Charlotte Mason in Modern English

Charlotte Mason's ideas are too important not to be understood and implemented in the 21st century, but her Victorian style of writing sometimes prevents parents from attempting to read her books. This is an imperfect attempt to make Charlotte's words accessible to modern parents. You may read these, print them out, share them with your local study group--but they are copyrighted to me, so please don't post or publish them without asking.
~L. N. Laurio

Formation of Character, Volume 5 of the Charlotte Mason Series

Table of Contents
     Part I Some Examples of How to Treat Problems
           1. A Philosopher Tests His Theory at Home . . . pg. 3
           2. Flighty Katie . . . pg. 24
           3. Under A Cloud . . . pg. 33
           4. Dorothy Elmore's Achievement (in 5 chapters) . . . pg. 41
           5. Consequences . . . pg. 68
           6. Mrs. Smedley's Story . . . pg. 77
           7. Ability . . . pg. 89
           8. Poor Mrs. Jumeau! . . . pg. 98
           9. 'A Merry Christmas To You!' . . . pg. 109
     Part II Parents In Council
           1. What A Salvage! . . . pg. 121
           2. Where Shall We Go This Year? . . . pg. 131
           3. The A-B-C-D'arians . . . pg. 136
           4. "Die Neus Zeit Bedarf Der Neuen Schule" (A Teacher's Reflections) . . . pg. 144
           5. A Hundred Years Later (At The Cloughs' Dinner-Table, Sept. 10, 1990) . . . . . . . . . pg. 158
     Part III Concerning Young Men and Women
           1. Concerning Boys and Girls of School Age . . . pg. 176
           2. Concerning Young Ladies Still Living at Home . . . pg. 236
     Part IV 'It Is Written' - Some Studies in How Character Evolves (examples taken from Literature)
           1. Jorn Uhl and Thomas Carlyle: Two Peasant Boys . . . pg. 273
           2. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: A Genius At 'School' . . . pg. 299
           3. William Makepeace Thackeray: Pendennis Of Boniface . . . pg. 364
           4. George Meredith [The Egoist]: 'Young Crossjay' . . . pg. 388
           5. 'I'm Better Than Others' . . . pg. 401
           6. A Modern Educator: Thomas Godolphin Rooper . . . pg. 419
     Appendix: A Few Books Dealing With Education . . . pg. 431


vol 5 paraphrase: preface

Preface to the 'Home Education' Series

The future of education both in England and overseas is vague and depressing. We hear various urgent pleas--science should be the focus of education, we need to reform the way we teach foreign language or math, we should incorporate more crafts and nature study to train the eye and hand, students need to learn how to write English and must therefore be familiar with history and literature. And on the other hand, we're being pressured to make education more vocational and utilitarian. But there's no coherent principle, no real aim. There's no philosophy of education. A stream can't rise any higher than the lake it flows from. In the same way, no educational work can rise above the thought and purpose behind it. Maybe this is the reason for all the failures and disappointments of our educational system.

Those of us who have spent many years researching the gentle, elusive vision of education have come to understand that various approaches have a law behind them, but we haven't yet discovered what it is. We can make out a dim outline of it, but that's it. We know that it's all-encompassing. There's no part of a child's home life or school work that isn't affected by that law. It's illuminating. It shows the value (or worthlessness) of all the thousands of various educational systems and programs. It isn't just a light, it's also a measure. It sets the standard by which to measure all educational work, whether small or great. That law is impartial and gracious. It will embrace anything that's true, honest, and respected. It sets no limits or obstacles, except where too much would be harmful. And the educational path that the law reveals is continuous and always advancing forward. There is no magical transition stage; progress is steady from birth to old age, except that whatever habits are learned in youth will determine what choices are made even in adulthood. When we finally see the law for what it is, we'll find that certain German thinkers--Kant, Herbart, Lotze, Froebel--were right when they said that it's necessary to believe in God, so the most important thing to learn is knowledge of God. That should be the priority of education. There's one more way that we'll be able to recognize this perfect law that gives educational freedom when we see it. It's been said that, 'The best thing about absolute truth is that it works under every condition we can think of.' And that will be true of this law. No matter what experimental test or logical investigation we give it, it will pass.

We still haven't seen an outline or summary of this law. So, until we have something definite, we'll have to fall back on Froebel or Herbart, or, if we adhere to a different school of thought, Locke or Spencer. But we aren't content. We feel dissatisfied. Is it a divine discontent? If we found a workable, effective philosophy of education, we'd welcome it as deliverance from our perplexity. Before we find this great deliverance, there will probably be lots of tentative attempts. They'll all have the characters of a philosophy, more or less. Specifically, they'll have a central idea, a basic concept with various details working in harmony with it. This workable, effective theory of education could be called a system of psychology. It would have to work well with the accepted ideas of the time. It wouldn't think of education as an isolated, shut-off compartment, but as a natural part of life, like birth, growing, marriage, or work. It would create a bond between the student and the great wide world, connected at many different points where interest was sparked. I know that some educational experts want to create that connection in many subjects, but their attempts are too random. They give a saying here, an idea there, but there's no common foundation to unify and support education as a complete unit.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I don't want to seem presumptuous. I hope that there will be lots of ideas submitted towards a working philosophy of education, and that each one will bring us one step closer to discovering the best possible education. In that spirit, I offer my idea. The central foundational thought of my idea will sound rather obvious: the child is a whole, complete person with all the possibilities and capabilities already included in his personality. Some of the implications of this idea have been exploited by educational experts, and fragments of this idea are already pretty commonly accepted by common sense. For instance, take the aspect that education is the science of making relationships. That concept seems to solve the curriculum question. It shows that the main purpose of education is putting the child in living touch with as much of nature and thoughts as possible. If you add a couple of skills that help the child self-educate, then the student will go into the world after graduation with some ability to manage and control himself, a few hobbies to enrich his leisure time, and an interest in lots of things. I have two reasons for even attempting to offer my educational idea, even if my idea is tentative and will probably be replaced by an even better idea. For the last 30-40 years, I've worked unceasingly to come up with a philosophical educational theory that works practically. Also, each of the following educational principles is something that came about by inductive processes, and has been proved with long and varied experiments. I hesitate to share my findings because I know that, in the field of education, there are many workers more capable and more knowledgeable than I am. Even they aren't bold enough to offer answers because the footing is so precarious! They are like the 'angels who fear to tread.'

But, if only to encourage their effort, I offer an amended version of a synopsis I included in the other volumes of my 'Home Education Series.' My approach isn't methodic. It's more incidental--here a little, there a little. That seemed like the best way to make it practical for parents and teachers. I should add that the various essays in this book were originally written for the Parents' National Educational Union (PNEU) to provide the society with a unified theory.

'As soon as the soul spots truth, the soul recognizes it as her first and oldest friend.'
'The repercussions of truth are great. Therefore we must not neglect to correctly judge what's true, and what's not.'
-- Benjamin Whichcote

Whichcote meant that the end result of truth is so great, that we must be careful to make sure that what we live by is, indeed, the truth.

1. Children are born persons--they are not blank slates or embryonic oysters who have the potential of becoming persons. They already are persons.

2. Although children are born with a sin nature, they are neither all bad, nor all good. Children from all walks of life and backgrounds may make choices for good or evil.

3. The concepts of authority and obedience are true for all people whether they accept it or not. Submission to authority is necessary for any society or group or family to run smoothly.

4. Authority is not a license to abuse children, or to play upon their emotions or other desires, and adults are not free to limit a child's education or use fear, love, power of suggestion, or their own influence over a child to make a child learn.

5. The only three means a teacher may use to educate children are the child's natural environment, the training of good habits and exposure to living ideas and concepts. This is what CM's motto 'Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life' means.

6. 'Education is an atmosphere' doesn't mean that we should create an artificial environment for children, but that we use the opportunities in the environment he already lives in to educate him. Children learn from real things in the real world.

7. 'Education is a discipline' means that we train a child to have good habits and self-control, both in actions and in thought.

8. 'Education is a life' means that education should apply to body, soul and spirit. The mind needs ideas of all kinds, so the child's curriculum should be varied and generous with many subjects included.

9. The child's mind is not a bucket to be filled with facts that bunch up into thought-groups, as Herbart said.

10. The child's mind is also not a bag for holding knowledge. It is a living thing and needs knowledge to grow. As the stomach was designed to digest food, the mind is designed to digest knowledge and needs no special training or exercises to make it ready to learn.

11. This is not just splitting hairs; Herbart's philosophy that the mind is like an empty stage waiting for bits of information to be inserted puts too much responsibility on the teacher to prepare detailed lessons. Students taught this way have lots of knowledge taught at them, without getting much out of it.

12. Instead, we believe that children's minds are capable of digesting real knowledge, so we provide a rich, generous curriculum that exposes children to many interesting, living ideas and concepts. From this principle, we can deduce that--

13. 'Education is the science of relations,' which means that children have minds capable of making their own connections with knowledge and experiences, so we make sure the child learns about nature, science and art, knows how to make things, reads many living books and that they are physically fit. Our job isn't to teach everything about everything, but to inspire interests that will help children make connections with the world around them.

14. Children have two guides to help them in their moral and intellectual growth--'the way of the will,' and 'the way of reason.'

15. Children must learn the difference between 'I want' and 'I will.' They must learn to distract their thoughts when tempted to do what they may want but know is not right, and think of something else, or do something else, interesting enough to occupy their mind. After a short diversion, their mind will be refreshed and able to will with renewed strength.

16. Children must learn not to lean too heavily on their own reasoning. Reasoning is good for logically demonstrating mathematical truth, but unreliable when judging ideas, because our reasoning will justify all kinds of erroneous ideas if we really want to believe them.

17. Knowing that reason is not to be trusted as the final authority in forming opinions, children must learn that their greatest responsibility is choosing which ideas to accept or reject. Good habits of behavior and lots of knowledge will provide the discipline and experience to help them do this.

Principles 15, 16 and 17 should save children from the sort of careless thinking that causes people to exist at a lower level of life than they need to.

18. We teach children that all truths are God's truths, and that secular subjects are just as divine as religious ones. Children don't go back and forth between two worlds when they focus on God and then their school subjects; there is unity among both because both are of God and, whatever children study or do, God is always with them.

These books are called the 'Home Education Series' based on the title of the first volume, not because they deal wholly or in principle with 'home' as opposed to 'school' education.

Preface to Volume 5

While editing Home Education (Volume 1) and Parents and Children (Volume 2) for this series [the six-volume CM series], so much new information was added that a lot of the material needed to be moved from those two volumes to this volume, Some Studies in the Formation of Character.

I've used the phrase 'formation of character' because it's a common term these days, which makes it convenient. But I realize that the phrase isn't really accurate. To show that I recognize the error in this phrase, I'll quote my very inadequate definition of 'character' from Volume 2, Parents and Children: 'His character--that flowering of the person that prepares the fruit of his life--is a formula consisting of the disposition he was born with, with modifications, direction, and expansion provided by education, circumstances, self-control and self-culture when he's older, and, most of all, the supreme power of the Holy Spirit, even when that power isn't evident or even requested.' [Volume 2, pg 23.] In other words, character isn't the result of a teacher's effort to shape and form the child. No, what happens is that a child's inborn tendencies are influenced, more or less incidentally, and character is the result.

I'd like to emphasize that this incidental influence of education and life's circumstances on the individual personality of the child is the only legitimate action that we, as educators, can do. We must not let 'character formation' be our conscious, deliberate goal. Instead, we must provide the child with the instruction he needs, opportunities, and worthwhile things to do--and his character will take care of itself. After all, normal children are amenable people; they honestly want to have right thoughts and do the right thing. The only other thing we can is to help the child get rid of a few obstacles that risk ruining his life, such as a quick temper. As we attempt to do this, I think that our actions should be extremely cautious. We must not interfere with his psychological development because we recognize that children are individual persons, and personality should be even more sacred and safeguarded from violation than private property. Direct teaching and commands are allowable, but indirect suggestion, and even old-fashioned 'influence' are not. Influence will be there, of course, but it shouldn't be deliberately used.

But there are certain physical laws that we can use without encroaching on the child's personality because these laws affect the instrument [the child's physical body] rather than the agent [the child's spirit]. The laws of habit and the tendency of will-power to work automatically are things we can use, since those are affected by the physical conditions of the brain tissue and are thus part of the child's physical make-up. The short studies in Part 1 illustrate ways of helping children cure themselves of undesirable faults.

I'm hesitant about offering Part 4 of this volume because, although the public is very patient with writers who 'adorn the story' (half the books we read seem to be about other books), I'm not sure that readers are as patient with writers who try to 'point to a moral.' But we tend to read in such a hurry, and we're satisfied with such shallow and vague impressions, that spending some time to leisurely consider some educational suggestions by some great authors might be very useful to us. Even if readers don't find what Wordsworth calls the 'authentic comment' in the few illustrations in Part 4, then maybe they'll at least be motivated to think up the correct comment on their own, so the result will still be the same.

In this fifth volume of the 'Home Education Series,' I'd like to acknowledge my gratitude to Miss Elsie Kitching for the constant interest she's contributed to this project, and for her consistently intelligent help as transcriber/assistant.

Charlotte M. Mason
Ambleside, October, 1906

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Part I

Some Examples of How to Treat Problems

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1. A Philosopher Tests His Theory at Home

'What a temper he has, ma'am!'

The poor nanny was standing at the door of the mother's room, stressed, flustered, and at her wits' end. The piercing yells that filled the entire house explained the poor nanny's distress. Mrs. Belmont looked worried. She went upstairs wearily to deal with what she knew would be a difficult task. Just fifteen minutes earlier, the day had seemed so promising--the sun was shining, sparrows were chirping, lilacs and golden laburnum blossoms were making the neighborhood gardens especially bright. When she thought of her three darling little ones in their room, her own heart felt like a songbird chirping thanks and praise. But now that mood had evaporated. Outside, the world was just as bright as ever, but she herself felt like she was under a dark cloud. She knew only too well how those shrieks from the children's room would ruin her day.

There lay the boy, banging the floor with his fists and feet, emitting one monstrous roar after another. His face was twisted and his eyes were bulging like a wild creature in a rage. He was so lost in the passion of his fit that even his own mother wondered if the noble look and charming smile of her son had ever been anything more than her imagination. He eyed

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his mother from the corner of his eye through his tousled blond hair, but her presence only seemed to provoke the demon within him. The screams became even more violent, and the beatings on the floor more than ever like the rage of a maniac.

'Get up, Gavin.'

Renewed screams, and even more violent action of the arms and legs.

'Did you hear me, Gavin?' in tones of forced calmness.

The uproar subsided a little. But when Mrs. Belmont laid a hand on his shoulder to help him get up, the boy jumped to his feet, rushed at her with his head like a bull, kicked her, beat her with his fists, tried to rip her dress with his teeth, and would probably have conquered his delicate mother if his father, Mr. Belmont, hadn't finally had enough of the disturbance and come upstairs to disengage the raging boy and carry him off to his mother's room. Once he was put in that room, his father locked him in and left him 'to cool off in his own time,' his father said.

Breakfast was not very cheerful, either upstairs or downstairs. The nanny was in a bad mood. She snatched up little Fiona, and then shook the baby for fussing until she had them both in tears. In the dining room, Mr. Belmont read the newspaper with a more disagreeable expression than the news warranted. Sharp words were on the tip of his tongue, but, when he turned the page of his paper, he caught sight of his wife's pale face and plate of food, untouched. He held his tongue, but she knew what he wanted to say and she was as hurt by his unspoken thoughts as she would have been if he'd voiced them aloud. Meanwhile, two closed doors and the wide space between the rooms couldn't muffle the ear-torturing screams that came from the imprisoned boy.

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Suddenly there was a lull--a sudden and complete cease in the noise. Had the child had a stroke?

'Excuse me for a minute, Edward,' and Mrs. Belmont ran upstairs. Her husband was right behind her. Imagine her surprise to find Gavin, face composed, looking at his face in her mirror! In his hand, he had a photographer's proof from a recent portrait sitting that had just come back from the photographer's. The boy had been fascinated by the process of picture taking, and now here was the picture. Gavin was solemnly comparing the picture with his own reflection.

No more was said on the subject. Mr. Belmont left for work, and his wife went about her household chores in a better mood than she had anticipated. Gavin was let out of the bedroom and allowed to have his breakfast, which his mother found him eating very contentedly with the sweetest face in the world. There was no more trace of the violent fit than there is on a June day when the sun comes out after a thunderstorm. Gavin was absolutely delightful. He was attentive and compliant with the nanny, full of charming fun to amuse his two younger siblings, and very sweet and docile with his mother, coming up with the cutest things to say. One might have suspected he was working overtime to make up for the morning's trouble if he hadn't had such an innocent face, so totally unconscious of anything he had done wrong.

This sort of thing had gone on since he had been an infant. He'd have a frantic outburst of passion, which would be just as suddenly followed by a sweet fresh face and cheerful mood so that any resolutions that his parents made about punishing or trying to reform him passed away like frost beneath the warmth of Gavin's cheerful, warm mood.

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The day after this storm passed without incident, in peace and pleasantness. But the day after that, some hair went astray and a rose leaf crumpled under his foot, bringing on another furious outburst. Once again, they went through the same dreary routine, and once again, the ugly scene was forgotten in the cheerfulness of the rest of the child's day.

It hadn't been forgotten by the father, though. Mr. Belmont had finally been roused to fully notice the trouble that had been going on right under his eyes for almost the whole five years of Gavin's short life. What others had seen for years finally dawned on him--that his wife's nervous headaches and general look of stress might very well be due to this constantly recurring affliction. He was an intelligent and well-read man, familiar with the most current trends in scientific thought, and especially interested in the physical root of character--the interaction between what happens in the physical brain tissue, and the invisible thoughts and feelings that it processes. He had even done some experiments and made some observations of his own that had been valued by his friend and co-worker, Mr. Weissall, the head doctor at the county hospital.

One such experiment was a month of spreading bread crumbs on the windowsill every morning at 7:55. The birds gathered right on time to eat the food, and there was no trace of a crumb by 8:00. So far, the experiment had been a lot of fun for his children Gavin and Fiona. They couldn't figure out how the birds knew how to tell the time.

After a month of free breakfasts, Mr. Belmont said, 'Now you'll see whether the birds come because they can see the crumbs.' The concept was exciting, but, unfortunately,

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this stage of the experiment wasn't so pleasant to the children's tender hearts.

'Oh, Daddy, please let us put some crumbs out for the poor birds! They're so hungry!' pleaded the children. Mrs. Belmont added her heartfelt plea to theirs, and Mr. Belmont readily gave in. Even the best of us have our moments of weakness.

'How interesting,' said Mr. Weissall. 'Nothing could show more clearly how quickly a habit can be formed in even less intelligent creatures.'

'Yes, and more than that--it shows that an action becomes automatic once the habit is formed. Note how the birds came on time as usual even when there were no crumbs for them. They didn't arrive, look around and notice no crumbs and fly away as soon as they saw that there were no crumbs. They settled on the windowsill as they had before, stayed as long as usual, and then left without any sign of disappointment. In the same way that we walk by putting one foot in front of the other without thinking about it, they came simply out of habit, without any deliberate intention of looking for crumbs, or any conscious intention of any kind. It was a mere automatic action, like a machine, that has nothing to do with conscious thought.'

There was another little experiment that Mr. Belmont was especially proud of because it touched on both heredity and automatic behavior in one little series of observations. Rover, the family's dog, had first appeared as a miserable puppy who had been saved from drowning. He was of no particular breed, but steady care and good living had agreed with him. He developed a beautiful shaggy white coat, a serene face with nice features, and betrayed his questionable origin by only one bad habit: he didn't notice bicycles, but not one car, big or

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little, could come within sight without him barking and running after it in an unbearable way, ignoring the honking horn and yells of the driver, and dodging the wheels like a street urchin. Interestingly, it was related by the mailman that Rover's mother was killed as a result of this very habit.

Here was a golden opportunity. Mr. Belmont felt that he could prove, not only that the barking was automatic, but that the worst habit, even when it's inherited, can be cured.

Mr. Belmont devoted himself to his new experiment with total dedication. He gave orders that Rover wasn't allowed to be outside unless he himself took him out personally. Now two pairs of ears were on the alert for vehicular wheels. Rover had one particular accomplishment that he had mastered: he could carry a newspaper in his mouth. Wheels were heard in the distance. 'Here, Rover!' and now Rover trotted along, proudly carrying The Times in his mouth. This went on every day for a month until the association between wheels and newspaper was well established, and a distant hum of wheels would bring Rover around with a demanding appeal in his eyes for his newspaper. Thus, Rover was cured. Before long, the presence of a newspaper was no longer needed, and 'Heel! Good dog!' was all that was needed when an ominous falling of the jaw threatened that his old habit might return.

It's amazing how wide the gap is between theory and practice in most of our practical lives. Mr. Belmont had once attended a scientific lecture. The speaker had declared that, 'A person who knows how powerful habit is has a key with which to regulate his whole life, and the lives of those in his family, even down to the cat who sits by his fireside.' The audience had applauded. But only this morning did it dawn on him that he had this key of habit right in his hand, yet he was allowing

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his wife's health and his little son's life to be ruined by a habit that was not only destroying the present household peace, but his son's hope of self-control in his manhood. Poor Mr. Belmont! It was an unpleasant half hour that morning on his drive to the city. He wasn't naturally given to introspection, but when it was forced on him, he was honest with himself.

'I need to see Weissall tonight and discuss this whole thing with him.'

Later, at work, he talked to Weissall. 'Oh, really? Poor Gavin. How long has he been having these outbursts?'

'All his life, as far as I can tell. At any rate, it began when he was just an infant.'

'And do you think, my friend,' and here the Doctor laid a hand on his friend's arm and peered at him with his eyes twinkling and his mouth very grave, 'Do you think it just might be possible that Gavin could have, er, inherited this little weakness? From a grandfather, perhaps?'

'You really mean me, I know you do. Yes, it's true. And I got it from my father, and he got it from his. We're not very good stock. I know I'm a cantankerous guy. It's been a thorn in my side for my entire life.'

'Don't be so hard on yourself, my good man, don't be so quick to judge yourself. I cannot allow you to speak badly about my best friend. But I do have to admit, you do have thorns and bristles just under the surface, and it only takes a touch to bring them out. It would have been so much better for you and for Science if your father had cured all of that!'

'Like I need to do for Gavin. Yes, and how much better it would have been for my wife, our children, the servants, and my friends! But it's Gavin I need to focus on right now. Do you have any ideas for me?'

The two of them visited far into the night discussing a problem whose solution would impact the future of a noble boy, and the happiness of his family.

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They found the subject of their discussion so profoundly interesting that the church clock tolled 'two' and startled them into an abrupt end of their visit. Mrs. Belmont and Mrs. Weissall resented their husbands' neglect of the late hour, but they would have been less irritated if they had known that the engrossing topic that kept them up so late wasn't science or politics, but raising children.

Scene: The Dining Room, breakfast three days later. Hilary, THE NANNY enters with MR. BELMONT and MRS. BELMONT.

'Hilary, you've been a faithful servant and a good friend, both to us and to the children, but we place some of the blame on you for young Gavin's outbursts. Don't be offended, we blame ourselves even more. Your share of the blame is that you've practically worshiped him from the time he was a baby, and let him get his own way in everything. Now, your part of the cure is to do exactly what we tell you to. At the moment, I only want you to remember that prevention is better than cure. It's important that we all take precautions to prevent even one more of these outbursts.

'Keep a close eye on Gavin. No matter what causes it, if you notice flushed cheeks, pouting lips, flashing eye, frowning and furrowed eyebrows, stiff arms and legs, hands in balled fists, head thrown back a little--if you notice any or all of these signs, it means that Gavin is on the verge of a tantrum. Don't stop to ask questions, or soothe him, or make peace, or threaten him. Instead, change his thoughts. That's our only hope. Just say, very naturally and pleasantly, as if you hadn't noticed a thing, 'Your father wants you to help him in the garden right now,' or, 'wants to play a game

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of dominoes with you,' or, 'Your mother needs your help in the pantry,' or 'to straighten her sewing box,' depending on the time of day and what we're doing. And you can be very confident that we do want to see him.'

'Excuse me sir, but do you really think it will do any good to prevent him from blowing over when the rage is right there in his heart?'

'Yes, Hilary,' said Mrs. Belmont, 'it will do all the good in the world. I suspect that Gavin's outbursts have become a habit, and that the best way to cure him is to make sure that he goes for a long time--a month or two--without even one single outbreak. If we can manage that, the trouble will be over. As far as the rage in his heart, that comes along with the outward signs. We can cure both together. Please help us, Hilary, and Mr. Belmont and I will be forever grateful to you!'

'Of course,' sobbed Hilary (she was a tender-hearted woman, and it touched her that the Belmonts were taking her into their confidence like this), 'Of course I'll do whatever I can, especially since it's partly my fault. Please understand that I never meant to. If I forget your instructions, I hope you'll kindly forgive me.'

'No, Hilary! You can't forget! That would be as damaging as forgetting to take a sharp knife away from the baby. This is practically a matter of life and death.'

'Yes, sir. I won't forget, thank you for explaining it to me.'

Breakfast turned out be unlucky. That very morning after their talk, the nanny had her opportunity. For some unknown reason, Fiona decided that she'd rather eat her oatmeal with her brother's spoon than her own. And, right on cue, there are the flushed cheeks, puckered eyebrows and stiffened body!

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'Gavin, honey,' said Hilary (she had learned her lesson well), 'run down to your father, he wants you to help him in the garden.'

Instantly, the flash in the eye was transformed to a delighted sparkle. His stiff body became buoyant and eager. He was out of his chair, out of the room, downstairs, and in the garden with his father as quick as anything. And his face was joyous, sparkling, full of expectation--had Hilary been mistaken about his mood? Not a chance. Both parents were fully aware of how quickly Gavin usually emerged from his black moods, and they trusted Hilary's judgment.

'Hello, son. So you've come to help me in the garden? Good! But I haven't had breakfast yet. How about you? Have you finished yours?'

'No, Daddy,' with a drooping lip.

'Well, I'll tell you what. You run upstairs and finish your oatmeal, and come down as soon as you're done. I'll be quick with my breakfast, too, and we should be able to get a half hour of work in before I leave for work.'

And Gavin ran back upstairs with quick, willing feet. 'Miss Hilary,' (breathless, hurried and very importantly), 'I need to eat my oatmeal quickly, Daddy needs me right away to help him in the garden.'

Hilary couldn't believe how he gobbled his oatmeal. Then the happy little boy trotted off to enjoy one of his favorite treats, and the rest of that day passed with no further trouble.

'I think this is going to work. Life will be very different without Gavin's tantrums. But, Edward, do you really think it's a good idea to give him pleasures when he's being naughty--or, in fact, to reward bad behavior? That's what it amounts to.'

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'Don't think of it like that. Gavin doesn't know he's doing anything naughty. The naughty emotions are there and there's a physical reaction, but willful rebellion hasn't set in. At this point, he doesn't mean to be naughty. We have everything to gain if we can avert his will from deliberately doing wrong. He hasn't recognized that his behavior is naughty yet. His train of thought is changed so suddenly that he isn't the least bit aware of what had been going on inside him just before. The new train of thought comes as naturally and congenially as all the little joys do in a child's day. The issue of reward for naughtiness doesn't even come up.'

For a week, all went well. Hilary was on the alert, quick to note the darkening storm-signal on the bright little face. When she spotted it, she faithfully sent Gavin instantly, and in a gentle, non-obvious way, to Mommy or Daddy for some errand. In fact, she went a step further. When it was inconvenient for Mommy or Daddy, she thought of some pleasant errand herself--perhaps to the kitchen to ask the cook about the pudding for dinner, or to get some fresh water for the bird, or see if Rover had had his breakfast. Hilary really was clever at creating little diversions--she could hit instantly on something interesting and amusing that Gavin would like. Experience told her that a mistake in this would be fatal. If she suggested something dull, Gavin would never give up the immediate gratification of a violent outburst (and it is a gratification), but he would start to get suspicious about the 'something else' that kept coming in the way of his gratification.

Security has its own risks. A morning came when Hilary wasn't on the alert. The baby was teething and

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irritable. Hilary was stressed and the atmosphere wasn't very cheerful. Gavin was very sensitive to the mood in the atmosphere around him, and he got out of sorts. He worked off some energy by drumming on the table with a couple of bowling pins just when Hilary was settling the baby down for a nap after a wakeful night.

'Shhh! Stop that racket this minute! Can't you see that your little brother is finally almost asleep?' in a loud whisper. The drumming was resumed, only louder than before, and joined by kicking on the table legs and the rung of the chair. The noise startled the baby, and he started crying. This was too much. Hilary put the baby down, seized the young culprit, chair and all, carried him to the farthest corner. She set him down roughly, and, with a good shaking, told him not to move until she gave him permission. There were some days when Gavin would tolerate this kind of treatment cheerfully. This wasn't one of them. Before Hilary noticed the warning signs, the violent tantrum had erupted. For a half hour the room was in a frantic uproar, with the baby adding his crying, and even little Fiona joining in. Half an hour is hardly any time at all when you're in the middle of a pleasant chat or an interesting book, it can fly by and seem like five minutes. But half an hour struggling with a raging child feels like a full day and night. Mr. Belmont was at work and Mrs. Belmont had gone out, so Hilary had to deal with the situation by herself. She had been instructed not to place Gavin in solitary confinement, because solitude behind locked doors could be risky, and the Belmonts didn't want to him put in such a risky situation unless they were there to supervise. Finally the tempest subsided, apparently spent by its own force.

No child can bear coolness and disapproval. He needs to live in the light of approving smiles. When his tantrum was over, Gavin worked extra hard

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to be good, and kept peeking out of the corner of his eye to see if Miss Hilary approved. She was too irritated to respond in any way, even with a smile, but her heart was touched. When Mrs. Belmont came back, Hilary said, 'Gavin had one of his worst tantrums ever. He screamed for over a half hour.' But she didn't emphasize the experience with enough force to truly express what an ordeal that half hour had been. His mother gave Gavin a disapproving look, but she couldn't resist his charm, and her disapproval didn't last long.

After dinner she commented to her husband, 'I'm sorry to say that Gavin had one of his worst bouts of temper today. Hilary said that he screamed for more than a half hour.'

'What did you do?'

'I was out shopping at the time. But when I came back, I let him know how grieved I was, and then I did what you said--changed his thoughts, and did my best to give him a happy day.'

'How did you let him know you were grieved?'

'I gave him a look that he understood quite clearly. You should have seen the adorable pleading, half-ashamed look he gave me. He has such eyes!'

'Yes, that little monkey! And I'm sure he used those eyes to his full advantage, knowing the effect they'd have with his mother. I need to make it clear, though--my theory doesn't include giving him a happy day after the kind of outburst he had today.'

'What? But I thought that your whole plan was to change his thoughts, to keep him so occupied with pleasant things that he wouldn't have time to dwell on whatever was agitating him.'

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'Yes, but didn't you say that his tantrum was over by the time you found him?'

'Yes, completely over. He was as good as gold.'

'Well, the thing we had agreed to do was to avert a threatened outburst by diverting him with a pleasant change of thought, and to do that so that eventually, the habit of reacting with these kinds of outbursts will be broken. Don't you see how that's a very different thing from spoiling him with a pleasant day when he's already spoiled himself by allowing himself the indulgence of fully venting his passion?'

'Spoiling himself? Surely you can't think that these terrible tantrums give the poor boy any pleasure. I always thought he was even more to be pitied than we were.'

'Yes, he is. Maybe pleasure is the wrong word, but that display of temper is certainly self-indulgence, there's no doubt about that. You, my dear, are too good-hearted to have experienced the kind of relief it is for us irritable people to have a good storm and clear the air.'

'Really, Edward? But, what should I have done? What's the best thing to do after the child has vented his rage?'

'I think we need to do what you once suggested, and consider the way that people are governed. Coolness, estrangement and isolation are two immediate consequences of sin, even for a sin like harshness or selfishness that seems minor.'

'But don't you think that estrangement is only a delusion? God is loving all the time, and it's only we who estrange ourselves.'

'Yes, undoubtedly. And we're aware of God's love all the time, yet we can still sometimes sense a cloud between His love and ourselves when we know we're out of favor.

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We also know that there's only one way back--and that's to go through the fire. We commonly speak of repentance as if it's a light thing, more pleasant than not, but in reality, it's searching and bitter--so much so that the Christian soul dreads to sin, even if it's a minor sin like the sin of coldness, because we have an almost cowardly dread of going through the anguish of repentance, even though it's a purging fire that does us good.'

Mrs. Belmont felt something in her throat, but, for a minute, she couldn't clear her throat to answer. She had never had a glimpse into her husband's very soul before. There were deeper things in his spiritual life than she had ever experienced.

'Well then, dear--what about Gavin? Does he need to feel that estrangement, and go through the fire?'

'I think so, to a small degree. But he must never doubt that we love him. He needs to see and feel that our love is always here, even if it's under a cloud of sorrow that only he can break through.'

