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