Part 1 out of 3
Produced by John Hagerson, Kevin Handy, Andrea Ball, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team.
PARENT AND CHILD
BY MOSIAH HALL
Child Study and Training
FOR THE DESERET SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, SALT LAKE CITY
A WORD OF INTRODUCTION
Home-making and the rearing of children is the fundamental business of this
world. To make a success of this business we must understand it. The loving
hearts of many parents are suffering for a multitude of mistakes that
loving intelligence might have prevented. We cannot save our children in
ignorance. To perform the duties of parenthood well, we must understand
them more clearly. We need light and uplift. These days demand greater
knowledge than ever before on the part of parents to meet and master the
problems that now confront fathers and mothers.
Particularly do we need to study child nature. A clearer understanding of
the laws governing the development of children would give parents great
help in guiding their children into paths of righteousness, and in
ministering to varying child needs as they develop.
To give definite help and new spirit to our work, this volume has been
prepared. The keynote of the book is _a more enlightened parenthood_. It
offers a series of lessons along a line most vital to parents--_Child Study
These lessons have been written for us by Mosiah Hall, Associate Professor
in Education of the University of Utah, and High School Inspector for the
State of Utah. We feel that he has done for our cause most excellent
service, and we gladly acknowledge our indebtedness to him.
This should be remembered: A book gives wisdom only in proportion to the
thought that is put into it by the reader. The suggestions of this volume
will become rich only as they are enriched by study. They will become
valuable only to the extent that they find application in our daily lives.
The lessons will be vitalized only as the teacher pours life into them.
To supplement and enrich the course, references are given with most of the
lessons, and a list of books is offered at the close of the book. Many of
these volumes have already been purchased and distributed through the
parents' class library. Each class should endeavor to procure at least one
copy of each of these books as it is called for in the various lessons. In
this way a good library can be gradually built up.
Our desire is to make these studies bring lasting returns for good. May God
add his blessings to make our work divinely successful,
Your brethren in the gospel,
Parents' Class Committee of Deseret Sunday
School Union Board,
HENRY H. ROLAPP, HOWARD R. DRIGGS.
NATHAN T. PORTER, EPHRAIM G. GOWANS.
A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR
This treatise on child study and training has been prepared primarily for
the Parents' classes in Sunday School under the direction of the General
Board. It is well adapted also for study by Parent-Teachers' Associations
and for reading in the home.
Its purpose is to acquaint parents with the most vital problems of child
life and character and to suggest some methods of solving these problems.
The work is not offered as a complete course in this great subject; it is
intended rather to open up the field of child study for parents.
The welfare of the race depends upon the proper birth and the correct
rearing of children. That this little volume may add its mite towards
the solution of the problem--at once the hope and the despair of
civilization,--is the wish of its author.
To the Parents' Class Committee and the General Superintendency of the
General Board, I desire to express my appreciation for the suggestions and
help they have extended to me in the preparation of this work.
To my wife, who achieves in practice what I imperfectly state in theory,
these studies are affectionately dedicated.
THE BIRTHRIGHT OF CHILDHOOD
_It Is the Sacred Right of the Child To Be Well-Born_
If the child has any divine right in this world, it is the right to be
well-born, to be brought into the world sound of body and whole in mind. To
be given anything short of such a good beginning is to be handicapped
throughout life. Education and training cannot make up for the defects
imposed on the child by the sins of the fathers, which, the Good Book tells
us, are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
It is a fact to challenge attention that the child is the product of the
entire past. His essential nature is comparatively fixed at birth and is
beyond the power or caprice of parent or environment to change in any
fundamental particular during the short period of a lifetime. This
assertion must not be wrongly interpreted; the possibilities of training
and education are great, but they can do little to overcome all of the
defects placed upon the child by heredity.
Science tells us that normal children are born with the same number and
kind of instincts. By instinct is meant the tendency to do certain things
in a definite way without previous experience. In all children, for
example, we find the instinct of fear, the instinct for play, for
self-preservation. These instincts begin to manifest themselves more or
less strongly as the child develops.
Children also have certain capacities. Capacity may be defined as the
possibility to develop skill in certain directions. One, for instance, may
have a greater capacity to develop musical ability than another; so with
art or business, or ability for any other work. Capacities, more than
instincts, seem to depend on the characteristics of parents or immediate
ancestors. Thus a child may take after father or mother, or grandparent in
this or that particular ability. Instincts, on the other hand, seem to be
his inheritance from the race. But whatever his gifts from parent or past
the child is born a distinct individual. This is true not only with regard
to his physical organism but in respect to his spiritual nature. The
relative strength of his instincts, added to the number and quality of his
capacities determine what is called individuality. This is what makes each
child differ from all others, and this distinctive nature cannot be
essentially changed, within our brief lives, though it does possess
marvelous powers of development and adaptation. For illustration:
Cultivation may develop a perfect specimen of a crabapple, but no amount
of careful training could change the crabapple into a Johnathan. Likewise,
no system of education can hope to change a numskull into a Newton, or to
produce a Solomon from a Simple Simon.
The first vital concern of parents, therefore, should be to see that the
child is not robbed of his sacred birthright to be well-born.
It is a matter of regret that the white race generally is such a sorry
mixture of humanity. The good and the bad, the intelligent and the
ignorant, the feeble-minded and the strong, the criminal and the righteous,
have been combined so frequently and in so many ways that the marvel
is that more of the human race are not degenerate as the result of
contamination. Since the great characteristic of heredity is to breed true
and thus perpetuate its kind, and since training and education must take
the individual as he is, with only limited power to change his intrinsic
nature or to develop any capacity not present at birth, it becomes a matter
of serious importance that parents do all in their power to guide properly
the mating of their children. The teaching of the Gospel on this point is
Heredity determines to a great extent the kind and the nature of the
individual, and thereby sets limits, which the environment may not
overcome. Among these limitations are the following:
1. The relative strength of instincts.
2. The number and kind of capacities.
3. The form, size and quality of bodily organs.
4. Susceptibility to, or power to resist disease.
5. The possibilities of mental attainment.
6. The possibilities of emotional and spiritual response.
7. The possibility to execute undertakings, to control situations, and to
govern self as well as others.
Heredity also endows a person with his peculiar temperament, with his good
or bad looks, and with the chief components of what is called personality.
On the other hand, training and education have almost everything to say
respecting the relative standing of the individual among the members of his
kind--whether or not he shall be a blighted or a perfect specimen. A fine,
sweet, juicy crabapple is more desirable than a scrubby, diseased Jonathan.
It is the province of training and education to take the individual as he
is born, and endeavor to make of him a perfect specimen of his kind. "A
child left to himself bringeth his parents to shame." If left alone or
improperly trained, a child is almost certain to revert to a lower type of
individual. The same high possibilities that, properly directed, produce
the superior being, if neglected, or subjected to a vicious environment,
produce the moral degenerate. The child is born morally neither good nor
bad, and while inherited tendencies may make development in one direction
easier than in another, it is possible for a favorable environment,
assisted by education, to develop any normal child into a sweet, wholesome
product of his kind.
Shearer in his "Management and Training of Children," says: "The child may
inherit instincts, but a kind Providence has ordained that he shall not
inherit habits. He may inherit certain tastes, but he does not inherit
temptation. He may bring into the world tendencies, but he does not bring
with him prejudices."
_Questions for Discussion_
1. What does the expression "being well-born" mean to you?
2. What responsibility is laid upon parents by the fact that the child is
the product of the past? Read the second commandment here and discuss its
significance in application to this point.
3. What are some of the instincts and capacities given to the child by
4. Explain the difference between an instinct and a capacity. What seems
to be the source of our instincts?--our capacities?
5. What are the chief limitations placed by heredity upon the child?
6. What may education and environment hope to accomplish?
_References_: "The Right of the Child to be Well Born," will be found a
helpful book to study here. It may be well, if the book is available, to
have someone appointed to report on it or to read a few choice paragraphs
from it. Also read "Being Well Born," by Guyer.
IMPORTANT LAWS OF HEREDITY
_A Wise Application of the Laws of Inheritance Is the Most Certain Means of
Developing a Superior Race_
In the preface of Dr. Guyer's remarkable book, "Being Well Born," we read
the following: "It is no exaggeration to say that during the last fifteen
years, we have made more progress in measuring the extent of inheritance
and in determining its elemental factors than in all previous time." If
this is true, it would seem to be almost criminal for teachers and parents
to neglect to acquaint themselves with the fundamental laws of heredity.
This author says further: "Since what a child becomes is determined so
largely by its inborn capacities, it is of the utmost importance that
teachers and parents realize something of the nature of such aptitudes
before they begin to awaken them. For education consists in large measure
in supplying the stimuli necessary to set going these potentialities and of
affording opportunity for their expression."
