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The Education of the Child by Ellen Key

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The Education of the Child by Ellen Key


Edward Bok, Editor of the "Ladies' Home Journal," writes:

"Nothing finer on the wise education of the child has ever been
brought into print. To me this chapter is a perfect classic; it
points the way straight for every parent and it should find a
place in every home in America where there is a child."

The Education of the Child

Goethe showed long ago in his Werther a clear understanding of
the significance of individualistic and psychological training,
an appreciation which will mark the century of the child. In
this work he shows how the future power of will lies hidden in
the characteristics of the child, and how along with every
fault of the child an uncorrupted germ capable of producing
good is enclosed. "Always," he says, "I repeat the golden words
of the teacher of mankind, 'if ye do not become as one of
these,' and now, good friend, those who are our equals, whom we
should look upon as our models, we treat as subjects; they
should have no will of their own; do we have none? Where is our
prerogative? Does it consist in the fact that we are older and
more experienced? Good God of Heaven! Thou seest old and young
children, nothing else. And in whom Thou hast more joy, Thy Son
announced ages ago. But people believe in Him and do not hear
Him--that, too, is an old trouble, and they model their
children after themselves." The same criticism might be applied
to our present educators, who constantly have on their tongues
such words as evolution, individuality, and natural tendencies,
but do not heed the new commandments in which they say they
believe. They continue to educate as if they believed still in
the natural depravity of man, in original sin, which may be
bridled, tamed, suppressed, but not changed. The new belief is
really equivalent to Goethe's thoughts given above, i.e., that
almost every fault is but a hard shell enclosing the germ of
virtue. Even men of modern times still follow in education the
old rule of medicine, that evil must be driven out by evil,
instead of the new method, the system of allowing nature
quietly and slowly to help itself, taking care only that the
surrounding conditions help the work of nature. This is

Neither harsh nor tender parents suspect the truth expressed by
Carlyle when he said that the marks of a noble and original
temperament are wild, strong emotions, that must be controlled
by a discipline as hard as steel. People either strive to root
out passions altogether, or they abstain from teaching the
child to get them under control.

To suppress the real personality of the child, and to supplant
it with another personality continues to be a pedagogical crime
common to those who announce loudly that education should only
develop the real individual nature of the child.

They are still not convinced that egoism on the part of the
child is justified. Just as little are they convinced of the
possibility that evil can be changed into good.

Education must be based on the certainty that faults cannot be
atoned for, or blotted out, but must always have their
consequences. At the same time, there is the other certainty
that through progressive evolution, by slow adaptation to the
conditions of environment they may be transformed. Only when
this stage is reached will education begin to be a science and
art. We will then give up all belief in the miraculous effects
of sudden interference; we shall act in the psychological
sphere in accordance with the principle of the
indestructibility of matter. We shall never believe that a
characteristic of the soul can be destroyed. There are but two
possibilities. Either it can be brought into subjection or it
can be raised up to a higher plane.

Madame de Stael's words show much insight when she says that
only the people who can play with children are able to educate
them. For success in training children the first condition is
to become as a child oneself, but this means no assumed
childishness, no condescending baby-talk that the child
immediately sees through and deeply abhors. What it does mean
is to be as entirely and simply taken up with the child as the
child himself is absorbed by his life. It means to treat the
child as really one's equal, that is, to show him the same
consideration, the same kind confidence one shows to an adult.
It means not to influence the child to be what we ourselves
desire him to become but to be influenced by the impression of
what the child himself is; not to treat the child with
deception, or by the exercise of force, but with the
seriousness and sincerity proper to his own character.
Somewhere Rousseau says that all education has failed in that
nature does not fashion parents as educators nor children for
the sake of education. What would happen if we finally
succeeded in following the directions of nature, and recognised
that the great secret of education lies hidden in the maxim,
"do not educate"?

Not leaving the child in peace is the greatest evil of
present-day methods of training children. Education is
determined to create a beautiful world externally and
internally in which the child can grow. To let him move about
freely in this world until he comes into contact with the
permanent boundaries of another's right will be the end of the
education of the future. Only then will adults really obtain a
deep insight into the souls of children, now an almost
inaccessible kingdom. For it is a natural instinct of
self-preservation which causes the child to bar the educator
from his innermost nature. There is the person who asks rude
questions; for example, what is the child thinking about? a
question which almost invariably is answered with a black or a
white lie. The child must protect himself from an educator who
would master his thoughts and inclinations, or rudely handle
them, who without consideration betrays or makes ridiculous his
most sacred feelings, who exposes faults or praises
characteristics before strangers, or even uses an open-hearted,
confidential confession as an occasion for reproof at another

The statement that no human being learns to understand another,
or at least to be patient with another, is true above all of
the intimate relation of child and parent in which,
understanding, the deepest characteristic of love, is almost
always absent.

Parents do not see that during the whole life the need of peace
is never greater than in the years of childhood, an inner peace
under all external unrest. The child has to enter into
relations with his own infinite world, to conquer it, to make
it the object of his dreams. But what does he experience?
Obstacles, interference, corrections, the whole livelong day.
The child is always required to leave something alone, or to do
something different, to find something different, or want
something different from what he does, or finds, or wants. He
is always shunted off in another direction from that towards
which his own character is leading him. All of this is caused
by our tenderness, vigilance, and zeal, in directing, advising,
and helping the small specimen of humanity to become a complete
example in a model series.

I have heard a three-year-old child characterised as "trying"
because he wanted to go into the woods, whereas the nursemaid
wished to drag him into the city. Another child of six years
was disciplined because she had been naughty to a playmate and
had called her a little pig,--a natural appellation for one who
was always dirty. These are typical examples of how the sound
instincts of the child are dulled. It was a spontaneous
utterance: of the childish heart when a small boy, after an
account of the heaven of good children, asked his mother
whether she did not believe that, after he had been good a
whole week in heaven, he might be allowed to go to hell on
Saturday evening to play with the bad little boys there.

The child felt in its innermost consciousness that he had a
right to be naughty, a fundamental right which is accorded to
adults; and not only to be naughty, but to be naughty in peace,
to be left to the dangers and joys of naughtiness.

To call forth from this "unvirtue" the complimentary virtue is
to overcome evil with good. Otherwise we overcome natural
strength by weak means and obtain artificial virtues which will
not stand the tests which life imposes.

It seems simple enough when we say that we must overcome evil
with good, but practically no process is more involved, or more
tedious, than to find actual means to accomplish this end. It
is much easier to say what one shall not do than what one must
do to change self-will into strength of character, slyness into
prudence, the desire to please into amiability, restlessness
into personal initiative. It can only be brought about by
recognising that evil, in so far as it is not atavistic or
perverse, is as natural and indispensable as the good, and that
it becomes a permanent evil only through its one-sided

The educator wants the child to be finished at once, and
perfect. He forces upon the child an unnatural degree of
self-mastery, a devotion to duty, a sense of honour, habits
that adults get out of with astonishing rapidity. Where the
faults of children are concerned, at home and in school, we
strain at gnats, while children daily are obliged to swallow
the camels of grown people.

The art of natural education consists in ignoring the faults of
children nine times out of ten, in avoiding immediate
interference, which is usually a mistake, and devoting one's
whole vigilance to the control of the environment in which the
child is growing up, to watching the education which is allowed
to go on by itself. But educators who, day in and day out, are
consciously transforming the environment and themselves are
still a rare product. Most people live on the capital and
interest of an education, which perhaps once made them model
children, but has deprived them of the desire for educating
themselves. Only by keeping oneself in constant process of
growth, under the constant influence of the best things in
one's own age, does one become a companion half-way good enough
for one's children.

To bring up a child means carrying one's soul in one's hand,
setting one's feet on a narrow path, it means never placing
ourselves in danger of meeting the cold look on the part of the
child that tells us without words that he finds us insufficient
and unreliable. It means the humble realisation of the truth
that the ways of injuring the child are infinite, while the
ways of being useful to him are few. How seldom does the
educator remember that the child, even at four or five years of
age, is making experiments with adults, seeing through them,
with marvellous shrewdness making his own valuations and
reacting sensitively to each impression. The slightest
mistrust, the smallest unkindness, the least act of injustice
or contemptuous ridicule, leave wounds that last for life in
the finely strung soul of the child. While on the other side
unexpected friendliness, kind advances, just indignation, make
quite as deep an impression on those senses which people term
as soft as wax but treat as if they were made of cowhide.

Relatively most excellent was the old education which consisted
solely in keeping oneself whole, pure, and honourable. For it
did not at least depreciate personality, although it did not
form it. It would be well if but a hundredth part of the pains
now taken by parents were given to interference with the life
of the child and the rest of the ninety and nine employed in
leading, without interference, in acting as an unforeseen, an
invisible providence through which the child obtains
experience, from which he may draw his own conclusions. The
present practice is to impress one's own discoveries, opinions,
and principles on the child by constantly directing his
actions. The last thing to be realised by the educator is that
he really has before him an entirely new soul, a real self
whose first and chief right is to think over the things with
which he comes in contact. By a new soul he understands only a
new generation of an old humanity to be treated with a fresh
dose of the old remedy. We teach the new souls not to steal,
not to lie, to save their clothes, to learn their lessons, to
economise their money, to obey commands, not to contradict
older people, say their prayers, to fight occasionally in order
to be strong. But who teaches the new souls to choose for
themselves the path they must tread? Who thinks that the desire
for this path of their own can be so profound that a hard or
even mild pressure towards uniformity can make the whole of
childhood a torment.

The child comes into life with the inheritance of the preceding
members of the race; and this inheritance is modified by
adaptation to the environment. But the child shows also
individual variations from the type of the species, and if his
own character is not to disappear during the process of
adaptation, all self-determined development of energy must be
aided in every way and only indirectly influenced by the
teacher, who should understand how to combine and emphasise the
results of this development.

