Our desire is to make these studies bring lasting returns for good. May God add his blessings to make our work divinely successful,
Your brethren in the gospel,
Parents’ Class Committee of Deseret Sunday
School Union Board,
Henry H. ROLAPP, Howard R. Driggs.
Nathan T. Porter, Ephraim G. Gowans.
This treatise on child study and training has been prepared primarily for the Parents’ classes in Sunday School under the direction of the General Board. It is well adapted also for study by Parent-Teachers’ Associations and for reading in the home.
Its purpose is to acquaint parents with the most vital problems of child life and character and to suggest some methods of solving these problems. The work is not offered as a complete course in this great subject; it is intended rather to open up the field of child study for parents.
The welfare of the race depends upon the proper birth and the correct rearing of children. That this little volume may add its mite towards the solution of the problem—at once the hope and the despair of civilization,—is the wish of its author.
To the Parents’ Class Committee and the General Superintendency of the General Board, I desire to express my appreciation for the suggestions and help they have extended to me in the preparation of this work.
To my wife, who achieves in practice what I imperfectly state in theory, these studies are affectionately dedicated.
It Is the Sacred Right of the Child To Be Well-Born
If the child has any divine right in this world, it is the right to be well-born, to be brought into the world sound of body and whole in mind. To be given anything short of such a good beginning is to be handicapped throughout life. Education and training cannot make up for the defects imposed on the child by the sins of the fathers, which, the Good Book tells us, are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
It is a fact to challenge attention that the child is the product of the entire past. His essential nature is comparatively fixed at birth and is beyond the power or caprice of parent or environment to change in any fundamental particular during the short period of a lifetime. This assertion must not be wrongly interpreted; the possibilities of training and education are great, but they can do little to overcome all of the defects placed upon the child by heredity.
Science tells us that normal children are born with the same number and kind of instincts. By instinct is meant the tendency to do certain things in a definite way without previous experience. In all children, for example, we find the instinct of fear, the instinct for play, for self-preservation. These instincts begin to manifest themselves more or less strongly as the child develops.