_Mendel's_ law is probably the most important known principle of
inheritance. Through its application practically all of the improvements in
plants and animals have been brought about. This law may be explained as
follows: A certain kind of pure bred fowl is found which is either pure
white or black. If either color is mated with its own color the resulting
progeny will be true to the color of the parents, but if a white and a
black are crossed the result will be blue fowls possessing one-half the
characteristics of each parent, but strange to say, if two blue fowls are
mated the progeny will not be all blue, one-fourth will be white like one
grandparent, another one-fourth black like the other grandparent, and
one-half will be blue like the parents. If this experiment is repeated with
plants and animals having opposite characteristics, the same ratios as
above always result. This indicates that truly heritable traits or
characters are separate units and are inherited independently. The breeder
is thus enabled through selecting the traits or characters that are wanted
and crossing them with a well-known stock, to produce almost any trait or
quality that he desires. This law makes it possible to estimate the results
of cross breeding with almost mathematical exactness. Improved varieties of
fruits, grains and vegetables have been produced in this manner, and with
animals marvelous results have been achieved.
Luther Burbank, in his little book, "The Training of the Human Plant,"
says: "There is not a single desirable attribute which, lacking in a
plant, may not be bred into it. Choose what improvement you wish in a
flower, a fruit, or a tree, and by crossing, selection, cultivation and
persistence, you can fix this desirable trait irrevocably." And further:
"If then we could have twelve families under ideal conditions where these
principles could be carried out unswervingly, we could accomplish more for
the race in ten generations than can now be accomplished in a hundred
thousand years. Ten generations of human life should be ample to fix any
desired attribute. This is absolutely clear, there is neither theory nor
_Acquirements of parents_ during their lifetime, according to the best
authorities, are not transmitted to any noticeable extent to their
children. This appears to be due to the fact that the cells concerned in
reproduction are set aside during embryonic life and from then on are
practically unmodified by the succeeding development and experiences of the
parent. In fact, during the lifetime of the individual, the germ cells are
so completely isolated from the growing organism that nothing but
nourishment in the shape of blood can possibly reach them, hence they can
be affected only by a vitiated or poisonous blood supply. It seems to be
true, therefore, that only the old, deeply-impressed traits, capacities,
or racial characters can be inherited. This is, no doubt, the chief secret
of the power of heredity to breed true.
It has been a popular belief that if parents acquired skill in music,
mathematics, or special ability in any other particular that such ability
could be imparted to their children, but in the light of the above facts,
this appears to be impossible. Of course, if such ability is a slumbering,
inborn trait of either parent, or of some immediate ancestor, the ability
might be transmitted.
It is reasonable to suppose, however, that any acquired trait or ability
of the parent, if practised and continued steadily by his children and
their descendants for many generations, will come to be an inborn trait
or character capable of being transmitted. Otherwise, it is extremely
difficult to understand how the human family can progress and become
_Galton's_ law is believed to be approximately correct. It may be stated
as follows: Children inherit on the average one-half their characteristics
from parents, one-fourth from grandparents, one-eighth from
great-grandparents, and so on in ever diminishing ratio to remote
ancestors. But owing to the fact that some inheritable traits or
characters are likely to be dominant and others recessive, Galton's law
must be modified, so that only under the most favorable conditions can it
be regarded as reliable.
Owing to the fact that the primary elements or traits of character
contributed by each parent may combine in many ways in the embryo,
considerable variation in the children of the same parents is
inevitable--one child may resemble the father, another the mother, and
yet another some near ancestor. Variability is, therefore, the rule among
offspring in the same family, and in some instances it is decidedly
pronounced, but in all cases, the variation must be confined to the
possible combinations of characters transmitted from parents and ancestors.
_The law of regression_ represents the tendency of the extreme elements of
the race constantly to seek the middle or mediocre level. For example, the
children of superior parents are not likely to be so brilliant as their
parents, and the offspring of inferior people are somewhat better than
their parents. This "drag of the race" or "pull of ancestors" is no doubt
due to the fact that selection has never been practiced, hence the
two-thousand nearby ancestors were most likely an average lot of people,
and the "pull" is from the higher towards the lower level. The "pull" is a
help to the children of inferior parents but is a handicap to the superior.
If long-continued selection of parents were practiced, the regression
would disappear and the "pull" would be upward. Selection of parents
possessing superior elements of character and the prevention of the unfit
and the criminal from propagating their kind, seem the surest hope we have
of producing a permanently higher type.
It is well known that the extremes of the race are less fertile than the
means; and since fertility is the chief factor in fixing the type, in the
absence of selection and repression, the race appears doomed to remain at
the dead level of mediocrity. The tremendous significance of this fact is
that the welfare of the race--the gradual substitution of a superior for
the present mediocre type--rests absolutely upon the willingness and
ability of the superior class to do their full share in propagating the
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is the principle of heredity as discovered by Mendel? Explain by
illustrating how it works out in plants and animals.
2. What practical application is made of this law in producing better seed
and better breeds?
3. Illustrate Galton's law.
4. What significance has these laws in the improvement of the human race?
5. Account for the variability of children in the same family.
6. Why are some children inferior, some superior to their parents?
7. Illustrate the "pull of ancestors."
8. How might this "pull" be made upward instead of downwards, as it now
seems to be?
9. What sacred responsibility rests upon superior people to propagate the
10. What are the gospel teachings regarding mixed marriages and the rearing
11. What practical steps can and should be taken to prevent feeble-minded
and vicious people from propagating their kind?
_Reference_: The Jukes-Edwards family by Dr. A.E. Winship. If this book be
available, have some member of the class make a report on it. "Training the
Human Plant," and "Being Well Born," will also be found helpful here.
THE MOTHER AND THE EMBRYO
_The Care of the Mother During the Embryonic Period Determines Largely the
Future Welfare of the Child_
In common with every organism the infant develops from a single germ cell
of almost microscopic size. Wrapped in this tiny cell are all the
possibilities of structure and character that combine to form the
complicated bodily organism and the particular mental endowment of the
It was once believed that almost any kind of physical or mental change
could be brought about in the cell through appropriate control of the
environment, but the results of careful observation and experiment are
opposed to this view; all evidence points to the fact that no new character
or element can enter the embryo from without. The cell itself holds the
secret of what the future individual shall be.
The sole connection between the embryo and the mother is the narrow,
umbilical cord which contains no nerves and whose only function is to carry
blood to the growing organism; it may be seen, therefore, how impossible it
is for mental impressions and disturbances on the part of the mother to in
any way reach and affect the embryo. Once started on the road to
development, the embryo is so thoroughly subject to inner laws that nothing
from without can modify or change the direction of its growth except some
physical cause which interferes with the blood supply. An adequate supply
of pure blood is the principal requirement of the growing organism.
Whatever interferes with the blood supply or in any way affects its purity,
has an injurious affect upon the embryo. There is not the least doubt that
lack of nutrition and serious ill-health on the part of the mother have an
extremely bad effect upon the unborn offspring. Severe shock or grief,
worry, nervous exhaustion, disease, and poisons in the blood of the mother
are the most serious sources of injury; they render nutrition defective and
if poison enters directly the blood of the mother or is generated by toxins
through disease, the embryo will be poisoned and may be destroyed. Among
these poisons are alcohol, lead, and the toxins from tuberculosis and the
venereal diseases, gonorrhea and syphilis. To gonorrhea is attributed 80
per cent. of the blindness of children born blind; it is declared to be the
cause of 75 per cent. of all the surgical operations for female disorders
and of 45 per cent. of involuntary sterility in childless women. Syphilis
is the chief cause of feeble-mindedness, paresis, or softening of the
brain, and of most other mental defects in children.
From the foregoing, it is evident that the proper care of the mother so as
to insure a pure blood supply for the offspring ought to be one of the
chief concerns of society. This should not be left to the haphazard efforts
of individuals but ought to be provided for by the state. According to the
statements of life insurance companies, "expectant mothers are the most
neglected members of our population." Dr. Van Ingen, of New York City,
estimates that 90 per cent, of women in this country are wholly without
Luther Burbank shows that in order even for a plant to grow properly it
must have abundance of sunshine, good air, and nourishing food; but not
many mothers at this time may have even these poor luxuries. Instead, too
many mothers are slaves to an insanitary kitchen where sunshine is scarcely
known and where overwork and worry destroy all appetite for food.
The welfare of the race demands that the mother shall be properly nurtured
and protected during this critical period. Abundance of sunshine, pure air,
light exercise and a variety of wholesome food are absolutely essential,
and the utmost pains should be taken to prevent worry, excitement, sickness
and above all contact with or exposure to poisons or disease.
It was once thought that whatever causes a mental disturbance in the mother
leaves its impress on the child. It is fortunate that this old notion is
false, as we have shown nothing but a physical change affecting the blood
supply can possibly influence the developing organism. Now and then a red
"flame" spot or so-called birthmark is found on the new-born child, but
this is due always to some physical cause which may be easily explained,
never is it a result of fear of some red object on the part of the mother.
1. How does embryonic life begin?
2. What is characteristic of the cell?
3. What secret does it hold?
4. What is the principal need of the embryo?
5. State fully how the blood supply may be vitiated and what terrible
consequences may follow.
6. How should the mother be cared for during this critical period?
7. How may mother drudgery in the home be reduced to a minimum?
8. What directions does Mrs. West give for the care of the mother? (See
bulletin, "Parental Care," by Mrs. West, which may be had free for the
asking. Address Children's Bureau, Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.)
9. _References_: The following books will be found helpful: "The Training
of the Human Plant," by Burbank; "The Right of the Child to be well born,"
by Dawson; "Being Well Born," by Guyer.
