Part 2 out of 3
forgotten. The doing of a bad deed changes the individual in some
particular, slight or great as the case may be, and, pathetic though it
seems, he cannot go back and try it over again; the scar remains, as if
seared by a hot iron, and, if the hurt is serious enough, heredity may pass
it down the ages.
How easily a bad habit is formed. "It won't hurt me" is whispered by the
siren voice of temptation, because the consequences of the transgression
are not felt or seen immediately, a second offence seems less serious than
the first. Soon habit steps in and stamps the process on mind and body and
before the author is conscious of it, a serious appetite or a degrading
vice is fastened upon him from which neither time nor effort, prayers nor
tears, may ever shake him free.
"_Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
That to be hated needs but to be seen,
But seen too oft, familiar with its face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace_."
The child must be trained early to know: "The way of the transgressor is
hard," and "He that sows the wind must reap the whirlwind." It is a great
mistake for the parent to step in and free the child from the consequences
of his first wrong acts. Let the consequences fall on his own head, and
perchance they will teach him wisdom. The true purpose of punishment is to
teach the necessity of obedience to law. Everything that is good and
desirable will come to him who obeys the law upon which the blessing is
predicated; every evil falls on the head of him who constantly violates
law. In the final analysis, the punishments which nature inflicts are kind,
because they are warnings which, if heeded, will prevent serious injury.
The purpose of all discipline is to produce a self-governing individual,
not one who needs to be governed by someone else. Until a person learns to
govern himself he counts for little in this world.
Two serious mistakes are made in child government. One is the indulgence of
a soft, vacillating policy by the parent which permits a child to shirk his
duties and to escape from the natural results of his misdeeds. Through the
parent's taking upon his own shoulders the consequences of the child's
wrong-doing, the child is lured into the false belief that duty may be
shirked, responsibility set aside, and life be made to yield one sweet
round of pleasure. How will a child so trained be prepared to endure the
disappointments and heartaches of a world which compels each of us to
drink his portion of the bitter hemlock?
The other mistake is to employ unnatural or arbitrary punishments. Even the
smallest child has an instinctive idea of justice and resents anything
which he regards as unjust. On the other hand, he learns quickly the
inevitableness with which pain follows the violation of law, and how
certain is the working out of cause and effect.
Mrs. Harrison gives this admirable illustration: "The little one puts his
hand upon the hot stove; no whirlwind from without rushes in and pushes the
hand away from the stove, then with loud and vengeful blasts scolds him
for his heedlessness or wrong-doing. He simply is burned--the natural
consequences of his own deed; and the fire quietly glows on, regardless of
the pain which he is suffering. If again he transgresses the law, again he
is burned as quietly as before, with no expostulation, threat, or warning.
He quickly learns the lesson and avoids the fire thereafter, bearing no
grudge against it."
When the child scatters her toys and playthings all over the room, the
natural penalty is to require that they be gathered up and the room made
tidy; when the boy scampers across the newly-cleaned floor with his muddy
boots, he should be made to mop up the floor carefully; thus in a thousand
similar ways, the parent may train the child to observe care and order in
Nothing is more beautiful than a large family where each child is taught to
care for and to rely upon himself, and to give a little willing service to
others. But the tired mother will remark, "Oh, yes, that all sounds very
nice, but mothers have no time to spare to eternally watch and train their
children." Hold a moment, there is a fallacy here; she ought to say, "I
have no time to spare because I failed to train the children in the manner
mentioned." In no other way can the mother save so much time as by taking a
little time at first to train the child to be neat, tidy and orderly, or
later to feel the inevitable consequences of violating law.
Instead of saving time in this sensible way, too often the mother loses
both time and the love of her child through becoming irritable and scolding
the little one for every offence committed. Nothing is worse than scolding,
a sound thrashing administered now and then is far less cruel. Nearly every
evil instinct in the child is aroused through fault-finding and scolding.
How long will it take to teach the parent, once for all, that scolding,
nagging, shutting up in the dark closets, and every other form of arbitrary
punishment arouse in the child a sense of injustice and resentment, which,
if not corrected later, will result in estrangement and loss of love
between parent and child? The child has a right to expect justice from his
parent. Only where this is found will the child develop that sense of
freedom and independence of thought and action which produce the highest
type of individual--one who is able to govern himself.
"But what shall be done when more serious offences are committed?" The
parent may well ask. In all likelihood there will be no serious offences if
the slight ones are treated properly. A mother came to me with her face
full of suppressed suffering. "What shall I do?" she remarked, "I have
discovered that my boy steals money from his father's purse." "Give him a
purse of his own," I answered, "and give him ways of earning money of his
own." It is asserted that more than half the boys sent to reform schools go
there because of theft. How many of them might have been saved if they had
been taught how to earn and to know the value of an honest dollar?
But so long as human nature is imperfect, and frailty so common, we must
expect in every family some occasion to arise that will tax the patience
and the love of the parent to the uttermost. No rule can be given that will
meet every crisis; common sense, justice, forbearance, faith and love may
be used in vain; and reproof, censure, and corporal punishment may also
fail in some supreme emergency, the only recourse that remains after all
these are exhausted is to permit the natural consequences of the deed to
fall upon the head of the transgressor.
Rule: _Parents should rarely punish the child, but should permit the
consequences of carelessness and wrong-doing to fall upon his own head.
Wisdom results from suffering pains and taking pains_.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Why do evil consequences follow bad deeds?
2. In what sense are nature's punishments kind?
3. What two mistakes are common in child government?
4. Illustrate how natural punishment may be employed by parents.
5. What may be resorted to in serious cases? For further discussion and
study of this subject the following references will be found helpful:
1. Chapter on Moral Education, from Spencer's "Education."
2. "Dealing with Moral Crises," by Cope, from "Religious Education in the
3. "Misunderstood Children," by Harrison.
_The Adolescent Period Is a Time of "Storm and Stress," When the Chief
Crises of Life Arise_
Most writers on psychology recognize in the life history of the child
several more or less distinct periods of development. The child is almost
a different being at different levels of his growth. Each period is marked
by peculiar physical, mental and moral characteristics which demand
specific treatment. So great and sudden are some of these changes that
they are sometimes likened to a metamorphosis, indicating an analogy with
certain insects as a change from the larvae and pupae stages to that of
Space will not permit more than a brief account of the most critical of
these periods, namely, the adolescent. This period begins at about the age
of thirteen in girls and fourteen in boys, and continues until about
eighteen. Physically, this stage starts with a very rapid growth which is
frequently doubled in rate within a single year. The girl may, in a few
months, change from a tall, angular, romping tomboy into a blooming,
dimpled young woman, bashful and afraid.
So much energy is required for physical growth that in the early stages of
this period difficult mental tasks cannot be well done. In a young man
especially, this period is marked by awkward, uncouth movements that
indicate uncertain adjustment. Frequently at this time the boy's voice
varies unsteadily from a high falsetto to a low pitch, which is most
mortifying to the youth, who is now bashful probably for the first time in
his life. The girl is suddenly very particular about her appearance, and
her clothes, and the youth for the first time delights in a starched shirt,
patent leather shoes and bright neck-ties.
The health of the individual at this time is usually good; susceptibility
to the diseases peculiar to childhood is slight, but there is increased
danger of acquiring adult diseases, and some writers claim that it is
during this time, when there are great physical disturbances, that the germ
of many adult diseases, such as tuberculosis, are apt to be implanted.
During the early part of this period it is unwise and dangerous for girls
to take part in such strenuous athletic games as basketball, or for boys to
indulge in football. Later when strength and equilibrium have been
restored, these games may be practiced without danger.
But the greatest of all changes, the one fundamental to adolescent life, is
the development of the sex instincts. Fortunate is the youth or maiden
whose parents are sensible and wise enough to instruct them concerning the
nature and purpose of these functions. Good books, such as "What a Boy
Should Know," and "What a Girl Should Know," are invaluable during this
critical time. This sudden ripening of the sex instinct is the cause of the
metamorphosis from childhood to early manhood and womanhood, and is the key
which explains the changes that characterize adolescence.
Emotionally, there is a tremendous awakening. The individual begins to feel
for the first time that he is actually alive and living; heretofore, life
has been a self-centered, matter-of-fact existence; now it enlarges and
becomes charged with intense feeling and significance. "Fear, anger, love,
pity, jealousy, emulation and ambition are either new-born or spring into
intense life."--James. All of these may be termed social instincts and they
imply a widening of the youth's horizon and include a "consciousness of
kind" that has heretofore been lacking.
Now, the youth or maiden truly falls in love; up to this time, regard for
the opposite sex has been merely a light fancy, barely skin deep; but now
it takes hold of the heart strings and plays upon them with an agony that
is truly heart rending. Who is there with red blood in his veins that does
not look back upon his first heart conflict with almost pathetic reverence?
Parents should be more concerned than they usually are over the conquest of
the heart of youth. Such affairs may carry with them consequences which are
more serious than could be anticipated.
At this time the youth or maiden is exceedingly resentful of arbitrary
restraint or punishment. There is a super-sensitiveness and a keen
self-consciousness which cannot brook harshness and coercion. Sympathy and
reasonableness must take the place of censure and punishment. Years ago I
remember seeing a father start to whip his boy who was just emerging into
the adolescent stage, a heavy stick was raised to strike, but the boy
looked his father in the eye without flinching and quietly remarked: "You
may whip one devil out, Father, but I promise you that you'll whip seven
devils in." The stick dropped from the astonished parent's hand; the boy
was never again punished by whipping.
The runaway curve for boys reaches its highest point at this time, and the
girl is likely to be insolent and unmanageable probably for the first and
only time in her life. The greatest crises of life arise at this time
because of the almost criminal ignorance of parents respecting these
revolutionary changes and also because children who may never before have
caused the parents the least trouble or heartache are now as unruly and
unmanageable as a volcano in eruption. This is the time when the youth is
driven from home by the irate father, the time when the rebellious daughter
is condemned without mercy, the critical period when most vices are begun
and most juvenile crimes committed. The parent is apt to exclaim here: "In
Heaven's name, what can be done?" Not even the wisdom of a Solomon could
answer completely; a few suggestions, however, may be offered which will
help to bridge over this critical period.
