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Parent and Child Volume III., Child Study and Training eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 117 pages of information about Parent and Child Volume III., Child Study and Training.

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.”

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