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.