Interference on the part of the educator, whether by force or
persuasion, weakens this development if it does not destroy it

The habits of the household, and the child's habits in it must
be absolutely fixed if they are to be of any value. Amiel truly
says that habits are principles which have become instincts,
and have passed over into flesh and blood. To change habits, he
continues, means to attack life in its very essence, for life
is only a web of habits.

Why does everything remain essentially the same from generation
to generation? Why do highly civilised Christian people
continue to plunder one another and call it exchange, to murder
one another en masse, and call it nationalism, to oppress one
another and call it statesmanship?

Because in every new generation the impulses supposed to have
been rooted out by discipline in the child, break forth again,
when the struggle for existence--of the individual in society,
of the society in the life of the state--begins. These passions
are not transformed by the prevalent education of the day, but
only repressed. Practically this is the reason why not a single
savage passion has been overcome in humanity. Perhaps
man-eating may be mentioned as an exception. But what is told
of European ship companies or Siberian prisoners shows that
even this impulse, under conditions favourable to it, may be
revived, although in the majority of people a deep physical
antipathy to man-eating is innate. Conscious incest, despite
similar deviations, must also be physically contrary to the
majority, and in a number of women, modesty--the unity between
body and soul in relation to love--is an incontestable
provision of nature. So too a minority would find it physically
impossible to murder or steal. With this list I have exhausted
everything which mankind, since its conscious history began,
has really so intimately acquired that the achievement is
passed on in its flesh and blood. Only this kind of conquest
can really stand up against temptation in every form.

A deep physiological truth is hidden in the use of language
when one speaks of unchained passions; the passions, under the
prevailing system of education, are really only beasts of prey
imprisoned in cages.

While fine words are spoken about individual development,
children are treated as if their personality had no purpose of
its own, as if they were made only for the pleasure, pride, and
comfort of their parents; and as these aims are best advanced
when children become like every one else, people usually begin
by attempting to make them respectable and useful members of

But the only correct starting point, so far as a child's
education in becoming a social human being is concerned, is to
treat him as such, while strengthening his natural disposition
to become an individual human being.

The new educator will, by regularly ordered experience, teach
the child by degrees his place in the great orderly system of
existence; teach him his responsibility towards his
environment. But in other respects, none of the individual
characteristics of the child expressive of his life will be
suppressed, so long as they do not injure the child himself, or
others. The right balance must be kept between Spencer's
definition of life as an adaptation to surrounding conditions,
and Nietzsche's definition of it as the will to secure power.

In adaptation, imitation certainly plays a great role, but
individual exercise of power is just as important. Through
adaptation life attains a fixed form; through exercise of
power, new factors.

Thoughtful people, as I have already stated, talk a good deal
about personality. But they are, nevertheless, filled with
doubts when their children are not just like all other
children; when they cannot show in their offspring all the
ready-made virtues required by society. And so they drill their
children, repressing in childhood the natural instincts which
will have freedom when they are grown. People still hardly
realise how new human beings are formed; therefore the old
types constantly repeat themselves in the same circle,--the
fine young men, the sweet girls, the respectable officials, and
so on. And new types with higher ideals,--travellers on unknown
paths, thinkers of yet unthought thoughts, people capable of
the crime of inaugurating new ways,--such types rarely come
into existence among those who are well brought up.

Nature herself, it is true, repeats the main types constantly.
But she also constantly makes small deviations. In this way
different species, even of the human race, have come into
existence. But man himself does not yet see the significance of
this natural law in his own higher development. He wants the
feelings, thoughts, and judgments already stamped with approval
to be reproduced by each new generation. So we get no new
individuals, but only more or less prudent, stupid, amiable, or
bad-tempered examples of the genus man. The still living
instincts of the ape, double, in the case of man, the effect of
heredity. Conservatism is for the present stronger in mankind
than the effort to produce new types. But this last
characteristic is the most valuable. The educator should do
anything but advise the child to do what everybody does. He
should rather rejoice when he sees in the child tendencies to
deviation. Using other people's opinion as a standard results
in subordinating one's self to their will. So we become a part
of the great mass, led by the Superman through the strength of
his will, a will which could not have mastered strong
personalities. It has been justly remarked that individual
peoples, like the English, have attained the greatest political
and social freedom, because the personal feeling of
independence is far in excess of freedom in a legal form.
Accordingly legal freedom has been constantly growing.

For the progress of the whole of the species, as well as of
society, it is essential that education shall awake the feeling
of independence; it should invigorate and favour the
disposition to deviate from the type in those cases where the
rights of others are not affected, or where deviation is not
simply the result of the desire to draw attention to oneself.
The child should be given the chance to declare conscientiously
his independence of a customary usage, of an ordinary feeling,
for this is the foundation of the education of an individual,
as well as the basis of a collective conscience, which is the
only kind of conscience men now have. What does having an
individual conscience mean? It means submitting voluntarily to
an external law, attested and found good by my own conscience.
It means unconditionally heeding the unwritten law, which I lay
upon myself, and following this inner law even when I must
stand alone against the whole world.

It is a frequent phenomenon, we can almost call it a regular
one, that it is original natures, particularly talented beings,
who are badly treated at home and in school. No one considers
the sources of conduct in a child who shows fear or makes a
noise, or who is absorbed in himself, or who has an impetuous
nature. Mothers and teachers show in this their pitiable
incapacity for the most elementary part in the art of
education, that is, to be able to see with their own eyes, not
with pedagogical doctrines in their head.

I naturally expect in the supporters of society, with their
conventional morality, no appreciation of the significance of
the child's putting into exercise his own powers. Just as
little is this to be expected of those Christian believers who
think that human nature must be brought to repentance and
humility, and that the sinful body, the unclean beast, must be
tamed with the rod,--a theory which the Bible is brought to

I am only addressing people who can think new thoughts and
consequently should cease using old methods of education. This
class may reply that the new ideas in education cannot be
carried out. But the obstacle is simply that their new thoughts
have not made them into new men; the old man in them has
neither repose, nor time, nor patience, to form his own soul,
and that of the child, according to the new thoughts.

Those who have "tried Spencer and failed," because Spencer's
method demands intelligence and patience, contend that the
child must be taught to obey, that truth lies in the old rule,
"As the twig is bent the tree is inclined."

BENT is the appropriate word, bent according to the old ideal
which extinguishes personality, teaches humility and obedience.
But the new ideal is that man, to stand straight and upright,
must not be bent at all only supported, and so prevented from
being deformed by weakness.

One often finds, in the modern system of training, the crude
desire for mastery still alive and breaking out when the child
is obstinate. "You won't!" say father and mother; "I will teach
you whether you have a will. I will soon drive self-will out of
you." But nothing can be driven out of the child; on the other
hand, much can be scourged into it which should be kept far

Only during the first few years of life is a kind of drill
necessary, as a pre-condition to a higher training. The child
is then in such a high degree controlled by sensation, that a
slight physical pain or pleasure is often the only language he
fully understands. Consequently for some children discipline is
an indispensable means of enforcing the practice of certain
habits. For other children, the stricter methods are entirely
unnecessary even at this early age, and as soon as the child
can remember a blow, he is too old to receive one.

The child must certainly learn obedience, and, besides, this
obedience must be absolute. If such obedience has become
habitual from the tenderest age, a look, a word, an intonation
is enough to keep the child straight. The dissatisfaction of
those who are bringing him up can only be made effective when
it falls as a shadow in the usual sunny atmosphere of home. And
if people refrain from laying the foundations of obedience
while the child is small, and his naughtiness is entertaining,
Spencer's method undoubtedly will be found unsuitable after the
child is older and his caprice disagreeable.

With a very small child, one should not argue, but act
consistently and immediately. The effort of training should be
directed at an early period to arrange the experiences in a
consistent whole of impressions according to Rousseau and
Spencer's recommendation. So certain habits will become
impressed in the flesh and blood of the child.

Constant crying on the part of small children must be corrected
when it has become clear that the crying is not caused by
illness or some other discomfort,--discomforts against which
crying is the child's only weapon. Crying is now ordinarily
corrected by blows. But this does not master the will of the
child, and only produces in his soul the idea that older people
strike small children, when small children cry. This is not an
ethical idea. But when the crying child is immediately
isolated, and it is explained to him at the same time that
whoever annoys others must not be with them; if this isolation
is the absolute result, and cannot be avoided, in the child's
mind a basis is laid for the experience that one must be alone
when one makes oneself unpleasant or disagreeable. In both
cases the child is silenced by interfering with his comfort;
but one type of discomfort is the exercise of force on his
will; the other produces slowly the self-mastery of the will,
and accomplishes this by a good motive. One method encourages a
base emotion, fear. The other corrects the will in a way that
combines it with one of the most important experiences of life.
The one punishment keeps the child on the level of the animal.
The other impresses upon him the great principle of human
social life, that when our pleasure causes displeasure to
others, other people hinder us from following our pleasures; or
withdraw themselves from the exercise of our self-will. It is
necessary that small children should accustom themselves to
good behaviour at table, etc. If every time an act of
naughtiness is repeated, the child is immediately taken away,
he will soon learn that whoever is disagreeable to others must
remain alone. Thus a right application is made of a right
principle. Small children, too, must learn not to touch what
belongs to other people. If every time anything is touched
without permission, children lose their freedom of action one
way or another, they soon learn that a condition of their free
action is not to injure others.

It is quite true, as a young mother remarked, that empty
Japanese rooms are ideal places in which to bring up children.
Our modern crowded rooms are, so far as children are concerned,
to be condemned. During the year in which the real education of
the child is proceeding by touching, tasting, biting, feeling,
and so on, every moment he is hearing the cry, "Let it alone."
For the temperament of the child as well as for the development
of his powers, the best thing is a large, light nursery,
adorned with handsome lithographs, wood-cuts, and so on,
provided with some simple furniture, where he may enjoy the
fullest freedom of movement. But if the child is there with his
parents and is disobedient, a momentary reprimand is the best
means to teach him to reverence the greater world in which the
will of others prevails, the world in which the child certainly
can make a place for himself but must also learn that every
place occupied by him has its limits.

