QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What may result from cultivating the intellect in children before stimulating the emotions?
2. Which governs us most, our feelings or our reason?
3. How can we develop best the right emotions in childhood, such as kindness and unselfishness?
4. In what ways may toys help to develop the child? Discuss here proper and improper toys; which are preferable, dolls or Teddy Bears, in developing motherly instincts? What about soldiers, firearms, etc., in their effect on boys?
For further reading on this point, Mrs. Harrison’s “Study on Child Nature” will be found helpful. Let some member report from the book, if it be available, dealing particularly with pages 66 to 70.
THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE
Love Is the Vital Element Which Transforms Human Nature and Makes Life Worth Living
The sweetest word in all the language is love. Without it life is a frozen tundra where the sun never shines. Home is beautiful because there is love. If a planet exists where love is absent, then it contains no fire-sides, the laughter of children is never heard, flowers do not grow there, and the singing of birds is unknown.
If selfishness is ever overcome, if it is ever transformed into service, it will be when love is triumphant; for love alone is great enough to sacrifice itself for another. Love only can reach the sublime heights of faith and exaltation, of reverence and worship. Love alone has the power to say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”
There is, however, a strange contradiction or opposition in love. Sometimes it is as weak and timid as a bashful girl, at other times, as strong and heroic as an Amazon; now it is like the harmony in music or the delicate coloring of a sunset; again, like the thunderous roar of Niagara or the consuming fire of Vesuvius.
Love is an instrument with many strings, some so delicate that they catch the sweetest symphonies of the soul, others so powerful that they resound to the mighty storms and tempests of life, and some so vibrant that they throb to the sorrows and heartaches of a bleeding world.
Affection is awakened in the child with his first smile in recognition of his mother’s face. How shall this budding affection be rightly nurtured and developed so that it shall flower and bring forth good fruit? It is desired that he shall be generous and possess good will towards others, that he shall have sympathy and the spirit of sacrifice for those dear to him; but too often the fruit of promise is eaten into by the worm of selfishness.
“Selfishness is the most universal of sins and the most hateful. Dante placed Lucifer, the embodiment of selfishness, down below all other sinners in the dark pit of the Inferno, frozen in a sea of ice. Well did the poet know that this sin lay at the root of all others. Think, if you can, of one crime or vice which has not its origin in selfishness.”