Gavin's lapse was just the beginning of more lapses. It wasn't even two days later when he had another tantrum. Then, once his outburst was over, he was ready to emerge back into the sunshine. But his mother wasn't. Even his most charming smiles and chatter were met with sad looks and silence.

He told about little things that had happened in the play room, hoping for the usual smile and cheerful words in response--but his hopes were in vain. He sidled up against his mother and stroked her cheek, but that didn't work, either. So he tried stroking her hand, then her dress. But there was no answering touch in response, no smile, not a word. Nothing but sorrowful eyes when he dared meet his mother's glance. Poor guy! He was beginning to understand. He moved a step or two away from his mother, and looked at her with

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pitiful doubt and pleading in his eyes. He saw her love for him, but it couldn't reach him. And he saw her sorrow, which he was just beginning to understand. But his mother couldn't bear it any longer. She rose quickly and left the room! Then the little boy edged himself along the wall, as if that wall was something solid between him and this new sense of desolation. He edged to the farthest corner of the room, sank to the floor with a sad, new quietness, and sobbed in his loneliness. Hilary had learned her lesson, and even though her heart cried for her little boy, she wouldn't go to him. Only Fiona came up to him. She put her little arm around his neck, and pressed her warm cheek against his curls.

'Don't cry, Gavin!' she begged two or three times. But when he just sobbed harder, all she could do was to join him. Poor little crying outcasts!

Finally it was bedtime, time for his mother to tuck him in. She came, but her face still had that sad faraway look, and Gavin could tell that she had been crying. He longed to jump up and hug her and kiss her, like he would have done yesterday. But somehow, he didn't dare. She never smiled or said a word, yet Gavin had never before known how much his mother loved him.

She sat in her usual chair by his little white bed and beckoned for the little boy in his pajamas to come and say his prayers. He knelt at his mother's knee as usual, and she laid her hands on top of his.

'Our Father--' he began, and then, 'Oh, Mommy, Mo-o-mmy!! Mommy!' A flood of tears drowned the rest of his words, and Gavin was once again in his mother's arms. She was covering him with kisses and crying with him.

The next morning his father welcomed him with open arms.

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'So, I hear my little boy had a bad day yesterday.'

Gavin hung his head and didn't say anything.

'Would you like me to tell you what you can do to avoid ever having another bad day like that again?'

'Oh, yes, please, Daddy! I didn't know there was anything I could do.'

'Can you tell when the 'Anger-Man' is coming?'

Gavin hesitated. 'Sometimes, I think. I get all hot.'

'Well, the minute you realize that he's coming, even if you've already started to cry, just say, 'Excuse me, Miss Hilary,' and run downstairs and around the garden four times as fast as you can without even stopping to take a breath.'

'That sounds like a good way! Can I try it now?'

'Well, the 'Anger-Man' isn't here now. But I'll tell you a secret: he always goes away if you start doing something else as hard as you can. If you can remember to run around the garden to get away from him, you'll discover that he won't run after you. Or, at least, he won't chase you more than once around!'

'Okay, Daddy, I'll try. It sounds fun! Watch how I'll beat him! I'll give that 'Anger-Man' a race! He'll be out of breath before we get around the fourth time!'

The little boy's vivid imagination personified his foe, and his father jumped in to humor him. Gavin was eager to give it a shot and try to conquer his anger. His parents discovered that their son could be an ally. Final victory seemed within sight.

'That's brilliant, Edward! It's as interesting as painting a picture or writing a book! What a great idea that 'Anger-Man' is! It's just like 'Sintram.' He'll be so busy being on guard for

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'Anger-Man' that he'll forget to be angry! The only downside I see is that he could have many false alarms. He might try to race the foe in good faith when there's no foe chasing him.'

'Yes, that's quite likely, but it won't do any harm. He's developing the habit of running away from evil, and might possibly be more prepared to do that when real evil is right at his heels. This principle of running from temptation is accurate, and it might be useful to him in hundreds of ways.'

'That's true, it could be a safeguard to him for his whole life. How did you ever get the idea?'

'Do you remember how Rover was cured of barking after cars? The cure had two stages: first, the habit of barking was stopped and replaced with a different habit. I used the association of ideas, which is a recognized law. I got Rover to associate the hum of car wheels with the feeling of having a newspaper in his mouth. At the time, I tried to explain how it was possible to act on the 'mind' of a dog that way.'

'I remember that very clearly. You said that the stuff--you called it nervous tissue--that the brain is made of is shaped by the thoughts that are in it, in the same way that the cover of a pie is shaped by the plums that are under it. At least, that's how I understood it. And then, after the brain creates the perfect shape for that thought, that same sort of thought keeps coming in to fill that shaped gap.'

'That's not quite how I said it,' said Mr. Belmont, laughing, 'especially the part about the plums. But it will do. Let's take your metaphor a step further. Let's pretend that science finds that plums are unhealthy. You put in your thumb and pull out a plum. That leaves an empty plum-shaped space. You want to fill it, so you replace it with a--a--I'm not good at coming up with these examples--a peach!'

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'Oh! I get it! Gavin's tantrums are like the unhealthy plum that we're pulling out. His running away from 'Anger-Man' is the peach that we're replacing the empty space with. (I don't see why it has to be a peach, though--you're so impractical!) His brain tissue will grow to accommodate the shape of the peach, and the result is that the empty space is filled. Thus, there's no room for the plum anymore.' [To clarify what's happening--habitually thinking certain thoughts creates a path in the brain tissue that establishes certain cellular connections. But it's very risky to overstate or localize mental processes, so perhaps it would be safer to communicate the result of this area of research in a figurative way, such as comparing it to wearing a path through a field, or building a bridge, or a railroad track, etc.]

'Yes, that's it. You've expressed a very interesting principle in a light-hearted way, and now I blame myself because it never occurred to me to apply that principle to Gavin's tantrums. But now I think we're making some progress. We've provided an opportunity for a new habit to replace the old one.'

'So, do you think Gavin will be rather a minor kind of hero when he makes himself run away from his temper?'

'Not a minor kind of hero--he'll be a real hero. But even the best of us can't be heroic all of the time. I hope God grants him the grace to be heroic in the face of sudden gusts of temptation, even if his only heroic act is to run away. But in the kind of faults that are often called 'besetting sins,' there's nothing safe except developing the opposite good habit to replace the bad habit. And this is where parents have a great opportunity to influence their child's future.'

'I don't mean to sound superstitious or ignorant, but somehow this scientific training, although I realize that's a good thing, seems to devalue the divine help that we get from God when we're facing difficulties or temptations.'

'No, I think it's you who undervalue

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the virtue of divine action, and limit its scope. All of those laws that Science is working so hard to reveal belong to God. And these laws act on the works, body and mind that God created.'

'Yes, of course! How foolish of me! It's so easy to get into the attitude of thinking that God only cares about spiritual things. One more question--I understand that all this watchful training is necessary, and I don't want to be lazy or cowardly about it. But don't you think that Gavin will grow out of these violent tantrums naturally when he's older, without all these steps?

'Well, of course, when he's a young man he won't fling himself on the floor and yell and kick and scream. But I have no doubt that he'd grow up to be a touchy man, volatile, ready to go off into a storm of rage any moment. A man who has too much self-respect to express his anger publicly might indulge in continual irritability and be upset all the time about trivial matters, as you know only too well, my dear. No, the only hope is to view the bad habit of temper as something to be replaced with a better habit. And who knows what cheerful days might be in our future, or whether I might cure myself as I cure Gavin? Curing oneself can be done, but we're so lazy about changing our own habits! Maybe if you held me accountable?'

'Oh, I couldn't! And yet, it's really the only fault you have.'

'Only fault! I'm not so sure about that. Anyway, there's something else I wish we could do for Gavin. I wish we could stop him when he's in the middle of one of his outbursts. Do you remember the morning we found him studying his reflection in the mirror?'

'Yes, he was comparing it with a photo of himself.'

'Yes, that's the time. Maybe the 'Angry-Man' distraction can work even in the middle of a tantrum. If it doesn't, we'll have to try something else.'

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'It can't work.'

'Why not?'

'Because Gavin isn't going to have any more tantrums, so he can't stop himself in the middle of them.'

'That's certainly optimistic! But don't deceive yourself. Our job is only just begun. But let's hope that a task that's 'well begun is already half done.''

Gavin's father was correct. Opportunities to stop himself in mid-tantrum did occur, but Gavin rose to the occasion. 'Angry Man' worked wonders. His parents kept track of his tantrums. At first it was a whole month before he had another tantrum. Then it was two months, then a year, and then two years. Finally his parents forgot the problem they used to have with their sweet-tempered, sincere son.

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2. Flighty Katie

'But, now to get to the real reason for my letter--are you overwhelmed to get four pages, dear aunt? We need your help regarding Katie. Her father and I are at our wits' end, and we'd be most grateful to enlist your wisdom and kind heart. I'm afraid we've been building up trouble for ourselves and our little girl. I can't deny that natural tendencies are charming in all young things--it's so cute to see a toddler doing what comes naturally, that it's easy to forget that, if Nature is left to herself, she produces waste, although it may be lovely waste. I'm so afraid that our little Katie's life will be a wasted life.

'But, I won't keep on speculating. Let me tell you what happened yesterday. Yesterday was typical, her days are all the same. Then you'll see what the problem is and hopefully be able to help.

'Imagine three children at the table, busy with their copywork. Before even a single line is finished, Katie looks up.

''Oh, Mama, can I write s-h-e-l-l for the next word? Shell is a much nicer word than k-n-o-w, and I'm so tired of that word.'

'How much have you done so far?'

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''I've written know three whole times, Mama, and I really can't do it any more! But I think I could do s-h-e-l-l. Shell is such a pretty word.'

'Soon it's time for reading practice, but Katie can't focus on her reading. She can't even spell the words. Yes, I know--we're not supposed to do spelling during a reading lesson. The problem is, all during the lesson, Katie is distracted by a dirty sparrow at the top of a poplar tree, so she reads, 'w-i-t-h, bird!' When we do addition, one short line of problems is a hopeless and impossibly overwhelming task for poor Katie. The last one she did was, 'Five plus three is nineteen!' even though she's already learned how to add. She gets through half of a scale in her piano practice, and then her attention is on everyone and everything except her piano lesson. After only three stitches while hemming her dress, her idle fingers roll up the hem, or fold the dress into a dozen different shapes. Or I might be in the middle of a thrilling talk on history: 'So the Black Prince--' when she interrupts, 'Mama, are we going to the beach this year? My pail is all ready, except the handle, but I can't find the shovel anywhere.'

'And this is how it is all the time--Katie just barely manages her lessons somehow, but it's tiring for us and her, and I doubt she actually learns much of anything, except for a few bright flashes. But you wouldn't believe what a quick mind she has! After dawdling and idling through an entire lesson, she'll surpass the rest of us in a leap at the last minute, so that she manages to avoid being thought of as slow or ignorant.

'Katie's dawdling habits, her restless desire for a change in whatever she's doing, her constantly wandering thoughts cause a lot of friction, and it ruins our school days, which is a pity since I want the children to enjoy their lessons. Do you know what she said to me yesterday in the most

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innocent, charming way? 'There are so many more interesting things than lessons. Don't you think so, Mama?' You know, my dear aunt, I can just see you putting your finger on those words, innocent, charming way, and thinking, even if you don't say it, about sin being nurtured by allowing things. That's it, isn't it? It's true, it's our own fault. Those flitting, sprightly ways of Katie's were so cute--until we decided it was time to start her with some real work. Then we realized that we should have started training her when she was a baby. Yet,

'Even when it's your own fault
That your toy breaks, dear
You still cry about it all the same.
I don't think it's any comfort
To have only yourself to blame.'

'Please be a dear, kind aunt, and don't scold us, but help us to do better. You'll probably ask, Does Katie stay with anything? Does she stick with any of the 'many more interesting things than lessons'? Well, unfortunately, our little girl is as unstable as water in those things, too. The worst part of it is that she'll be chomping at the bit to do something, and then, just when you think she's settled in with it for a good half hour of pleasant playing, she's flitting off to something else like a butterfly. She can quote the poem, 'How doth the little busy bee,' but when I tell her that she's nothing like a busy bee, but more like a foolish, aimless butterfly darting around, I'm afraid she likes it, and is more drawn to butterflies as if they were her kindred spirits, and having the free fun and good times that she wishes she could have all the time. Please come visit; you need to see Katie to understand how erratic she is.

''Oh, Mama, please can I wash my doll this afternoon? I'm so unhappy with poor Peggy, I think she must like to be dirty!'

'So I go through a lot of trouble to find and fill a little tub,

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get the soap, and cover Katie with a big apron. She sits down to begin the job, very pleased with herself, to wash her dirty Peggy, but before the doll is even undressed, a new idea pops into Katie's head, and off she goes to clean out her dollhouse, deaf to all coaxing about the 'nice hot, soapy water' and 'poor dirty Peggy.'

'I'm afraid she's just as inconstant about her affections as she is with her play. She's a loving little soul, always adoring somebody. First it'll be her father, then Juno the dog, then me, then brother Hugh. Her warm little kisses, soft embracing arms, nestling head, are wonderful, both to us and the dog. But, unfortunately, Katie's adoring attention is like a toy you have to take turns with. The next day, it's always someone else's turn because she only has room to love one at a time. If we could get you to come and visit, you'd be Katie's favorite all day long, and we, even her doll Peggy, would be left out in the cold. But don't flatter yourself--it wouldn't last. I don't think any of Katie's attachments has ever lasted more than two days.

'If it's true that a parent's most important job is to train character in their children, then we've failed Katie. She's six years old and she has the same ability to apply herself, to pay attention, to make herself do the things she should, or even to want to do the right thing, as she did when she was six months old! We're getting very distressed by it. My husband feels strongly that parents should labor as much at developing character in their children as Hindu goldsmiths labor to create a vase. He feels that character is the one thing that God calls us to develop. And what have we done for Katie? We've turned out a 'nice enough animal,' and we're glad and thankful for that, but that's all we've done. The

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child is as aimless and impulsive as a wild colt. Please help us, dear aunt. Consider this issue of our little girl. If you can pinpoint the source of the problem, then send us a few suggestions to guide us, and we'll be eternally grateful.'

~ . .* . . ~ . .* . . ~ . .* . . ~ . .* . . ~ . .* . . ~ . .* . . ~ . .* . . ~ . .* . . ~

'And now, what about my poor little great-niece? You have a list of accusations against her, but it would be interesting and amusing and just like the free, natural world of fairyland if it weren't for all the tendencies that we talk about these days, but fail to guard against. We bring up our children in a carefree, happy-go-lucky way, yet all the time we use big words to talk gravely about the momentous importance of each and every influence they're exposed to. It's quite true--Katie's charming, challenging ways will result in her growing up to be like fifty percent of young women you see around. They chat casually about all different subjects, but if you question them, they don't really know anything about any one of them. They're ready to take on anything, but they don't follow through and finish anything. This week, such-and-such is their favorite friend. Next week, it's someone else. Even their interests and favorite hobbies come and go because there's always something novel and useful to be learned, such as how to set tiles or play the banjo. Yet, all the while, one has to admit that this very fickleness has its own kind of charm as long as youth lasts and the girl can disarm you with bright smiles and cute, graceful mannerisms. But youth doesn't last, and the poor girl who started life flitting like a butterfly, ends up like a grub, chained to the ground by tasks she never learned how to do. And that's assuming that she's a girl with some conscience. If not, then she dances through life as she pleases--

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and any children she has, husband, or household, have to take their chances. One young man I know recently remarked, 'What a giddy old grandmother the Peterfields have!' There's no mystery about 'giddy old grandmothers' or their futures.

'You're probably thinking, 'a long-winded old great-aunt is just as bad as a giddy old grandmother!' I know I've presumed greatly, but it's Katie who's been on my mind all this time, and you're right, you really do need to get her under control.

'First of all, regarding her lessons: you need to help her to develop the ability to pay attention. It should have been done a long time ago, but better late than never. Now that I've been thinking about it, I blame myself for not noticing Katie's problem sooner. You're probably saying, 'But if she has no ability to pay attention, how can we give it to her? It's her personality; a natural defect.' I don't believe it one bit! Attention isn't a separate, isolated faculty of the mind, although if it were a faculty, it would be worth more than all the other so-called faculties put together. One thing is true, at any rate: no amount of talent or genius is much good without the ability to focus the attention. It's this ability that makes men and women successful in life. (I'm talking like a book, but, as you know, none of what I'm saying is my own original ideas. These are things that Professor Weissall has said.)

'Attention is no more than the ability to focus your mind on whatever you're doing at the moment. As far as the mind is concerned, bigger matters are better, and great minds do great things. But have you ever known a person with a great mind, whose friends considered him a real genius, yet never really accomplished anything? It's because he lacked the ability to 'turn on' all of his brilliant mind, you might say. He's unable to bring all of his mind to the subject

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at hand. 'Even Katie?' Yes, Katie needs to get this ability to 'turn on.' She needs to learn to give her mind fully to addition and reading, and even to sewing hems. Go slowly, a little at a time, a little today, a little tomorrow. First of all, her lessons should be made interesting. Don't let her muddle through a page of reading, spelling every third word and then waiting until you tell her what the word is. Do less so that every day brings mastery of a few new words, as well as keeping up with the old ones.

'Don't let any lesson last more than ten minutes, and insist, with brisk, bright determination, that you have her full, undivided concentrated attention, eye, ear and mind, for the whole ten minutes. Don't allow even a moment of dawdling during lessons.

'Don't give her rows and rows of addition problems yet. Use dominoes or manipulatives designed for that purpose, the point being to add or subtract the dots or cubes in a twinkling. You'll find that all three children can work together at this, just like they can with reading, and they'll find it as fun and exciting as a game. Katie will be enthusiastic during this, and will do her work cheerfully, which is what you want. Try not to single her out and make her responsible for too much. It's a heavy and tiring task for even the bravest of us, and she'll be overwhelmed, like a person whose back becomes bent, if you don't teach her to carry her burden lightly, in the same way that an Eastern woman carries her pitcher.

'Also, vary the lessons. Work the mind, then the hands, then the legs, then do a song. In every lesson, Katie and your other two children should carry away a satisfying sense of,

'Something attempted and completed.'

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Don't allow any weary dawdling over the same old stale work. Yes, all of that work does need to be kept up, but in such a way that it's more like an exciting game rather than a tedious day's lesson. There should be a distinct difference that the children can recognize.

'Until you try it, you have no idea how a 'now or never' attitude towards a lesson can spark the attention of even the most impulsive child. Human nature is such that, if you have all day to drag through a task, it will probably take all day. But when something has to be done now, you get it done. But there's another side effect besides better, more alert attention. I once heard a wise man say that, if he had to choose, he'd rather his child learn the meaning of 'should' than inherit a fortune. This is where you'll be able to exert some moral pressure on Katie. Every lesson should have its own time, and no other time should be made available for it. The sense that time is precious and that a wasted lesson means the loss of ten minutes that you can never get back needs to be impressed on her.

'Let your children know your own natural disappointment about losing those opportune moments, and make sure they feel the loss by taking away one of the things they were looking forward to that day. It's tragic to let a child dawdle through a day without suffering any penalty for it. Notice that I'm talking about all the children, not just Katie, because it's always easier to behave when those around you are behaving, too. Besides, whatever's good for her will be just as good for all three of them.

'But you had other complaints. You said that poor Katie doesn't stick to any of her games and she isn't constant in any of her affections. If she develops the habit of attending to her lessons, that might help her to stick to her play. You can also encourage her by saying things like, 'What? Your doll's tea party is over already? That's not the way real grown-up ladies

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have tea. They sit and chat for a long time. Why don't you see if you can make your tea party last for twenty minutes?' Katie's failure to stay on task just might be helped with a bit of gentle ridicule, although ridicule is a weapon that should be used with caution. Some children resent being laughed at, and others enjoy it too much for it to have the desired effect. But if it's used tactfully, I think it can be good for both children and adults to see the comical side of their behavior.

'I think we make a mistake by not holding up certain virtues for our children to admire. Praise Katie for every thing she completes, even if it's only building a house out of cards. Being steady in work is the first step towards being steady in affection. This is another case where praise for being constant might help, in addition to a bit of good-humored family teasing--but not about her loves, since they're perfectly legitimate, whether her love is showered on a kitten or a little friend. I mean teasing about her discarded loves. Let Katie and your other children grow up to take pride in how constant they are to each of their friends.

'I meant to just offer a few tactful suggestions, and look what I've done--I've sent you a sermon! That's what happens when a woman gets on her hobby horse--nobody knows when she'll get off again!'

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3. Under a Cloud

So, you want to hear about my little girl? Let me begin at the beginning. When I look back through the scattered comments about Amy in my journal, I notice that whenever I mention her, I'm always referring to her as 'poor Amy.' Why is that? She's healthy and happy--at least, she has no reason to be unhappy. Yet again and again I find entries like this:

'Amy wasn't happy with her oatmeal. She never complained, but she's looked sullen all day.'

'Henry knocked over Amy's craft basket--by accident, I'm sure, but she can't get over it. She won't speak to anyone, and she looks as if she's under a gloomy cloud.'

I don't think I need to continue. The problem is, she feels like so many injuries are heaped on her. I don't think there's any basis for her feeling that way, because she's actually very sweet when she doesn't have 'the black dog on her back,' as the other children say. It seems clear to me, and some others, too, that we've let this go on far too long without dealing with it. We need to do something about this. I pray to God about this, our little Amy must not grow up in the midst of this sullen habit, for all of our sakes, but, even more, for

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her own sake, poor kid. In this matter, I feel like I might be more able to help than Edward--he just can't comprehend a mood less cheerful and open than his own. I've thought and thought, and finally I had an idea. I could take one principle at a time, work that out thoroughly, then take the next one, and so on, until all the wellsprings of sullenness were exhausted and all its fuel from outside sources were gone. I was beginning to suspect that the law of habit might work here, as it does in other areas, and if I could just get our dear little girl to get through maybe six weeks without drooping spirits, then she might lose this disturbing flaw for good.

At first I intended to take most of the effort and inconvenience of this experiment on myself. But I think that men tend to have clearer heads than we women--I mean, they can see both sides of an issue without getting carried away by the first side they hear. So I said,

'Edward, our little Amy isn't getting over her sulky moods. In fact, they seem to be lasting longer, and it's harder and harder to get her out of them!'

'Poor thing. It's so miserable for her, and for all of us, too. But isn't it probably just a childish fault that she'll grow out of pretty soon?'

'But you've said yourself, again and again, that a childish fault, if left to itself, will only strengthen and get worse.'

'Yes, that's true. I guess I'm just slow to accept the fault myself. But you're right. Looking at it from the perspective of habit, we're obligated to deal with it. Do you have any ideas?'

'Yes, I've been trying to come up with a plan based on Professor Weissall's ideas. We need to watch for any signs of the dark, sullen cloud, and change her thoughts

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before she has time to realize that the sulky mood is coming.'

'Yes, if we can just keep that cloud from settling for a week, then the habit itself would be partially broken.'

We didn't have to wait long for an opportunity to try out our plan. The very next day at breakfast, Henry's cereal must have looked more appealing than hers, or perhaps he shouldn't have been served first, or maybe she had some kind of inner pain that she was hardly conscious of. For whatever reason, her eyes suddenly fell, her brows drooped, lip pouted, her whole face became a little more pale than before, she became listless and limp--and our gentle daughter was transformed into something completely unlovable. At this point, her feelings were still purely emotional. The injury, whatever it was, hadn't yet taken clear shape in her mind. She couldn't have told you what was bothering her because she didn't know herself. But very soon, her thinking brain would come to the aid of her quick feelings, and then she'd have a definite reason for sulking. Her father saw the warning signs and knew what was coming. He acted quickly, with his characteristic promptness that has saved us on so many occasions, and blurted out,

'Amy, come here and hold out your hands!' Amy trotted over to him with her hands held out for him to pour the morning's ration of crumbs for the birds. Soon she came back, radiant from the fun of giving the birds a nice breakfast, and we didn't have any more sulking that day. This went on for a couple of weeks fairly well, although it wasn't a perfect success. Whenever her father or I was there, we could catch the emotion before she was aware of it herself, and we were able to turn her thoughts in a more pleasant direction. But her poor baby-sitter has had some difficult hours with

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Amy. She'd sometimes sit by herself, pale and silent, for hours at a time doing things only because she had to. And, once the gloomy cloud had descended on her, as thick and persistent as a London fog, there was nothing her father or I could do to help. Her face was so unresponsive, and that cloud wouldn't budge.

Our methods were the problem. Of course, they helped to a certain extent. We managed to get some bright days that would have been cloudy when we were lucky enough to be there to head off the sulky mood before it settled. But it was impossible to prevent the cloud of gloom long enough to nullify the sullen habit. We imagined the dreary future and life of moodiness that awaited our pretty little girl. Her sweetness would be unreliable, since it could evaporate in a sudden sullen fit. This kind of mood results in isolation, and would lead to anguishing repentance. Even worse, this strong sense of injured personality often breeds mental instability and insanity.

It's not very pleasant to look evil square in the face. I don't know whether 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,' but it certainly is a trying thing. If only we could have accepted 'Oh, she'll probably outgrow it pretty soon,' then we could have put up with one of her cloudy moods even once a day. But these images of our little girl's future made us anxious to save her, no matter what it took.

'You know Helen, I think we need to try from a different angle. In general, I think it's best to deal with a child's faults without making him aware that he has those faults. It fills their immature minds with an absurd sense of importance to have anything belong to them, even when it's only a fault. But in this case, I

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think we need to strike at the heart of it and deal directly with the cause at least as much as with the effects. I think it has to be that way because the effects aren't totally under our control.'

'But what if there isn't any cure? What if this ugly flaw is hereditary--something that our child inherited from us, who should have brought her nothing but good?'

'It doesn't matter where the fault came from. The important thing is, what are we going to do to fix it? It will take both of us equally. We poor things--what kind of half-and-half marriage would it be if each of us had to pick out the particular flaws we had passed on, and deal with fixing them single-handedly? I know I'd find that kind of prospect too overwhelming! For what it's worth, though, I do believe that faults of mind, body, temperament, and what not, are things that are inherited, and that it's every parent's duty in life to free his family from whatever specific tendency has been his (or her) particular affliction, and thus improve his family line by removing that flaw.'

'Well, do whatever you think best, I trust you. Imagine living in these enlightened times and being married to a man who could use science to back him and say, 'That boy has his mother to blame' for this or that particular failure! Of course, the flaw has already been passed down, and the damage is done, but usually it's just a random guess which parent it came from.'

'Getting back to Amy, I think we'll need to show her her own flaw, to stir up the ugly mood, no matter how involuntarily, and let her see how foul it is. Yes, I know why you're so hesitant to do this. I am too. It will destroy her innocence in this matter and make her aware of her fault.'

'Oh, Edward, I hate to poke around in her little

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wounded heart, and bring up worse things that will startle and upset her!'

'I know, and I'm sorry to put you in this position, but it has to be done, and don't you agree that you're the best person to do it? As long as my children have a loving mother, I don't think I would dare to presume to pry into the secrets of their hearts.'

'I'll try, but if I make a mess of it, you'll have to help me through.'

The opportunity came soon enough. This time it was pears that brought on the sulking. Henry would never have noticed whether he had the biggest or smallest pear, but we had told the baby-sitter to be especially careful in this matter. 'Each child should have the biggest or best as often as the other, but there must be no complaining, no nuisance of taking turns, about such trivial things. You were perfectly justified in letting Henry have the biggest pear, and giving Amy the smaller one.' Amy hadn't even touched her pear. She sat still, not saying anything or crying, but gathered into herself like a snail who's been touched. The stillness, the pale face, and brooding sullen expression made me ache to take her into my arms, but I knew from experience that she wouldn't be reached that way. This went on all day. We all suffered. In the evening, when I went to hear the children say their prayers, I determined to have it out.

Both Amy and I were frozen with sadness, and the poor weary child was ready to crawl into my arms. But I couldn't let her just yet.

'So, my poor Amy has had a sad day?'

'Yes, Mommy,' she said with a sob.

'Do you realize that all of us have had a sad day, too--

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Daddy, me, your little brother Henry, the baby-sitter--every one of us has felt as if a black curtain has been hung over the sun and shut out the light?'

Amy was sympathetic, and shivered to think of the black curtain blocking out the warm sunshine.

'And do you know who put us all out in the cold darkness? It was our little Amy who put up the curtain when she wouldn't speak to any of us, or be nice to any of us, or love us all day, so that we couldn't have any sunshine. We've been shivering and sad in the cold.'

'Mommy, Mommy!' she cried with gasping sobs, 'not you and Daddy, too!'

'Ah, I thought that would make my little girl sorry. Now, let's see if we can figure out how it all happened. Is it possible that Amy noticed that her brother's pear was bigger than hers?'

'Oh, Mommy, how could I?' Her poor little face was hidden on my chest, and the outbreak of sobs that followed was very painful. I was afraid it might even bring on actual illness, since she's so sensitive. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I didn't know if I'd have the courage to leave the rest of it in Hands more loving than my own.

'Never mind, don't cry any more, dear, and we'll ask Jesus to forgive and forget all about it. I know that my dear little Amy will try not to love herself best any more. And then the black curtain will never come between us again, and we'll never spend another day standing out sadly in the cold. Here's a good-night kiss from Mommy, and another one from Daddy.'

The treatment seemed to work. When we see the slightest

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return of the old sullen symptoms, we show Amy what they mean. The grief that follows is so painful that I doubt we could go on with it if it wasn't for her own good. But the good news is, we hardly ever see a sulky face any more, and when we do, we only have to turn and look at her, and our look melts her into gentleness and remorse.

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4. Dorothy Elmore's Achievement (in 5 chapters)

Chapter 1

I can't think of a happier time for parents than when their oldest daughter graduates from boarding school and comes home to take her place alongside her mother. It had been exactly two years since we had seen Dorothy. Her father drove to Lausanne [Switzerland] to bring her home, and I don't know how the other children and I managed without him for the few days that he was gone. The final touches had been done in her rooms, and instead of being the plain little rooms she had left, they were a lovely haven for our young lady. The little sitting room opened into a very comfortable and inviting bedroom. Her father's eyes and mine had met and teared up as we imagined unknown visions of the pure life that would be lived there, the innocent prayers that would be offered up at the little prayer table, the joy that would originate from this bedroom and bubble over the entire house, and perhaps someday, the dreams of young love that would glorify the two little rooms.

The younger children had already put fresh flowers two or three times in every place that would hold a flower. They had put on their best clothes, had sweet, eager faces, brushed hair,

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and bright eyes, excitedly anticipating the long-awaited return of their sister Dorothy.

Finally, we received a telegram from Dover--'Home by 5:00'--and our restless anticipation changed to hushed expectation.

We heard wheels on the gravel. We rushed to the door and stood in two lines--children, maids, Rover and Floss, ready to greet the young lady of the house. Then a lovely face wet with happy tears from behind fur wraps, and a light leap before the car even came to a complete stop--and she was in my arms, my Dorothy, the child of my heart! Then a special 'high tea,' and everyone, even Baby May, sat at the table. Her father and I let the children have her attention, while we communicated by exchanging looks that married couples understand.

'Isn't she a beauty!' his eyes said. 'And what an elegant, graceful girl she is!' answered my own eyes. 'Look how tactful she is with the little ones.' 'And notice how she is with us, as if her heart was brimming over with respect and affection.' That's what we told each other with our eyes. For over a week, we were so excited that we couldn't settle down. It was the Christmas holidays, so Mrs. Grimshaw was off and we didn't have her to manage the house. Wherever Dorothy ran--no, she didn't run, she moved about the house with a quick, quiet step, but she never ran--around the house rediscovering all the beloved old nooks, the rest of us followed after her, the troop of children in the front, and us parents trailing behind. Really, were quite a spectacle, and we did everything we could to spoil her. Dorothy's two special adorers were her 15 year old sister Elsie,

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quickly following in Dorothy's footsteps, and our oldest son, Herbert, who would be going off to college soon. Elsie would come into my room constantly to say something, usually starting with the words, 'Dorothy says . . .' And it was nice to see Herbert's budding manhood express itself in all kinds of little attentions towards his lovely sister.

And she was truly beautiful. Nobody could argue with that. She was as fresh and delicate as a lily, tall, graceful, without even a trace of awkwardness or self-consciousness. She had the exquisite complexion of the Elmores (that side of the family has a warm, lovely rose-colored complexion on creamy white without a hint of brown) and a smile that looked like spring and love and other wonderful things, and deep blue eyes that reflected the light of her smile. That's what Dorothy was like.

I've never known such an exhilaratingly joyful month as the one after Dorothy returned home, not even during the rapture of early married life, and I think her father would agree.

What a month it was! There was the fun of going to the mall to get Dorothy some new clothes, and the bewildering number of options and decisions to find the one that flattered her the most.

'Everything looks good on her!' exclaimed the saleslady. 'With her figure and complexion, she can wear anything!'