If it is a case of a danger, which it is desirable that the
child should really dread, we must allow the thing itself to
have an alarming influence. When a mother strikes a child
because he touches the light, the result is that he does this
again when the mother is away. But let him burn himself with
the light, then he is certain to leave it alone. In riper years
when a boy misuses a knife, a toy, or something similar, the
loss of the object for the time being must be the punishment.
Most boys would prefer corporal punishment to the loss of their
favourite possession. But only the loss of it will be a real
education through experience of one of the inevitable rules of
life, an experience which cannot be too strongly impressed.

We hear parents who have begun with Spencer and then have taken
to corporal punishment declare that when children are too small
to repair the clothing which they have torn there must be some
other kind of punishment. But at that age they should not be
punished at all for such things. They should have such simple
and strong clothes that they can play freely in them. Later on,
when they can be really careful, the natural punishment would
be to have the child remain at home if he is careless, has
spotted his clothes, or torn them. He must be shown that he
must help to put his clothes in good condition again, or that
he will be compelled to buy what he has destroyed carelessly
with money earned by himself. If the child is not careful, he
must stay at home, when ordinarily allowed to go out, or eat
alone if he is too late for meals. It may be said that there
are simple means by which all the important habits of social
life may become a second nature. But it is not possible in all
cases to apply Spencer's method. The natural consequences
occasionally endanger the health of the child, or sometimes are
too slow in their action. If it seems necessary to interfere
directly, such action must be consistent, quick, and immutable.
How is it that the child learns very soon that fire burns?
Because fire does so always. But the mother who at one time
strikes, at another threatens, at another bribes the child,
first forbids and then immediately after permits some action;
who does not carry out her threat, does not compel obedience,
but constantly gabbles and scolds; who sometimes acts in one
way and just as often in another, has not learned the effective
educational methods of the fire.

The old-fashioned strict training that in its crude way gave to
the character a fixed type rested on its consistent qualities.
It was consistently strict, not as at present a lax hesitation
between all kinds of pedagogical methods and psychological
opinions, in which the child is thrown about here and there
like a ball, in the hands of grown people; at one time pushed
forward, then laughed at, then pushed aside, only to be brought
back again, kissed till it, is disgusted, first ordered about,
and then coaxed. A grown man would become insane if joking
Titans treated him for a single day as a child is treated for a
year. A child should not be ordered about, but should be just
as courteously addressed as a grown person in order that he may
learn courtesy. A child should never be pushed into notice,
never compelled to endure caresses, never overwhelmed with
kisses, which ordinarily torment him and are often the cause of
sexual hyperaesthesia. The child's demonstrations of affection
should be reciprocated when they are sincere, but one's own
demonstrations should be reserved for special occasions. This
is one of the many excellent maxims of training that are
disregarded. Nor should the child be forced to express regret
in begging pardon and the like. This is excellent training for
hypocrisy. A small child once had been rude to his elder
brother and was placed upon a chair to repent his fault. When
the mother after a time asked if he was sorry, he answered,
"Yes," with emphasis, but as the mother saw a mutinous sparkle
in his eyes she felt impelled to ask, "Sorry for what?" and the
youngster broke out, "Sorry that I did not call him a liar
besides." The mother was wise enough on this occasion, and ever
after, to give up insisting on repentance.

Spontaneous penitence is full of significance, it is a deeply
felt desire for pardon. But an artificial emotion is always and
everywhere worthless. Are you not sorry? Does it make no
difference to you that your mother is ill, your brother dead,
your father away from home? Such expressions are often used as
an appeal to the emotions of children. But children have a
right to have feelings, or not have them, and to have them as
undisturbed as grown people. The same holds good of their
sympathies and antipathies. The sensitive feelings of children
are constantly injured by lack of consideration on the part of
grown people, their easily stimulated aversions are constantly
being brought out. But the sufferings of children through the
crudeness of their elders belong to an unwritten chapter of
child psychology. Just as there are few better methods of
training than to ask children, when they have behaved unjustly
to others, to consider whether it would be pleasant for them to
be treated in that way, so there is no better corrective for
the trainer of children than the habit of asking oneself, in
question small and great,--Would I consent to be treated as I
have just treated my child? If it were only remembered that the
child generally suffers double as much as the adult, parents
would perhaps learn physical and psychical tenderness without
which a child's life is a constant torment.

As to presents, the same principle holds good as with emotions
and marks of tenderness. Only by example can generous instincts
be provoked. Above all the child should not be allowed to have
things which he immediately gives away. Gifts to a child should
always imply a personal requital for work or sacrifice. In
order to secure for children the pleasure of giving and the
opportunity of obtaining small pleasures and enjoyments, as
well as of replacing property of their own or of others which
they may have destroyed, they should at an early age be
accustomed to perform seriously certain household duties for
which they receive some small remuneration. But small
occasional services, whether volunteered or asked for by
others, should never be rewarded. Only readiness to serve,
without payment, develops the joy of generosity. When the child
wants to give away something, people should not make a presence
of receiving it. This produces the false conception in his mind
that the pleasure of being generous can be had for nothing. At
every step the child should be allowed to meet the real
experiences of life; the thorns should never be plucked from
his roses. This is what is least understood in present-day
training. Thus we see reasonable methods constantly failing.
People find themselves forced to "afflictive" methods which
stand in no relation with the realities of life. I mean, above
all, what are still called means of education, instead of means
of torture,--blows.

Many people of to-day defend blows, maintaining that they are
milder means of punishment than the natural consequences of an
act; that blows have the strongest effect on the memory, which
effect becomes permanent through association of ideas.

But what kinds of association? Is it not with physical pain and
shame? Gradually, step by step, this method of training and
discipline has been superseded in all its forms. The movement
to abolish torture, imprisonment, and corporal punishment
failed for a long time owing to the conviction that they were
indispensable as methods of discipline. But the child, people
answer, is still an animal, he must be brought up as an animal.
Those who talk in this way know nothing of children nor of
animals. Even animals can be trained without striking them, but
they can only be trained by men who have become men themselves.

Others come forward with the doctrine that terror and pain have
been the best means of educating mankind, so the child must
pursue the same road as humanity. This is an utter absurdity.
We should also, on this theory, teach our children, as a
natural introduction to religion, to practice fetish worship.
If the child is to reproduce all the lower development stages
of the race, he would be practically depressed beneath the
level which he has reached physiologically and psychologically
through the common inheritance of the race. If we have
abandoned torture and painful punishments for adults, while
they are retained for children, it is because we have not yet
seen that their soul life so far as a greater and more subtle
capacity for suffering is concerned has made the same progress
as that of adult mankind. The numerous cases of child suicide
in the last decade were often the result of fear of corporal
punishment; or have taken place after its administration. Both
soul and body are equally affected by this practice. Where this
is not the result, blows have even more dangerous consequences.
They tend to dull still further the feeling of shame, to
increase the brutality or cowardice of the person punished. I
once heard a child pointed out in a school as being so unruly
that it was generally agreed he would be benefited by a
flogging. Then it was discovered that his father's flogging at
home had made him what he was. If statistics were prepared of
ruined sons, those who had been flogged would certainly be more
numerous than those who had been pampered.

Society has gradually given up employing retributive
punishments because people have seen that they neither awaken
the feeling of guilt, nor act as a deterrent, but on the
contrary retribution applied by equal to equal brutalises the
ideas of right, hardens the temper, and stimulates the victim
to exercise the same violence towards others that has been
endured by himself. But other rules are applied to the
psychological processes of the child. When a child strikes his
small sister the mother strikes him and believes that he will
see and understand the difference between the blows he gets and
those he gives, that he will see that the one is a just
punishment and the other vicious conduct. But the child is a
sharp logician and feels that the action is just the same,
although the mother gives it a different name.

Corporal punishment was long ago admirably described by
Comenius, who compared an educator using this method with a
musician striking a badly tuned instrument with his fist,
instead of using his ears and his hands to put it into tune.

These brutal attacks work on the active sensitive feelings,
lacerating and confusing them. They have no educative power on
all the innumerable fine processes in the life of the child's
soul, on their obscurely related combinations.

In order to give real training, the first thing after the
second or third year is to abandon the very thought of a blow
among the possibilities of education. It is best if parents, as
soon as the child is born, agree never to strike him, for if
they once begin with this convenient and easy method, they
continue to use corporal discipline even contrary to their
first intention, because they have failed while using such
punishment to develop the child's intelligence.

If people do not see this it is no more use to speak to them of
education than it would be to talk to a cannibal about the
world's peace.

But as these savages in educational matters are often civilised
human beings in other respects, I should like to request them
to think over the development of marriage from the time when
man wooed with a club and when woman was regarded as the
soulless property of man, only to be kept in order by blows, a
view which continued to be held until modern times. Through a
thousand daily secret influences, our feelings and ideas have
been so transformed that these crude conceptions have
disappeared, to the great advantage of society and the
individual. But it may be hard to awaken a pedagogical savage
to the conviction that, in quite the same way, a thousand new
secret and mighty influences will change our crude methods of
education, when parents once come to see that parenthood must
go through the same transformation as marriage, before it
attains to a noble and complete development.

Only when men realise that whipping a child belongs to the same
low stage of civilisation as beating a woman, or a servant, or
as the corporal punishment of soldiers and criminals, will the
first real preparation begin of the material from which perhaps
later an educator may be formed.

Corporal punishment was natural in rough times. The body is
tangible; what affects it has an immediate and perceptible
result. The heat of passion is cooled by the blows it
administers; in a certain stage of development blows are the
natural expression of moral indignation, the direct method by
which the moral will impresses itself on beings of lower
capacities. But it has since been discovered that the soul may
be impressed by spiritual means, and that blows are just as
demoralising for the one who gives them as for the one who
receives them.

The educator, too, is apt to forget that the child in many
cases has as few moral conceptions as the animal or the savage.
To punish for this--is only a cruelty, and to punish by brutal
methods is a piece of stupidity. It works against the
possibility of elevating the child beyond the level of the
beast or the savage. The educator to whose mind flogging never
presents itself, even as an occasional resource, will naturally
direct his whole thought to finding psychological methods of
education. Administering corporal punishment demoralises and
stupefies the educator, for it increases his thoughtlessness,
not his patience, his brutality, not his intelligence.

