The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.
(c)1998-2002; (c)2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
All other sections in this Literature Study Guide are owned and copyrighted by BookRags, Inc.
|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|Title: Parent and Child Vol. III., Child Study and Training||1|
|PARENT AND CHILD||1|
|FOR THE DESERET SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, SALT LAKE CITY||1|
|A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR||2|
|THE BIRTHRIGHT OF CHILDHOOD||2|
|IMPORTANT LAWS OF HEREDITY||4|
|THE MOTHER AND THE EMBRYO||7|
|THE PLASTIC AGE OF CHILDHOOD||9|
|THE NEEDS OF THE INFANT||12|
|CARE OF THE BABY IN SUMMER||13|
|MAXIMS ON HABIT||21|
|HABITS OF INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD||23|
|THE MEANING OF CONSCIOUSNESS||24|
|POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE TRAINING||27|
|FOOD, DRESS AND TOYS||29|
|CULTIVATING THE EMOTIONS||30|
|THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE||31|
|TRAINING IN THE HOME||40|
|TRAINING BY THE CHURCH||43|
|TRAINING IN THE SCHOOL||45|
|THE DUTY OF THE STATE||48|
|MAN’S PARTNERSHIP WITH NATURE||53|
|CONSERVATION OF THE CHILD||56|
|QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION||63|
|QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION||63|
|QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION||64|
|QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION||64|
|THE ADOLESCENT BOY AND GIRL||64|
|REFERENCE BOOKS FOR PARENTS’ CLASSES||76|
Author: Mosiah Hall
Release Date: February 2, 2004 [EBook #10916]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK child study and training ***
Produced by John Hagerson, Kevin Handy, Andrea Ball,
and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team.
BY MOSIAH HALL
Child Study and Training
A WORD OF INTRODUCTION
Home-making and the rearing of children is the fundamental business of this world. To make a success of this business we must understand it. The loving hearts of many parents are suffering for a multitude of mistakes that loving intelligence might have prevented. We cannot save our children in ignorance. To perform the duties of parenthood well, we must understand them more clearly. We need light and uplift. These days demand greater knowledge than ever before on the part of parents to meet and master the problems that now confront fathers and mothers.
Particularly do we need to study child nature. A clearer understanding of the laws governing the development of children would give parents great help in guiding their children into paths of righteousness, and in ministering to varying child needs as they develop.
To give definite help and new spirit to our work, this volume has been prepared. The keynote of the book is a more enlightened parenthood. It offers a series of lessons along a line most vital to parents—Child Study and Training.
These lessons have been written for us by Mosiah Hall, Associate Professor in Education of the University of Utah, and High School Inspector for the State of Utah. We feel that he has done for our cause most excellent service, and we gladly acknowledge our indebtedness to him.
This should be remembered: A book gives wisdom only in proportion to the thought that is put into it by the reader. The suggestions of this volume will become rich only as they are enriched by study. They will become valuable only to the extent that they find application in our daily lives. The lessons will be vitalized only as the teacher pours life into them.
To supplement and enrich the course, references are given with most of the lessons, and a list of books is offered at the close of the book. Many of these volumes have already been purchased and distributed through the parents’ class library. Each class should endeavor to procure at least one copy of each of these books as it is called for in the various lessons. In this way a good library can be gradually built up.
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.
Children also have certain capacities. Capacity may be defined as the possibility to develop skill in certain directions. One, for instance, may have a greater capacity to develop musical ability than another; so with art or business, or ability for any other work. Capacities, more than instincts, seem to depend on the characteristics of parents or immediate ancestors. Thus a child may take after father or mother, or grandparent in this or that particular ability. Instincts, on the other hand, seem to be his inheritance from the race. But whatever his gifts from parent or past the child is born a distinct individual. This is true not only with regard to his physical organism but in respect to his spiritual nature. The relative strength of his instincts, added to the number and quality of his capacities determine what is called individuality. This is what makes each child differ from all others, and this distinctive nature cannot be essentially changed, within our brief lives, though it does possess marvelous powers of development and adaptation. For illustration: Cultivation may develop a perfect specimen of a crabapple, but no amount of careful training could change the crabapple into a Johnathan. Likewise, no system of education can hope to change a numskull into a Newton, or to produce a Solomon from a Simple Simon.
The first vital concern of parents, therefore, should be to see that the child is not robbed of his sacred birthright to be well-born.
It is a matter of regret that the white race generally is such a sorry mixture of humanity. The good and the bad, the intelligent and the ignorant, the feeble-minded and the strong, the criminal and the righteous, have been combined so frequently and in so many ways that the marvel is that more of the human race are not degenerate as the result of contamination. Since the great characteristic of heredity is to breed true and thus perpetuate its kind, and since training and education must take the individual as he is, with only limited power to change his intrinsic nature or to develop any capacity not present at birth, it becomes a matter of serious importance that parents do all in their power to guide properly the mating of their children. The teaching of the Gospel on this point is most significant.
Heredity determines to a great extent the kind and the nature of the individual, and thereby sets limits, which the environment may not overcome. Among these limitations are the following:
1. The relative strength of instincts.
2. The number and kind of capacities.
3. The form, size and quality of bodily organs.
4. Susceptibility to, or power to resist disease.
5. The possibilities of mental attainment.
6. The possibilities of emotional and spiritual response.
7. The possibility to execute undertakings, to control situations, and to govern self as well as others.
Heredity also endows a person with his peculiar temperament, with his good or bad looks, and with the chief components of what is called personality. On the other hand, training and education have almost everything to say respecting the relative standing of the individual among the members of his kind—whether or not he shall be a blighted or a perfect specimen. A fine, sweet, juicy crabapple is more desirable than a scrubby, diseased Jonathan.
It is the province of training and education to take the individual as he is born, and endeavor to make of him a perfect specimen of his kind. “A child left to himself bringeth his parents to shame.” If left alone or improperly trained, a child is almost certain to revert to a lower type of individual. The same high possibilities that, properly directed, produce the superior being, if neglected, or subjected to a vicious environment, produce the moral degenerate. The child is born morally neither good nor bad, and while inherited tendencies may make development in one direction easier than in another, it is possible for a favorable environment, assisted by education, to develop any normal child into a sweet, wholesome product of his kind.
Shearer in his “Management and Training of Children,” says: “The child may inherit instincts, but a kind Providence has ordained that he shall not inherit habits. He may inherit certain tastes, but he does not inherit temptation. He may bring into the world tendencies, but he does not bring with him prejudices.”
Questions for Discussion
1. What does the expression “being well-born” mean to you?
2. What responsibility is laid upon parents by the fact that the child is the product of the past? Read the second commandment here and discuss its significance in application to this point.
3. What are some of the instincts and capacities given to the child by heredity?
4. Explain the difference between an instinct and a capacity. What seems to be the source of our instincts?—our capacities?
5. What are the chief limitations placed by heredity upon the child?
6. What may education and environment hope to accomplish?
References: “The Right of the Child to be Well Born,” will be found a helpful book to study here. It may be well, if the book is available, to have someone appointed to report on it or to read a few choice paragraphs from it. Also read “Being Well Born,” by Guyer.
A Wise Application of the Laws of Inheritance Is the Most Certain Means of Developing a Superior Race
In the preface of Dr. Guyer’s remarkable book, “Being Well Born,” we read the following: “It is no exaggeration to say that during the last fifteen years, we have made more progress in measuring the extent of inheritance and in determining its elemental factors than in all previous time.” If this is true, it would seem to be almost criminal for teachers and parents to neglect to acquaint themselves with the fundamental laws of heredity. This author says further: “Since what a child becomes is determined so largely by its inborn capacities, it is of the utmost importance that teachers and parents realize something of the nature of such aptitudes before they begin to awaken them. For education consists in large measure in supplying the stimuli necessary to set going these potentialities and of affording opportunity for their expression.”
Mendel’s law is probably the most important known principle of inheritance. Through its application practically all of the improvements in plants and animals have been brought about. This law may be explained as follows: A certain kind of pure bred fowl is found which is either pure white or black. If either color is mated with its own color the resulting progeny will be true to the color of the parents, but if a white and a black are crossed the result will be blue fowls possessing one-half the characteristics of each parent, but strange to say, if two blue fowls are mated the progeny will not be all blue, one-fourth will be white like one grandparent, another one-fourth black like the other grandparent, and one-half will be blue like the parents. If this experiment is repeated with plants and animals having opposite characteristics, the same ratios as above always result. This indicates that truly heritable traits or characters are separate units and are inherited independently. The breeder is thus enabled through selecting the traits or characters that are wanted and crossing them with a well-known stock, to produce almost any trait or quality that he desires. This law makes it possible to estimate the results of cross breeding with almost mathematical exactness. Improved varieties of fruits, grains and vegetables have been produced in this manner, and with animals marvelous results have been achieved.
Luther Burbank, in his little book, “The Training of the Human Plant,” says: “There is not a single desirable attribute which, lacking in a plant, may not be bred into it. Choose what improvement you wish in a flower, a fruit, or a tree, and by crossing, selection, cultivation and persistence, you can fix this desirable trait irrevocably.” And further: “If then we could have twelve families under ideal conditions where these principles could be carried out unswervingly, we could accomplish more for the race in ten generations than can now be accomplished in a hundred thousand years. Ten generations of human life should be ample to fix any desired attribute. This is absolutely clear, there is neither theory nor speculation.”
Acquirements of parents during their lifetime, according to the best authorities, are not transmitted to any noticeable extent to their children. This appears to be due to the fact that the cells concerned in reproduction are set aside during embryonic life and from then on are practically unmodified by the succeeding development and experiences of the parent. In fact, during the lifetime of the individual, the germ cells are so completely isolated from the growing organism that nothing but nourishment in the shape of blood can possibly reach them, hence they can be affected only by a vitiated or poisonous blood supply. It seems to be true, therefore, that only the old, deeply-impressed traits, capacities, or racial characters can be inherited. This is, no doubt, the chief secret of the power of heredity to breed true.
It has been a popular belief that if parents acquired skill in music, mathematics, or special ability in any other particular that such ability could be imparted to their children, but in the light of the above facts, this appears to be impossible. Of course, if such ability is a slumbering, inborn trait of either parent, or of some immediate ancestor, the ability might be transmitted.
It is reasonable to suppose, however, that any acquired trait or ability of the parent, if practised and continued steadily by his children and their descendants for many generations, will come to be an inborn trait or character capable of being transmitted. Otherwise, it is extremely difficult to understand how the human family can progress and become permanently improved.
Galton’s law is believed to be approximately correct. It may be stated as follows: Children inherit on the average one-half their characteristics from parents, one-fourth from grandparents, one-eighth from great-grandparents, and so on in ever diminishing ratio to remote ancestors. But owing to the fact that some inheritable traits or characters are likely to be dominant and others recessive, Galton’s law must be modified, so that only under the most favorable conditions can it be regarded as reliable.
Owing to the fact that the primary elements or traits of character contributed by each parent may combine in many ways in the embryo, considerable variation in the children of the same parents is inevitable—one child may resemble the father, another the mother, and yet another some near ancestor. Variability is, therefore, the rule among offspring in the same family, and in some instances it is decidedly pronounced, but in all cases, the variation must be confined to the possible combinations of characters transmitted from parents and ancestors.
The law of regression represents the tendency of the extreme elements of the race constantly to seek the middle or mediocre level. For example, the children of superior parents are not likely to be so brilliant as their parents, and the offspring of inferior people are somewhat better than their parents. This “drag of the race” or “pull of ancestors” is no doubt due to the fact that selection has never been practiced, hence the two-thousand nearby ancestors were most likely an average lot of people, and the “pull” is from the higher towards the lower level. The “pull” is a help to the children of inferior parents but is a handicap to the superior.
If long-continued selection of parents were practiced, the regression would disappear and the “pull” would be upward. Selection of parents possessing superior elements of character and the prevention of the unfit and the criminal from propagating their kind, seem the surest hope we have of producing a permanently higher type.
It is well known that the extremes of the race are less fertile than the means; and since fertility is the chief factor in fixing the type, in the absence of selection and repression, the race appears doomed to remain at the dead level of mediocrity. The tremendous significance of this fact is that the welfare of the race—the gradual substitution of a superior for the present mediocre type—rests absolutely upon the willingness and ability of the superior class to do their full share in propagating the race.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is the principle of heredity as discovered by Mendel? Explain by illustrating how it works out in plants and animals.
2. What practical application is made of this law in producing better seed and better breeds?
3. Illustrate Galton’s law.
4. What significance has these laws in the improvement of the human race?
5. Account for the variability of children in the same family.
6. Why are some children inferior, some superior to their parents?
7. Illustrate the “pull of ancestors.”
8. How might this “pull” be made upward instead of downwards, as it now seems to be?
9. What sacred responsibility rests upon superior people to propagate the race?
10. What are the gospel teachings regarding mixed marriages and the rearing of families?
11. What practical steps can and should be taken to prevent feeble-minded and vicious people from propagating their kind?
Reference: The Jukes-Edwards family by Dr. A.E. Winship. If this book be available, have some member of the class make a report on it. “Training the Human Plant,” and “Being Well Born,” will also be found helpful here.
The Care of the Mother During the Embryonic Period Determines Largely the Future Welfare of the Child
In common with every organism the infant develops from a single germ cell of almost microscopic size. Wrapped in this tiny cell are all the possibilities of structure and character that combine to form the complicated bodily organism and the particular mental endowment of the coming child.
It was once believed that almost any kind of physical or mental change could be brought about in the cell through appropriate control of the environment, but the results of careful observation and experiment are opposed to this view; all evidence points to the fact that no new character or element can enter the embryo from without. The cell itself holds the secret of what the future individual shall be.
The sole connection between the embryo and the mother is the narrow, umbilical cord which contains no nerves and whose only function is to carry blood to the growing organism; it may be seen, therefore, how impossible it is for mental impressions and disturbances on the part of the mother to in any way reach and affect the embryo. Once started on the road to development, the embryo is so thoroughly subject to inner laws that nothing from without can modify or change the direction of its growth except some physical cause which interferes with the blood supply. An adequate supply of pure blood is the principal requirement of the growing organism. Whatever interferes with the blood supply or in any way affects its purity, has an injurious affect upon the embryo. There is not the least doubt that lack of nutrition and serious ill-health on the part of the mother have an extremely bad effect upon the unborn offspring. Severe shock or grief, worry, nervous exhaustion, disease, and poisons in the blood of the mother are the most serious sources of injury; they render nutrition defective and if poison enters directly the blood of the mother or is generated by toxins through disease, the embryo will be poisoned and may be destroyed. Among these poisons are alcohol, lead, and the toxins from tuberculosis and the venereal diseases, gonorrhea and syphilis. To gonorrhea is attributed 80 per cent. of the blindness of children born blind; it is declared to be the cause of 75 per cent. of all the surgical operations for female disorders and of 45 per cent. of involuntary sterility in childless women. Syphilis is the chief cause of feeble-mindedness, paresis, or softening of the brain, and of most other mental defects in children.
From the foregoing, it is evident that the proper care of the mother so as to insure a pure blood supply for the offspring ought to be one of the chief concerns of society. This should not be left to the haphazard efforts of individuals but ought to be provided for by the state. According to the statements of life insurance companies, “expectant mothers are the most neglected members of our population.” Dr. Van Ingen, of New York City, estimates that 90 per cent, of women in this country are wholly without prenatal care.
Luther Burbank shows that in order even for a plant to grow properly it must have abundance of sunshine, good air, and nourishing food; but not many mothers at this time may have even these poor luxuries. Instead, too many mothers are slaves to an insanitary kitchen where sunshine is scarcely known and where overwork and worry destroy all appetite for food.
The welfare of the race demands that the mother shall be properly nurtured and protected during this critical period. Abundance of sunshine, pure air, light exercise and a variety of wholesome food are absolutely essential, and the utmost pains should be taken to prevent worry, excitement, sickness and above all contact with or exposure to poisons or disease.
It was once thought that whatever causes a mental disturbance in the mother leaves its impress on the child. It is fortunate that this old notion is false, as we have shown nothing but a physical change affecting the blood supply can possibly influence the developing organism. Now and then a red “flame” spot or so-called birthmark is found on the new-born child, but this is due always to some physical cause which may be easily explained, never is it a result of fear of some red object on the part of the mother.
1. How does embryonic life begin?
2. What is characteristic of the cell?
3. What secret does it hold?
4. What is the principal need of the embryo?
5. State fully how the blood supply may be vitiated and what terrible consequences may follow.
6. How should the mother be cared for during this critical period?
7. How may mother drudgery in the home be reduced to a minimum?
8. What directions does Mrs. West give for the care of the mother? (See bulletin, “Parental Care,” by Mrs. West, which may be had free for the asking. Address Children’s Bureau, Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.)
9. References: The following books will be found helpful: “The Training of the Human Plant,” by Burbank; “The Right of the Child to be well born,” by Dawson; “Being Well Born,” by Guyer.
If these are available, they may be circulated through the parents’ library.
Prolonged Infancy and the Long Period of Plasticity in the Infant Make Training and Education Possible
The child is born the weakest and most helpless of creatures. Unlike the young of most animals, which within a few hours after birth move about and perform most of the movements necessary to their existence, the infant is so helpless that all its needs must be supplied by parents, otherwise it would perish. Immediately after birth a colt or calf can walk or run almost as fast as its mother; the chick just out of its shell can run about and peck at its food. The child at one year of age can barely totter around and all of its needs must be looked after by others. Moreover, the infant at birth is practically blind and deaf and the senses of taste and smell and touch just sufficiently developed to enable it to take nourishment.
This slowness of development, or prolonged infancy as it is called, is of vast significance to the child. It marks at once the chief distinction between the human infant and the young of all other animals. It makes possible a long period of adjustment and training which otherwise would be impossible. Most animals are born with a nervous system highly developed and with most of the adjustment to the environment ready made, so that after a short time all the activities of life are perfected and thereafter automatic action and instinct rule their lives. Because of this lack of infancy and absence of plasticity of the nervous system, animals are little more than machines that perform their task with unvarying regularity in response to outside stimulations. Animals, therefore, are unable to adjust themselves to a change in environment, and as a result their lives are in constant danger. In fact, countless millions of the lower forms of life are perishing every hour because of the lack of possibility of adjustment.
The child, on the other hand, has an extremely long period of infancy, and as a result, the nervous system is so plastic that it may be moulded, fashioned and developed in almost any manner or direction, according to the will of parents and the nature of the environment. The child, consequently, may be educated. By education we mean the training and developing of desirable instincts and capacities and the inhibiting of undesirable ones so that the child may be able constantly to adjust himself to an ever-changing environment.
Fiske, in “The Meaning of Infancy,” Chapter 1, says: “The bird known as the fly-catcher no sooner breaks the egg than it will snap at and catch a fly. This action is not very simple, but because it is something the bird is always doing, being indeed one of the very few things that this bird ever does, the nervous connections needful for doing it are all established before birth, and nothing but the presence of the fly is required to set the operation going. With such creatures as the codfish, the turtle, or the fly-catcher, there is nothing that can properly be called infancy. With them, the sphere of education is extremely limited. They get their education before they are born. In other words, heredity does everything for them, education nothing.
“All mammals and most birds have a period of babyhood that is not very long, but it is on the whole longer with the most intelligent creatures. The period of helpfulness is a period of plasticity. The creature’s career is no longer exclusively determined by heredity. There is a period after birth when its character can be slightly modified by what happens to it after birth, that is, by its experience as an individual. It is no longer necessary for each generation to be exactly like that which has preceded. The door is opened through which the capacity for progress can enter. Horses and dogs, bears and elephants, parrots and monkeys, are all teachable to some extent, and we have even heard of a learned pig, and of learned asses there has been no lack in the world.