If the child has had positive training up to this time, the period of
"storm and stress" will be briefer and less severe than it would be
otherwise; but if the negative training has prevailed, there is less hope
that the storm will be weathered. The youth may be caught in the stream of
dissipation and whirled to destruction. At the very least, the parent must
expect fitful and obstinate behavior, and unreasonable action. In boys, the
beginning of the use of tobacco and liquor usually comes at this time. This
is the time, too, of sexual temptation, if not actual indulgence. The
temptation to do something startling is almost irresistible; robberies will
be planned, hold-ups thought of, abductions contemplated; the life of a
desperado entertained. The moral character seems to be in a state of
On the other hand, his sympathies and affections may be appealed to as
never before. The parent who has made a confident of his boy or girl, who
has infinite patience and affection, and who fully senses what to except,
may, if other factors are favorable, help tide over this danger zone
without serious results. A steady chum, a little older than the boy, and a
companion more stable than the girl are a most fortunate aid to the parent.
There seems to be a brief time in the career of every youth or maiden when
the influence of his chum or companion is more potent for good or evil than
is the combined influence of parents and relatives.
The common practice of permitting the, adolescent to sleep away from home
is exceedingly dangerous. Many a youth may trace the beginning of his
degeneracy to the downward, push received when he slept away from home.
Care must be exercised also as to the kind of group he associates with; it
is too much to expect a youth to be better than the gang with whom he
consorts. During the most critical part of this critical, epoch neither
youth nor maiden should, attend parties, picnics, or social entertainments,
without a chaperon. This advice may seem radical, but if it is carried
out, perhaps for just one year, until equilibrium is restored, it may
prevent that _one act_ to which so many unfortunates attribute their
Fortunate, too, is the adolescent who is permitted to attend a first-class
high school taught by sympathetic teachers who understand the needs of
adolescent nature. The imagination is now more vivid than it ever will be
again, the logical reason is beginning to evolve and this period is
preeminently "the breeding ground of ideas." The school more than any other
agency can keep the imagination, reason, and emotions so fully employed
that little time is left in which to indulge morbid feelings and immoral
thoughts. The school affords a moral atmosphere and gives a choice of good
associates which make it invaluable during this critical epoch. It also
disciplines the feelings and emotions and offers opportunity for emulation,
industry, and the display of both physical and mental power. In truth, the
school so occupies the attention and directs the interest that many a young
man and woman passes through this period unscathed, without ever sensing
the dangers which are escaped.
Finally, a "profound religious awakening" characterizes the early
adolescent stage. It may be doubted that a genuine religious conviction can
exist before this time; at least most writers hold that religious
conversion takes place, if at all, during this period. Previous to this
time, however, religious observance and ceremony should have become
habitual in order that conversion may be most profound. Nothing else is
more powerful than religious conviction and sentiment to reinforce good
conduct and to inhibit wrong action. Religious conviction, together with
the growth of ideals and the employment by the school of the physical and
intellectual capacities, all supplemented by parental counsel and guidance,
should insure the safe passage of the adolescent over this critical crisis
of his life.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What are the physical changes that occur during the adolescent period?
2. What dangers to health are common at this time? What safeguards should
be thrown about the youth to keep him strong in body?
3. Discuss the mental, moral, and emotional characteristics of the
4. What is the fundamental cause of the changes that take place?
5. What may be said about religious emotions and conversions during this
6. What practical suggestions would you give to help the parents guide the
adolescent safely over this dangerous period of life?
_Supplemental Studies_: At this point it will be well to take the
supplemental lessons in this book, page 133 to end of volume. These studies
are based on the lectures given by Dr. John M. Tyler. They will blend
beautifully with Professor Hall's discussion and will reinforce strongly
the study of this adolescent age.
TRAINING IN THE HOME
_Certain Phases of Training and Education Can Be Best Accomplished by the
There are four great agencies or factors concerned in the training and
education of the child: these are, the home, the school, the church, and
the state, or society. Of these, the home ought to be the most helpful
since it is the most important. The child is a part of the flesh and blood
of the parents; he belongs to them in a vital way that transcends his
relationship to everything else in the world.
The parent, then, is the natural trainer and educator of the child,
particularly during the dependent period before the age of accountability
is reached. The parent ought not to shirk this duty or attempt to transfer
it to some other agency. But at the present time there is a strong tendency
to shift more and more responsibility to other agencies, especially to the
school. Many habits which the home once developed are now left largely to
the school; religious training is turned over more and more to the Sunday
School and the church, and much more of the time of children is now spent
in social amusements away from home than ever before.
Then, too, it is certain that the old-time home is passing. It seemed to
have higher ideals and more definite purposes in life than homes now
possess; moreover, it occupied most of the time of the child and taught
him to be industrious and proficient, and to regard life with much more
seriousness than does the home of to-day. The home or the family,
therefore, is not the great superlative factor that it ought to be in
the training and education of the child.
From the first chapter of Cope in "Religious Education in the Family,"
the following is quoted: "The ills of the modern home are symptomatic.
Divorce, childless families, irreverent children, and a decadence of the
old type of separate home life are signs of forgotten ideals, lost motives,
and insufficient purposes. When the home is only an opportunity for
self-indulgence, it easily becomes a cheap boarding house, a sleeping
shelf, an implement for social advantage. While it is true that general
economic development has effected marked changes in domestic economy, the
happiness and efficiency of the family do not depend wholly on the parlor,
the kitchen, or the clothes closet. Rather, everything depends on whether
the home and family are considered in worthy and adequate terms.
"Homes are wrecked because families refuse to take home life in religious
terms, in social terms of sacrifice and service. In such homes, organized
and conducted to satisfy personal desires rather than to meet social
responsibility, these desires become aims rather than agencies and
opportunities. What hope is there for useful and happy family life if the
newly-wedded youths have both been educated in selfishness, habituated to
frivolous pleasures and guided by ideals of success in terms of garish
"It is a costly thing to keep a home where honor, the joy of love, and high
ideals dwell ever. It costs time, pleasure, and so-called social
advantages, as well as money and labor. It must cost thought, study and
investigation. It demands and deserves sacrifice; it is too sacred to be
cheap. The building of a home is a work that endures to eternity, and that
kind of work never was done with ease or without pain and loss and
investment of much time. Patient study of the problems of the family is a
part of the price which all may pay.
"No nobler social work, no deeper religious work, no higher educational
work is done anywhere than that of the men and women, high or humble, who
set themselves to the fitting of their children for life's business,
equipping them with principles and habits upon which they may fall back in
trying hours and making of home the sweetest, strongest, holiest, happiest
place on earth."
The home or family is, or ought to be, the supreme institution, not only
for propagating the race, but also for the preservation and rearing of
There are certain things which only the home can do, which if not
accomplished by it, will likely remain undone. The acquisition of correct
physical habits by the child is one of them. It is preeminently the duty
and privilege of the parent in the early years of the child's life to
impress habits that will make for health and strength. The first six years
are more important physically to the child than all the remainder of his
life. During this time the natural tendency to over-indulgence of the
appetite should be inhibited, and temperance should be reduced to a habit.
The other desirable physical habits already referred to should also be
acquired. Furthermore, it is the sacred duty of the parent to see to it
that the child is not handicapped through physical defects of eye or ear,
enlarged tonsils, adenoids, decayed teeth, or by any other common
imperfection which may be easily and permanently remedied if taken in time,
but which, if neglected, may cause untold suffering and contribute to
failure in life.
The home is responsible directly for training the child to be neat, tidy
and clean in person; it should also train him in good manners, courtesy,
and regard for the rights of others. It also decides whether or not the
boy shall be a brave, manly little fellow or a timid cry-baby; whether or
not the girl shall be sweet, helpful and trustworthy, or shallow, idle and
The giving of knowledge and instruction in sex hygiene at the proper time
is also a peculiar duty of parents which they must not shirk.
The chief moral virtues are also the result of home training. An obedient,
honest, truthful disposition is characteristic of a good home; a sly,
deceitful, quarrelsome nature is the outcome of improper home influence,
Moreover, the first lessons in respect for law, order and justice are
implanted by the home; improper training in these virtues leads to disorder
The home, too, must teach the first lessons in industry and impress the
child with the fact that life is made up of work as well as play. Too often
the mother, especially, makes a slave of herself for the children, waits on
them night and day, allows them to sleep late in the morning, stay up late
at night and keep up an incessant round of pleasure while she herself stays
at home and shoulders the entire responsibility of the household. How much
happier the home where each child is trained to do some particular share of
work and to take some responsibility upon himself.
The boy should be permitted to help the father whenever possible. He
should be required to do things promptly and regularly and to learn through
actual experience the amount of toil and sweat required to earn an honest
A taste for music and reading must be fostered in the home. Every family
should have some kind of musical instrument and at least a few choice books
for children. The influence of music and good literature on the tastes and
ideals of the future man and woman is so great that it can scarcely be
over-estimated. The use of correct and fluent language is largely a product
of the home. Children imitate the speech heard at home; if this is
incorrect, meagre, or coarse, the child is apt to have the same
imperfection follow him through life.
The family constitutes a most sacred and important social unit, and because
of its intrinsic nature, it can best develop in the child the highest
personal sentiment and social virtue. Among these are affection, sympathy,
love, generosity and good will. If these are not awakened and nurtured by
the home, then there is little hope that they will be acquired elsewhere,
and the child will likely grow into a stony-hearted, selfish pessimist.
Certain religious habits and sentiments also can be impressed naturally and
well only by the family. Among these are trust in God, the beginning of
faith, regard for ceremony, love of Bible stories, respect for authority,
and above all, prayer. The individual who has not been taught at his
mother's knee to pray is likely never to develop into a prayerful man or
The home is the child's earliest school, his first temple of worship, his
first social center. It is the place where everything in this life begins.
Most fortunate is the child that is guided to take his first steps aright
through the loving influence of a good home.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What four great agencies are concerned in training and education?
2. Which is most important and why?
3. What is the indictment of the home?
4. What change has taken place respecting the relative importance of these
5. The home is responsible for what physical habits?
6. What moral habits and virtues?
7. What mental habits and virtues?
8. What religious habits and sentiments?
9. What is the future outlook for the home and family?
It will be well at this point to review briefly the three beginning
chapters from "Religious Education in the Family," by Cope. The "Peril and
Preservation of the Home," by Jacob Riis, will also be found helpful
TRAINING BY THE CHURCH
_The Influence of the Church Is Essential to Aid the Home in Developing the
Religious Instincts and Emotions of the Child_
Religious emotions and belief are among the most deeply imbedded instincts
of the race. They are also some of the earliest manifestations of
childhood. They accompany the individual throughout his entire life,
exercising a profound influence over his thoughts and conduct, and they
become the chief anchor of the soul when sorrow or old age comes. It would
be a great calamity, therefore, if religious instincts and sentiment
should suffer eclipse or disappear.