And it was pleasant to enter a room where everyone looked at us so kindly, and our dear old friends rushed to admire our daughter. Dorothy was humble and gentle with all of them. She was received warmly by all of her peers, both male and female. She danced with grace, her manners were perfect, although they weren't manners

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at all, they were just who she was naturally in every situation. All of these things merely added to our joy. Fortunately for us, she preferred to be home with us. She was more friendly and charming with her parents and siblings than she was with even the most fascinating strangers. What a good child she was! We had gotten a little uncomfortable about discussing the most intimate and best things with her--her spirituality--but we knew she must be praying. Where else could this sweet innocent life come from that outpoured on all of us?

I can imagine what a young couple wrapped up in each other would think if they read this: 'It's merely the gushing of a devoted mother,' as they tossed these pages aside. But, young lovers, don't ever think that you have the only ecstatic moments or blissful experiences worth writing about. Just wait and see.

Chapter 2

For over a month we had these happy days. Then, one bright morning in February, I remember it very clearly, a little cloud began to form. This is what happened: Dorothy had promised Elsie that she'd take her to Banford to choose a doll for May's birthday. But, as it happened, I needed the car to deliver some clothes to my ladies' club that I had picked up for them in London with their club money. I couldn't put off my delivery. If I didn't get it done that day, it would be another week before their next meeting. But I didn't see why the doll couldn't wait another day until tomorrow. That's what I said as I got into the car assuming that it was no big deal. I didn't notice that my comment was received with silence.

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When I came home after a long afternoon, I was tired and looking forward to being welcomed by my girls. The two older ones were sitting by the fire with enough light on their faces that I could see Dorothy, listless and pale, sitting in a low chair, and Elsie watching her, bewildered and anxious. Dorothy did look up to ask, 'Are you tired, Mom?' but she only looked in my direction with her eyes and there was no life in them.

'You look tired and cold, Dorothy--is something wrong?'

'Oh, I'm fine, thanks. But I am tired, I think I'll just go to bed.' And she coldly offered her cheek for the mother's kiss that she didn't return. Elsie and I stared at each other in distress. Was this really happening? What had happened to our darling adored fairy princess?

'What's wrong with Dorothy? Does she have a headache?'

'Oh, Mom, I don't know!' said Elsie, on the verge of tears. 'She's been like this ever since you left. She'll say 'yes' or 'no' or 'no, thanks' kindly enough, but she won't really say anything. Has somebody been upsetting our Dorothy, or is she coming down with something? Oh, Mom!'

'Don't worry, Elsie, don't cry. Dorothy is probably just overtired. She was out late twice this week, and three times the week before that, and you know how late hours don't suit her. We'll just have to take better care of her, that's all it is.'

Elsie felt better, but I didn't. I believed everything I had just told Elsie, yet at the same time I had an uneasy stirring in my heart, like a snake in the grass. But I put it out of my mind.

I had a secret fear when I went downstairs for

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breakfast the next morning. Dorothy was there already there getting the table ready for breakfast. But she was pale and lethargic. Her hands moved, but her body was lifeless like it had been the evening before. She offered me her cheek to kiss, said a cold, 'Good morning, Mom,' and gave a mechanical smile with her lips but not her eyes. That was all the morning greeting I got from her. Breakfast was uncomfortable and awkward. The children wondered what was the matter, but no one knew. Her father got along the best with her because he hadn't heard what had happened the night before, so he doted on her as usual and fussed even more because she looked so pale.

This went on for an entire week, and she would never look me in the eye. It was just as bad for the children. They could tell something wasn't right. Only her father was able to coax some friendliness from her because he continued to treat her like the old Dorothy who had come home to us only a month ago.

'We need to have the doctor look at Dorothy, my dear. Haven't you noticed how she's losing weight, and how the rosy color she came home with is fading? She has no appetite and no spirit. What? Surely you don't think our innocent daughter has a broken heart, do you? There aren't any young men around, except maybe the young Gardiner boy, and surely she wouldn't be interested in a gawky kid like that!'

This was a new concept. I happened to know of at least six young men who had shown an interest in Dorothy, all of them more appealing than the ungainly, awkward young Gardiner. Could it be that she was lovesick? But that couldn't be it. I could pinpoint the change in her--it was when I returned from making my delivery to Ditchling. But I thought that the idea of seeing the doctor was a great idea. If nothing else, it might take her out of herself, and perhaps--well, we'd have to wait and see.

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She saw the doctor and he said that she needed some exercise. He didn't prescribe medication, just fresh air, exercise, and early hours. So we prepared ourselves to obey his instructions, but we weren't very successful that day.

The next day was a glorious February day when every twig is holding itself stiffly in anticipation of its new leaves, and the snowdrops in the garden bloom daintily, lifting their blossoms out of the earth. The joy of spring finally got to her. We found her in the breakfast nook with snowdrop blossoms pinned to her collar. She was rosy, beaming, and joyous. She had a sweet, tender greeting for each of us. We had never heard her chatter with such sparkle, or see her with such dainty freshness. After this sudden cure, she didn't have any relapse. Dr. Evan, who was our good friend, saw her again, and declared that she was in such flourishing health that he spent ten minutes teasing her about his 'poor sick patient.' But as the visit ended, he drew me aside and told me that he also thought this sudden change was odd.

In a couple of days, we had practically forgotten our bad week. Everything was fine for awhile. But after five weeks, we had the rug pulled from under us again. She had another episode of sudden alienation--at least that's what our friends thought. What was I thinking all this time? Certainly nothing good.

'Dad, would you please go to Walker's Florist and get me some flowers for this evening?' It was the night of the dance at the Brisbane's, and I suspected that she liked Arthur Brisbane. It was obvious that he liked her. But, without even thinking about it, I said,

'Don't you think that the flowers we have here at home will do, dear? Milkweed and maidenhair ferns make a beautiful bouquet.'

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Dorothy didn't answer, and her father, thinking the matter was settled, left. He was already late. We didn't think about the matter again for a couple of minutes--until, at the same instant, Elsie and I both found ourselves staring at Dorothy. It was the same as before--days when she was pale, out of sorts and distant with us. We had Dr. Evans see her again, just to take a look at her, and this time I noticed, with my foolish maternal resentment--that he greeted her a little less cordially. 'Well, young lady, what's gone wrong this time?' he asked, knitting his brows and staring at her with his eyes that could be astute as well as kind. Dorothy flushed and fidgeted under his gaze, but gave only the same cold responses she had given us. His advice was the same as before, but, just like the previous time, her cure was sudden and without any apparent cause.

Chapter 3

To make a long story short, this same kind of thing kept happening, with varying intervals in between, all winter, all summer, and even through part of the next winter. My husband has a simpler nature, and he could only see one possible solution:

'Our daughter is out of sorts. Let's take her on a trip to Europe for a month or two. What she needs is fresh air and a change of scenery.'

The other children were more perceptive. Children are always quick to resent unpredictable moods in those around them. If you indulge just one outburst, or a single harsh word, you'd better be prepared to earn their trust

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for months before they'll believe in you again. George was the first to say something.

'Dorothy is in one of her sulky moods again. I wish she wouldn't get that way.'

Elsie, who inherited a short temper from her father, was also in the room.

'What a rude, ungrateful boy you are! How can you talk that way about Dorothy after she spent all morning making sails for your boat yesterday?'

'I know,' said George, a little softened. 'But why does she have to be sulky today? We all liked her yesterday, and I want to like her today, too.'

Now it had been said out loud and even the children knew where the problem was. I knew what I had to do, and the sooner the better. I had been harboring serious misgivings ever since I witnessed one of Dorothy's sullen moods for the first time. Now I knew what had to be done, and I braced myself for an apprehensive task. But I couldn't do this alone. I needed to share this with her father, and that was going to be the worst part.

'George, dear, what do you think is the reason for Dorothy's miserable moods?'

'Haven't I already told you, honey? She's just out of sorts and needs a change. We'll take a little trip up the Rhine River, then maybe stop in Switzerland as soon as the weather warms up. I can't wait to see her face light up at some of the things I plan to show her!'

'I really doubt there's anything the matter with her health. Remember how perfectly well and happy she is between her bouts with depression?'

'Well then, what do you think it is? You don't think she's in love, do you?'

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'No, I'm sure that's not it. There's no one she's interested in. Her dearest loves are those in her family.'

My husband was touched with emotion. 'Bless her! I have to admit, a part of me wishes that would always be the case! But, what's your suspicion? I can tell you have some insight into this mystery. Leave it to a woman to be perceptive enough to pick up on what's beneath the surface!'

'Every one of the spells we've attributed to her not feeling well has been a bout of sullenness. Sometimes it lasts for a few days, sometimes more than a week, and it always disappears as suddenly as it came.'

My dear husband's expression darkened with displeasure. He'd never expressed such disapproval towards me before. I sensed him distance himself from me. We, who had been one for so long, now felt like two.

'That's an astonishing accusation for a mother to bring against her own child. What made you come to this conclusion?'

How quick my husband was to judge me! Didn't he see that the situation with Dorothy was making me ill, stressed, and so distressed that I could hardly stand up? And the worst was yet to come. How would I ever be able to bring myself to go through with my plan?

'What reasons could Dorothy possibly have to resent us?' he repeated in the same harsh, judging tone of voice.

'It's possible to feel resentment, nurse a grudge, and let it hang like a heavy cloud between you and those you love the most, without any cause--even the person himself might not be able to discern what the resentment was for when the mood is over.'

My voice sounded strange and distant in my ears. I laid my hand on the back of a chair for support,

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but I didn't faint. In fact, I was very much alive and aware of what was going through my husband's mind. He stared at me curiously, with an inquiring look, but not as if I were his and a treasured part of his life.

'You seem suspiciously familiar to a state of mind that I never would have attributed to a Christian.'

'My dear! Can't you see how your words are hurting me? I'm not in anguish for nothing. I do know what that mood is. And if Dorothy, my own daughter, has inherited a propensity for it, it's all my fault! The only fault she has is what she got from me!'

George was moved and put his arm around me just in time, before I collapsed. But I wasn't the least bit surprised to find my first gray hairs a few days later. I don't think I could survive having to re-live that moment again.

'My poor wife! Now I understand--you haven't been unfair and harsh to Dorothy, but to yourself! Please forgive me, I didn't understand right away, but we men can be slow to catch on. I'm sure you're only putting yourself (and me, too) through this because you know that some good will come out of it. You probably know of a solution to this, if there is one?'

'Don't say if. How could I go through this unless I knew it would help our daughter?'

'I see. It didn't appear so at the time, but now I see that you were thinking of what was best for your child all along. What a clumsy wretch I am; how could I have doubted your love for her? But there are two things I don't understand. First, I can't believe that you ever harbored thoughts of resentment, and, second, who could ever dream that our perfect angel of a daughter could have such an ugly feeling? I'm sure you must be deluded. Maybe it's you who needs a vacation

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and not Dorothy.'

How could I convince him? Yet how could I risk his aversion and judgment even for a moment? But if Dorothy was going to be helped, it had to be done. And how could my husband have thought that I would be unfair and unloving towards my beloved firstborn child?

'Bear with me, George, I need to tell you everything from the beginning. Do you remember when we were courting, and we used to walk in the shady paths of my father's garden, and I tried so hard to explain that I wasn't as worthy and loving a daughter as you imagined? I told you how I'd get irritated about trivial things, and how little things would put me out for days at a time so that I was under a dark cloud so thick that I was unable to speak to anyone, or even care about anyone. And remember how I told you that it wasn't me who was the darling of my family, but Esther my plain sister (forgive the word plain!) She was the beloved child of the household. Everyone adored her--siblings, parents, anyone in the village who had any kind of dealings with the parson's daughters. Do you remember any of that?'

'Yes, but so what? I've never regretted my choice for a minute, or wished I had married Esther, even though she's so good and has been so kind to us.'

'And you, my dear, attributed everything I said to generosity and humility. Every time I tried to show you the truth about me, you counted it as a virtue. Finally I gave up. I was afraid that if I kept it up, you'd think I was a saint and that my beloved family didn't appreciate me. I was actually relieved to give up my effort at showing you the truth. The fact is, your love for me made me see that

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I could be as lovely as you thought I was. I thought I had changed and that my faults were gone forever.'

'Well, wasn't I right? Have we had even a single cloud over our married life?'

'Oh, George, you have no idea what I went through the first two years after we were married. When you read your newspaper, I resented you for not spending time with me. If you spent a half hour in your den, or an hour with a friend, or noticed how pretty another woman was--I resented all those things, and I sulked in silence for days or even weeks. And you never thought badly of me, but sympathized over your 'poor darling wife,' and fussed over me. And the more sullen and resentful I was, the more you loved me. You said I was 'out of sorts' and planned a tour of Europe, just like you're doing now for Dorothy. I think you finally ended up loving all of the resentment out of me. After awhile I began to feel like my sullen moods were stalking me. I would run away, take long walks, read for hours--but I wasn't able to resist those moods until our first baby was born--God's gift, our little Dorothy. Her tiny fingers and adorable smile healed me in a way that not even your love could do. But, George, don't you see what's happened?'

'My poor Mary! Yes, now I understand what you're saying. Your healing exacted a price; it was bought at the baby's expense. The plague that you felt within yourself was passed on and transferred to her. That's what you're trying to say. But I think that's just a fanciful notion, and I still think that my plan to take a trip is a good idea. I think it will be healing for both mother and daughter.'

'I like how you use the phrase mother and daughter. The proverb shouldn't say 'a child who has been burned fears the fire;' it should say, 'a child who has been burned will catch fire sooner.' I think I'll be miserable all over again if I have to see the same thing happen with Dorothy.'

George sat thinking for a couple of minutes, but my

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fear and dread of him and how he might react were gone. His face showed nothing but love and affection for both of us.

'You know, Mary,' he said, 'I doubt I can help you in your effort to cure Dorothy with my limited knowledge. I can't very well make suggestions about a trial that I don't understand. Would you mind if I called our old friend, Dr. Evans, for advice? I really think he'd be more qualified in this than I am.'

This was worst of all. Was there no end to this day's miseries? Dr. Evans was a psychologist [and psychologists are for crazy people.] Would Dorothy and I, mother and daughter, end up committed? I looked at George and he understood why I looked so alarmed.

'Don't worry, Mary. Now you really are being ridiculous, and you can't blame me for laughing at you. Okay, I've had my laugh, I feel better now. I do understand your concern--a few years ago, a doctor would never be consulted about a case like this unless insanity was suspected. But it's not like that any more, and you're crazy if you think only insane people can benefit from psychology. You have no idea how interesting it is to hear Evans talk about the relationships between thought and brain tissue, and also between thought and character. He may seem simple and unsophisticated, but he knows all about the most current science. He took a course at Leipsic [Leipsic, Germany was a center for psychological research in the late 1800's, featuring The Leipsic School of Experimental Psychology and Wilhelm Wundt's experimental psychology], and they know more there than we do about the brain and what it does. He still goes back there every year to find out the latest discoveries. We're lucky to have a man like him in our little country town.'

I felt like I was slowly relaxing, and I responded calmly, as if we were talking about the weather, until George said,

'Well, when shall we see Dr. Evans? The sooner we get more information about this issue, the better it will be for all us.'

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'Oh, all right, go ahead and arrange to see him tomorrow. Tell him everything I told you and, if you'd like, I'll be here to answer any questions he might have.'

Chapter 4

'Mrs. Elmore is right--this isn't something she's imagining. I've seen your lovely Dorothy and had some suspicions of my own. Now it all seems quite clear.'

'Can you deal with our problem, doctor?' I asked desperately.

'Deal with it, ma'am? Of course I can! I've learned a thing or two from Weissall. Dorothy is a good girl, and she'll submit to the treatment. And you won't need me to treat her. Doctors are only useful in so far as outsiders are able to see a different perspective. Once you understand what's going on, you'll be able to fix it yourself.'

'Please go on--I'll take whatever steps you say.'

'I'm not so sure about that. As you know, I didn't receive all of my education in Midlington. Women tend to look mild-mannered and compliant, but as soon as someone starts talking about their theories--and mine aren't just theories, they're based on definite principles of belief and behavior--then you women suspect heresy, and just because a valuable field of scientific thought and discovery is new to you, you get all up in arms and proclaim that it goes against the Bible. But, really, every new advance in science is simply additional revelation learned from what we already know.'

'Try me, doctor. I'll believe whatever you believe

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if you'll just help us. I'm willing to believe that your scientific theory is based on what's been revealed in the natural world.'

'Okay, here goes. If you're willing to accept it, I'll tell you the whole thing. First of all, I'd like to clear both you and Dorothy of moral responsibility in this. It's your guilt about this that's wearing you out. Or, at the very least, I'd like to pinpoint where your responsibility lies and where it ends. It's conceivable that Dorothy inherited her particular temperament from her mother--and her mother probably inherited it, too. But you're not responsible for what you inherit or what traits you pass on. In the same way, Dorothy has this particular trait, but she's not responsible for that.'

'What do you mean, doctor? Do you mean that we can't help it, and that we have to accept our individual nature the way it is and never change it? That's terrible news! No, that can't be right. My husband helped me change the way I was.'

'I'm sure he has. And the way he did it--probably without even realizing he was doing it--is what I hope to be able to show you. I'm sure you've found yourself saying, What creatures of habit we are!'

'Yes, what about it? I think everyone has noticed that fact somewhere along the line, especially mothers.'

'What does this power of habit mean? And how do you explain it?'

'I suppose it means that a person can do almost anything once he makes it a habit. How do I explain it? I don't know. I guess it's just the way the mind naturally works.'

'The 'way the mind naturally works' is a phrase that doesn't have a definite meaning. It's a fact that a person can get into the habit of doing almost anything, but a person can also get into the habit of

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thinking anything, or even feeling anything. Habit isn't limited to external behaviors.'

'I think I'm beginning to understand what you mean. We--Dorothy and I--aren't to blame for having sullen, resentful feelings because we can't help it--it's our habit. But surely bad habits must be curable.'

'Well, once we recognize that, then we are responsible. The question is--how do we fix it? What can be done? How hopelessly blind we are, even the best of us. We don't even realize that the very existence of evil implies a demand to cure it. In the moral world, every bad trait finds a place to land.'

'And there's the tendency for the sins of the parents to be revisited on their children. That's a bitter principle! How can Dorothy possibly help something that she's inherited?'

'Dorothy couldn't help it, but yet you did help it in your own case. You're both excellent parents; why did you wait until Dorothy was nearly grown into a woman to set about curing her of a fault that should have been cured in her infancy? Surely you must have seen indications seventeen years ago of the fault that's developed to this point, much to the poor girl's discredit?'

I was embarrassed and ashamed at this accusation. George looked half doubtful, half repentant--he wasn't quite sure what he had done wrong.

'It's totally my fault, doctor. Now I see it. When Dorothy was little, I refused to face the fact. It was just too awful to consider that my child might be the way I still was. So I made excuses for her. Although both her nanny and I saw through them--poor Dorothy wasn't feeling well, or she was teething, or she was overtired. The same thing, only more so, continued when she was a schoolgirl. Dorothy was delicate, or lacked stamina, or needed some vitamins. All of these excuses, even though we had a nanny

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who tried to convince me that it was the girl's temperament rather than physical sensitivity that was causing the problem. The worst part of deceit is that you start to deceive yourself and believe the lie. I didn't see whole classrooms full of children, just my own children, and I was convinced that Dorothy's problem stemmed from some physical weakness.'

'What if you had faced the truth? What would you have done?'

'I guess that's my excuse for refusing to see it--I had no idea that anything could be done.'

'Well, please don't call me an unBiblical heathen if I show you what could have been done, and could still be done.'

'What a thing to say, Doctor Evans!'

'But it's a fact. All of you decent women are convinced that setting a broken bone is a human skill, but curing a fault in temperament is something that only God should fix. So you pray about it, but don't do anything, all the while looking down with superior airs on those of us who believe that skill and knowledge can have a place here, too. In fact, human skill and knowledge are supposed to have a part in the divine scheme of things. When you really think about it, it's surprising how large a part parents have in the making of their child!'

'But what about inherited faults, like Dorothy's?'

'That's precisely a case in point. Think of this as a challenge set before you parents. What steps will you take in order to pass on your family tree without any glaring faults?'

'That's a noble thought, Evans,' said George. 'It means that every parent has a role and a share in working out the salvation of the world to future generations [by passing on their gene pool without the bad habits.] Mary, we have a mission! Passing our children

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on to the world free from the blemishes they inherited from us is a goal worth living for!'

'It sure is! But, don't think I'm narrow-minded, doctor, or that I don't appreciate men of science, if I confess that I still think that physical problems are within man's realm to fix, but faults in the spirit are God's domain.'

'I'm not sure I agree with you. Where we differ is in the boundary line between physical and spiritual. The thing is, every weakness in disposition and temperament, even though it might have started as a fault in our spirit or in the spirit of one of our ancestors, by the time it's manifested as a character flaw, it's a fault of the physical body, and that's how it needs to be dealt with. It needs appropriate treatment. Notice that I'm not talking about occasional impulsive temptations and failures, or sudden impulses towards doing good and reaching heights that weren't even dreamed of before. Those things belong to the spiritual world and have to be spiritually discerned. But a fault or virtue that's become a habit is 'flesh of our flesh,' and it has to be treated on that basis, whether it's a fault to be uprooted, or a virtue to be nurtured.'

'I have to confess, I'm not following you. This way of thinking cheapens the work of redemption. If you subscribe to this theory, then every parent can save his child, and every person can save himself!'

'No, Mary, that's not accurate. I agree with Dr. Evans. We're the ones who lose the effectiveness of Christ's redemption by neglecting to recognize what it has already accomplished. We still have to engage in spiritual warfare, strengthened with spiritual help, as Dr. Evans says. As I understand it, his point is that we shouldn't allow ourselves to be dragged down with these less material faults of the flesh that

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could be treated in the same way, although without the drugs we might use for a broken bone or upset stomach. Don't you understand how it works? We fail and fret over it, and repent, and then fail again, and we're so preoccupied with our own internal struggles that we never have time to get that knowledge of God that gives our souls life!'

'All of this is way over my head. I have to admit, none of this seems to line up with the Christian creed or the religion I grew up with. But in the meantime, how does any of this affect Dorothy? That's the practical issue.'

Dr. Evans gave my husband an 'I told you so' kind of a look, which was a bit annoying, and then he went on:

'Yes, you're absolutely right, that is the point. Now poor Dorothy is the victim of occasional armies of sullen, resentful thoughts and feelings. They wear her out, block out the sunshine from her life, and separate her from those she loves like a curtain. Does she want these thoughts? No, not at all. In fact she hates them and in all probability, she prays about how much she wants to be rid of them and resolves not to have them. It causes her a lot of spiritual conflict. She's a good girl, I have no doubt of that. Now it's time to use physical science to help her. It's not necessary to figure out how these thoughts started; the point is, they're there, and they're traveling to and fro in her mind. This is the interesting contact point where physical and invisible meet. We know there's a point of contact because we can see the results, but we have no idea why that is, or how it happens. After going to and fro in her mind, the thoughts make well-worn paths in the brain's tissue. Now these thoughts become automatic. They come all by themselves, and they spread and flow in the same way that a

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river wears and erodes its banks, making them wider. And with these paths worn in the brain, these thoughts will continue indefinitely in spite of personal struggles, unless--and here's a ray of hope--the opposite habit is set up to divert the thoughts into a new path. If the thoughts can be kept traveling briskly along the new path, then the old connections will grow over from lack of use, and new brain tissue will grow to take its place. When the old thoughts return, there's no path for them, and Dorothy will have some time to force herself to get her mind on different thoughts before the old ones can re-establish their old pathway connections. There, in a nutshell, is the concept of managing our thoughts--our first and most important obligation.'

'That's fascinating, and it should help us. Thanks so much. I had no idea that invisible thoughts could be made manifest in a physical way. But I'm not sure how all of this applies to Dorothy. It sounds like it will be difficult for the poor girl to have to do all of this herself. It's like trying to make someone do trigonometry before they've mastered subtraction.'

'You're right, Mrs. Elmore. It will be a challenge for her, and she'll have to dedicate herself to it for two or three months. If my assessment of her is accurate, I think she should be cured by then. But if you had done the work when she was a child, it would only have taken a month or two, and she wouldn't even have been aware that she was working at it.'

'I'm so sorry I didn't do it then! What should I have done?'

'I admit that the tendency was already there in her temperament, but you should never have allowed the habit of developing these moods get started. You should been

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watching for outward signs--the same ones you see now: a little paleness, general lethargy, and a downcast expression. The moment the first sign appeared, you should have been right there to snatch her out of that cloud she was entering, and lead her to bask in love and light for an hour or two. You should have forced her to look you in the eye, and face the love and joy in your eyes. Every sullen mood that can be averted is one more step towards preventing the bad habit. And, as you know yourself, habit is a major factor in a person's character.'

'Isn't there anything we can do for her now?'

'Yes, there sure is. Ignore her sullen moods, just continue your happy life as if she isn't there, except to draw her in every now and then by asking for her opinion, or expecting her to laugh at a joke. Most importantly, when she's forced to look you in the eye out of common courtesy, let her see that your eyes are clear and happy and full of pleasure in her. Believe me when I say that, no matter how much she may upset you, she's more upset with herself. And you should look approvingly at her, poor girl, because the brunt of this battle will fall on her.'

'Yes, I see that you're right. Now that I think back, her sullenness has always dissipated when she's faced her father's delight in her. In fact, that's how he cured me of the same fault. I guess you could say that he broke my habit. But, Dr. Evans, won't you see her and talk to her? I know you can help her more than anybody.'

'As a matter of fact, I was going to ask if I might talk to her. She's a sensitive girl and needs to be handled gently. Since she doesn't have any parental love and loyalty towards me, I run less risk of hurting her. Besides, I have a secret to share that should help her in managing herself.'

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'Thank you, Dr. Evans. We're more grateful than we can say. Can you see her now, while she's in the middle of one of these moods? What if we leave and send her to see you? We can tell her it's a routine medical visit.'

Chapter 5

'Good morning, Miss Dorothy. You know, I think it's time we put an end to what's been going on. We're both tired of these doctor's appointments when we both know that you're perfectly healthy.'

Dorothy looked up with a flushed face (I heard all about it later from both Dr. Evans and Dorothy). She looked half relieved, half doubtful--not at all resentful. She stood, quietly waiting.

'Still, I do think you have a serious problem, and you need help. Will you listen while I tell you what the problem is and how to fix it?'

Dorothy didn't know what to say, but she gave a silent 'yes.'

'Don't be afraid, my dear. I'm not saying this to hurt you, but to help you. A significant part of your life, which should be innocent and lighthearted, is being spent in gloom and isolation. If someone even neglects to dot his 'i's,' you resent it--not in words or rudeness, you're too well brought-up for that. Yet the light within you is darkened by an onrushing of dark thoughts. The person shouldn't have done it! That's not right! They don't care how I feel! I should never have done that to her!--and so on, without end. Before you know it, you find yourself entangled in a thick, invisible shrouded veil.

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You can't reach out to anyone, speak with a lively voice, or look into your family's eyes with a living, affectionate glance. You sit there like a dead man at a feast. By this time, you don't even remember what you were upset about, and you'd give anything to get out of this living death. You cry, pray, beg to God to forgive and restore you--but your focus is on what a detestable person you are, and you're still imprisoned in that dark cloud. Then suddenly, probably in answer to your prayers, a hug from your little sister, or seeing the first primrose of the year, or hearing a lark fill the world with his happiness, and, as if by magic, the spell is broken, and the enchanted princess is set free, as happy as the lark, as sweet as the primrose, and as cheerful as the little sister.'

There was no response. Dorothy's arms were on the table, and her head was down on them so that her face was hidden. Finally, in a choked voice, she said, 'Please go on, doctor.'

'All of this can be improved' (she looked up here) 'in two or three months--completely cured, and become nothing more than a horrible memory.'

Dorothy raised her eyes, full of tears. Her eyes showed that a ray of hope was struggling with fear and shame.

'This is very difficult for you, my dear. But I need to continue with my task. I believe that, when I'm done, you'll be so happy that you'll forget any pain in your joy. First of all, I want you to realize that you're not a bad person because there are ugly thoughts taking charge of you. I don't mean that you won't be blamed once you have the key in your hand, but for right now, you must not judge yourself any more.'

Dr. Evans went on to clarify for Dorothy what he had already explained to us about how thought and the brain interact, and how thought, the brain and the rest of it were such close friends that it was impossible to tell

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which of them did what any more. In fact, they ran a business of their own, completely independent of ego, who was originally the one who was supposed to be the head of the firm, etc.

Dorothy listened intently, as if she was saving every word, but the ray of hope slowly died out.

'I think I understand what you're saying, doctor. These dark thoughts come in and wage war against what my own ego, my inner self, wants. But, doctor, that makes it even more hopeless!'

'Back up a minute, my dear. I haven't finished yet. Ego can see that things are going wrong, and he asserts himself. He sets up new thoughts to run in a new path, this putting a halt to the traffic of the old thoughts. In time--and I mean a very short time--the old nerve connections are gone, and the old paths are grown over so that traffic can't get through that way any more. Does that make sense?'

'I think so. I need to think of something else, and pretty soon my mind won't have room anymore for the dark, ugly thoughts that upset me so much. But, doctor, that's just the thing that I can't do!'

'No, my dear--that's actually the only thing you have the power to do. Are you familiar with what the will is, and what it does?'

'No, I don't know much about it. I guess your will is supposed to make you capable of doing the right thing when you feel like you can't. You're supposed to say, 'I will do it,' and then go on and do it. But you have no idea how weak I am! Saying 'I will' makes no difference!'

'Well, to be honest, I don't think it ever made much difference to anyone else, either, except in literature. All the same, the will is a powerful guy in his own way. But he does his job with a simple sling and stone,

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not with a Goliath-sized sword. He attacks the giant with something that seems like a humble child's toy, and he slays the giant with it. Here's how it works: When dark thoughts first begin troubling you, turn your mind away from them forcefully, and think about something else. I don't mean think of forgiving the one who's offended you--you might not yet be ready for that at the time. Just think of something interesting and pleasant--perhaps a new dress you need for an upcoming event, or your favorite friend, or the book you're reading, or, best of all, suddenly fill your heart and mind with some grand scheme to bring pleasure to someone whose days are dull. The more exciting the thing is, the safer you are. Don't worry about battling the evil thought. Thinking about something else is the only thing you have to do. In fact, it's probably the only thing that the will is capable of doing. It gives you the ability to change your thoughts, to turn from gloomy thoughts to cheerful ones. Then you'll discover that your prayers will be answered because you'll know what to ask for, and you won't reject the answer when it comes. There, my dear, I've just shared the best secret I know with you. A man I revere told it to me. I've put the key to self-management and happy life into your hands. Now you know how to be better than 'he who captures a city.' ['He who rules his spirit is better than he who captures a city' - Prov. 16: 32]

'Thank you a thousand times over for your valuable secret, doctor. You've lifted my feet from the slough of despond. I will change my thoughts (is it okay for me to say that?) The key you gave me won't rust from lack of use! I hope I'll never be under that cloud again!'

It's been five years since Dorothy had that talk with Dr. Evans (sadly, he died the same year). Whatever private battles she may have fought, we

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never knew about. The subject was never even alluded to. For two years, she was a delightful daughter in our home; for the last three years, she's been Arthur Brisbane's contented wife, and there's no fear that her sunny little girl, Elsie, will ever enter that dark cloud that her mother and grandmother were almost lost in.

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5. Consequences

Have you ever played the game 'Consequences'? Here's how it works. One person writes a sentence on a sheet of paper, then covers it up, and the next person adds to it, and so on. So you might end up with a story that reads, 'He said it was a cold day. She said she liked chocolate. The consequence was that both of them were put to death, and everyone said that it served them right.'

The game of Consequences makes just as little sense when it's played in real life, but many children find themselves unwilling players, and their experiences are just as arbitrary. If a certain kind of autonomy could be given the title of king, then we'd all be heirs to kingdoms. Watch children playing 'school.' Note how the child playing the teacher loves to slap the wrists of her students, and swat her scholars! The pretend students are happy to join in this game, even though the teacher is abusing them. They know they'd do the same if they were playing the part of the teacher, and their turn will come.

How does this tendency for autonomy, which gives spirit to most of the games children play, work in real life?

Perhaps little Nikki has a tendency to be dissatisfied. Her care-giver happens to be unusually busy one morning getting out the children's summer clothes. She's normally a kind-hearted woman and she's fond of Nikki, but this morning she grumbles, 'Why do

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you have to be so whiny?' and she emphasizes her point with a smack. There was already something wrong, which is why Nikki was whining to begin with, and that smack is putting Nikki 'to death,' like the children playing the Consequences game. But the effect on Nikki isn't manifested for a year or two. The care-giver totally forgets the hasty smack, and nobody ever associates her with the family's sorrow. One might argue that the care-giver is kind and just doesn't know any better. It's different with the parents. Yes, but not as different as you'd think. Mr. Lindsay, who is a book-lover, goes into his den and discovers his little four-year-old son constructing a tower with some of his most valuable and sought-after books. The tower collapses, the books fall, the corners are bumped, and the books are now irreparably damaged. 'What do you think you're doing! Go to your room, and don't you ever dare come into my den again!' Oh, dear. Does he have any idea how deeply that cuts? Doesn't he realize that a ten-minute romp with Daddy in his bedroom is the most supreme joy of little Daniel's day? And does he realize that everything feels like forever and ever to a little child who doesn't have the experience to know how to hope when things look darkest? But, you might protest, it's for the child's own good. But is it really? Daniel doesn't even know what he did wrong. A simple, 'Never touch books unless you have permission to play with them,' would have educated him and prevented him from making the same mistake in the future.

