 422.1

    A Point Clarified—The question has often been asked me if I believe it wrong to wear plain linen collars. [Note: See Testimonies for the Church 1:135, 136.] My answer has always been No. Some have taken the extreme meaning of what I have written about collars, and have maintained that it is wrong to wear one of any description. I was shown expensively wrought collars, and expensive and unnecessary ribbons and laces, which some Sabbathkeepers have worn, and still wear for the sake of show and fashion. In mentioning collars, I did not design to be understood that nothing like a collar should be worn, or in mentioning ribbons, that no ribbons at all should be worn.19Testimonies For The Church 1:135, 136.CG 422.2

    Extravagant or Extreme Trimmings—Our ministers and their wives should be an example in plainness of dress; they should dress neatly, comfortably, wearing good material, but avoiding anything like extravagance and trimmings, even if not expensive; for these things tell to our disadvantage. We should educate the youth to simplicity of dress, plainness with neatness. Let the extra trimmings be left out, even though the cost be but a trifle.20Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 180.CG 422.3

    Not for Display—True refinement does not find satisfaction in the adorning of the body for display.21Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 93.CG 423.1

    The Bible teaches modesty in dress. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.” 1 Timothy 2:9. This forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God's Word enjoins.22Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 302.CG 423.2

    Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly and abstain from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind is in keeping with our faith. Are we of the number who see the folly of worldlings in indulging in extravagance of dress as well as in love of amusements?23Testimonies For The Church 3:366.CG 423.3

    Imperishable Ornaments Versus Gold or Pearls—There is an ornament that will never perish, that will promote the happiness of all around us in this life, and will shine with undimmed luster in the immortal future. It is the adorning of a meek and lowly spirit. God has bidden us wear the richest dress upon the soul.... Instead of seeking golden ornaments for the exterior, an earnest effort would be put forth to secure that wisdom which is of more value than fine gold.24Testimonies For The Church 4:643, 644.CG 423.4

    Of how little value are gold or pearls or costly array in comparison with the loveliness of Christ. Natural loveliness consists in symmetry, or the harmonious proportion of parts, each with the other; but spiritual loveliness consists in the harmony or likeness of our souls to Jesus. This will make its possessor more precious than fine gold, even the golden wedge of Ophir. The grace of Christ is indeed a priceless adornment. It elevates and ennobles its possessor and reflects beams of glory upon others, attracting them also to the Source of light and blessing.25The Review and Herald, December 6, 1881.CG 423.5

    The Attractiveness of Genuine Beauty—There is a natural tendency with all to be sentimental rather than practical. In view of this fact, it is important that parents, in the education of their children, should direct and train their minds to love truth, duty, and self-denial, and to possess noble independence, to choose to be right, if the majority choose to be wrong....CG 424.1

    If they preserve to themselves sound constitutions and amiable tempers, they will possess true beauty that they can wear with a divine grace. And they will have no need to be adorned with artificials, for these are always expressive of an absence of the inward adorning of true moral worth. A beautiful character is of value in the sight of God. Such beauty will attract, but not mislead. Such charms are fast colors; they never fade.26The Signs of the Times, September 9, 1875.CG 424.2

    The pure religion of Jesus requires of its followers the simplicity of natural beauty and the polish of natural refinement and elevated purity, rather than the artificial and false.27Testimonies For The Church 3:375.CG 424.3

    Teach Children to Recognize Sensible Dress—Let us be faithful to the duties of the home life. Let your children understand that obedience must reign there. Teach them to distinguish between that which is sensible and that which is foolish in the matter of dress, and furnish them with clothes that are neat and simple. As a people who are preparing for the soon return of Christ, we should give to the world an example of modest dress in contrast with the prevailing fashion of the day. Talk these things over, and plan wisely what you will do; then carry out your plans in your families. Determine to be guided by higher principles than the notions and desires of your children.28Manuscript 45, 1911.CG 424.4

    If our hearts are united with Christ's heart, ... nothing will be put upon the person to attract attention or to create controversy.29Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 131.CG 425.1

    Provide Becoming Garments Appropriate for Age and Station in Life—My sister, bind your children to your heart by affection. Give them proper care and attention in all things. Furnish them with becoming garments, that they may not be mortified by their appearance, for this would be injurious to their self-respect.... It is always right to be neat and to be clad appropriately, in a manner becoming to your age and station in life.30Testimonies For The Church 4:142.CG 425.2

    The Body Should Not Be Constricted—The dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood nor a free, full, natural respiration. The feet should be suitably protected from cold and damp. Clad in this way, we can take exercise in the open air, even in the dew of morning or evening, or after a fall of rain or snow, without fear of taking cold.31Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 89, 90.CG 425.3

    The Dress of Young Children—If the dress of the child combines warmth, protection, and comfort, one of the chief causes of irritation and restlessness will be removed. The little one will have better health, and the mother will not find the care of the child so heavy a tax upon her strength and time.CG 425.4

    Tight bands or waists hinder the action of the heart and lungs and should be avoided. No part of the body should at any time be made uncomfortable by clothing that compresses any organ or restricts its freedom of movement. The clothing of all children should be loose enough to admit of the freest and fullest respiration, and so arranged that the shoulders will support its weight.32The Ministry of Healing, 382.CG 426.1

    Let the Extremities Be Properly Clothed—Special attention should be given to the extremities, that they may be as thoroughly clothed as the chest and the region over the heart, where is the greatest amount of heat. Parents who dress their children with the extremities naked, or nearly so, are sacrificing the health and lives of their children to fashion. If these parts are not so warm as the body, the circulation is not equalized. When the extremities, which are remote from the vital organs, are not properly clad, the blood is driven to the head, causing headache or nosebleed; or there is a sense of fullness about the chest, producing cough or palpitation of the heart, on account of too much blood in that locality; or the stomach has too much blood, causing indigestion.CG 426.2