Rightly cultivated and trained, these natural feelings of religion grow
to spiritual power within us. Without such power, man is of little
Upon the home naturally falls the duty of fostering the first feelings of
reverence towards God. The child who learns to lisp his prayers at his
mother's knee is started aright. The home must give the first lessons in
the love of God and goodness. If it fails, they are likely never to be
But the home needs the influence of the church here. It must have it to
round out the child's religious development. The church can do many things
for the child that the home cannot accomplish. It introduces him to
religious ceremonies and observances that satisfy his soul, and it helps
greatly to train him in religious habits.
One cannot estimate the value of all this upon the character of the child.
As a restraint from wrong conduct and an encouragement to right action, the
work of the church is most salutary. The solemn ceremonies, the sacred
music, the exhortations pointing heavenward, the general spirit of the
group at humble worship--all exercise upon the child an influence for good,
mysterious yet profound.
Clean, beautiful surroundings and orderly behavior are also very
impressive. The work of our Sabbath Schools is most beneficial. They offer
to parents a strong reinforcement in cultivating right religious habits
and emotions in the child. To go into one of our well-conducted Sunday
Schools, where order prevails, where the spirit of peace and prayer is
uppermost, to join in the singing, to listen to the uplifting instruction,
or, better still, to be given opportunity to take active part in this
religious service--all these make a deep and lasting impression upon the
youthful soul. Parents can do nothing better for their children and
themselves than to support loyally their Sunday Schools and other
The habit of attending church should also be impressed during the
habit-forming period. But the supreme opportunity of the church lies in its
ability actually to convert the youth or maiden during the adolescent
period. This is a privilege which neither the church nor the home has
adequately comprehended. When the emotional nature of the individual is at
white heat, as it then is, impressions made are lasting, and conversion, if
made then, will be so deeply impressed that it is likely to last forever.
Churches in general fail to make the most of their opportunity here. They
too often stuff the heads of children with religious facts and formulae,
feeding them with the husks of theology, instead of giving them the
upbuilding food they need. Children, too, often are starving for real
spiritual food, hungering for the bread and thirsting for the water of
Parents and teachers generally need to correct their methods of presenting
the gospel to children, especially to the adolescent, if they would get the
results desired. It is their failure to meet the child on his own religious
ground, not his indifference to religion that makes the boy and girl leave
Sabbath School during the time he most needs such an influence. Let them
study and master these problems: Are boys and girls being given ample
opportunity for spiritual self-expression? Are the beautiful lessons of
the gospel being translated into terms that appeal to their lives?
Our own church, we feel sure, is answering these questions in positive,
practical ways better and better every day; but there is still much left to
do even among us.
We have in our own church a working system that ministers to the daily
moral and spiritual needs of humanity--a constructive Christianity that
comes close to our lives. Our church is our opportunity to develop our own
spiritual powers and to cultivate those of our children. The church needs
our help to carry forward its ministry to mankind; but we need even more
the help of the church to enspirit and to comfort our lives and to give to
us and to our children the guidance and the training that will keep us all
in the paths of safety and peace:
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What have you observed in children to prove that religious emotions are
2. In what ways can the home best foster the natural religious instincts of
3. What religious habits should the home cultivate?
4. What can the church best develop in children?
5. Why should the parents support loyally the Sunday Schools and other
organizations of the church?
6. What is the supreme opportunity of the church during the adolescent age?
7. What means have you used successfully to develop the religious instincts
of your own children?
8. What opportunities for spiritual self-expression and service does our
own church offer?
9. In what ways are we richly rewarded by our free-will service in behalf
of our church?
"The Child and His Religion," by Dawson, will be a helpful book to study in
connection with this lesson.
TRAINING IN THE SCHOOL
_Certain Phases of Training and Education Can Be Accomplished Better by the
School Than by Any Other Agency. A National System of Industrial and
Vocational Education Should Be Established_
The school is a social institution whose functions are becoming daily more
widely understood and more clearly defined. In the history of civilization,
the school, as we know it, is a very recent institution. Nation after
nation has arisen, reached its zenith, declined, and passed away without
dreaming of such a thing as universal education. With the growth of
democracy, particularly during the Reformation, the ideal of education as
the birthright of every child became well defined and during the years that
have intervened, this ideal has become a living reality.
At first the universal education was advocated for the sake of the church.
Martin Luther believed that every child should have schooling so that he
might be able to read the Bible and study the catechism. For some time the
church had charge of and controlled education, but gradually, as democracy
developed, the influence of the state began to overshadow that of the
church, and education came to be recognized more and more as a function of
the state, and its control was gradually taken over by the latter
The chief function of education, therefore, may be seen clearly from the
foregoing. In a democracy it is necessary for every child to be educated
because the existence of free institutions is based upon the intelligence
of the masses. Jefferson once remarked: "If anyone believes that free
government and an ignorant people can exist at one and the same time, he
believes that which never was or never can be." Universal education is,
therefore, a social necessity; its chief purpose is to train and instruct
the child in the duties and ideals of citizenship. He must be instructed in
the history of his country and learn what the ideals are for which his
country stands; he must learn the real meaning of the words: equality,
justice and freedom; he must be taught that obedience to law is the highest
form of freedom, and that license is destructive both of self and country.
Furthermore, he must learn that in a free country every individual must be
taught to be self-dependent, that no one owes him a living, that he ought
to produce a little more than he consumes for the sake of the unfortunate.
The school, therefore, may teach better than any other agency the habits
and ideals of duty, social service, justice and patriotism. It also teaches
frequently better than does the home, the habits of obedience,
punctuality, regularity and industry.
A secondary purpose of the school is to assist the home to develop in the
child the physical, mental, moral and social habits and ideals to which we
have referred in previous lessons. To the shame of the home, it must be
said that the school is accomplishing its particular function far better
than is the home. The school rarely fails to exact obedience, regularity,
punctuality, and industry from the pupil; the home, on the other hand,
frequently fails to train children in these habits because of the softness
and vacillation of the parents. The school trains to proper habits of
hygiene and sanitation, and is often under the necessity of acquainting
parents with physical defects in their children which too often they have
Moreover, the school, as a larger social unit than the home, has some
distinct advantages over the latter: It can teach the obstinate,
quarrelsome child better than can the home the necessity of adjusting his
conduct to the requirements of the social group with which he associates.
In school, frequently for the first time, a child learns what is meant by
the ideals of duty and justice; furthermore, he is usually trained to
habits of industry, perseverance and self-control which the home too often
is not well prepared to teach.
The home, however, is far more important than is the school; the latter
might be abolished and some other form of education adopted by society
without calamitous results; but if the home were suddenly abolished, it is
probable that civilization itself would be shaken to its center, if not
destroyed. The home, therefore, ought to be better prepared and equipped to
fulfill its function than is the school; but not one parent in a thousand
is specially prepared for the duties of parenthood. The teacher, on the
other hand, is required to spend years in preparation for his work. He is
expected, moreover, to set a worthy example for children to follow. "As the
teacher so the school," is a maxim that has stood the test.
The school was never before so practical in its instruction as it is
to-day. In most of the junior and senior high schools, industrial work and
agriculture are taught. In the best schools girls are learning to sew,
mend, darn and cook. Many of them make their own dresses and trim their own
hats. In a few schools, uniform dress and shoes are adopted by the girl
students for the sake of economy and to prevent the silly mode of dressing
and the style of some girls. Much more could be done in this direction if
all mothers were sensible, but now and again word comes to the teacher: "I
can dress my girl well and I don't care to have her wear your cheap
uniform and your low-priced, low-heeled shoes." And again: "It's none of
your business how my girl dresses." Now, it must be conceded that the
parent has this right to object, but we surely question the wisdom of her
so doing. Many young girls on graduating from the eighth grade make their
own graduation dresses and confine the cost of the entire costume,
including shoes, to $5.00. Women graduating from the senior school often
make their dresses and confine the cost to within $10.00.
Most young men are taught manual art of some kind and agriculture. It is
seldom that any father objects to his son taking carpenter work, but once
in a while a farmer smiles at the thought of a "professor" teaching
farming. The results, however, of the good work in teaching better farming
is already seen throughout our country, and the time is not far distant
when "scientific agriculture" will return many fold the price of its
investment. The agricultural department at Washington reports that the
Burbank potato is adding $17,000,000 yearly to the wealth of the U.S.
The people, too, are well satisfied with this new type of school. They are
beginning to see that education is a very practical and vital matter and
is not merely for ornament. It is a rare thing now to hear the once common
remark that education is too expensive.
Statistics show that the average wages paid to unskilled laborers in the U.
S. is about $500 per annum; careful reports indicate that the average
yearly earnings of high school graduates is $1000. In a lifetime of 40
years the high school man will earn $20,000 more than the unlearned
From a financial standpoint it is very evident that education pays, yet
five and one-half years is the average length of time the children of the
U.S. attend school. The nation ought to enrich itself through putting more
money into education.
The natural resources of the country are largely taken up and the free land
is practically all occupied. What then is to be the future of the great
mass of laborers unless a thorough-going system of industrial and
vocational training is made possible? The Industrial Commission appointed
recently by Congress found that three-fourths of the male laborers in the
U.S. earn less than $600 per annum, yet the U.S. Government has found "that
the point of adequate subsistence is not reached until the family income is
about $800 a year. Less than half the wage-earners' families in the U.S.
have an annual income of that size."
Now the rich can take care of themselves and the very poor and unfortunate
cannot be permanently helped, but this great middle class, upon whom the
nation must depend in every crisis, can and must be assisted to the extent,
at least, that conditions be made possible through which they may raise
their efficiency and so increase their earning capacity to a point
commensurate with their needs. A thorough-going, national system of
industrial and vocational "preparedness" would solve this problem.
The marvelous efficiency of Germany is due in large part to the fact that
her great middle classes have been made efficient through a national system
of trade schools.