How is it possible for such a devoted care-giver and loving father to give such damaging 'death blows,' both emotional and physical, to a child's tender nature? A lot can be blamed on ignorance or thoughtlessness--they didn't know, or they didn't consider, how this or that would affect the child. But the interesting thing is that grown-ups almost always make the same type of mistake.

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The arbitrary use of authority by parents, babysitters, day-care workers, or anyone put in authority over a child is a real stumbling block and rock of offense in the way of many children.

This doesn't mean that a lenient, permissive mother is justified in congratulating herself and saying, 'I always thought Mrs. Naybor was too hard on her children.' The most damaging use of authority is when a mother makes herself the final authority, with the power to excuse her child from his duties and grant him unfair privileges and indulgences (and I don't mean the kind of indulgences that the pope can grant!) This soft kind of parent is relentless with her authority. She allows no one to interfere with her rulership. And, yes, it is rulership, even though her children are exceedingly unruly. All advice and suggestions are brushed off with the same response: 'My children will never have any reason to claim that their mother refused them anything that was in her power to give.'

'In her power.' Here's the mother's mistake. She believes that her children are hers--that their bodies and souls are in her power, and that she can do whatever she likes with them since they belong to her.

It's worth our time to consider the origins of behavior within human nature. That's where we'll find the source of this common reason for mismanaging children. There must be some unsuspected reason that people of both weak and strong natures should make mistakes in the same area.

We know that within every human being, the same primary, natural desires are implanted, and these are among the principles that the person acts on. These desires are neither good nor bad in themselves. they're completely involuntary, and they're within everybody, from the most savage drunk to the most brilliant genius. Anybody who appeals to any one of these primary desires guarantees that he'll have an effect on his hearers. For example, every person has an inborn desire for

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companionship. Every person wants to know, no matter how trivial the thing he's curious about. Everyone wants to be respected and admired by those around them, and some will do ridiculous things to get that esteem. Every one of us wants to be the best at something, even if it's only a game of chance. Everyone wants to have some power, even if we only lord it over the family dog or a younger sibling. These desires are natural, and if a person lacks any one of them, he's considered unnatural: a man who hates to be with other people is called a recluse, and a person who isn't curious about anything is considered dim-witted. But we've seen with our own eyes how a person can ruin his life and destiny by excessively indulging any one of these natural desires. Controlling, regulating, balancing and maintaining these wellsprings of behavior is an important part of the self-management that is every person's duty.

But it isn't only natural desires that motivate our actions. Affections, appetites and emotions also play their part, and our reason and conscience are the ones whose job it is to regulate the actions that can result from any one of a hundred impulses. But the subject of this chapter is the punishment we inflict on children--and we won't come to any conclusion unless we consider punishment from the perspective of the punisher as well as the punishee.

Any one of the desires, or affections, or appetites has a tendency to run rampant if its object is well within its grasp. If the desire for companionship is undirected and uncontrolled, it can lead to endless running around from one activity to another, and constantly hanging out with crowds. Curiosity is a wonderful thing, but uncontrolled curiosity can result in an excessive

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love of gossip, and of insignificant disconnected bits of information served up in scraps, which is in the same category as gossip. Ambition, or the desire for power, can be used well to handle a child, servant, horse or dog. A person with no ambition can't lead others. Any care-giver who manages children well is showing that she has ambition, and her ambition is finding an outlet in handling the children. But if the love of power isn't regulated and controlled, it leads to arbitrary behavior and savage, cruel actions towards those under our care. We can be so carried away and intoxicated by a fierce lust for power that we do something terrible and tragic to a tender child, and wake up to never-ending remorse. We didn't mean any harm, we only meant to teach obedience, but, horror of horrors, we've killed a child.

In the last few years we've read stories in the newspaper about the savage abuse of power in an area that's currently free from external control--tales that, whether they're true or not, should make us all consider in our heart and be still. Because there's one thing we can be sure of: those people who did those things are no worse than we could be under similar circumstances. They had the opportunity to do evil deeds, and they did them. We haven't been left to ourselves, with no governing power over us, to that extent. But let's look ourselves in the face and recognize that the inborn trait that betrayed others to do such mad crimes is inborn within us, too, and whether that trait leads us to high and noble lives or criminal cruelty isn't something we should leave to chance circumstances. We need divine grace to guide us and follow us, and we need to

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be consciously seeking, and diligently using this grace to keep those of us who are in positions of authority meek and humble, remembering that Jesus, who is entrusted with the rod of iron, is meek and lowly of heart.

If we remain aware of our tendency in the area of authority, then we'll be more trustworthy to enforce the law to little children with tender souls and bodies. We'll remember that merely a word can wound, and a harsh look can hurt as much as a slap. Yes, sometimes it's necessary to hurt in order to heal, but we'll be more likely to examine ourselves carefully before we resort to harsh methods. We won't be quick to react with reproof, punishment, reward and praise, depending on our mood at the moment. We'll recognize that our authority is only a deputy position, and to be used with care and wisdom. Not only that, but we'll be extremely careful about who we choose to take care of our children. It's not enough that they be Christian. We all know good Christians who have an arbitrary tendency and dare to wield the iron rod that's only truly safe in God's hands. Besides being Christian, a person should have culture and self-knowledge--not the kind of morbid self-knowledge that comes from too much introspection, but the wider, humbler understanding of human nature that comes from studying the guiding principles and wellsprings of behavior that are inherent in all human beings, including themselves. That understanding makes a person certain that 'I am just as bad as everyone else, and might even be worse if it weren't for the grace of God and careful living.'

It's undoubtedly easier to establish our authority and let our children follow our lead, or have someone else keep us in order rather than exercising

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constant vigilance as we carry out our calling. But we don't have that option. We have to rule with diligence. Our children need us to do that. But we need to keep ourselves constantly in check and make sure that our inborn desire for power is properly channeled into building up a child's character rather than in constant scolding, criticizing, belittling, curt responses and hasty smacks. None of us adults could endure that kind of treatment, yet we practice it on our children routinely 'for their own good.'

American author Helen Hunt Jackson (Bits of Talk about House Matters) wrote, 'To this day, my cheeks still burn when I remember certain rude and arrogant comments that were made to me when I was little, and were stamped on my memory forever. Once I was called 'a stupid child' in front of strangers because I brought the wrong book from my father's study. There's nothing worse that anyone could call me today that would give me even a tenth of the hopeless sense of worthlessness that I got from those words. Another time, an unexpected guest arrived for dinner. I was whisked away from the table with the comment that 'the child doesn't matter in the least; she can just as easily eat later.' I would have been very willing to be accommodating to make a place for the guest at the table if I had been approached differently, but I never forgot the sting of having it put that way. Yet both of those instances of rudeness are minor compared with things we see every day. They'd be too trivial to even mention, except that the pain they gave me has lasted to this very day.'

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'Do you mean that in these overly sentimental days, it's too severe to call a child stupid? The child will make an idiot of himself when he goes out into the real world and people call him worse names, if he's been raised on nothing but mild words that are as sweet as honey and soft as butter.' This kind of objection is contrary, not in harmony with the kind of perfect childhood concept that we amuse ourselves with these days. But we need to consider the objection. We can't afford to ignore it. Young mothers used to hear their elders warn them, 'Don't make a fool out of the child.' But we've changed all that. Now we try to create a paradise for the child to walk in. We hear, 'He's so happy at school!' and we're satisfied and don't ask any other questions. We've reversed the old way--it used to be, 'If he's good, he'll be happy.' But now we say, 'If he's happy, he'll be good.' We consider goodness and happiness as convertible concepts, and we've decided that happiness is the cause, and goodness is the effect. And a child brought up this way is both good and happy without exerting much moral effort to make himself be good. Meanwhile, our role is to surround him with pleasant circumstances to make him happy until he's gotten into the habit of being good.

But there's a weakness with that system. Once there was a mother who got the idea that mothers could bless their children with a good set of teeth into adulthood: 'It makes sense that, for every year you can avoid any wear and tear on the teeth, the child will have good teeth for a year later when he's old.' Her doctor said, 'That's nonsense, ma'am. You're actually ruining your child's teeth by giving him nothing but baby food. At this rate, his teeth will be no stronger than egg shells! No, you need to give him

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plenty of hard crusts to crunch, bones to gnaw, something to harden his teeth on.' In the same way, a child has moral 'teeth' that need to be strengthened if he's going to carve out a place for himself in the real world. He needs to endure some hardness in order to strengthen him into manhood. Blame as well as praise, and tears as well as smiles, are the daily food that Nature provides. Penetrating speech is a tool we can use sparingly to develop character. We need to call a spade a spade, and we can let a child know he was stupid to bring the wrong book, whether it's in front of strangers or not. This is much better than having to have a deep, private conference with Mom over every trivial thing. This is the kind of thing that leads to morbid introspection.

Our position is precarious, as if we're standing between the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis. On one side is our uncontrollable lust for power, like a six-headed monster with razor-sharp teeth. On the other side is a monster who lives in a whirlpool, ready to suck in all the strong, manly traits of our poor little Ulysses. If we have to choose one over the other, then we'd be safer choosing Scylla [power] than Charybdis [permissiveness]. It's better to lose something to the monster's teeth than to be totally sucked into a whirlpool. But there's an even better way.

Consider his situation, and your own. He is used
To all the sweet, respectful treatment of
God's Kingdom. No matter how hard you try, how
Can you create anything as worthy to that?
Your child is least and, thus, 'greatest in the kingdom,'
And he beholds the Father's face.
Being refreshed there, he glows with constant grace.
Be wary that you don't despise him!
Deal with him softly, as if he were
A Prince. Don't be discourteous
With rude moods and short tempers. Even more important,
Beware not to let your words be unbridled.
Restrain yourself, make sure your speech is sweet and sparing,
Your behavior is cautious, and your facial expression is pleasant.
-- adapted from 'Poems of Mother and Child,' by Charlotte Mason

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6. Mrs. Smedley's Story

It's strange how a moral fault in her child gives a mother as much distress as a physical illness. I wonder if that's how God feels when He sees us doing the very thing we hate to do year after year? I think that the experience of motherhood makes it possible to understand a lot of things about God's dealings with us that aren't plain without that experience. For instance, I can more completely believe in the forgiveness of sin when I think about my poor little Hannah's ugly fault. Even though her fault comes up almost every day, what else can I do but forgive?

But forgiveness that does nothing to heal the fault is like the useless ointments that the poor have to use on their wounds because they can't afford anything better. There's one thing I know I should have done better: I've hardly even mentioned our little girl's weakness to John even though it's bothered me for almost a year. But I think he suspects that there's something wrong anyway. We're just never able to talk freely about our shy, pretty Hannah. And maybe that's one of the reasons. She's such a timid, nervous little thing, and she looks so charming when her long eyelashes droop, her sweet little mouth quivers, and her soft cheeks flush--that we're hesitant about exposing,

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even to each other, the faults we see in our delicate, fragile little girl. Maybe neither of us quite trusts the other to be cautious with Hannah and deal gently with her.

But the way things are just can't go on. It's a miserable thing to say, but I can't believe a word she says! And it's getting worse. It's used to be only once in a while that Hannah would be caught lying, but now there's so much doubt about everything that comes out of her mouth, that my life has lost its joy, and my husband is concerned about how pale I look.

For example, here are some incidents that I've noticed just in the past couple of days:

'Hannah, did you remember to give my message to the cook?'

'Yes, Mama.'

'And what did she say?'

'She said she couldn't make any jam today because the fruit hasn't come yet.'

I went into the kitchen a little later and found the cook stirring something in a large brass pot, and, I hate to admit it, but I didn't even bother to ask her if she was making jam. It was the kind of circumstantial response of Hannah's that was most often untrue. Did she lie because she was afraid to confess that she'd forgotten to ask the cook? That seemed unlikely. Knowing how sensitive she is, we've always been careful not to punish any of her little wrongs when she owns up to them. Besides, even fear of punishment could hardly make her create such a logical response from the cook. Here's another example:

'Did you see the Fleming children?'

'Yes, Mama--and Benjie was so rude! He pushed Deirdre off the sidewalk!'

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The nanny, who was sitting by the fireplace with the baby, raised her eyebrows in surprise, and I could tell that the whole episode was a fabrication. Here's an even more extraordinary example:

'Mama, when we were at the park, we saw Miss Butler by the fountain! She kissed me and asked me how my mother was.' She offered this out of the blue, in the most casual, easy way. Well, I ran into Miss Butler just this morning and remarked how kind it was of her to inquire about me through my little girl, and asked, 'Hasn't Hannah grown?'

Miss Butler looked confused. She loves Hannah, probably because she's so lovely. As her parents, we can hardly be oblivious to her beauty.

'I haven't seen Hannah for over a month! But I'd love to visit soon, and satisfy your heart with all the compliments that my sweet little Hannah deserves!'

Little did she know that it was shame, not pride, that made me blush. But I couldn't share my Hannah's tragic secret--not even to such a close friend.

But talking about it with John was a different matter. He needed to know. All of these months I'd been wondering vaguely why my child had this lack of truthfulness, and where it had come from. Yet I had no answers. But a new development in the type of lies Hannah was telling finally made me broach the subject with John. The fact is, this was the only subject we didn't discuss with each other.

'Mama, Drew was so naughty this morning during lessons. He went right up to Miss Clare while she was writing and bumped her elbow on purpose. He made her spill her tea all over the tablecloth.'

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I happened to see Miss Clare upstairs and mentioned that I heard how aggravating Drew had been that morning.

'Aggravating? No, not at all. In fact, he was very busy and obedient.'

I didn't say anything about the spilled tea, but went straight to the room where the children do their school lessons. The table was neat, as Miss Clare always leaves it. There was so sign of a tea stain. What could have been her motivation? This chronic and imaginative deceit was like an obsession. I sat in dismay for an hour or more, not thinking, but stunned by a new concept: perhaps the child was mentally unbalanced and not responsible for her words. But how could that be? She was happier than any of the children when they played, and so intelligent at her lessons. I decided to talk it over with her father that very day.

               ~         .*.          ~        .*.          ~         .*.          ~          .*.         ~

'Oh, John, I'm so miserable about Hannah. Do you realize that she fabricates tales constantly?

'Let's be accurate--they're lies, not fabrications. An ugly sin deserves an ugly name. What kind of lies is she telling? Do you know what's tempting her to lie?'

Hmmm. John didn't seem at all surprised. Maybe he knew more about this than I had supposed.

'That's just it, John. Her fabr-- I mean, her lies are so uncalled for, so unreasonable, that I don't know how I can ever trust her.'

'Unreasonable? Do you mean that her lies don't hang together? That's pretty common with liars. You remember the saying--'Liars had better have excellent memories.'

'Don't call our darling daughter a liar, John. I think she's more to be pitied than blamed. What I mean is that I can't find any rhyme or reason for her lies.' And I told my husband some examples just like the ones I've written about here.

'That's strange! There's a hint of mean-spiritedness in

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the tale about Drew and the spilled tea, a hint of fear of punishment in the one about the jam, but as far as the rest--they're fanciful fabrications pure and simple. They have neither rhyme nor reason, just like you said.'

'I don't think there's any mean-spiritedness in her lies. I was going to reprimand her for making up that story about Drew, but you know how she adores her brother, and she told her tale with the most innocent face. I'm convinced that she had no intention of hurting him.'

'Are you just as convinced that she never lies to cover a wrong-doing out of cowardice?'

'No, I'm not so sure about that. I've caught her more than once in an ingenious lie to cover something up. You know how anxious and sensitive she is. Just the other day, I found a blue teacup from out of the cabinet, missing its handle, and hidden behind the woodwork. Hannah happened to come in right then, so I asked her if she knew who had broken it.

'I don't know for sure, Mama, but I think it was Mary. She was dusting the cabinet, and I'm almost sure I heard a crash.'

'But she couldn't look me in the eye, and there was a sort of wincing, as if she was afraid.'

'Do you generally notice the fear symptoms when she lies?

'As a rule, poor Hannah's fabrications are expressed in a quiet, easy way, with all of the boldness of innocent sincerity. Even when she's found out and confronted with her tale, she looks bewildered, not guilty.'

'I wish you'd stop tiptoeing around the issue by using soft phrases that make sin sound less serious. Call a spade a spade. A 'tale' is something fun to laugh about. A 'fabrication' is something amusing. But a lie? Why, the very soul that can endure that name

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is far removed from righteousness, even when it admits that it lied.'

'But that's just it. I can't bear to label our child's weakness with such an ugly, dark name. You know, I'm starting to suspect that poor little Hannah isn't even aware that she's doing it--she has no idea that she's departed from fact. Sometimes I get a terrible sense of dread that her problem is mental, not moral. I sometimes think that she doesn't have the clear perception of truth and falsehood that most of us are blessed with.'

'Wow!' was what John said, but his surprise was put-on. Now I realized that he'd known what was going on all along and hadn't said anything because he didn't know what to say. In his heart, he agreed with me about our lovely little girl. Hannah's defect was the result of a handicapped mind and it only showed up in this area. How could we have the heart to look forward to the future? Now I understood why poor John was so anxious to call the offense by its blackest name. He was hoping to avoid having to suspect mental illness, which is worse than an outright sin because it has less chance of being cured. We looked at each other blankly. He tried to lighten the air with a casual attitude, but it wasn't working.

I forgot to mention that my sister Emma was staying with us at the time and was listening to my discussion with John. She's the 'smart woman' of the family. She was researching all kinds of things, we assumed she wanted to succeed at the top of her profession as a doctor. She never commented during our talk, which irritated me, since I was dying to know her opinion. But now, while we were trying not to show how discouraged we were, she started laughing, which seemed a little callous of her.

'You silly parents! You're too kindhearted and

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serious--and definitely ridiculous! Why in the world are you staring at each other, imagining all kinds of terrible scenarios? Why not simply accept the problem for what it is, and let current science help you find a solution for Hannah's problem? Poor little thing. It would be understandable if she begged to be saved from her parents!'

'Then you don't think she has any mental deficiency?' we cried out breathlessly, already feeling as if a burden had been lifted from us so that we could straighten up and walk freely.

'Mental deficiency? How absurd! But that's where I think parents are all alike. Every parent thinks that his case is entirely new, and his child is the first of that kind that has ever been born into the world. But anyone with any scientific training at all could see at once that Hannah's lies--I'd prefer to use the word inventions rather than John's ugly word--are a symptom of something else. Annie, you were right in thinking that they're symptoms involving the brain, but mental illness? Definitely not! Silly parents, can't you recognize that you're 'entertaining angels unaware' with Hannah? Her 'problem' of lying is the very quality that makes great poets!'

'Poets and angels are fine in the right situation,' said John a little tersely, 'but I want my child to speak the truth. As a simple, ignorant parent, when my daughter says something as if it's a fact, I'd like to have confidence that it is a fact.'

'Yes, and that's your task as parents. Teach her what's true in the same way that you'd teach her French or math--a little today, a little tomorrow, so that she has a lesson every day. Her poetic gift will only be effective if she learns the nature of truth. Here's a

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question--what's your concept of truth? Is it something we're born with, or something we learn with education?'

'I'm not so sure I want to be an experiment, held up to the world as an example of blundering parental idiots,' I said. 'Maybe we'd better keep our crude, unenlightened notions to ourselves.' I spoke rather snappishly, I admit. I was more concerned for John than for myself about being held up as an example of ridicule in his own home--and by my own sister!

'Oh, dear, now I've annoyed both of you. I'm terrible. And yet, as I observe you with your children, I don't even feel worthy to tie your sandals. I must have thought to myself a thousand times a day, Even with everything science can teach us, the insight and love that parents receive from God is worth much more than that.'

'No, Emma, we're the ones who should apologize for being jealous of science--which is what we were--and we were too quick to take offense. Don't be upset. Please let Annie and me have the benefit of your advice. We really are clueless about what to do for Hannah.'

'Well, I think you were right when you wondered if her fault had two sources--fear of punishment is the first one. She does something wrong but won't admit it. Why not?'

'Yes, that's what I don't understand. Why is she afraid to tell the truth? We've never punished her, or even given her a cold look for anything except this one fault of lying. She's so timid that we've been afraid that harsh measures might make it even harder for her to confess the truth.'

'I think you're right about that. And now we've pin-pointed one reason for the lies: sheer fear, which is a moral weakness. It seems to have no basis, but it's

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there nevertheless. And, to be honest, I'm not so sure that it has no basis. Good behavior, gentleness, obedience and that kind of thing are important to her. This lack of truth-telling seems to be her only vice. For such a timid girl, don't you think that the dread of her parents giving her a cold, disapproving look might be a great temptation to lie?'

'I suppose so, but what are we supposed to do? Should we just overlook her faults and not say anything to her that might help her?'

'Unfortunately, you'll have to be firm in that area. It's the kindest way in the long run. Show little Hannah that you love her. Let her know that you can forgive any fault in her, but that the fault that hurts you the most is when you don't hear the entire truth.'

'I see. So, if, for example, she breaks a valuable vase and conceals it, I'm supposed to discover her secret rather than what I've been doing--let it stay secret to avoid cornering her into a direct lie. I should show her the vase and admit that I know she hid it.'

'No, because her immediate response will be to deny it. No, make sure you have the facts and are positive it was her, and then show her the pieces. Let her know that the vase was valuable, but that's not what upsets you. The thing that hurts you even more than that is that she couldn't trust her mother and admit what she had done. Even now I can imagine the touching scene that will follow, one of those mother/child moments that are too intimate and precious for outsiders to see.'

Tears came to my eyes, because I could imagine the scene, too. Now I understood that the way to draw my child closer to me was to always be forgiving, always understanding and loving her, and always opposing any falsehood or deception that might come between us. I was lost in my lovely thoughts, picturing how someday I might

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be able to show her that her mother's quick desire to forgive her was only a faint image of the 'all-forgiving gentleness of God,' when John interrupted my thoughts.

'I understand that if we both make it a point to freely and generously forgive every one of her little mistakes on the condition that she admits them, we might cure her of the lying she does out of fear of being punished. But the problem is, I don't think she recognizes the difference between truth and fiction anymore. She'll continue to fabricate purely inventive things that happened, and the lies will continue. She still won't be able to be trusted.'

''Purely inventive'--that's just it. Don't you see? Hannah is full of creative imagination. She imagines all kinds of scenes that evolve in her mind. All the different things that might have happened seem so real to her that she's bewildered and hardly able to distinguish which event actually happened, and which came from her imagination. It's useless to agonize over this as a moral fault. It's not a lack of morals, it's a lack of mental balance. Her mind is fine, but her creative energy runs away with her. She imagines what might have happened more clearly than what actually happened. I'll bet she loves fairy tales, doesn't she?'

'Well, to be honest, I assumed they'd only encourage her fabrications, so I've pretty much limited her to purely factual books.'

'I suspect that's a mistake. An assertive imagination like Hannah's needs its proper nourishment. Let her have her daily rations. She should hear 'The Babes in the Wood,' 'The Little Match-Girl,' 'The Snow-Maiden,' stories and legends that are loosely based on historic fact, and, most important of all, stories from the Bible. She should have whatever she can replay in her mind over and over, but not unimaginative twaddle about children just like her doing the kinds of things she does,

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whether they're funny or serious. She needs exposure to the larger world beyond her routine life where anything is possible and beautiful things are always happening. If you give her this kind of mental food that she needs so much, then her mind will be so full of mental images that she won't be tempted to make up exciting versions of what happens in her routine, everyday life.'

My husband laughed. 'My dear Emma, maybe you'd better let us do the best we can to fix the problem; your idea is too wild! Your way would only encourage her! 'Behold, here comes that dreamer!' Imagine sending my daughter into the world labelled as a dreamer!'

'That's an inaccurate quote for this situation. I haven't finished. I truly believe that starving Hannah's imagination will do some damage to her. But, at the same time, you're right about the need to diligently cultivate accurate knowledge and a love for truth. What is truth but plain, simple fact as it actually exists? I believe that Hannah's fabrications are the result of her lack of being able to perceive fact because her mind is so preoccupied.'

'Well, then, what should we do?'

'Well, every day, as much as half a dozen times every day, give her 'truth lessons.' Send her to the window and say, 'Look outside, Hannah, and tell me what you see.' She'll come back, say that she saw a cow when there's really a horse out there, and you send her back to do it again the right way. She does it again and this time, she brings back the correct report. This teaches her that it's not true to say what isn't there. You might ask her to give a long message to your cook, and instruct the cook to write down exactly what Hannah actually relays. If she did well, then Hannah gets a kiss for telling the truth. Gradually, she'll come to honor truth, and she'll learn to tell the difference between facts that contain truth in every part, and fanciful creations of make-believe where anything goes.'

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'You know, Emma, I think you're right! Most of Hannah's lies are told with such innocence that I wouldn't be surprised if they really do come from the world of make-believe. At any rate, let's try Emma's suggestions, okay, John?'

'Okay, we'll try them, and we'll be diligent to follow them carefully. It sounds reasonable, especially since there doesn't seem to be a trace of mean-spiritedness in Hannah's lies.'

'Believe me, if there were, the treatment would be more complicated. First you'd have to deal with the mean-spiritedness, and then you'd have to teach her to love truth with little daily lessons. That's the mistake that so many people make. They assume that child are born understanding and loving truth by nature, but they aren't. The best parents need to be on guard to hinder any opportunities for their child to make a false statement.'

'We're so grateful! Do you know what we owe you? Let me tell you about a tragic example that we see all the time, the one that's made me dread Hannah's possible future all the more. It's no great secret, but I don't think you should repeat it publicly. You know Mrs. Casterton, who lives next door? I hate to say it, but not a word she says can be trusted! She might say that such-and-such has a serious type of scarlet fever, and even while she's talking about it, you know it's not true. Her husband, children, servants, neighbors all know it, and she's developed that simpering kind of mannerism that women get when they lose the respect of others, and their own self-respect. You've saved Hannah from growing up to be just like her!'

'Poor woman! And to think that this shameful condition might have been prevented if her parents had understood their obligation.'

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7. Ability

'Fred, don't forget to go to Mrs. Milner's to get the name of the lady who does her laundry.'

'Okay, Mom!' And Fred was halfway down the driveway before his mother had time to ask him to do a second errand. Did I say second? No, it would have been the seventh; Mrs. Milner's was already the sixth, and Mrs. Bruce's anxious expression showed that she didn't much faith in her son's, 'Okay, Mom!'

'I just don't know what to do about Fred, doctor. I'm never sure he'll do what I ask him to. Actually, if I were completely honest, I'd have to say that I'm sure he won't. I know it's a trivial matter, but the same thing happens twenty times a day. He seems determined to forget to do anything that's asked of him, and it makes me worried about his future.'

Dr. Maclehose drummed his fingers on the table as he thought, and then pursed his lips to whistle. Mrs. Bruce's comment seemed crazy to him. He had personally delivered all nine of the Bruce children, and he was one of the family's most respected and trusted friends. And he liked the Bruces. How could he not? The parents were smart and friendly, the children were nice looking, well behaved and

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outgoing. They were just the kind of family to have as friends. At the same time, the doctor saw an opportunity in their situation to mount his favorite hobby horse. 'My ideal world is a place where doctors are permitted to act as teachers to parents. It's hard to imagine the Bruce children ruining their lives in half a dozen different ways because their parents don't know any better. And such nice people, too!'

Dr. Maclehose had been in intimate contact with the family for seventeen years, but he had never before had the opportunity to offer his opinion about how they were raising their children. That's why he was drumming his fingers on the table, considering. 'Be gentle and kind, doctor, gentle and kind. Don't make a mess of it now, or you'll never have a chance to say anything again. But if you hit the nail on the head--who knows?'

'Does the same thing happen with his school work?'

'Yes, he's always in trouble. He'll forget to bring his book, or to bring his note, or do his homework. In fact, his whole school career has been nothing more than a list of things he's forgotten and the penalties he's had to endure for them.'

'He sounds even worse than that Dean of Canterbury whose wife made him keep a log of his expenditures; one week's entries read, Gloves--5 dollars, Forgets--4 dollars and fifteen cents. His writing wasn't very legible, so his wife, looking over his shoulder, cried out, 'Faggots! What in the world is that--have you been buying sticks?' 'No, dear, it says forgets.' And his wife gave it up.'

'That's an amusing story, doctor, but an endearing characteristic in a Dean isn't going to help my son survive in the world. Mr. Bruce and I are both worried about Fred.'

'He's one of the school's eleven Cricket players, isn't he?'

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'Oh, yes, and he loves it! He never forgets about his cricket matches! It's, 'Mom, I need to eat early because we have to be on the field by two!' or, 'Don't forget to have my uniform clean for Friday, pretty please, will you, Mommykins?' He knows how to coax. 'My subscription [dues] need to be paid on Thursday, Mom!' and he'll remind me every day until he gets the money.'

'That's good news--it shows that there's nothing wrong with his brain!'

'Good heaven's, doctor! I never thought there was anything wrong with his brain!'

'I didn't mean to alarm you, but, well, you know, it comes down to two things. It's either a chronic disease that needs medical treatment, or it's simply a case of defective education--a bit of trouble resulting from some lack that his parents need to fix as soon as possible.'

Mrs. Bruce was a bit offended at his serious view of the problem. It was one thing for her to complain about her oldest son, the pride of her heart, but it was a different matter altogether to hear someone else taking it seriously.

'Doctor, don't you think maybe you're taking a common childhood flaw a bit too seriously? It's annoying that he's so forgetful, but he'll probably grow out of it in a year or two. Time will make him more reliable. It's just the impulsiveness of youth. For what it's worth, I don't like to see a child who acts and thinks like a grown man.' The doctor started drumming his fingers on the table again. He had already put his foot in his mouth, and he regretted his recklessness.

'Well, I daresay you're right to make some allowances for his age, but we old doctors, whose job is to study the close relationship

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between mind and matter, tend to see only one conclusion. We feel that any fault of the mind or body, if left to itself, will only get worse.'

'Another cup of tea, doctor? I'm not sure I follow--I don't know much about science. Are you saying that Fred will only get more forgetful and less reliable as he gets older?'

'I don't know why I said it so badly, but, yes, that's what I mean. Of course, circumstances might motivate him in the other direction. It's possible that Fred might develop into an old man who's so cautious and serious that his mother will be ashamed of him.'

'Don't make fun of me, doctor. You make the whole thing sound too serious to be a laughing matter.' The doctor gave no reply to that. There was silence in the room for three full minutes, while both of them thought.

Mrs. Bruce spoke up in a haughty tone. 'You say that a fault left to itself will only get worse. What are we supposed to do? His father and I want to do what's right.' Her maternal pride was offended, but Mrs. Bruce was in earnest. All her wits were alert. 'Ah, I see I've scored!' thought the doctor. And then he responded in a gentle, respectful manner in order to soothe her ruffled feathers.

'You ask a question that's not so easy to answer. But allow me, first, to try to clarify the principle. When that's done, the question of what to do will settle itself. Fred never forgets his cricket commitments or other of his fun events, right? Well, why not? Because his interest is excited about it, therefore his whole attention is focused on the fact to be remembered. The fact is, anything that you regard with your full

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attention will be almost impossible to forget. So, if you can get Fred to focus his attention fully on the matter at hand, then he won't forget it.'

'That may be true--but how am I supposed to make a message for Mrs. Milner as interesting to him as his cricket practice?'

'Ah! There's the rub. If you had started this a year ago with Fred, the whole thing would have settled itself. The habit would already have been formed.'

Mrs. Bruce's quick intelligence came to the rescue. 'I see, he needs to have the habit of paying attention so that he'll naturally attend to what he's told, whether it's something he's especially interested in or not.'

'Yes, you've hit it exactly, except for the word 'naturally.' Right now, Fred is pleasantly doing what comes naturally, in this and in some other respects. But to use habit in an educational sense means to correct nature. If only parents would recognize that, the world could become a big corrective school. Then the next generation, or maybe the one after that, would dwell in the kingdom of heaven all the time, rather than every now and then, here and there, which is the best we can seem to manage.'

Mrs. Bruce was persistent. 'I'm not sure I see what you mean. But, getting back to the habit of attention, which is how I need to reform Fred--please tell me what I should do. You men are so fond of going off into principles and theories, while we poor women can't grasp any more than a practical suggestion here and there to put into use. My poor son would be hurt to know how little his doctor 'friend' thinks of him.'

'Poor women, you call yourselves? You've got enough wit that two of your comments have already staggered me! You've accused my theories of having no practical use, and you've questioned my affection for Fred,

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who's been one of my favorites ever since he was out of diapers! And now I'm supposed to be polite? What is it you want me to say next?'