If these are available, they may be circulated through the parents'
THE PLASTIC AGE OF CHILDHOOD
_Prolonged Infancy and the Long Period of Plasticity in the Infant Make
Training and Education Possible_
The child is born the weakest and most helpless of creatures. Unlike the
young of most animals, which within a few hours after birth move about and
perform most of the movements necessary to their existence, the infant is
so helpless that all its needs must be supplied by parents, otherwise it
would perish. Immediately after birth a colt or calf can walk or run almost
as fast as its mother; the chick just out of its shell can run about and
peck at its food. The child at one year of age can barely totter around and
all of its needs must be looked after by others. Moreover, the infant at
birth is practically blind and deaf and the senses of taste and smell and
touch just sufficiently developed to enable it to take nourishment.
This slowness of development, or prolonged infancy as it is called, is of
vast significance to the child. It marks at once the chief distinction
between the human infant and the young of all other animals. It makes
possible a long period of adjustment and training which otherwise would be
impossible. Most animals are born with a nervous system highly developed
and with most of the adjustment to the environment ready made, so that
after a short time all the activities of life are perfected and thereafter
automatic action and instinct rule their lives. Because of this lack of
infancy and absence of plasticity of the nervous system, animals are little
more than machines that perform their task with unvarying regularity in
response to outside stimulations. Animals, therefore, are unable to adjust
themselves to a change in environment, and as a result their lives are in
constant danger. In fact, countless millions of the lower forms of life are
perishing every hour because of the lack of possibility of adjustment.
The child, on the other hand, has an extremely long period of infancy, and
as a result, the nervous system is so plastic that it may be moulded,
fashioned and developed in almost any manner or direction, according to the
will of parents and the nature of the environment. The child, consequently,
may be educated. By education we mean the training and developing of
desirable instincts and capacities and the inhibiting of undesirable ones
so that the child may be able constantly to adjust himself to an
Fiske, in "The Meaning of Infancy," Chapter 1, says: "The bird known as the
fly-catcher no sooner breaks the egg than it will snap at and catch a fly.
This action is not very simple, but because it is something the bird is
always doing, being indeed one of the very few things that this bird ever
does, the nervous connections needful for doing it are all established
before birth, and nothing but the presence of the fly is required to set
the operation going. With such creatures as the codfish, the turtle, or the
fly-catcher, there is nothing that can properly be called infancy. With
them, the sphere of education is extremely limited. They get their
education before they are born. In other words, heredity does everything
for them, education nothing.
"All mammals and most birds have a period of babyhood that is not very
long, but it is on the whole longer with the most intelligent creatures.
The period of helpfulness is a period of plasticity. The creature's career
is no longer exclusively determined by heredity. There is a period after
birth when its character can be slightly modified by what happens to it
after birth, that is, by its experience as an individual. It is no longer
necessary for each generation to be exactly like that which has preceded.
The door is opened through which the capacity for progress can enter.
Horses and dogs, bears and elephants, parrots and monkeys, are all
teachable to some extent, and we have even heard of a learned pig, and of
learned asses there has been no lack in the world.
"But this educability of the higher mammals and birds is, after all, quite
limited. Conservatism still continues in fashion. One generation is much
like another. It would be easy for foxes to learn to climb trees, and many
a fox might have saved his life by so doing; yet quick-witted as he is,
this obvious device has never occurred to him."
The vital problem with parents is how to fill this period of plasticity,
how to provide an educative environment of the right kind.
Luther Burbank, in "The Training of the Human Plant," expresses complete
confidence in the power of the environment through appropriate training to
fashion the normal child, just as he could a plant, into a most delightful
and beautiful specimen of its kind. He says: "Pick out any trait you want
in your child, granted that he is a normal child, be it honesty, fairness,
purity, lovableness, industry, thrift, what not. By surrounding this child
with sunshine from the sky and your own heart, by giving the closest
communion with nature, by feeding this child well-balanced, nutritious
food, by giving it all that is implied in healthful environmental
influences, and by doing all in love, you can thus cultivate in the child
and fix there for all its life all of these traits, and on the other side,
give him foul air to breathe, keep him in a dusty factory or an unwholesome
school-room or a crowded tenement up under the hot roof; keep him away from
the sunshine, take away from him music and laughter and happy faces; cram
his little brains with so-called knowledge; let him have vicious associates
in his hours out of school, and at the age of ten you have fixed in him the
opposite traits. You have, perhaps, seen a prairie fire sweep through the
tall grass across a plain. Nothing can stand before it, it must burn itself
out. That is what happens when you let weeds grow up in your child's life,
and then set fire to them by wrong environment."
Mr. Burbank is probably over-enthusiastic in his belief that natural
education can do everything for the child; but it is certain that
environment does exercise a powerful influence, during the plastic age, in
determining his character.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Compare the helplessness of the infant at birth with the ability of the
young of other animals.
2. At one year of age, what is the comparison?
3. What is the significance of prolonged infancy respecting (a) possibility
of adjustment to environment, (b) possibility of training and education,
(c) possibility of profiting from experience, (d) the relation to heredity?
4. What advantage is it that man is born with the germs of many capacities
instead of with a few activities that are perfectly developed?
5. What is the chief function of education?
6. What does Burbank say respecting the possibilities of training?
7. What common-sense training should every child be given during this
Good books, for further study on these points, are: "The Care and Training
of the Child," by Kerr, and "Fundamentals of Child Study," by Kirkpatrick.
If these volumes are in the library or otherwise available, it may be well
to have some member read and give a brief report on one or the other of
THE NEEDS OF THE INFANT
_The Infant's First Needs Are Physical, and May Be Summed up in the Word
The new-born child differs in nearly all particulars from the adult. It is
very unfortunate that the child in the past has been regarded as a
miniature adult and treated like "a little man."
The structure of muscle and bone and the proportion of various parts of the
body differ materially; the bones of the child for some time are soft and
largely composed of cartilages which may be easily bent out of shape and
permanently injured. The ratio of some of the parts is about as follows:
* * * * *
Height of head of adult to that of infant--2 to 1
Length of body of adult to that of infant--3 to 1
Length of arm of adult to that of infant--4 to 1
Length of leg of adult to that of infant--5 to 1
Besides these easily observed differences, there are others of far more
consequence not easily seen, such as differences in the size, structure and
activity of vital organs, and in the almost total lack of nervous
development in the child as compared with the adult. All of these things
make of the child an individual so different from the adult that he must be
treated in accordance with his own nature and needs and with little regard
to the way in which an adult is considered.
Practically everything that the infant needs may be summed up in the one
word _nutrition_. A sufficient supply of pure milk from the mother is the
one supreme requirement. If this is assured, everything else is almost
certain to follow. Of course, the little one must be kept at the right
temperature, which is comparatively high during the first few months. An
abundance of pure, fresh air also must be supplied to both mother and
child. It is wise for both to spend much time in the open air and to sleep
on a screened porch.
The child should be kept quiet and permitted to sleep as long as nature
dictates. It is a positive sin to snatch the child from its bed, toss it up
and down and screech at it for the edification of curious visitors. Kissing
the child in the mouth should also be positively prohibited. The use of
patent medicines likewise, or even many of the "old mother remedies" should
never be indulged except on the advice of a competent physician. The needs
of the child for some time are strictly physical. Inner forces are at work
which cannot be assisted except indirectly through care of the physical
organism. So far as nervous or mental development is concerned the rule
should be, "Hands off, let Nature take her course."
Immediately after birth certain reflexive and instinctive movements, such
as sucking, crying, sneezing and clinging are manifested; and the sense of
taste and usually smell are also sufficiently active to enable the infant
to take nourishment. No other senses are active and no other movements
possible except the automatic action of vital organs and a few vague
spasmodic twitchings and movements of parts of the body known as impulsive.
Nothing, however, can be done from without to hasten the mental awakening;
Nature in her own due time will do this, and do it much better if not
hurried or interfered with.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Show that the infant is not an adult in miniature.
2. What are some important differences between the child and the adult?
3. What is the supreme need of the infant? Why?
4. What should be observed in caring for the child?
5. What should be avoided in caring for the child?
6. What should be the rule in early mental development?
7. What is active in the child immediately after birth?
"The Care of the Child in Health," by Oppenheim, will be helpful here. If
the book is in the parents' library, let someone prepare and make a brief
report on it for next lesson.
The following other helps may be had for the asking by writing to the U.S.
Bureau of Education: "Parental Care," by Mrs. West, Series No. 1,
publication No. 4, U.S. Department of Labor, Children's Bureau. The
following chapter is taken from one of these bulletins prepared for parents
by our Government.
CARE OF THE BABY IN SUMMER
_Summer Is a Critical Time for the Infant, During This Time It Should
Receive the Most Careful Attention_
A baby must be kept as cool as possible in summer, because over-heating is
a direct cause of summer diarrhea. Even breast-fed babies find it hard to
resist the weakening effects of excessive heat. Records show that thousands
of babies, most of whom are bottle-fed, die every year in July and August,
because of the direct or indirect effects of the heat. Next in importance
to right food in summer are measures for keeping the baby cool and
comfortable; frequent baths, light clothing and the selection of the
coolest available places for him to play and sleep.
