“To meet the great tasks that are before us, we require all our intelligence, and we must be sound and wholesome in mind” (Elwood Hendricks).
WHOLESOMENESS HAS AS MUCH TO DO WITH THE MIND AS WITH THE BODY. While things that are wholesome in a physical sense are obviously important, our minds are no less in need of wholesomeness than our bodies. Both physically and mentally, our ability to function and deal with the challenges that come our way depends on our state of health — and our state of health depends, to a large extent, on our nourishment. It is foolish to think we can ingest an unwholesome “diet” and our abilities not be affected. “Garbage in, garbage out” is not only true of computers but of human beings.
But wholesomeness — especially mental wholesomeness — is not a quality that modern people admire. If a person said that he wanted to think only wholesome thoughts, he would brand himself as being a small-town simpleton, out of touch with the coolness of pop culture. It is regrettable, but we may as well face it: wholesomeness is not hip.
But think of what wholesomeness means. It means “healthfulness.” Wholesome food, wholesome activities, and wholesome thoughts are those that promote well-being. They are salutary and conducive to soundness of mind and body. Open any dictionary and look at the synonyms for “wholesome.” You will see words like “healthy,” “hardy,” “hale,” “robust,” and “vigorous.” How can we think of these as positive conditions and not be interested in wholesomeness? Faced with a choice between what’s hip and what’s healthy, why does healthfulness have to be such an unappealing alternative?
At the risk of being written off as unsophisticated, I’m going to come down firmly on the side of wholesomeness. Frankly, most of us live in a culture that’s awash in unhealthfulness. At every point on the spectrum from physical to mental to spiritual healthfulness, we are surrounded by unhealthful influences. To maintain our wholeness and wellness, we must resist the junk — especially the mental junk. And let me say it: nowhere is this more important than in our homes.
“The home should be a self-contained shelter of security, a kind of school where life’s basic lessons are taught . . . a place where wholesome recreations and simple pleasures are enjoyed” (Billy Graham).