“But this educability of the higher mammals and birds is, after all, quite limited. Conservatism still continues in fashion. One generation is much like another. It would be easy for foxes to learn to climb trees, and many a fox might have saved his life by so doing; yet quick-witted as he is, this obvious device has never occurred to him.”
The vital problem with parents is how to fill this period of plasticity, how to provide an educative environment of the right kind.
Luther Burbank, in “The Training of the Human Plant,” expresses complete confidence in the power of the environment through appropriate training to fashion the normal child, just as he could a plant, into a most delightful and beautiful specimen of its kind. He says: “Pick out any trait you want in your child, granted that he is a normal child, be it honesty, fairness, purity, lovableness, industry, thrift, what not. By surrounding this child with sunshine from the sky and your own heart, by giving the closest communion with nature, by feeding this child well-balanced, nutritious food, by giving it all that is implied in healthful environmental influences, and by doing all in love, you can thus cultivate in the child and fix there for all its life all of these traits, and on the other side, give him foul air to breathe, keep him in a dusty factory or an unwholesome school-room or a crowded tenement up under the hot roof; keep him away from the sunshine, take away from him music and laughter and happy faces; cram his little brains with so-called knowledge; let him have vicious associates in his hours out of school, and at the age of ten you have fixed in him the opposite traits. You have, perhaps, seen a prairie fire sweep through the tall grass across a plain. Nothing can stand before it, it must burn itself out. That is what happens when you let weeds grow up in your child’s life, and then set fire to them by wrong environment.”
Mr. Burbank is probably over-enthusiastic in his belief that natural education can do everything for the child; but it is certain that environment does exercise a powerful influence, during the plastic age, in determining his character.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Compare the helplessness of the infant at birth with the ability of the young of other animals.
2. At one year of age, what is the comparison?
3. What is the significance of prolonged infancy respecting (a) possibility of adjustment to environment, (b) possibility of training and education, (c) possibility of profiting from experience, (d) the relation to heredity?
4. What advantage is it that man is born with the germs of many capacities instead of with a few activities that are perfectly developed?
5. What is the chief function of education?
6. What does Burbank say respecting the possibilities of training?
7. What common-sense training should every child be given during this period?
Good books, for further study on these points, are: “The Care and Training of the Child,” by Kerr, and “Fundamentals of Child Study,” by Kirkpatrick.
If these volumes are in the library or otherwise available, it may be well to have some member read and give a brief report on one or the other of them.
The Infant’s First Needs Are Physical, and May Be Summed up in the Word Nutrition
The new-born child differs in nearly all particulars from the adult. It is very unfortunate that the child in the past has been regarded as a miniature adult and treated like “a little man.”
The structure of muscle and bone and the proportion of various parts of the body differ materially; the bones of the child for some time are soft and largely composed of cartilages which may be easily bent out of shape and permanently injured. The ratio of some of the parts is about as follows:
* * * * *
Height of head of adult to that of infant—2
Length of body of adult to that of infant—3 to 1
Length of arm of adult to that of infant—4 to 1
Length of leg of adult to that of infant—5 to 1
Besides these easily observed differences, there are others of far more consequence not easily seen, such as differences in the size, structure and activity of vital organs, and in the almost total lack of nervous development in the child as compared with the adult. All of these things make of the child an individual so different from the adult that he must be treated in accordance with his own nature and needs and with little regard to the way in which an adult is considered.
Practically everything that the infant needs may be summed up in the one word nutrition. A sufficient supply of pure milk from the mother is the one supreme requirement. If this is assured, everything else is almost certain to follow. Of course, the little one must be kept at the right temperature, which is comparatively high during the first few months. An abundance of pure, fresh air also must be supplied to both mother and child. It is wise for both to spend much time in the open air and to sleep on a screened porch.
The child should be kept quiet and permitted to sleep as long as nature dictates. It is a positive sin to snatch the child from its bed, toss it up and down and screech at it for the edification of curious visitors. Kissing the child in the mouth should also be positively prohibited. The use of patent medicines likewise, or even many of the “old mother remedies” should never be indulged except on the advice of a competent physician. The needs of the child for some time are strictly physical. Inner forces are at work which cannot be assisted except indirectly through care of the physical organism. So far as nervous or mental development is concerned the rule should be, “Hands off, let Nature take her course.”
Immediately after birth certain reflexive and instinctive movements, such as sucking, crying, sneezing and clinging are manifested; and the sense of taste and usually smell are also sufficiently active to enable the infant to take nourishment. No other senses are active and no other movements possible except the automatic action of vital organs and a few vague spasmodic twitchings and movements of parts of the body known as impulsive. Nothing, however, can be done from without to hasten the mental awakening; Nature in her own due time will do this, and do it much better if not hurried or interfered with.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Show that the infant is not an adult in miniature.
2. What are some important differences between the child and the adult?
3. What is the supreme need of the infant? Why?
4. What should be observed in caring for the child?
5. What should be avoided in caring for the child?
6. What should be the rule in early mental development?
7. What is active in the child immediately after birth?
“The Care of the Child in Health,” by Oppenheim, will be helpful here. If the book is in the parents’ library, let someone prepare and make a brief report on it for next lesson.
The following other helps may be had for the asking by writing to the U.S. Bureau of Education: “Parental Care,” by Mrs. West, Series No. 1, publication No. 4, U.S. Department of Labor, Children’s Bureau. The following chapter is taken from one of these bulletins prepared for parents by our Government.
Summer Is a Critical Time for the Infant, During This Time It Should Receive the Most Careful Attention
A baby must be kept as cool as possible in summer, because over-heating is a direct cause of summer diarrhea. Even breast-fed babies find it hard to resist the weakening effects of excessive heat. Records show that thousands of babies, most of whom are bottle-fed, die every year in July and August, because of the direct or indirect effects of the heat. Next in importance to right food in summer are measures for keeping the baby cool and comfortable; frequent baths, light clothing and the selection of the coolest available places for him to play and sleep.
A baby should have a full tub bath every morning. If he is restless and the weather is very hot, he may have in addition one or two sponge baths a day. A cool bath at bedtime sometimes makes the baby sleep more comfortably. For a young baby, the water should be tepid; that is, it should feel neither hot nor cold to the mother’s elbow. For an older baby it may be slightly cooler, but should not be cold enough to chill or frighten him.
If the water is very hard a tablespoonful of borax dissolved in a little water may be added to three quarts of water to soften it. Very little soap should be used and that a very bland, simple soap, like castile. Never rub the soap directly on the baby’s skin, and be sure that it is thoroughly rinsed off, as a very troublesome skin disease may result if a harsh soap is allowed to dry on the skin.
Use a soft wash cloth made from a piece of old table linen, towel, knitted underwear, or any other very soft material, and have two pieces, one for the face and head and one for the body. The towel should be soft and clean also. Even in summer the baby should be protected from a direct draft when being bathed lest he be too suddenly chilled.
A young baby should be carefully held while in the tub. The mother puts her left hand under the baby’s arm and supports the neck and head with her forearm. But an older baby can sit alone and in summer may be allowed to splash about in the cool water for a few minutes.
When the bath is finished the baby should be patted dry, and the mother should take great care to see that the folds and creases of the skin are dry. Use a little pure talcum powder or dry sifted corn starch under the arms and in the groin to prevent chafing. If any redness, chafing, or eruption like prickly heat, develops on the skin, no soap at all should be used in the bath. Sometimes a starch, or bran, or soda bath will relieve such conditions.
Bran Bath. Make a little bag of cheesecloth and put a cupful of ordinary bran in it and sew or tie the top. Let this bag soak in the bath, squeezing it until the water is milky.
Starch Bath. Use a cupful of ordinary cooked starch to a gallon of water. (If the laundry starch has had anything added to it, such as salt, lard, oil, bluing, it must not be used for this purpose.)
Soda Bath. Dissolve a tablespoonful of ordinary baking soda in a little water and add it to four quarts of water.
Clothing. Do not be afraid to take off the baby’s clothes in summer. All he needs in hot weather are the diaper and one other garment. For a young baby this may be a sleeveless band which leaves the arms and chest bare, and for an older baby only a loose, thin cotton slip or apron, or wrapper, made in one piece with short kimono sleeves. Toward nightfall when the day cools, or if the temperature drops when a storm arises, the baby should, of course, be dressed in such a way as to protect him from chill.
Cotton garments are best for the baby in summer. All-wool bands, shirts and stockings should not be worn at any time of the year, and in hot summer weather only the thinnest, all-cotton clothing should touch the baby’s skin, unless he is sick, when a very light part-wool band may be needed. In general, neither wool nor starch should be allowed in the baby’s clothing in summer. Wool is too hot and irritating and starched garments scratch the baby’s flesh.
The baby should be kept day and night in the coolest place that can be found. The kitchen is usually the hottest room in the house, especially if coal or wood is burned for fuel. While the mother is busy with her work the baby should be kept in another room, or better, out of doors, if he can be protected from flies and mosquitoes.
A play pen, such as is described in “Infant Care,” a booklet published by the Children’s Bureau and sent free on request, makes it possible to leave the baby safely by himself on the porch or in the yard, after he is old enough to creep.
A screened porch on the shady side of the house is a boon to every mother, affording a cool, secure place for the baby to play and also to sleep. Let him have his daytime naps on the porch and sleep there at night during the heat.
Do not be afraid of fresh air for the baby. He cannot have too much of it. Night air is sometimes even better than day air, because it has been cooled and cleansed of dust by the dew.
The essentials in the summer care of babies are:
1. Proper food, given only at regular intervals.
2. A clean body.
3. Fresh air, day and night.
4. Very little clothing.
5. Cool places to play and sleep in.
Do not give the baby medicine of any sort unless it is ordered by the doctor. Never give him patent remedies which are said to relieve the pain of teething, or to make him sleep, or to cure diarrhea, for such medicines are likely to do the baby much more harm than good, especially in summer when the digestion is so easily disturbed. It is so much easier to keep the baby well than it is to cure him when he is sick, that wise mothers try to take such care of the baby that he will not be sick.
Do not fail to give the baby a drink of cool water several times a day in hot weather. Boil the water first, then cool it, and offer it to the baby in a cup, glass, or nursing bottle. Babies and young children sometimes suffer cruelly for lack of drinking water.
QUESTIONS ON TEXT
1. What are the chief causes of sickness and death among children during the summer time?
2. What are the best preventatives for baby ills during the hot months?
3. Discuss the importance of bathing and tell how to bathe the child.
4. What is the best way to dress the child during the heated time of the year?
5. What provisions should be made for his sleeping?
6. Discuss the use of patent medicines.
7. What should be done regarding the drink of the child? Why?
8. What can best be done by the well-to-do and by the community as a whole to protect and preserve the babies?
Reference: Selections from “Child Nature and Child Nurture,” by St. John.
This Activity Is Expressed in Simple Reflexes, Complex Instincts, or Internally Caused Impulses
As already mentioned, the physical needs of the infant are supreme. Proper nourishment, the right temperature, bathing, and an abundance of fresh, pure air constitute all of his requirements. The child is endowed, however, with an enormous capacity for movement which is the outward expression of his awakening mental life.
The first great mental fact to note is that the infant is born with the capacity to respond to stimuli both from without and within. Touch the lips of the new-born child with the nipple or even the finger, and immediately the sucking instinct takes place; let a bright light shine into the open eye, and the iris at once contracts; plunge the little one into cold water or let it be subject to any bodily discomfort and at once the crying reflex takes place. The simple, direct responses to stimuli such as sneezing, coughing, wrinkling, crying, response to tickling, etc., are termed reflexes. The more complex responses which are purposeful and are designed to aid or protect the organism, such as sucking, clinging, fear, anger, etc., are called instincts. Besides the movements which are the direct result of stimulation, other movements more or less spasmodic and uncoordinated take place which seem to be the result of internal causes not easily understood.
The whole body is usually involved in these movements, and they are at first extremely random in expression. These are termed impulses and are undoubtedly due to the fact that the infant is a living, breathing embodiment of energy, seeking the means of self-expression. In other words, the infant is active from the beginning, and the slightest kind of internal disturbance is sufficient at times to turn loose an immense number of impulsive movements. This activity at birth is entirely uncontrolled. It seems that in contrast to reflexes and instincts which have prearranged bodily means of expression, the impulses must be subjected to a long period of training and education before they are capable of being controlled and transformed into that voluntary movement which is sometimes called will power.
The immense number and strength of these random, impulsive movements in the infant is in great contrast to the few, instinctive, unchangeable modes of action in lower animals. As already stated, most animals come to the world with the few movements necessary to their existence already provided for and so fixed that future adjustment to new conditions is practically impossible. The child, on the other hand, has marvelous capacity for adjustment to new conditions and presents, therefore, possibilities for training and education that have probably never yet been fully realized in any child.
The reflexes and instincts, however, are much more fixed and certain in their action than are the impulses. No matter what the training and education of an individual may be, he will sneeze, even in church, if the right stimulus is present; or he will cry and shed tears in public if the melodrama excites the proper nerve centers. When the sex instinct is fully aroused or the sentiment of love completely awakened, no one can foretell what the action of the otherwise sane person will be.
All that training and education can do is to inhibit under ordinary conditions certain undesirable tendencies and instincts and to strengthen through exercise those that are desirable; and even then when a crisis comes, the old, hereditary instinct is apt to break through its thin veneer and actually frighten the individual at the unexpected strength it reveals. Slap any man in the face and see what chance his life-long education has against the old barbarous instinct for fighting. But notwithstanding the strength and tenacity of instincts, training and education may inhibit some of them and so transform others into useful habits that for most purposes in life their subjugation seems complete.
A tremendous, almost divine power rests, therefore, in the hands of parents—the power to mold and fashion and transform the impulses and instincts of their children into whatsoever ideals of life and conduct they themselves possess. Where is the parent who fully realizes his privilege and completely performs his sacred duty?
QUESTIONS ON THE TEXT
1. What are the supreme needs of the infant?
2. What is the first mental fact to note?
3. Illustrate reflex movement, instinctive movement, impulsive movement.
4. Contrast the impulses of children with the instincts of lower animals.
5. What opportunity is given parents through the impulsive movements of the infant?
6. What only may training and education hope to accomplish with the instincts of children?
7. What almost divine power is possessed by parents in the training of children?
8. Quote from the Doctrine & Covenants also a passage that deals with the responsibility of parents in teaching the gospel to their children.
Reference: For a further study of instincts, selections from “Fundamentals of Child Study,” by Kirkpatrick, will be found helpful. Also chapters from “Elementary Psychology,” by Phillips.
Habit Is the Tendency to Make Certain Actions Automatic. It Is a Great Time Saver, and Forms the Basis for Training and the Acquirement of Skill
Once activity starts in any direction, the tendency is to persist until satisfaction is reached. If the movement results in pain or even discomfort, or if the end reached is not satisfactory, the movement will be inhibited or discontinued and probably will not be attempted the second time. Whenever the end reached does give satisfaction, the activity is sure to be repeated, and in these later attempts, efforts will be made to reach the end more quickly and with less effort. This is done through eliminating the unnecessary movements and combining the right ones until the complete process is performed with ease and skill.
The repetition alone is not so important as the intelligent improvement of the act through practice until a satisfactory degree of skill is obtained. After the desired end is reached, attention to the process will cease, but thereafter whenever the right stimulus is presented the act will be repeated, and this will be done with much less effort than was first employed; further repetitions of the act require less and less conscious effort until at length it will be performed almost with the same sureness and ease with which reflex or automatic movements take place. Any activity whatsoever when reduced to this automatic stage is termed habit.
The importance of habit in the development of the child can scarcely be over-estimated; in truth, it is the one great process which dominates nine-tenths of all the activity of the individual throughout his entire life. Habits ought to be our most helpful and reliable servants, but they are too often enemies that bind us hand and foot and prevent the realization of our highest possibilities.
Much of the training and education of the child consists, therefore, in acquiring a series of useful habits and in inhibiting acts that might result in habits that are undesirable. A child left to himself or improperly reared will acquire all sorts of undesirable habits which may have the effect of hampering his every movement and which may cause eventually his disgrace and failure in life. Even the adult who fails to practice the details of the various activities connected with his vocation until they result in effective habits of work will usually fail, while the man who has mastered the details of his occupation through reducing them to a series of effective habits will surely succeed. Note the ease and perfection with which the skilled workman performs his labor and compare it with the slow, slovenly work of the unskilled laborer.
One important development of the future will be the employment of an expert in each occupation whose business it will be to teach the workmen the most efficient and economical way of doing his particular work. Even now in many factories high-priced experts are secured whose duty it is to teach the workmen how to eliminate all unnecessary movements in their work and how to combine the right movements necessary to accomplish each task in the best way and in the quickest time. In many instances, the output of the factory has been increased from twenty-five to forty per cent, through this sensible procedure.
Theoretically, good habits should be as easy to acquire as bad ones, but practically this is not the case. Only a few bad habits are the result of conscious choice and effort; for example, the acquiring of a liking for tobacco and liquor, the taste of which for most children is disagreeable if not nauseating at first, but this taste, through practice, often becomes an uncontrollable craving. Most bad habits, however, come about unconsciously and are the result of “just letting things happen.” This, undoubtedly, is what the proverb means which states, “Man is born to trouble as the sparks are to fly upward.”
Most good habits, on the other hand, are the result of conscious effort, especially on the part of parents and teachers. A reason for this is that the strongest instincts in children are those relating to self-preservation and the gratification of personal desires, hence selfishness, greediness, anger, and the fighting instinct are natural to the child, while generosity, good manners, respect for the rights of others, and sympathy require, in order to be properly developed, persistent effort and education. Parents, therefore, must persevere in training up the child in the way he should go if they would cultivate in him habits that bless his whole life.
Imitation also plays a remarkable part in the formation of habits. The child learns to walk, talk, use his hands in certain ways, and to eat, sleep, and dress after the manner of his elders. He uses good language or bad according to the examples heard; in fact, nearly everything a child does is the result of copying after others. Whether his habits be good or bad, efficient or slovenly, therefore, depends largely on the nature of the examples he has to follow.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. How are habits formed?
2. Give examples to show that habit dominates most of the activities of life.
3. Why are good habits more difficult to form than bad ones?
4. Illustrate the power of imitation in the formation of habits.
5. What is the relation of habit to training and education?
6. What is the relation of habit to the skilled workman?
7. In what way can the expert increase efficiency in every vocation and profession?
8. How might much time be saved in the home and on the farm by the acquirement of effective habits in work?
Reference: For further study of habit see “Phillip’s Elementary Psychology.”
Right Habits Must Be Acquired Early; Wrong Habits Are Broken Only Through Tremendous Effort
Whatsoever the parent desires in his child in the nature of attainment or skill, of character or ideal, if not foreign to the nature of the child, may be realized through attention to habit. But the training in right habits should be accomplished during the golden age of childhood when body and soul are plastic and impressions are easily made. Too early the character hardens like cement and thereafter becomes well nigh impossible to change. Think how difficult it is for the adult, but how easy for the child, to acquire skill in music, or facility in speaking a foreign language. With respect to moral virtue and spiritual sentiment, whatsoever good fruit you look for in the man usually appears as seed and flower in the child.
Among the habits that should be impressed early, habits that are absolutely essential to success in life, are the following:
1. Promptness and regularity.
2. Obedience to right and justice.
3. Truthfulness and honesty.
5. Industry or the habit of work.
8. Courtesy and respect for the rights of others.
Crowning these and transcending them in importance are the supreme sentiments and ideals of life, which cannot properly be regarded as habits; they are sympathy, love, faith, reverence for religious convictions, and the ideal of freedom or liberty.
Society itself could not endure but for the stability which habits afford. It is easy to denounce custom and tradition as obstacles to progress and reform, but it should be remembered that they are the social habits which society has acquired through registering the experience of the past, and that while some of them, such as intemperance and sexual vice, are destructive of society, others, like co-operation, and the ideal of freedom, are absolutely essential to human progress.