A baby should have a full tub bath every morning. If he is restless and the
weather is very hot, he may have in addition one or two sponge baths a day.
A cool bath at bedtime sometimes makes the baby sleep more comfortably. For
a young baby, the water should be tepid; that is, it should feel neither
hot nor cold to the mother's elbow. For an older baby it may be slightly
cooler, but should not be cold enough to chill or frighten him.
If the water is very hard a tablespoonful of borax dissolved in a little
water may be added to three quarts of water to soften it. Very little soap
should be used and that a very bland, simple soap, like castile. Never rub
the soap directly on the baby's skin, and be sure that it is thoroughly
rinsed off, as a very troublesome skin disease may result if a harsh soap
is allowed to dry on the skin.
Use a soft wash cloth made from a piece of old table linen, towel, knitted
underwear, or any other very soft material, and have two pieces, one for
the face and head and one for the body. The towel should be soft and clean
also. Even in summer the baby should be protected from a direct draft when
being bathed lest he be too suddenly chilled.
A young baby should be carefully held while in the tub. The mother puts her
left hand under the baby's arm and supports the neck and head with her
forearm. But an older baby can sit alone and in summer may be allowed to
splash about in the cool water for a few minutes.
When the bath is finished the baby should be patted dry, and the mother
should take great care to see that the folds and creases of the skin are
dry. Use a little pure talcum powder or dry sifted corn starch under the
arms and in the groin to prevent chafing. If any redness, chafing, or
eruption like prickly heat, develops on the skin, no soap at all should be
used in the bath. Sometimes a starch, or bran, or soda bath will relieve
_Bran Bath_. Make a little bag of cheesecloth and put a cupful of ordinary
bran in it and sew or tie the top. Let this bag soak in the bath, squeezing
it until the water is milky.
_Starch Bath_. Use a cupful of ordinary cooked starch to a gallon of water.
(If the laundry starch has had anything added to it, such as salt, lard,
oil, bluing, it must not be used for this purpose.)
_Soda Bath_. Dissolve a tablespoonful of ordinary baking soda in a little
water and add it to four quarts of water.
_Clothing_. Do not be afraid to take off the baby's clothes in summer. All
he needs in hot weather are the diaper and one other garment. For a young
baby this may be a sleeveless band which leaves the arms and chest bare,
and for an older baby only a loose, thin cotton slip or apron, or wrapper,
made in one piece with short kimono sleeves. Toward nightfall when the day
cools, or if the temperature drops when a storm arises, the baby should, of
course, be dressed in such a way as to protect him from chill.
Cotton garments are best for the baby in summer. All-wool bands, shirts and
stockings should not be worn at any time of the year, and in hot summer
weather only the thinnest, all-cotton clothing should touch the baby's
skin, unless he is sick, when a very light part-wool band may be needed. In
general, neither wool nor starch should be allowed in the baby's clothing
in summer. Wool is too hot and irritating and starched garments scratch the
The baby should be kept day and night in the coolest place that can be
found. The kitchen is usually the hottest room in the house, especially if
coal or wood is burned for fuel. While the mother is busy with her work the
baby should be kept in another room, or better, out of doors, if he can be
protected from flies and mosquitoes.
A play pen, such as is described in "Infant Care," a booklet published by
the Children's Bureau and sent free on request, makes it possible to leave
the baby safely by himself on the porch or in the yard, after he is old
enough to creep.
A screened porch on the shady side of the house is a boon to every mother,
affording a cool, secure place for the baby to play and also to sleep. Let
him have his daytime naps on the porch and sleep there at night during the
Do not be afraid of fresh air for the baby. He cannot have too much of it.
Night air is sometimes even better than day air, because it has been cooled
and cleansed of dust by the dew.
The essentials in the summer care of babies are:
1. Proper food, given only at regular intervals.
2. A clean body.
3. Fresh air, day and night.
4. Very little clothing.
5. Cool places to play and sleep in.
Do not give the baby medicine of any sort unless it is ordered by the
doctor. Never give him patent remedies which are said to relieve the pain
of teething, or to make him sleep, or to cure diarrhea, for such medicines
are likely to do the baby much more harm than good, especially in summer
when the digestion is so easily disturbed. It is so much easier to keep the
baby well than it is to cure him when he is sick, that wise mothers try to
take such care of the baby that he will not be sick.
Do not fail to give the baby a drink of cool water several times a day in
hot weather. Boil the water first, then cool it, and offer it to the baby
in a cup, glass, or nursing bottle. Babies and young children sometimes
suffer cruelly for lack of drinking water.
QUESTIONS ON TEXT
1. What are the chief causes of sickness and death among children during
the summer time?
2. What are the best preventatives for baby ills during the hot months?
3. Discuss the importance of bathing and tell how to bathe the child.
4. What is the best way to dress the child during the heated time of the
5. What provisions should be made for his sleeping?
6. Discuss the use of patent medicines.
7. What should be done regarding the drink of the child? Why?
8. What can best be done by the well-to-do and by the community as a whole
to protect and preserve the babies?
_Reference_: Selections from "Child Nature and Child Nurture," by St. John.
_This Activity Is Expressed in Simple Reflexes, Complex Instincts, or
Internally Caused Impulses_
As already mentioned, the physical needs of the infant are supreme. Proper
nourishment, the right temperature, bathing, and an abundance of fresh,
pure air constitute all of his requirements. The child is endowed, however,
with an enormous capacity for movement which is the outward expression of
his awakening mental life.
The first great mental fact to note is that the infant is born with the
capacity to respond to stimuli both from without and within. Touch the lips
of the new-born child with the nipple or even the finger, and immediately
the sucking instinct takes place; let a bright light shine into the open
eye, and the iris at once contracts; plunge the little one into cold water
or let it be subject to any bodily discomfort and at once the crying reflex
takes place. The simple, direct responses to stimuli such as sneezing,
coughing, wrinkling, crying, response to tickling, etc., are termed
reflexes. The more complex responses which are purposeful and are designed
to aid or protect the organism, such as sucking, clinging, fear, anger,
etc., are called instincts. Besides the movements which are the direct
result of stimulation, other movements more or less spasmodic and
uncoordinated take place which seem to be the result of internal causes not
The whole body is usually involved in these movements, and they are at
first extremely random in expression. These are termed impulses and are
undoubtedly due to the fact that the infant is a living, breathing
embodiment of energy, seeking the means of self-expression. In other words,
the infant is active from the beginning, and the slightest kind of internal
disturbance is sufficient at times to turn loose an immense number of
impulsive movements. This activity at birth is entirely uncontrolled. It
seems that in contrast to reflexes and instincts which have prearranged
bodily means of expression, the impulses must be subjected to a long period
of training and education before they are capable of being controlled and
transformed into that voluntary movement which is sometimes called will
The immense number and strength of these random, impulsive movements in the
infant is in great contrast to the few, instinctive, unchangeable modes of
action in lower animals. As already stated, most animals come to the world
with the few movements necessary to their existence already provided for
and so fixed that future adjustment to new conditions is practically
impossible. The child, on the other hand, has marvelous capacity for
adjustment to new conditions and presents, therefore, possibilities for
training and education that have probably never yet been fully realized in
The reflexes and instincts, however, are much more fixed and certain in
their action than are the impulses. No matter what the training and
education of an individual may be, he will sneeze, even in church, if the
right stimulus is present; or he will cry and shed tears in public if the
melodrama excites the proper nerve centers. When the sex instinct is fully
aroused or the sentiment of love completely awakened, no one can foretell
what the action of the otherwise sane person will be.
All that training and education can do is to inhibit under ordinary
conditions certain undesirable tendencies and instincts and to strengthen
through exercise those that are desirable; and even then when a crisis
comes, the old, hereditary instinct is apt to break through its thin veneer
and actually frighten the individual at the unexpected strength it reveals.
Slap any man in the face and see what chance his life-long education has
against the old barbarous instinct for fighting. But notwithstanding the
strength and tenacity of instincts, training and education may inhibit
some of them and so transform others into useful habits that for most
purposes in life their subjugation seems complete.
A tremendous, almost divine power rests, therefore, in the hands of
parents--the power to mold and fashion and transform the impulses and
instincts of their children into whatsoever ideals of life and conduct they
themselves possess. Where is the parent who fully realizes his privilege
and completely performs his sacred duty?
QUESTIONS ON THE TEXT
1. What are the supreme needs of the infant?
2. What is the first mental fact to note?
3. Illustrate reflex movement, instinctive movement, impulsive movement.
4. Contrast the impulses of children with the instincts of lower animals.
5. What opportunity is given parents through the impulsive movements of the
6. What only may training and education hope to accomplish with the
instincts of children?
7. What almost divine power is possessed by parents in the training of
8. Quote from the Doctrine & Covenants also a passage that deals with the
responsibility of parents in teaching the gospel to their children.
_Reference_: For a further study of _instincts_, selections from
"Fundamentals of Child Study," by Kirkpatrick, will be found helpful. Also
chapters from "Elementary Psychology," by Phillips.