The prosperity and perpetuity of a nation rests largely upon its ability to
provide an adequate number of highly trained experts to be leaders,
inventors and executives. In a democracy, these skilled leaders are
especially important. Among the problems to be solved are questions of
government, education, finance, economics, business, industry, health,
manufacturing, engineering and mining. Any nation that lacks guidance in
these particulars is indeed weak and pitiful. The universities, colleges,
and higher technical schools supply nine-tenths of these experts, yet in
the U.S. to-day there are only 250,000 students enrolled in all the
colleges and universities of the country; this is about one to 500 of the
population, a number entirely inadequate to perform the tremendous service
that will be expected of this nation in the near future.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. State the nature of the school.
2. How did the ideal of universal education arise?
3. State the chief function of the school.
4. Name the habits and ideals peculiar to the school.
5. What is the secondary purpose of the school?
6. Contrast the efficiency of the home and the school.
7. What high compliment may be paid to teachers?
8. Is the comparison made between the home and the school overdrawn?
9. Compare the practical school of to-day with the school of the past.
10. Do you favor uniform dress for high school girls?
11. What is your opinion of modern style which so many mothers foster?
12. Have you any boys taking industrial work in school?
13. Prove that high school education pays.
14. What is the duty of a nation towards its great middle class?
15. Do you believe in a national system of industrial and vocational
16. Why are experts needed particularly in a democracy?
THE DUTY OF THE STATE
_The Social and Civic Institutions of the State (Society) Exert a Powerful
Influence over the Lives of Children. The Citizen Must See to It that this
Great Educative Influence of His Community Is Uplifting in Nature_
The vital relationship existing between parent and child is easy to
understand, but the close interdependence of the individual and the state
is much more difficult to comprehend. Yet in a very real sense the
individual and the state are reciprocally related. But just as the body is
more than an aggregate of all of its cells, so is society (the state)
something more than the sum total of its individual units. That a group of
people, or even one individual, may exert an influence over the thoughts
and actions of others is a reality of profound significance; that there is
a social conscience as well as an individual conscience is a fact that
cannot be refuted, and the part played by custom and tradition in shaping
the history of the world can hardly be estimated.
In view of the close relationship between the individual and society, it is
passing strange that while the individual is expected to possess a high
standard of character, society itself may indulge in all sorts of
questionable practices without so much as a challenge. Many a person winks
at the frivolity and immorality of society, while at the same time he
expects the most circumspect behavior on the part of his neighbor. The
existence of these two standards which ought to coincide but which in
reality are far apart is responsible for many failures in the training of
As soon as the infant begins to observe and imitate the actions of members
of the household, its social training begins; play with the neighbor's
child extends the process, and the social group or "gang" with which the
child associated, impresses permanently its thought and action. Frequently,
too, the chum or companion chosen by the child has more real influence over
its life than has the combined instruction of parents and teacher. As
already shown, the school is a social institution and the same is largely
true of the Sunday School. The example of adults also makes a profound
impression upon the conduct of children. The home and the school may teach
convincingly the injurious effects of tobacco and alcohol, but so long as
society sanctions the sale of these poisons and respected adults indulge in
them, just so long will the efforts of home and school, be, to a large
extent, counteracted. The same is true with respect to any other virtue or
excellence, the home, school, and church may unite in emphasizing the most
wholesome discipline, but so long as society is a living, seething
contradiction of this teaching, the instruction will fall upon deaf ears
and be but as "sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal."
The fact is that our nation is yet too young to be fully conscious of its
opportunities and responsibilities. A democratic form of government from
its very nature must develop slowly towards its ideals. It must expect at
first to be much less certain and efficient in its action than is a highly
centralized government. This inability on the part of popular government to
attain its ideals is reflected also in its subordinate civic units; neither
state nor city governments have yet solved the problem of efficient and
economical administration, although it is a pleasure to note that some
cities are making real progress in this direction. In many communities,
however, the weakness of decentralized government is most apparent. This is
particularly true in many towns; here is seen too frequently a lack of
civic pride, inefficient officers and failure to enforce the law.
The humiliating fact obtains that frequently a few lawless individuals
often not more than from 3 to 5 per cent of the population, are permitted
to set the moral pace, while the 95 per cent, of law-abiding citizens are
either asleep to their duties or else fail to see that the remedy is in
their own hands. In many instances a few persons are allowed to undermine
the morals of the community. In one town of our state a single individual
was permitted for 25 years to corrupt the morals of many young men of the
community through illegal traffic in liquor.
Parents should realize that next to heredity the social factors in a
community are likely to be the chief influence at work moulding and shaping
the lives of their children, and in the long run they must not expect the
average child to be better than the community in which he lives.
But the remedy for inefficient, free government is not far to seek;
universal education will solve the problem provided it includes, as it
should, instruction and training in civic and social duties. There is no
need to argue the superiority of democratic government over that of all
other forms; the freedom which we possess is worth all the suffering and
bloodshed of all the patriots that have ever lived. But nothing will run
itself; perpetual motion is a myth, and even a small town to be well
governed, must receive conscious, expert attention.
Unquestionably, a free government is the most complex and difficult of all
forms of government to administer, but the problem can be solved, and the
secret of success will be found in the individual himself. He must become
educated to realize his full duties and responsibilities as a free citizen,
in other words, he must become socialized. He must get over the notion that
the school is the only educational agency and must understand that every
influence that modifies conduct is educative in nature. Especially must he
learn that the community itself is the chief civic and social educator of
children, and as such it should be consciously organized to perform well
Already communities are awakening to the need of perfect sanitary and
hygienic conditions, and clean town contests are the order of the day; this
is one of the most hopeful signs of better times, but there ought to be a
moral and mental awakening and contests for civic righteousness should be
inaugurated. Any community that can say: "In this town no influence is
permitted that could in any way corrupt the morals or ideals of children,"
should receive the highest award in the gift of the people and its praises
should be commemorated in song and story.
In ancient Greece every citizen regarded himself as a parent or guardian of
every child, and if any youth was seen in public to violate any of the
customs or ideals of the nation, it was the duty of the citizen to
chastise the boy and to otherwise instruct him in the duties of
citizenship. At the same time the citizen was careful himself to set an
example worthy of emulation. The result was the most perfect and harmonious
education that the world has ever seen--at once the inspiration and the
despair of all succeeding civilizations. Why should we not adopt some of
the Grecian methods suited to our needs? In Greece no citizen would think
of doing in public, or permitting to be done, anything which was not
desirable for the child to do either in public or private. Why should any
man who walks upright, with his head pointing to the stars, be permitted to
profane the name of Deity, to stagger under the influence of liquor, to
puff at a cigar, to gamble, to run a disorderly resort or show, to enrich
himself through the manufacture and sale of poisons, or to do anything else
that corrupts the community and destroys her children? Surely in our feeble
attempts at free government, the right hand knows not what the left is
But the remedy, as I have said, is in the hands of the citizens. While it
is true that certain reforms to be most effective must be national rather
than local, such, for example, as prohibiting the manufacture and sale of
poisonous drugs, tobacco and alcohol, it is, nevertheless, evident that the
initiative must be taken by the individual. His first duty is to convert
himself and then his neighbors before any nation-wide reform can be
It is one of the chief glories of a democracy that any desired good may be
obtained through conversion and co-operation. But since in most communities
90 per cent, or more of the citizens are law-abiding and would not
consciously do anything to destroy the children of the commonwealth, it
ought to be a simple matter to restrain the few that are lawless and
unsocial. There can be no possible doubt that any community that is fully
alive to its needs and responsibilities can bring about just such civic and
social conditions as it may desire. To help accomplish these purposes, it
is necessary that efficient officers are elected who will enforce the laws
and that public sentiment be aroused in support of these officials; in some
communities sympathy for law-breakers is so easily awakened that justice
cannot be enforced and law and order are placed in contempt.
The citizen in a democracy should realize that his training and education
are never completed, that life itself is the great school-master and that
one of the chief pleasures of existence is continued study and
investigation. His occupation, no matter what it is, will offer him some
opportunity for study and improvement, and a portion of his leisure time
ought to be devoted to books and magazines. He may, also, if he desires,
take an extension course or correspondence work offered by a higher
institution of learning, some of which are making earnest efforts to take
the college to the people. Every citizen should at least be identified with
some civic, social, or industrial organization in his town, such as a
debating and literary club, an agricultural society, or a commercial club.
If each community would seek out and utilize the talent within its
precinct, it might develop an intellectual and civic consciousness that
would rival the spirit of ancient Greece.
An old-time prophet uttered the inspiring thought: "The Glory of God is
intelligence," and the great latter-day Prophet added the supplement: "No
man can be saved in ignorance." It is the duty of the individual,
therefore, to be an eternal seeker after knowledge and perfection. In this
blessed age when the sun of education shines so brilliantly, none need to
slumber under the clouds of ignorance. May the sun shine until under its
regenerating influence the home, school, church and state may each awaken
to the full measure of its power and so prepare the way for the coming of
that mightier Son of Righteousness, who promises to reign for a thousand
years over a redeemed world.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Show the close relationship between the individual and the state.
2. Account for the two different standards of conduct.
3. Indicate how social influences modify the character of children.
4. How do examples of the use of tobacco and liquor affect children?
5. Compare example and precept.
6. Why must a democratic form of government develop its ideals slowly?
7. Why is community government frequently inefficient?
8. What per cent, of the population usually "sets the moral pace?"
9. What is the remedy for inefficient free government?
10. Why is the community the chief civic and social educator of children?
11. What should receive the highest award in the gift of a people?
12. How did Greece train her children?
13. What evil practices should be prohibited in a community?
14. What reforms should be national rather than local?
15. How may the few lawless individuals be restrained?
16. What is the duty of the citizen towards self-improvement and education?
MAN'S PARTNERSHIP WITH NATURE
_Dr. John M. Tyler_
_Nature will bear our burdens for us, if we will obey her laws and heed
[Footnote 1: These supplemental studies are based on lectures by Dr. John
M. Tyler, given before the Utah Educational Association, by whose
permission they are used. Parents will find Dr. Tyler's book on Growth in
Education of great interest. It is listed with other books at the close of
How has all the material progress of the nineteenth century come about? I
think we shall find that it was due to man's intelligently and carefully
and scrupulously going into partnership with Nature by obeying her laws.