'Talk about habit, doctor, stick to the topic of habit. Don't talk nonsense when time is ticking away; Fred's not getting any younger. Pretend Fred turned one year old today. Please tell me what I should be doing at this young age to help him begin to pay attention. And, by the way, why didn't you bring this up a long time ago, when Fred was little?'

'You never asked me. It would have been rude of me to presume to give you parenting lessons. I wouldn't have done that. Every first-time mother thinks that she's infallible and knows more about children than all the doctors in the world. But, let's pretend you had asked me. I would have said, Give him something every day to occupy himself with, and stretch the time out with each toy a little longer than the day before. Suppose he picks a daisy, coos over it delightedly, and then drops it the next instant. That's when you pick it up, and, using the sweet coaxing ways that mothers know how to employ, you get him to examine it in a baby-like way for a minute, or two minutes, and then three minutes at a time.'

'I see. I should try to fix his thoughts on one thing at a time, and for as long as I can, either on what he sees or what he hears. Do you think that if that sort of thing is continued with a child from his infancy, that he'll get used to paying attention?'

'I'm sure of it. What people call ability--a different thing than genius, or even talent--is nothing more than the power of fixing the attention steadily on the matter at hand,

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and success in life depends on cultivating this ability more than on any natural inborn talent. If you describe a case to a lawyer, or a successful businessman, notice how he absorbs everything you say. He keeps track of the main subject, straightens out any side issues, and, before you've even finished telling him, he'll have the whole matter spread out in order in his mind. Then comes talent or genius, or whatever, to deal with the facts he's taken in. But paying attention is an attribute that comes with training, and no genius makes a shot in the dark without it.'

'But don't you think that attention itself is a natural ability or talent, or whatever?'

'No, not at all. It's entirely the result of training. A person can be born with a natural ability or talent for numbers, or drawing, or music--but attention is a different matter. Attention is simply the ability to turn one's whole self to the matter at hand. It's a key to success that's within everyone's reach, but the skill to use it comes only with training. Circumstances might put a person in a position where he has to train himself to do it, but it takes him a lot more effort when he's older, and nine times out of ten, he won't make the effort. But a child, on the other hand, can be trained by his parents and it will come easy for him. There's no doubt that he'll succeed.'

'But I thought schoolwork, Latin and math, that sort of thing, would provide that kind of training.'

'They should, but there's only a slight possibility that the right wellspring will be touched during a child's normal routine. From what you've said about Fred's schoolwork, I can tell that it hasn't been touched in his case. It's an incredible waste how much knowledge a child will allow to slip by instead of allowing it into his mind! Unfortunately, Fred's schooling won't deal with this training; you'll have to

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take it on yourself. It would be a tragic shame to let a child as fine as Fred waste his life.'

'Well, what can I do?'

'You'll have to start from where you are. We know that Fred has the ability of paying attention and therefore we know he's able to remember. He's already shown that he has no problem remembering what interests him. The question is, how can you make a message to Mrs. Milner as interesting to him as cricket? Well, the message itself will have no intrinsic interest to him in and of itself; the interest will have to be put on it from without. There are lots of ways of doing this. Try one, when it no longer works, try something else. The problem is, with a boy as old as Fred, you won't be able to form the habit of paying attention yourself like you could with a young child. All you can do is to help and encourage him. You can give him the impulse and motivation, but he'll have to do the training for himself.'

'Can you say it again and use all one-syllable words, doctor? I haven't figured out how to reduce your comments to practical things I can do about it.'

'No? Well, Fred will have to train himself at this point, and you'll have to provide motives for him. Explain to him what we've been talking about regarding attention. Let him know the facts, and that you can't do it for him. If he wants to make a responsible man of himself, he'll have to make himself attend and remember. Let him know that it will be an uphill battle because the habit of paying attention goes against his natural impulses. That will appeal to him--it's within a boy's nature to show some fighting spirit. The bigger and darker you make the enemy side seem, the more he'll enjoy participating. When I was a boy, I had to fight this very same battle myself, and I'll tell you what I did. I posted a card every week, with a line down the middle. One side was for 'Remembers,' and the other side was for 'Forgets.' I went over what I had done every night--just the effort of remembering what I had done over the day was helpful--and put a check mark for every time I had remembered or forgotten something

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that day. I pretended there were two guys playing--I was the on the Remembers side, and my opponent was on the Forgets side. It got really exciting! By Thursday, if I had 33 points in my Remembers side, and he had 36, it motivated me to be serious and fight harder. I wasn't just afraid that Forgets might win the game (which went from Sunday to Saturday), but my Remembers side had to win by ten points. If my side got less than ten more, then we tied, and it counted as a game lost.'

'That sounds like fun! But, doctor, I wish you'd talk to Fred yourself. A word from you might go a long way.'

'I'll try to find a chance to speak with him, but an outsider can't do much. It all rests with Fred himself, and his parents.'

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8. Poor Mrs. Jumeau!

'Now, kids, when I go out, I don't want you to make any noise. Your mom isn't feeling well, and you children need to be considerate of her.'

'Oh, Mom's sick again?' said little Nathan, his face falling.

'Poor Nathan! He doesn't like it when Mom's sick. We all have to be so quiet, but there's nowhere we can go to do anything. It doesn't feel like home when Mom's not around.'

'Makayla's right,' added Caleb, who was the oldest. 'If I was big enough, I'd run away and go to sea, Mom's so sick all the time! But, Dad, isn't it odd how she was so well yesterday, doing all kinds of work, helping the maids to clean out the kitchen cabinets? And now today, she's too sick to move or talk. But by tomorrow, she could be our cheerful mother again, well enough to go catch shrimp with us, or anything else!'

'That's because your mother's so selfless, Caleb. It seems like the moment she's feeling better, she does more than she should for all of us, and then she ends up sick again. I wish we could teach her to be more selfish and think of herself--not just for her sake, but for us, too. Having her

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with us is better than all the things she can do for us, right, Caleb?'

'You bet! We'd take such good care of her, if she'd let us! But whatever she has must be strange. Remember when we had scarlet fever, Dad? Well, for weeks and weeks after the fever was gone, I was no stronger than a kitten. I couldn't get up and get around and do things for other people, no matter how unselfish I was (if I was unselfish, that is!) That's what's so strange. Do you think Dr. Prideau knows what's wrong with Mom?'

'More than you do, I'm sure, Caleb. But I have to admit, your mother's illness is a mystery to us all. Okay, kids--off you go! I need to send a couple of emails before I go.'

Mr. Jumeau never did send his emails. He sat at his computer desk staring at the monitor, pondering the nature of his wife's strange illness. What Caleb had brought up with his boyish frankness was a thought that had already vaguely occurred to him. Whatever his wife's problem was didn't seem to affect her physical strength. The episodes came on suddenly, left just as suddenly, and always left her feeling great and in good spirits. And that was surprising since, during an episode, she'd be laid up in bed, pale, and with blue lips that were painful to even look at. Besides, his wife was so truthful by nature, so unselfish and devoted to her family, that it was as unlikely that she'd pretend to be sick as it was to think she might rob a bank. These episodes had happened for several years. Mr. Jumeau had spent quite a bit of money already on doctors and alternative care practitioners. But nothing seemed to help. 'She has no sign of infection or disease.' 'She's just stressed.' 'Give her plenty of rest, healthy diet, frequent change of scenery, no excitement. Nature

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will cure her in time, but it will take time. We need to be patient, sir.' He had heard this kind of thing again and again. At least their conclusions seemed consistent; that was some comfort.

He went upstairs to have a last look at the invalid. She lay on the bed, stretched out with her arms and legs composed, and rigid as death. A tear fell from her eye as Mr. Jumeau kissed her. Then he went out, aching with a vague, undefined dread. If he focused on that feeling and put it into words, he'd have to confess that he feared that one day, she would slip into that death-like stillness and never come back.

And what about Mrs. Jumeau? She felt the tear run down her cheek, heard her husband sigh, and heard his disappointed footsteps as he left. Her weak pulse stirred with . . . was it joy? But the 'attack' wasn't over yet. For hours, she just lay there, rigid, speechless, eyes closed. She didn't notice the gentle opening of the door from time to time as various members of the family or the servants came to check on her. Weren't they afraid to leave her alone? No, not really--we can get used to anything. Mr. Jumeau, the children and the servants were all used to Mrs. Jumeau's 'attacks.' Dr. Prideau came after her husband called. He tried extreme measures to restore her, but they didn't help. She was aware of his efforts, but she wasn't aware of how hard she was resisting them.

Mr. Jumeau had urgent business meetings, so it was late before he was able to return, although he was anxious all day. It was the warm kind of evening that sometimes comes in London in late May, when windows are opened to let in the breath of spring. When he was almost at the end of the street, he could hear familiar snatches of a tune from Wagner's Parsival, played on the piano with the energy needed to play Wagner. Could it be his wife? It couldn't be

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anyone else. As he got closer, her exquisite touch at the piano keys was unmistakable. So then, the attack must be over. Oddly enough, his joy was mixed. What was the meaning of her strange episodes? What was causing them?

It was a great evening. Mrs. Jumeau was in the best mood. She was sweet to her husband, thoughtful and maternal with her children, who were all in bed by now, and ready to talk eagerly about anything at all--except the episode that morning. If the subject was even hinted at, she'd laugh it off as something too trivial to dwell on. She was up bright and early the next morning, since she had decided to go on an outing with the children. They didn't go shrimping, like Caleb had mentioned. They decided to take a trip to the botanical gardens. Even after a long day seeing the gardens, neither she nor the children were all that tired when they returned home.

'I must get to the bottom of this,' thought Mr. Jumeau.

~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*.. ~

'Your wife's case is complicated, Mr. Jumeau. If I come right out and say that Mrs. Jumeau is psychosomatic, you'll get the wrong idea and refuse to hear anything else I have to say.'

Mr. Jumeau's expression grew dark. 'Even if you said that, I'd be more inclined to trust my own senses. My wife isn't pretending to be sick.'

'That's to be expected. Faked illness and psychosomatic illness are so often confused. It's no wonder. Psychosomatic disorders are so misunderstood. They affect both men and women. I knew a pastor in northern England who suffered from psychosomatic laryngitis. He was a popular evangelical preacher, and his congregation was fully sympathetic.

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Of course, he couldn't preach, so his devoted congregation sent him to southern France to heal, then to Algiers, then Madeira. After each of these of these curative trips, he'd return rested and well, but unable to raise his voice above a whisper. This went on for three years. Then his Bishop got involved. He said that the church needed a preacher who could be depended on permanently, and fully able to do the job, and he'd find someone to replace the ailing preacher. The next Sunday, the preacher preached and never lost his voice again. And this wasn't a lazy man trying to take advantage. This was a sincere, honest Christian who would rather be working than idling about on trips around the world. His case wasn't all that unusual. But it's human nature--if you take any person and keep him in bed for a week or two, perhaps with a bad cold, he'll submit to pity and spoiling, complain about all kinds of little symptoms, and feel like every one of them is serious and life threatening. And that's an active person! A sedentary man is often as likely to succumb to this foe as readily as a woman. In fact, I've seen it happen with dogs! Haven't you ever seen a dog limping pathetically on three legs, milking the pity for all it's worth, until his master whistles and then he takes off on all fours?'

'This isn't making a lot of sense; what does any of this have to do with my wife?'

'Give me a minute to explain. The throat seems to be a commonly affected area. I knew a lady, a very nice lady, who went around for years speaking in a painful whisper, while everyone said, 'Poor Mrs. Marjoribanks!' But one night, her bedroom curtains caught fire

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and she rushed to the door screaming, 'Ann, Ann! The house is on fire! Come here quick!' That dear woman sincerely believed that something 'burst in her throat' that night. She described the sensation in detail. Her friends believed her and her doctor didn't contradict her. For the record, the most effective remedy in these cases seems to be a house fire, but obviously that wouldn't be the best treatment in every case. I do know of a case, though, where the house fire prescription worked great. It was in a London women's hospital. There was a very puzzling case--a patient hadn't been able to move her arms or legs for months. She was lifted in and out of bed like a log, and spoon-fed her meals as if they were being poured into a bottle. Well, one clever young resident schemed with all the nurses. In the middle of the night, they filled her room with fumes and glaring light. She tried to cry out, but the smoke was suffocating. She jumped out of bed and ran for the door. The smoke was choking her. She threw the window open, a fireman threw her up a rope ladder, she climbed down through the window, and was safe. The whole thing was a hoax, but it cured her, and the method was always kept secret. Here's another example. A friend of mine decided to treat one young woman suffering from a psychosomatic illness in his own home. He hired a trained nurse, forbid any of her family to visit her, and waited for the expected cure. But she didn't get any better. 'That's odd; there must be some reason,' he thought. And he discovered that every night, the girl's mother was sneaking in to wish her child goodnight! When these maternal visits were stopped, the girl finally recovered.'

'Those are interesting examples, but I don't see what they have to do with my wife. Each of your cases involves a person with weak or disordered intellect faking an illness for no clear purpose. At least the street beggars

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who know how to create sores on their body have the advantage of doing it for money.'

'I don't think I explained myself very well. These weren't people with weak or disordered intellect. In fact, they were the opposite. They weren't faking their illnesses, either. Not one of them believed they were capable of making the effort that they were tricked into. The whole question is an issue of what goes on in the gray area between physical and psychological science. Note that it doesn't even enter the area of pathological disease. Treating pathological diseases isn't something I'd be trying to explain to a lay person.'

'I'm trying to understand.'

'Keep trying--it's worth your while. If every man made an effort to understand the few things we know about this fascinating subject, he might be able to save his own family members and perhaps even himself from a lot of misery and wasted energy. As I've said, psychosomatic disorders don't only affect the female gender.'

'Go on--I'm still not seeing that this has anything to do with my wife.'

'That's because psychosomatic disorders look different in every case. It's like a million-headed monster whose heads all look vastly different from each other--yet each one is the same monster. To understand what's at the root of it, we have to consider human nature itself. We talk casually about what we inherit from our ancestors and what we experience from our environment, and assume that these two factors make up everything there is about human nature. But that's not true. Those two aspects only account for a few peculiarities in a person. Aside from these, people come into the world equipped for life with certain things that we don't think enough about. It's a huge subject, so I'll limit myself to mentioning just one or two items.

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'We're all imperfect beings, and we come into the world subject to the uneasy stirrings of a very few basic desires. In other words, the poorest inner-city child and the richest infant prince both are subject to the desire for esteem, the desire for companionship, for power, etc. Some children are more prone to certain desires, and others are more prone to other desires. Because of their modest nature and position of dependence, women tend to be subject to the desire for esteem. They crave attention and being well-thought of at any price. When men desire esteem, they have meetings, or the best seat at dinners. Even pyromaniacs and social outcasts crave esteem in the form of notoriety, or esteem from bad people, at any price--and the result is cities in flames, or serial murders. A person uses what he knows to gain the esteem he craves--a gnawing craving that stems from his earliest awareness. But a decent woman doesn't have very many outlets or options. All of the esteem that comes her way is in the form of affection from those in her sphere. She needs esteem; it's vitally necessary to her very nature.

'Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles,'

are literally the 'daily food of human nature' for her.

'And then her personal experience gets involved. When she's sick, she becomes the center focus, the object of special attention to everyone she loves. So, to get the esteem she needs, she'll be sick.'

'Wait a minute, you're contradicting yourself! You're not talking about a decent woman, but one who's deceptive and lives a premeditated lie!'

'No, I'm talking about a good, decent woman. Now there's a condition that hardly anyone considers. Mrs. Jumeau lies in bed with rigid arms and legs

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and a pale face for hours at a time. Is she pretending all of this? It would be as difficult as pretending to have a gunshot wound. But people often forget the intimate relationship and cooperation of the mind and body. The body submits itself involuntarily to carry out what the mind conceives of. Mrs. Jumeau isn't thinking herself into a deathly paleness. What's happening is that every tiny nerve fiber that's entwined with every microscopic capillary that brings color to her cheeks, is connected to her mind. In obedience to her thinking brain, those nerves and capillaries relax or contract. When they relax, there's free flow of blood, bringing color and life to her body. When they contract, limp pallor and listlessness result in the look and sensation of a death-like trance. The whole mysterious episode depends on the cooperation of invisible thought and physical reactions. Most women aren't aware of this connection. And here's my diagnosis of what's happening: the patient craves visible evidence of the esteem that her human nature so desperately needs. Her sub-conscious mind remembers how these displays accompany physical illness. Her physical body apprehends the situation and responds by making her sick. It doesn't take long before the displays of esteem no longer come every time she's sick, but the habit has been established. Her body continues to bring on these periods of sickness that bring real suffering to her--yet she hasn't the slightest idea that she's unwittingly been the cause.'

Mr. Jumeau was slowly convinced. Now that he could see that his wife was totally blameless, he could accept the rest of it. Not only that, but he began to realize that there had been an underlying problem in the beginning, before she began having these attacks--how else could his wife have been forced to take such abnormal measures to satisfy a craving that was entirely justified and understandable because it was part of her human nature?

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'I'm beginning to understand. So then, what do I need to do?'

"In Mrs. Jumeau's case, I'm going to recommend something that I wouldn't suggest to almost anyone else. Tell her everything I've told you. Put the situation into her hands. I don't need to tell you to avoid making her feel disgraced. Trust her--she'll do the right thing and come up with a way to save herself. Yet, all the time, she'll need your wisdom and gentle help. As far as your children and servants, they have less

'Firm reason and balanced will,'

[so they should be instructed to give her the attention she deserves, but not to encourage the attacks by rewarding them with pity and attention when they come on.] That should help quite a bit. Unfortunately, this condition that plagues too many of our best and most organized women in one way or another, is just one more example of how lives are ruined by education that's not only imperfect, but goes in the wrong direction.'

'Education? How could education help in this situation?'

'Well, if all women knew the basic facts, even as slightly as what I've just shared with you, then the best women would take steps to make sure it never happened to them. It would simply put them on their guard. It's not enough to give them accomplishments and higher education. Those things satisfy their desire for esteem only temporarily. But they need more than a warning signal. Women, as well as men, need to have their share of important work in the world in order to receive esteem from the world. Even as a cherished wife and mother, she needs

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to be involved with the world's needs and be able to minister with the gifts she has. It's a fact that we're all 'brethren,' male and female, and women as well as men suffer when they're secluded from common life.'

~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..  ~  .*..

Mrs. Jumeau's life wasn't 'ruined.' It turned out just as the doctor predicted. For a few days after she learned about his theory, she was too ashamed and embarrassed to even look her husband in the face. But then she rose to the need, gathered her forces, fought her own fight, and found victory.

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9. 'A Merry Christmas To You!'

Christmas vacation! Boys and girls at boarding school are counting the days until their homecoming. Young men and young ladies who have outgrown childish things don't mark off each day on their calendar, but they consult the railway schedules. The younger siblings who are waiting at home are storing up surprises. The father says cheerfully, 'We'll soon have all of our brood at home again.' And what about the mother? Nobody, not even the youngest schoolgirl, is as happy as she is. She imagines setting out for church on Christmas morning with, hopefully, her whole scattered flock at her side. She's already picturing how each one of them has grown and changed, yet how much they've stayed the same. She knows that Lucy will return even prettier and more loving than ever. William will be even more of a tease, Owen will be kinder, and 'how excited they'll all be to see little Emma!'

At the same time, there's a trace of anxiety in her face as she plans and looks forward to the holidays. Naturally, the bulk of the household tasks fall to her. It's not easy to arrange a household for a sudden increase of members who will be staying for an extended visit. Servants will have to be hired, and they may be difficult to manage. Entertainment and things to do have to be planned,

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and then there's--and here, the mother stops short and avoids putting into clear thought the 'and then there's--' that accompanies the vacation weeks after Christmas Day has come and gone.

'Well, let's have a merry Christmas, at any rate,' she says to herself. 'We just won't worry about the rest.'

What is it that's worrying her? Pretty Lucy's face clouds into sullen expressions. Kind Owen is quickly offended, and his outbursts make everyone else uncomfortable. William, in spite of his joking, has spells of gloomy moodiness. Thomas can be argumentative, and insists that he's always right. Alison--is she always being completely honest and upfront? There are plenty of reasons for the strain of anxiety that mingles with the mother's joy. It's not easy to keep eight or nine young people on their best behavior for weeks at a time without their usual schedule of things to keep them busy, especially when you consider that they not only lack the self-control and maturity of adulthood, but may have inherited their parents' failings as well as other unattractive faults that can't be traced to any definite origin. It's excellent advice for mothers to have 'Quiet Days' of rest for her body and mind, and for whatever spiritual refreshment she can find, to prepare herself for the exhausting stress (however delightful it may be) of Christmas vacation.

Those in charge of the household will have a lot of work to do during the children's vacation. They'll need to try and assess the new thoughts that are influencing their children as much as they can, and then to modify the opinions their children are forming, even the tiniest bit. They'll need to keep a clear distinction between duties and relaxation, even during the holidays, and they need to resume the work of training their children's characters, which they had to relinquish while the children were away at school. But the issue of vacations isn't

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as difficult as it appears, as many easy-going mothers have found.

There's a way to go about it, a secret key that mothers know of--if they don't, it's unfortunate for the happiness of their households. Is it keeping the children busy? Lots of interests? Keeping children busy is always helpful--we all know that 'idle hands are the devil's workshop.' But the 'lots of interests' are only successful if used along with the secret key. Without that, the more stimulating amusements will tend to disturb the home atmosphere and make one child sulky, another child domineering, another one selfish--in a word, bring out the worst in each child according to his particular weakness.

Every mother knows the secret, but some may have forgotten the magic it can do. As deceptively simplistic as it sounds, nothing is as hard to convince children of as their parents' love for them. They don't talk about it, but if they did, this is what most children would say:

'Yes, I know Mom loves me in a way, but not like she loves X.'

'What do you mean, 'in a way'?'

'You know what I mean--she's our mother, of course, so naturally she's concerned about my welfare and things.'

'But how does she love X?'

'Oh, I can't really explain it. She just seems to genuinely like her, she likes to look at her, shows more affection for her and--I don't mean that she isn't a good mother. She tries hard to be fair and treats all of us exactly the same, but, after all, who can help liking X best? I'm so unlikable, nobody cares for me.'

If you put most children (including X!) of good, loving parents in the Palace of Truth, children

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of all ages from six to about twenty, then this is just the kind of thing you're likely to hear. Boys generally think that their mother loves the sibling more, and girls think their father loves the other more, but that's only by comparison. They'll say the other parent is just the nicer one of the two. But don't expect children to recognize and accept how much love is lavished on them--they just never do.

And why not? The child we just heard has told us: he admitted that the parents are quite fair, there's no fault to be found in them, but 'I'm so unlikable, nobody cares for me.' And that's the secret of 'naughtiness.' There's nothing more pathetic than the dual kind of life that children are vaguely conscious of. On the one hand, they sense possibilities of full and promising personhood, the budding of the goodness that's within them, and their strong sense of justice wants full credit and recognition for it. Mom and Dad ought to know about the potential they have to be wonderful and impressive and noble. They want some recognition and appreciation--and if they can't get it from Mom and Dad in the living room, they'll try to get it in the kitchen or in the yard. Is their assessment of their potential just castles in the air, like Alnaschar's visions of all the money he'd get from his eggs [in Arabian Nights]? If the child is like Alnascher, then it's the parents, not the child, who kick the basket of eggs over.

Children may seem too obsessed about their 'rights,' and too free with their accusations of, 'It's not fair!' or, 'That's not right!' But it's only because they justify their claims on account of their wonderful potential for the greatness they sense within. Unfortunately, everyone else treats them according to their actual self. Even they themselves don't think much of what they are right now. They see their current selves as unlikable. If you truly analyze any of these scornful, or vain, or arrogant children, you'll discover that they have one thing in common--every one of them sees himself as unlikable.

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Now, if you can see how unlikable you are, then it seems impossible that anyone can love you. Sure, people are kind to you and everything, but that's only because they're decent, or tenderhearted, or doing what they know they should. It has nothing to do with you personally. What you really need is someone who will see you for who you are and be kind to you and love you for your own sake, not for anything else. That's the way we reason when we're young. It's the same old story--the good that I want to do, I don't do. But the evil that I don't want to do is what I do. Except that we feel things more intensely when we're young, and we tend to change sides, siding with ourselves, and then against ourselves. No wonder adults think that youths are 'difficult!' Even the youths themselves think they're difficult.

'I don't believe that for a second!' you might be thinking if you look on the surface and remember the fun and games and lightheartedness, the laughing and nonsense and bright looks of many young people you know. Of course they're happy--because they're young. But if teenagers could write books about those years themselves, we'd have lots of books about the sadness of youth. Happiness and melancholy aren't all that far apart.

When does this anxious trouble of youth begin? The gleeful baby is totally exempt from it. So are happy-go-lucky preschoolers. They'll gather around you and steal your heart and take your love for granted, and accept whatever you offer them without questioning it. But some children don't even begin school before this doubt with its two different sides is upon him. I know a little four-year-old boy, healthy and intelligent, full of joy and fun and good sense, who sometimes has sad moments because one person or another doesn't love him, and other happy,

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grateful moments because some little token or attention assures him of the person's love. His mother has the delicate tact that all mothers seem to have. She understands that her son needs continual reassurance to maintain his own self-worth. She calls him her 'favorite boy,' handles him affectionately, and in that way makes him feel like he's on equal footing with his two bright sisters who, without saying anything to him, seem sweeter and more loveable than he is. A while ago I noticed a very enlightening fact in a child who died at a young age. His parents maintained an atmosphere of love and gladness with their children, but, oddly enough, this happy, bright little boy was completely incapable of recognizing that his parents loved him. It seemed only natural that they should love his sister, but how could they love him?

The youngest children delight in love, but what about the older preschoolers? All too soon they're expected to yield to the younger ones and show affection because now they're the 'big brother' or 'big sister.' The detached independence of some of these children is rather sad, and worth reflecting on. The playroom is like a microcosm of the world's disease--a craving for love that drives children and even adults to think and do bad things.

I knew a girl whose parents totally devoted themselves to her training. They surrounded her with care and a sufficient amount of affection. But they didn't say flattering things about her openly because they had an old-fashioned notion against encouraging a child's sense of importance and vanity. They were so successful in repressing

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the girl's self-esteem that she never connected their care with love until she had matured into a woman, but it was too late. Her parents had died and were no longer around for her to return their love. Perhaps she was an unloving child by nature? Maybe it's true, in one sense, that all young children are unloving. But, in another sense, they're like cups overflowing with love, just looking for an outlet. This girl used to watch her mother around the room, and shadow her on the street, walking behind her adoringly. This intense kind of worship of parents is more common than we might think. A five-year-old little boy was asked what he thought the most beautiful thing in the world was. 'Velvet,' he replied, with dreamy eyes--apparently remembering his mother in a velvet dress. To a child, his parents are the greatest, wisest, most powerful, and best people in their limited experience of the world. They're like royalty--his king and queen. Is it any wonder why he worships them, even at the same time he's being rebellious?

But isn't it more common these days for children to be physically affectionate and familiar with their parents so that there's no doubt of their love? Perhaps, but only in homes where parents have lost that indefinable attitude--is it dignity? or authority?--that entitles them to the love and worship of their children. Affection that's lavished too indiscriminately doesn't satisfy their inner craving for love. What exactly is it that these little children crave, who seem so happy with a doll, or baseball, or tennis racquet? They want to be validated. They suffer from a sad sense of worthlessness--some children almost from their infancy. They feel so unworthy of love that no token, nothing less than directly saying it with words and eye contact and touch, will convince them that they're loved.

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But if someone they trust and honor, and who really knows them and sees their faults, yet will love them and view their flaws as alien things to be gotten rid of, and will accept them unconditionally and in confiding confidence in spite of these flaws, then their young lives will expand and blossom like flowers opening beneath the sun. When parents understand this secret, there are no surly boys or sullen girls.

To a young heart, actions do not speak louder than words. He needs to feel your love in your touch, see it in your eyes, hear it in your tone of voice. If he doesn't, then you'll never convince him of your love, even if you work day and night for his best interests or pleasure. Maybe this is the special message that Christmas has for parents. One of the many reasons that Jesus came was to restore people by making them realize that they, even the most miserable and ashamed of them, could live surrounded by infinite, personal love that wants their love in response. Who, more than parents, can help to advance this wonderful redemption? A child who knows that his mother and father love him with unlimited patience in his faults, and will love him enough to bring him out of those faults, will be quicker to recognize, accept and understand the concept of Divine Love.

But why should parents be the ones to show this kind of love? Maybe it's because they're better than most of us. At any rate, that seems to be their task. And we all know that fulfilling such a calling is possible, because we all know good mothers and fathers who demonstrate that.

'Parents, love your children,' is probably unnecessary advice to anyone reading this chapter. At any

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rate, it's presumptuous advice for me to give. But I'll say this to any reserved, inhibited parents who rule their households like 'righteous Abraham:' Continue to rule, but let your children feel and see and be assured of your love for them.

I'm not suggesting endearments and displays of physical affection in public--that can embarrass youths. But, mothers, you should take your older daughter in your arms just once during the holidays, and have a personal chat, just the two of you. It will be like a hearty meal to a hungry man to her. Remember that young men and girls would sell their souls for love--sometimes they do it, too, and that's why so many of them ruin their lives and make us sigh over them. Someone needs to break down the barrier between supply and demand in homes where there are hungry hearts on both sides.

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Part II Parents in Council

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1. What a Salvage!

'Now, let's get down to the serious business of our meeting. Here we are:

'Six precious pairs of us, all of us eager and excited
to dash through thick and thin!'
-- from Cowper's 'John Gilpin'

First priority--our desire is for reform! Not a reform through the political process, but if the world can believe it, we truly want to be reformed! And we want it for the good of the human race who will come after us. Just conceiving the concept should give us the right to sit back and let others make it happen!'

'Don't be absurd, Ned,' said Mrs. Clough, 'as if the whole thing was a joke. We're very serious about this, and we can't afford to waste our time joking. Some president you are!'

'Yes, my dear, and that's what's so funny--how can a man preside over a few friends who have done him the honor of dining at his home?'

'Mrs. Clough is right. We want to be 'up and at it!' So, friends, don't let any trivial formalities hinder our work.'

'Well, then, Henderson, since you seem more eager than any of us, why don't you begin?'

Mr. Henderson: 'I'm not sure that what I have to say should

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be heard first, but, just to save time and get us started, I'll begin. My main complaint is our overwhelming ignorance--mine, at any rate. You've all seen how magnificent the sky has looked these last few cold nights. Well, my son Tom seems to have an interest in astronomy. 'Dad, look at that bright star! It's big enough to provide light at night even without the moon. It's not always there--do you know what it's called, and where it goes when I can't see it?' My son was in the perfect receptive attitude of wanting to know. Anything and everything I could have told him would have stayed with him for life, his own possession.

'I told him, 'that's not a star, it's a planet,' with a little twaddle about how planets are like our planet Earth, and that's all I had to feed his hungry, wondering mind. When he asked what makes one planet shine differently from another one, I had nothing to tell him. A person can't give what he doesn't have. And then, all on his own, he singled out a group of stars, and then, like Hugh Miller, he created a diagram of them by pricking a pin into paper. He asked me, 'Do these stars have names? What is this one, and this one?' 'These three stars are in the belt of Orion'--which is all I know about constellations, believe it or not! He bombarded me with detailed questions. I tried bits of book knowledge, but he didn't want that. He wanted at least a 'bowing' acquaintance with the glorious objects he saw in the heavens, and he cornered me until his mother finally interfered and said, 'That's enough Tom, stop pestering your father!' It was a minor incident, but would you believe that I didn't get even a wink of sleep that night? Well, actually, I did get to sleep, but then I had a dream that woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep. I dreamed that Tom was crying because he was hungry, and I didn't even have a bread crust to give him. You know how

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vivid some dreams can be. And then the moral of the story came to me in a flash--my son had been crying because his mind was hungry. He had asked me for bread, and gotten a stone. A thing like that really shakes a person. From that moment, I've had a different concept of what a parent's real job is, and my own lack of qualifications. That night I determined to find some way to help ourselves and thousands of other parents who suffer from the same ignorance.'

'But, Henderson, surely you don't think that every parent should become an expert in astronomy, do you? How can a man with so many other pressing obligations take on a study that would require a lifetime?'

Mr. Henderson: 'No, that's not what I mean. But I do think that the way we practically worship science intimidates us from even trying to find out anything about it. In one of his books, Huxley drew a line dividing science from what he called 'common information.' I think he means having a familiarity with the basic facts of what's around us, whether it's in nature, or just in society. It's shameful that I can't even answer the kinds of questions Tom was asking me. Everyone should have some basic knowledge of the kind of things about nature that a child is likely to ask about. But how do we get that kind of knowledge? From books? I guess you can get to know about most things from reading, but as far as knowing the thing itself, I'd rather be introduced by someone who knew it before I did!'

Mr. Morris: 'I think I know what you mean. We need the help of a naturalist, someone who's enthusiastic about nature who would not only teach us, but who would also inspire us with the desire to know more.'