_Habit Is the Tendency to Make Certain Actions Automatic. It Is a Great
Time Saver, and Forms the Basis for Training and the Acquirement of Skill_
Once activity starts in any direction, the tendency is to persist until
satisfaction is reached. If the movement results in pain or even
discomfort, or if the end reached is not satisfactory, the movement will be
inhibited or discontinued and probably will not be attempted the second
time. Whenever the end reached does give satisfaction, the activity is sure
to be repeated, and in these later attempts, efforts will be made to reach
the end more quickly and with less effort. This is done through eliminating
the unnecessary movements and combining the right ones until the complete
process is performed with ease and skill.
The repetition alone is not so important as the intelligent improvement of
the act through practice until a satisfactory degree of skill is obtained.
After the desired end is reached, attention to the process will cease, but
thereafter whenever the right stimulus is presented the act will be
repeated, and this will be done with much less effort than was first
employed; further repetitions of the act require less and less conscious
effort until at length it will be performed almost with the same sureness
and ease with which reflex or automatic movements take place. Any activity
whatsoever when reduced to this automatic stage is termed habit.
The importance of habit in the development of the child can scarcely be
over-estimated; in truth, it is the one great process which dominates
nine-tenths of all the activity of the individual throughout his entire
life. Habits ought to be our most helpful and reliable servants, but they
are too often enemies that bind us hand and foot and prevent the
realization of our highest possibilities.
Much of the training and education of the child consists, therefore, in
acquiring a series of useful habits and in inhibiting acts that might
result in habits that are undesirable. A child left to himself or
improperly reared will acquire all sorts of undesirable habits which may
have the effect of hampering his every movement and which may cause
eventually his disgrace and failure in life. Even the adult who fails to
practice the details of the various activities connected with his vocation
until they result in effective habits of work will usually fail, while the
man who has mastered the details of his occupation through reducing them to
a series of effective habits will surely succeed. Note the ease and
perfection with which the skilled workman performs his labor and compare
it with the slow, slovenly work of the unskilled laborer.
One important development of the future will be the employment of an expert
in each occupation whose business it will be to teach the workmen the most
efficient and economical way of doing his particular work. Even now in many
factories high-priced experts are secured whose duty it is to teach the
workmen how to eliminate all unnecessary movements in their work and how to
combine the right movements necessary to accomplish each task in the best
way and in the quickest time. In many instances, the output of the factory
has been increased from twenty-five to forty per cent, through this
Theoretically, good habits should be as easy to acquire as bad ones, but
practically this is not the case. Only a few bad habits are the result of
conscious choice and effort; for example, the acquiring of a liking for
tobacco and liquor, the taste of which for most children is disagreeable if
not nauseating at first, but this taste, through practice, often becomes an
uncontrollable craving. Most bad habits, however, come about unconsciously
and are the result of "just letting things happen." This, undoubtedly, is
what the proverb means which states, "Man is born to trouble as the sparks
are to fly upward."
Most good habits, on the other hand, are the result of conscious effort,
especially on the part of parents and teachers. A reason for this is that
the strongest instincts in children are those relating to self-preservation
and the gratification of personal desires, hence selfishness, greediness,
anger, and the fighting instinct are natural to the child, while
generosity, good manners, respect for the rights of others, and sympathy
require, in order to be properly developed, persistent effort and
education. Parents, therefore, must persevere in training up the child in
the way he should go if they would cultivate in him habits that bless his
Imitation also plays a remarkable part in the formation of habits. The
child learns to walk, talk, use his hands in certain ways, and to eat,
sleep, and dress after the manner of his elders. He uses good language or
bad according to the examples heard; in fact, nearly everything a child
does is the result of copying after others. Whether his habits be good or
bad, efficient or slovenly, therefore, depends largely on the nature of the
examples he has to follow.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. How are habits formed?
2. Give examples to show that habit dominates most of the activities of
3. Why are good habits more difficult to form than bad ones?
4. Illustrate the power of imitation in the formation of habits.
5. What is the relation of habit to training and education?
6. What is the relation of habit to the skilled workman?
7. In what way can the expert increase efficiency in every vocation and
8. How might much time be saved in the home and on the farm by the
acquirement of effective habits in work?
_Reference_: For further study of habit see "Phillip's Elementary
_Right Habits Must Be Acquired Early; Wrong Habits Are Broken Only Through
Whatsoever the parent desires in his child in the nature of attainment or
skill, of character or ideal, if not foreign to the nature of the child,
may be realized through attention to habit. But the training in right
habits should be accomplished during the golden age of childhood when body
and soul are plastic and impressions are easily made. Too early the
character hardens like cement and thereafter becomes well nigh impossible
to change. Think how difficult it is for the adult, but how easy for the
child, to acquire skill in music, or facility in speaking a foreign
language. With respect to moral virtue and spiritual sentiment, whatsoever
good fruit you look for in the man usually appears as seed and flower in
Among the habits that should be impressed early, habits that are absolutely
essential to success in life, are the following:
1. Promptness and regularity.
2. Obedience to right and justice.
3. Truthfulness and honesty.
5. Industry or the habit of work.
8. Courtesy and respect for the rights of others.
Crowning these and transcending them in importance are the supreme
sentiments and ideals of life, which cannot properly be regarded as habits;
they are sympathy, love, faith, reverence for religious convictions, and
the ideal of freedom or liberty.
Society itself could not endure but for the stability which habits afford.
It is easy to denounce custom and tradition as obstacles to progress and
reform, but it should be remembered that they are the social habits which
society has acquired through registering the experience of the past, and
that while some of them, such as intemperance and sexual vice, are
destructive of society, others, like co-operation, and the ideal of
freedom, are absolutely essential to human progress.
An example by Oppenheim, in his "Mental Growth and Control," well
illustrates the power of habit. A wealthy woman in New York City became
interested in the crowded tenements of the east side; she believed that
constant sickness, unclean habits, and the vicious characters of the people
were due largely to overcrowding. She secured, therefore, some well
furnished cottages in the suburbs and offered them rent free until such
time as the occupants should become well established. Her surprise was
great when they refused to move into these comparatively luxurious
quarters; they seemed to prefer the dirt and disease, the sickness and vice
to which they were accustomed. "She did not know the force of habit; she
was totally ignorant of the hard and fast condition into which people grow.
She had never stopped to consider how necessary it is for the world at
large to have such repression. Without this control there could be no
peace, no safety, no steady growth in civilized society. The poor would
attack the rich, the lawless and violent would assail the peaceful, the
indolent would refuse to labor, the regularity and studied discipline of
well-ordered life would absolutely cease. In their place anarchy would
reign and each day would make confusion worse confounded. Imagine, if you
can, what animals would be if they lacked restraint of habit. Man's power
over them would cease instantly and their strength would be a terrible
engine of destruction. Men would be as much worse as human intelligence
exceeds brute intelligence. One is quite safe in declaring that habit is
the great flywheel that regulates society."
Desirable habits, therefore, together with all necessary reforms, must
come about slowly; they should be the result of conscious training and
education in all the factors that make for a higher civilization.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What are some habits essential to success?
2. When should training to fix these habits begin? Why?
3. Why do many parents fail to fix right habits in their children?
4. How may wrong habits be overcome and right habits established?
5. What does Solomon say in regard to training the child?
6. Give reasons why community habits are so hard to change? What is the
good side of this strength of habit?
7. What is the quickest and surest way to bring about desirable social
MAXIMS ON HABIT
_Professor James Gives Four Maxims to Follow in Breaking from an Old Habit
or in Acquiring a New One_
"1. _Take care 'o launch yourself with as strong and decided initiative as
possible_. Reinforce the right motive with every favorable circumstance;
put yourself in a condition that will make the right act easy and the wrong
one difficult. Take a public pledge if the case allows; in short, envelop
your resolution with every aid possible.
"2. _Never suffer an exception to occur until the new habit is securely
rooted_. Each lapse is like the letting fall of a ball of yarn that is
being wound; a single slip undoes more than a great many turns will wind
again. It is necessary above all things never to lose a battle; every gain
on the wrong side undoes the effects of many conquests on the right.
"3. _Seize every opportunity to act in the direction of the desired habit,
and permit no emotional prompting in its behalf to escape you_. 'Hell is
paved with good intentions,' hence to have good desires, thoughts,
intentions without actually working them out weakens and destroys the moral
fibre. 'Character is a completely fashioned will,' says J.S. Mill, and a
will in this sense is an aggregate of tendencies which act in a firm,
prompt, and definite way in every emergency of life. When a resolve or a
fine glow of feeling is allowed to evaporate without bearing fruit in
action, it is worse than a chance lost, it is a positive hindrance to the
carrying out of future resolutions. Nothing is more contemptible than a
sentimental dreamer who is carried away with lofty thoughts and feeling but
who never does a manly, concrete deed. Positive harm is done through
cultivating the emotions and sentiments if no outlet is found for some
"4. _Keep the faculty of effort alive by a little gratuitous exercise every
day_. That is, be heroic, do every day something for no other reason than
that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need comes,
it may find you nerved and trimmed to stand the test. The man who practices
self-denial in unnecessary things will stand like a tower when everything
rocks around him and when his softer fellow mortals are winnowed like chaff
in a blast.
"The hell which theology once taught is no worse than the hell we make for
ourselves by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could
the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of
habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic
state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone.
Every small stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar.
