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Give To SermonIndex : Christian Books : XVII TEMPERANCE AND THE TEEN AGE

The Boy And The Sunday School by Alexander of Cappadocia


Temperance embraces the abstaining from everything that challenges self-control. The two deadliest foes of young life today are admittedly alcoholic drinks and the cigarette, and any crusade against these for the conservation of the boy in his teens should be welcomed. It is well, however, to keep in mind that profane language, the suggestive story, undue sex familiarity, athletic overindulgence, excessive attendance at the moving picture shows, or entertainment places, the public dance, and other things of like ilk in the community, exert a doubtful influence on boy life.

Liquor is the greatest plague in a community, and does more to curse the community than any other one thing. It breaks up homes, causes divorces, deprives children of their legitimate sustenance, ruins the life of the drinker, increases taxation, lowers the tone and morals of the community, and is a detriment to our American life. Cigarette smoking is bad for anybody. It harms the growing tissue, dulls the conscience, stunts the growth, and steals the brainpower of growing boys. In dealing with these facts in the Sunday school let us recognize then, that they exist, that they are true; and then let us cease merely to rehearse them from time to time.

The day of exhortation is past. Temperance education today consists in the presentation of absolute, scientific fact. Sentimentality and the multiplication of words no longer mean anything. In dealing with the teen age boy, spare your words, but pile up the scientific, concrete, |seeing-is-believing| data. By proved experiment let him discover through the investigation of himself and others -- through books, pictures, slides, etc. -- that everything we take for granted is scientific truth. You do not need today to prove to a boy that liquor is bad. Physiology in the public school and the everyday occurrences about him have already furnished him with that knowledge. Furnish him now with the actual facts of the effects of alcohol on the heart centers, lung centers, locomotion centers, knowledge centers, and inhibitory or control centers. Make no statement that is not absolutely scientific. You cannot afford to lie, even to keep the boy from the drink habit. Show concretely -- better yet through the investigation of the boy himself -- the economic and moral waste of the liquor habit, but, in everything, let the hard, cold facts speak for themselves. Let the boy discover for himself that liquor not only would rob him of his best development, if he should become a victim of the habit, but is lowering the tone of his community and country now.

In the matter of pledge-signing be sure the boy knows what he is doing. A written pledge may mean a different thing to you than to the boy. It is better to discuss the subject minutely with the boy, then let him write his promise in his own language, without any written guide. Do not let the boy be anything but true to himself. Be scientific and educational in all your methods.

When you approach tobacco and cigarettes, do not assume that the boy regards these as bad. He will readily admit that liquor is harmful, but will likely to refuse to recognize that the pipe, cigar, or cigarette are immoral. Your education along this line must be absolutely scientific. The appeal must be to the self and self-interest. They are not good for an athlete; the best scholarship is threatened by them; growing tissue is harmed by indulgence. The appeal must be accurate and must apply now. Do not quote what will happen forty years hence. Boys do not fear old age and its frailties. Present enjoyment is too keen. Do not say that the habit is filthy, etc. Lay the emphasis on health, physical fitness, the joy of present living. The appeal must be one of best development. Economic opportunity also may play a part. If business opportunity is lessened by the habit, prove it. Do not, however, say anything that cannot be supported with incontrovertible evidence. Stick to the scientific facts and the appeal to self-interest.

One thing more! Little good comes from denouncing tobacco in general. A lot of good men, influential men, strong Christian men, use it. If you have facts concerning the bad effects of smoking on mature men that are reliable, make use of them, but be sure you are right about it. Ignorance multiplied by forty or one hundred does not mean wisdom. It is still ignorance. Keep yourself out of the crank army. Do not be so intemperate yourself in thought, speech, and action as to lessen your influence. Temporizing will not do the work, but let us be wise in our approach to the subject before boys, whose viewpoint cannot be expected to be that of adults.

Liquor and the cigarette are national perils, and both of them, for the sake of the teen age boy, must be banished from the land.


Chappel. -- Evils of Alcohol (.60).

Horsely. -- Alcohol and the Human Body ([USD]1.00).

Jewett. -- Control of Body and Mind (Concerning Cigarettes) (.60).

Scientific Temperance Journal (Monthly) (.60 per year).

Towns. -- Injury of Tobacco (Pamphlet, [USD]1.50 per hundred).

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