[Footnote 1: C.W. Saleeby, Parenthood and Race Culture, pp. 62, 63.]
THE USE OF LEISURE
By J. H. BADLEY
Head Master of Bedales School
To teach a sensible use of leisure, healthy both for mind and body, is by no means the least important part of education. Nor is it by any means the least pressing, or the least difficult, of school problems. “Loafing” at times that have no recognised duties assigned them, is generally a sign of slackness in work and play as well; and if we do not find occupation for thoughts and hands, the rhyme tells us who will. The devils of cruelty and uncleanness will be ready to enter the empty house, and fill it at least with unwholesome talk, and thoughtless if not ill-natured “ragging.” Yet work and games, whatever keenness we arouse and encourage in these, cannot fill a boy’s whole time and thoughts—or, if they do, his life, whether he is student or athlete, or even the occasional combination of both, is still a narrow one and likely to get narrower as years go by. If life to the uneducated means a soulless round of labour varied by the public-house and the “pictures,” so to the half-educated it is apt, except in war time, to mean the office and the club, with interests that do not go beyond golf and motoring and bridge. If our lives are emptier and our interests narrower than they need be, it is partly the result of a narrow and unsatisfying education, which leaves half our powers undeveloped and interests untouched, and too often only succeeds in giving us a distaste for those which it touches. Both for the sake of the present, therefore, to avoid the dangers of unfilled leisure, and still more for the sake of the future, the wise schoolmaster does all he can to foster, in addition to keenness in the regular work and games, interests, both individual and social, of other kinds as well. He will make opportunities for various handicrafts: he will try to stimulate lines of investigation not arranged for in the class-routine; he will encourage the formation of societies both for discussion and active pursuits, for instruction and entertainment. It is the purpose of this essay to suggest what, along these lines, is possible in the school.