The drunken Rip Van Winkle excuses each drink he takes by saying, 'I won't
count this time.' He may not count it, and a kind heaven may not count it,
but down among his nerve cells and in the muscle fibres, the molecules are
counting it, registering and storing it up to be used against him when the
next temptation comes. Nothing we do in a strict, scientific sense is ever
wiped out; each thought and every deed is registered in the soul and helps
to compose that book out of which we will be judged on that great final day
when we are called upon to render an account of our stewardship."
Notwithstanding the difficulty, however, habits may be strengthened, or
abolished. The older they are the more difficult they will be to modify;
the chief factor involved is the amount of labor required to make the
change, the possibility of making it need never be questioned. Breaking the
habit of excessive use of drugs, tobacco, tea and coffee, or alcohol, will
occasion much discomfort, hardship, and even functional disturbance, but
these ills are only temporary, and the organism soon returns to its
original normal condition.
To break a well-established habit requires common sense, decision and
strength of purpose. "If you want to abolish a habit, you must grapple with
the matter as earnestly as you would with a physical enemy. You must go
into the encounter with all tenacity of determination, with all fierceness
of resolve, with a passion for success that may be called vindictive. No
human enemy can be as insidious, as persevering, as unrelenting as an
unfavorable habit. It never sleeps, it needs no rest, it has no tendency
toward vacillation and lack of purpose. It is like the parasite that grows
with the growth of the supporting body and like a parasite, it can best be
killed by violent separation and crushing.
"Every time we make an unsuccessful attempt, the final crushing is
indefinitely postponed, every time we put off the attempt, the desired
result fades farther and farther away. The habit persists and from time to
time the path becomes deeper and broader. In addition, during such a period
of weakness and indecision, you may be fostering another habit, that of
expecting defeat. From this lack of confidence and little faith in yourself
and destiny, you must by all means escape at any cost. There is nothing
more pathetic than the man who does not believe in himself. No one else
will believe in him. But he who has the enthusiasm of belief in himself
and never loses sight of his high purpose is the one who can perform
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Discuss fully each of the maxims given by Professor James, illustrating
by experiences you have known.
2. What expression from Professor James is most impressive to you?
3. What hope is there for those enslaved by a bad habit? How can we best
4. What was Christ's way of dealing with such people?
5. What are the common habits that most trouble us? How can they be best
prevented or overcome?
HABITS OF INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD
_The First Physical Habits Acquired by the Child Are of Vast Importance and
Require Heroic Treatment on the Part of the Mother_
From the beginning both physical and mental habits will be acquired by the
child. At first, attention must be given chiefly to the regularity of
caring for the physical needs of the infant such as giving food at stated
intervals, and having a regular time for sleeping, bathing, and for being
dressed. It is astonishing how little trouble is caused by the infant when
it is trained in correct physical habits from the beginning, compared with
the babe that is treated in a spasmodic fashion--everything overdone
sometimes and nothing at all done at other times. In the former case the
little one is quiet and peaceful and sleeps, as it should, most of the
time, especially at night; in the latter case the child is fretful and
cross and requires the father to trudge it about at night much to his
discomfort and loss of temper.
Nature has given the infant a voice which is not only lusty but which is
apt to be used from the first with unnecessary liberality. It is the little
one's only means of responding to stimuli that cause discomfort; at first
the infant's cry is reflex and unconscious; but if every time it cries
something happens, a sort of dim consciousness is soon awakened and the
habit of crying for nothing or on the slightest provocation is soon
established, and thereafter the child will rule the household like a Czar.
If, on the other hand, the mother understands that the crying reflex is
largely unnecessary at the present time, since she has learned to
administer to the infant's every requirement with clock-like regularity,
she will, when assured that nothing ails the child, let it cry if it wants
to without giving it the least attention. One can scarcely believe how soon
the crying reflex will disappear under such treatment. If, on the other
hand, the child is taken up whenever it cries and walked and rocked and
fondled, it quickly learns that individuals were made solely to wait on it,
and the great instinct of selfishness is aroused which is likely to carry
in its wake a world of trouble and disappointment. Who has not heard a
crying child in an adjoining room stop suddenly to listen for the sake of
discovering whether or not the noises he heard are the regular movements of
a person coming to him or merely the irregular noises of the wind or of
moving furniture which do not concern him? Not only is the child plastic,
but too often a portion of the environment is also plastic and yielding and
usually to the lasting detriment of the child. The young mother who would
train her child to right habits must be heroic.
When the little one is old enough to sit up in his high chair at the table,
his conduct is not apt to be meek and good-mannered. He will snatch at
things and tip them over, plunge his fists into the gravy, and fill his
mouth with food, stuffing it in with both hands until he chokes. His mother
is usually ashamed and grieved at his barbarous conduct; but she need not
be, she should remember that good table manners are artificial, not
natural, and that they are by no means a racial acquirement. She must
resort, therefore, to necessary means to correct the child, even at times
to physical punishment, though she herself must leave the room to shed a
quiet tear over such seeming cruelty. Place the spoon in his hand and help
the child to make the necessary movements and punish him slightly if need
be whenever he departs too far from propriety, and it will be astonishing
how quickly the conventional habit of table manners will be acquired. The
kindest mother is the one who is brave enough to inflict some punishment
when this is the surest way to develop needed habits that are unnatural to
Soon the child learns to crawl; he does this because of the primal pleasure
he has in bodily movements and because he has reached satisfaction in
handling objects within his grasp; and since distant objects will not come
to him, he must go to them, and this he does as soon as he is able. If
objects would come to him whenever he desired, it is probable that he would
not learn to crawl for a long time. Sometimes exceedingly awkward modes of
crawling are acquired, which if noted and corrected when first attempted,
would save much labor and pains afterward.
So long as crawling answers all demands and gives full satisfaction, it
will be continued; but, usually because the child sees others walk, and
possibly also because he himself has the instinctive desire to walk,
crawling is no longer satisfactory. So he attempts to imitate the walking
of his elders and through the aid and encouragement received from them, he
accomplishes this marvelous feat--the greatest physical habit he will ever
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What are the first physical habits that the child should acquire?
2. What results from spasmodic training in these habits?
3. How should the crying reflex be treated?
4. How is selfishness early aroused? How can it be avoided?
5. Why should the young mother be heroic?
6. How may table manners, and other conventional habits be taught?
7. Why do the parents fail to implant right habits in their children?
The following will be found helpful for further studies on this subject:
"The Care of the Baby," by Holt; "The Care of the Child in Health," by
THE MEANING OF CONSCIOUSNESS
_Consciousness Is Expressed in Knowing, Feeling, and Willing, Each Phase of
Which Should Be Developed Fully and in Perfect Harmony_
As already remarked, the chief characteristic of the young child is
ceaseless activity. From the time he is able to walk, or even crawl, the
great instinct of curiosity is alive, and this at first is likely to lead
him into all sorts of places where he should not go and cause him to
investigate and even destroy some of the valued possessions of the
household. This is a critical period in the development of the child and
must be handled with rare judgment. Some knowledge of child psychology is
essential here to guide the parent.
About this time three types of mental activity will be noted in the child.
(1) _Feeling_ is one phase or type which expresses itself sometimes in
pleasure or pain and at other times in action or anger. The feeling phase
of consciousness gives color and tone to every act of life; it is the basis
of interest; without it, neither happiness nor sorrow could exist, nor
could there be faith or worship. When fully developed, it culminates in the
emotions and sentiments, the highest of which are friendship and sympathy,
love and duty, patriotism and reverence. The opposite of some of these is
anger, hate and jealousy. Feeling makes heaven or hell a possibility and
sometimes an actuality.
(2) The _knowing_ phase of mental activity is aware of the outside world as
well as of itself; it forms images of things and remembers; in its higher
aspects it judges and reasons. This phase of consciousness makes possible
invention and scientific achievement. By and through it, man overcomes his
environment and makes himself the master of the earth.
(3) The _volitional_ or _will_ phase of mental activity is first manifested
in the impulsive, spasmodic movements heretofore described. Later these
random movements are brought under control, then comes the ability to
select a desired stimulus from among several that are possible, and at
length the power to choose between two or more possible modes of action.
This highest form is termed voluntary action or will power. It is extremely
important to note that the will is not a separate power or faculty which
can be cultivated apart from other phases of consciousness. Many foolish
things have been written about the power of the will and its capacity
for infinite development; as a matter of fact, all three phases of
consciousness must be developed together. Every act of the mind of
necessity embraces all three phases, since it is impossible to know without
feeling or to experience feeling or knowing without activity. The will,
therefore, can never be quite so strong as the total consciousness; and
at every stage, it needs the feeling phase to give it motive and the
knowing phase to make it rational. Knowing, feeling, and willing,
therefore, are merely convenient terms that express the varying, changing
modes of consciousness, which at one time may be predominately feeling, at
another knowing, and again willing. The great fact to remember is that
consciousness develops as a unit, and the most highly trained mind is the
one in which each phase is developed not only to its maximum but at the
same time in perfect harmony with the other two as well as with the total
It is impossible to say which of the three phases develops first in the
infant, nor is it important to know; the significant fact is that all three
evolve together, and whenever activity is strong and well sustained, it is
evident that feeling and knowing also are well developed.