An example by Oppenheim, in his “Mental Growth and Control,” well illustrates the power of habit. A wealthy woman in New York City became interested in the crowded tenements of the east side; she believed that constant sickness, unclean habits, and the vicious characters of the people were due largely to overcrowding. She secured, therefore, some well furnished cottages in the suburbs and offered them rent free until such time as the occupants should become well established. Her surprise was great when they refused to move into these comparatively luxurious quarters; they seemed to prefer the dirt and disease, the sickness and vice to which they were accustomed. “She did not know the force of habit; she was totally ignorant of the hard and fast condition into which people grow. She had never stopped to consider how necessary it is for the world at large to have such repression. Without this control there could be no peace, no safety, no steady growth in civilized society. The poor would attack the rich, the lawless and violent would assail the peaceful, the indolent would refuse to labor, the regularity and studied discipline of well-ordered life would absolutely cease. In their place anarchy would reign and each day would make confusion worse confounded. Imagine, if you can, what animals would be if they lacked restraint of habit. Man’s power over them would cease instantly and their strength would be a terrible engine of destruction. Men would be as much worse as human intelligence exceeds brute intelligence. One is quite safe in declaring that habit is the great flywheel that regulates society.”
Desirable habits, therefore, together with all necessary reforms, must come about slowly; they should be the result of conscious training and education in all the factors that make for a higher civilization.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What are some habits essential to success?
2. When should training to fix these habits begin? Why?
3. Why do many parents fail to fix right habits in their children?
4. How may wrong habits be overcome and right habits established?
5. What does Solomon say in regard to training the child?
6. Give reasons why community habits are so hard to change? What is the good side of this strength of habit?
7. What is the quickest and surest way to bring about desirable social reforms?
Professor James Gives Four Maxims to Follow in Breaking from an Old Habit or in Acquiring a New One
“1. Take care ’o launch yourself with as strong and decided initiative as possible. Reinforce the right motive with every favorable circumstance; put yourself in a condition that will make the right act easy and the wrong one difficult. Take a public pledge if the case allows; in short, envelop your resolution with every aid possible.
“2. Never suffer an exception to occur until the new habit is securely rooted. Each lapse is like the letting fall of a ball of yarn that is being wound; a single slip undoes more than a great many turns will wind again. It is necessary above all things never to lose a battle; every gain on the wrong side undoes the effects of many conquests on the right.
“3. Seize every opportunity to act in the direction of the desired habit, and permit no emotional prompting in its behalf to escape you. ’Hell is paved with good intentions,’ hence to have good desires, thoughts, intentions without actually working them out weakens and destroys the moral fibre. ‘Character is a completely fashioned will,’ says J.S. Mill, and a will in this sense is an aggregate of tendencies which act in a firm, prompt, and definite way in every emergency of life. When a resolve or a fine glow of feeling is allowed to evaporate without bearing fruit in action, it is worse than a chance lost, it is a positive hindrance to the carrying out of future resolutions. Nothing is more contemptible than a sentimental dreamer who is carried away with lofty thoughts and feeling but who never does a manly, concrete deed. Positive harm is done through cultivating the emotions and sentiments if no outlet is found for some appropriate action.
“4. Keep the faculty of effort alive by a little gratuitous exercise every day. That is, be heroic, do every day something for no other reason than that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need comes, it may find you nerved and trimmed to stand the test. The man who practices self-denial in unnecessary things will stand like a tower when everything rocks around him and when his softer fellow mortals are winnowed like chaff in a blast.
“The hell which theology once taught is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every small stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar. The drunken Rip Van Winkle excuses each drink he takes by saying, ’I won’t count this time.’ He may not count it, and a kind heaven may not count it, but down among his nerve cells and in the muscle fibres, the molecules are counting it, registering and storing it up to be used against him when the next temptation comes. Nothing we do in a strict, scientific sense is ever wiped out; each thought and every deed is registered in the soul and helps to compose that book out of which we will be judged on that great final day when we are called upon to render an account of our stewardship.”
Notwithstanding the difficulty, however, habits may be strengthened, or abolished. The older they are the more difficult they will be to modify; the chief factor involved is the amount of labor required to make the change, the possibility of making it need never be questioned. Breaking the habit of excessive use of drugs, tobacco, tea and coffee, or alcohol, will occasion much discomfort, hardship, and even functional disturbance, but these ills are only temporary, and the organism soon returns to its original normal condition.
To break a well-established habit requires common sense, decision and strength of purpose. “If you want to abolish a habit, you must grapple with the matter as earnestly as you would with a physical enemy. You must go into the encounter with all tenacity of determination, with all fierceness of resolve, with a passion for success that may be called vindictive. No human enemy can be as insidious, as persevering, as unrelenting as an unfavorable habit. It never sleeps, it needs no rest, it has no tendency toward vacillation and lack of purpose. It is like the parasite that grows with the growth of the supporting body and like a parasite, it can best be killed by violent separation and crushing.
“Every time we make an unsuccessful attempt, the final crushing is indefinitely postponed, every time we put off the attempt, the desired result fades farther and farther away. The habit persists and from time to time the path becomes deeper and broader. In addition, during such a period of weakness and indecision, you may be fostering another habit, that of expecting defeat. From this lack of confidence and little faith in yourself and destiny, you must by all means escape at any cost. There is nothing more pathetic than the man who does not believe in himself. No one else will believe in him. But he who has the enthusiasm of belief in himself and never loses sight of his high purpose is the one who can perform wonders.”
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Discuss fully each of the maxims given by Professor James, illustrating by experiences you have known.
2. What expression from Professor James is most impressive to you?
3. What hope is there for those enslaved by a bad habit? How can we best help them?
4. What was Christ’s way of dealing with such people?
5. What are the common habits that most trouble us? How can they be best prevented or overcome?
The First Physical Habits Acquired by the Child Are of Vast Importance and Require Heroic Treatment on the Part of the Mother
From the beginning both physical and mental habits will be acquired by the child. At first, attention must be given chiefly to the regularity of caring for the physical needs of the infant such as giving food at stated intervals, and having a regular time for sleeping, bathing, and for being dressed. It is astonishing how little trouble is caused by the infant when it is trained in correct physical habits from the beginning, compared with the babe that is treated in a spasmodic fashion—everything overdone sometimes and nothing at all done at other times. In the former case the little one is quiet and peaceful and sleeps, as it should, most of the time, especially at night; in the latter case the child is fretful and cross and requires the father to trudge it about at night much to his discomfort and loss of temper.
Nature has given the infant a voice which is not only lusty but which is apt to be used from the first with unnecessary liberality. It is the little one’s only means of responding to stimuli that cause discomfort; at first the infant’s cry is reflex and unconscious; but if every time it cries something happens, a sort of dim consciousness is soon awakened and the habit of crying for nothing or on the slightest provocation is soon established, and thereafter the child will rule the household like a Czar. If, on the other hand, the mother understands that the crying reflex is largely unnecessary at the present time, since she has learned to administer to the infant’s every requirement with clock-like regularity, she will, when assured that nothing ails the child, let it cry if it wants to without giving it the least attention. One can scarcely believe how soon the crying reflex will disappear under such treatment. If, on the other hand, the child is taken up whenever it cries and walked and rocked and fondled, it quickly learns that individuals were made solely to wait on it, and the great instinct of selfishness is aroused which is likely to carry in its wake a world of trouble and disappointment. Who has not heard a crying child in an adjoining room stop suddenly to listen for the sake of discovering whether or not the noises he heard are the regular movements of a person coming to him or merely the irregular noises of the wind or of moving furniture which do not concern him? Not only is the child plastic, but too often a portion of the environment is also plastic and yielding and usually to the lasting detriment of the child. The young mother who would train her child to right habits must be heroic.
When the little one is old enough to sit up in his high chair at the table, his conduct is not apt to be meek and good-mannered. He will snatch at things and tip them over, plunge his fists into the gravy, and fill his mouth with food, stuffing it in with both hands until he chokes. His mother is usually ashamed and grieved at his barbarous conduct; but she need not be, she should remember that good table manners are artificial, not natural, and that they are by no means a racial acquirement. She must resort, therefore, to necessary means to correct the child, even at times to physical punishment, though she herself must leave the room to shed a quiet tear over such seeming cruelty. Place the spoon in his hand and help the child to make the necessary movements and punish him slightly if need be whenever he departs too far from propriety, and it will be astonishing how quickly the conventional habit of table manners will be acquired. The kindest mother is the one who is brave enough to inflict some punishment when this is the surest way to develop needed habits that are unnatural to the child.
Soon the child learns to crawl; he does this because of the primal pleasure he has in bodily movements and because he has reached satisfaction in handling objects within his grasp; and since distant objects will not come to him, he must go to them, and this he does as soon as he is able. If objects would come to him whenever he desired, it is probable that he would not learn to crawl for a long time. Sometimes exceedingly awkward modes of crawling are acquired, which if noted and corrected when first attempted, would save much labor and pains afterward.
So long as crawling answers all demands and gives full satisfaction, it will be continued; but, usually because the child sees others walk, and possibly also because he himself has the instinctive desire to walk, crawling is no longer satisfactory. So he attempts to imitate the walking of his elders and through the aid and encouragement received from them, he accomplishes this marvelous feat—the greatest physical habit he will ever require.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What are the first physical habits that the child should acquire?
2. What results from spasmodic training in these habits?
3. How should the crying reflex be treated?
4. How is selfishness early aroused? How can it be avoided?
5. Why should the young mother be heroic?
6. How may table manners, and other conventional habits be taught?
7. Why do the parents fail to implant right habits in their children?
The following will be found helpful for further studies on this subject: “The Care of the Baby,” by Holt; “The Care of the Child in Health,” by Oppenheim.
Consciousness Is Expressed in Knowing, Feeling, and Willing, Each Phase of Which Should Be Developed Fully and in Perfect Harmony
As already remarked, the chief characteristic of the young child is ceaseless activity. From the time he is able to walk, or even crawl, the great instinct of curiosity is alive, and this at first is likely to lead him into all sorts of places where he should not go and cause him to investigate and even destroy some of the valued possessions of the household. This is a critical period in the development of the child and must be handled with rare judgment. Some knowledge of child psychology is essential here to guide the parent.
About this time three types of mental activity will be noted in the child.
(1) Feeling is one phase or type which expresses itself sometimes in pleasure or pain and at other times in action or anger. The feeling phase of consciousness gives color and tone to every act of life; it is the basis of interest; without it, neither happiness nor sorrow could exist, nor could there be faith or worship. When fully developed, it culminates in the emotions and sentiments, the highest of which are friendship and sympathy, love and duty, patriotism and reverence. The opposite of some of these is anger, hate and jealousy. Feeling makes heaven or hell a possibility and sometimes an actuality.
(2) The knowing phase of mental activity is aware of the outside world as well as of itself; it forms images of things and remembers; in its higher aspects it judges and reasons. This phase of consciousness makes possible invention and scientific achievement. By and through it, man overcomes his environment and makes himself the master of the earth.
(3) The volitional or will phase of mental activity is first manifested in the impulsive, spasmodic movements heretofore described. Later these random movements are brought under control, then comes the ability to select a desired stimulus from among several that are possible, and at length the power to choose between two or more possible modes of action. This highest form is termed voluntary action or will power. It is extremely important to note that the will is not a separate power or faculty which can be cultivated apart from other phases of consciousness. Many foolish things have been written about the power of the will and its capacity for infinite development; as a matter of fact, all three phases of consciousness must be developed together. Every act of the mind of necessity embraces all three phases, since it is impossible to know without feeling or to experience feeling or knowing without activity. The will, therefore, can never be quite so strong as the total consciousness; and at every stage, it needs the feeling phase to give it motive and the knowing phase to make it rational. Knowing, feeling, and willing, therefore, are merely convenient terms that express the varying, changing modes of consciousness, which at one time may be predominately feeling, at another knowing, and again willing. The great fact to remember is that consciousness develops as a unit, and the most highly trained mind is the one in which each phase is developed not only to its maximum but at the same time in perfect harmony with the other two as well as with the total consciousness.
It is impossible to say which of the three phases develops first in the infant, nor is it important to know; the significant fact is that all three evolve together, and whenever activity is strong and well sustained, it is evident that feeling and knowing also are well developed.
When the child is two years of age or over, as above remarked, usually an appalling desire to destroy things is manifested. Dolls will be torn to pieces, the toy bank smashed, and if a hammer can be had, nothing is too sacred to be knocked to pieces. This is not depravity in the child, much as it seems to be, it is a legitimate desire to investigate, to satisfy his curiosity, and to find a means of satisfying his increasing power to do something. Up to this time an object is to the child merely the activity for which it stands; a ball is something to roll or toss, a hammer is to strike with, and it is a matter of supreme indifference to him what is struck. At this stage the child has no sense of values and he cannot possibly know that one object may be hit with a hammer, while another object, such as a mirror, may not. He must be taught this fact; at first it is entirely beyond his experience.
But the child now has considerable capacity for knowing, hence the wise parent can easily and quickly teach him to discriminate and even to be careful to avoid injury to certain objects. No attempt should be made to suppress this new-born power of this searcher after truth; this instinct is the basis of invention and of scientific research; it must be properly guided, but not subdued. Give him playthings which can be taken to pieces and put together, dolls which can be dressed and undressed, horses which can be harnessed and fastened to carts, blocks which can be built into various forms, and above all, for a boy, a large, soft block of wood with plenty of nails, tacks, and a hammer. The amount of energy he will expend in filling the block with tacks or nails is astonishing. Other appropriate ways of expressing his energy should also be provided. Give the child something to do.
This rule ought to be rigidly observed: Never cut straight across the activity of a child, but always substitute some other act in place of the one not desired.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. How is the great instinct of curiosity at first manifested?
2. What three phases of consciousness are there? How do these develop?
3. What is meant by a well-trained mind?
4. What explains the child’s tendency to destroy things? How may this tendency be best overcome?
5. What rule should the parent carefully follow with relation to the child’s activity?
6. What are some sensible activities that may be easily provided for children?
7. Why is it worth while for parents to devote some time, or even money, to providing for the natural activities of children to express themselves in the right ways?
For further study, selections from “Elementary Psychology,” by Phillips, will be found helpful.
Train the Positive Side of the Child’s Nature and the Negative Side Will Need Little Attention.
A negative method trains the child to be hard and critical, and to be constantly looking for opposition to his wishes; it is the chief cause also of slyness, ill-temper and disrespect.
The following illustrations are taken from Mrs. Harrison’s inspiring little book, entitled, “A Study of Child Nature.” “A mother came to me in utter discouragement, saying: ’What shall I do with my five-year-old boy? He is simply the personification of the word won’t.’ After the conversation I walked home with her. A beautiful child, with golden curls and great, dancing, black eyes, came running out to meet us, and with all the impulsive joy of childhood threw his arms about her. ’Don’t do that, James, you will muss mama’s dress.’ I knew at once where the trouble lay. In a moment she said: ‘Don’t twist so, my son;’ and ‘Don’t make such a noise.’ Within a few minutes the mother had used ‘don’t’ five times. No wonder when she said, ‘Run in the house now, mama will come in a minute,’ he replied: ‘No, I don’t want to.’”
“Two older children were playing in a room and soon became boisterous. The busy mother did not notice them, but the little two-year-old child turned round and called out impatiently: ’Boys, ‘top.’ Babies, like parrots, learn the words they hear most frequently. ‘Boys, stop,’ a negative command, had no doubt been used frequently in that household. How easy it would have been to substitute the positive statement: ’Boys, run out in the back yard and play ball,’ or ’Run out into the garden and bring me some flowers for the table.’
“A four-year-old boy when he first entered the kindergarten was the most complete embodiment of negative training I have ever met. It was ’No, I don’t want to,’ ‘No, I won’t sit by that boy,’ ‘No, I don’t like blocks.’ Nothing pleased him; nothing satisfied him. He was already an isolated character, unhappy himself and a source of discomfort to others. Soon after beginning our work, I heard a whizzing sound, and Paul’s voice crying out: ‘Joseph has knocked my soldier off the table and he did it on purpose too.’ My first impulse was to say: ’Why did you do that? It was naughty. Go and pick up Paul’s soldier.’ But that would have been negative treatment, too much of which had been heaped upon him already; so, instead, I said: ’Oh, well, Paul, never mind, Joseph doesn’t know that we try to make each other happy in kindergarten.’
“Some time afterwards I said: ’Come here, Joseph, I wish you to be my messenger boy.’ This was a privilege highly desired by the children. Joseph came reluctantly as if expecting some hidden censure, but soon he was busy running back and forth, giving each child the proper materials for the next half-hour’s work. As soon as the joy of service had melted him into a mood of comradeship, I whispered: ‘Run over now and get Paul’s soldier.’ Instantly he obeyed, picked it up, and placed it on the table before its owner, quietly slipped into his own place and began his work. His whole nature for the time being was changed. Continued treatment of this kind completely transformed the nature of the child.”
Scolding and finding fault are the most common forms of negative training employed by parents. Such treatment brings out and emphasizes the opposite qualities from those desired, since they appeal to the very worst side of the child’s nature. Usually, too, the sympathy of the mother and the affection of the child are separated and coldness takes their place. Suggest to the child at the right time the act you wish him to do and usually it will be quickly accomplished; then if a child is praised a little for his promptness, he will soon grow into the habit of doing promptly other more important tasks. The boy who dallied over everything he did was soon cured by the simple device of counting while he ran an errand and then praising him for his quick return. A little praise goes farther than much censure. Sometimes a boy’s tone and manner are lacking in respect to his mother, or a girl becomes troublesome and defies authority. This condition did not come about suddenly; it is the result of continued negative treatment. Usually, if a boy is disrespectful or a girl impudent, it is because the parents through neglect or improper training, have unconsciously fostered such behavior.
Some children are timid and superstitious, too often they are laughed at and ridiculed; on the other hand, fun should never be made of such children and they should be given every opportunity to develop courage and self-reliance. If a child is irreverent, he should have his eyes opened to the wonders of creation and to the majesty and power displayed by the Maker of the universe. So, in all cases, the parents should beware of the almost universal, negative mode of training which represses, scolds, finds fault, and results in producing hardness, slyness, obstinacy, and other undesirable qualities; instead, positive methods should be employed. They suggest correct action, substitute the right for the wrong, praise for blame, encouragement rather than discouragement, and stimulate to higher endeavor. However, if occasion demands, parents may be stern, unrelenting and even resort to punishment.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is the main point of this lesson?
2. Discuss the “won’t” child.
3. Discuss the “don’t” boy.
4. Discuss scolding and finding fault versus judicious praise.
5. What is the value of suggestion in guiding children? Illustrate.
6. What often explains disrespect and impudence in children?
8. Illustrate some helpful ways that give positive training to children.
Selections from “The Dawn of Character,” by Mumford, will be found helpful, for further studies on this subject.
“The Body Is More Than Raiment; and Life, More Than Meat.”
The normal child is born in a state of naturalness with respect to his tastes and appetites and the endeavor should be to keep him in this natural state. But too often his senses are stimulated to excess and an artificial appetite is begun which usually leads to some form of intemperance. Much of the excess in drinking is due, not to inheritance, but to vicious feeding. A false appetite leads to physical unrest and uneasiness and this naturally lends itself to the pleasure and excitement of drink.
“Why do you not eat the pickles, my son?” said one father; “they are very nice.” “No,” said the boy, “I don’t see any use in eating spiced pickles, it doesn’t help to make me strong; my teacher says so.” Would that every child were thus trained to prefer wholesome to unwholesome food. Our schools are doing good work along these lines of personal hygiene; parents should reinforce the efforts of the teacher by bringing the home hygiene up to the right standards.