A small boy friend of mine when four years old received his
first punishment of this kind; happily it was his only one. As
his nurse reminded him in the evening to say his prayers he
broke out, "Yes, to-night I really have something to tell God,"
and prayed with deep earnestness, "Dear God, tear mamma's arms
out so that she cannot beat me any more."

Nothing would more effectively further the development of
education than for all flogging pedagogues to meet this fate.
They would then learn to educate with the head instead of with
the hand. And as to public educators, the teachers, their
position could be no better raised than by legally forbidding a
blow to be administered in any school under penalty of final
loss of position.

That people who are in other respects intelligent and sensitive
continue to defend flogging, is due to the fact that most
educators have only a very elementary conception of their work.
They should constantly keep before them the feelings and
impressions of their own childhood in dealing with children.
The most frequent as well as the most dangerous of the numerous
mistakes made in handling children is that people do not
remember how they felt themselves at a similar age, that they
do not regard and comprehend the feelings of the child from
their own past point of view. The adult laughs or smiles in
remembering the punishments and other things which caused him
in his childhood anxious days or nights, which produced the
silent torture of the child's heart, infinite despondency,
burning indignation, lonely fears, outraged sense of justice,
the terrible creations of his imagination, his absurd shame,
his unsatisfied thirst for joy, freedom, and tenderness.
Lacking these beneficent memories, adults constantly repeat the
crime of destroying the childhood of the new generation,--the
only time in life in which the guardian of education can really
be a kindly providence. So strongly do I feel that the
unnecessary sufferings of children are unnatural as well as
ignoble that I experience physical disgust in touching the hand
of a human being that I know has struck a child; and I cannot
close my eyes after I have heard a child in the street
threatened with corporal punishment.

Blows call forth the virtues of slaves, not those of freemen.
As early as Walther von der Vogelweide, it was known that the
honourable man respects a word more than a blow. The exercise
of physical force delivers the weak and unprotected into the
hands of the strong. A child never believes in his heart,
though he may be brought to acknowledge verbally, that the
blows were due to love, that they were administered because
they were necessary. The child is too keen not to know that
such a "must" does not exist, and that love can express itself
in a better way.

Lack of self-discipline, of intelligence, of patience, of
personal effort--these are the corner-stones on which corporal
punishment rests. I do not now refer to the system of flogging
employed by miserable people year in and year out at home, or,
particularly in schools, that of beating children outrageously,
or to the limits of brutality. I do not mean even the less
brutal blows administered by undisciplined teachers and
parents, who avenge themselves in excesses of passion or
fatigue or disgust,--blows which are simply the active
expression of a tension of nerves, a detestable evidence of the
want of self-discipline and selfculture. Still less do I refer
to the cruelties committed by monsters, sexual perverts, whose
brutal tendencies are stimulated by their disciplinary power
and who use it to force their victims to silence, as certain
criminal trials have shown.

I am only speaking of conscientious, amiable parents and
teachers who, with pain to themselves, fulfil what they regard
as their duty to the child. These are accustomed to adduce the
good effects of corporal discipline as a proof that it cannot
be dispensed with. The child by being whipped is, they say, not
only made good but freed from his evil character, and shows by
his whole being that this quick and summary method of
punishment has done more than talks, and patience, and the
slowly working penalties of experience. Examples are adduced to
prove that only this kind of punishment breaks down obstinacy,
cures the habit of lying and the like. Those who adopt this
system do not perceive that they have only succeeded, through
this momentarily effective means, in repressing the external
expression of an evil will. They have not succeeded in
transforming the will itself. It requires constant vigilance,
daily self-discipline, to create an ever higher capacity for
the discovery of intelligent methods. The fault that is
repressed is certain to appear on every occasion when the child
dares to show it. The educator who finds in corporal punishment
a short way to get rid of trouble, leads the child a long way
round, if we have the only real development in view, namely
that which gradually strengthens the child's capacity for

I have never heard a child over three years old threatened with
corporal punishment without noticing that this wonderfully
moral method had an equally bad influence on parents and
children. The same can be said of milder kinds of folly,
coaxing children by external rewards. I have seen some children
coaxed to take baths and others compelled by threats. But in
neither case was their courage, or self-control, or strength of
will increased. Only when one is able to make the bath itself
attractive is that energy of will developed that gains a
victory over the feeling of fear or discomfort and produces a
real ethical impression, viz., that virtue is its own reward.
Wherever a child is deterred from a bad habit or fault by
corporal punishment, a real ethical result is not reached. The
child has only learnt to fear an unpleasant consequence, which
lacks real connection with the thing itself, a consequence it
well knows could have been absent. Such fear is as far removed
as heaven from the conviction that the good is better than the
bad. The child soon becomes convinced that the disagreeable
accompaniment is no necessary result of the action, that by
greater cleverness the punishment might have been avoided. Thus
the physical punishment increases deception not morality. In
the history of humanity the effect of the teaching about hell
and fear of hell illustrates the sort of morality produced in
children's souls by corporal punishment, that inferno of
childhood. Only with the greatest trouble, slowly and
unconsciously, is the conviction of the superiority of the good
established. The good comes to be seen as more productive of
happiness to the individual himself and his environment. So the
child learns to love the good. By teaching the child that
punishment is a consequence drawn upon oneself he learns to
avoid the cause of punishment.

Despite all the new talk of individuality the greatest mistake
in training children is still that of treating the "child" as
an abstract conception, as an inorganic or personal material to
be formed and transformed by the hands of those who are
educating him. He is beaten, and it is thought that the whole
effect of the blow stops at the moment when the child is
prevented from being bad. He has, it is thought, a powerful
reminder against future bad behaviour. People no not suspect
that this violent interference in the physical and psychical
life of the child may have lifelong effects. As far back as
forty years ago, a writer showed that corporal punishment had
the most powerful somatic stimulative effects. The flagellation
of the Middle Ages is known to have had such results; and if I
could publish what I have heard from adults as to the effect of
corporal punishment on them, or what I have observed in
children, this alone would be decisive in doing away with such
punishment in its crudest form. It very deeply influences the
personal modesty of the child. This should be preserved above
everything as the main factor in the development of the feeling
of purity. The father who punishes his daughter in this way
deserves to see her some day a "fallen woman." He injures her
instinctive feeling of the sanctity of her body, an instinct
which even in the case of a small child can be passionately
profound. Only when every infringement of sanctity (forcible
caressing is as bad as a blow) evokes an energetic, instinctive
repulsion, is the nature of the child proud and pure. Children
who strike back when they are punished have the most promising
characters of all.

Numerous are the cases in which bodily punishment can occasion
irremediable damage, not suspected by the person who
administers it, though he may triumphantly declare how the
punishment in the specific case has helped. Most adults feel
free to tell how a whipping has injured them in one way or
another, but when they take up the training of their own
children they depend on the effect of such chastisement.

What burning bitterness and desire for vengeance, what canine
fawning flattery, does not corporal punishment call forth. It
makes the lazy lazier, the obstinate more obstinate, the hard,
harder. It strengthens those two emotions, the root of almost
all evil in the world, hatred and fear. And as long as blows
are made synonymous with education, both of these emotions will
keep their mastery over men.

One of the most frequent occasions for recourse to this
punishment is obstinacy, but what is called obstinacy is only
fear or incapacity. The child repeats a false answer, is
threatened with blows, and again repeats it just because he is
afraid not to say the right thing. He is struck and then
answers rightly. This is a triumph of education; refractoriness
is overcome. But what has happened? Increased fear has led to a
strong effort of thought, to a momentary increase of
self-control. The next day the child will very likely repeat
the fault. Where there is real obstinacy on the part of
children, I know of cases when corporal punishment has filled
them with the lust to kill, either themselves or the person who
strikes them. On the other hand I know of others, where a
mother has brought an obstinate child to repentance and
self-mastery by holding him quietly and calmly on her knees.

How many untrue confessions have been forced by fear of blows;
how much daring passion for action, spirit of adventure, play
of fancy, and stimulus to discovery has been repressed by this
same fear. Even where blows do not cause lying, they always
hinder absolute straightforwardness and the down-right personal
courage to show oneself as one is. As long as the word "blow"
is used at all in a home, no perfect honour will be found in
children. So long as the home and the school use this method of
education, brutality will be developed in the child himself at
the cost of humanity. The child uses on animals, on his young
brothers and sisters, on his comrades, the methods applied to
himself. He puts in practice the same argument, that "badness"
must be cured with blows. Only children accustomed to be
treated mildly, learn to see that influence can be gained
without using force. To see this is one of man's privileges,
sacrificed by man through descending to the methods of the
brute. Only by the child seeing his teacher always and
everywhere abstaining from the use of actual force, will he
come himself to despise force on all those occasions which do
not involve the defence of a weaker person against physical
superiority. The foundation of the desire for war is to be
sought for less in the war games than in the teachers' rod.

To defend corporal discipline, children's own statements are
brought in evidence, they are reported as saying they knew they
deserved such discipline in order to be made good. There is no
lower example of hypocrisy in human nature than this. It is
true the child may be sincere in other cases in saying that he
feels that through punishment he has atoned for a fault which
was weighing upon his conscience. But this is really the
foundation of a false system of ethics, the kind which still
continues to be preached as Christian, namely; that a fault may
be atoned for by sufferings which are not directly connected
with the fault. The basis of the new morality is just the
opposite as I have already shown. It teaches that no fault can
be atoned for, that no one can escape the results of his
actions in any way.

Untruthfulness belongs to the faults which the teacher thinks
he must most frequently punish with blows. But there is no case
in which this method is more dangerous.

When the much-needed guide-book for parents is published, the
well-known story of George Washington and the hatchet must
appear in it, accompanied by the remark which a clever
ten-year-old child added to the anecdote: "It is no trouble
telling the truth when one has such a kind father."