Not so very many years ago messages were sent across this continent by
pony-riders; it was a slow process and a very expensive one. Now I step
into an office here and I say, "I wish to send a message to my wife way out
yonder in Massachusetts." The man touches a button and says, "Your message
is in Massachusetts, sir." It is a miracle. The lightning has run with my
message. Electricity not only carries our messages, it lights our houses;
it turns many a wheel of machinery; it serves us beneficiently just as long
as we obey the laws of electricity; but when we offend against these laws,
it thwarts us or very likely destroys us. "Obey, and I will do anything
for you in the world," says Nature, "disobey and you cannot move me one
single inch." Coal hurries our great locomotives and long trains of
merchandise and carries men and women across this continent without any
great amount of human labor. The engineer and the brakeman do not get
behind and push those great palace cars of ours; it is Nature which drives
the train as if it were sport. Man guides and directs the water pouring
down our hillsides, turning wheels of countless factories. A few ounces of
gasoline send the automobile down the street, polluting the air and
endangering our lives. The power of Nature is absolutely irresistible and
unlimited; and furthermore, she is always working towards some great and
When I was a child I used to hear that Nature was bad, and we used to have
sermons to the natural man. They were excellent sermons, too, but they
ought to have been preached to the unnatural man. The natural child was
considered a child of wrath, and, having that reputation, he quite
frequently lived up to it; but Nature is beneficient, as long as we let her
be so, and she is always working toward great and grand ends. She has been
working towards a higher and nobler and a better race of men than you and I
are to-day. She is working for a race of men and women who shall tower
above us as the sages and prophets in Athens and Jerusalem towered above
their slaves. Can we not trust her just a little?
Did you ever think that it is the most marvelous thing in the world that
such a thing as a chicken ever comes out of such a thing as an egg? If only
one chicken were hatched in a century, we would go from here to the
Himalaya mountains to see the miracle of that chicken coming out of that
egg. You put an egg under a very stupid old hen, and all the hen does is to
keep that egg warm, and leave it alone; after twenty days there comes out a
chicken. How in the world did that chicken ever frame that body? How did it
build the skeleton and string the muscles, and spin the nerves? If every
nerve in that body did not make just the right connection, that chicken
would be paralyzed. If you could watch the development of that chicken in
the egg, your hair would stand on end. Isn't it Nature that makes those
chickens? You and I can't make them. Nature puts a shell around the egg
with the express purpose that we are to keep our fingers out and let her
alone. She says: "I am on very important business now and I am going to do
some strange things; if you could watch me you would interfere with me, and
if you interfere with me, you will ruin me or ruin the chicken, so I want
you to stand to one side and leave me entirely alone; and while I might do
a good many things that you don't like, I shall bring a chicken out of that
egg;" and she does; she has been making them for thousands of years in that
same old stupid way, but she brings the chicken out all right.
Sometimes she seems to blunder still worse. She takes an egg which we
suppose is going to turn into a frog, and she brings out of it a
tadpole--neither fish, flesh nor fowl nor anything else. After a while the
tadpole gets legs and has a long tail; it must lose that tail in order to
become a frog. A benevolent zoologist one day started in to help the
tadpole by snipping off the tadpole's tail; he made a frog of him in a
hurry, but the strange thing was that that frog never was able to leap
properly. Nature had been relying on the material that was in the tail. She
was going to shift it forward and put it in the hind legs, but when the
zoologist cut it off, she couldn't build the hind legs right after that.
A good deal of our education seems to me like trying to make frogs in a
hurry by cutting off their tails. Nature can make chickens; she can make
frogs. She can make bugs that will eat up everything which human ingenuity
ever tried to raise. She will make weeds which you and I can't possibly
kill even though we fight against them all summer long. We can trust Nature
to form these things; isn't it fair to trust her with the children for a
little while at least? Wouldn't it be well--I never heard of this
experiment being tried, but I should like to see it tried very much
indeed--I do wish that sometime somebody would leave a baby alone for
twenty minutes and see what it would do if it were left to itself.
What is the great characteristic of all living things? It is that they
grow; we cannot make them grow, but they grow of themselves. The farmer
plants his crop of corn. He doesn't get a jackscrew and put under every
hill of corn, and go around every morning and give the screw a turn and a
twist and hoist the hill up in the air. He prepares the soil as best he
can. He puts in the seed; he keeps down the weeds; he keeps out things and
living beings which will injure the crop as far as he can; then he leaves
it alone to God and Nature to make that corn grow, and in time he gets a
I believe that education some day will be somewhat like raising a crop of
corn. We shall learn to keep the child under the best condition possible.
We shall learn to keep down harmful and injurious surroundings or forces so
far as they can interfere with him. We shall stimulate growth in every
possible way; that I grant you; and when we have done that, we shall leave
the rest calmly to Nature and to the good Lord who made that child for some
It is a grand thing to have the child learn to see for himself the glories
of this magnificent world. I verily believe that when you and I go home,
while the good Lord will be very merciful with us because of our sins, I
don't see how he can forgive many of us for not having had a great deal
better time in this glorious world in which He has put us. When you open
the child's eyes to the beauties and the glories of Nature you have done a
great thing for it. But, after all, that is not the grandest thing to my
mind. The grandest part is that every wave of vibration that goes in
through the eyes as the child looks at Nature, and pours into the brain,
stimulates that brain to a larger growth than it would otherwise possibly
have attained, and the child is a larger and a grander child for that
We believe in manual training because it gives us skilled fingers and
enables us to do deftly and well a great many things which we otherwise
could not do at all, and which most of us men have to go to our wives and
ask them to do for us. But that is not the grandest part of manual
training; the grandest part is the reaction from the finger upon the brain,
stimulating the brain to realize all its ideals, and stimulating it so
that whenever it sees good work of any kind in this world it shall
appreciate it heartily and enjoy it with the joy of the artist.
We speak of physical training and physical training is brain training in
the end, it is training in growth. It is very evident, however, that the
growth and development of a baby is something different from the growth and
development of a child; and the growth in the child is very different from
that in the youth and that of the youth from that of the adult. In the baby
the vital organs are growing faster. In the young child the muscular system
is coming to the front, and he runs and plays and through the stimulus of
that muscular exercise he brings out every organ in the body and gains that
magnificent health which he so much needs.
Then, after a time, the brain comes to the front and grows and develops
more rapidly than any other part of the body. Our business as teachers is
always so to stimulate, by proper exercise, the growing organs that they
shall grow faster and further than they ever could without our aid. We are
not to always hasten it. This is one thing we must bear in mind: precocity
is the worst foe of a sound education. It is the boy and the girl who
mature slowly but mature surely that in the end possess the earth. We must
not hasten the process, but when we find the organ is ready to grow and
develop, then we must give it adequate stimulus. In other words, the
stimulus must be of the right kind, and there must be just enough of it,
just enough blood to stimulate the muscles, just as much study as will best
stimulate the growing and very immature intellectual centers in the brain.
Then we will increase the stimulus as the power increases and demands the
stronger exercise, and so stimulating the growing parts by adequate
exercise, we bring one part after another up to such development that we
have one harmonious whole of perfect health.
You remember that when the old deacon in Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem
started in to build the one-horse shay, he said, "Every shay that has ever
been made has broken down, because there was always a weakest spot in it;
now I am going to make a shay that never will break down, because I am
going to make the weakest part just as strong as the rest." We cannot
always do that, but if we can make that part somewhere near as strong as
the rest, we are past masters in education.
If we obey Nature's laws, all of her powers will be on our side; and with
all her powers on our side and the very stars in their courses fighting for
us, we cannot possibly fail, there is absolutely nothing which is
impossible to us. We must be strong and of good courage, if we are to guide
these little people into the land sworn unto their fathers before them.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What is meant by the expression, "Man's partnership with Nature?"
Illustrate how man makes Nature serve him.
2. In what way can man enter into a partnership with Nature regarding his
3. What can man do best when it comes to making things grow?
4. What do you think of the "hurry" methods in education?
5. What is the most we can do in providing for the education of the child?
6. How does Nature help us in the training process?
7. What does Nature try to make sure of first in the child?
8. When does the brain of the child begin to develop rapidly?
9. What advice would you give about precocity in children? Why?
10. What should we study in our children to give them a strong and even
CONSERVATION OF THE CHILD
_By Dr. J.M. Tyler_
When the good Lord sets out to develop a child, the first organ with which
He starts is the stomach. The stomach is the foundation of all greatness.
It is a matter of daily observation if not of experience that a man can get
along very well with very few brains, but a man can't get along at all
without a good digestive system. The digestive system furnishes all the
material for growth and the fuel which is continually burned or consumed in
our nerves and muscles. Now, any furnace requires besides fuel, a good
draught. When we burn the fuel, by uniting it with the oxygen thus brought
in, we get the energy which draws our locomotives and our great ships.
Similarly in our bodies, our lungs bring in the oxygen and the heart and
blood-vessels carry the fuel and the oxygen to every part of the body. But
every furnace requires a smoke-stack to carry off the waste, and,
similarly, we must have in our bodies an excretory system to remove the
waste of the burned-up material and of the used-up tissue of the heart,
muscles and nerves. This constitutes the digestive system; the lungs, the
excretory system and the circulatory system are absolutely necessary to
support the combustion which is going on in nerve and muscle and without
which energy is impossible.
All productive labor manifests itself through the muscles. Our muscles
directly write the book, speak the word, build the railroads, do the deeds.
Our muscles are of very different ages. In the child the trunk muscles are
developed first; the shoulder muscles next; the arm muscles next; the
finger muscles last of all. The heavy muscles of trunk, shoulder and thigh
require but a small amount of nervous impulse or control, and they react
strongly on all the vital organs, as is shown every time that we take a
walk. The finest and youngest muscles of the fingers require a very large
amount of nervous control for a very small output of muscular energy and
their exercise stimulates the very highest centers in the brain, and this
is the great argument for physical training, that through one muscle or
another you can stimulate and develop as you choose either any vital organ
or the highest center in the brain.
Never forget the maxim of the old German physiologist that "Health comes in
through the muscles and flows out through the nerves." The nervous system
was created for good and wise ends, but in many people it has become a
nuisance. Its use is to insure that every stimulus from the external world
shall call forth a response suited to the emergency. A fly lights upon my
face; I wave my hand and drive him away. The fly has tickled my face; there
is the external stimulus. A sensory impulse travels to the brain or to some
other center and a motor impulse goes from there to a certain muscle in my
arm which moves my hand and drives away the fly. The impulse has called out
a response suited to that emergency. You watch a cat walk across the lawn;
you will think that fool cat is going to fall down, it is going so slowly
and it can hardly raise one foot above the other, but watch it when it sees
its prey; every muscle seems to turn to steel; it is ready for the spring.