The clothing of children also deserves some attention. Probably in nothing else is vanity and selfishness more easily displayed than in dress. How rare a thing it is to find a beautiful child, simply or even plainly dressed, who is neither vain of her good looks nor of her rich apparel. The sweetest object in the world is a beautiful child, tastily dressed, free from vanity, and perfectly natural and unspoiled. The mother who praises her child’s curls or rosy cheeks rather than the child’s actions or inner motives, is developing vanity of the worst kind—placing beauty of appearance above beauty of conduct.
“Fashionable parties for children are abominations upon the face of the earth.” Soon enough the child will come in contact with that which is unnatural and deceitful without having artificial conduct forced upon him.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What may result from developing an artificial appetite in children?
2. What should the young mother avoid in feeding her child?
3. What evils result from over-indulgence in candy, nick-nacks, soda water, etc.?
4. In the dress of children how is vanity often developed?
5. What may result from constant praise of the good looks of the child?
6. Discuss proper dress in children.
For further help on these points read Mrs. Harrison’s
“Study of Child
Nature,” pages 47 to 54.
It Is a Serious Mistake to Begin Educating the Intellect Before Training the Emotions
In the history of the race, art develops before science, just as in nature the blossom comes before the fruit; so in the child emotions come before reason, and he is attracted and his sympathies aroused by nearly any appeal to his senses long before his understanding tells him why. Notwithstanding this fact, nearly every educative effort is confined to the intellect and the feelings are allowed to shift for themselves. The result is that many a child grows up cold, hard, and matter-of-fact, with little of color, poetry or sympathy to enrich his life. The common mistake is to starve the emotions in order to overfeed the understanding. The education of the heart must keep pace with that of the head if a well-balanced character is to be developed. Even in school the teacher too often proceeds to stuff the child with information before first awakening interest in the subject. Once arouse the interest of a child in any subject and he will pursue it to success.
Toys are of much value to children not only as promoters of play but because they appeal to their sympathies and give exercise to the emotions. The two great obstacles to the exercise of the right emotions are fear and pity. Toys are great aids in overcoming these tendencies. Through dramatic play with toys, children exercise their own imaginations and put action into their own lives; and gradually fear and pity are overcome through the confidence the child develops in himself.
“We find the instincts of the race renewed in each new-born infant. Each individual child desires to master his surroundings. He cannot yet drive a real horse and wagon, but his very soul delights in the three-inch horse and the gaily-painted wagon; he cannot tame real tigers and lions, but his eyes dance with pleasure as he places and replaces the animals of his toy menagerie. He cannot at present run engines or direct railways, but he can control for a whole half-hour the movements of his miniature train. He is not yet ready for real fatherhood, but he can pet and play with, and rock to sleep and tenderly guard the doll baby.” Through toys the child practises in miniature most of the activities of the adult and thus gradually bridges the chasm between his small capacity and the great realities and possibilities of life.
The heart should be trained as carefully as the head. Our emotions even more than our reason govern us. Train the child to feel rightly, to admire the good, the true and the beautiful, and you need not fear. He will develop a love of home, of country and of God that will carry him safely throughout all his life. This does not mean that we shall neglect the training of his intellect; both heart and head should be trained together, but the heart must not be neglected; for out of it, says the Good Book, come the issues of life.
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.
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.”
As already stated, the primary instincts of the child favor the development of selfishness and the gratification of the appetites and passions. The utmost care, therefore, must be exercised by the parents, from the very beginning, if the affections and desires of the child are to be trained away from itself and not permitted to become self-centered. Happy is the child whose mother knows how to direct those earliest manifestations of love. The undisciplined senses and appetites easily degenerate into indulgence of passion, or grow into that moral control which delights in temperance.
The inborn desire for praise and recognition may express itself in bragging vanity, or expand into heroic endeavor. So, too, there is a physical love which expresses itself in a mere caress and a higher, purer, more glorious love which manifests itself in service and self-sacrifice. The tremendous hug of the little arms and the kiss of the rosy lips are manifestations of physical love; while the child is in this loving mood the wise mother should ask of him some little service, slight at first, but sufficient to make him put forth some effort to serve her. In this way she can transform this mere selfish love into the beginning of that spiritual love which Christ commended when He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
The parent stands to his child for the time being, as the one supreme source of every power and blessing; the wise parent may establish between himself and the little one almost the same beautiful and solemn relationship as that which exists between the Supreme Giver of all good and His children. “Not every one that sayeth unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.”
“Love is to be tested always by its effect upon the will. From the beginning the will must be made strong and unselfish by repeated acts of loving self-sacrifice. Contrast the selfish, all-absorbing love of Romeo for Juliet, who could not live without the physical presence of the one he loved, with that grandly beautiful love of Hector for Andromache, who, out of the very love he bore her, could place her to one side and answer the stern call of duty that she might never in the future have cause for painful blush.
“I knew an ideal home where husband and wife were filled with the most exalted love I have ever known, but the husband died. The wife said: ’All that was beautiful or attractive in my life went out with my husband, and yet I know that I must, for the love I bear him, remain and rear our child as he would have him reared.’ As I listened to these words, quietly uttered by the courageous wife, I realized what love, real love, could help the poor, stricken heart to endure.”
The child must be trained through love to give up his own will to others, and, from the beginning, learn to submit to things which are unpleasant.
If this thought is insisted on from the first, obedience will come easily to the child; but woe be to both mother and child if egotism, self-will and selfishness secure a fast hold upon the young heart.
A mother should never refuse the help offered by the child. If the work is of such nature that the little one cannot share it, let the mother suggest as a substitute something else which the child can do. Help turned away begets idleness and nourishes selfishness. “No, dear, you cannot help dress baby, but you may hand mama the clothes.”
“A six-year-old boy, who had been taught true love through service, found his mother one morning too ill to answer his many questions. ’Mama cannot talk to you to-day, Philip, she has a severe headache.’ He quietly closed the door and soon there was a mysterious bumping and moving about of the heavy furniture in the next room. Soon it all was still, then the door was gently opened and little Philip tiptoed to his mother’s bed and whispered, ’Mama, I have straightened the furniture and tidied up the room; is your headache better?’
“A little three-year-old boy running rapidly stumbled and bumped his head severely against the trunk of a tree. Loud cries of pain at once arose, but his little brother took him by the arm and pushed him with all his might towards his mother, saying in the most reassuring tone imaginable, ’Run to mama, Ned, run to mama, she’ll kiss it and make it well. Please run to her quick.’ ‘Perfect love casteth out all fear.’ Surely the wise mother can devise a thousand ways by which to kindle the flame of love in her child until her fond dreams for the little ones are transformed into living realities. But the doubter may remark, ’What if I ask my child to do something for me and he refuses or begins to make excuses or asks why his brother can’t do it?’ You have simply mistaken the time for stretching the young soul’s wings. Begin the training when the child is in the loving mood and you will rarely fail to get the desired response; yet, if need be, command the performance of the deed, so that by repeated doing the selfish heart may at length learn the pleasure of unselfishness and thus enter into the joy of true living.”
Let parents take this motto to heart: Trust not the physical love of your child, but seek to transform it into that higher love which manifests itself in service. The real love of your child is measured by the extent to which he will sacrifice his own comfort and pleasure to serve you.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Why has the delicate sentiment of love such a power in shaping the lives of men?
2. What may be said of selfishness?
3. How may the desire for praise be expressed?
4. Contrast physical and spiritual love.
5. How may love help to develop a strong will?
6. How must the child be taught obedience?
7. Illustrate how loving service may be secured.
8. How may the real love of the child for the parent be measured?
There Is No Escape from Wrong-Doing. Mercy Cannot Rob Justice
“Somehow I’ll escape,” is the fatal thought which blinds the poor fool who, for the first time, treads the path of self-indulgence or wrong-doing. But he ought to know that escape is impossible. No cave is dark enough, no ocean deep enough to hide the transgressor from the consequences of his misdeeds. A kind heaven may forgive him, and the one he injures may overlook the offence; but his own body and mind cannot forget; they have registered the deed once for all and it can never be atoned for or forgotten. The doing of a bad deed changes the individual in some particular, slight or great as the case may be, and, pathetic though it seems, he cannot go back and try it over again; the scar remains, as if seared by a hot iron, and, if the hurt is serious enough, heredity may pass it down the ages.
How easily a bad habit is formed. “It won’t hurt me” is whispered by the siren voice of temptation, because the consequences of the transgression are not felt or seen immediately, a second offence seems less serious than the first. Soon habit steps in and stamps the process on mind and body and before the author is conscious of it, a serious appetite or a degrading vice is fastened upon him from which neither time nor effort, prayers nor tears, may ever shake him free.
“Vice is a monster of such frightful mien, That to be hated needs but to be seen, But seen too oft, familiar with its face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”
The child must be trained early to know: “The way of the transgressor is hard,” and “He that sows the wind must reap the whirlwind.” It is a great mistake for the parent to step in and free the child from the consequences of his first wrong acts. Let the consequences fall on his own head, and perchance they will teach him wisdom. The true purpose of punishment is to teach the necessity of obedience to law. Everything that is good and desirable will come to him who obeys the law upon which the blessing is predicated; every evil falls on the head of him who constantly violates law. In the final analysis, the punishments which nature inflicts are kind, because they are warnings which, if heeded, will prevent serious injury. The purpose of all discipline is to produce a self-governing individual, not one who needs to be governed by someone else. Until a person learns to govern himself he counts for little in this world.
Two serious mistakes are made in child government. One is the indulgence of a soft, vacillating policy by the parent which permits a child to shirk his duties and to escape from the natural results of his misdeeds. Through the parent’s taking upon his own shoulders the consequences of the child’s wrong-doing, the child is lured into the false belief that duty may be shirked, responsibility set aside, and life be made to yield one sweet round of pleasure. How will a child so trained be prepared to endure the disappointments and heartaches of a world which compels each of us to drink his portion of the bitter hemlock?
The other mistake is to employ unnatural or arbitrary punishments. Even the smallest child has an instinctive idea of justice and resents anything which he regards as unjust. On the other hand, he learns quickly the inevitableness with which pain follows the violation of law, and how certain is the working out of cause and effect.
Mrs. Harrison gives this admirable illustration: “The little one puts his hand upon the hot stove; no whirlwind from without rushes in and pushes the hand away from the stove, then with loud and vengeful blasts scolds him for his heedlessness or wrong-doing. He simply is burned—the natural consequences of his own deed; and the fire quietly glows on, regardless of the pain which he is suffering. If again he transgresses the law, again he is burned as quietly as before, with no expostulation, threat, or warning. He quickly learns the lesson and avoids the fire thereafter, bearing no grudge against it.”
When the child scatters her toys and playthings all over the room, the natural penalty is to require that they be gathered up and the room made tidy; when the boy scampers across the newly-cleaned floor with his muddy boots, he should be made to mop up the floor carefully; thus in a thousand similar ways, the parent may train the child to observe care and order in everything done.
Nothing is more beautiful than a large family where each child is taught to care for and to rely upon himself, and to give a little willing service to others. But the tired mother will remark, “Oh, yes, that all sounds very nice, but mothers have no time to spare to eternally watch and train their children.” Hold a moment, there is a fallacy here; she ought to say, “I have no time to spare because I failed to train the children in the manner mentioned.” In no other way can the mother save so much time as by taking a little time at first to train the child to be neat, tidy and orderly, or later to feel the inevitable consequences of violating law.
Instead of saving time in this sensible way, too often the mother loses both time and the love of her child through becoming irritable and scolding the little one for every offence committed. Nothing is worse than scolding, a sound thrashing administered now and then is far less cruel. Nearly every evil instinct in the child is aroused through fault-finding and scolding. How long will it take to teach the parent, once for all, that scolding, nagging, shutting up in the dark closets, and every other form of arbitrary punishment arouse in the child a sense of injustice and resentment, which, if not corrected later, will result in estrangement and loss of love between parent and child? The child has a right to expect justice from his parent. Only where this is found will the child develop that sense of freedom and independence of thought and action which produce the highest type of individual—one who is able to govern himself.
“But what shall be done when more serious offences are committed?” The parent may well ask. In all likelihood there will be no serious offences if the slight ones are treated properly. A mother came to me with her face full of suppressed suffering. “What shall I do?” she remarked, “I have discovered that my boy steals money from his father’s purse.” “Give him a purse of his own,” I answered, “and give him ways of earning money of his own.” It is asserted that more than half the boys sent to reform schools go there because of theft. How many of them might have been saved if they had been taught how to earn and to know the value of an honest dollar?
But so long as human nature is imperfect, and frailty so common, we must expect in every family some occasion to arise that will tax the patience and the love of the parent to the uttermost. No rule can be given that will meet every crisis; common sense, justice, forbearance, faith and love may be used in vain; and reproof, censure, and corporal punishment may also fail in some supreme emergency, the only recourse that remains after all these are exhausted is to permit the natural consequences of the deed to fall upon the head of the transgressor.
Rule: Parents should rarely punish the child, but should permit the consequences of carelessness and wrong-doing to fall upon his own head. Wisdom results from suffering pains and taking pains.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Why do evil consequences follow bad deeds?
2. In what sense are nature’s punishments kind?
3. What two mistakes are common in child government?
4. Illustrate how natural punishment may be employed by parents.
5. What may be resorted to in serious cases? For further discussion and study of this subject the following references will be found helpful:
1. Chapter on Moral Education, from Spencer’s “Education.”
2. “Dealing with Moral Crises,” by Cope, from “Religious Education in the Family.”
3. “Misunderstood Children,” by Harrison.
The Adolescent Period Is a Time of “Storm and Stress,” When the Chief Crises of Life Arise
Most writers on psychology recognize in the life history of the child several more or less distinct periods of development. The child is almost a different being at different levels of his growth. Each period is marked by peculiar physical, mental and moral characteristics which demand specific treatment. So great and sudden are some of these changes that they are sometimes likened to a metamorphosis, indicating an analogy with certain insects as a change from the larvae and pupae stages to that of butterflies.
Space will not permit more than a brief account of the most critical of these periods, namely, the adolescent. This period begins at about the age of thirteen in girls and fourteen in boys, and continues until about eighteen. Physically, this stage starts with a very rapid growth which is frequently doubled in rate within a single year. The girl may, in a few months, change from a tall, angular, romping tomboy into a blooming, dimpled young woman, bashful and afraid.
So much energy is required for physical growth that in the early stages of this period difficult mental tasks cannot be well done. In a young man especially, this period is marked by awkward, uncouth movements that indicate uncertain adjustment. Frequently at this time the boy’s voice varies unsteadily from a high falsetto to a low pitch, which is most mortifying to the youth, who is now bashful probably for the first time in his life. The girl is suddenly very particular about her appearance, and her clothes, and the youth for the first time delights in a starched shirt, patent leather shoes and bright neck-ties.
The health of the individual at this time is usually good; susceptibility to the diseases peculiar to childhood is slight, but there is increased danger of acquiring adult diseases, and some writers claim that it is during this time, when there are great physical disturbances, that the germ of many adult diseases, such as tuberculosis, are apt to be implanted. During the early part of this period it is unwise and dangerous for girls to take part in such strenuous athletic games as basketball, or for boys to indulge in football. Later when strength and equilibrium have been restored, these games may be practiced without danger.
But the greatest of all changes, the one fundamental to adolescent life, is the development of the sex instincts. Fortunate is the youth or maiden whose parents are sensible and wise enough to instruct them concerning the nature and purpose of these functions. Good books, such as “What a Boy Should Know,” and “What a Girl Should Know,” are invaluable during this critical time. This sudden ripening of the sex instinct is the cause of the metamorphosis from childhood to early manhood and womanhood, and is the key which explains the changes that characterize adolescence.
Emotionally, there is a tremendous awakening. The individual begins to feel for the first time that he is actually alive and living; heretofore, life has been a self-centered, matter-of-fact existence; now it enlarges and becomes charged with intense feeling and significance. “Fear, anger, love, pity, jealousy, emulation and ambition are either new-born or spring into intense life.”—James. All of these may be termed social instincts and they imply a widening of the youth’s horizon and include a “consciousness of kind” that has heretofore been lacking.
Now, the youth or maiden truly falls in love; up to this time, regard for the opposite sex has been merely a light fancy, barely skin deep; but now it takes hold of the heart strings and plays upon them with an agony that is truly heart rending. Who is there with red blood in his veins that does not look back upon his first heart conflict with almost pathetic reverence? Parents should be more concerned than they usually are over the conquest of the heart of youth. Such affairs may carry with them consequences which are more serious than could be anticipated.
At this time the youth or maiden is exceedingly resentful of arbitrary restraint or punishment. There is a super-sensitiveness and a keen self-consciousness which cannot brook harshness and coercion. Sympathy and reasonableness must take the place of censure and punishment. Years ago I remember seeing a father start to whip his boy who was just emerging into the adolescent stage, a heavy stick was raised to strike, but the boy looked his father in the eye without flinching and quietly remarked: “You may whip one devil out, Father, but I promise you that you’ll whip seven devils in.” The stick dropped from the astonished parent’s hand; the boy was never again punished by whipping.
The runaway curve for boys reaches its highest point at this time, and the girl is likely to be insolent and unmanageable probably for the first and only time in her life. The greatest crises of life arise at this time because of the almost criminal ignorance of parents respecting these revolutionary changes and also because children who may never before have caused the parents the least trouble or heartache are now as unruly and unmanageable as a volcano in eruption. This is the time when the youth is driven from home by the irate father, the time when the rebellious daughter is condemned without mercy, the critical period when most vices are begun and most juvenile crimes committed. The parent is apt to exclaim here: “In Heaven’s name, what can be done?” Not even the wisdom of a Solomon could answer completely; a few suggestions, however, may be offered which will help to bridge over this critical period.
If the child has had positive training up to this time, the period of “storm and stress” will be briefer and less severe than it would be otherwise; but if the negative training has prevailed, there is less hope that the storm will be weathered. The youth may be caught in the stream of dissipation and whirled to destruction. At the very least, the parent must expect fitful and obstinate behavior, and unreasonable action. In boys, the beginning of the use of tobacco and liquor usually comes at this time. This is the time, too, of sexual temptation, if not actual indulgence. The temptation to do something startling is almost irresistible; robberies will be planned, hold-ups thought of, abductions contemplated; the life of a desperado entertained. The moral character seems to be in a state of eruption.
On the other hand, his sympathies and affections may be appealed to as never before. The parent who has made a confident of his boy or girl, who has infinite patience and affection, and who fully senses what to except, may, if other factors are favorable, help tide over this danger zone without serious results. A steady chum, a little older than the boy, and a companion more stable than the girl are a most fortunate aid to the parent. There seems to be a brief time in the career of every youth or maiden when the influence of his chum or companion is more potent for good or evil than is the combined influence of parents and relatives.
The common practice of permitting the, adolescent to sleep away from home is exceedingly dangerous. Many a youth may trace the beginning of his degeneracy to the downward, push received when he slept away from home. Care must be exercised also as to the kind of group he associates with; it is too much to expect a youth to be better than the gang with whom he consorts. During the most critical part of this critical, epoch neither youth nor maiden should, attend parties, picnics, or social entertainments, without a chaperon. This advice may seem radical, but if it is carried out, perhaps for just one year, until equilibrium is restored, it may prevent that one act to which so many unfortunates attribute their downfall.
Fortunate, too, is the adolescent who is permitted to attend a first-class high school taught by sympathetic teachers who understand the needs of adolescent nature. The imagination is now more vivid than it ever will be again, the logical reason is beginning to evolve and this period is preeminently “the breeding ground of ideas.” The school more than any other agency can keep the imagination, reason, and emotions so fully employed that little time is left in which to indulge morbid feelings and immoral thoughts. The school affords a moral atmosphere and gives a choice of good associates which make it invaluable during this critical epoch. It also disciplines the feelings and emotions and offers opportunity for emulation, industry, and the display of both physical and mental power. In truth, the school so occupies the attention and directs the interest that many a young man and woman passes through this period unscathed, without ever sensing the dangers which are escaped.