I formerly divided untruthfulness into unwilling, shameless,
and imaginative lies. A short time ago I ran across a much
better division of lying; first "cold" lies, that is, fully
conscious untruthfulness which must be punished, and "hot"
lies; the expression of an excited temperament or of a vigorous
fancy. I agree with the author of this distinction that the
last should not be punished but corrected, though not with a
pedantic rule of thumb measure, based on how much it exceeds or
falls short of truth. It is to be cured by ridicule, a
dangerous method of education in general, but useful when one
observes that this type of untruthfulness threatens to develop
into real untrustworthiness. In dealing with these faults we
are very strict towards children, so strict that no lawyer, no
politician, no journalist, no poet, could exercise his
profession if the same standard were applied to them as to

The white lie is, as a French scientist has shown, partly
caused by pure morbidness, partly through some defect in the
conception. It is due to an empty space, a dead point in
memory, or in consciousness, that produces a defective idea or
gives one no idea at all of what has happened. In the affairs
of everyday life the adults are often mistaken as to their
intentions or acts. They may have forgotten about their
actions, and it requires a strong effort of memory to call them
back into their minds; or they suggest to themselves that they
have done, or not done, something. In all of these cases, if
they were forced to give a distinct answer, they would lie. In
every case of this kind, where a child is concerned, the lie is
assumed to be a conscious one, and when on being submitted to a
strict cross-examination, he hesitates, becomes confused, and
blushes, it is looked upon as a proof that he knows he has been
telling an untruth, although as a rule there has been no
instance of untruthfulness, except the finally extorted
confession from the child that he has lied. Yet in all these
complicated psychological problems, corporal punishment is
treated as a solution.

The child who never hears lying at home, who does not see
exaggerated weight placed on small, merely external things, who
is not made cowardly by fear, who hears conscious lies always
spoken of with contempt, will get out of the habit of
untruthfulness simply by psychological means. First he will
find that untruthfulness causes astonishment, and a repetition
of it, scorn and lack of confidence. But these methods should
not be applied to untruthfulness caused by distress or by
richness of imagination; or to such cases as originate from the
obscure mental ideas noted above, ideas whose connection with
one another the child cannot make clear to himself. The cold
untruth on the other hand, must be punished; first by going
over it with the child, then letting him experience its effect
in lack of confidence, which will only be restored when the
child shows decided improvement in this regard. It is of the
greatest importance to show children full and unlimited
confidence, even though one quietly maintains an attitude of
alert watchfulness; for continuous and undeserved mistrust is
just as demoralising as blind and easy confidence.

No one who has been beaten for lying learns by it to love
truth. The accuracy of this principle is illustrated by adults
who despise corporal punishment in their childhood yet continue
to tell untruths by word and deed. Fear may keep the child from
technical untruth, but fear also produces untrustworthiness.
Those who have been beaten in childhood for lying have often
suffered a serious injury immeasurably greater than the direct
lie. The truest men I ever knew lie voluntarily and
involuntarily; while others who might never be caught in a lie
are thoroughly false.

This corruption of personality begins frequently at the
tenderest age under the influence of early training. Children
are given untrue motives, half-true information; are
threatened, admonished. The child's will, thought, and feeling
are oppressed; against this treatment dishonesty is the
readiest method of defence. In this way educators who make
truth their highest aim, make children untruthful. I watched a
child who was severely punished for denying something he had
unconsciously done, and noted how under the influence of this
senseless punishment he developed extreme dissimulation.

Truthfulness requires above everything unbroken determination;
and many nervous little liars need nourishing food and life in
the open air, not blows. A great artist, one of the few who
live wholly according to the modern principles of life, said to
me on one occasion: "My son does not know what a lie is, nor
what a blow is. His step-brother, on the other hand, lied when
he came into our house; but lying did not work in the
atmosphere of calm and freedom. After a year the habit
disappeared by itself, only because it always met with deep

This makes me, in passing, note one of the other many mistakes
of education, viz., the infinite trouble taken in trying to do
away with a fault which disappears by itself. People take
infinite pains to teach small children to speak distinctly who,
if left to themselves, would learn it by themselves, provided
they were always spoken to distinctly. This same principle
holds good of numerous other things, in children's attitude and
behaviour, that can be left simply to a good example and to
time. One's influence should be used in impressing upon the
child habits for which a foundation must be laid at the very
beginning of his life.

There is another still more unfortunate mistake, the mistake of
correcting and judging by an external effect produced by the
act, by the scandal it occasions in the environment. Children
are struck for using oaths and improper words the meaning of
which they do not understand; or if they do understand, the
result of strictness is only that they go on keeping silence in
matters in which sincerity towards those who are bringing them
up is of the highest importance. The very thing the child is
allowed to do uncorrected at home, is not seldom corrected if
it happens away from home. So the child gets a false idea that
it is not the thing that deserves punishment, but its
publicity. When a mother is ashamed of the bad behaviour of her
son she is apt to strike him--instead of striking her own
breast! When an adventurous feat fails he is beaten, but he is
praised when successful. These practices produce
demoralisation. Once in a wood I saw two parents laughing while
the ice held on which their son was sliding; when it broke
suddenly they threatened to whip him. It required strong
self-control in order not to say to this pair that it was not
the son who deserved punishment but themselves.

On occasions like these, parents avenge their own fright on
their children. I saw a child become a coward because an
anxious mother struck him every time he fell down, while the
natural result inflicted on the child would have been more than
sufficient to increase his carefulness. When misfortune is
caused by disobedience, natural alarm is, as a rule, enough to
prevent a repetition of it. If it is not sufficient blows have
no restraining effect; they only embitter. The boy finds that
adults have forgotten their own period of childhood; he
withdraws himself secretly from this abuse of power, provided
strict treatment does not succeed in totally depressing the
level of the child's will and obstructing his energies.

This is certainly a danger, but the most serious effect of
corporal punishment is that it has established an unethical
morality as its result. Until the human being has learnt to see
that effort, striving, development of power, are their own
reward, life remains an unbeautiful affair. The debasing
effects of vanity and ambition, the small and great cruelties
produced by injustice, are all due to the idea that failure or
success sets the value to deeds and actions.

A complete revolution in this crude theory of value must come
about before the earth can become the scene of a happy but
considerate development of power on the part of free and fine
human beings. Every contest decided by examinations and prizes
is ultimately an immoral method of training. It awakens only
evil passions, envy and the impression of injustice on the one
side, arrogance on the other. After I had during the course of
twenty years fought these school examinations, I read with
thorough agreement a short time ago, Ruskin's views on the
subject. He believed that all competition was a false basis of
stimulus, and every distribution of prizes a false means. He
thought that the real sign of talent in a boy, auspicious for
his future career, was his desire to work for work's sake. He
declared that the real aim of instruction should be to show him
his own proper and special gifts, to strengthen them in him,
not to spur him on to an empty competition with those who were
plainly his superiors in capacity.

Moreover it ought not to be forgotten that success and failure
involve of themselves their own punishment and their own
reward, the one bitter, the other sweet enough to secure in a
natural way increased strength, care, prudence, and endurance.
It is completely unnecessary for the educator to use, besides
these, some special punishments or special rewards, and so
pervert the conceptions of the child that failure seems to him
to be a wrong, success on the other hand as the right.

No matter where one turns one's gaze, it is notorious that the
externally encouraging or awe-inspiring means of education, are
an obstacle to what are the chief human characteristics,
courage in oneself and goodness to others.

A people whose education is carried on by gentle means only (I
mean the people of Japan), have shown that manliness is not in
danger where children are not hardened by corporal punishment.
These gentle means are just as effective in calling forth
selfmastery and consideration. These virtues are so imprinted
on children, at the tenderest age, that one learns first in
Japan what attraction considerate kindliness bestows upon life.
In a country where blows are never seen, the first rule of
social intercourse is not to cause discomfort to others. It is
told that when a foreigner in Japan took up a stone to throw it
at a dog, the dog did not run. No one had ever thrown a stone
at him. Tenderness towards animals is the complement in that
country of tenderness in human relationship, a tenderness whose
result is observed, among other effects, in a relatively small
number of crimes against life and security.

War, hunting for pleasure, corporal discipline, are nothing
more than different expressions of the tiger nature still alive
in man. When the rod is thrown away, and when, as some one has
said, children are no longer boxed on their ears but are given
magnifying glasses and photographic cameras to increase their
capacity for life and for loving it, instead of learning to
destroy it, real education in humanity will begin.

For the benefit of those who are not convinced that corporal
punishment can be dispensed with in a manly education, by so
remote and so distant an example as Japan, I should like to
mention a fact closer to us. Our Germanic forefathers did not
have this method of education. It was introduced with
Christianity. Corporal discipline was turned into a religious
duty, and as late as the seventeenth century there were
intelligent men who flogged their children once a week as a
part of spiritual guardianship. I once asked our great poet,
Victor Rydberg, and he said that he had found no proof that
corporal punishment was usual among the Germans in heathen
times. I asked him whether he did not believe that the fact of
its absence had encouraged the energetic individualism and
manliness in the Northern peoples. He thought so, and agreed
with me. Finally, I might note from our own time, that there
are many families and schools, our girls' schools for example,
and also boys' schools in some countries, where corporal
punishment is never used. I know a family with twelve children
whose activity and capacity are not damaged by bringing them
under the rule of duty alone. Corporal punishment is never used
in this home; a determined but mild mother has taught the
children to obey voluntarily, and has known how to train their
wills to self-control.

