We have already learned that action is the natural result of an aroused feeling; therefore, nurture will endeavor to make the act attractive and appealing where it can be done, that the cordial co-operation of the child may be had. Hero worship may aid here, the example in the home is imperative and future considerations begin to carry weight. Encouragement, recognition, new interest and new motives will all contribute toward securing repetition, until unconsciously the action carries its own constraint and outer influence is unnecessary.
During the years from about nine to fifteen memory is in its most glorious period for storing away. In early life a fact is retained chiefly through its impress on the soft brain cells, for the power of association is little developed. In later life a fact is retained almost wholly through association with other facts, for the cells grow hard and an imprint therefore is faint. In the “Golden Memory Period” the fact has the double hold of impress and association, for the cells are still plastic and associative powers are developed. The task and its haste are evident, for this dual condition never recurs.
The brain will now receive everything, the abstract, that which is not understood, the uninteresting, as well as that which is pleasing. This is the drill period, when mechanical repetition will fix anything, regardless of the child’s desire to learn, and full comprehension is unnecessary. It is also the period of verbal memory, and that which ought to be memorized exactly should be given now.
If nurture has cared for the spiritual life of the child, he will probably desire during this period to publicly confess his love for Jesus Christ. Even if he has not been so nurtured, every condition in his life makes it easier now than it ever will be later to lead him to acceptance of Christ. Though there comes a great spiritual awakening in adolescence, there is at the same time more in the life to oppose the decision for Christ than in childhood. The Christian life has not the meaning for him that it will have later on, spiritual vision is not broad nor deep, but if the child genuinely loves the Savior and wants to use his energy for Him, he is laying at the Master’s feet all he has now to give, and if Christ accepts the gift, the church ought to accept the giver. There is no greater crime against childhood than to bar the doors to these babes in Christ, nor, assuredly, can any act bring keener pain to the Passionate Lover of little children, who said, “Let them come unto me, and forbid them not.”
Perhaps a resume of the conditions which the Sunday School must meet in this period will make the situation more definite.