Finally, a “profound religious awakening” characterizes the early adolescent stage. It may be doubted that a genuine religious conviction can exist before this time; at least most writers hold that religious conversion takes place, if at all, during this period. Previous to this time, however, religious observance and ceremony should have become habitual in order that conversion may be most profound. Nothing else is more powerful than religious conviction and sentiment to reinforce good conduct and to inhibit wrong action. Religious conviction, together with the growth of ideals and the employment by the school of the physical and intellectual capacities, all supplemented by parental counsel and guidance, should insure the safe passage of the adolescent over this critical crisis of his life.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What are the physical changes that occur during the adolescent period?
2. What dangers to health are common at this time? What safeguards should be thrown about the youth to keep him strong in body?
3. Discuss the mental, moral, and emotional characteristics of the adolescent.
4. What is the fundamental cause of the changes that take place?
5. What may be said about religious emotions and conversions during this time?
6. What practical suggestions would you give to help the parents guide the adolescent safely over this dangerous period of life?
Supplemental Studies: At this point it will be well to take the supplemental lessons in this book, page 133 to end of volume. These studies are based on the lectures given by Dr. John M. Tyler. They will blend beautifully with Professor Hall’s discussion and will reinforce strongly the study of this adolescent age.
Certain Phases of Training and Education Can Be Best Accomplished by the Home
There are four great agencies or factors concerned in the training and education of the child: these are, the home, the school, the church, and the state, or society. Of these, the home ought to be the most helpful since it is the most important. The child is a part of the flesh and blood of the parents; he belongs to them in a vital way that transcends his relationship to everything else in the world.
The parent, then, is the natural trainer and educator of the child, particularly during the dependent period before the age of accountability is reached. The parent ought not to shirk this duty or attempt to transfer it to some other agency. But at the present time there is a strong tendency to shift more and more responsibility to other agencies, especially to the school. Many habits which the home once developed are now left largely to the school; religious training is turned over more and more to the Sunday School and the church, and much more of the time of children is now spent in social amusements away from home than ever before.
Then, too, it is certain that the old-time home is passing. It seemed to have higher ideals and more definite purposes in life than homes now possess; moreover, it occupied most of the time of the child and taught him to be industrious and proficient, and to regard life with much more seriousness than does the home of to-day. The home or the family, therefore, is not the great superlative factor that it ought to be in the training and education of the child.
From the first chapter of Cope in “Religious Education in the Family,” the following is quoted: “The ills of the modern home are symptomatic. Divorce, childless families, irreverent children, and a decadence of the old type of separate home life are signs of forgotten ideals, lost motives, and insufficient purposes. When the home is only an opportunity for self-indulgence, it easily becomes a cheap boarding house, a sleeping shelf, an implement for social advantage. While it is true that general economic development has effected marked changes in domestic economy, the happiness and efficiency of the family do not depend wholly on the parlor, the kitchen, or the clothes closet. Rather, everything depends on whether the home and family are considered in worthy and adequate terms.
“Homes are wrecked because families refuse to take home life in religious terms, in social terms of sacrifice and service. In such homes, organized and conducted to satisfy personal desires rather than to meet social responsibility, these desires become aims rather than agencies and opportunities. What hope is there for useful and happy family life if the newly-wedded youths have both been educated in selfishness, habituated to frivolous pleasures and guided by ideals of success in terms of garish display?
“It is a costly thing to keep a home where honor, the joy of love, and high ideals dwell ever. It costs time, pleasure, and so-called social advantages, as well as money and labor. It must cost thought, study and investigation. It demands and deserves sacrifice; it is too sacred to be cheap. The building of a home is a work that endures to eternity, and that kind of work never was done with ease or without pain and loss and investment of much time. Patient study of the problems of the family is a part of the price which all may pay.
“No nobler social work, no deeper religious work, no higher educational work is done anywhere than that of the men and women, high or humble, who set themselves to the fitting of their children for life’s business, equipping them with principles and habits upon which they may fall back in trying hours and making of home the sweetest, strongest, holiest, happiest place on earth.”
The home or family is, or ought to be, the supreme institution, not only for propagating the race, but also for the preservation and rearing of children.
There are certain things which only the home can do, which if not accomplished by it, will likely remain undone. The acquisition of correct physical habits by the child is one of them. It is preeminently the duty and privilege of the parent in the early years of the child’s life to impress habits that will make for health and strength. The first six years are more important physically to the child than all the remainder of his life. During this time the natural tendency to over-indulgence of the appetite should be inhibited, and temperance should be reduced to a habit. The other desirable physical habits already referred to should also be acquired. Furthermore, it is the sacred duty of the parent to see to it that the child is not handicapped through physical defects of eye or ear, enlarged tonsils, adenoids, decayed teeth, or by any other common imperfection which may be easily and permanently remedied if taken in time, but which, if neglected, may cause untold suffering and contribute to failure in life.
The home is responsible directly for training the child to be neat, tidy and clean in person; it should also train him in good manners, courtesy, and regard for the rights of others. It also decides whether or not the boy shall be a brave, manly little fellow or a timid cry-baby; whether or not the girl shall be sweet, helpful and trustworthy, or shallow, idle and vain.
The giving of knowledge and instruction in sex hygiene at the proper time is also a peculiar duty of parents which they must not shirk.
The chief moral virtues are also the result of home training. An obedient, honest, truthful disposition is characteristic of a good home; a sly, deceitful, quarrelsome nature is the outcome of improper home influence, Moreover, the first lessons in respect for law, order and justice are implanted by the home; improper training in these virtues leads to disorder and license.
The home, too, must teach the first lessons in industry and impress the child with the fact that life is made up of work as well as play. Too often the mother, especially, makes a slave of herself for the children, waits on them night and day, allows them to sleep late in the morning, stay up late at night and keep up an incessant round of pleasure while she herself stays at home and shoulders the entire responsibility of the household. How much happier the home where each child is trained to do some particular share of work and to take some responsibility upon himself.
The boy should be permitted to help the father whenever possible. He should be required to do things promptly and regularly and to learn through actual experience the amount of toil and sweat required to earn an honest dollar.
A taste for music and reading must be fostered in the home. Every family should have some kind of musical instrument and at least a few choice books for children. The influence of music and good literature on the tastes and ideals of the future man and woman is so great that it can scarcely be over-estimated. The use of correct and fluent language is largely a product of the home. Children imitate the speech heard at home; if this is incorrect, meagre, or coarse, the child is apt to have the same imperfection follow him through life.
The family constitutes a most sacred and important social unit, and because of its intrinsic nature, it can best develop in the child the highest personal sentiment and social virtue. Among these are affection, sympathy, love, generosity and good will. If these are not awakened and nurtured by the home, then there is little hope that they will be acquired elsewhere, and the child will likely grow into a stony-hearted, selfish pessimist.
Certain religious habits and sentiments also can be impressed naturally and well only by the family. Among these are trust in God, the beginning of faith, regard for ceremony, love of Bible stories, respect for authority, and above all, prayer. The individual who has not been taught at his mother’s knee to pray is likely never to develop into a prayerful man or woman.
The home is the child’s earliest school, his first temple of worship, his first social center. It is the place where everything in this life begins. Most fortunate is the child that is guided to take his first steps aright through the loving influence of a good home.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What four great agencies are concerned in training and education?
2. Which is most important and why?
3. What is the indictment of the home?
4. What change has taken place respecting the relative importance of these developing agencies?
5. The home is responsible for what physical habits?
6. What moral habits and virtues?
7. What mental habits and virtues?
8. What religious habits and sentiments?
9. What is the future outlook for the home and family?
It will be well at this point to review briefly the three beginning chapters from “Religious Education in the Family,” by Cope. The “Peril and Preservation of the Home,” by Jacob Riis, will also be found helpful reading here.
The Influence of the Church Is Essential to Aid the Home in Developing the Religious Instincts and Emotions of the Child
Religious emotions and belief are among the most deeply imbedded instincts of the race. They are also some of the earliest manifestations of childhood. They accompany the individual throughout his entire life, exercising a profound influence over his thoughts and conduct, and they become the chief anchor of the soul when sorrow or old age comes. It would be a great calamity, therefore, if religious instincts and sentiment should suffer eclipse or disappear.
Rightly cultivated and trained, these natural feelings of religion grow to spiritual power within us. Without such power, man is of little consequence.
Upon the home naturally falls the duty of fostering the first feelings of reverence towards God. The child who learns to lisp his prayers at his mother’s knee is started aright. The home must give the first lessons in the love of God and goodness. If it fails, they are likely never to be learned.
But the home needs the influence of the church here. It must have it to round out the child’s religious development. The church can do many things for the child that the home cannot accomplish. It introduces him to religious ceremonies and observances that satisfy his soul, and it helps greatly to train him in religious habits.
One cannot estimate the value of all this upon the character of the child. As a restraint from wrong conduct and an encouragement to right action, the work of the church is most salutary. The solemn ceremonies, the sacred music, the exhortations pointing heavenward, the general spirit of the group at humble worship—all exercise upon the child an influence for good, mysterious yet profound.
Clean, beautiful surroundings and orderly behavior are also very impressive. The work of our Sabbath Schools is most beneficial. They offer to parents a strong reinforcement in cultivating right religious habits and emotions in the child. To go into one of our well-conducted Sunday Schools, where order prevails, where the spirit of peace and prayer is uppermost, to join in the singing, to listen to the uplifting instruction, or, better still, to be given opportunity to take active part in this religious service—all these make a deep and lasting impression upon the youthful soul. Parents can do nothing better for their children and themselves than to support loyally their Sunday Schools and other religious organizations.
The habit of attending church should also be impressed during the habit-forming period. But the supreme opportunity of the church lies in its ability actually to convert the youth or maiden during the adolescent period. This is a privilege which neither the church nor the home has adequately comprehended. When the emotional nature of the individual is at white heat, as it then is, impressions made are lasting, and conversion, if made then, will be so deeply impressed that it is likely to last forever.
Churches in general fail to make the most of their opportunity here. They too often stuff the heads of children with religious facts and formulae, feeding them with the husks of theology, instead of giving them the upbuilding food they need. Children, too, often are starving for real spiritual food, hungering for the bread and thirsting for the water of life.
Parents and teachers generally need to correct their methods of presenting the gospel to children, especially to the adolescent, if they would get the results desired. It is their failure to meet the child on his own religious ground, not his indifference to religion that makes the boy and girl leave Sabbath School during the time he most needs such an influence. Let them study and master these problems: Are boys and girls being given ample opportunity for spiritual self-expression? Are the beautiful lessons of the gospel being translated into terms that appeal to their lives?
Our own church, we feel sure, is answering these questions in positive, practical ways better and better every day; but there is still much left to do even among us.
We have in our own church a working system that ministers to the daily moral and spiritual needs of humanity—a constructive Christianity that comes close to our lives. Our church is our opportunity to develop our own spiritual powers and to cultivate those of our children. The church needs our help to carry forward its ministry to mankind; but we need even more the help of the church to enspirit and to comfort our lives and to give to us and to our children the guidance and the training that will keep us all in the paths of safety and peace:
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What have you observed in children to prove that religious emotions are instinctive?
2. In what ways can the home best foster the natural religious instincts of childhood?
3. What religious habits should the home cultivate?
4. What can the church best develop in children?
5. Why should the parents support loyally the Sunday Schools and other organizations of the church?
6. What is the supreme opportunity of the church during the adolescent age?
7. What means have you used successfully to develop the religious instincts of your own children?
8. What opportunities for spiritual self-expression and service does our own church offer?
9. In what ways are we richly rewarded by our free-will service in behalf of our church?
“The Child and His Religion,” by Dawson, will be a helpful book to study in connection with this lesson.
Certain Phases of Training and Education Can Be Accomplished Better by the School Than by Any Other Agency. A National System of Industrial and Vocational Education Should Be Established
The school is a social institution whose functions are becoming daily more widely understood and more clearly defined. In the history of civilization, the school, as we know it, is a very recent institution. Nation after nation has arisen, reached its zenith, declined, and passed away without dreaming of such a thing as universal education. With the growth of democracy, particularly during the Reformation, the ideal of education as the birthright of every child became well defined and during the years that have intervened, this ideal has become a living reality.
At first the universal education was advocated for the sake of the church. Martin Luther believed that every child should have schooling so that he might be able to read the Bible and study the catechism. For some time the church had charge of and controlled education, but gradually, as democracy developed, the influence of the state began to overshadow that of the church, and education came to be recognized more and more as a function of the state, and its control was gradually taken over by the latter institution.
The chief function of education, therefore, may be seen clearly from the foregoing. In a democracy it is necessary for every child to be educated because the existence of free institutions is based upon the intelligence of the masses. Jefferson once remarked: “If anyone believes that free government and an ignorant people can exist at one and the same time, he believes that which never was or never can be.” Universal education is, therefore, a social necessity; its chief purpose is to train and instruct the child in the duties and ideals of citizenship. He must be instructed in the history of his country and learn
The school, therefore, may teach better than any other agency the habits and ideals of duty, social service, justice and patriotism. It also teaches frequently better than does the home, the habits of obedience, punctuality, regularity and industry.
A secondary purpose of the school is to assist the home to develop in the child the physical, mental, moral and social habits and ideals to which we have referred in previous lessons. To the shame of the home, it must be said that the school is accomplishing its particular function far better than is the home. The school rarely fails to exact obedience, regularity, punctuality, and industry from the pupil; the home, on the other hand, frequently fails to train children in these habits because of the softness and vacillation of the parents. The school trains to proper habits of hygiene and sanitation, and is often under the necessity of acquainting parents with physical defects in their children which too often they have overlooked.
Moreover, the school, as a larger social unit than the home, has some distinct advantages over the latter: It can teach the obstinate, quarrelsome child better than can the home the necessity of adjusting his conduct to the requirements of the social group with which he associates. In school, frequently for the first time, a child learns what is meant by the ideals of duty and justice; furthermore, he is usually trained to habits of industry, perseverance and self-control which the home too often is not well prepared to teach.
The home, however, is far more important than is the school; the latter might be abolished and some other form of education adopted by society without calamitous results; but if the home were suddenly abolished, it is probable that civilization itself would be shaken to its center, if not destroyed. The home, therefore, ought to be better prepared and equipped to fulfill its function than is the school; but not one parent in a thousand is specially prepared for the duties of parenthood. The teacher, on the other hand, is required to spend years in preparation for his work. He is expected, moreover, to set a worthy example for children to follow. “As the teacher so the school,” is a maxim that has stood the test.
The school was never before so practical in its instruction as it is to-day. In most of the junior and senior high schools, industrial work and agriculture are taught. In the best schools girls are learning to sew, mend, darn and cook. Many of them make their own dresses and trim their own hats. In a few schools, uniform dress and shoes are adopted by the girl students for the sake of economy and to prevent the silly mode of dressing and the style of some girls. Much more could be done in this direction if all mothers were sensible, but now and again word comes to the teacher: “I can dress my girl well and I don’t care to have her wear your cheap uniform and your low-priced, low-heeled shoes.” And again: “It’s none of your business how my girl dresses.” Now, it must be conceded that the parent has this right to object, but we surely question the wisdom of her so doing. Many young girls on graduating from the eighth grade make their own graduation dresses and confine the cost of the entire costume, including shoes, to $5.00. Women graduating from the senior school often make their dresses and confine the cost to within $10.00.
Most young men are taught manual art of some kind and agriculture. It is seldom that any father objects to his son taking carpenter work, but once in a while a farmer smiles at the thought of a “professor” teaching farming. The results, however, of the good work in teaching better farming is already seen throughout our country, and the time is not far distant when “scientific agriculture” will return many fold the price of its investment. The agricultural department at Washington reports that the Burbank potato is adding $17,000,000 yearly to the wealth of the U.S.
The people, too, are well satisfied with this new type of school. They are beginning to see that education is a very practical and vital matter and is not merely for ornament. It is a rare thing now to hear the once common remark that education is too expensive.
Statistics show that the average wages paid to unskilled laborers in the U. S. is about $500 per annum; careful reports indicate that the average yearly earnings of high school graduates is $1000. In a lifetime of 40 years the high school man will earn $20,000 more than the unlearned laborer.
From a financial standpoint it is very evident that education pays, yet five and one-half years is the average length of time the children of the U.S. attend school. The nation ought to enrich itself through putting more money into education.
The natural resources of the country are largely taken up and the free land is practically all occupied. What then is to be the future of the great mass of laborers unless a thorough-going system of industrial and vocational training is made possible? The Industrial Commission appointed recently by Congress found that three-fourths of the male laborers in the U.S. earn less than $600 per annum, yet the U.S. Government has found “that the point of adequate subsistence is not reached until the family income is about $800 a year. Less than half the wage-earners’ families in the U.S. have an annual income of that size.”
Now the rich can take care of themselves and the very poor and unfortunate cannot be permanently helped, but this great middle class, upon whom the nation must depend in every crisis, can and must be assisted to the extent, at least, that conditions be made possible through which they may raise their efficiency and so increase their earning capacity to a point commensurate with their needs. A thorough-going, national system of industrial and vocational “preparedness” would solve this problem.
The marvelous efficiency of Germany is due in large part to the fact that her great middle classes have been made efficient through a national system of trade schools.
The prosperity and perpetuity of a nation rests largely upon its ability to provide an adequate number of highly trained experts to be leaders, inventors and executives. In a democracy, these skilled leaders are especially important. Among the problems to be solved are questions of government, education, finance, economics, business, industry, health, manufacturing, engineering and mining. Any nation that lacks guidance in these particulars is indeed weak and pitiful. The universities, colleges, and higher technical schools supply nine-tenths of these experts, yet in the U.S. to-day there are only 250,000 students enrolled in all the colleges and universities of the country; this is about one to 500 of the population, a number entirely inadequate to perform the tremendous service that will be expected of this nation in the near future.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. State the nature of the school.
2. How did the ideal of universal education arise?
3. State the chief function of the school.
4. Name the habits and ideals peculiar to the school.
5. What is the secondary purpose of the school?
6. Contrast the efficiency of the home and the school.
7. What high compliment may be paid to teachers?
8. Is the comparison made between the home and the school overdrawn?
9. Compare the practical school of to-day with the school of the past.
10. Do you favor uniform dress for high school girls?
11. What is your opinion of modern style which so many mothers foster?
12. Have you any boys taking industrial work in school?
13. Prove that high school education pays.
14. What is the duty of a nation towards its great middle class?
15. Do you believe in a national system of industrial and vocational schools?
16. Why are experts needed particularly in a democracy?
The Social and Civic Institutions of the State (Society) Exert a Powerful Influence over the Lives of Children. The Citizen Must See to It that this Great Educative Influence of His Community Is Uplifting in Nature
The vital relationship existing between parent and child is easy to understand, but the close interdependence of the individual and the state is much more difficult to comprehend. Yet in a very real sense the individual and the state are reciprocally related. But just as the body is more than an aggregate of all of its cells, so is society (the state) something more than the sum total of its individual units. That a group of people, or even one individual, may exert an influence over the thoughts and actions of others is a reality of profound significance; that there is a social conscience as well as an individual conscience is a fact that cannot be refuted, and the part played by custom and tradition in shaping the history of the world can hardly be estimated.
In view of the close relationship between the individual and society, it is passing strange that while the individual is expected to possess a high standard of character, society itself may indulge in all sorts of questionable practices without so much as a challenge. Many a person winks at the frivolity and immorality of society, while at the same time he expects the most circumspect behavior on the part of his neighbor. The existence of these two standards which ought to coincide but which in reality are far apart is responsible for many failures in the training of children.