By "voluntary obedience," I do not mean that the child is bound
to ask endless questions for reasons, and to dispute them
before he obeys. A good teacher never gives a command without
there being some good reason, but whether the child is
convinced or not, he must always obey, and if he asks "why" the
answer is very simple; every one, adults as well as children,
must obey the right and must submit to what cannot be avoided.
The great necessity in life must be imprinted in childhood.
This can be done without harsh means by training the child,
even previous to his birth, by cultivating one's self-control,
and after his birth by never giving in to a child's caprices.
The rule is, in a few cases, to work in opposition to the
action of the child, but in other cases work constructively; I
mean provide the child with material to construct his own
personality and then let him do this work of construction. This
is, in brief, the art of education. The worst of all
educational methods are threats. The only effective admonitions
are short and infrequent ones. The greatest skill in the
educator is to be silent for the moment and then so reprove the
fault, indirectly, that the child is brought to correct himself
or make himself the object of blame. This can be done by the
instructor telling something that causes the child to compare
his own conduct with the hateful or admirable types of
behaviour about which he hears information. Or the educator may
give an opinion which the child must take to himself although
it is not applied directly to him.

On many occasions a forceful display of indignation on the part
of the elder person is an excellent punishment, if the
indignation is reserved for the right moment. I know children
to whom nothing was more frightful than their father's scorn;
this was dreaded. Children who are deluged with directions and
religious devotions, who receive an ounce of morality in every
cup of joy, are most certain to be those who will revolt
against all this. Nearly every thinking person feels that the
deepest educational influences in his life have been indirect;
some good advice not given to him directly; a noble deed told
without any direct reference. But when people come themselves
to train others they forget all their own personal experience.

The strongest constructive factor in the education of a human
being is the settled, quiet order of home, its peace, and its
duty. Open-heartedness, industry, straightforwardness at home
develop goodness, desire to work, and simplicity in the child.
Examples of artistic work and books in the home, its customary
life on ordinary days and holidays, its occupations and its
pleasures, should give to the emotions and imagination of the
child, periods of movement and repose, a sure contour and a
rich colour. The pure, warm, clear atmosphere in which father,
mother, and children live together in freedom and confidence;
where none are kept isolated from the interests of the others;
but each possesses full freedom for his own personal interest;
where none trenches on the rights of others; where all are
willing to help one another when necessary,--in this atmosphere
egoism, as well as altruism, can attain their richest
development, and individuality find its just freedom. As the
evolution of man's soul advances to undreamed-of possibilities
of refinement, of capacity, of profundity; as the spiritual
life of the generation becomes more manifold in its
combinations and in its distinctions; the more time one has for
observing the wonderful and deep secrets of existence, behind
the visible, tangible, world of sense, the more will each new
generation of children show a more refined and a more
consistent mental life. It is impossible to attain this result
under the torture of the crude methods in our present home and
school training. We need new homes, new schools, new marriages,
new social relations, for those new souls who are to feel,
love, and suffer, in ways infinitely numerous that we now can
not even name. Thus they will come to understand life; they
will have aspirations and hopes; they will believe; they will
pray. The conceptions of religion, love, and art, all these
must be revolutionised so radically, that one now can only
surmise what new forms will be created in future generations.
This transformation can be helped by the training of the
present, by casting aside the withered foliage which now covers
the budding possibilities of life.

The house must once more become a home for the souls of
children, not for their bodies alone. For such homes to be
formed, that in their turn will mould children, the children
must be given back to the home. Instead of the study
preparation at home for the school taking up, as it now does,
the best part of a child's life, the school must get the
smaller part, the home the larger part. The home will have the
responsibility of so using the free time as well on ordinary
days as on holidays, that the children will really become a
part of the home both in their work and in their pleasures. The
children will be taken from the school, the street, the
factory, and restored to the home. The mother will be given
back from work outside, or from social life to the children.
Thus natural training in the spirit of Rousseau and Spencer
will be realised; a training for life, by life at home.

Such was the training of Old Scandanavia; the direct share of
the child in the work of the adult, in real labours and
dangers, gave to the life of our Scandanavian forefathers (with
whom the boy began to be a man at twelve years of age), unity,
character, and strength. Things specially made for children,
the anxious watching over all their undertakings, support given
to all their steps, courses of work and pleasure specially
prepared for children,--these are the fundamental defects of
our present day education. An eighteen-yearold girl said to me
a short time ago, that she and other girls of the same age were
so tired of the system of vigilance, protection, amusement, and
pampering at school and at home, that they were determined to
bring up their own children in hunger, corporal discipline, and

One can understand this unfortunate reaction against an
artificial environment, the environment in which children and
young people of the present grow up; an existence that evokes a
passionate desire for the realities of life, for individual
action at one's own risk and responsibility, instead of being,
as is now the case, at home and in the school, the object of
another's care.

What is required, above all, for the children of the present
day, is to be assigned again real home occupations, tasks they
must do conscientiously, habits of work arranged for week days
and holidays without oversight, in every case where the child
can help himself. Instead of the modern school child having a
mother and servants about him to get him ready for school and
to help him to remember things, he should have time every day
before school to arrange his room and brush his clothes, and
there should be no effort to make him remember what is
connected with the school. The home and the school should
combine together systematically to let the child suffer for the
results of his own negligence.

Just the reverse of this system rules to-day. Mothers learn
their children's lessons, invent plays for them, read their
story books to them, arrange their rooms after them, pick up
what they have let fall, put in order the things they have left
in confusion, and in this and in other ways, by protective
pampering and attention, their desire for work, their
endurance, the gifts of invention and imagination, qualities
proper to the child, become weak and passive. The home now is
only a preparation for school. In it, young people growing up,
are accustomed to receive services, without performing any on
their part. They are trained to be always receptive instead of
giving something in return. Then people are surprised at a
youthful generation, selfish and unrestrained, pressing forward
shamelessly on all occasions before their elders, crudely
unresponsive in respect of those attentions, which in earlier
generations were a beautiful custom among the young.

To restore this custom, all the means usually adopted now to
protect the child from physical and psychical dangers and
inconveniences, will have to be removed. Throw the thermometer
out of the window and begin with a sensible course of
toughening; teach the child to know and to bear natural pain.
Corporal punishment must be done away with not because it is
painful but because it is profoundly immoral and hopelessly
unsuitable. Repress the egoistic demands of the child when he
interferes with the work or rest of others; never let him
either by caresses or by nagging usurp the rights of grown
people; take care that the servants do not work against what
the parents are trying to insist on in this and in other

We must begin in doing for the child in certain ways a thousand
times more and in others a hundred thousand times less. A
beginning must be made in the tenderest age to establish the
child's feeling for nature. Let him live year in and year out
in the same country home; this is one of the most significant
and profound factors in training. It can be held to even where
it is now neglected. The same thing holds good of making a
choice library, commencing with the first years of life; so
that the child will have, at different periods of his life,
suitable books for each age; not as is now often the case, get
quite spoilt by the constant change of summer excursions, by
worthless children's books, and costly toys. They should never
have any but the simplest books; the so-called classical ones.
They should be amply provided with means of preparing their own
playthings. The worst feature of our system are the playthings
which imitate the luxury of grown people. By such objects the
covetous impulse of the child for acquisition is increased, his
own capacity for discovery and imagination limited, or rather,
it would be limited if children with the sound instinct of
preservation, did not happily smash the perfect playthings,
which give them no creative opportunity, and themselves make
new playthings from fir cones, acorns, thorns, and fragments of
pottery, and all other sorts of rubbish which can be
transformed into objects of great price by the power of the

To play with children in the right way is also a great art. It
should never be done if children do not themselves know what
they are going to do; it should always be a special treat for
them as well as their elders. But the adults must always on
such occasions, leave behind every kind of educational idea and
go completely into the child's world of thought and
imagination. No attempt should be made to teach them at these
times anything else but the old satisfactory games. The
experiences derived from these games about the nature of the
children, who are stimulated in one direction or another by the
game, must be kept for later use.

Games in this way increase confidence between children and
adults. They learn to know their elders better. But to allow
children to turn all the rooms into places to play in, and to
demand constantly that their elders shall interest themselves
in them, is one of the most dangerous species of pampering
common to the present day. The children become accustomed to
selfishness and mental dependence. Besides this constant
educational effort brings with it the dulling of the child's
personality. If children were free in their own world, the
nursery, but out of it had to submit to the strict limits
imposed by the habits, wills, work, and repose of parents,
their requirements and their wishes, they would develop into a
stronger and more considerate race than the youth of the
present day. It is not so much talking about being considerate,
but the necessity of considering others, of really helping
oneself and others, that has an educational value. In earlier
days, children were quiet as mice in the presence of elder
persons. Instead of, as they do now, breaking into a guest's
conversation, they learned to listen. If the conversation of
adults is varied, this can be called one of the best
educational methods for children. The ordinary life of
children, under the old system, was lived in the nursery where
they received their most important training from an old
faithful servant and from one another. From their parents they
received corporal punishment, sometimes a caress. In comparison
with this system, the present way of parents and children
living together would be absolute progress, if parents could
but abstain from explaining, advising, improving, influencing
every thought and every expression. But all spiritual, mental,
and bodily protective rules make the child now indirectly
selfish, because everything centres about him and therefore he
is kept in a constant state of irritation. The six-yearold can
disturb the conversation of the adult, but the twelve-year-old
is sent to bed about eight o'clock, even when he, with wide
open eyes, longs for a conversation that might be to him an
inspiring stimulus for life.

Certainly some simple habits so far as conduct and order,
nourishment and sleep, air and water, clothing and bodily
movement, are concerned, can be made the foundations for the
child's conceptions of morality. He cannot be made to learn
soon enough that bodily health and beauty must be regarded as
high ethical characteristics, and that what is injurious to
health and beauty must be regarded as a hateful act. In this
sphere, children must be kept entirely independent of custom by
allowing the exception to every rule to have its valid place.
The present anxious solicitude that children should eat when
the clock strikes, that they get certain food at fixed meals,
that they be clothed according to the degree of temperature,
that they go to bed when the clock strikes, that they be
protected from every drop of unboiled water and every extra
piece of candy, this makes them nervous, irritable slaves of
habit. A reasonable toughening process against the
inequalities, discomforts, and chances of life, constitutes one
of the most important bases of joy of living and of strength of
temper. In this case too, the behaviour of the person who gives
the training, is the best means of teaching children to smile
at small contretemps, things which would throw a cloud over the
sun, if one got into the habit of treating them as if they were
of great importance. If the child sees the parent doing readily
an unpleasant duty, which he honestly recognises as unpleasant;
if he sees a parent endure trouble or an unexpected difficulty
easily, he will be in honour bound to do the like. Just as
children without many words learn to practice good deeds when
they see good deeds practiced about them; learn to enjoy the
beauty of nature and art when they see that adults enjoy them,
so by living more beautifully, more nobly, more moderately, we
speak best to children. They are just as receptive to
impressions of this kind as they are careless of those made by

Since this is my alpha and omega in the art of education, I
repeat now what I said at the beginning of this book and half
way through it. Try to leave the child in peace; interfere
directly as seldom as possible; keep away all crude and impure
impressions; but give all your care and energy to see that
personality, life itself, reality in its simplicity and in its
nakedness, shall all be means of training the child.