When the child is two years of age or over, as above remarked, usually an
appalling desire to destroy things is manifested. Dolls will be torn to
pieces, the toy bank smashed, and if a hammer can be had, nothing is too
sacred to be knocked to pieces. This is not depravity in the child, much
as it seems to be, it is a legitimate desire to investigate, to satisfy his
curiosity, and to find a means of satisfying his increasing power to do
something. Up to this time an object is to the child merely the activity
for which it stands; a ball is something to roll or toss, a hammer is to
strike with, and it is a matter of supreme indifference to him what is
struck. At this stage the child has no sense of values and he cannot
possibly know that one object may be hit with a hammer, while another
object, such as a mirror, may not. He must be taught this fact; at first it
is entirely beyond his experience.
But the child now has considerable capacity for knowing, hence the wise
parent can easily and quickly teach him to discriminate and even to be
careful to avoid injury to certain objects. No attempt should be made to
suppress this new-born power of this searcher after truth; this instinct is
the basis of invention and of scientific research; it must be properly
guided, but not subdued. Give him playthings which can be taken to pieces
and put together, dolls which can be dressed and undressed, horses which
can be harnessed and fastened to carts, blocks which can be built into
various forms, and above all, for a boy, a large, soft block of wood with
plenty of nails, tacks, and a hammer. The amount of energy he will expend
in filling the block with tacks or nails is astonishing. Other appropriate
ways of expressing his energy should also be provided. Give the child
something to do.
This rule ought to be rigidly observed: _Never cut straight across the
activity of a child, but always substitute some other act in place of the
one not desired_.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. How is the great instinct of curiosity at first manifested?
2. What three phases of consciousness are there? How do these develop?
3. What is meant by a well-trained mind?
4. What explains the child's tendency to destroy things? How may this
tendency be best overcome?
5. What rule should the parent carefully follow with relation to the
6. What are some sensible activities that may be easily provided for
7. Why is it worth while for parents to devote some time, or even money, to
providing for the natural activities of children to express themselves in
the right ways?
For further study, selections from "Elementary Psychology," by Phillips,
will be found helpful.
POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE TRAINING
_Train the Positive Side of the Child's Nature and the Negative Side Will
Need Little Attention_.
A negative method trains the child to be hard and critical, and to be
constantly looking for opposition to his wishes; it is the chief cause also
of slyness, ill-temper and disrespect.
The following illustrations are taken from Mrs. Harrison's inspiring little
book, entitled, "A Study of Child Nature." "A mother came to me in utter
discouragement, saying: 'What shall I do with my five-year-old boy? He is
simply the personification of the word _won't_.' After the conversation I
walked home with her. A beautiful child, with golden curls and great,
dancing, black eyes, came running out to meet us, and with all the
impulsive joy of childhood threw his arms about her. 'Don't do that, James,
you will muss mama's dress.' I knew at once where the trouble lay. In a
moment she said: 'Don't twist so, my son;' and 'Don't make such a noise.'
Within a few minutes the mother had used 'don't' five times. No wonder when
she said, 'Run in the house now, mama will come in a minute,' he replied:
'No, I don't want to.'"
"Two older children were playing in a room and soon became boisterous. The
busy mother did not notice them, but the little two-year-old child turned
round and called out impatiently: 'Boys, 'top.' Babies, like parrots, learn
the words they hear most frequently. 'Boys, stop,' a negative command, had
no doubt been used frequently in that household. How easy it would have
been to substitute the positive statement: 'Boys, run out in the back yard
and play ball,' or 'Run out into the garden and bring me some flowers for
"A four-year-old boy when he first entered the kindergarten was the most
complete embodiment of negative training I have ever met. It was 'No, I
don't want to,' 'No, I won't sit by that boy,' 'No, I don't like blocks.'
Nothing pleased him; nothing satisfied him. He was already an isolated
character, unhappy himself and a source of discomfort to others. Soon after
beginning our work, I heard a whizzing sound, and Paul's voice crying out:
'Joseph has knocked my soldier off the table and he did it on purpose too.'
My first impulse was to say: 'Why did you do that? It was naughty. Go and
pick up Paul's soldier.' But that would have been negative treatment, too
much of which had been heaped upon him already; so, instead, I said: 'Oh,
well, Paul, never mind, Joseph doesn't know that we try to make each other
happy in kindergarten.'
"Some time afterwards I said: 'Come here, Joseph, I wish you to be my
messenger boy.' This was a privilege highly desired by the children. Joseph
came reluctantly as if expecting some hidden censure, but soon he was busy
running back and forth, giving each child the proper materials for the next
half-hour's work. As soon as the joy of service had melted him into a mood
of comradeship, I whispered: 'Run over now and get Paul's soldier.'
Instantly he obeyed, picked it up, and placed it on the table before its
owner, quietly slipped into his own place and began his work. His whole
nature for the time being was changed. Continued treatment of this kind
completely transformed the nature of the child."
Scolding and finding fault are the most common forms of negative training
employed by parents. Such treatment brings out and emphasizes the opposite
qualities from those desired, since they appeal to the very worst side of
the child's nature. Usually, too, the sympathy of the mother and the
affection of the child are separated and coldness takes their place.
Suggest to the child at the right time the act you wish him to do and
usually it will be quickly accomplished; then if a child is praised a
little for his promptness, he will soon grow into the habit of doing
promptly other more important tasks. The boy who dallied over everything he
did was soon cured by the simple device of counting while he ran an errand
and then praising him for his quick return. A little praise goes farther
than much censure. Sometimes a boy's tone and manner are lacking in respect
to his mother, or a girl becomes troublesome and defies authority. This
condition did not come about suddenly; it is the result of continued
negative treatment. Usually, if a boy is disrespectful or a girl impudent,
it is because the parents through neglect or improper training, have
unconsciously fostered such behavior.
Some children are timid and superstitious, too often they are laughed at
and ridiculed; on the other hand, fun should never be made of such children
and they should be given every opportunity to develop courage and
self-reliance. If a child is irreverent, he should have his eyes opened to
the wonders of creation and to the majesty and power displayed by the Maker
of the universe. So, in all cases, the parents should beware of the almost
universal, negative mode of training which represses, scolds, finds fault,
and results in producing hardness, slyness, obstinacy, and other
undesirable qualities; instead, positive methods should be employed. They
suggest correct action, substitute the right for the wrong, praise for
blame, encouragement rather than discouragement, and stimulate to higher
endeavor. However, if occasion demands, parents may be stern, unrelenting
and even resort to punishment.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is the main point of this lesson?
2. Discuss the "won't" child.
3. Discuss the "don't" boy.
4. Discuss scolding and finding fault versus judicious praise.
5. What is the value of suggestion in guiding children? Illustrate.
6. What often explains disrespect and impudence in children?
8. Illustrate some helpful ways that give positive training to children.
Selections from "The Dawn of Character," by Mumford, will be found helpful,
for further studies on this subject.
FOOD, DRESS AND TOYS
"_The Body Is More Than Raiment; and Life, More Than Meat_."
The normal child is born in a state of naturalness with respect to his
tastes and appetites and the endeavor should be to keep him in this natural
state. But too often his senses are stimulated to excess and an artificial
appetite is begun which usually leads to some form of intemperance. Much of
the excess in drinking is due, not to inheritance, but to vicious feeding.
A false appetite leads to physical unrest and uneasiness and this naturally
lends itself to the pleasure and excitement of drink.
"Why do you not eat the pickles, my son?" said one father; "they are very
nice." "No," said the boy, "I don't see any use in eating spiced pickles,
it doesn't help to make me strong; my teacher says so." Would that every
child were thus trained to prefer wholesome to unwholesome food. Our
schools are doing good work along these lines of personal hygiene; parents
should reinforce the efforts of the teacher by bringing the home hygiene up
to the right standards.
The clothing of children also deserves some attention. Probably in nothing
else is vanity and selfishness more easily displayed than in dress. How
rare a thing it is to find a beautiful child, simply or even plainly
dressed, who is neither vain of her good looks nor of her rich apparel. The
sweetest object in the world is a beautiful child, tastily dressed, free
from vanity, and perfectly natural and unspoiled. The mother who praises
her child's curls or rosy cheeks rather than the child's actions or inner
motives, is developing vanity of the worst kind--placing beauty of
appearance above beauty of conduct.
"Fashionable parties for children are abominations upon the face of the
earth." Soon enough the child will come in contact with that which is
unnatural and deceitful without having artificial conduct forced upon him.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What may result from developing an artificial appetite in children?
2. What should the young mother avoid in feeding her child?
3. What evils result from over-indulgence in candy, nick-nacks, soda water,
4. In the dress of children how is vanity often developed?
5. What may result from constant praise of the good looks of the child?
6. Discuss proper dress in children.
For further help on these points read Mrs. Harrison's "Study of Child
Nature," pages 47 to 54.