As soon as the infant begins to observe and imitate the actions of members of the household, its social training begins; play with the neighbor’s child extends the process, and the social group or “gang” with which the child associated, impresses permanently its thought and action. Frequently, too, the chum or companion chosen by the child has more real influence over its life than has the combined instruction of parents and teacher. As already shown, the school is a social institution and the same is largely true of the Sunday School. The example of adults also makes a profound impression upon the conduct of children. The home and the school may teach convincingly the injurious effects of tobacco and alcohol, but so long as society sanctions the sale of these poisons and respected adults indulge in them, just so long will the efforts of home and school, be, to a large extent, counteracted. The same is true with respect to any other virtue or excellence, the home, school, and church may unite in emphasizing the most wholesome discipline, but so long as society is a living, seething contradiction of this teaching, the instruction will fall upon deaf ears and be but as “sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.”
The fact is that our nation is yet too young to be fully conscious of its opportunities and responsibilities. A democratic form of government from its very nature must develop slowly towards its ideals. It must expect at first to be much less certain and efficient in its action than is a highly centralized government. This inability on the part of popular government to attain its ideals is reflected also in its subordinate civic units; neither state nor city governments have yet solved the problem of efficient and economical administration, although it is a pleasure to note that some cities are making real progress in this direction. In many communities, however, the weakness of decentralized government is most apparent. This is particularly true in many towns; here is seen too frequently a lack of civic pride, inefficient officers and failure to enforce the law.
The humiliating fact obtains that frequently a few lawless individuals often not more than from 3 to 5 per cent of the population, are permitted to set the moral pace, while the 95 per cent, of law-abiding citizens are either asleep to their duties or else fail to see that the remedy is in their own hands. In many instances a few persons are allowed to undermine the morals of the community. In one town of our state a single individual was permitted for 25 years to corrupt the morals of many young men of the community through illegal traffic in liquor.
Parents should realize that next to heredity the social factors in a community are likely to be the chief influence at work moulding and shaping the lives of their children, and in the long run they must not expect the average child to be better than the community in which he lives.
But the remedy for inefficient, free government is not far to seek; universal education will solve the problem provided it includes, as it should, instruction and training in civic and social duties. There is no need to argue the superiority of democratic government over that of all other forms; the freedom which we possess is worth all the suffering and bloodshed of all the patriots that have ever lived. But nothing will run itself; perpetual motion is a myth, and even a small town to be well governed, must receive conscious, expert attention.
Unquestionably, a free government is the most complex and difficult of all forms of government to administer, but the problem can be solved, and the secret of success will be found in the individual himself. He must become educated to realize his full duties and responsibilities as a free citizen, in other words, he must become socialized. He must get over the notion that the school is the only educational agency and must understand that every influence that modifies conduct is educative in nature. Especially must he learn that the community itself is the chief civic and social educator of children, and as such it should be consciously organized to perform well this responsibility.
Already communities are awakening to the need of perfect sanitary and hygienic conditions, and clean town contests are the order of the day; this is one of the most hopeful signs of better times, but there ought to be a moral and mental awakening and contests for civic righteousness should be inaugurated. Any community that can say: “In this town no influence is permitted that could in any way corrupt the morals or ideals of children,” should receive the highest award in the gift of the people and its praises should be commemorated in song and story.
In ancient Greece every citizen regarded himself as a parent or guardian of every child, and if any youth was seen in public to violate any of the customs or ideals of the nation, it was the duty of the citizen to chastise the boy and to otherwise instruct him in the duties of citizenship. At the same time the citizen was careful himself to set an example worthy of emulation. The result was the most perfect and harmonious education that the world has ever seen—at once the inspiration and the despair of all succeeding civilizations. Why should we not adopt some of the Grecian methods suited to our needs? In Greece no citizen would think of doing in public, or permitting to be done, anything which was not desirable for the child to do either in public or private. Why should any man who walks upright, with his head pointing to the stars, be permitted to profane the name of Deity, to stagger under the influence of liquor, to puff at a cigar, to gamble, to run a disorderly resort or show, to enrich himself through the manufacture and sale of poisons, or to do anything else that corrupts the community and destroys her children? Surely in our feeble attempts at free government, the right hand knows not what the left is doing.
But the remedy, as I have said, is in the hands of the citizens. While it is true that certain reforms to be most effective must be national rather than local, such, for example, as prohibiting the manufacture and sale of poisonous drugs, tobacco and alcohol, it is, nevertheless, evident that the initiative must be taken by the individual. His first duty is to convert himself and then his neighbors before any nation-wide reform can be undertaken.
It is one of the chief glories of a democracy that any desired good may be obtained through conversion and co-operation. But since in most communities 90 per cent, or more of the citizens are law-abiding and would not consciously do anything to destroy the children of the commonwealth, it ought to be a simple matter to restrain the few that are lawless and unsocial. There can be no possible doubt that any community that is fully alive to its needs and responsibilities can bring about just such civic and social conditions as it may desire. To help accomplish these purposes, it is necessary that efficient officers are elected who will enforce the laws and that public sentiment be aroused in support of these officials; in some communities sympathy for law-breakers is so easily awakened that justice cannot be enforced and law and order are placed in contempt.
The citizen in a democracy should realize that his training and education are never completed, that life itself is the great school-master and that one of the chief pleasures of existence is continued study and investigation. His occupation, no matter what it is, will offer him some opportunity for study and improvement, and a portion of his leisure time ought to be devoted to books and magazines. He may, also, if he desires, take an extension course or correspondence work offered by a higher institution of learning, some of which are making earnest efforts to take the college to the people. Every citizen should at least be identified with some civic, social, or industrial organization in his town, such as a debating and literary club, an agricultural society, or a commercial club. If each community would seek out and utilize the talent within its precinct, it might develop an intellectual and civic consciousness that would rival the spirit of ancient Greece.
An old-time prophet uttered the inspiring thought: “The Glory of God is intelligence,” and the great latter-day Prophet added the supplement: “No man can be saved in ignorance.” It is the duty of the individual, therefore, to be an eternal seeker after knowledge and perfection. In this blessed age when the sun of education shines so brilliantly, none need to slumber under the clouds of ignorance. May the sun shine until under its regenerating influence the home, school, church and state may each awaken to the full measure of its power and so prepare the way for the coming of that mightier Son of Righteousness, who promises to reign for a thousand years over a redeemed world.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Show the close relationship between the individual and the state.
2. Account for the two different standards of conduct.
3. Indicate how social influences modify the character of children.
4. How do examples of the use of tobacco and liquor affect children?
5. Compare example and precept.
6. Why must a democratic form of government develop its ideals slowly?
7. Why is community government frequently inefficient?
8. What per cent, of the population usually “sets the moral pace?”
9. What is the remedy for inefficient free government?
10. Why is the community the chief civic and social educator of children?
11. What should receive the highest award in the gift of a people?
12. How did Greece train her children?
13. What evil practices should be prohibited in a community?
14. What reforms should be national rather than local?
15. How may the few lawless individuals be restrained?
16. What is the duty of the citizen towards self-improvement and education?
Dr. John M. Tyler
Nature will bear our burdens for us, if we will obey her laws and heed her suggestions.
[Footnote 1: These supplemental studies are based on lectures by Dr. John M. Tyler, given before the Utah Educational Association, by whose permission they are used. Parents will find Dr. Tyler’s book on Growth in Education of great interest. It is listed with other books at the close of this volume.]
How has all the material progress of the nineteenth century come about? I think we shall find that it was due to man’s intelligently and carefully and scrupulously going into partnership with Nature by obeying her laws. Not so very many years ago messages were sent across this continent by pony-riders; it was a slow process and a very expensive one. Now I step into an office here and I say, “I wish to send a message to my wife way out yonder in Massachusetts.” The man touches a button and says, “Your message is in Massachusetts, sir.” It is a miracle. The lightning has run with my message. Electricity not only carries our messages, it lights our houses; it turns many a wheel of machinery; it serves us beneficiently just as long as we obey the laws of electricity; but when we offend against these laws, it thwarts us or very likely destroys us. “Obey, and I will do anything for you in the world,” says Nature, “disobey and you cannot move me one single inch.” Coal hurries our great locomotives and long trains of merchandise and carries men and women across this continent without any great amount of human labor. The engineer and the brakeman do not get behind and push those great palace cars of ours; it is Nature which drives the train as if it were sport. Man guides and directs the water pouring down our hillsides, turning wheels of countless factories. A few ounces of gasoline send the automobile down the street, polluting the air and endangering our lives. The power of Nature is absolutely irresistible and unlimited; and furthermore, she is always working towards some great and good end.
When I was a child I used to hear that Nature was bad, and we used to have sermons to the natural man. They were excellent sermons, too, but they ought to have been preached to the unnatural man. The natural child was considered a child of wrath, and, having that reputation, he quite frequently lived up to it; but Nature is beneficient, as long as we let her be so, and she is always working toward great and grand ends. She has been working towards a higher and nobler and a better race of men than you and I are to-day. She is working for a race of men and women who shall tower above us as the sages and prophets in Athens and Jerusalem towered above their slaves. Can we not trust her just a little?
Did you ever think that it is the most marvelous thing in the world that such a thing as a chicken ever comes out of such a thing as an egg? If only one chicken were hatched in a century, we would go from here to the Himalaya mountains to see the miracle of that chicken coming out of that egg. You put an egg under a very stupid old hen, and all the hen does is to keep that egg warm, and leave it alone; after twenty days there comes out a chicken. How in the world did that chicken ever frame that body? How did it build the skeleton and string the muscles, and spin the nerves? If every nerve in that body did not make just the right connection, that chicken would be paralyzed. If you could watch the development of that chicken in the egg, your hair would stand on end. Isn’t it Nature that makes those chickens? You and I can’t make them. Nature puts a shell around the egg with the express purpose that we are to keep our fingers out and let her alone. She says: “I am on very important business now and I am going to do some strange things; if you could watch me you would interfere with me, and if you interfere with me, you will ruin me or ruin the chicken, so I want you to stand to one side and leave me entirely alone; and while I might do a good many things that you don’t like, I shall bring a chicken out of that egg;” and she does; she has been making them for thousands of years in that same old stupid way, but she brings the chicken out all right.
Sometimes she seems to blunder still worse. She takes an egg which we suppose is going to turn into a frog, and she brings out of it a tadpole—neither fish, flesh nor fowl nor anything else. After a while the tadpole gets legs and has a long tail; it must lose that tail in order to become a frog. A benevolent zoologist one day started in to help the tadpole by snipping off the tadpole’s tail; he made a frog of him in a hurry, but the strange thing was that that frog never was able to leap properly. Nature had been relying on the material that was in the tail. She was going to shift it forward and put it in the hind legs, but when the zoologist cut it off, she couldn’t build the hind legs right after that.
A good deal of our education seems to me like trying to make frogs in a hurry by cutting off their tails. Nature can make chickens; she can make frogs. She can make bugs that will eat up everything which human ingenuity ever tried to raise. She will make weeds which you and I can’t possibly kill even though we fight against them all summer long. We can trust Nature to form these things; isn’t it fair to trust her with the children for a little while at least? Wouldn’t it be well—I never heard of this experiment being tried, but I should like to see it tried very much indeed—I do wish that sometime somebody would leave a baby alone for twenty minutes and see what it would do if it were left to itself.
What is the great characteristic of all living things? It is that they grow; we cannot make them grow, but they grow of themselves. The farmer plants his crop of corn. He doesn’t get a jackscrew and put under every hill of corn, and go around every morning and give the screw a turn and a twist and hoist the hill up in the air. He prepares the soil as best he can. He puts in the seed; he keeps down the weeds; he keeps out things and living beings which will injure the crop as far as he can; then he leaves it alone to God and Nature to make that corn grow, and in time he gets a bountiful harvest.
I believe that education some day will be somewhat like raising a crop of corn. We shall learn to keep the child under the best condition possible. We shall learn to keep down harmful and injurious surroundings or forces so far as they can interfere with him. We shall stimulate growth in every possible way; that I grant you; and when we have done that, we shall leave the rest calmly to Nature and to the good Lord who made that child for some good purpose.
It is a grand thing to have the child learn to see for himself the glories of this magnificent world. I verily believe that when you and I go home, while the good Lord will be very merciful with us because of our sins, I don’t see how he can forgive many of us for not having had a great deal better time in this glorious world in which He has put us. When you open the child’s eyes to the beauties and the glories of Nature you have done a great thing for it. But, after all, that is not the grandest thing to my mind. The grandest part is that every wave of vibration that goes in through the eyes as the child looks at Nature, and pours into the brain, stimulates that brain to a larger growth than it would otherwise possibly have attained, and the child is a larger and a grander child for that Nature study.
We believe in manual training because it gives us skilled fingers and enables us to do deftly and well a great many things which we otherwise could not do at all, and which most of us men have to go to our wives and ask them to do for us. But that is not the grandest part of manual training; the grandest part is the reaction from the finger upon the brain, stimulating the brain to realize all its ideals, and stimulating it so that whenever it sees good work of any kind in this world it shall appreciate it heartily and enjoy it with the joy of the artist.
We speak of physical training and physical training is brain training in the end, it is training in growth. It is very evident, however, that the growth and development of a baby is something different from the growth and development of a child; and the growth in the child is very different from that in the youth and that of the youth from that of the adult. In the baby the vital organs are growing faster. In the young child the muscular system is coming to the front, and he runs and plays and through the stimulus of that muscular exercise he brings out every organ in the body and gains that magnificent health which he so much needs.
Then, after a time, the brain comes to the front and grows and develops more rapidly than any other part of the body. Our business as teachers is always so to stimulate, by proper exercise, the growing organs that they shall grow faster and further than they ever could without our aid. We are not to always hasten it. This is one thing we must bear in mind: precocity is the worst foe of a sound education. It is the boy and the girl who mature slowly but mature surely that in the end possess the earth. We must not hasten the process, but when we find the organ is ready to grow and develop, then we must give it adequate stimulus. In other words, the stimulus must be of the right kind, and there must be just enough of it, just enough blood to stimulate the muscles, just as much study as will best stimulate the growing and very immature intellectual centers in the brain. Then we will increase the stimulus as the power increases and demands the stronger exercise, and so stimulating the growing parts by adequate exercise, we bring one part after another up to such development that we have one harmonious whole of perfect health.
You remember that when the old deacon in Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem started in to build the one-horse shay, he said, “Every shay that has ever been made has broken down, because there was always a weakest spot in it; now I am going to make a shay that never will break down, because I am going to make the weakest part just as strong as the rest.” We cannot always do that, but if we can make that part somewhere near as strong as the rest, we are past masters in education.
If we obey Nature’s laws, all of her powers will be on our side; and with all her powers on our side and the very stars in their courses fighting for us, we cannot possibly fail, there is absolutely nothing which is impossible to us. We must be strong and of good courage, if we are to guide these little people into the land sworn unto their fathers before them.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is meant by the expression, “Man’s partnership with Nature?” Illustrate how man makes Nature serve him.
2. In what way can man enter into a partnership with Nature regarding his own body?
3. What can man do best when it comes to making things grow?
4. What do you think of the “hurry” methods in education?
5. What is the most we can do in providing for the education of the child?
6. How does Nature help us in the training process?
7. What does Nature try to make sure of first in the child?
8. When does the brain of the child begin to develop rapidly?
9. What advice would you give about precocity in children? Why?
10. What should we study in our children to give them a strong and even development?
By Dr. J.M. Tyler
When the good Lord sets out to develop a child, the first organ with which He starts is the stomach. The stomach is the foundation of all greatness. It is a matter of daily observation if not of experience that a man can get along very well with very few brains, but a man can’t get along at all without a good digestive system. The digestive system furnishes all the material for growth and the fuel which is continually burned or consumed in our nerves and muscles. Now, any furnace requires besides fuel, a good draught. When we burn the fuel, by uniting it with the oxygen thus brought in, we get the energy which draws our locomotives and our great ships. Similarly in our bodies, our lungs bring in the oxygen and the heart and blood-vessels carry the fuel and the oxygen to every part of the body. But every furnace requires a smoke-stack to carry off the waste, and, similarly, we must have in our bodies an excretory system to remove the waste of the burned-up material and of the used-up tissue of the heart, muscles and nerves. This constitutes the digestive system; the lungs, the excretory system and the circulatory system are absolutely necessary to support the combustion which is going on in nerve and muscle and without which energy is impossible.
All productive labor manifests itself through the muscles. Our muscles directly write the book, speak the word, build the railroads, do the deeds. Our muscles are of very different ages. In the child the trunk muscles are developed first; the shoulder muscles next; the arm muscles next; the finger muscles last of all. The heavy muscles of trunk, shoulder and thigh require but a small amount of nervous impulse or control, and they react strongly on all the vital organs, as is shown every time that we take a walk. The finest and youngest muscles of the fingers require a very large amount of nervous control for a very small output of muscular energy and their exercise stimulates the very highest centers in the brain, and this is the great argument for physical training, that through one muscle or another you can stimulate and develop as you choose either any vital organ or the highest center in the brain.
Never forget the maxim of the old German physiologist that “Health comes in through the muscles and flows out through the nerves.” The nervous system was created for good and wise ends, but in many people it has become a nuisance. Its use is to insure that every stimulus from the external world shall call forth a response suited to the emergency. A fly lights upon my face; I wave my hand and drive him away. The fly has tickled my face; there is the external stimulus. A sensory impulse travels to the brain or to some other center and a motor impulse goes from there to a certain muscle in my arm which moves my hand and drives away the fly. The impulse has called out a response suited to that emergency. You watch a cat walk across the lawn; you will think that fool cat is going to fall down, it is going so slowly and it can hardly raise one foot above the other, but watch it when it sees its prey; every muscle seems to turn to steel; it is ready for the spring. When that spring is made there is no energy wasted. After that the cat does not move for two hours; no wasting energy there. Wasting of energy is a sin.
I awaken in the morning, and the first horrible emergency of the day confronts me at once, I have to get up. How I get up I have no idea. Professor James once said that when a man thinks about it he never does get up, and that’s right; but I find myself in the middle of the floor and that is all I know, and then the cold air or the sight of my clothes or something reminds me to start dressing, and the putting on of one garment leads to the putting on of another. The pangs of hunger call me to the breakfast table; the bell calls me to work; and so all day long response follows stimulus; the day’s work is a success or a failure according to the response which I make to the stimuli which I receive.
There is a marvelous picture given in the scripture in the parable of the poor man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and getting wounded and left by the road-side. Three men pass that way. They all see the same thing. The light is reflected from the poor sufferer into the eyes of these passers-by; a flood of vibration passes on to the brain and then the motor impulses go out to the muscles. In the case of the good Samaritan, the impulse went from the brain or the spinal nerve to the arms and he stooped down and picked the poor fellow up and carried him off; while in the priest and the Levite the impulses all went down into the legs and the cowards hustled off for Jericho.
A healthy nervous system is the rarest thing in this wide world. I have one illustration in mind, which I always like to think of, which I am going to give you of a perfectly healthy and normal nervous system. It was possessed by a good old negro minister. He had been preaching to his congregation for a long time on the subject of meekness and it had not produced the desired effect; so he said to them one morning: “Brethren, I’se gwine to give you the illustration of meekness for a week now and show you what it is,” and the old man did. His congregation naturally rose to the occasion: They insulted his wife; they abused his children; they stoned his dog; they stole his chickens; they did everything under the heaven to break down the meekness of that man; but he went on through the week and came into church the next Sunday and began to preach. The congregation recognized that their time was short and they redoubled their efforts, but all in vain. Finally, about five minutes before the closing of the service, he turned to the congregation and said: “Brethren, I think I ought to denounce to this congregation that my week of meekness is just about up, and when the clock in yonder steeple strikes twelve, I’se gwine to quit preachin’, close this blessed Bible, go down from this pulpit, and then, Brethren, Judgment day and hell is gwine to break loose on some of you.” Now, that old colored minister had an ideal nervous system. There had not been one single response all that week long, and not one single stimulus which had come in from the outside had been lost either, but it was all waiting to leap into that good right arm when the emergency was to be met, in the fullness of time, and I commend you to go and do likewise.
