=This quality in practice.=—The self-reliance that becomes ingrained in a boy’s habits of life will not evaporate in the heat of the activities and competition of the after-school life. On the contrary, it will be reenforced and crystallized by the opportunities of business or professional life, and, in calm reliance upon his own powers, he will welcome competition as an opportunity to put himself to the test. He is no weakling, for in school he made his independent way in spite of the lions in his path, and so gained fiber and courage for the contests of daily life. And because he has industry, thrift, perseverance, and self-reliance the gates of success swing wide open and he enters into the heritage which he himself has won.
=The sterling man.=—His career offers an emphatic negation to the notion that obtains here and there to the effect that education makes a boy weak and ineffective, robbing him of the quality of sterling elemental manhood, and fitting him only for the dance-hall and inane social functions. The man who is rightly trained has resources that enable him to add dignity and character to social functions in that he exhales power and bigness. People recognize in him a real man, capable, alert, and potential, and gladly pay him the silent tribute that manhood never fails to win. He can hold his own among the best, and only the best appeal to him.
=Self-respect.=—And, just as he wins the respect of others, so he wins the respect of himself, and so the triumvirate of virtues is complete. Having achieved self-respect he disdains the cheap, the bizarre, the gaudy, and the superficial. He knows that there are real values in life that are worthy of his powers and best efforts, and these real values are the goal of his endeavors. Moreover, he has achieved freedom, and so is not fettered by precedent, convention, or fads. He is free to establish precedents, to violate the conventions when a great principle is at stake, and to ignore fads. He can stand unabashed in the presence of the learned of the earth, and can understand the heartbeats of life, because he has had experience both of learning and of life. And being a free man his life is fuller and richer, and he knows when and how to bestow the help that will give to others a sense of freedom and make life for them a greater boon.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. Account for the production of some of our greatest religious literature in prison or in exile. Give other instances than the one mentioned by the author.
2. Give your idea of the author’s concept of the terms “bondage” and “freedom.”
3. Add to the instances noted in this chapter where ignorance has produced bondage.
4. Defend the assertion that the cost of ignorance in our country exceeds the cost of education. The total amount spent for public education in 1915 slightly exceeded $500,000,000.