'But, Morris, don't you find that even enthusiasts, if they're men of science, don't really understand the neutral ground of common information that the average person would understand?'

Mr. Morris: 'Possibly. But as far as getting what we need, it's not that difficult. It's a simple question of supply and demand. If you don't mind me talking about myself, I'll

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tell you what we did last summer. You might know that I dabble a little in geology--I'm no expert, I just dabble--but even a novice must have noticed how the features of a landscape depend on its geological formation, and not only the way the landscape looks, but what its people do for a living. Well, it occurred to me that if, instead of studying boring 'resources' of a vacation spot, what if we studied the 'scape' of a single formation? The kids would learn that, at any rate, just by looking, and that knowledge would provide a key to other knowledge besides.

'My wife and I love the South Downs [Sussex/Hampshire], maybe for the memories we have there. So we built a farmhouse in the Lavant Valley near Goodwood. Chalk and some kind of blackboard were inseparably associated, and the children were as surprised to see a hill of chalk as they would have been to find that all the trees had been made of cheese. This was a real wonder--wonder, and a desire to know! It's true that a man has joy when he can give an answer from his own mouth! [Prov 15: 23] It was delightfully delicious to pour out answers to their eager questions! And children are so receptive! This was the kind of conversation we had after scrawling on a piece of flint with a chalk fragment:

I asked, 'What's that white line on the flint, Bobby?' 'It's chalk, of course, Daddy,' he said, surprised at my ignorance. Then I unfolded a tale of wonder--about the thousands of beautiful microscopic shells in every scrawl of that chalk, and how each little shell had had its own living sea creature living inside it ages and ages ago, etc. The boys all had wide eyes and open mouths, until skeptical Dick asked, 'OK, Dad, but how did they get here? This is dry land; how could they crawl or swim here when they were dead?' I was able to answer his question, and they had even more to wonder about. 'Actually, this hill we're sitting on used to be part of the bottom of the sea!' They grew more

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amazed, and I'm sure that not one feature about chalk will ever be forgotten by any of those children; it's been written in the intimate journal of their souls. They know the soft roll of the hills, the smooth dip of the valleys, the joys of traveling, strange old yew trees, and gathering blackberries in the sudden bottoms of the chalk. The continuous singing of larks--larks are the only songbird there--the trailing shadow of overhead clouds on the hills, the skies of Sussex that are as blue as the skies of Naples--These are permanent possessions for them to hold all their lives, and they're all related to the chalk. My children have gained a sense of the earth-mother, and the way everything is connected, which is a poetic concept.

'And their mother has a fun way of getting the images of the place imprinted into their memories. She picks out a specific view, and then has the children look at it and describe it with their eyes closed. One unforgettable view was saved in this way. 'First, there's grass, and the slopes of hills below us with sheep feeding around them. Then there's a huge field of bright red poppies. There's corn mixed in, too, but we can't see it. Then there are fields and fields of ripe, yellow corn reaching out a long way. There's the sea, which is very blue, and three smallish boats with white sails. A lark is way up in the sky singing as loud as a musical band. And the sun is shining so bright!' That little girl will remember that picture until her dying day, and that's a picture worth having!'

'Mr. Morris's suggestion could have endless possibilities of expansion--you could cover the surface formations of England during summer vacations over the twelve years of school, and in that way, you could give a child a key to the landscape, animal life and plants of most of the surface of the entire earth. It's a good suggestion.'

Mrs. Tremlow: 'What a salvage that would be! The long summer vacations, which can tend

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to drag on, would be more productive and busier than even school days, and in learning about the wonders of nature outside. I can imagine how it would work. Think of the river valleys of Yorkshire, where the vivid green from the limestone in the mountains makes a distinct line that joins the dim shades of the heather on the gritty millstone of the moors, and the vast rocky nooks where ferns that grow near limestone--hart's-tongue, oak fern, beech fern, and others--grow in a delicate green color, as perfectly formed as if they'd been grown under glass. Or think of the endless ferns and moss and the beautiful outlines of slate that are typical in the Lake Country and in Wales. Imagine the things children could collect based on the natural geological formation of the area.'

'You're getting excited, Mrs. Tremlow. I personally don't think I could rise to the occasion. It's no fun to hear everyone else saying, 'How beautiful!' 'Gorgeous!' and 'Lovely!' all around, and have no clue what they're going on about. Don't kick me out for saying this, but I feel very strongly against dabbling with science. For example, in your wonderful tour of geology, why in the world would you begin with chalk? You might have started with something more conventional, like Cornwall.'

Mr. Morris: 'That's where we'll need to be firm about how this is to be done. You specialists do one single thing thoroughly--you insist on beginning at the beginning if there's a beginning, and then progress in order to the end, if life is long enough. But we're saying that a specialist's work should be based on a wide foundation of common information, which is different in this respect--you take it as it happens. If a fact comes to your attention, you want to know why it is, and what it is. But its relationships to other facts will have to settle themselves

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as time goes on and more facts come up. For instance, a nine-year-old should know a blackcap mushroom by its rich color and straight-standing top, and it shouldn't matter if he ever knows even the name of the species it belongs to.'

Mrs. Tremlow: 'And, Mr. Morris, you could teach history the same way--while you're learning about the 'formation,' as you call it, of different areas, there are great opportunities to make history come to life. For instance, while you're doing the formation of Dorsetshire, you might come across the ruins of Corfe Castle in the dip of the hill, like a trough between two waves. You could make the story of the bleeding prince dragged over the downs at the heels of his horse seem real.'

'Yes, and speaking of the downs, Mrs. Tremlow, are you familiar with the glorious downs behind Lewes, and the castle, and Lewes Abbey [probably no longer there] that were all involved in that great battle, when De Montfort and his men marched across the ridge of Mount Harry while the royal party were partying in the Abbey, and in the gray of the dawn, every man vowed his life to the cause of liberty, laying facedown in the grass with arms outstretched to form a cross? Once you've studied on one of these historic sites, the place and the scene become a part of you. You couldn't forget it if you wanted to.'

'That's really interesting, and it reminds me of something else. Have you noticed that in certain districts, not only are the places themselves associated with important historical events, but they also have monuments of the leading idea of the centuries? For example, the ruined abbeys that still dominate every beautiful

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valley in Yorkshire, and the twelfth century churches. In certain English counties, you can come across four or five in the course of a single day's hike. There's hardly any secluded out-of-the-way nook in some counties that doesn't have some example of an ancient ruin. Also, there are endless castles on the border of Wales, and Roman camps on the downs, each of them bearing witness to the dominant thought of its long era, whether that leading thought was war, or something more leisurely when there was a long time with no fighting.'

'And that's not all. Think of how more than half of England's great literature has the flavor of some local area. Think of the thousand spots where an aroma of poetry lingers, and the character of the place seems to get into your mind and stay there, leaving an impression of the author as a real person, and a feeling for his work that you can't get in any other way. The Quantocks, Grasmere, Haworth Moors, the Selborne 'Hanger,' the Lincolnshire levels--I could go on and on listing spots where you might see the raw material of poetry and compare it with the author's finished poems.'

Mrs. Henderson: 'All of that is an inspiring glimpse of what could be possible. But surely, friends, you aren't thinking that a family with children all under the age of fifteen would be able to get in touch with so many wide interests all within a six-week vacation, are you? I don't think that any of us, except perhaps you, Mr. Meredith, and Mr. Clough, have enough of a grasp of historical and personal associations.'

'We'll have to leave that question open, Mrs. Henderson. All I'm saying is that children have an unlimited capacity for whatever knowledge reaches them somehow through their five senses--if they see something and enjoy it, you can

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pin endless facts, and tons of associations on it, and children have an amazing capacity to take all of it in. They'll never give you a bored look and vacant expression. Trust me, it's part of their nature to hunger after knowledge in the same way that a hungry man hungers for his dinner. But the thing has to come first, and the words to interpret it have to come second.'

'Do you mean that everything they see should lead to an object lesson?'

'Not at all! Object lesson? Blabber, blabber, blabber about a miserable cut-and-dried bit of information that's hardly recognizable by anyone who's familiar with the thing being talked about? I suspect that it might be better for the child to have no information at all than to get it in that unnatural way. No, let him see the thing in its natural habitat, large and living in front of him, doing whatever comes naturally to it. Specimens out of their natural context may be useful to scientists whose job is to generalize, but they're misleading to children who haven't learned the particulars yet. I'm sure that some intelligent family out there on vacation could easily cover all the ground we've been talking about--but who is going to teach them? The third question our child asks us about a bird or flower is likely to stump most of us.'

Mr. Withers: 'You've hit the nail on the head. I wondered if we'd ever get back to our original topic before the evening was over. Skimming over all of creation in a breezy, casual way is terribly exciting, but from an educational perspective, it's laughable to a father who has a brood of young kids at home and doesn't care about any of these things.'

Mr. Morris: 'Of course they won't care, Withers, if they've never been exposed to it. But give them a chance, that's all I'm saying. Listen to my idea--I'll be happy if any

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one comes up with a better one, but we have to come to a point sometime and bring the discussion back to the topic the next time it wanders off on someone's pet subject. Each of us wants to cover all of the ground suggested in our rabbit trail. But the problem remains: we can't teach what we don't know. We're trapped in a corner, and there's only one way out: we need to learn what we should teach. How are we going to do that? Well, why not form ourselves into a club, or school, or whatever? Now, we simply want to know the A-B-C's of lots of different things, the basics. Once we're organized, we'll figure out what our next step should be. Even in our small group here tonight, some of us knew a bit about geology, some knew a little something about history. Whatever we all can't learn from each other, we'll seek outside sources to teach us by finding either amateurs or professionals who are willing to help us. Amateurs would be better, because they'd be learning as well as teaching. Then, when we're organized, we can decide whether we want to exhaust a single district in the way that was discussed, or follow some other plan. But, if we decide to stick to a district, let's please let it be a wide one so that our conversation will be limited to speaking in passing, like ships at sea. Please let's not let it turn into a social thing, with tennis, small talk and tea!'

'If we do this, how often do you think we should have meetings?'

'We can decide that later. Meanwhile, those in favor of Mr. Morris's idea of forming ourselves into a club to consider issues that affect the education of our children, at least what the parents can contribute, say aye.'

'The motion has passed unanimously!'

[That meeting is ancient history now. This idea was fulfilled in the formation of the PNEU--Parents' National Educational Union!]

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2. Where Shall We Go This Year?

'Do you like beautiful lands?'
'Why shouldn't I like beautiful lands? Why not? Isn't that the most beautiful part of God's creation?'
-- from King Alfred

'Where shall we go this year? That seems to be a common question these days. We want to make the most of that glorious vacation month when all we have to do is enjoy ourselves. But, unfortunately,

'Pleasure is scattered all over the world
In random gifts, to be claimed by whoever can find it.'

And we're not always lucky enough to be the one who finds it. Perhaps pleasure is scattered in random stray gifts, but those gifts are hidden in unlikely places, and the search for them has to be done cautiously. We crave 'beautiful lands.' People who live in cities especially long to see something green. The sea is a tempting option, but wherever we go, we want to see grass and trees. We seek out a place with pure, clean air and lovely scenery. Once we find such a place, we settle down and say, 'Let's be content right here.' For the first few days, it's blissful. We explore, we notice the plant life, we find lots of interesting things. But then boredom sets in and we begin to secretly count the days until we can get back to the tasks and pleasures of our routine life.

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This is the secret to a successful vacation: the mind needs to be actively, unceasingly, and involuntarily engaged in new and varying interests. That's why going on vacation is never as easy as it sounds. A little child, of course, is perfectly happy to play day after day with his pail and shovel in the sand, but that's because his unjaded imagination doesn't need any motivation to go to work. He's able to fill his bright hours with joyful occupations, making some kind of always-new

'Little plan or design,
Some kind of fragment of his dream of human life
That he himself shapes with a skill he's just learned.'

But a child who has outgrown pails and shovels and who's been under stress with schoolwork needs the same thing that the grown-ups need. He needs engrossing interests that will make him think new thoughts. Fresh air and fresh scenery are only able to fully heal and help when the mind is also provided for by spoon-feeding the weary brain with fresh new ideas. That's why traveling to a foreign country is so wonderful. Unfortunately, it's a pleasure that's usually out of the question for families with growing children. So the question is, can we stay at home, and, with a minimum of cost and a maximum of convenience, can we get all the stimulus that we could get from traveling to a foreign country?

Yes, we sure can. Don't listen to disclaimers from anyone who's never tried it. I've tried it, and I know it's easy, economical and a lot of fun. Pretend that a local county is a foreign country. I don't mean a whole region, but a small county. We often miss how individual each county is in its landscape, history, weather, traditions--for example, could anyone confuse the blue skies of Sussex

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with the blue skies of Cambridgeshire? Each has a 'delicateness in the air,' but not the same delicateness. But, we have to be practical, so we choose a county--almost any county will do, and the cost of taking the family to a far-away location might influence the choice. To prepare ourselves, we brush up on the history of the county, its geology, scenery, and plant-life. Many pleasant family evenings are spent going through Murray's travel book and a map. But once we're on the road, the only thing we're really interested in is the literature that's native to the area, the lives of people who have made the area famous and books they wrote, and well-known scenes from history that happened here. Now that the location has been chosen, we decide on perhaps six little towns that will give us a sample of the interests of the entire county. Hotel rooms are easy to find in an area that doesn't get that many tourists. We don't need much luggage since simple, comfortable clothes are all we'll need for what we'll be doing. It's easy to get from one little town to the next--they're usually just an hour or two away from each other. And the kids will love exploring their new quarters in each town. Each little town will probably provide the opportunity for a dozen different and very interesting walks and excursions. The money spent getting to these excursions is made up for by all the money saved on expensive tourist hotels in popular tourist areas.

But perhaps some aren't convinced. Some might be thinking that it's better to settle in quietly in a familiar place than to go tramping around in the rural countryside where there's 'nothing to see or do.' But a single example is better than a list of persuasive reasons, so let's take a look at the possibilities in an English county--and I don't mean a famous tourist county.

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Knowing a place like Hampshire is a liberal education in itself, and the memories of its pleasant places the fascinating things associated with it will stir,

'Sweet sensations
That can be felt in the blood and in the heart'

during dreary periods of life later.

Someone who's interested in archaeology can examine half a dozen old churches that still have fragments from the original Norman structure in a single day's walk, and get a new perspective about how the Normans scattered points of enlightenment throughout the land. A bird-lover might study the graceful ways of the swallows, and the habits of lots of different species of birds in Selborne--the very place Gilbert White did his observing. Those who like plants will see rare treasures for their own gardens. In and around the Great Wood of Alton alone are seventeen of Britain's 38 orchid species. If your passion is history, good and famous people, like Jane Austen, John Kleble's Christian Year--or if geology is your hobby--Hampshire provides a full field to explore in all of these subjects. Would you like your children to claim and enjoy their share of their inheritance of culture and virtue that belongs to them by right of their British birth? Then bring them to Hampshire. Or bring them to some other beautiful, pleasant

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county in any of the UK's various countries. Just a month spent gathering the lore of a single county is more educational than five terms of rigorous school lessons.

I don't recommend studying a county like this for babies [and children under five], because young children shouldn't be subjected to deliberate teaching, but children six and older will absorb lots of mind-nourishing ideas without any effort simply by enjoying the rambling kind of vacation that I'm talking about.

One more thought: it's good, of course, to have multi-cultural tastes, and to be accepting of different ways and unprejudiced in our judgments. But a person who loves the whole world has to start with his own people who he's seen. Enlightened, experienced understanding of other countries can only coexist with deeply felt patriotism based on knowledge. A noble character has a strong thread of patriotism interwoven with every other fine, delicate attribute. A child who isn't trained to have a fine, patriotic feeling won't live at the highest level he could as an adult. And patriotism, the noblest of all the virtues, isn't instilled by arrogantly considering ourselves as better than everyone else. It's instilled by gradually introducing children to the lives of wonderful people who have lived, and great works that have been done, in quiet, hidden places spread throughout every county in Britain throughout every era of our long history.

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3. The A-B-C-D'arians

'Alright, gentlemen, we've listened to you very patiently. We've learned a lot, and we understand the great field of work laying ahead of us. I'm hoping we can get a little outside help. The other day I heard about a lady who's knowledgeable in mosses who frequently takes the children she knows on 'mossing' expeditions. My point is, education is like charity--it begins at home, but you've chosen to lead us far from our path right from the beginning!'

'Yes, that's true, we did go off on a bit of a detour. But don't you think it's a matter for trained professionals? If your son Tom hadn't wondered about the stars, we might have started at the beginning, if there is one. But it's more likely that we'd all be sitting around right now wondering where to begin. We're grateful to you, Henderson, for picking a place for us to start. And we're even more grateful to Mrs. Henderson for reminding us that education begins at home.'

'I'm sure that experienced people eventually learn all about it,' said Mrs. Clough, 'but even a mother who only has two or three children feels as lost as a ship without a rudder or compass. We know so little about children--or about humans beings in general!

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Parents in previous generations at least had something to go on. And a young mother could always ask for advice from older women about everything from colic remedies to which school to choose. But these days, everything is so scientific. As it turns out, most of that advice from older women is old wives' tales, not only risky, but ridiculous. We can't rely on that old advice, but we still haven't fully grasped the new methods. So we feel like we're suspended in midair.'

'Yes, you've described our dilemma quite accurately, Mrs. Clough. What you say accounts for a lot of things. The older generation complains that today's children are growing up irresponsible, selfish, disobedient and disrespectful. I personally think that there are a lot of positive qualities in our children. They're much more aware of being persons than we were at their age, but I have to admit that they do tend to pretty much do whatever feels right for them. They're not obedient, or reverent, or even respectful. But can't you understand our position? We're afraid of them! We feel like a navigator would feel if he was suddenly expected to polish some porcelain figures in the living room. The mere touch of his clumsy fingers might ruin one of the precious ornaments! Of course, we parents receive love and understanding from God that enables us to carry out our delicate task, so maybe it's our own fault that our children are beyond our understanding.'

'What do you mean, Mrs. Meredith? If you, as mothers, don't know what to do with your children, then who does? An enlightened father wouldn't dare go home and present himself as the parenting authority!'

'Yes, you're right! You men sometimes make absurd blunders when it comes to children. But that doesn't help us. Let's say a young mother is blessed with a tiny, fragile little person to care for, a baby who's full of possibilities. Her first priority is not only to keep it healthy, but to build up its reserves

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of health to last its entire life. That's when her confusion begins. You'll have to excuse me for providing details--the affairs of a child are important enough to call the attention of Kings, Lords, and Senators, if they'd only stop and realize it. Anyway, one mother I know wanted her baby to be well-dressed as befits a first-born child. She sent away to Ireland for a beautiful wardrobe of clothes made of lace and fine cotton. You fathers wouldn't understand. The little clothes had barely been used enough to go through their first washing when somebody said that 'such-and-such' is the only suitable clothing for babies and grown-ups. I doubt if the mom realizes why, but there was a hint of science in that advice, so she got rid of all the lace and cotton and bought all woolen clothing! Later, when the baby began eating solid food, she heard all kinds of pseudo-science praising fructose, starchy foods, fluoridated water, and what not. This wasn't as simple as the wool issue. She couldn't make sense of it, so she finally had to ask her doctor how to feed her child. More complicated issues came up: 'Children see everything,' 'children know everything,' 'whatever you make him now is what he'll be for the rest of his life,' 'the period of infancy is the most important time in his life.' My poor friend became totally bewildered. The result is that, in her ignorant anxiety to do the right thing, she's constantly changing the child's diet, daycare, sleeping schedule, outside time, according to the latest scientific finding that her acquaintances share with her. I think her child would have been better off if she'd just raised him the way her mother raised her.'

'Then you think it's better to continue with old, traditional ways of doing things?'

'Not at all! It's just that, I want to know where I'm going. I believe that we live in a time of great opportunities.

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My problem is this: You can't raise children on opinions these days. There has to be a principle behind even the routine matters. We need to take a course to learn the basic laws of healthy living and mental health.'

'Mrs. Meredith is right. We have some serious work cut out for us, and it would be as useful for us as it for our children. We have to learn the first principles of human physiology.'

'Wouldn't it be sufficient to learn basic hygiene? I like the concept of physiology made easy--you just learn what to do without having to fully understand why it's done that way.'

'No, we need to stick to physiology. I don't think that knowing what to do is helpful unless it's based on a methodical, not piecemeal, understanding of why we do it. Because all parts of human/animal survival are so inter-dependent that you can't touch on one without affecting something else. What we need to comprehend is the laws for the well-being of every part of the whole, and for the maximum efficiency of every bodily function.'

'Good heavens! We'd all have to qualify to be doctors!'

'Actually, no. We won't need to interfere with the doctors. We'll leave sickness to them. But we need to concern ourselves with maintaining health and increasing physical strength. Here's how we do it. We thoroughly familiarize ourselves with the structure of the skin--its functions, and the interdependence between those functions and other internal organs. So by doing the best thing for the skin, you gain emotional excitement, pure joy for awhile, followed by a stable increase in well-being, or happiness. Do you remember how a popular American poet sat on a gate

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in the sun after his bath, and skin-brushed for hours until he was as red as a lobster? Perhaps his time might have been better spent, but he had more joy than if he'd just heard that there was a new edition of his published poems. Well--if proper skin treatment is a means to joy, health and cheerfulness, what mother wouldn't do it for her child? Unfortunately, it's not as simple as it looks. It's not as easy as bathing and skin-brushing. There's also diet, clothing, sleep, bedroom, sunshine, cheerful surroundings, exercise, bright conversation, and a thousand other things that have to work together to bring about this 'happy-making' situation. What's true for the skin is true for everything else. We can't focus our perspective on any one organ or function. Everything works together, so we need a thorough understanding of the whole of physiology. Can we decide unanimously to get ourselves educated about the scientific principles of living?'

'The scientific principles of living--sure, but that covers a lot beyond the scope of physiology. Consider the child's mind, his moral and religious potential. It seems to me like we put too much emphasis on the physical body. Our youths are encouraged to sacrifice everything for physical training, and there's a sensuousness that George Eliot very accurately portrayed in 'Gwendoline' in the way that every detail of bathing and primping is treated so importantly. The endless way the body and everything related to it is treated makes a person bored to tears. And, worst of all, I think we're undermining our own goals. Sure, go ahead and care for the skin, develop the muscles, all of that--but there's more than that to think of. I don't think that living to the flesh, even in that way, is allowable.'

'You're right. But you're mistaken if you think that

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physiology leads to an unhealthy over-emphasis on muscles and physical strength. Perhaps there's a youth whose muscles are his proudest asset. Like most of us, he gets what he aims for--some local fame as an athlete. But what does he sacrifice for that? His aggressive sports don't increase the amount of blood that keeps him alive. In fact, if his muscles demand more than their share of his blood, then the loss will be felt somewhere else--probably his brain, and all of his other vital organs. Later, when his sports days are over, the brawny, broad-chested athlete collapses. He's the victim of boredom, and now his liver, lungs or stomach claim the back-pay of their share of blood supply that they were cheated out of.'

'But, Mr. Meredith, surely you don't look down on physical fitness? I thought that one of a parent's highest priorities was to send his children into the world as 'fine animals' in the best physical shape possible.'

'Yes, that's true, but it's the same in this case as it is with everything else--there's a 'science of the proportion of things.' Youths who single-mindedly seek muscular feats with no moderation are nothing more than delusions and traps. In the long run, they don't turn out to be the 'fine animals' they seemed. They have very little perseverance.'

'But children are more than animals. We need to know how mind and moral feeling can be developed.'

'Studying physiology--or mental physiology, if that term works better for you, Mrs. Tremlow--will help even in those areas, because the habits that a child grows up with seem to leave some sort of physical record on his physical brain. His habits become a part of him even in a material, physical sense. So then, it's up to parents to ease their child's journey in life by developing habits of good living in the areas of

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thinking, feeling, doing--even in spiritual things. We can't make a child 'good.' But by developing the right habits, we can lay down paths that lead to a good life right in the physical substance of his brain. We can't make him hear God's voice, but we can create paths in his mind that make a clear place for God to commune with him 'in the cool of the evening.' We can't make a child smart, but we can make sure that his brain is fortified with pure, healthy blood, and that his mind is nourished with productive ideas.'

'I guess all of this would sound encouraging if a person felt like he could do it. But I feel like a great big map of some unknown country was just rolled out on the table in front of me and the few places I want to go aren't marked anywhere on it. How, for example, are we supposed to make a child obedient, kind and truthful?'

'Mrs. Tremlow, your question points out additional aspects that we'll need to consider. A few set rules won't be very helpful. We'll need to know at least a little bit about what makes up human nature. So, besides physiology, we'll need psychology, and to that we'll need to add moral science. Human nature is so complex, yet simple at the same time. It has so many points to consider, yet it's all part of the same thing. You can't learn everything about human nature in a single lecture and then imagine that the subject has been exhausted. Yet no other study will yield so much wonderful reward for our effort.'

'What about the child's spiritual life? Do any of those 'ologies' include the higher life, or is our culture too scientific for such things?'

'Well, that has its own conditions--the impact of God on human beings, which is what generates life, and without it, there can be no living. The life is already there in the child, planted and kept alive by Divine power, but there's a role for us in developing that life, too. The Spirit thrives when it's given nourishment and work every day. It's

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our job to put in front of the child the 'new thoughts about God and new hopes of Heaven' that are his spiritual diet. It's up to us to give him practice in the spiritual labors of prayer, praise and effort. How? Well, that's another question that our new Society will have to figure out.'

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4. A Teacher's Reflections

It's so hard to turn your thoughts on! Switzerland wasn't any help with that, but it was worth it to have been alive in every pore for a month! This night train should help me gather my thoughts, though. Here goes--time to assess the situation. I, Michael St. John Harrowby, thirty-five years old, have been made the Headmaster of Wintonley Grammar School, more by luck than merit. A person's first thoughts are naturally for his wife and children, and poor Frances had to scrimp too much at Appledore. My dear wife! I hope the stress is over for her now. She'll enjoy mothering the boarding students along with our own five children.

But here I go again, thinking about the same old thing we keep harping on ever since I got this post--about the personal benefits to ourselves and our children. There's nothing we haven't analyzed, even to the Butler Scholarship for Baby Tim, so why bother going over all of that again?

I'm as bad as Jack Horner, that spoiled child. Why do we all eat our plums in a corner thinking,

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'What a good boy am I'? Are effort and goals only for those others who were unlucky and missed their plums? Well, I have my thoughts, anyway, if only I could get at them. And they remind me that cake and punch aren't everything.

* . * . * . * . *

No, cake and punch isn't all there is, and now that I have a promising prospect ahead of me, I wonder what I'll make of all the thoughts that have been going around inside me for the past ten years! Three months ago, I felt like I could have revolutionized the entire educational system--just like Moses, who was enthusiastic enough about the exodus until it actually began. When I was finally given my chance, I started to feel intimidated, like everyone else had experience on their side and that the way things are must be what's best. But thinking like that is just sheer laziness and cowardice. Come on, Michael! You know, deep down, that this opportunity has come to you because you've thought out a few things that should be useful. That's what the world needs, because, somehow, people have gotten too humble and teachable that they can't think for themselves. These are wonderful, exciting times! We're all so open to conviction, so zealous for what's right and true, that's it's easy for us to be duped by false prophets who claim that they have the only truth, or theirs is the only answer. And yet, how ready we are to follow the lead of anyone who shows even the least gift of insight!

When it comes to education, we're hovering so close to the truth. The current proclamation is that education isn't merely to prepare us for life, but that education is the work and effort of a lifetime. And, with this much insight, it can't be possible that the education everyone means is no more than cramming a few text-books. Education is like religion--it's all or nothing, like a consuming fire in the bones. How is it possible for us not to see, through our hurry of eating, drinking, buying and accumulating, that

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our first priority is to raise up a generation who will be better than we are?

* . * . * . * . *

An old pamphlet I picked up at Offenbach declares, 'We need new schools for new times!" That pamphlet was what a congress of the 'German federal free thinkers' came up with twenty five years ago, which shows how long ago Germany first began her educational reform. It's good for us to know where we stand when it comes to certain urgent questions, and this pamphlet spells it out. There's nothing alarmingly new about the sentiment, 'Knowledge is power.' We're ready to admit that the people have a right to the power that knowledge can give, and that the knowledge that's needed is the kind that qualifies a person to live his life as a functioning member of society. But the burning question is whether the talent and genius that wastes away today in the heated rooms of a thousand factories, or chokes in a thousand moldy apartments, should be cherished by future schools for the infinite benefit of society. We're not sure that moldy apartments breed geniuses by the thousands any more than tastefully furnished suburban houses do, but that's not the point. The question concerns the poor masses and the 'inner city hoodlums.' It's shameful that we even use such a phrase. We're glad enough to have the poor around so that we can learn a lesson in righteousness through them, but what hope of health or beauty do we have as a nation as long as we have this cancerous kind of discrimination eating away at us inside?

Besides these 'untouchables' who we tend to classify as residue, how do we stand? I mean, so long as there are jobs and food, how do people manage for education? What kinds of chances are there for a blue-collar man's child who was blessed with talent or genius? It's not too bad in the larger towns.

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Generally, educational opportunities are limited by how long parents can afford to support their child. In fact, the law steps in and forces parents by setting a minimum standard so that a child isn't allowed to go to work until he's reached a certain age and learned a certain amount. He needs to be able read, although not fluently. He needs to know how to write, although not easily or even correctly. He needs to be able to do basic math: add, subtract, multiply and divide fairly proficiently. It's not much, but it opens the door just enough for the child who has some genius. If such a child has parents who are financially able and willing to feed and clothe him during his adolescence, he has a chance. He can earn a scholarship to go to a primary school (boarding school for ages 7-11), and that can carry him through middle and high school. Then he might get a scholarship that will allow him to get his degree at a university. I know of a dozen University men who worked their way up from the lower class--sons of skilled laborers [plumber, bricklayer, carpenter, etc.], or sons of factory workers and store clerks--and distinguished themselves with honor and praise, because schools and colleges seek brains. They know that their school reputation depends on what kind of men they turn out. This state of things is merely a last resort. We hear that other countries are doing better in the area of education than this. But at least educational reform is being discussed here. Our whole system is being overhauled. In the meantime, it's good to know that an education is at least possible for the gifted son of a poor man, if his parents will make sacrifices for him, and if he happens to be lucky enough to live in a town.

What do we have here? Educationalist Friedrich Adolph Wilhelm Diesterweg said, 'Nothing is more attractive for people than truth. To find truth, people will wander to distant lands, travel over deserts and mountains, search the depths of the earth, or climb up to the heavens. No effort is too great, no obstacle too daunting, no task too difficult.

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His soul thirsts for truth.' This suggests something, and the obvious conclusion is that schools ought to nourish children upon truth. But that leads us back to Pilate's famous question.

But Diesterweg is trying to tell us something. 'Moses, Moses and more Moses' is the bitter accusation. Diesterweg complains that, in Germany, a sixth or even more of the time spent in elementary schools is devoted to teaching religion--Bible lessons, psalms, catechisms, hymns. What time is left, he bemoans, to learn literature, metaphysics, ethics, etc. and all the treasuries of wisdom that should be presented to both poor and wealthy students? But Diesterweg's story is in the past. We in England are progressing and advancing forward very nicely. We don't have anywhere close to one hour out of every six devoted to religious instruction. We've banished psalms, hymns and catechisms. Our Bible lessons have been pared down so much that there's hardly a thread left. In our zeal to streamline, we don't notice that we're depriving our people of the classics, the metaphysics, the ethics, and even the religion that's part of their cultural heritage. Instead, we give students 'Readers,' which are mere scraps of science, history, geography. It's no better than sawdust. It's unable to take root deep down in a person's heart and bear fruit in the person that grows upwards.

* . * . * . * . *

But here's an issue that concerns us more directly. We learn for the benefit of our lives, not for the benefit of our schools. Yes, that's right, we already knew that. Here we have it: How?--says Professor Dodel-port in his latest brochure: Choose either Moses [religion] or Darwin [science]. Dodel-port may be a bit reckless, but that's the situation we have. What do you think about Moses? That's the key. The worst part of it all is that a grown man might have the patience to let his thoughts simmer while he mulls them over, but youths demand something more

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definite. You can't hide anything from them! Even if you don't say a word, they'll know what you mean as clearly as if you'd shouted it from the rooftop. But, as far as I'm concerned, it's not 'Moses or Darwin?' I think it needs to be both of them--and not in order to compromise, but in faith, with the faith that each of them has a revealed word from God to share, although in different degrees. But how do you explain that to the students? They can't resist taking sides, and they doubt your sincerity if you don't choose one side or the other.