When that spring is made there is no energy wasted. After that the cat does
not move for two hours; no wasting energy there. Wasting of energy is a
I awaken in the morning, and the first horrible emergency of the day
confronts me at once, I have to get up. How I get up I have no idea.
Professor James once said that when a man thinks about it he never does get
up, and that's right; but I find myself in the middle of the floor and that
is all I know, and then the cold air or the sight of my clothes or
something reminds me to start dressing, and the putting on of one garment
leads to the putting on of another. The pangs of hunger call me to the
breakfast table; the bell calls me to work; and so all day long response
follows stimulus; the day's work is a success or a failure according to the
response which I make to the stimuli which I receive.
There is a marvelous picture given in the scripture in the parable of the
poor man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and getting wounded and left
by the road-side. Three men pass that way. They all see the same thing. The
light is reflected from the poor sufferer into the eyes of these
passers-by; a flood of vibration passes on to the brain and then the motor
impulses go out to the muscles. In the case of the good Samaritan, the
impulse went from the brain or the spinal nerve to the arms and he stooped
down and picked the poor fellow up and carried him off; while in the priest
and the Levite the impulses all went down into the legs and the cowards
hustled off for Jericho.
A healthy nervous system is the rarest thing in this wide world. I have one
illustration in mind, which I always like to think of, which I am going to
give you of a perfectly healthy and normal nervous system. It was possessed
by a good old negro minister. He had been preaching to his congregation for
a long time on the subject of meekness and it had not produced the desired
effect; so he said to them one morning: "Brethren, I'se gwine to give you
the illustration of meekness for a week now and show you what it is," and
the old man did. His congregation naturally rose to the occasion: They
insulted his wife; they abused his children; they stoned his dog; they
stole his chickens; they did everything under the heaven to break down the
meekness of that man; but he went on through the week and came into church
the next Sunday and began to preach. The congregation recognized that their
time was short and they redoubled their efforts, but all in vain. Finally,
about five minutes before the closing of the service, he turned to the
congregation and said: "Brethren, I think I ought to denounce to this
congregation that my week of meekness is just about up, and when the clock
in yonder steeple strikes twelve, I'se gwine to quit preachin', close this
blessed Bible, go down from this pulpit, and then, Brethren, Judgment day
and hell is gwine to break loose on some of you." Now, that old colored
minister had an ideal nervous system. There had not been one single
response all that week long, and not one single stimulus which had come in
from the outside had been lost either, but it was all waiting to leap into
that good right arm when the emergency was to be met, in the fullness of
time, and I commend you to go and do likewise.
It is only a step, thank fortune, from the ridiculous to the sublime, just
as it is only a step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Another
illustration of a perfect nervous system: You remember how our Lord spent a
whole day in preaching, in healing, working deeds of kindness, in pouring
out sympathy and comfort, the strain of which on a man's nervous energy is
worse than anything else in the world, and how at the close of the day He
went into the little boat, took the hard cushion on which the steersman
sat, threw it down in the bottom of the boat, and laid Himself down with
His head on that hard cushion and slept like a child through the rocking of
the boat and the roaring of the storm, until His disciples came to Him
saying, "Lord, save us: we perish." There is not one man in a thousand who
could do that work or could put out one-tenth part of that nervous energy
and then sleep like that. Anybody who thinks that the Prophet of Nazareth
was a weak or a feeble man has made the mistake of his life. He was perfect
physically or He never could have done His work.
All this work of developing a steady nerve, of developing the vital organs
for the use of the muscles, has been going on until the child is nine or
ten years old. It has been going on very rapidly, and in as much as the
exercise has been suitable, as his digestion has been good, his growth has
been very rapid. During the first three years of its life the child
increases its weight more than three-fold. During the next three years it
adds over forty per cent. to this amount and between six and nine adds over
thirty per cent. more; and when the boy is about eleven years old, or the
girl is about ten, then the growth almost stops that year. It drops to a
minimum. I call your attention to this thought: the minimum growth is more
in a girl than in a boy. A girl is always more precocious than a boy. She
is a year older than he at nine or ten, and when she is fourteen, fifteen,
sixteen, she is two years older than the boy. When the girl is ten and the
boy eleven, growth drops to the minimum. Why is that? Nature is economizing
her material and husbanding her resources against the trying years which
are to come.
You remember the story of the time when Pharoah in his dream saw the seven
fat kine followed and devoured by the seven lean kine; he was told that his
dream signified seven years of plenty, to be followed by seven years of
famine, and was advised to store up the harvests of the good years against
the hard times to follow. This is a picture of the child's life. The first
seven years of the child's life are years of plenty, when it is storing up
material for the years of hard trial, the years of famine, which are close
I am going to talk most of the girl because she needs more attention than
the boy. Growth is a very expensive process. It begins in the bone. When
the bones lengthen out, then every muscle, every nerve has to be lengthened
out to suit that extra length, and that means a great deal of waste for
that rebuilding, but it is something worse than that. You know perfectly
well that out of the butterfly egg there comes the caterpillar, and that
caterpillar goes into a cocoon, and during the life of the cocoon every
organ is changed there and it comes out a butterfly. That is what we call a
The girl between ten and sixteen is undergoing a metamorphosis just as sure
as that caterpillar is undergoing a metamorphosis. If you leave town for a
few years and come back, you know all the old men and women haven't changed
any, except to die off. The babies have grown some; but the boy and the
girl seem to be grown all over again. That is, the girl whom you left at
nine years old and on coming back find her sixteen, has dropped down her
skirts, has drawn up her hair, and that is the butterfly cocoon, and it is
a mighty pretty butterfly cocoon. That is waste again. It is waste, waste,
on all sides and all of that waste is going into the blood, no other place
to put it; it ought to be got out at once. But there is another thing
about it; all the food must be digested, and so oxygen must be gained and
waste must be eliminated. All the organs in the trunk between those ages of
ten and fourteen are relatively both larger and smaller in girls than at
any other period of life.
It looks as though Nature was making a bad blunder, but she is really
making the best of a very bad bargain, doing the best she can under hard
circumstances. With these small vital organs and this tremendous draught on
the body for new material and the large amount of waste to be eliminated,
you are sure to have trouble. That trouble is going to manifest itself
first of all in the blood. The blood is going to be poor blood during those
years, unless you remedy it. Poor blood, first of all, depresses the
nervous system, and the girl feels gloomy and good for nothing; she hates
to go out into the cold air because she chills; yet that cold air is what
she needs more than anything else in the world. She hates to make an effort
and won't take the exercise she needs if she can possibly help it. The
exercise she must have. Her appetite has gone all wrong. She likes to live
on caramels, pickles, and all such things as that. Now, my friends, I want
to tell you, when anything goes wrong with the appetite, then the whole
system goes wrong, remember that. Observations were made some years ago in
Sweden of a number of the bodily disorders that occur between the ages of
thirteen and nineteen. These examiners found that there was one disorder
which attacked, put in general numbers, sixty per cent. of the girls in the
Swedish schools between the ages of thirteen and nineteen, and, indeed, it
never fell below sixty per cent. and was usually a great deal more. In
Denmark, the examination was made in the field where the children are
healthier, and then the figures gave forty per cent. The troubles usually
show themselves in the form of pallor; the girl is pale. They frequently
break out in the form of headache, loss of appetite, resistance to marked
effort and sometimes with a cold. Now, if the seat of the cold is in the
blood, because it is loaded with waste and ought to be removed, there is
one thing sure, that waste never will be removed until it is thoroughly
oxidized. That is the first thing to do, oxidize it. The only way to
oxidize the blood is to get the lungs full of good, pure air.
The girl wants just as much lung capacity as she can possibly get. We find
that the girl during those years is a little taller and a little heavier
than the boy, and she needs more oxygen to every pound of waste in the body
than the boy does, because the waste is going on faster. The average girl
has about three-fourths as much lung capacity for every pound of the waste
in the body, as has the average boy. What the girl needs is more lung
capacity to get in more oxygen. How is she going to get the lung capacity
sitting in the house? How is she going to get it when she is tied down in
the grammar school room with a book before her eyes?
The worst of it all is that the girl leaves off playing games in the open
air just about the time when she needs them the most, and not having the
open air play and the open air games, she can't get the lung capacity and
the oxygen. Another thing that hinders the girl is this: there is no place
for her to play where she can do all she wants to and not have people
looking over the fence and finding fault with her for having a good time.
Every girl ought to have a place where she can play in the open air and not
be bothered and we ought to get more and more games for girls of that age.
Another thing, the exercise should not be too severe. Don't kill a girl
with physical training; because you can kill her that way just as you can
kill her with books. Some of our physical training is too severe for a girl
of that age. She must have plenty of the right kinds of games and they
should be in the open air, and they should be such as she will enjoy and
love; if they are not of that kind it won't help a great deal. If you can
build up lung capacity in that way then you are drawing in the oxygen;
then you are getting out the waste, and you will find the girl will come
out all right in nine cases out of ten.
It is a fact, proved by physical examination, that all during this period
the better scholars have the larger lung capacity. Those of you who have
taught in the grammar schools year after year will know that a bright girl,
one that has been very bright, will have a year when she will come to you
and will be absolutely stupid and can't learn. "What ails the girl?" you
wonder. She will tell you, "I don't know what ails me; I can't learn
anything. I have become a fool and I was not always one." The trouble is
with the lung capacity; it isn't with the brain; the brain is all right. If
you tell that girl to wake up in order to make up that lack of mental
ability by studying harder, you are doing the unpardonable sin. I am
telling it to you straight. That is not the remedy. The remedy is more play
in the open air, then you will find that that girl's brain will clear up.
Many a poor girl has been put in poor condition by being urged to study
hard, when the fault was that nobody knew enough to turn her out into the
fresh air which the Lord intended she should have.
We ought to have in every school five minutes, it would be better to have
ten minutes, between school exercises, when the girls can walk up and
down, chat with one another and get the blood out of the overloaded head
and down into the cold feet. Better still, turn them out in the open air
and let them run; that would be another blessing. Don't keep the girls
sitting too long at that period. Don't let them sit with wet feet or
skirts. That is just about as bad as getting smallpox. Teach them some of
the sense which you ought to have if you haven't.