Make demands on the powers of children and on their capacity
for self-control, proportionate to the special stage of their
development, neither greater nor lesser demands than on adults.
But respect the joys of the child, his tastes, work, and time,
just as you would those of an adult. Education will thus become
an infinitely simple and infinitely harder art, than the
education of the present day, with its artificialised
existence, its double entry morality, one morality for the
child, and one for the adult, often strict for the child and
lax for the adult and vice versa. By treating the child every
moment as one does an adult human being we free education from
that brutal arbitrariness, from those over-indulgent protective
rules, which have transformed him. Whether parents act as if
children existed for their benefit alone, or whether the
parents give up their whole lives to their children, the result
is alike deplorable. As a rule both classes know equally little
of the feelings and needs of their children. The one class are
happy when the children are like themselves, and their highest
ambition is to produce in their children a successful copy of
their own thoughts, opinions, and ideals. Really it ought to
pain them very much to see themselves so exactly copied. What
life expected from them and required from them was just the
opposite--a richer combination, a better creation, a new type,
not a reproduction of that which is already exhausted. The
other class strive to model their chilrden not according to
themselves but according to their ideal of goodness. They show
their love by their willingness to extinguish their own
personalities for their children's sake. This they do by
letting the children feel that everything which concerns them
stands in the foreground. This should be so, but only

The concerns of the whole scheme of life, the ordering of the
home, its habits, intercourse, purposes, care for the needs of
children, and their sound development, must stand in the
foreground. But at present, in most cases, children of tender
years, as well as those who are older, are sacrificed to the
chaotic condition of the home. They learn self-will without
possessing real freedom, they live under a discipline which is
spasmodic in its application.

When one daughter after another leaves home in order to make
herself independent they are often driven to do it by want of
freedom, or by the lack of character in family life. In both
directions the girl sees herself forced to become something
different, to hold different opinions, to think different
thoughts, to act contrary to the dictates of her own being. A
mother happy in the friendship of her own daughter, said not
long ago that she desired to erect an asylum for tormented
daughters. Such an asylum would be as necessary as a protection
against pampering parents as against those who are overbearing.
Both alike, torture their children though in different ways, by
not understanding the child's right to have his own point of
view, his own ideal of happiness, his own proper tastes and
occupation. They do not see that children exist as little for
their parent's sake as parents do for their children's sake.
Family life would have an intelligent character if each one
lived fully and entirely his own life and allowed the others to
do the same. None should tyrannise over, nor should suffer
tyranny from, the other. Parents who give their home this
character can justly demand that children shall accommodate
themselves to the habits of the household as long as they live
in it. Children on their part can ask that their own life of
thought and feeling shall be left in peace at home, or that
they be treated with the same consideration that would be given
to a stranger. When the parents do not meet these conditions
they themselves are the greater sufferers. It is very easy to
keep one's son from expressing his raw views, very easy to tear
a daughter away from her book and to bring her to a tea-party
by giving her unnecessary occupations; very easy by a scornful
word to repress some powerful emotion. A thousand similar
things occur every day in good families through the whole
world. But whenever we hear of young people speaking of their
intellectual homelessness and sadness, we begin to understand
why father and mother remain behind in homes from which the
daughters have hastened to depart; why children take their
cares, joys, and thoughts to strangers; why, in a word, the old
and the young generation are as mutually dependent as the roots
and flowers of plants, so often separate with mutual repulsion.

This is as true of highly cultivated fathers and mothers as of
simple bourgeois or peasant parents. Perhaps, indeed, it may be
truer of the first class, the latter torment their children in
a naive way, while the former are infinitely wise and
methodical in their stupidity. Rarely is a mother of the upper
class one of those artists of home life who through the
blitheness, the goodness, and joyousness of her character,
makes the rhythm of everyday life a dance, and holidays into
festivals. Such artists are often simple women who have passed
no examinations, founded no clubs, and written no books. The
highly cultivated mothers and the socially useful mothers on
the other hand are not seldom those who call forth criticism
from their sons. It seems almost an invariable rule that
mothers should make mistakes when they wish to act for the
welfare of their sons. "How infinitely valuable," say their
children, "would I have found a mother who could have kept
quiet, who would have been patient with me, who would have
given me rest, keeping the outer world at a distance from me,
with kindly soothing hands. Oh, would that I had had a mother
on whose breast I could have laid my head, to be quiet and

A distinguished woman writer is surprised that all of her
well-thought-out plans for her children fail--those children in
whom she saw the material for her passion for governing, the
clay that she desired to mould.

The writer just cited says very justly that maternal
unselfishness alone can perform the task of protecting a young
being with wisdom and kindliness, by allowing him to grow
according to his own laws. The unselfish mother, she says, will
joyfully give the best of her life energy, powers of soul and
spirit to a growing being and then open all doors to him,
leaving him in the broad world to follow his own paths, and ask
for nothing, neither thanks, nor praise, nor remembrance. But
to most mothers may be applied the bitter exclamation of a son
in the book just mentioned, "even a mother must know how she
tortures another; if she has not this capacity by nature, why
in the world should I recognise her as my mother at all."

Certain mothers spend the whole day in keeping their children's
nervous system in a state of irritation. They make work hard
and play joyless, whenever they take a part in it. At the
present time, too, the school gets control of the child, the
home loses all the means by which formerly it moulded the
child's soul life and ennobled family life. The school, not
father and mother, teaches children to play, the school gives
them manual training, the school teaches them to sing, to look
at pictures, to read aloud, to wander about out of doors;
schools, clubs, sport and other pleasures accustom youth in the
cities more and more to outside life, and a daily recreation
that kills the true feeling for holiday. Young people, often,
have no other impression of home than that it is a place where
they meet society which bores them.

Parents surrender their children to schools in those years in
which they should influence their minds. When the school gives
them back they do not know how to make a fresh start with the
children, for they themselves have ceased to be young.

But getting old is no necessity; it is only a bad habit. It is
very interesting to observe a face that is getting old. What
time makes out of a face shows better than anything else what
the man has made out of time. Most men in the early period of
middle age are neither intellectually fat nor lean, they are
hardened or dried up. Naturally young people look upon them
with unsympathetic eyes, for they feel that there is such a
thing as eternal youth, which a soul can win as a prize for its
whole work of inner development. But they look in vain for this
second eternal youth in their elders, filled with worldly
nothingnesses and things of temporary importance.

With a sigh they exclude the "old people" from their future
plans and they go out in the world in order to choose their
spiritual parents.

This is tragic but just, for if there is a field on which man
must sow a hundred-fold in order to harvest tenfold it is the
souls of children.

When I began at five years of age to make a rag doll, that by
its weight and size really gave the illusion of reality and
bestowed much joy on its young mother, I began to think about
the education of my future children. Then as now my educational
ideal was that the children should be happy, that they should
not fear. Fear is the misfortune of childhood, and the
sufferings of the child come from the half-realised opposition
between his unlimited possibilities of happiness and the way in
which these possibilities are actually handled. It may be said
that life, at every stage, is cruel in its treatment of our
possibilities of happiness. But the difference between the
sufferings of the adult from existence, and the sufferings of
the child caused by adults, is tremendous. The child is
unwilling to resign himself to the sufferings imposed upon him
by adults and the more impatient the child is against
unnecessary suffering, the better; for so much the more
certainly will he some day be driven to find means to transform
for himself and for others the hard necessities of life.

A poet, Rydberg, in our country who had the deepest intuition
into child's nature, and therefore had the deepest reverence
for it, wrote as follows: "Where we behold children we suspect
there are princes, but as to the kings, where are they?" Not
only life's tragic elements diminish and dam up its vital
energies. Equally destructive is a parent's want of reverence
for the sources of life which meet them in a new being. Fathers
and mothers must bow their heads in the dust before the exalted
nature of the child. Until they see that the word "child" is
only another expression for the conception of majesty; until
they feel that it is the future which in the form of a child
sleeps in their arms, and history which plays at their feet,
they will not understand that they have as little power or
right to prescribe laws for this new being as they possess the
power or might to lay down paths for the stars.

The mother should feel the same reverence for the unknown
worlds in the wide-open eyes of her child, that she has for the
worlds which like white blossoms are sprinkled over the blue
orb of heaven; the father should see in his child the king's
son whom he must serve humbly with his own best powers, and
then the child will come to his own; not to the right of asking
others to become the plaything of his caprices but to the right
of living his full strong personal child's life along with a
father and a mother who themselves live a personal life, a life
from whose sources and powers the child can take the elements
he needs for his own individual growth. Parents should never
expect their own highest ideals to become the ideals of their
child. The free-thinking sons of pious parents and the
Christian children of freethinkers have become almost

But parents can live nobly and in entire accordance to their
own ideals which is the same thing as making children
idealists. This can often lead to a quite different system of
thought from that pursued by the parent.