CULTIVATING THE EMOTIONS
_It Is a Serious Mistake to Begin Educating the Intellect Before Training
In the history of the race, art develops before science, just as in nature
the blossom comes before the fruit; so in the child emotions come before
reason, and he is attracted and his sympathies aroused by nearly any appeal
to his senses long before his understanding tells him why. Notwithstanding
this fact, nearly every educative effort is confined to the intellect and
the feelings are allowed to shift for themselves. The result is that many a
child grows up cold, hard, and matter-of-fact, with little of color, poetry
or sympathy to enrich his life. The common mistake is to starve the
emotions in order to overfeed the understanding. The education of the heart
must keep pace with that of the head if a well-balanced character is to be
developed. Even in school the teacher too often proceeds to stuff the child
with information before first awakening interest in the subject. Once
arouse the interest of a child in any subject and he will pursue it to
Toys are of much value to children not only as promoters of play but
because they appeal to their sympathies and give exercise to the emotions.
The two great obstacles to the exercise of the right emotions are fear and
pity. Toys are great aids in overcoming these tendencies. Through dramatic
play with toys, children exercise their own imaginations and put action
into their own lives; and gradually fear and pity are overcome through the
confidence the child develops in himself.
"We find the instincts of the race renewed in each new-born infant. Each
individual child desires to master his surroundings. He cannot yet drive a
real horse and wagon, but his very soul delights in the three-inch horse
and the gaily-painted wagon; he cannot tame real tigers and lions, but his
eyes dance with pleasure as he places and replaces the animals of his toy
menagerie. He cannot at present run engines or direct railways, but he can
control for a whole half-hour the movements of his miniature train. He is
not yet ready for real fatherhood, but he can pet and play with, and rock
to sleep and tenderly guard the doll baby." Through toys the child
practises in miniature most of the activities of the adult and thus
gradually bridges the chasm between his small capacity and the great
realities and possibilities of life.
The heart should be trained as carefully as the head. Our emotions even
more than our reason govern us. Train the child to feel rightly, to admire
the good, the true and the beautiful, and you need not fear. He will
develop a love of home, of country and of God that will carry him safely
throughout all his life. This does not mean that we shall neglect the
training of his intellect; both heart and head should be trained together,
but the heart must not be neglected; for out of it, says the Good Book,
come the issues of life.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What may result from cultivating the intellect in children before
stimulating the emotions?
2. Which governs us most, our feelings or our reason?
3. How can we develop best the right emotions in childhood, such as
kindness and unselfishness?
4. In what ways may toys help to develop the child? Discuss here proper and
improper toys; which are preferable, dolls or Teddy Bears, in developing
motherly instincts? What about soldiers, firearms, etc., in their effect on
For further reading on this point, Mrs. Harrison's "Study on Child Nature"
will be found helpful. Let some member report from the book, if it be
available, dealing particularly with pages 66 to 70.
THE INFLUENCE OF LOVE
_Love Is the Vital Element Which Transforms Human Nature and Makes Life
The sweetest word in all the language is _love_. Without it life is a
frozen tundra where the sun never shines. Home is beautiful because there
is love. If a planet exists where love is absent, then it contains no
fire-sides, the laughter of children is never heard, flowers do not grow
there, and the singing of birds is unknown.
If selfishness is ever overcome, if it is ever transformed into service, it
will be when love is triumphant; for love alone is great enough to
sacrifice itself for another. Love only can reach the sublime heights of
faith and exaltation, of reverence and worship. Love alone has the power to
say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."
There is, however, a strange contradiction or opposition in love. Sometimes
it is as weak and timid as a bashful girl, at other times, as strong and
heroic as an Amazon; now it is like the harmony in music or the delicate
coloring of a sunset; again, like the thunderous roar of Niagara or the
consuming fire of Vesuvius.
Love is an instrument with many strings, some so delicate that they catch
the sweetest symphonies of the soul, others so powerful that they resound
to the mighty storms and tempests of life, and some so vibrant that they
throb to the sorrows and heartaches of a bleeding world.
Affection is awakened in the child with his first smile in recognition of
his mother's face. How shall this budding affection be rightly nurtured and
developed so that it shall flower and bring forth good fruit? It is desired
that he shall be generous and possess good will towards others, that he
shall have sympathy and the spirit of sacrifice for those dear to him; but
too often the fruit of promise is eaten into by the worm of selfishness.
"Selfishness is the most universal of sins and the most hateful. Dante
placed Lucifer, the embodiment of selfishness, down below all other sinners
in the dark pit of the Inferno, frozen in a sea of ice. Well did the poet
know that this sin lay at the root of all others. Think, if you can, of one
crime or vice which has not its origin in selfishness."
As already stated, the primary instincts of the child favor the development
of selfishness and the gratification of the appetites and passions. The
utmost care, therefore, must be exercised by the parents, from the very
beginning, if the affections and desires of the child are to be trained
away from itself and not permitted to become self-centered. Happy is the
child whose mother knows how to direct those earliest manifestations of
love. The undisciplined senses and appetites easily degenerate into
indulgence of passion, or grow into that moral control which delights in
The inborn desire for praise and recognition may express itself in bragging
vanity, or expand into heroic endeavor. So, too, there is a physical love
which expresses itself in a mere caress and a higher, purer, more glorious
love which manifests itself in service and self-sacrifice. The tremendous
hug of the little arms and the kiss of the rosy lips are manifestations of
physical love; while the child is in this loving mood the wise mother
should ask of him some little service, slight at first, but sufficient to
make him put forth some effort to serve her. In this way she can transform
this mere selfish love into the beginning of that spiritual love which
Christ commended when He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
The parent stands to his child for the time being, as the one supreme
source of every power and blessing; the wise parent may establish
between himself and the little one almost the same beautiful and solemn
relationship as that which exists between the Supreme Giver of all good and
His children. "Not every one that sayeth unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall
enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in Heaven."
"Love is to be tested always by its effect upon the will. From the
beginning the will must be made strong and unselfish by repeated acts of
loving self-sacrifice. Contrast the selfish, all-absorbing love of Romeo
for Juliet, who could not live without the physical presence of the one he
loved, with that grandly beautiful love of Hector for Andromache, who, out
of the very love he bore her, could place her to one side and answer the
stern call of duty that she might never in the future have cause for
"I knew an ideal home where husband and wife were filled with the most
exalted love I have ever known, but the husband died. The wife said: 'All
that was beautiful or attractive in my life went out with my husband, and
yet I know that I must, for the love I bear him, remain and rear our child
as he would have him reared.' As I listened to these words, quietly uttered
by the courageous wife, I realized what love, real love, could help the
poor, stricken heart to endure."
The child must be trained through love to give up his own will to others,
and, from the beginning, learn to submit to things which are unpleasant.
If this thought is insisted on from the first, obedience will come easily
to the child; but woe be to both mother and child if egotism, self-will and
selfishness secure a fast hold upon the young heart.
A mother should never refuse the help offered by the child. If the work is
of such nature that the little one cannot share it, let the mother suggest
as a substitute something else which the child can do. Help turned away
begets idleness and nourishes selfishness. "No, dear, you cannot help dress
baby, but you may hand mama the clothes."
"A six-year-old boy, who had been taught true love through service, found
his mother one morning too ill to answer his many questions. 'Mama cannot
talk to you to-day, Philip, she has a severe headache.' He quietly closed
the door and soon there was a mysterious bumping and moving about of the
heavy furniture in the next room. Soon it all was still, then the door was
gently opened and little Philip tiptoed to his mother's bed and whispered,
'Mama, I have straightened the furniture and tidied up the room; is your
"A little three-year-old boy running rapidly stumbled and bumped his head
severely against the trunk of a tree. Loud cries of pain at once arose, but
his little brother took him by the arm and pushed him with all his might
towards his mother, saying in the most reassuring tone imaginable, 'Run to
mama, Ned, run to mama, she'll kiss it and make it well. Please run to her
quick.' 'Perfect love casteth out all fear.' Surely the wise mother can
devise a thousand ways by which to kindle the flame of love in her child
until her fond dreams for the little ones are transformed into living
realities. But the doubter may remark, 'What if I ask my child to do
something for me and he refuses or begins to make excuses or asks why his
brother can't do it?' You have simply mistaken the time for stretching the
young soul's wings. Begin the training when the child is in the loving mood
and you will rarely fail to get the desired response; yet, if need be,
command the performance of the deed, so that by repeated doing the selfish
heart may at length learn the pleasure of unselfishness and thus enter into
the joy of true living."
Let parents take this motto to heart: _Trust not the physical love of your
child, but seek to transform it into that higher love which manifests
itself in service. The real love of your child is measured by the extent to
which he will sacrifice his own comfort and pleasure to serve you_.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Why has the delicate sentiment of love such a power in shaping the lives
2. What may be said of selfishness?
3. How may the desire for praise be expressed?
4. Contrast physical and spiritual love.
5. How may love help to develop a strong will?
6. How must the child be taught obedience?
7. Illustrate how loving service may be secured.
8. How may the real love of the child for the parent be measured?
_There Is No Escape from Wrong-Doing. Mercy Cannot Rob Justice_
"Somehow I'll escape," is the fatal thought which blinds the poor fool who,
for the first time, treads the path of self-indulgence or wrong-doing. But
he ought to know that escape is impossible. No cave is dark enough, no
ocean deep enough to hide the transgressor from the consequences of his
misdeeds. A kind heaven may forgive him, and the one he injures may
overlook the offence; but his own body and mind cannot forget; they have
registered the deed once for all and it can never be atoned for or