We'll make loyalty our emphasis. In a home, children are living in natural conditions and they each develop along their own individual lines. But in a school, you need to have an enthusiasm, you need to strike a note that will touch and vibrate the heart of each student in order to have the common feeling that's necessary for there to be life. Loyalty will do it--chivalrous loyalty to each other, to the school, to their homes, to those in authority, and, highest of all, the loyalty of serving as a Christian. I'm not sure how to do that yet, but when a person has a determined purpose, he finds ways. And if that loyalty doesn't allow any dishonoring thoughts? What if a passion of loyal service burned in some of the students' hearts and affected all of the students to a greater or lesser degree. Would criticism be banned as disloyal? Does that mean that the students will be going out into the world totally ignorant about the questions that prick so many hearts, and that they'll be staggered when they face evidence and opinions for the first time that are opposite to their old thoughts? No, but I wish I could do for them what a great teacher did for me and others. It's hard to put it into words, but somehow, a person ends up on the other side of current controversial issues. They're very interesting, but not urgently vital. To compare more minor things with more important things, it's like a famous woman's husband

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listening to discussions about his wife's works or published letters. Are they hers or not? Do they really tell facts about her life, or are they just fabrications? Are the opinions that her characters espouse really what she believes? It's quite interesting and amusing to hear what everyone says about it, but it's different for him. He knows what the rest of them have to make guesses about. Anyway, that's not a vital issue--what really matters is her and the relationship between the two of them. And that's even more true about our comprehension of the Highest God, and our understanding of the supreme relationship between Him and ourselves. If we can reveal to youths a vision of God's infinite Beauty, and expose their hearts to the attraction of His irresistible Kindness, and let them know this about their intimate knowledge, that,

'God's thoughts are broader than man's mind can measure,
And God's eternal heart is wonderfully kind,'

then all other knowledge and relationships and facts of life will take care of themselves. This is the only way that it's possible to live joyfully, purposefully and diligently. Without this, there's nothing but madness, or a foolish mime acting out foolishly in front of the eternal truths. Yet we have students who are brought up with religion and turn out indifferent, or even bad. That can happen when they have the outward visible signs without having the thing they're signifying inside them. Of all the useless sawdust there is, this kind is the driest. No soul, once it's laid open to the touch of God's kindness, can go away and forget it. A willful, stubborn soul might go away, but it feels compelled to come back. Well, anyway--it's one thing to see what needs to be done. It's another thing entirely to figure out how to do it. At any rate, once a person understands these things, he needs to go cautiously and wait for more enlightenment.

* . * . * . * . *

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Related to this, we have to face the attitude of public opinion when it comes to the Bible. 'Did God really say that?' is the question of the hour, and probably will be as long as world goes on. Those of us who teach need to have solid convictions regarding the Scriptures, convictions that won't be altered. Therefore, the ground we stand on needs to be deep, broad, and high. It needs to cover and underlie every point of attack. We need to know with absolute certainty that the Bible is revelation--its claim to be revelation rests only on internal evidence, on the quality of the truth that it reveals. Let's ask ourselves what the subject of revelation is. Is it the history of a race of people known as the Jews? Is it the history of the beginning, and predictions of the end of all things? We hear these days that light is thrown upon both of those [history and predictions] 'through storied windows richly decorated.' We hear that the garden of Eden and the apple have no more direct, literal interpretation than the verse about the 'tree that grows twelve kinds of fruit, whose leaves are to heal the nations.' We hear that 'He didn't speak to them unless He spoke in parables,' and that that applies to pretty much all of the history of what we call the Bible. Maybe the marvelous, inspired quality of Scripture stands out more as a result of attacks on its historic truth than in any other way. Whether people decide to regard the story of the Fall as a historic record, a poem, a myth, a parable or a vision, makes little difference--its inherent meaning is still the same. In this narrative we have the story of the decline and fall of every soul of man, and the hope of rising again.

And the enlightened critics say that the history of the Jews is nothing more than a collection of myths from the heroic age of a nation--an age when gods walked with men. These are nothing more than myths that are curiously closely paralleled to the sacred myths of other nations that we don't

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attribute divine inspiration to. But even in this, the history justifies itself because it's so close to human experience. Even now, the sun sometimes stands still long enough for us to complete some act of righteousness, or the Jordan River parts before us when we're in a tight spot. Whether it's by way of literal, historical truth or enlightening fables, these stories give us parables of our lives that need to be understood spiritually. And, even more than that, they give us an unfailing key to the way we should interpret the times we live in. This is by the inspiration of God.

* . * . * . * . *

The violent battles and slaughter of entire villages that are attributed to Almighty God, brought on directly by His hand or according to His will, are presented as if they're irreconcilable with our concept of God's goodness. These kinds of things still happen today, but we don't have the courage to ascribe them to God. Not very many of us could honestly say, 'Even if He kills me and my people, I will still trust Him.' We don't dare say, 'This is the hand of God,' so instead, we label these things with words that largely have pagan origins. Fortune, the stars, fate has dealt us a bad card. We suffer from misfortunes, mischances, casualties, catastrophes, disasters, or fatalities. Surely this is a more reassuring and more scientific way of describing events than the way the Old Testament described them! Is it true, then, that floods, famines, slaughters in war, are the will and work of a good God? That's what the Old Testament says, and the New Testament adds a sweet word about a sparrow falling to the ground, which proves, at any rate, that these things are at least permitted by God. Maybe life and death just aren't as momentous as we think. It's possible that death isn't at all final regarding opportunity or existence. What if it might even open a chance for us to try again? We can't know; revelation

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says nothing about that. As far as science, when it has anything definite to say about the physical facts of life that we can see with our very eyes, then we'll be willing to listen to what it has to say about these other mysteries. At any rate, in the heart of God where every pain finds pity, there was none for the three who tasted death. There was only pity for those who grieved and mourned for them [not sure who this is referring to; the quote above, 'even if He kills me,' is similar to a verse in Job.] As far as all of life's distresses, the miseries of an anxious mind, the writhing of a body in pain, who can consider his pain intolerable when he thinks about the Cross?

* . * . * . * . *

We teachers have to face the situation. We can't shirk anything, we can't take anything for granted. We need to fortify our students against attack, and prepare them to make a chivalric defense. As for specific tactics, let's stop for minute and, for the sake of argument, imagine that everything that is attacked is lost. Where does that leave us? The dirt mounds that we made for fortification are pitifully destroyed, but the fortress itself is still intact. Our panic dissipates and we begin to feel confident. No matter what happens, we feel ready. In fact, we feel confident enough to take up the offensive position! Our position is proof against all strikes; now it's the enemy who's exposed. I think this is very important. Defensive warfare is never carried out with the same kind of enthusiasm and conviction that inspires the side who makes the attacks. In fact, we refuse to yield even one iota of the sacred Scriptures, while we only say about the obscure or difficult passages the same thing we say about the Apocalypse:

'Lord, I believe what I read here,
But, alas, I don't understand it.'

But what about religious teaching, and the Bible? It's so hard to know what to teach when everything is an open question and potential for doubt. But take courage. Nothing has been lost yet, and the

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future is on our side. It's not the Scriptures that we're yielding. It's just one of the old traditional ways of interpreting it when Science proves it to be implausible. We look Science squarely in the eyes and interrogate it sharply. Most of all, we don't tolerate the assumption that Science is an infallible teacher because she's always erasing some conclusion she arrived at yesterday and replacing it with a new truth she discovered today. The ability to so readily change with new findings is the strength of Science. We're on the verge of a new criticism--a criticism that's not historical or natural, but personal. Physiology is hurrying to announce that every person can mold and modify his own mind. Education, not heredity or environment, is the final and formative power. Character is what defines the person, and education makes character, no matter how much she owes the material she has to work with to heredity and environment.

* . * . * . * . *

So, how should this affect the way we teach Scripture? By making us focus our criticism on the people related with the Scriptures rather than on the events recorded in the Bible. First, the authors, whether we know who they are or not. The lessons we learn about righteousness aren't any greater or lesser if they were penned by Moses or someone else, or Isaiah or another prophet. It isn't human nature, or natural for authors, to suppress themselves the way Biblical authors do. We don't see little affectations and vanities that usually crop up when learned men write. We don't see the usual verbose prose, or pompous egotism or flowery wordiness. Even Plutarch, the prince of biographers, can't resist giving you his opinion about the man he's writing about, adding his own delightful anecdotes. But presenting a person for the reader to judge without adding a hint of his own approval or disapproval is unusual. Not Plutarch or any other author has been capable of

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that--especially not biographers of our day and age! In all of the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, of prophet, priest, or king, there is no speech about morals. Instead, the principle that right and wrong are self-evidenced is made plain. Right and wrong are never praised or criticized. Unadorned straightforward narrative is enough if every reader carries the judge in his own heart. And then there are the people told about in the Bible stories. The well-springs of human behavior are evidenced clearly in them. They rise up from the pages, not like a gallery of peculiarly Hebrew portraits, but like a parade of genuine, living people--more real than the people we eat dinner with every day! How can this be, unless this is the work of God's inspiration? And some of them take shape so majestically as we read about them! Patriotism, enthusiasm, altruism and all the fine words we use today seem too feeble to express Moses, the law-giver of Israel, the prophet, the poet, the leader of men, a man with the same passions we have, but greater than we are. 'Moses, Moses, and more Moses!' Just the single man, Moses, is enough to inspire us to bring up godly and manly youths. In just two or three wonderful touches, his story presents before us the education that helped make him who he was, and all the time, there's no praise, not one story written just to make him sound good, nothing more than a clear narrative that simply tells about events as they happened. This is essential truth. This is double inspiration: first, it produces Moses as a man, and then it portrays him. But what about the 'evolution of history'? If a man is measured by the amount of praise and acclaim written about him, then our day and age produces lots of men who are not only greater than Moses, but greater even than Jesus! After all, what biography has ever been written that has less gushing praise than the four gospel accounts? How sweet the reasonableness

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of Christianity is, how sober was the sanity of the many authors who were elected to write the counsels of God for us!

Am I too fondly clinging to the things of the past rather than focusing on the exciting changes of the present time, and the promise of the future? No. I fully appreciate the joy of living in these times that are characterized by childlike sincerity, openness to conviction, readiness to try everything and choose what's best. Sure, we have our faults--and they're serious and depressing--but we're ready for better things. Indeed, we're ready for a great crusade if only some modern version of Martin Luther or Savonarola would rise up and tell us what to do. To push ourselves to work daily at education, to live, act, think and speak in front of the children so that they'll be better every hour because of our example, is a lot harder than making a single enormous sacrifice. But we'll be enabled even for this daily effort in these inspiring days, when it seems like people are being made willing during this, the day of His power. The outlook is very encouraging. We're beginning to see that education is the chosen servant of religion, and we're beginning to get a stimulating glimpse of the stature of the perfect man that's possible to redeemed humanity.

* . * . * . * . *

But the past has so much accumulated treasures of wisdom and experience to offer us--

'And we can wish that our days might be
Linked together by natural holiness.'

There's not much that's more disastrous (or, unfortunately, more imminent) than suddenly breaking away from past traditions. Therefore, we need to gently connect the

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bonds that link us to the past generation that's dying out all too quickly. Without being disloyal to our own sincerest days, maybe some of us suspect that cultivated people of the 1850's had more depth and sweetness--and more delightful humor!--than we see in people living today. It's good for us to tenderly and reverently gather up whatever fragments of their insight and experience that come our way. After all, we want to be like a homeowner who brings forth treasures from his collection that are both new and old.

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5. A Hundred Years Later (At The Cloughs' Dinner-Table, Sept. 10, 1990)

'What a great idea! This really should be commemorated. At the very least, we can give a little dinner in honor of it. Who shall we invite?'

'Dr. and Mrs. Oldcastle, and Harry's teacher, young Mr. Hilyard and his wife, will represent school lessons. We'll be there to stand for parents in general. If we add Dr. and Mrs. Benton as our medical advisors and the Dean and Mrs. Priestly to be our spiritual witnesses, then we'll have quite a representative gathering! Will my list work?'

'It'll work great! It couldn't be better. We all know the subject, and we all know each other, so I imagine there will be some good things said.'

Mr. Clough was a merchant in the city, just like his fathers had been for four or five generations before him. He was considered to be wealthy, and he was a rich man, but he held his wealth as a public trust. He used only as much of his money for his own personal uses that was needed to maintain his family in comfortable and refined living. Not that this was unusual, since he and others like him detested luxurious living and anything that smacked of the barbaric opulence of previous days. Dr. Oldcastle was

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the principal of an old, established foundation school. The other guests have already been introduced by Mrs. Clough.

During dinner, there was the usual cheerful talk, and some light discussion about more serious subjects, until the ladies went into the living room to discuss practical matters among themselves. Then one of the men began,

'Gentlemen, have you wondered why my wife and I were so persistent about trying to get you here tonight?'

Everyone's expression showed that he was remembering an interesting, though vague, memory.

'There was a little circumstance related to this room, and a certain date that I'm afraid I might have mentioned more than once or twice.'

'Oh, yes,' said the Dean. 'I've told my wife a dozen times, there's one thing that Clough prides himself on--that the Fathers' and Mothers' Club was born in his dining room!'

'But why tonight more than any other night?'

'Why, tonight is the hundredth anniversary of that great event!' They all exchanged a good-humored smile. 'Yes, gentlemen, I know I'm proud of the fact that it happened in my own house, and I give you permission to laugh. But wouldn't you cherish an old-fashioned house in a side street if it was the one thing that linked you to history?'

'But, my friend, why in the world should this club with the stuttering FMC initials (I so hate initials!) be glorified? It doesn't bother me, as a school principal, that's true. ["A man can't play up to his Busby in the face of it! There was a man for his calling! How he'd walk over your 'F. M. C.'s.'" The allusion here is unclear.] Fumble--yes, that's the word it sounds like! I knew FMC reminded me of something!'

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'I don't see how our club links us with history,' said Dr. Benton reflectively.

'In this way. If the club didn't initiate it, it at least marked a stage in the progress of the great educational revolution that we've seen moving for the last hundred years. Just wait another two or three hundred years, and this revolution of ours will be recorded as the great period of the 'Children's Great Charter.''

'I hate to disappoint you, but I don't think any of us will be waiting around for more than a century, even if it's to confirm the statement of his best friend. But continue, my friend, I'm with you! Explain the 'revolution' so we can all understand it.'

'Thanks, Hilyard. Your approval gives me confidence. But which shall I continue with, the word revolution, or the revolution itself?'

'Those two do have a distinction with a difference, don't they? If I say 'the revolution itself,' we'll be dragged off to the Dark Ages and come out to find our wives waiting for us in the hall with their coats and hats on, ready to leave.'

'And that's tolerable to us elder Benedicts.'

'Now, Doctor! We all know that you're practically tied to Mrs. Oldcastle's apron-string every minute that you aren't in school. Fanny and I follow your example when our marriage bond needs a boost.'

'Order, gentlemen! We must have order, or else we won't get to either the word or the thing. Now every one of us is going to want to say something about his wife.'

'Benton's right. Okay, prophet, take up your parable and go ahead. We're all listening.'

'Who would dare deny the request of the Church?' This was said with a bow that almost knocked off the shade of the candle, but Hilyard made a quick save. 'I'll go ahead. And I'm not supposed to talk

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about the revolution itself, just the name. Why do I call this phenomenon that's been working itself out for the last hundred years an educational revolution? Well, in the first place, what was called 'education' a century ago, and what we call 'education' now, are essentially different things.'

Dr. Oldcastle said, with a snort that epitomized a lot of the worst manners of the reformers, 'Come on! Isn't that rather strong? So we teach the classics and math. So did schools a hundred years ago--or, for that matter, five hundred years ago! It's true, we have to cover more in the area of modern languages, natural science and other subjects that we can only give a small smattering of exposure to--which only makes students and teachers confused. I prefer a solid classical education, or, in default, a math-based education. That's what trains them! My vote goes with the pre-revolutionists, if that's what you want to call them.'

'Good heavens, we have to clear the decks so much just so we can have a friendly discussion! Gentlemen, both of you tell us what you mean when you say education.'

'What do I mean by education, Doctor? I never would have thought that all of our intelligent minds would have to define that. A boy is educated when he knows what every gentleman should know, and when he's trained to take his place in the world.'

'Dr. Oldcastle's definition suits me as well as any other one would. If we set aside the polite requirements, what we have left is the issue of training--how much is included in this training, and how we're supposed to give it.'

'There you have it, Clough,' said Dr. Benton. 'My contention is that you owe the immeasurable progress in character that we've seen in the

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last hundred years totally to us doctors. After all, weren't we the ones who found out that you were all blundering in the dark, and that you hadn't even touched education's scientific foundation, and that everything you were doing was tentative? A hundred years ago, young men spent a third of their lifetime on math to earn the title of senior wrangler at Cambridge, and maybe the special distinction was worth all that hard work. But the world, using its weighty voice, said 'Math builds a mental discipline and gives fortifying of character that no other study can give.' Now, I don't deny that math is an integral part of education, but take a look at real mathematicians. Are they more able or self-controlled than other people? No; more often, they're irritable and stubborn, and the more right they are, the more pigheaded they are, too. But now we (notice the we; we're more proper than royalty!) see you fumbling around blindly, grasping first at this tool, and then that one--natural science, foreign language, or whatever, as a means to work on material that you don't know anything about. You don't even know whether you're working on the mind, or the morals, or what! And you're not sure what issues you want to effect--intellectual ability, maybe? Or strength of character? We found all of you--parents, teachers, pastors, all of you whose job is to bring up children--in a muddy pit. And what have we done for you? We've found the nature of the material that you're working on and told you what it is as well as the laws that need to be followed as you do your work. We've placed it into your hands as if it was clay being put into the potter's hands. We've shown you what the one possible thing is that you can achieve, and it's this: to elevate the character. Education that doesn't do this, does nothing. There you have it--that's what we've done for you.

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Every man should stick to his own trade, and I plan to stick to mine like a tanner who knows that his material is leather.'

'Well, fine, but--this is all very fine talk, but what evidence can you give? And where was I when all of this was going on? Pooh! I think you're deluding yourselves, my friends. This vague, airy talk is fine for developing flighty minds, but I've been a teacher for forty years of the time that all of this has supposedly been going on, and I never heard anything about it.'

'That's what you get for fumbling over our FMC group instead of hanging onto it. But, truthfully, Dr. Oldcastle, do you see any changes in the manners of youths these days who arrive straight from home?'

'Oh, yes! Very much so!' said Mr. Hilyard.

'If Mr. Hilyard had been polite enough to let me answer for myself, I would have said yes myself. I've seen a remarkable change, and I congratulate society for it. But what do you expect? Of course civilization and education will get results that are noticable even in a single lifetime.'

'Doctor, you should have made it a trilogy--civilization, education and Christianity,' added the Dean in kind, gentle tones. 'I personally agree with Dr. Brenton--'every man for his master,' and I would hesitate to claim credit for every advance.'

'I hope the Dean will overlook a little bit of assumed hostility. Rest assured, we all agree with you, and this is why: every other method towards perfection, after weeks or months or even years of pleasant effort, leads to a blank wall. You can't see anything beyond it. The only thing left to do is to retrace your steps, and the going back is always bitter. But then you try

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through Christ, and find that you're on the path of progress that will keep on going, encouraged by a constant living hope. But our discussion is becoming serious. We FMC members deserve some of the credit that Dr. Oldcastle claims for himself. Since the testimony of an outside third party can be very useful, maybe he won't mind telling us what differences he's noticed in today's young boys, compared to young boys of forty years ago.'

'Let me think about that for a minute. It's not easy to answer your question in a few short sentences. Let's see . . . well, for one thing, they're more apt to learn. I really think there's been an unusual advance in intelligence in the last fifty years. The lessons that used to take hours of tedious work when I was in school can be whipped out in a half hour by today's students, and they're still alert for more! I believe they have a real hunger for knowledge--and that's a 'weakness' that only one or two students out of a hundred had when I was a boy.'

'Will you listen to my explanation of this, even though I'm just a parent? With all due respect to Dr. Brenton, who is justified in claiming so much for his craft, I think we parents deserve some credit, too. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. I don't think the progress is due to increased intelligence; I think it's in the ability to pay attention. This Fathers' and Mothers' Club recognizes that paying attention is a practical ability that people have. It makes all the difference between a person who's capable and successful, and a poor straggler trying to keep up. Attention is the ability and habit of concentrating everything within yourself on the task at hand. Parents, especially mothers, are taught to cultivate and encourage attention in their children from the time they're infants. Anything that a person regards with full attention,

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even if it's only for a minute, will be known and remembered forever. Think about some of the scenes and conversations that are so vividly fixed in your mind that you can't possibly forget them. Why is that? Because at the moment of that incident, your attention was strongly stimulated. Early training reaps direct benefits as soon as the child starts school. Psychologists--sorry, that's not your field of expertise, Doctor--say that this enormous curiosity and ravenous appetite for knowledge is as natural to children as hunger for bread and milk. The two can work together--attention and curiosity. If the child has an eager craving to know, combined with the ability to focus his whole mind on the new thoughts that are presented to him, then it's as easy as A B C--it's inevitable that he'll learn so quickly that it seems like magic. The field of his mind has been plowed by his parents, and now teachers merely have to sow their seed.'

'Hmmm. That sounds logical; I'll need to think about that. At any rate, the results certainly seem beneficial. Four hours of lessons a day instead of the usual six or seven--and more work done, besides--is good for both the teachers and the students. And most of these students have their own internal resources, so they don't need to be entertained during their off hours. You'd be surprised to hear how much these kids know. Each one has some special hobby. One little guy, for example, loves butterflies. And that reminds me--don't tell anyone, or I might be forced to resign--but, to this day, I don't know the difference between a moth and a butterfly. It's the kind of thing everybody ought to know, so I designed a way to classify them in my own mind. And it's correct because it's my own! This is what happened recently: I asked a little guy who had evidently caught something in a net, 'What do you have there?' 'A moth, sir,' and he gave me the scientific name without hesitation. 'A moth, son! That beautiful creature can't be a moth, moths live in houses!' You should have seen that little boy try not to smile! I

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couldn't ask, so I still don't know, but I make it a point not to look that little boy in the eye. A friend of mine who was a "Fellow" at his college, was even worse. 'Hey, Oldcastle, the poets go on and on about the song of the lark. Tell me--would you know a lark's song if you heard it?' But the students entering college these days, they both recognize and know all about almost any natural object. Their collections have scientific value--at least, that's what Hilyard thinks, so we're going to try to open a museum of local natural history!'

'My goodness, Dr. Oldcastle! You're like the man in that play who talked in beautiful prose all his life, and finally realized it! You're our closest friend, even though you would never admit it. This is exactly what I'm talking about--the efforts of mothers putting our scheme of thought into effect. We strongly emphasize mothers encouraging their children's intelligent curiosity about everything that lives and grows within their environment. For instance, I imagine that most of the mothers in our group would feel disgraced if her child was six years old and couldn't recognize a common local tree from looking a twig that only had its leaf-buds. It's nature lore, and children take it to it like ducks take to water. The first six or seven years of their lives are spent outside (when weather permits) learning this kind of thing, instead of frittering their time with picture books and ABC's. But tell us more of your first-hand observations. This is so interesting. An outsider who can speak from actual experience is worth more than twenty of our own members who are still learning.'

'I'm very grateful, Clough, for the flattering things you're nice enough to say. Of course, my impartial testimony would be just as valuable if it refuted what you're teaching. Well, Hilyard, you're a nobody today! I'm the man of the hour! Not really--he's really the progressive do-er, and I'm the tagalong. Still, even a tagalong has his uses.'

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'Yeah--when you go down a hill! But your own mouth convicts you, 'most learned Master.' Isn't progress what you've been talking about all night? But just tell us one more thing. Do you think that these students are priggish like Admiral Crichton? Or are they dull, lackluster kids who only do what they're told and have no taste for reckless adventure?'

'Taste for adventure! I see little guys, nine years old, who can swim, row, ride, do everything that a man or boy needs to do. How can you keep a kid like that out of adventures? But I have to admit, they do do what they're told, and they do it with fifty times the enthusiastic spirit of boys who shirk. Mind you, I'm talking about boys who have been deliberately brought up at home, not just allowed to grow free and easy. But don't get the idea that even the best of them are perfect. We have to be on top of them all the time, so that the gains we've won don't disappear from under us.'

'Look, look at Brenton! He looks like he'll explode if he doesn't get a chance to say something!'

'Gentlemen, you must--really must hear what I have to say about this issue! You need to let me explain to Dr. Oldcastle the 'reason why' the things he's observed are happening.'

''All righty, then! Let's hear it, Doctor--don't spare a word!'

'Well, to begin at the beginning (no, I don't mean with Adam and Eve, or even the Dark Ages!), about twenty five years ago before Clough's 'event,' scientific men began to grope for some kind of clue to understand the queer riddle of human nature. It had already been determined by inductive reasoning that action and speech depend on thought, and action, if it's repeated often enough, forms character. Now,

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those meddlesome scientific fellows weren't satisfied to accept, 'It is, because it is!' No, they had to go poking around with their everlasting 'Why?' And this particular 'why' proved to be a difficult nut to crack. In fact, it's only been within the last few years that their guesses at truth have been able to be demonstrated. But as early as I said (25 years before Clough's dinner), they had already gained this much knowledge. Analogy and probability supported them, and it was impossible to prove or even present a convincing argument against them. These scientists recognized that they were undermining the popular methods, goals and very concept of education. But their discoveries were like the grain of wheat that had to fall on the ground and die. It was years before educationalists woke up and recognized what they had done. It finally dawned on them that it was finally possible to formulate a science of education. Now they could propose laws that could work out definite results with approximate, or maybe even precise, certainty. The days of children being raised in a casual, haphazard way were numbered. A foundation had been found--and it was a physical foundation. They discovered the principle that lies at the foundation of all of education's possibilities, the same principle we're discovering. They learned that the human body--not just the muscles, but the brain, too--grows according to the way it's used earliest. In a hundred years, we haven't discovered anything more about this principle, but we have found lots of different ways to put it to use. It's sounds so simple, yet it's hardly possible to go beyond the ground covered by this principle. I mean, there's no reason to think we've exaggerated the possibilities of education. Whoever has influence over a child first can make anything out of him. Inevitably, propaganda

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makes itself the first priority in the minds of those who see this as a way to save the human race. And various efforts were made to present to parents from all different social classes the idea that habit formation is one of education's most important goals. Mr. Clough's 'event' was one of those efforts, and the Parents' Club spread like wildfire. Everyone was ready for it because people were starting to see the wretched uncertainty of the casual, haphazard method of raising children. People were asking, 'How is it possible to raise two children in the same way, yet one turns out to be a villain, and the other turns out to be a child his family can be proud of?' Education, as far as we understand it, deals with individuals. Education doesn't deal with children collectively, but with the individual child. Within a definite period of perhaps one to six months, his bad habit is displaced, a good habit is developed, and then it's an easy job for the parents to maintain the child's newly produced habits.'

'Now, just a minute, Doctor--wait! I sense that I'm about to lose my easily won credit. You, a classical scholar, surely know that this theory of habit was familiar to Greeks and Romans. And there was an 18th century British poet--Dryden, I think--who wonderfully expressed the eternal English sentiment about this subject. He wrote,

'Children bend like tender willows,
And they grow in the way that they were first shaped.
Whatever we learn in our youth, only that
Tends to become second nature as we age.'

'Charming. But, Dr. Oldcastle, remember that when I first started, I admitted that people have always had the notion that children needed to develop

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good habits and remove bad ones. But now--it's more than a notion. There's scientific evidence to back it up! So now, instead of struggling through the whole period of childhood making sporadic attempts to get a child to keep his shoelaces tied, parents are settling the matter once and for all, and making sure that the habit is ingrained within the child's character. Do you see that this is very different from the halfhearted way that parents let children try habits in an on again, off again manner for years, and the child never got it?'

'Yes, I admit there's a difference. And what I notice in young boys just coming to the school confirms it. So are you saying that their mothers have determined to set aside one to six months to form a habit--first obedience, then truthfulness, then attention, etc.--and that's why boys are coming to school with real character instead of mere disposition?'

'Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying, and it's in that area that we've been making progress for the last century. Education has been advancing in another direction, too, but that direction only has analogy to guide us, nothing certain. We can't predict yet whether we'll turn out to be simple beings, or complex beings. We aren't sure whether one life or several lives are bound up in each of us. For example, it's entirely possible that in the same way that our physical life is sustained because millions of microscopic organisms constantly live, feed, grow, reproduce and die in our substance, so our spiritual/mental life might be sustained by millions of lives such as philosophy has never even dreamed of. For instance: an idea--what is it? We don't know yet. But we do know that every idea we get exists within us in the same way as a living thing. It feeds, grows, reproduces, and then, suddenly, it's gone. There

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are physical bodies, and there are spiritual bodies. Maybe this concept is still too undeveloped to be put to practical use. But regarding the other aspects of us that we call by names that have something like personality associated with them--conscience, the will, our spiritual being--it's safe to conclude that they thrive when they have their appropriate nourishment and activity, and they perish from lack of food and nothing to do. We've also included this in our educational scheme, and had great results.'

The Dean spoke up:

'I, for one, am very grateful to Dr. Brenton for his most enlightening talk. No, don't look so insulted, Doctor. Your talk had weight and value, and it was blessedly brief. As a representative of the church, I'd like to say how much we owe to this educational revolution. A hundred years ago, people accused our Church of showing signs of decadence. But today, even her most remote extremities are alive. And why? Merely because she's kept up with the times as educational thought has progressed. The Church, along with the rest of you, understands that the world has only one thing to do--to bring up the younger generation to be better than the generation before it, and the one single valuable inheritance that our generation has to pass on is elevated national character. That's why the Church has worked steadfastly along the two areas that Dr. Brenton emphasized tonight: that habit is as effective as ten natures, and that spiritual life will thrive or deteriorate depending on whether it's fed and exercised enough, or malnourished and allowed to lie around idle. That's why every church worker is taught, above everything else, to minister to the youth of all social classes in his parish. A growing soul can't thrive on corn husks. That's why truth needs to have the husks of the past removed. It needs to be clothed

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in the living thoughts of today. A young soul needs to learn what its work is: the spiritual exercise of prayer and praise, and the physical exercise of serving others. Since a person can't teach what he doesn't know, anyone who ministers to youth needs to be qualified and constantly active in these things. After seeing these and other similar truths, our church workers are raising up around them a group of enthusiastic young spirits who consider self-devotion a law, and spiritually related work a necessity. And I believe that we owe a lot of this progress to the work of Educationalists, and we're glad to support them whole-heartedly.'

'We're glad to hear it. All along, we've been very aware of the support and help of the clergy, who join us so often. But I had no idea that we were doing them a service all this time! I'd like to offer a comment professionally, like Mr. Dean did. We doctors have reaped where we've sowed--and we've reaped abundant benefits. In the old days, families had their own doctor, who would be called in from time to time to battle some illness that had gotten a foothold. But now, people are beginning to realize that lack of energy, being out of shape, even diseases that are hereditary or caused by germs, are often the results of faulty education, or flawed bringing up, if that's a better way of putting it. And what's the consequence of that new information? Doctors are retained in sickness and in health. The family doctor fills the role of medical advisor for years--often for life. He thrives on wellness and health, not illness. He stops to pay an unexpected visit to his client and finds one girl doubled up reading a book, and another girl standing on one foot. He notices one child's hectic flush and bright eyes, another child's tendency to be sleepy--

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the flabby arms and quick intelligence of a little boy raised in the city, the apathetic dullness of the farmer's son--he sees both rich and poor clients. He doesn't wait for disease to show up. He averts the tendency towards disease. Although he hasn't discovered the fountain of youth, or any way to avert death, he can almost make this promise to his clients: that as long as they live, their eyes won't dim and their strength and energy will last. And all of this is because the doctor knows that the body needs to be educated, too. Its schedule, bones, muscles and vital organs develop and grow according to the habits trained in them.'

Mr. Hilyard had been busy with his pencil. He was apparently preparing to show the different ways in which the schools had also been progressing during this period of revolutions. But suddenly--'Oh, my! It's eleven o'clock, and we've forgotten our wives!' And that brought the discussion to an end.

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Part III

Concerning Young Men and Women

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1. Concerning Boys and Girls of School Age

The Relationship Between Life at School and Life at Home: School Discipline and Training at Home

School is a New Experience

When a child first goes to school, he begins a new life. In fact, no other change that happens to him afterwards will be as drastic a change in his life. And this is why: we have two kinds of social lives--private life and public life. We have a life as a member of a family, and a life as a member of society. Up until school age, the child has existed as a member of a family. His responsibilities have been pretty simple, and his affection bestowed among everyone according to their role in the family. He loves and obeys his parents, for the most part. He's fond of his brothers and sisters. He has no choice. The law of the family and his family love will follow him even when he begins mingling with the world outside his home. Before school, 'Mom says' is the rule for him, and 'Dad told me' is his highest authority. But all of that changes when he starts school. Although he's still loving and respectful towards those at home, other things enter his life and he begins to see

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the world from a different perspective. When parents send their children off to school, they might think that teachers and lessons are the only issues to consider. After all, the children are going to school to learn, meaning book learning, and the teachers and school principals take the place of parental authority over the children during school.