As to ideals, the elders should here as elsewhere, offer with
timidity their advice and their experience. Yes they should try
to let the young people search for it as if they were seeking
fruit hidden under the shadow of leaves. If their counsel is
rejected, they must show neither surprise nor lack of

The query of a humourist, why he should do anything for
posterity since posterity had done nothing for him, set me to
thinking in my early youth in the most serious way. I felt that
posterity had done much for its forefathers. It had given them
an infinite horizon for the future beyond the bounds of their
daily effort. We must in the child see the new fate of the
human race; we must carefully treat the fine threads in the
child's soul because these are the threads that one day will
form the woof of world events. We must realise that every
pebble by which one breaks into the glassy depths of the
child's soul will extend its influence through centuries and
centuries in ever widening circles. Through our fathers,
without our will and without choice, we are given a destiny
which controls the deepest foundation of our own being. Through
our posterity, which we ourselves create, we can in a certain
measure, as free beings, determine the future destiny of the
human race.

By a realisation of all this in an entirely new way, by seeing
the whole process in the light of the religion of development,
the twentieth century will be the century of the child. This
will come about in two ways. Adults will first come to an
understanding of the child's character and then the simplicity
of the child's character will be kept by adults. So the old
social order will be able to renew itself.

Psychological pedagogy has an exalted ancestry. I will not go
back to those artists in education called Socrates and Jesus,
but I commence with the modern world. In the hours of its
sunrise, in which we, who look back, think we see a futile
Renaissance, then as now the spring flowers came up amid the
decaying foliage. At this period there came a demand for the
remodelling of education through the great figure of modern
times, Montaigne, that skeptic who had so deep a reverence for
realities. In his Essays, in his Letters to the Countess of
Gurson, are found all of the elements for the education of the
future. About the great German and Swiss specialists in
pedagogy and psychology, Comenius, Basedow, Pestalozzi,
Salzmann, Froebel, Herbart, I do not need to speak. I will only
mention that the greatest men of Germany, Lessing, Herder,
Goethe, Kant and others, took the side of natural training. In
regard to England it is well known that John Locke in his
Thoughts on Education, was a worthy predecessor of Herbert
Spencer, whose book on education in its intellectual, moral,
and physical relations, was the most noteworthy book on
education in the last century.

It has been noted that Spencer in educational theory is
indebted to Rousseau; and that in many cases, he has only said
what the great German authorities, whom he certainly did not
know, said before him. But this does not diminish Spencer's
merit in the least. Absolutely new thoughts are very rare.
Truths which were once new must be constantly renewed by being
pronounced again from the depth of the ardent personal
conviction of a new human being.

That rational thoughts on the subject of pedagogy as on other
subjects, are constantly expressed and re-expressed, shows
among other things that reasonable, or practically untried
education has certain principles which are as axiomatic as
those of mathematics. Every reasonable thinking man must as
certainly discover anew these pedagogical principles, as he
must discover anew the relation between the angles of a
triangle. Spencer's book it is true has not laid again the
foundation of education. It can rather be called the crown of
the edifice founded by Montaigne, Locke, Rousseau, and the
great German specialists in pedagogy. What is an absolutely
novel factor in our times is the study of the psychology of the
child, and the system of education that has developed from it.

In England, through the scientist Darwin, this new study of the
psychology of the child was inaugurated. In Germany, Preyer
contributed to its extension. He has done so partly by a
comprehensive study of children's language, partly by
collecting recollections of childhood on the part of the adult.
Finally he experimented directly on the child, investigating
his physical and psychical fatigue and endurance, acuteness of
sensation, power, speed, and exactness in carrying out physical
and mental tasks. He has studied his capacity of attention in
emotions and in ideas at different periods of life. He has
studied the speech of children, association of ideas in
children, etc. During the study of the psychology of the child,
scholars began to substitute for this term the expression
"genetic psychology." For it was found that the big-genetic
principle was valid for the development both of the psychic and
the physical life. This principle means that the history of the
species is repeated in the history of the individual; a truth
substantiated in other spheres; in philology for example. The
psychology of the child is of the same significance for general
psychology as embryology is for anatomy. On the other hand, the
description of savage peoples, of peoples in a natural
condition, such as we find in Spencer's Descriptive Sociology
or Weitz's Anthropology is extremely instructive for a right
conception of the psychology of the child.

It is in this kind of psychological investigation that the
greatest progress has been made in this century. In the great
publication, Zeitschrift fur psychologie, etc., there began in
1894 a special department for the psychology of children and
the psychology of education. In 1898, there were as many as one
hundred and six essays devoted to this subject, and they are
constantly increasing.

In the chief civilised countries this investigation has many
distinguished pioneers, such as Prof. Wundt, Prof. T. H. Ribot,
and others. In Germany this subject has its most important
organ in the journal mentioned above. It numbers among its
collaborators some of the most distinguished German
physiologists and psychologists. As related to the same subject
must be mentioned Wundt's Philosophischen Studien, and partly
the Vierteljahrschrift fur Wissenschaftlichie Philosophie. In
France, there was founded in 1894, the Annee Psychologique,
edited by Binet and Beaunis, and also the Bibliotheque de
Pedagogie et de Psychologie, edited by Binet. In England there
are the journals, Mind and Brain.

Special laboratories for experimental psychology with
psychological apparatus and methods of research are found in
many places. In Germany the first to be founded was that of
Wundt in the year 1878 at Leipzig. France has a laboratory for
experimental psychology at Paris, in the Sorbonne, whose
director is Binet; Italy, one in Rome. In America experimental
psychology is zealously pursued. As early as 1894, there were
in that country twenty-seven laboratories for experimental
psychology and four journals. There should also be mentioned
the societies for child psychology. Recently one has been
founded in Germany, others before this time have been at work
in England and America.

A whole series of investigations carried out in Kraepelin's
laboratory in Heidelberg are of the greatest value for
determining what the brain can do in the way of work and

An English specialist has maintained that the future, thanks to
the modern school system, will be able to get along without
originally creative men, because the receptive activities of
modern man will absorb the cooperative powers of the brain to
the disadvantage of the productive powers. And even if this
were not a universally valid statement but only expressed a
physiological certainty, people will some day perhaps cease
filing down man's brain by that sandpapering process called a
school curriculum.

A champion of the transformation of pedagogy into a
psycho-physiological science is to be found in Sweden in the
person of Prof. Hjalmar Oehrwal who has discussed in his essays
native and foreign discoveries in the field of psychology. One
of his conclusions is that the so-called technical exercises,
gymnastics, manual training, sloyd, and the like, are not, as
they are erroneously called, a relaxation from mental
overstrain by change in work, but simply a new form of brain
fatigue. All work, he finds, done under conditions of fatigue
is uneconomic whether one regards the quantity produced or its
value as an exercise. Rest should be nothing more than
rest,--freedom to do only what one wants to, or to do nothing
at all. As to fear, he proves, following Binet's investigation
in this subject, how corporal discipline, threats, and ridicule
lead to cowardice; how all of these methods are to be rejected
because they are depressing and tend to a diminution of energy.
He shows, moreover, how fear can be overcome progressively, by
strengthening the nervous system and in that way strengthening
the character. This result comes about partly when all
unnecessary terrorising is avoided, partly when children are
accustomed to bear calmly and quietly the inevitable
unpleasantnesses of danger.

Prof. Axel Key's investigations on school children have won
international recognition. In Sweden they have supplied the
most significant material up to the present time for
determining the influence of studies on physical development
and the results of intellectual overstrain.

It is to be hoped that when through empirical investigation we
begin to get acquainted with the real nature of children, the
school and the home will be freed from absurd notions about the
character and needs of the child, those absurd notions which
now cause painful cases of physical and psychical maltreatment,
still called by conscientious and thinking human beings in
schools and in homes, education.

By Helen Key

The Century of the Child

Cr. 8vo. With Frontispiece. Net, $1.50

CONTENTS: The Right of the Child to Choose His Parents, The
Unborn Race and Woman's Work, Education, Homelessness, Soul
Murder in the Schools, The School of the Future, Religious
Instruction, Child Labor and the Crimes of Children. This book
has gone through more than twenty German Editions and has been
published in several European countries.
"A powerful book."--N. Y. Times.

The Education of the Child

Reprinted from the Authorized American Edition of "The Century
of the Child," With Introductory Note by EDWARD BOK.

Cr. 8vo. Net 75 cents

"Nothing finer on the wise education of the child has ever been
brought into print. To me this chapter is a perfect classic; it
points the way straight for every parent, and it should find a
place in every home in America where there is a child."--EDWARD
BOK, Editor of the Ladies' Home Journal.

Love and Marriage Cr. 8vo

Ellen Key is gradually taking a hold upon the reading public of
this country commensurate with the enlightenment of her views.
In Europe and particularly in her own native Sweden her name
holds an honored place as a representative of progressive

New York G. P. Putnam's Sons London

Clever, original, and fascinating The Lost Art of Reading Mount
Tom Edition New Edition in Two Volumes

I. The Child and the Book

A Manual for Parents and for Teachers in Schools and Colleges

II. The Lost Art of Reading or, The Man and The Book

Two Volumes, Crown 8vo. Sold separately. Each net, $1,50

By Gerald Stanley Lee

"I must express with your connivance the joy I have had, the
enthusiasm I have felt, in gloating over every page of what I
believe is the most brilliant book of any season since
Carlyle's and Emerson's pens were laid aside. The title does
not hint at any more than a fraction of the contents. It is a
highly original critique of philistinism and gradgrindism in
education, library science, science in general, and life in
general. It is full of humor, rich in style, and eccentric in
form and all suffused with the perfervid genius of a man who is
not merely a thinker but a force. Every sentence is tinglingly
alive, and as if furnished with long antennae of
suggestiveness. I do not know who Mr. Lee is, but I know this
--that if he goes on as he has been, we need no longer whine
that we have no worthy successors to the old Brahminical
writers of New England.

"I have been reading with wonder and laughter and with loud
cheers. It is the word of all words that needed to be spoken
just now. It makes me believe that after all we have n't a
great kindergarten about us in authorship, but that there is
virtue, race, sap in us yet. I can conceive that the date of
the publication of this book may well be the date of the moral
and intellectual renaissance for which we have long been
scanning the horizon."--WM. SLOANE KENNEDY in Boston Transcript.

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