It is only a step, thank fortune, from the ridiculous to the sublime, just as it is only a step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Another illustration of a perfect nervous system: You remember how our Lord spent a whole day in preaching, in healing, working deeds of kindness, in pouring out sympathy and comfort, the strain of which on a man’s nervous energy is worse than anything else in the world, and how at the close of the day He went into the little boat, took the hard cushion on which the steersman sat, threw it down in the bottom of the boat, and laid Himself down with His head on that hard cushion and slept like a child through the rocking of the boat and the roaring of the storm, until His disciples came to Him saying, “Lord, save us: we perish.” There is not one man in a thousand who could do that work or could put out one-tenth part of that nervous energy and then sleep like that. Anybody who thinks that the Prophet of Nazareth was a weak or a feeble man has made the mistake of his life. He was perfect physically or He never could have done His work.
All this work of developing a steady nerve, of developing the vital organs for the use of the muscles, has been going on until the child is nine or ten years old. It has been going on very rapidly, and in as much as the exercise has been suitable, as his digestion has been good, his growth has been very rapid. During the first three years of its life the child increases its weight more than three-fold. During the next three years it adds over forty per cent. to this amount and between six and nine adds over thirty per cent. more; and when the boy is about eleven years old, or the girl is about ten, then the growth almost stops that year. It drops to a minimum. I call your attention to this thought: the minimum growth is more in a girl than in a boy. A girl is always more precocious than a boy. She is a year older than he at nine or ten, and when she is fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, she is two years older than the boy. When the girl is ten and the boy eleven, growth drops to the minimum. Why is that? Nature is economizing her material and husbanding her resources against the trying years which are to come.
You remember the story of the time when Pharoah in his dream saw the seven fat kine followed and devoured by the seven lean kine; he was told that his dream signified seven years of plenty, to be followed by seven years of famine, and was advised to store up the harvests of the good years against the hard times to follow. This is a picture of the child’s life. The first seven years of the child’s life are years of plenty, when it is storing up material for the years of hard trial, the years of famine, which are close at hand.
I am going to talk most of the girl because she needs more attention than the boy. Growth is a very expensive process. It begins in the bone. When the bones lengthen out, then every muscle, every nerve has to be lengthened out to suit that extra length, and that means a great deal of waste for that rebuilding, but it is something worse than that. You know perfectly well that out of the butterfly egg there comes the caterpillar, and that caterpillar goes into a cocoon, and during the life of the cocoon every organ is changed there and it comes out a butterfly. That is what we call a metamorphosis.
The girl between ten and sixteen is undergoing a metamorphosis just as sure as that caterpillar is undergoing a metamorphosis. If you leave town for a few years and come back, you know all the old men and women haven’t changed any, except to die off. The babies have grown some; but the boy and the girl seem to be grown all over again. That is, the girl whom you left at nine years old and on coming back find her sixteen, has dropped down her skirts, has drawn up her hair, and that is the butterfly cocoon, and it is a mighty pretty butterfly cocoon. That is waste again. It is waste, waste, on all sides and all of that waste is going into the blood, no other place to put it; it ought to be got out at once. But there is another thing about it; all the food must be digested, and so oxygen must be gained and waste must be eliminated. All the organs in the trunk between those ages of ten and fourteen are relatively both larger and smaller in girls than at any other period of life.
It looks as though Nature was making a bad blunder, but she is really making the best of a very bad bargain, doing the best she can under hard circumstances. With these small vital organs and this tremendous draught on the body for new material and the large amount of waste to be eliminated, you are sure to have trouble. That trouble is going to manifest itself first of all in the blood. The blood is going to be poor blood during those years, unless you remedy it. Poor blood, first of all, depresses the nervous system, and the girl feels gloomy and good for nothing; she hates to go out into the cold air because she chills; yet that cold air is what she needs more than anything else in the world. She hates to make an effort and won’t take the exercise she needs if she can possibly help it. The exercise she must have. Her appetite has gone all wrong. She likes to live on caramels, pickles, and all such things as that. Now, my friends, I want to tell you, when anything goes wrong with the appetite, then the whole system goes wrong, remember that. Observations were made some years ago in Sweden of a number of the bodily disorders that occur between the ages of thirteen and nineteen. These examiners found that there was one disorder which attacked, put in general numbers, sixty per cent. of the girls in the Swedish schools between the ages of thirteen and nineteen, and, indeed, it never fell below sixty per cent. and was usually a great deal more. In Denmark, the examination was made in the field where the children are healthier, and then the figures gave forty per cent. The troubles usually show themselves in the form of pallor; the girl is pale. They frequently break out in the form of headache, loss of appetite, resistance to marked effort and sometimes with a cold. Now, if the seat of the cold is in the blood, because it is loaded with waste and ought to be removed, there is one thing sure, that waste never will be removed until it is thoroughly oxidized. That is the first thing to do, oxidize it. The only way to oxidize the blood is to get the lungs full of good, pure air.
The girl wants just as much lung capacity as she can possibly get. We find that the girl during those years is a little taller and a little heavier than the boy, and she needs more oxygen to every pound of waste in the body than the boy does, because the waste is going on faster. The average girl has about three-fourths as much lung capacity for every pound of the waste in the body, as has the average boy. What the girl needs is more lung capacity to get in more oxygen. How is she going to get the lung capacity sitting in the house? How is she going to get it when she is tied down in the grammar school room with a book before her eyes?
The worst of it all is that the girl leaves off playing games in the open air just about the time when she needs them the most, and not having the open air play and the open air games, she can’t get the lung capacity and the oxygen. Another thing that hinders the girl is this: there is no place for her to play where she can do all she wants to and not have people looking over the fence and finding fault with her for having a good time. Every girl ought to have a place where she can play in the open air and not be bothered and we ought to get more and more games for girls of that age. Another thing, the exercise should not be too severe. Don’t kill a girl with physical training; because you can kill her that way just as you can kill her with books. Some of our physical training is too severe for a girl of that age. She must have plenty of the right kinds of games and they should be in the open air, and they should be such as she will enjoy and love; if they are not of that kind it won’t help a great deal. If you can build up lung capacity in that way then you are drawing in the oxygen; then you are getting out the waste, and you will find the girl will come out all right in nine cases out of ten.
It is a fact, proved by physical examination, that all during this period the better scholars have the larger lung capacity. Those of you who have taught in the grammar schools year after year will know that a bright girl, one that has been very bright, will have a year when she will come to you and will be absolutely stupid and can’t learn. “What ails the girl?” you wonder. She will tell you, “I don’t know what ails me; I can’t learn anything. I have become a fool and I was not always one.” The trouble is with the lung capacity; it isn’t with the brain; the brain is all right. If you tell that girl to wake up in order to make up that lack of mental ability by studying harder, you are doing the unpardonable sin. I am telling it to you straight. That is not the remedy. The remedy is more play in the open air, then you will find that that girl’s brain will clear up. Many a poor girl has been put in poor condition by being urged to study hard, when the fault was that nobody knew enough to turn her out into the fresh air which the Lord intended she should have.
We ought to have in every school five minutes, it would be better to have ten minutes, between school exercises, when the girls can walk up and down, chat with one another and get the blood out of the overloaded head and down into the cold feet. Better still, turn them out in the open air and let them run; that would be another blessing. Don’t keep the girls sitting too long at that period. Don’t let them sit with wet feet or skirts. That is just about as bad as getting smallpox. Teach them some of the sense which you ought to have if you haven’t.
I haven’t said a word for the boy, for this good reason: you can’t kill him if you try, thank the Lord. You can’t kill him if you try, not because he is so very tough; boys are not as tough as girls, physically; but you can’t kill them; because they won’t let you; but I am sorry to say, some few women teachers are killing off the future women. Again and again I have heard it said by the girls: “We can get along all right with Mr. So and So; we can get on the blind side of him all the time; we can fool him, but when we try to get around Miss So and So she puts it to us awfully, and in the neatest way, to get the work done.” Now, why the women can’t have a little mercy on the younger people is something I cannot understand at all.
And yet, while I haven’t said a word for the boy, ought we not to regard him a little? Now and then there is the ambitious boy, and then again there is your studious boy; there is your bookish boy; there is your shy boy who does not get into the games. He is the boy you should watch all the time. There is the boy who has become delicate and finicky, because he has been doddled at home. I hope you haven’t got so many of them here as we have in the East, but he is here and you must watch him, because his parents are doing everything in the world to spoil him. You must stand on the Lord’s side of him if you can, for these boys need your help. If you give a little excess of mercy, a little bit more physical vigor gained by this regime of open-air exercise and exercise between the school periods, you simply will be erring on the safe side and doing good to that girl and such boys, because on these years of metamorphosis depend the life and the happiness of the girl and the boy.
Perhaps you are getting ready for examinations. I want to tell you Nature has her examinations just as well as you do. Does not she examine the baby and see that baby can’t go on, and many babies do not go on. Then the death rate sinks; at eleven and twelve it is very low, very low, indeed, only perhaps two or three in a thousand, in many countries. Nature is giving them a chance to see whether they will get ready for the second examination. Right after or during puberty the death rate rises. At eighteen, nineteen and twenty, it has gone up. That is Nature’s second examination, to see whether that boy or girl is fit to send out into the world to take part in the great drama of life, and if she is conditioned at this time, then it means invalidism for two, three, four, five years, and if she is badly conditioned, it may mean death. When you are preparing those girls for the examination, do not forget your own examination, because it is coming on very fast.
I have talked very plainly this morning and I hope you will forgive me. You may say, “We don’t need that talk now.” I hope you don’t. You will need it in a generation or two; I don’t care how strong that pioneer blood was which has come down to your first generation here, we had just as good in Massachusetts a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, but we are getting rid of it just as fast as we can, the Lord forgive us; and you will do that here if you don’t look out. If you have strong, red blood, hold on to it; because that is the grandest gift of God to man; it is a treasure which must be handed down unimpaired from generation to generation, that our boys and girls may be strong and efficient for the work of life which lies before them.
(General Subject: “Conservation of the Child,” read carefully the foregoing lecture by Dr. Tyler.)
The Body as an Instrument of the Soul
1. What are the teachings of the Latter-day Saints regarding the relation of the body to the soul?
2. In the light of these teachings, what is demanded of every Latter-day Saint as to the treatment of his body? How are we living up to these teachings?
3. What are the four essential things we must do to keep the body engine described by Dr. Tyler, in perfect condition?
4. What would you think of an engineer who fed his engine dirt with his coal, or let his draughts and flues clog with soot, or failed to remove the clinkers, or let his engine get dusty and rusty? In what similar ways are people neglecting their bodies?
5. Discuss this as a health maxim: Clean food, clean air, clean water, clean thoughts, and clean consciences.
6. What was the Savior’s constant command to the sick?
7. Give one practical suggestion as to training children to take proper care of their God-given bodies—of keeping them clean, both inside and out.
The Foundation of Health
Reference: The foregoing lecture by Dr. Tyler.
1. Discuss Dr. Tyler’s remark: “The stomach is the foundation of all greatness.”
2. Name three home habits which, in your opinion, are doing most to ruin the stomachs, especially of children?
3. Discuss the “piecing habit,” the “sweetmeat craze,” irregularity of meals, and the “hurrying habit,” as applied to disorders of the stomach.
4. Someone said recently that people are paying more to-day to cure their stomachs from ills brought on by bad habits in eating than they are to build churches, schools and all other public improvements put together. Discuss the assertion.
5. How can parents save money now being wasted on stomach troubles, and at the same time lay the foundation for good health in their children and themselves? Give at least one way.
Reference: The foregoing lecture by Dr. Tyler.
1. What are two good evidences of a perfectly healthy nervous system?
2. Physicians tell us that nerve diseases are increasing at an alarming rate in our country. What is the greatest cause for this increase?
3. What home habits have you noticed that lead to nervousness? Discuss here the effects of scolding, hurrying, talking, noise, lack of system, as “nerve leaks.”
4. What practical suggestion would you offer to parents to help them to bring control, calm and harmony into their daily lives—to make their homes more places of rest and peace?
5. What ways can we take to conserve and strengthen the nerves of our children? Through what habits of life are we helping to wreck their nerves?
1. Discuss the varying stages of child growth, their rapidity, the critical periods, etc.
2. Growth means waste. By what means does the body get rid of the waste that comes with growth and change?
3. What are some of the ill effects of keeping this waste in the system? Give your experiences and observations with children.
4. When is the child’s blood likely to be most loaded with the waste caused by growth? How can we best help the boy or girl to clear the system of this waste? What mistakes are we making in this vital matter?
5. What practical suggestions would you give to our parents, teachers, and communities to help them safeguard their children during dangerous periods, and keep their pioneer blood clean and pure?
GROWTH DURING THE HIGH SCHOOL AGE
Dr. John M. Tyler
The boy and the girl during adolescence have now attained their full height and practically their full weight, although the boy has a little to gain still; they are pretty well grown by this time. If I had to choose between two questions, the first might be, “Have you a good appetite?” but the second question I would ask is, “What is your lung capacity?” The lungs have increased very rapidly at fourteen to sixteen in the boy; in the girl the increase has been smaller and quite irregular. It ought to be more regular than it is, I am convinced. The heart has gained greatly in capacity. The arteries have expanded much less than the heart, and the result
The boy, you will notice, at this stage begins to argue a great deal more than he ever did before. He wants to argue nearly every question. He likes the debating society. His idea of heaven, it seems to me, is a place where debating is indulged in. A goodly amount of exercise for those psychological and mental powers will do him no harm.
The mortality, or the death rate, is low, but the morbidity is increasing at this time, in the boy at least. Vigorous physical exercise is now needed. Ordinary play is not enough. Gymnastics also for the development and training of the hand and the wrist, training in quickness and precision of movement are all excellent exercise, all the finer muscles should be trained now, and probably less training should be given to the heavy fundamental muscles which are all important in childhood.
Athletics are exceedingly useful. They should be, however, for all, and not merely for a few who join the teams, who need them the very least of all. I think our modern college athletics will some day be looked upon as one of the most ridiculous habits of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. That twenty-two men should engage in mortal combat, with anywhere from one to twenty thousand on the side lines,—if you can get anything more ridiculous than that, I should like to know where you can find it. Athletics should not be too severe, however, yet, the boy ought not to have century runs and long halves of football, especially if the heart is still weak. The tissues of the body have not yet gained the toughness that they will gain at a later time. Every commander in the field dreads to have boys of eighteen, nineteen, or twenty sent to him, because, as Napoleon said of his young recruits, “they die off like flies.” The hard bed, with light covering, the cold room, the cold bath will now aid in toughening the boy, provided he is healthy; but under no circumstances begin that until the pubertal period is fully by.
The danger of over-pressure in the high school, especially after the first year, is to my mind not very great. The boy and the girl now both stand a good deal of work; but the greatest danger for the boy and the girl in the high school is that they will take too much social enjoyment. An evening theatre party, followed by a supper, a late dance, will take more strength out of a boy and girl than three days of study. There is nothing that is so wearing. If you can keep down the social over-pressure, I do not believe the over-pressure from study will do any great harm in high schools.
The larger bodies, the large heart and lungs, well oxygenated blood, and fresh vitality of every artery and tissue, gives a buoyance, a strength and a courage, a source of power and sense of it too, a longing for complete freedom, a revolt against all control, which the boy will never feel later; if he does not feel it now. I am describing, perhaps, rather the college boy than the high school boy; but bear this in mind, that I am describing what your boys in the high school will be a year or two later if they are not that now, and it is for this stage you must prepare them, even, if they have not already entered upon it.
A new, wide world, just as fresh as on the morning of creation, a new fire, a life of boundless opportunity, which is endless in scope and time, are opening out before the boy and the girl. They see the parents and the teachers drag around, understanding, as they think, neither them nor life itself; and they are right to a certain extent. There is no doubt about that; we do not hold on to the vision of glory of this world and of this life which we had in youth as we ought to and as it is our duty to do. The boy and the girl criticize us fairly, when they think that we don’t appreciate this magnificent world in which we live.
When a man gets to be my age, while I suppose he probably has more humility, he comes to know and he comes to have a very cheerful, optimistic view of the world. He has made up his mind that the Lord does not intend to change the world a great deal anyhow, and, on the whole, he is very much content to leave it the way it is. That is not so with young people at all. The boy and the girl must learn and know all about it. That is one thing they are determined to do at the outset. The boy girds up his loins and he goes whither he will. He must taste of every experience for himself. He will meet joy and sorrow with the same frolicking, welcoming spirit. He has never been saddened by experience nor disillusioned by disappointment and failure. He will try all the knowledge of good and evil if it costs him Paradise.
Nature is loosening every leading string now and is getting him free to complete his own individual development and to forge his own character. We cannot stop him if we would. It is very lucky that we cannot. It is better that we should not stop him even if we could; nevertheless, he has very little self-knowledge and still less self-control. Impulses well up from changes going on within him or from stimuli which come to him from without. He does not understand them. He does not know where they come from. He does not know what they mean. He is ill-prepared to face them, and now he goes one way and now the other. He has just about as clear a conception of the value of time as a child has. He has not outgrown childhood in that respect. He cannot possibly play a waiting game. That is the last thing that he can do. If the sun shines to-day it is always going to be bright weather. If the maiden of his adoration frowns to-day, the sun will never shine again. He is either on the Delectable Mountain or in the Valley of Humiliation, and he is far more frequently in the latter than we think. He is rarely between the two, and he is not going to tell us when he is in the Valley of Humiliation, nor when he is on the top of the Delectable Mountain.
There is a reticence about him at this time which we should learn to respect and to reverence. I told you at the first meeting that Nature put the shell around the egg so we would keep our fingers out of it, and Nature puts that shell of reticence around the boy and the girl at that time so we will keep our blundering fingers out and leave them to solve their problems with their help and that of the good Lord who is watching over them.
Authority has little hold over him at this time, traditions none at all. The influence of early training which have rooted themselves in his very life are very powerful and they will hold him, and the Lord have mercy on the boy whose early traditions do not hold him at that time. Remember it is not his fault; that is a sad thought for us parents. We must take the responsibility for these defects in the early training of our children.
The boy is led by class and group feeling at this time. You take him at eight or ten and he is an admirable little fellow in many respects. He wants to play fair, and if the other fellow does not play fair he will smite him, just as Samson smote the Philistines, if he can, and that is the occasion of much friction. After a time there is danger that he will not play as fair as he did when he was younger, for a time at least, because he is swallowed up in the team, or the society, or the group, or the gang, whatever it may be, to which he belongs, and he will give himself body and soul to help that team to win. This has its bad side, a very bad side, I grant you. If you would understand the boy, every now and then you must study the psychology of the mob. But there is a very good side also, because he is generous to a fault. Now is the time in his life when he will go down with the team, and in order for the team to win he will make a play when you and I would hesitate to make it. We had better respect the boy. He is loyal to his leader and to his friends. It is the epoch of the heart, and out of the heart, remember, are the issues of life. He has a great deal more heart than he has head knowledge at this time, and I confess I rather like him for it.
You remember what Paul says to those knowledge-worshiping Corinthians as to knowledge: “It will vanish away; for we know in part.” Those of us who have lived more than half a century have seen nine-tenths of our knowledge vanish away in just that fashion because we knew in part. But, says Paul, there are some things that abide, and one of them is faith. That is never done away with; another is hope, and the third and sure abiding thing is love, which is three-thirds in the heart, and out of the heart are the issues of life; the heart is often wiser than the head. Do not under-value and never despise the value of the greatness of heart in the boy; for Great Heart is the only champion who ever killed Giant Despair.
The boy at this age is seeking for a king. He is very likely to be like old St. Christopher, he will serve the strongest if he can find him. Tides of religious feeling are sweeping in on him now; but if you want to convert him you must hold up before him no mediaeval example, but the great, magnificent, athletic life of that Divine Master who has been so often misrepresented to us.