    In order to follow the fashions, mothers dress their children with limbs nearly naked; and the blood is chilled back from its natural course and thrown upon the internal organs, breaking up the circulation and producing disease. The limbs were not formed by our Creator to endure exposure, as was the face. The Lord provided, ... also, large veins and nerves for the limbs and feet, to contain a large amount of the current of human life, that the limbs might be uniformly as warm as the body. They should be so thoroughly clothed as to induce the blood to the extremities.CG 426.3

    Satan invented the fashions which leave the limbs exposed, chilling back the life current from its original course. And parents bow at the shrine of fashion and so clothe their children that the nerves and veins become contracted, and do not answer the purpose that God designed they should. The result is habitually cold feet and hands. Those parents who follow fashion instead of reason will have an account to render to God for thus robbing their children of health. Even life itself is frequently sacrificed to the god of fashion.33Testimonies For The Church 2:531, 532.CG 427.1

    A Distinction in Dress of Men and Women—There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.” 1 Timothy 2:9....CG 427.2

    God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime.34Testimonies For The Church 1:457-460.CG 427.3

    Dressing for Church—Let none dishonor God's sanctuary by their showy apparel.35Testimonies For The Church 5:499.CG 427.4

    All should be taught to be neat, clean, and orderly in their dress, but not to indulge in that external adorning which is wholly inappropriate for the sanctuary. There should be no display of the apparel, for this encourages irreverence. The attention of the people is often called to this or that fine article of dress, and thus thoughts are intruded that should have no place in the hearts of the worshipers. God is to be the subject of thought, the object of worship; and anything that attracts the mind from the solemn, sacred service is an offense to Him. The parading of bows and ribbons, ruffles and feathers, and gold and silver ornaments is a species of idolatry and is wholly inappropriate for the sacred service of God.36Ibid.CG 427.5

    Some receive the idea that in order to carry out that separation from the world that the Word of God requires, they must be neglectful of their apparel. There is a class of sisters who think they are carrying out the principle of nonconformity to the world by wearing an ordinary sun-bonnet, and the same dress worn by them through the week, upon the Sabbath when appearing in the assembly of the saints to engage in the worship of God. And some men who profess to be Christians view the matter of dress in the same light. These persons assemble with God's people upon the Sabbath, with their clothing dusty and soiled, and even with gaping rents in their garments, which are placed upon their persons in a slovenly manner.CG 428.1

    This class, if they had an engagement to meet a friend honored by the world, by whom they wished to be especially favored, would exert themselves to appear in his presence with the best apparel that could be obtained; for this friend would feel insulted were they to come into his presence with their hair uncombed and garments uncleanly and in disorder. Yet these persons think that it is no matter in what dress they appear or what is the condition of their persons when they meet upon the Sabbath to worship the great God.37The Review and Herald, January 30, 1900.CG 428.2

    Dress Not to Be Made a Subject of Controversy—There is no need to make the dress question the main point of your religion. There is something richer to talk of. Talk of Christ; and when the heart is converted, everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will drop off.38Evangelism, 272.CG 428.3

    It is not your dress that makes you of value in the Lord's sight. It is the inward adorning, the graces of the Spirit, the kind word, the thoughtful consideration for others that God values.39Counsels on Stewardship, 301.CG 429.1

    None to Be Conscience for Another, but Set a Worthy Example—Do not encourage a class who center their religion in dress. Let each one study the plain teachings of the Scriptures as to simplicity and plainness of dress and by faithful obedience to those teachings strive to set a worthy example to the world and to those new in the faith. God does not want any one person to be conscience for another.CG 429.2

    Talk of the love and humility of Jesus, but do not encourage the brethren and sisters to engage in picking flaws in the dress or appearance of one another. Some take delight in this work; and when their minds are turned in this direction, they begin to feel that they must become church tinkers. They climb upon the judgment seat, and as soon as they see one of their brethren and sisters, they look to find something to criticize. This is one of the most effectual means of becoming narrow-minded and of dwarfing spiritual growth. God would have them step down from the judgment seat, for He has never placed them there.40Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 122, 123.CG 429.3

    The Heart Must Be Right—If we are Christians, we shall follow Christ, even though the path in which we are to walk cuts right across our natural inclinations. There is no use in telling you that you must not wear this or that, for if the love of these vain things is in your heart, your laying off your adornments will only be like cutting the foliage off a tree. The inclinations of the natural heart would again assert themselves. You must have a conscience of your own.41The Review and Herald, May 10, 1892.CG 429.4

    Where Many Denominations Lost Their Power—Human reasoning has ever sought to evade or set aside the simple, direct instructions of the Word of God. In every age a majority of the professed followers of Christ have disregarded those precepts which enjoin self-denial and humility, which require modesty and simplicity of conversation, deportment, and apparel. The result has ever been the same—departure from the teachings of the gospel leads to the adoption of the fashions, customs, and principles of the world. Vital godliness gives place to a dead formalism. The presence and power of God, withdrawn from those world-loving circles, are found with a class of humble worshipers, who are willing to obey the teachings of the Sacred Word. Through successive generations this course has been pursued. One after another different denominations have risen and yielding their simplicity, have lost, in a great measure, their early power.42Messages to Young People, 354.CG 430.1

    God's Word the Standard—All matters of dress should be strictly guarded, following closely the Bible rule. Fashion has been the goddess who has ruled the outside world, and she often insinuates herself into the church. The church should make the Word of God her standard, and parents should think intelligently upon this subject. When they see their children inclined to follow worldly fashions, they should, like Abraham, resolutely command their households after them. Instead of uniting with the world, connect them with God.43Testimonies For The Church 5:499.CG 430.2

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