There is also a direct connection between defective senses and conduct. Naturally, the boy who can’t see the blackboard, pays no attention to the work placed upon it, and the child partially deaf, disregards the words of the teacher. The overwhelming number of personally observed cases of difficult discipline, disclosed the unvarying fact of defect, either in the senses or the body itself. Therefore a teacher or parent should be very sure that the “bad boy problem” is not physical rather than moral, lest cruel injustice be done.
While the dull senses call for limitless patience, that life be not pitifully narrow, and the defective senses call for wise and remedial attention, the normal, keen, wide-awake senses exact the most from the conscientious parent or teacher. Eternal vigilance is the price of beautiful building material for the character in such an unfolding life. Each day adds to the store put away in the brain, to reappear later. “We must soon be careful what we do before the baby,” says the mother who half grasps the connection between impressions and character building, not realizing that the work is already far under way, that foundations are in. Nurture of the senses must begin with the first dim reaching out for impressions, that only the best may enter, that right tastes may be formed, and self control in this fiercest battle-field of life be learned.
The period of early childhood—Continued.
As we come to consider the soul of the child, using this term not in its religious sense, but to include all of life but the physical, we understand that in reality it is indivisible. There are no separate parts or faculties possessing unique powers such as reasoning, remembering, feeling or willing. The whole soul remembers, feels and wills. However, for the sake of clearness and convenience, when it is reasoning, we are accustomed to speak of soul power in that direction as reason, or imagining as imagination or willing as will.
We must understand, also, that the soul of the child is as complete in its possibilities as the soul of the adult, only they are undeveloped. As life and environment grow more complex, new needs arise and these new needs awaken soul power in a new direction. The expression “I didn’t know he had it in him,” is frequently heard, as some one has shown unexpected ability under sudden pressure of circumstances. Every brain has millions of undeveloped cells, scientists affirm, signifying that every life is infinitely poorer than it might be. The need is something to arouse its latent power.