I haven't said a word for the boy, for this good reason: you can't kill him
if you try, thank the Lord. You can't kill him if you try, not because he
is so very tough; boys are not as tough as girls, physically; but you can't
kill them; because they won't let you; but I am sorry to say, some few
women teachers are killing off the future women. Again and again I have
heard it said by the girls: "We can get along all right with Mr. So and So;
we can get on the blind side of him all the time; we can fool him, but when
we try to get around Miss So and So she puts it to us awfully, and in the
neatest way, to get the work done." Now, why the women can't have a little
mercy on the younger people is something I cannot understand at all.
And yet, while I haven't said a word for the boy, ought we not to regard
him a little? Now and then there is the ambitious boy, and then again there
is your studious boy; there is your bookish boy; there is your shy boy who
does not get into the games. He is the boy you should watch all the time.
There is the boy who has become delicate and finicky, because he has been
doddled at home. I hope you haven't got so many of them here as we have in
the East, but he is here and you must watch him, because his parents are
doing everything in the world to spoil him. You must stand on the Lord's
side of him if you can, for these boys need your help. If you give a little
excess of mercy, a little bit more physical vigor gained by this regime of
open-air exercise and exercise between the school periods, you simply will
be erring on the safe side and doing good to that girl and such boys,
because on these years of metamorphosis depend the life and the happiness
of the girl and the boy.
Perhaps you are getting ready for examinations. I want to tell you Nature
has her examinations just as well as you do. Does not she examine the baby
and see that baby can't go on, and many babies do not go on. Then the death
rate sinks; at eleven and twelve it is very low, very low, indeed, only
perhaps two or three in a thousand, in many countries. Nature is giving
them a chance to see whether they will get ready for the second
examination. Right after or during puberty the death rate rises. At
eighteen, nineteen and twenty, it has gone up. That is Nature's second
examination, to see whether that boy or girl is fit to send out into the
world to take part in the great drama of life, and if she is conditioned at
this time, then it means invalidism for two, three, four, five years, and
if she is badly conditioned, it may mean death. When you are preparing
those girls for the examination, do not forget your own examination,
because it is coming on very fast.
I have talked very plainly this morning and I hope you will forgive me. You
may say, "We don't need that talk now." I hope you don't. You will need it
in a generation or two; I don't care how strong that pioneer blood was
which has come down to your first generation here, we had just as good in
Massachusetts a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, but we are
getting rid of it just as fast as we can, the Lord forgive us; and you will
do that here if you don't look out. If you have strong, red blood, hold on
to it; because that is the grandest gift of God to man; it is a treasure
which must be handed down unimpaired from generation to generation, that
our boys and girls may be strong and efficient for the work of life which
lies before them.
(General Subject: "Conservation of the Child," read carefully the foregoing
lecture by Dr. Tyler.)
_The Body as an Instrument of the Soul_
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. What are the teachings of the Latter-day Saints regarding the relation
of the body to the soul?
2. In the light of these teachings, what is demanded of every Latter-day
Saint as to the treatment of his body? How are we living up to these
3. What are the four essential things we must do to keep the body engine
described by Dr. Tyler, in perfect condition?
4. What would you think of an engineer who fed his engine dirt with his
coal, or let his draughts and flues clog with soot, or failed to remove the
clinkers, or let his engine get dusty and rusty? In what similar ways are
people neglecting their bodies?
5. Discuss this as a health maxim: Clean food, clean air, clean water,
clean thoughts, and clean consciences.
6. What was the Savior's constant command to the sick?
7. Give one practical suggestion as to training children to take proper
care of their God-given bodies--of keeping them clean, both inside and out.
_The Foundation of Health_
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
_Reference_: The foregoing lecture by Dr. Tyler.
1. Discuss Dr. Tyler's remark: "The stomach is the foundation of all
2. Name three home habits which, in your opinion, are doing most to ruin
the stomachs, especially of children?
3. Discuss the "piecing habit," the "sweetmeat craze," irregularity of
meals, and the "hurrying habit," as applied to disorders of the stomach.
4. Someone said recently that people are paying more to-day to cure their
stomachs from ills brought on by bad habits in eating than they are to
build churches, schools and all other public improvements put together.
Discuss the assertion.
5. How can parents save money now being wasted on stomach troubles, and at
the same time lay the foundation for good health in their children and
themselves? Give at least one way.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
_Reference_: The foregoing lecture by Dr. Tyler.
1. What are two good evidences of a perfectly healthy nervous system?
2. Physicians tell us that nerve diseases are increasing at an alarming
rate in our country. What is the greatest cause for this increase?
3. What home habits have you noticed that lead to nervousness? Discuss here
the effects of scolding, hurrying, talking, noise, lack of system, as
4. What practical suggestion would you offer to parents to help them to
bring control, calm and harmony into their daily lives--to make their homes
more places of rest and peace?
5. What ways can we take to conserve and strengthen the nerves of our
children? Through what habits of life are we helping to wreck their nerves?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Discuss the varying stages of child growth, their rapidity, the critical
2. Growth means waste. By what means does the body get rid of the waste
that comes with growth and change?
3. What are some of the ill effects of keeping this waste in the system?
Give your experiences and observations with children.
4. When is the child's blood likely to be most loaded with the waste caused
by growth? How can we best help the boy or girl to clear the system of this
waste? What mistakes are we making in this vital matter?
5. What practical suggestions would you give to our parents, teachers, and
communities to help them safeguard their children during dangerous periods,
and keep their pioneer blood clean and pure?
THE ADOLESCENT BOY AND GIRL
GROWTH DURING THE HIGH SCHOOL AGE
_Dr. John M. Tyler_
The boy and the girl during adolescence have now attained their full height
and practically their full weight, although the boy has a little to gain
still; they are pretty well grown by this time. If I had to choose between
two questions, the first might be, "Have you a good appetite?" but the
second question I would ask is, "What is your lung capacity?" The lungs
have increased very rapidly at fourteen to sixteen in the boy; in the girl
the increase has been smaller and quite irregular. It ought to be more
regular than it is, I am convinced. The heart has gained greatly in
capacity. The arteries have expanded much less than the heart, and the
result is that there is a much higher blood pressure than there has been at
any time before. The brain has attained practically full size and weight.
The addition now will be mainly in the very highest area, where the
addition of fibres might make all the difference between the possibility of
genius and the possibility of mediocrity. The sensory and the nervous areas
are fully matured. The higher mental area and the higher mental power are
now coming on to stay.
The boy, you will notice, at this stage begins to argue a great deal more
than he ever did before. He wants to argue nearly every question. He likes
the debating society. His idea of heaven, it seems to me, is a place where
debating is indulged in. A goodly amount of exercise for those
psychological and mental powers will do him no harm.
The mortality, or the death rate, is low, but the morbidity is increasing
at this time, in the boy at least. Vigorous physical exercise is now
needed. Ordinary play is not enough. Gymnastics also for the development
and training of the hand and the wrist, training in quickness and precision
of movement are all excellent exercise, all the finer muscles should be
trained now, and probably less training should be given to the heavy
fundamental muscles which are all important in childhood.
Athletics are exceedingly useful. They should be, however, for all, and not
merely for a few who join the teams, who need them the very least of all. I
think our modern college athletics will some day be looked upon as one of
the most ridiculous habits of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. That
twenty-two men should engage in mortal combat, with anywhere from one to
twenty thousand on the side lines,--if you can get anything more ridiculous
than that, I should like to know where you can find it. Athletics should
not be too severe, however, yet, the boy ought not to have century runs and
long halves of football, especially if the heart is still weak. The tissues
of the body have not yet gained the toughness that they will gain at a
later time. Every commander in the field dreads to have boys of eighteen,
nineteen, or twenty sent to him, because, as Napoleon said of his young
recruits, "they die off like flies." The hard bed, with light covering, the
cold room, the cold bath will now aid in toughening the boy, provided he is
healthy; but under no circumstances begin that until the pubertal period is
The danger of over-pressure in the high school, especially after the first
year, is to my mind not very great. The boy and the girl now both stand a
good deal of work; but the greatest danger for the boy and the girl in the
high school is that they will take too much social enjoyment. An evening
theatre party, followed by a supper, a late dance, will take more strength
out of a boy and girl than three days of study. There is nothing that is
so wearing. If you can keep down the social over-pressure, I do not
believe the over-pressure from study will do any great harm in high
The larger bodies, the large heart and lungs, well oxygenated blood, and
fresh vitality of every artery and tissue, gives a buoyance, a strength
and a courage, a source of power and sense of it too, a longing for
complete freedom, a revolt against all control, which the boy will never
feel later; if he does not feel it now. I am describing, perhaps, rather
the college boy than the high school boy; but bear this in mind, that I am
describing what your boys in the high school will be a year or two later if
they are not that now, and it is for this stage you must prepare them,
even, if they have not already entered upon it.
A new, wide world, just as fresh as on the morning of creation, a new fire,
a life of boundless opportunity, which is endless in scope and time, are
opening out before the boy and the girl. They see the parents and the
teachers drag around, understanding, as they think, neither them nor life
itself; and they are right to a certain extent. There is no doubt about
that; we do not hold on to the vision of glory of this world and of this
life which we had in youth as we ought to and as it is our duty to do. The
boy and the girl criticize us fairly, when they think that we don't
appreciate this magnificent world in which we live.
When a man gets to be my age, while I suppose he probably has more
humility, he comes to know and he comes to have a very cheerful, optimistic
view of the world. He has made up his mind that the Lord does not intend
to change the world a great deal anyhow, and, on the whole, he is very much
content to leave it the way it is. That is not so with young people at all.
The boy and the girl must learn and know all about it. That is one thing
they are determined to do at the outset. The boy girds up his loins and he
goes whither he will. He must taste of every experience for himself. He
will meet joy and sorrow with the same frolicking, welcoming spirit. He has
never been saddened by experience nor disillusioned by disappointment and
failure. He will try all the knowledge of good and evil if it costs him
Nature is loosening every leading string now and is getting him free to
complete his own individual development and to forge his own character. We
cannot stop him if we would. It is very lucky that we cannot. It is better
that we should not stop him even if we could; nevertheless, he has very
little self-knowledge and still less self-control. Impulses well up from
changes going on within him or from stimuli which come to him from without.