He is a very lovable being, that boy is, at times. Oh, you are reverencing him to-day; well, then bear in mind that probably about the same time tomorrow morning you will be gripping for the scruff of his neck, and when you grip him, grip him hard, it is no time for half-way measures. Never hit a boy at that age with a switch. If you do you are lost. Either don’t hit at all or hit hard.
A great deal of the child still remains in him, his instability, for instance. He might well say of himself, “my name is legion.” In the remainder of his young life everything that is trifling and worthless all comes to the surface, just as it does in the fermenting liquor, the strong and sweet are all hidden below the froth. You cannot see it. You can very easily do him injustice. You must sympathize with him. Remember your own foolish youth when you were his age; remember your own blunders and then you will have a great patience with him and great admiration for him, because these blunders are not a great deal worse than they are. If you can’t do this, then leave him to Nature, for you cannot help him.
We found, during the years of puberty, a physical metamorphosis, when the body was all made over, and now, during those years of adolescence we have a mental metamorphosis that is just as complete as the physical metamorphosis. All things are becoming new. They have not become new yet, but they are becoming new; hence it must be a time of instability, of self-education, of the strange mixture of the very new and the very old, the bad and the good, of that which is passing away and which has passed away long ago, and that which has not yet come. Look a little deeper into him; you will find he has a pretty good primitive system of morality; it is a very primitive one, consisting mainly of loyalty to his friends. Treat him “square,” as he says, and fairly, and then you may purr and curb him just as you will.
Remember that tides of religious power and influence have been sweeping through him. The first one came probably at twelve, if we may trust our statistics; the second stronger, at fourteen, and then the third—perhaps a good many don’t feel the first one or second—the third perhaps at sixteen. The one which comes over him at sixteen will affect heart and intellect and will, and everything, and he will stay converted probably. If you convert him at twelve, he probably will fall from grace before he is fifteen. It is rather interesting to notice that those periods when his experiences are likely to be very deep and very strong, are the years when his chest girth is expanding the most rapidly. A very good bit of physiology or psychology or of anything else you choose to call it, to learn is this:
If you want to convert a man to religion, get plenty of good, fresh air into his body; you never can do it in an ill-ventilated room.
It is a period of seeing visions and of dreaming dreams; you know that, if you remember your boyhood and girlhood. Those dreams and visions are the most substantial things there are in his life or in yours or mine; for “where there is no vision the people perish.” Wendell Phillips used to say that “the power which overthrew slavery and hurled it to the ground was young men and young women dreaming dreams by patriots’ graves.” There is a good deal more than rhetoric in that statement. Endless possibilities are in these dreams and visions. It is a period of promise, of magnificent promise, which you and I as teachers are privileged to see afar off before they are even glimpsed by his parents and many of his friends.
The great question now is, Will the promise and the vision ever be realized, or will they fade out and disappear and leave him a Philistine? And lucky if he is not a brute, for the only brute in this world, my friends, is a degenerate man. When you hear a man say that he has cut his eye-teeth, and he has got rid of his dreams and his visions, then may the Lord have mercy on the soul of that man, because he is dead. The all-important question now is, Can you get that dream and that vision so burned into his memory, so blazing before his eyes, that he will never forget it and never lose sight of it, and win it if it costs him his life? Then you have educated him.
These visions are far more important than all of the science, even the biology, that a man can learn in college. It is the business of the parent and teacher at this time to bring to birth and to sturdy growth high aims, purposes, ideals, the whole spiritual life. Your business in early childhood is with the physical, because that is the important thing at that time, if you can build a very healthy little animal, you have done well; but during the high school age you must build the spiritual. If you don’t feel this, I cannot explain it to you; and if you don’t feel this within you, if it is all meaningless and mere noise, don’t you dare teach a high school, for you are not big enough nor deep enough to do that.
The great question, after all, is not how much learning have you been able to put into him, but how much of the finer ambitions, how much power, how deeply and strongly they hunger for the very best. An ounce of inspiration at this time is worth more than a pound or a ton of learning; I am no foe of learning, either. The high school is and will remain the people’s college. It is the only college that a great part of the people ever will know. Do not neglect that great fraction who are never going to get anything higher and beyond in order to put your time on those who are going on to colleges and universities. You must be the people’s support, and you may well thank fortune that it doesn’t seem to be nine-tenths of your business out here in the West to fit boys and girls for a college examination. If that ever threatens to become your business, then you withstand it and face it to the death, for there is nothing will ruin education faster than that; I know sorrowfully whereof I speak.
You remember in “Pilgrim’s Progress” that when Christian had left the Interpreter’s House, he strayed away and went down into the Valley of Humiliation, where he walked between the snares and was in danger of falling into many a pitfall; there he wandered through darkness; there he could not see the Delectable Mountains any more, and there he fought with Giant Apollyon for his life; but when Christian passed that way he did not find it half so bad by any means. He had a companion by the name of Great Heart, remember, and Great Heart said to him, “Do you know that the soil of this valley is probably the most fertile that the crow flies over?”
The Valley of Humiliation, my friends, stretches sharp and clear athwart the life of every man and woman between the Interpreter’s House of his early education and of his dreams and visions, and the Delectable Mountains, and we all have to depart to it whether we will or no, and it is the most fertile soil that the crow flies over, for in that Valley of Humiliation men’s muscles and nerves become steel, and man becomes the shadow of the great rock in the Weary Land, and through heartaches the man and the woman are made the soldiers and the choice heroes of Jehovah Himself. It is into that Valley of Humiliation that the boy and the girl are going to go from school after they leave you, and you must fit them for it; many of you know well enough what it is and know what help they need.
You have read, all of you, a good many times probably, this marvelous passage from Isaiah: “They that trust in the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” I never thought what that meant until one morning in college chapel our president turned to us and said: “Most of you think that is an anti-climax,” and we would say: “Why, of course, for a man cannot fly like the eagle. He can walk down hill, what is the use talking about that walking down hill.” The old man shook his head and said: “No, no. Anybody can fly like an eagle in his imagination; when we are beginning any new work or any new study or anything new, we fly; but after a time we cannot fly any more, we come down to a run; and the man who wins out is not the man who can run, but the man who can ’walk and not faint,’ for that man has the endurance that we want.”
There was a time some years ago—that has gone by too, thank fortune—when we used to paraphrase things; that is, turn very good English into very bad English. You wish to have a boy or girl catch the spirit of the poem, do you not, to find in it inspiration and power, to find a beauty in life that never was on sea nor land? A sweet voice is a very excellent thing in a woman, and a very unusual thing in a man. The eye is not the grandest sense organ we have; the ear is the path-way to the heart, and that is what you want to understand. Did you ever try reading a beautiful poem or story
The highest human thing in the end is character, and character is formed very early, very shortly before the boy leaves the high school. Just how it is formed I do not know, but I know one thing, that while I cannot tell anything about how successful a man will be intellectually in life from what he does in college, or, sometimes, I cannot tell very much about how large he will grow mentally, I know that boy will not rise very much higher morally than he stands in college when you send him there. If, then, he has secured a moral training and influence, I firmly believe he will stay so. If he does not come to us in that shape the probability is that he never will change for the good, but if he is filthy he will remain filthy still. His character is made very largely in the high school.
How can you reach it? I think you can reach it a good deal through literature. I do not see how anybody can read Mr. Hawthorne or Mr. Emerson, and not long to be a gentleman, and feel as if he would like to be worthy to kiss the hem of the garment of those literary gentlemen. You can read history. You can make history a dreary chronicle. You can learn of kings who never ought to have been born, and when they died, when they ought to have been dead fifty years before, and all the long list of battles fought which never ought to have been fought. You can make it just such a weary chronicle. You do not, nowadays, thank fortune; I have seen teachers that did. Or you can make that history the Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews, and you can write your own Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews, if you will, for that chapter never was intended to be finished; and if you cannot add to it with your pioneer history of those who fought their way across the plains here fifty or more years ago, then you are teaching history to mighty little effect to this generation here in Utah. The whole story is just this, if you can saturate your pupils with the character of just such men and women as that, then you have trained a generation of heroes and nobody can spoil them.
That is what, it seems to me, Mr. Martineau means in that dark passage, “We shall never have a proper system of education until we have a proper religion.” We are a good deal lacking in the study of the Bible nowadays. We go to it to prove the text, to “break the scales” of our adversaries, and for other purposes. I do not use it for that purpose myself. If you will read that old book until you can walk the street arm in arm with Gideon and David and Jepthah and old Samson, too, yes, heaven bless him, and Moses and Samuel, the prophets, then we are reading it to some purpose. Until you know them all as your best friends, you have not begun to read that book; for that is what it was intended for. The Bible is an advanced text book of biology, the science of life. If you will train your boys and girls to walk the streets and live with the heroes of the world, make them form an intimate friendship with them, then you have trained those boys and girls to be heroes themselves.
Did you ever try reading to them the defense which old Socrates makes, which Plato wrote down for us? I do not know whether Socrates ever said it, but it was worthy of him. Read it to your boys and girls some day. See what they say about the Apology. And read the Crito. Let them sit with Socrates in his prison there on the hillside and listen to his discussion, until, as he says, he hears the voice of the law ringing in his ears and he cannot hear anything else, and stays on to die. When the prison door is opened for him to walk out, provided he would walk out with dishonor, he will not go. Let them see the old hero die in Athens as the sun goes down. You have not only awakened a new interest, you have evoked a higher life, and that is what we are after, that is what you and I are here for, that is the only way in the end to beat the record. That is the essential power of great leaders, of great prophets, and of great teachers, and the seat of it is in their personality.
I don’t know what I am talking about there either, for personality defies analysis and it defies resistance. It leaps from soul to soul just like an infection. We hear a great deal about the infectiousness of bad things and people are always talking about infectious disease and of corrupting influences in the world and all that sort of thing. Do you suppose the Lord has made this world so that everything that is bad is contagious and everything that is good is not contagious? Are you going to slander the Lord like that? It is about time that we wake up to the fact that the real genuine article of goodness is a good deal more contagious than smallpox.
Heroism and hero-worship is the central thought of history from the time of Gideon to the time of Sheridan, and down to our present time. Virtue, we must remember, should strike just like electricity from a dynamo. You remember that was the continual word of that Great Master of ours. Someone in the crowd has touched me, Virtue has gone over into somebody else. Virtue has gone out of me; strength has gone out of me and gone over into somebody else. I am talking about something that I do not understand; but something that you will know. Have you never, at the close of the day, when you were tired, discouraged, wondered whether it is worth while to keep up the fight? When you had been knocked flat and were pretty sure you were out, and then you sat down for a little time by some strong man or strong woman, and probably they did not say a great deal to you. They were men and women of few words, and you did not say a great deal to them, but after a little it began to come upon you that come what would you would fight again? Courage had come into you. You do not know where it came from, or how it came in, but you borrowed it and you go on your way the stronger because of the infection from that strong man.
We must be healthy and strong and sympathetic. We must be a child with the child and a boy with the boy, and yet we must lead and not follow. We must be firm and patient and hopeful and courageous, and we must infect these boys and girls with the very best that we have in us and something that is a little better yet, and how are we going to get it? Why, we must be continually infected from others; that is the only way. I don’t care how big your reservoir is, your irrigation reservoir, if there isn’t a stream going into it, it is going to be empty sometime. Look out for the streams which come in from the hills and the heights of glory into your lives.
This is the glory of our life and our work. You are making the youth of the twentieth century, as I said to you, and you are doing something grander; for every bit of good that you give here in Utah will spread back to us in Massachusetts and you are moulding the race into conformity with that which is deepest and most permanent and most eternal in environment, and hence all the powers of Nature are on your side.
“We are two,” said Abbe Bacha to Mahomet, as they were plodding from Mecca to Medina. “No,” answered Mahomet, “We are three. God is with us.” We cast in our efforts with this grand tide of events which is sweeping on toward a better age and better race, and we cannot fail. Therefore, let us gird up our loins, be strong and of a very good courage; for, as I have said to you once before, you shall lead these little people into the land of hope and promise which the Lord swore unto their ancestors, their fathers, that He would surely give them.
The Adolescent, or High School Age
Read carefully the foregoing lecture on “Growth During the High School Age,” by Dr. Tyler, for all these succeeding lessons.
ATHLETIC NEEDS OF BOYS AND GIRLS
1. What steps have ever been taken in your community to provide for proper athletic sports for the young? What success came of these efforts?
2. Give two reasons why wholesome physical recreation is necessary for growing children.
3. What games and sports do you consider best for boys? For girls? Why?
4. What dangers come from uncontrolled athletics?
5. What do you think about the value of school athletics that develop only a team?
6. What can be done, (1) by the parents, (2) by communities,
(a) To provide for wholesome games and sports for all the children?
(b) To provide proper leadership and supervision of these things?
(c) To regulate the excesses and check evils of the athletic spirit?
(d) To provide proper places in which to play?
1. During what years does the desire to be with “the crowd” manifest itself most strongly in boys and girls?
2. What difficulties come to the parents in the management of boys and girls during this time?
3. In what ways can parents best exercise control over the companionships of their children during this vital period?
4. In what ways can the social needs of boys and girls be provided for in the home?
5. How far can and should parents go in participating in the pastimes of their children? What can be done to keep up the spirit of companionship between parents and children?
6. What can communities do to put down the “street corner” habits and the “hoodlumism” that comes of the boy gangs?
7. What pastimes and practices can be fostered to bring about a higher-minded companionship among young people?
KEEPING OUR BOYS AND GIRLS AT HOME
1. What are the first indications that our home is losing its hold upon our boy? Our girl?
2. What influences are at work in each instance?
3. Is it because conditions outside the home offer more, or is the home offering less of that which the boy or girl desires?
4. When you find your boy going to the pool room do you throw his deck of cards into the fire and advise him as to what will happen if he attempts to use such things in or about the house?
5. When your girl shows a preference for taking her leisure at Smith’s or Brown’s rather than at home, do you at once adopt a code of rules and proceed to make emphatic statements as to your intention to enforce those rules and also to impose certain penalties?
6. Did it ever occur to you that “desire” may be diverted, but that it cannot be destroyed?
7. Is it not best to divert by substitution rather than by prohibition? Also to substitute in kind as near as may be?
8. What are you doing in your home to satisfy the desire which takes your boy or girl to the neighbors or the public places?
9. What share are you taking in the interests of the growing boy or girl?
10. Parents, are you companionable? Do you get into the boy or girl’s field of discussion? Do you talk with them rather than to them? Do you get into their games, their troubles, their pleasures, their life?
1. What certain acts or omissions entitle a boy to be classified as “wayward?”
2. The first sign of waywardness is the breaking of what commandment, if any?
3. Under any condition would you let your boy know that you considered him wayward?
4. Should your regard for, as shown by your treatment of the wayward boy, differ in the slightest degree from your regard for your treatment of the circumspect, dutiful, and obliging boy?
5. Does the worst tendency of the boy call for any more from us than mere direction?
6. Is not the boy’s worst offence a bad form of satisfying a good desire?
7. What is your method of dealing with your boy? Is it “Never do that” or “Better to do this?”
8. Do you ever undertake to show the boy how much more of the thing he is after he can get out of a method that is all around helpful than one that is all around harmful.
9. How would it do to substitute jointly planned “Do’s” for unqualified “Don’ts”?
10. In almost every instance can you not justly ascribe the boy’s waywardness to an unnatural companionship on your part or to no companionship at all?
SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IN BOYS AND GIRLS
“Training the Child in the Way He Should Go”
1. Quote from the Doctrine and Covenants a passage wherein parents are admonished as to their duty in teaching the Gospel to their children.
2. Give three first steps in religious training in children.
3. What difficulties and successes have you, as parents, met with in cultivating your little ones? proper habits in prayer, in attendance to Sunday School and in other religious duties? To what do you ascribe your success or failure?
4. At what age do boys and girls grow most careless as regards religion? (Study the statistics of your Sabbath School on this point.)
5. Is it true that our religious training fails most just at the point where the boy and girl are in greatest need of it? What are the causes of this failure?
6. What can and must parents do to reinforce the Sunday School and our other organizations in their efforts to guide the boy and girl safely during their teens? during the critical periods of life?
LIFE LESSONS DURING THE WAYWARD AGE
1. Show, by citing examples from history, that youth is a period of strong religious tendencies. What can be done to keep the “dreams of youth” on high ideals?
2. What stories? what lessons? to boys and girls at this time? What books appeal most impressively to boys and girls at this time?
3. Recalling the things that left deepest impress on you for good or ill during the period of “the teens,” what advice would you give as to cultivating in a child right feelings for religion?
4. Wherein do we as religious teachers most fail to get the boy or girl?
5. In what way should the Bible be taught during this age?
6. What individual work with boys and girls can and should be done by parents and teachers to guide the children past the dangerous places?
TEMPTATIONS OF BOYS AND GIRLS
1. What are the commandments children are likely to break first?
2. In what ways are homes often responsible for habits of lying, stealing, profaning the name of God, and other sins?
3. How are the seeds of impurity often sown by thoughtless parents in the home? Discuss here the vulgar story, and other evil suggestions.
4. What loose habits in companionship and courtship are being permitted by parents to lead their children into evil?
5. By what effective means can parents co-operate to check the looseness and rudeness and sinful practice that blight our homes and communities?
The following list of books will be found very helpful in this Study of Children. The Public Library should provide these books for the parents, or the class may be able gradually to build up such a library for class use. These can be bought at the Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah.
1. A Study of Child Nature, Elizabeth Harrison,
College, Chicago, Ill. $1.25
2. Religious Education in the Family, H.F.
Cope, University of Chicago
3. The Right of the Child to be Well Born, Dawson,
Funk & Wagnalls, New
4. The Jukes Edwards Family, Winship. $1.20.
5. The Meaning of Infancy, Fiske, Houghton, Mifffin Co., Boston. $.35.
6. Education, Herbert Spencer. $.75
7. Fundamentals of Child Study, Kirkpatrick, Macmillan Co. $1.25.
8. Elementary Psychology, Phillips, Ginn & Co., Chicago. $1.25.
9. The Care of the Child in Health, Oppenheim, Macmillan Co. $1.00
10. The Healthy Baby, Dennett, The Macmillan Co. $1.00.
11. The Care of the Baby, Holt. $.75.
12. The Child and His Religion, Dawson, University of Chicago Press. $.75.
13. Child Nature and Child Nurture, St. John, Pilgrim Press. $.50.
14. The Problem of Boyhood, Johnson, University of Chicago Press. $1.00.
15. The Function of the Family and the Recovery of the Home, American Baptist Pub. Soc. Each, $.15.
16. The Dawn of Character, Mumford, Longsman, Green & Co. $1.20.
17. Peril and Preservation of the Home, Jacob Riis, Jacobs Co., Philadelphia. $1.00.
18. Training of the Girl and Training of the
Boy, McKeever, Macmillan.
19. The Moral Conditions and Development of the
Child, Wright, Jennings
& Graham. $.75.
20. Marriage and Genetics, Reed, Galton Press, Cincinnati, Ohio. $1.00.
21. The Coming Generation, Forbush, D. Appleton & Co., New York. $1.50.
22. Stories and Story Telling, St. John Eaton and Main. $.35.
23. Our Child Today and Tomorrow, Grunenburg, Lippincott. $1.25.
24. Misunderstood Children, Harrison. $1.23.
25. Town and City, Jewett, Ginn & Co. $.50.
26. After Twenty Years, Middleton. $1.25.
27. Training of the Human Plant, Burbank. $.60.
28. Education, Resources of Rural and Village Communities, J.K. Mart $1.00.
29. Being Well Born, Guyer. $1.00.
30. Growth in Education, Dr. John M. Tyler, Houghton, Mifflin Co. $1.50.