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Character Building - Atheletics And Health

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



BOYS and girls should be taught that the ideal condition of life at which they should constantly aim is expressed in the old phrase: "A sound mind in a sound body." It has frequently been remarked that nearly all successful men and women-men and women who have done great things for their families, for their country and for the age in which they lived-have been strong in body, as well as in intellect. It will be profitable for the boy to know that nearly every intellectually great man whom he will learn to admire, and whom he ought to try to emulate, was strong physically as well as mentally and morally. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were physical giants. At wrestling it is said that neither of them was ever thrown. Lincoln could lift 900 pounds without "harness." And the following famous men all possessed great physical strength and endurance : Daniel Webster, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ward Beecher, John C. Calhoun, William E. Gladstone, Count Bismarck, John Wesley, Samuel Johnson, and James A. Garfield. See Volume IX of the Library.

The girls should be reminded of the fact that nearly all great and successful women, who did the most efficient service in private life, were physically strong. This is true of such splendid women as Jenny Lind, Grace Darling, Susanna Wesley, Louisa M. Alcott, Adelina Patti, Madame Melba, and a host of others. There are a few exceptions, but not many. Mrs. Browning, for example, was always physically weak and delicate.

Julia Ward Howe possessed such splendid health and vigor that she was able to write the "Battle-Hymn of the Republic" between eleven o'clock at night and six o'clock in the morning, while sitting up all night with a sick child. No wonder that she was healthy, happy, and vigorous at ninety.

Boys and girls should learn that good health can be acquired by adequate exercise. Theodore Roosevelt, a weak, sickly child of ten, was a physical giant at fifty. Constant exercise should be vigorously pursued from early life to old age. There are abundant opportunities for exercise in the home by the use of dumb-bells, and by other methods recommended in the Library.

No father or mother, no boy or girl, should fail to read the following articles in Volume X of the Library in connection with exercise and "keeping well": "Care of the Body in Health";, " Common Sense Physical Training"; " Exercise with Apparatus"; "Special Exercises for Women." In fact, all of the articles in the department entitled "Systematic Physical Training" should be carefully read and the advice put into practice, allowing for condition, age, and circumstances. Little ones may be inspired to strengthen their bodies by calling their attention to feats of favorite heroes in Volumes I, II, and VII of our Library.



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