He does not understand them. He does not know where they come from. He does
not know what they mean. He is ill-prepared to face them, and now he goes
one way and now the other. He has just about as clear a conception of the
value of time as a child has. He has not outgrown childhood in that
respect. He cannot possibly play a waiting game. That is the last thing
that he can do. If the sun shines to-day it is always going to be bright
weather. If the maiden of his adoration frowns to-day, the sun will never
shine again. He is either on the Delectable Mountain or in the Valley of
Humiliation, and he is far more frequently in the latter than we think. He
is rarely between the two, and he is not going to tell us when he is in the
Valley of Humiliation, nor when he is on the top of the Delectable
There is a reticence about him at this time which we should learn to
respect and to reverence. I told you at the first meeting that Nature put
the shell around the egg so we would keep our fingers out of it, and Nature
puts that shell of reticence around the boy and the girl at that time so we
will keep our blundering fingers out and leave them to solve their problems
with their help and that of the good Lord who is watching over them.
Authority has little hold over him at this time, traditions none at all.
The influence of early training which have rooted themselves in his very
life are very powerful and they will hold him, and the Lord have mercy on
the boy whose early traditions do not hold him at that time. Remember it
is not his fault; that is a sad thought for us parents. We must take the
responsibility for these defects in the early training of our children.
The boy is led by class and group feeling at this time. You take him at
eight or ten and he is an admirable little fellow in many respects. He
wants to play fair, and if the other fellow does not play fair he will
smite him, just as Samson smote the Philistines, if he can, and that is the
occasion of much friction. After a time there is danger that he will not
play as fair as he did when he was younger, for a time at least, because he
is swallowed up in the team, or the society, or the group, or the gang,
whatever it may be, to which he belongs, and he will give himself body and
soul to help that team to win. This has its bad side, a very bad side, I
grant you. If you would understand the boy, every now and then you must
study the psychology of the mob. But there is a very good side also,
because he is generous to a fault. Now is the time in his life when he will
go down with the team, and in order for the team to win he will make a play
when you and I would hesitate to make it. We had better respect the boy. He
is loyal to his leader and to his friends. It is the epoch of the heart,
and out of the heart, remember, are the issues of life. He has a great deal
more heart than he has head knowledge at this time, and I confess I rather
like him for it.
You remember what Paul says to those knowledge-worshiping Corinthians as to
knowledge: "It will vanish away; for we know in part." Those of us who have
lived more than half a century have seen nine-tenths of our knowledge
vanish away in just that fashion because we knew in part. But, says Paul,
there are some things that abide, and one of them is faith. That is never
done away with; another is hope, and the third and sure abiding thing is
love, which is three-thirds in the heart, and out of the heart are the
issues of life; the heart is often wiser than the head. Do not under-value
and never despise the value of the greatness of heart in the boy; for Great
Heart is the only champion who ever killed Giant Despair.
The boy at this age is seeking for a king. He is very likely to be like old
St. Christopher, he will serve the strongest if he can find him. Tides of
religious feeling are sweeping in on him now; but if you want to convert
him you must hold up before him no mediaeval example, but the great,
magnificent, athletic life of that Divine Master who has been so often
misrepresented to us.
He is a very lovable being, that boy is, at times. Oh, you are reverencing
him to-day; well, then bear in mind that probably about the same time
tomorrow morning you will be gripping for the scruff of his neck, and when
you grip him, grip him hard, it is no time for half-way measures. Never hit
a boy at that age with a switch. If you do you are lost. Either don't hit
at all or hit hard.
A great deal of the child still remains in him, his instability, for
instance. He might well say of himself, "my name is legion." In the
remainder of his young life everything that is trifling and worthless all
comes to the surface, just as it does in the fermenting liquor, the strong
and sweet are all hidden below the froth. You cannot see it. You can very
easily do him injustice. You must sympathize with him. Remember your own
foolish youth when you were his age; remember your own blunders and then
you will have a great patience with him and great admiration for him,
because these blunders are not a great deal worse than they are. If you
can't do this, then leave him to Nature, for you cannot help him.
We found, during the years of puberty, a physical metamorphosis, when the
body was all made over, and now, during those years of adolescence we have
a mental metamorphosis that is just as complete as the physical
metamorphosis. All things are becoming new. They have not become new yet,
but they are becoming new; hence it must be a time of instability, of
self-education, of the strange mixture of the very new and the very old,
the bad and the good, of that which is passing away and which has passed
away long ago, and that which has not yet come. Look a little deeper into
him; you will find he has a pretty good primitive system of morality; it is
a very primitive one, consisting mainly of loyalty to his friends. Treat
him "square," as he says, and fairly, and then you may purr and curb him
just as you will.
Remember that tides of religious power and influence have been sweeping
through him. The first one came probably at twelve, if we may trust our
statistics; the second stronger, at fourteen, and then the third--perhaps a
good many don't feel the first one or second--the third perhaps at sixteen.
The one which comes over him at sixteen will affect heart and intellect and
will, and everything, and he will stay converted probably. If you convert
him at twelve, he probably will fall from grace before he is fifteen. It is
rather interesting to notice that those periods when his experiences are
likely to be very deep and very strong, are the years when his chest girth
is expanding the most rapidly. A very good bit of physiology or psychology
or of anything else you choose to call it, to learn is this:
If you want to convert a man to religion, get plenty of good, fresh air
into his body; you never can do it in an ill-ventilated room.
It is a period of seeing visions and of dreaming dreams; you know that, if
you remember your boyhood and girlhood. Those dreams and visions are the
most substantial things there are in his life or in yours or mine; for
"where there is no vision the people perish." Wendell Phillips used to say
that "the power which overthrew slavery and hurled it to the ground was
young men and young women dreaming dreams by patriots' graves." There is a
good deal more than rhetoric in that statement. Endless possibilities are
in these dreams and visions. It is a period of promise, of magnificent
promise, which you and I as teachers are privileged to see afar off before
they are even glimpsed by his parents and many of his friends.
The great question now is, Will the promise and the vision ever be
realized, or will they fade out and disappear and leave him a Philistine?
And lucky if he is not a brute, for the only brute in this world, my
friends, is a degenerate man. When you hear a man say that he has cut his
eye-teeth, and he has got rid of his dreams and his visions, then may the
Lord have mercy on the soul of that man, because he is dead. The
all-important question now is, Can you get that dream and that vision so
burned into his memory, so blazing before his eyes, that he will never
forget it and never lose sight of it, and win it if it costs him his life?
Then you have educated him.
These visions are far more important than all of the science, even the
biology, that a man can learn in college. It is the business of the parent
and teacher at this time to bring to birth and to sturdy growth high aims,
purposes, ideals, the whole spiritual life. Your business in early
childhood is with the physical, because that is the important thing at that
time, if you can build a very healthy little animal, you have done well;
but during the high school age you must build the spiritual. If you don't
feel this, I cannot explain it to you; and if you don't feel this within
you, if it is all meaningless and mere noise, don't you dare teach a high
school, for you are not big enough nor deep enough to do that.
The great question, after all, is not how much learning have you been able
to put into him, but how much of the finer ambitions, how much power, how
deeply and strongly they hunger for the very best. An ounce of inspiration
at this time is worth more than a pound or a ton of learning; I am no foe
of learning, either. The high school is and will remain the people's
college. It is the only college that a great part of the people ever will
know. Do not neglect that great fraction who are never going to get
anything higher and beyond in order to put your time on those who are going
on to colleges and universities. You must be the people's support, and you
may well thank fortune that it doesn't seem to be nine-tenths of your
business out here in the West to fit boys and girls for a college
examination. If that ever threatens to become your business, then you
withstand it and face it to the death, for there is nothing will ruin
education faster than that; I know sorrowfully whereof I speak.
You remember in "Pilgrim's Progress" that when Christian had left the
Interpreter's House, he strayed away and went down into the Valley of
Humiliation, where he walked between the snares and was in danger of
falling into many a pitfall; there he wandered through darkness; there he
could not see the Delectable Mountains any more, and there he fought with
Giant Apollyon for his life; but when Christian passed that way he did not
find it half so bad by any means. He had a companion by the name of Great
Heart, remember, and Great Heart said to him, "Do you know that the soil of
this valley is probably the most fertile that the crow flies over?"
The Valley of Humiliation, my friends, stretches sharp and clear athwart
the life of every man and woman between the Interpreter's House of his
early education and of his dreams and visions, and the Delectable
Mountains, and we all have to depart to it whether we will or no, and it is
the most fertile soil that the crow flies over, for in that Valley of
Humiliation men's muscles and nerves become steel, and man becomes the
shadow of the great rock in the Weary Land, and through heartaches the man
and the woman are made the soldiers and the choice heroes of Jehovah
Himself. It is into that Valley of Humiliation that the boy and the girl
are going to go from school after they leave you, and you must fit them for
it; many of you know well enough what it is and know what help they need.
You have read, all of you, a good many times probably, this marvelous
passage from Isaiah: "They that trust in the Lord shall renew their
strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not
be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." I never thought what that
meant until one morning in college chapel our president turned to us and
said: "Most of you think that is an anti-climax," and we would say: "Why,
of course, for a man cannot fly like the eagle. He can walk down hill, what
is the use talking about that walking down hill." The old man shook his
head and said: "No, no. Anybody can fly like an eagle in his imagination;
when we are beginning any new work or any new study or anything new, we
fly; but after a time we cannot fly any more, we come down to a run; and
the man who wins out is not the man who can run, but the man who can 'walk
and not faint,' for that man has the endurance that we want."
There was a time some years ago--that has gone by too, thank fortune--when
we used to paraphrase things; that is, turn very good English into very bad
English. You wish to have a boy or girl catch the spirit of the poem, do
you not, to find in it inspiration and power, to find a beauty in life that
never was on sea nor land? A sweet voice is a very excellent thing in a
woman, and a very unusual thing in a man. The eye is not the grandest sense
organ we have; the ear is the path-way to the heart, and that is what you
want to understand. Did you ever try reading a beautiful poem or story
aloud to your children at your fireside or to the class and put your very
life's blood into it? I remember some things that a little girl teacher in
Massachusetts read to me a great many years ago, and there is a dent in my
old heart still. Try it some day. They cannot understand the poem, but they
feel it. It has gone deeper than the intellect. It has gone into the heart