How true this is depends on another factor, although this factor is sometimes overlooked. That factor is peer pressure, as in, 'But all the other kids . . .' When selecting a school, a wise parent isn't satisfied to only consider the curriculum and character of the teachers. He'll also want to feel out the attitude and atmosphere of the student body. If the students seem to have an overall attitude of order, effort, and virtue, then the school is a good option. Once his child is enrolled there, he can be fairly sure that he'll be carried along towards doing right. Undoubtedly there are a few troublemakers in every large school, and bad behavior is contagious, but the important thing to find out is how far the example of the ringleader is followed by the other students.

It's often assumed that the overall attitude depends on the teacher, but that's not totally true. The teacher will do his best to get the students to have the attitudes they should, but it could be that, like Arnold and Thring, it will be years before he's successful, even if he's a very qualified teacher. We all know how public opinion in the world isn't reliable. In the little world of school, it's even more unreliable. There, public opinion changes as often as the shifting wind because of the nature of children--they're less reasonable and more emotional than adults. Yet, as unreliable as it is, this public sentiment within the school governs

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the entire school. Even the teachers' opinions are irrelevant unless they can sway the students to their view. This fact shows how the government of a school really works. A family is a limited monarchy where the parents are the rulers. But a school is a republic with an elected president. Of course, the teacher may maintain his position in spite of the students, but his authority and influence, which are what really matters, are only secure if the students choose to go along with it. In other words, they have to elect him to administer their affairs.

This is why school is such a new and stimulating world for a child. For the first time in his life, he has to find his own place among his equals. At home, he might have only had one equal, and that equal was his friend and ally--the sibling closest to him in age. But at school, he has a whole classroom of equals, some stronger than him and some weaker, working alongside him, shoulder to shoulder and neck and neck, doing the same lessons and games. It can be exciting and fun for him. As a new student, he'll 'catch' the tone of the school. If the other students do their work, he'll do his work. If they dawdle, he'll dawdle, unless he's been brought up unusually well. Fortunately, it's no exaggeration to say that, for the most part, today's students do their work. School attitudes are mostly on the side of order and effort. There are several reasons for this. It isn't that children are better or more diligent than they used to be, but they have stronger incentives now. The motives to work are stronger than the motives to be lazy.

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The Universities' Local Examinations and other public exams have brought about a great change in the atmosphere of both public and private middle class schools. These days, it's possible for almost any student to earn a distinction that counts, and that has been enough motivation for all of the students to make an effort. They all work hard. The desire to be noted and admired, as well as the added incentive of grades, scholarships and rewards, is enough to keep the students in line. The teachers have very little problems getting the students to study, with the few rebellious exceptions who won't conform with the rest.

This all sounds so wonderful that we wonder, is there a negative side to this? One thing we have to admit, whether we're practical or idealistic--the habit of working hard, the power of effort, prompt work, and a determined purpose in following through to complete a task are all things that add character to a person. If everything else is equal, a person who has completed the necessary work required to pass a certain exam is 20 percent more valuable than a student who hasn't been able to get his act together. But the 'everything else' is something we need to consider. We're not counting rewards that are only available to a select few, like exclusive scholarships, but does a person who prepares for an exam where all students who are up to a certain standard have a shot at success, have any disadvantage over a student who doesn't?

And this brings us to the question of 'overpressure.' That possibility is too serious to dismiss without

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investigating. Parents naturally dread overpressure more for their daughters than for their sons. But the discipline of mental exercise is so healthy for the brain that girls, even more than boys, can only benefit from definite work towards a goal. I can't emphasize strongly enough how important it is that growing girls not be mentally idle. It's just as bad for them to dawdle over their lessons as it is for them to lounge around all day in front of the TV. The most effective way to avoid the tendency to hysteria and other issues that growing girls are susceptible to is the habit of steady mental exercise. But there should be conditions--appropriate amounts, with plenty of time for physical exercise and recreation.

The question is--under those conditions [allowing plenty of time for physical exercise and recreation], is it possible to prepare for an exam such as the Universities' Local Examination for a Junior or Senior? If a girl of average intelligence has been fairly well taught up until she's about thirteen, then it's very possible. It isn't the slow and steady work over the school year that causes mental exhaustion, but the few weeks of cramming at the end of the semester as the student struggles to review an entire year's school work in a few weeks, placing undue stress on the powers of attention and prolonged hours studying instead of playing. That really is overpressure, and it's not healthy. It's also totally unnecessary because it's all a complete waste of time. The only thing that's gained from this senseless grind is a name or date here and there, and a few random facts. It's hardly ever the teachers who advise this kind of cramming--the students create the need for it on their own and work at it blindly. That's why it's easy for parents to put a stop to that kind of studying, especially if their children aren't away at boarding school. It's up to them to insist that, if their children are going to take

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any public exam, it must be only on the condition that very little time be spent studying for the exam beforehand. The time spent on each subject--language, or science, for example--can be increased or decreased, depending on the student's ability. With these two precautions, preparing for a public exam shouldn't do anything more than provide the student with a year's worth of specific worthwhile work.

The next thing to consider is the quality of the work. Set work from a well-planned program with a clear goal is a benefit. It can help the student develop a definite purpose and concentrated effort and attention. These qualities contribute to making a person successful. But what about the teaching approach and study method that a school system encourages when it's organized around preparation for public exams? And is there something better that we can compare it to? Is it too much to assume that these exams influence the general schoolwork of the middle class schools too much? A few years ago, The Times stated fairly accurately that the universities had completely revolutionized the system of education in secondary schools with their 'Local Examinations.' The regulations of the exam committees don't just affect the few candidates who have a shot at succeeding. The entire first division of the school is organized around the curriculum designed to the test, and all the rest of the divisions down to the lowest are working towards that curriculum. In other words, every student in the entire school gets lessons that are supposed to prepare him for the time when he'll take the exam. As soon as the work of the school

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begins to have an influence on the child, he starts working towards this one ultimate test.

The Times had nothing but praise for how these exams have inspired secondary education, and the great practical value of the students' work. It's rare anymore to find a school of any reputation that doesn't do thorough work, and their work is affirmed by the number of candidates from their schools who qualify for one exam or another. Sometimes we hear about a school whose students get results because their students use a system of cramming for tests, and aren't really learning anything at all. But, in general, middle-class schools have reached a pretty standard level. Few are any better or worse than the rest, they're all about equal. It didn't used to be that way. A school was either a place to get a great, high quality education, or else it was a poor excuse for a school, depending on the character of the person in charge of the school. But now the curriculum is all planned ahead. Any person can delegate the curriculum to assistants if he can't teach it himself, so that his school is as good as any other school. In other words, a school's reputation doesn't totally depend on the principal's strength of character and ability to organize any more.

The leveling-out tendency of our schools has some disadvantages. Individuality of students and schools isn't encouraged under this kind of system. A system of basing schoolwork on public exams ['teaching the test'] will necessarily mean an end to individuality, character training and culture. After all, when the same test is administered to the entire country, can students be tested on what they think? No, they'll be tested on the objective facts they know and can put on paper. That's the only way to grade tests uniformly, and the examiners have to be uniformly unbiased, since test results affect the future of so many students. Thus, clear facts,

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information that can be tested, makes up the mental diet of school lessons. In this situation, a teacher who tends to be wordy will restrain himself and stick to the facts since only facts will be tested, and he feels that it's up to him to make sure his students receive, remember, sort and regurgitate the facts that their success depends on. It's true that it's useful to have these facts, but it's not the same as culture. It doesn't necessarily produce a cultivated or healthy habit of reading and reflecting.

'A primrose by the river's brim
Was just another rose to him
Just that, and nothing more.'

That's how it will be for a student who only goes to school to pass his exams and doesn't find a way to see beyond the grind of lessons.

The routine of school work also becomes so mechanical and never-ending, and there's so much to cover and get through, that there's no time or opportunity for the teacher to build a relationship with his students and influence the molding of character. There's no room for subtle moral training, which should be the refining touch that a gifted, experienced man should be able to impart. The routine of the work itself can give the kind of moral training that develops diligence, exactness, persistence, and steady, focused work, but there's more to moral training than that. There's something more. It's not easy to define, but the only way to get it is through sympathetic dialog with people who are morally and mentally ahead of us. It's this vague quality that gets squeezed out in the pressure of the school grind.

So, what should we do? Give up exams and let teachers and students muddle through in the old

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way? No, too much would be lost. Should we let our children continue to attend school, but make them stay home on exam day? No, because the training that schools are offering depend on those exams. If you miss out on that, you end up with nothing at all. The thing to do is to recognize the situation that exists. Accept and be grateful for the benefits that our schools do provide, and be prepared to fill in the gaps that the schools leave out by providing culture and moral training at home. (There's an even better way. Lord Salborne instituted it in his examination of naval cadets. For many years, the Parents' Union has used a method of education that can be tested in such a way that intelligence is assessed instead of rote memory, which minimizes the need for cramming. But that's already been discussed in another volume of the CM Series.)

Team Sports

It's even more important to urge parents to take on their responsibilities because school life has such a strong claim on modern children that parents tend to abdicate their duties as surely as parents in Sparta whose children were taken possession of by the state. Children who attend boarding school are treated like visitors when they do come home--they're fussed over at first, and then, by the time the school vacation is almost over, they're a bit in the way. Parents rarely make an effort to train and discipline them like they do with the younger siblings who still live at home. Children who only go to school for the day should have the advantage of still being trained and influenced by their parents, but that isn't always the case. The children are so busy with school work, and their free time is spent with school friends and school interests, that parents gradually lose their influence

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over them. The children have their own code of law that they live by: 'Oh, nobody does it like that!' or, 'Nobody thinks that anymore!' or 'All the other kids' --think this, or say that, or do such-and-such. This is considered the final authority that settles most issues being discussed. And, unfortunately, most parents are humble and insecure enough to have confidence that their children are getting something better at school than they're able to provide. They believe that the proper and appropriate training is being learned at school, so they make it a point not to interfere.

This absorption with school life is even more complete because the students aren't yet aware of any need that the school doesn't supply. As long as the appropriate kind of work and play are there, life seems wonderful. And work and play are balanced more at school than anywhere else in the world, at least in boys' schools, where organized sports are common. It's not as easy to provide for sports when it comes to girls' schools. Parents value the discipline of sports almost as much as they value the discipline of academics. It isn't just the wonderful physical training that they appreciate, but also the guts, endurance, foresight, strength, skill, obedience to rules, submission to authority, readiness to give place to the best person, self-reliance, loyalty to teammates even in bad times, that are developed through school team sports with their rules, captains, competitions and rivalries. What better way is there for a boy to learn that courage, determination and character bring success?

It's almost sad to think that girls' sports, even when they play the very same games that the boys play, are rarely taken as seriously, so they don't result in the same discipline. But, for now

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at any rate, life doesn't require as much rough treatment for girls as it does for boys, so there's no need for girls to have such harsh training. The influence that team sports has on boys' character can't be measured. Young teachers who are thoughtful as well as athletic recognize that, in order to influence their boys, they have to be able to hold their own in sports to prove that they understand what's important to their students. It's the same with friendship and camaraderie. It's in sports that boys find role models of male excellence to set an example for them to follow.

School Government

Team sports does a valuable service. It's greatly responsible for what's best in the character of Englishmen. And yet, the training that team sports provides is as incomplete as the discipline of academics. The discipline of school work and sports is mostly carried on as students stimulate and balance their natural desires against each other. Their natural desires are for power, friendship, respect, knowledge, physical movement, being the best, work, being busy, even the greed of desiring more things. It's a pretty impressive list. By playing upon these desires and adjusting them, it's possible to control the child so that he appears well-behaved, yet his character might have no sense of duty, his loyalties are weak, tendencies left to run wild, and he lacks the culture that's supposed to train his

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inherited tendencies and disposition into real character. Using a person's desire as a way to control him is the easiest thing in the world. Daycare workers know this all too well. The child's desire for praise, or play time, or a lollipop, means that the worker always has something in her bag of tricks to reward good behavior. Whenever there's an attempt to stimulate a group of people, it's always through their desires. People always want jobs or entertainment or power or money or land, and the one who plays on these desires is the one who will gain their favor. This kind of control is so easy to use, it's the most common in schools as well as other places. Prizes, praise, standings, success, and distinctions in sports and exams are enough to keep a school going with so much enthusiasm that nobody notices the lack of other wellsprings of motivation.

None of these desires are wrong in themselves, within limits. In fact, they were implanted within us to spur us on to progress. A person who has no desire for wealth and no ambition won't help himself and the world to move forward in the same way that a person will who has those desires. In school, the desires are mostly well regulated; one is brought into play against another one. The result is that a boy who develops under school discipline gains such durable qualities and sterling virtues that he matures into a man of character. But the weakness of this system is that students are all treated the same, with no regard for the individual tendencies that might require restraining, guidance, or encouragement. A vain girl will become more vain. An unsure girl will be snubbed. There's no time to reach out and help students who are struggling or tutor those who fall behind. Students who can't keep up the pace have to drop out of the race. It's bewildering how a student can have an uncultured character, or uneducated principles, or undeveloped

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affection for their own country, family or kind after many years of doing well at school. The reason is that the current form of control through desires doesn't take these things into account. And that's not all. Too often, boys who have done well at school develop into adults who lack any intelligent curiosity, don't like to read, and are so lazy that they avoid anything that makes them think. I'd like to say a word about an alarming evil that depresses thoughtful school principals and deans in many of our great schools, and makes parents fearful for the danger their children will have to face: sexual impurity. I won't discuss what parents might do to prepare their sons for the risks they'll encounter--everyone already knows what can be done, and too much has probably been said already.

We tend to forget that every kind of sin begins in the thoughts before it's manifested in actions. In fact, once a sin is conceived in the mind, it's potentially already committed. For that reason, teaching that occupies the mind with impure matters is risky. In our blind enthusiasm, it's possible for us to make even the innocent knowledge of birds and flowers seem impure to our young students. If we teach with the idea of instilling purity, we can unwittingly plant impure thoughts in students' minds because children are always aware of the hidden meaning. A teacher who sticks to the scientific facts and has nothing but science on his mind does fine, but a devout teacher whose goal is to get in the moral lesson will often unconsciously suggest the very impurity that he's trying to prevent! His students know that he knows, and that's enough to get their imaginations going. The safest bet may be surprising. We know that an idle, unoccupied mind is a prime place to harbor 'seven evil spirits.' Intellectual emptiness,

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with nothing to think about, can provide the perfect opportunity for the kind of impurity we want to avoid. It's odd that students seldom give their school lessons any thought beyond doing the mental grind it takes to pass and get them over with, yet by nature, they're consumed with intellectual curiosity. If we give students fascinating studies that will give their minds something to think about and provide subjects to talk about (don't we all like to talk about the books we're reading, for example?) then they won't have a mental void for unclean imaginings to fill.

There are schools in practically every neighborhood. Some schools provide the highest kind of mental discipline with deliberate development of the individual's character and with spiritual insight and teaching that will help the student to have a better life. But those kinds of schools are rare, and parents shouldn't assume that their child's school is one of those rare ones. It's better to take the school for what it's worth. Be thankful for what teaching it does provide, recognize and accept its weaknesses, and make an effort to fill the gap by supplying home training for whatever the school fails to provide.

Girls' Schools

For the most part, girls are worse off than boys as far as what they get out of school life. Boys' games have an element of generosity, of free and friendly 'give and take' that girls' games lack. Beautiful and enduring female friendships are formed in most schools, but girls don't always do each other good. They just as often manipulate to bring out the worst in each other instead of the best, perhaps because they're more delicate and nervous by design than boys, which can make them more sensitive and irritable.

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They don't have the common bond that most boys find through sports. Their relationship is based on talk, which all too often turns into gossip, and can evolve into emotional and unhealthy gossip. A girl with a fine, pure, noble character can be like salt that seasons an entire school, and, fortunately, there are plenty of girls like that. But parents should keep in mind the other possibility--their daughter might be thrown into a group of girls who aren't exactly vicious, but who have no redeeming qualities of character and they might influence her and bring her down to their own level.

Being created more sensitive, girls are more prone to petty envyings, jealousies and 'cliques' that prevent them from bringing out the best in each other's company. They're more dependent on the character of whoever is in charge of them, and on their opportunities to be in direct contact with whoever that might be. If she's a woman with a clear, alert mind, high principles, and noble character, it's surprising how all of the lovely feminine qualities of the other girls are drawn towards her, like a magnet. The girls around her will mold themselves after her, yet each according to her own individual nature. The 'sympathy of numbers' will spur them all on towards virtue, each one--

'Eager to be rapid in the race.'

As teacher Dr. Lant Carpenter said, if the woman in charge has the power to 'command reverence and make over the wills' of her students, if she has 'great and varied intellectual ability, and a profound sense of what's right that pervades her whole life and conversation, and insight gained from a thorough and affectionate understanding of female nature,' then she'll be able to 'achieve victories every day that most teachers wouldn't think possible.' Above all,

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this will be the case if she's able to give her students the key to spiritual life. This kind of woman is able to get everything that's beautiful about the feminine nature on her side--its enthusiasm, humility, compliance, and devotion. Love works wonders, and parents will see their daughter growing right before their very eyes into the perfect woman they long for her to become.

But teachers like this are rare. And, as a matter of fact, it's a good thing, because if the parental role could be filled by outsiders, what would be left for the parents to do? Most parents will be careful to place their daughters under respectable women, and, having done that, they'll assess the training that the school provides for what it's worth and make an effort to supplement that with training at home. The value of school discipline to girls can be appreciated by parents who have seen their daughters grow up with habits of vagueness, inaccuracy, lack of effort, inconsistency, no conscientiousness about their work, and dawdling after being raised at home under the care of a governess. Of course, there are exceptions, and exceptional governesses. A girl who is trained under a woman who loves knowledge for its own sake will probably do even better than a girl who goes off to school when it comes to her range of non-personal interests, joy in life, and initiative. Girls often do well when their fathers are involved in part of their education. In good circumstances, a girl taught at home can excel in intellectual grasp and moral refinement. But when it comes to work habits, ability in work, and conscientious effort, faithful schoolgirls who have experienced the discipline of school life usually fare better than girls who have been brought up under an unexceptional, mediocre governess with no training.

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Home Training: 1. Physical Fitness

It's not necessary to compare the benefits of large schools vs. small schools, or day schools vs. boarding schools. No matter which a child goes to, it's safe to assume that the discipline of the school is so valuable that a child who grows up without it is at a disadvantage all his life. But, at the same time, the training one gets at school is so defective that, if that's all he gets, a person will grow up imperfect and inadequate. The important thing to consider is this: a parent's responsibility to educate his child doesn't come to an end when the child starts school. It's still up to them to supplement whatever is weak or missing from the school's training.

In this case, as always, there are four areas that education influences--the physical body, the intellectual mind, the morals, and the religious nature of the student. When it comes to the physical part of education, a parent whose son goes away to boarding school has it easy. Physical activity is a routine element of schools, which are well-regulated and turn out young men who are strong, capable and alert.

Boys at boarding schools are so well off in the area of physical activity/sports that they're the envy of the rest of the world. But girls aren't as fortunate. They have to depend on gymnastics, dancing and calisthenics, and some of the more extreme kinds of gymnastics are risky for older girls. There's very little provision made for them to thoroughly abandon themselves in sports as part of the business of life, as it is for boys. Even if there are tennis courts, only a few girls can play at a time. If there are playgrounds, the

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games are hit or miss, and girls aren't encouraged to be active enough to exercise their lungs like boys do. Day schools don't usually schedule a full program of physical fitness for girls. Therefore, it's up to parents to fill this missing gap. Jumping rope, badminton, baseball, softball, tennis, archery, and hockey should be strongly encouraged. Long walks in the country with a goal in mind, such as procuring plant specimens, should be promoted at least twice a week. Parents should make sure that their daughter spends two or three hours outdoors in the fresh air every day; if the weather makes that impossible, then the evening should end with dancing in the living room or some fun, active game.

But how can that be fit into a busy schedule? Mothers will need to think about that very carefully, since they're the ones who will need to manage the time cleverly enough to fit it all in and still provide a relaxing sense of leisure that should be every child's right. The fact is, girls' days are too full and busy. It takes some careful planning to schedule enough down-time for them to grow and mature. Let's say a girl gets up at 7am and goes to bed at 9pm. That's 14 hours of waking time. Perhaps five hours would be spent on school lessons (the time spent going to and from school counts as outdoor time). An hour to 1 1/2 hours would be spent on homework and study, at least an hour for piano practice, two hours for meals, and an hour for routine things like getting dressed. That leaves three and a half hours. If two and a half hours of that is dedicated to fun and physical activity, there's still an hour of free time left.

Younger children don't have as many chores

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and they don't need as much time for music practice or homework, so they'll have more time to play. But if a school-aged girl is going to have two or three hours of uninterrupted play time, it will require her mother's good management and firmness. First of all, the mother will have to make sure that school work is done, and done well, within a specified time. This must be non-negotiable. The girl will complain that it's impossible, but if her mother absolutely insists on it, she'll develop the habit of focused attention, which is the key to success in any endeavor, and will provide free time for fun that the children might not have if they're left to dawdle their time away. Homework rarely takes more than an hour and a half. If it takes longer than that, it's usually due to the habit of mental dawdling, which really wastes the brain tissue. Don't think that attempting to hold the child to an hour and a half will undermine the teacher's efforts. On the contrary, the teacher's greatest obstacle is the tendency for children's minds to wander--they'd rather dawdle an hour over work that should take five minutes of steady work. There's a promising possibility that, sometime in the future, curriculum will be written so that homework will be a thing of the past, and that will remove some stress from life at home. Teachers will eventually discover that if they let their students work from appropriate living books during the three or four hours of school time, more material will be covered in less time, and the need to assign homework or night classes will disappear.

If the mother is firm in enforcing promptness in things like taking off and putting on outdoor clothes, being at the table for meals on time, and not letting one activity overlap into time for the next activity, she'll be able to provide many half-hours of pleasant leisure for her

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children. This has a double blessing, because it also makes the children feel secure within the authority of a firm home rule.

Home Training: 2. Intellectual

For the most part, students' intellectual training must be left up to the school authorities. There's no point in discussing school subjects or methods of teaching because the teacher is the one who makes those decisions, and, as we've already noted, his decisions are largely influenced by those who give the exams. Even when a school's teaching isn't up to par, there's not much that can be done. There's not enough time or opportunity for supplemental academic training. Even if the parent tried that, or criticized the school, it would have a negative impact on the student. He would learn to devalue his school, but he wouldn't have anything better to replace it with. But, even though the parents can't and shouldn't do anything to oppose the teachers, they can still do a lot by playing according to the teacher's rules.

It's important for parents to keep up with their children's schoolwork as much as they can. They should know what they're studying and how they're doing, skim their schoolbooks, look at their written work, and be ready to offer an opinion, a suggestion, or a word of encouragement. They can show a genuine interest in their children's studies, and, when the subject they're learning about is something more interesting than the declension of Latin nouns, they can shed some additional light on the topic by talking about it at the dinner table. There are two reasons for this. It supports the teacher's efforts, and it keeps parents in the game. Parents sometimes fail to realize how much good a comment of interest from them can do to turn a dull lesson into

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a living idea that will stay in the child's mind forever. With all the books we have available these days, there's no excuse for a parent to be out of the loop of school lessons. The teacher will benefit from this kind of parental involvement. His job will be easier because his students will be more interested and ready with a response. Even more important, the parent will retain a place of authority as head of the family and keep the child's respect. Once a child begins to look down on his parents' intellectual level, he won't be able to genuinely honor them and submit to them. Whatever effort it takes to keep up with your children's lessons will be repaid by your children's glow of pride every time they see evidence of their parent's intellectual ability.

Home Training: 3. Moral

(a) Honoring Parents--Now we come to the kind of moral education that children can only get at home. If they don't learn it there, they won't learn it at all. Their most important duty, and one that needs to be kept continually on their minds, is their duty to their parents. All of their other obligations to family, country and neighbors, stem from this duty. Even more than this, they can only conceive of their obligations to God in proportion to what they recognize of their obligation to their human parents.

Unfortunately, parents don't always think wisely about this issue. The general feeling is that how a child treats his parent is a matter between the two of them alone. If a parent chooses to let his child's confidence, obedience and respect go, it's his own business. He has a right to do what he wants with his child in the same way that a slave owner has the right to emancipate his slaves. At the same time, two other notions

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are common. First, the kindest and best thing a parent can do for his children is to provide what Americans call 'a good time' for them. Second, children these days are so much more sophisticated and advanced that it's absurd for parents to expect their kids to submit to parents who aren't half as sharp as they are. The result of these three fallacies is that parents tend to give up control of their children when they're too young. As soon as the school takes possession of them, the parents loosen up and allow lax discipline, doubt, relaxed manners, and the habit of doing whatever seems right in their own eyes.

It's a tragedy to society and a personal loss to students when they're left to manage themselves with no guidance. They lose the careful moral training that their parents should be giving them throughout the years they're in school and two or three years beyond that. The difficulty is in maintaining the proper parental dignity and avoiding a casual, flippant air to parents, while still maintaining affectionate intimacy, confidence, and friendly fun. This is the secret to managing authority at home--the child needs to be in the role/position of receiver, and the parent fills the role of providing not only physical care and comfort, but careful, regular education to prepare students for living on their own. The problem is that it's difficult to keep up a facade of superiority with children as they get older and begin to pick up their own opinions from people outside the home. Parents can start to feel less intelligent and less admired than other people that their children come in contact

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with. And, being too honest to claim a dignity that they feel unworthy of, parents often descend from their authoritative role and assume a position of equality with their children, hoping that affection and good-will will be enough to get respect from their children.

It's very likely that these parents who feel less worthy are actually more worthy than they realize, but that's not the issue. They've been given an official dignity based on their role, not their personal character. Their role requires them to be superior to their children until their children are old enough to be parents themselves. Parents are given this dignity so that they'll be in a position to teach their children the art of living. A role of authority carries with it a certain dignity that's unconnected with the character of the person filling that role. This is why a judge or bishop who doesn't maintain his role with the appropriate dignity loses the authority he needs to do his job. It's the same with a parent. If he fails to display a proper respectful manner with his children, then he has as good as disgraced himself before them. It's the same for him as it is for the judge or bishop--he loses the authority and respect he needs to teach them the art and science of living. Yet that's his purpose and the reason God placed him in that role.

When parents accept that their relationship with their children isn't just the nature of things but a real role that they were appointed to fill, they'll find it easier to assume the dignity that a person has who represents someone greater than himself. When a parent recognizes that he has a Divine authority behind him, and that he's nothing more than a representative of God Himself, appointed to bring up children under God's government, then he won't doubt himself and act so insecure. He'll treat his role within the family as a sacred trust that he has no right to abdicate or abandon.

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If parents accept and maintain their rightful position as heads of the family, then all the responsibilities and affections that are appropriate for a family flow out of that principle in the same way that light comes from the sun. The parents will be able to show continual tenderness and friendliness to their children without partiality or permissive over-indulgence. Since they expect willing, faithful obedience, they get it. Their children trust them entirely and therefore place their confidence in them and seek their advice. And, of course, they treat their parents with the proper honor and respect. There's a counterfeit kind of dignity that can give the parental role a bad name. A selfish, arbitrary parent can demand a lot from his children but give them very little, treating them like worthless inferiors. Then their children rebel and willfully do the opposite of what the parent wants. But these situations aren't the proper kind of parental role that I'm talking about. Most children won't resist the authority of a parent who consistently and lovingly fills the role of an agent under a higher Authority. Such a parent is respected even more because the child recognizes that his position and authority come from his position as a deputy under a Divine Sovereign.

Even under the best conditions, there are still times when the relationship between parent and child is strained. One of the most challenging of these times is the moment when the child first consciously recognizes that he's a member of the school's republic. This time will require the parent to be especially tactful. Now more than ever, the child needs to be aware of the authority at home so that he knows where he stands and how much he can give to school. 'Oh, Mother, why didn't you make me do it?' said one poor lazy Scottish boy who had fallen into disgrace because he neglected his school work and fell behind. Every student who doesn't feel the pressure of the firm hand of parental authority

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at home has the right to ask that. They have every right to blame their parents for every failure in integrity or capability in their adult life. But it takes more than simply asserting authority, as the wind did in the fable about the man with the cloak who only wrapped it closer around him when the wind tried to force it off with his fierce blowing. It was the sun's gentleness that finally got the cloak off when the man got warm in the sun's rays. Parental authority is most effective when its force is gentle, but without a trace of weakness or laziness. There's no strength in weakness or laziness. But purposeful, determined gentleness that only exerts itself because it's the right thing to do is a parent's supreme strength. 'The servant of God should never strive' wasn't written only for bishops and pastors. It's the secret of strength for every 'overseer' managing a household.

(b) Gratitude Towards Parents--Parents will find that there are some challenging tasks they need to do for their children's sake--tasks that would be difficult between any two people. Even in the familiar, intimate relationship between parent and child, these tasks will require tact and discretion. One of those tasks is fostering gratitude. I don't need to convince anyone that ungratefulness is wrong; even the most ancient writers have always considered it a heinous disgrace. Yet it's human nature to accept benefits as a matter of course to be expected from those who provide the benefits. We tend to overrate what we think we deserve, and we're not likely to consider putting ourselves in someone else's shoes to see things from their perspective, so we fail to see what another person might be sacrificing to be kind to us. Gratitude isn't a trait we're born with. No person owes more to anyone besides his devoted parents. If a person is ever going to develop gratitude, it's only because his parents cultivate a delightful awareness of their love and never-failing kindness towards him.

It's sad but true--children are so oblivious

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that they don't think any more of their parents' kindness to them as a personal benefit than they think of sunshine or flowers or any of life's other gifts. Perhaps a mother stays up until midnight patching her sons' blue jeans, but she doesn't mention it. The next day her sons pull on their jeans and hardly even notice whether their jeans have holes or not. But 'it's horrible to always be reminding children about those kinds of things, telling them, See how much work I did for you? I hope you'll remember this and do as much for me.' Yes, that is horrible, and it's also risky. That sort of thing only irritates the child and cancels any sense of debt he might have felt. But a gentle comment about 'those huge holes that kept me up till midnight fixing,' or 'Don't worry about it, dear--I love doing things for you,' sinks deep. A child is hardly worth his weight if he doesn't take such comments to heart and vow to buy clothes, jewels and fine things for his mother 'when I grow up!' If it's ever necessary to make sacrifices and do without for the sake of the children, let them know about it, but don't reproach them about it. Don't act like it's a hardship, but as if it's a pleasure to do it for them. In other words, it's fine to let children know about the services done for them and sacrifices made for them as a show of love, in the same way that a child gives a flower to his mother, but never as a demand or expectation for service.

(c) Kindness and Courtesy--It's the same with all of the other qualities of love--kindness, courtesy, friendliness. Parents must develop these things in their children without demanding them. These things should come out of the love they have. Make opportunities for the child to serve, work, and give. Let the child feel that his own kindness has the power to affect his parents. I know of one girl who never had the realization that

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she had any power within herself to gratify her mother until she was into her teens! Don't let children neglect the common little courtesies and details of daily life--putting a chair back in its proper position, standing aside or letting someone go first when it's appropriate, being alert to needs at the table, being polite about listening and answering questions or following instructions. Let children feel like neglecting these things is hurtful to those who love them, but taking the trouble to do them is as warming and cheering as sunshine. Then if they sometimes don't do these things, it will be because they simply forgot, not because they're unwilling or because they consider such little details a 'trivial waste of time about formalities.'

In the same way, there should be a continual flow of friendliness, politeness, warm looks and kind words between the parent and child. Let the child understand that a bright, cheerful, 'Good morning, Mom!' is like sunshine to her, but a cold greeting given without even looking at her is like putting a cloud between his mother and the sun. Parents often let these things slide because they're not willing to confront the child and demand the respect that's owed them. But they shouldn't look at it that way. It's more than just a personal matter. Wordsworth wrote an illuminating little poem that illustrates what I'm talking about:

'A change has come that's made me poor--
Only recently your love
Was like a fountain flowing right by my doorstep,
And its only concern was to flow.
And it did flow, not even noticing
How much it could spare, or how much I already had.

'What happy days I had then!
I was so blessed, and so happy!
But now, instead of that wonderful fountain
Full of bubbling, sparkling love,
What do I have? All that's left
Is a cold, hidden well.

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It may be still full of love, it may be deep,
I'm sure it is, and it's never dry--
But what does that matter? If the waters sleep
And are silent and still,
That change that happened right at the doorstep
Of my loving heart has made me poor.'

Within every child is a fountain of love,

'whose only concern is to flow.'

It's the parents' job to make sure the fountain stays unsealed and unchoked so that it can always flow with kindness, friendliness, courtesy, gratitude, obedience, and service. If the fountain continues to flow, it won't just make the parents' hearts happy, although they're the first ones that the fountain flow reaches. But even people around them will be affected--family, friends, relatives, schoolmates, neighbors, people in need, and the world. But if the fountain is allowed to get choked before its flow reaches even the parents, then the fountain is probably lost, and is a mere buried well of love. So how can parents keep the fountain flowing? Wordsworth's poem gives some suggestion. Children should understand the joy that each act of their love brings, and they should witness the cloud that falls on the parent's heart when they hold back their love. Parents' natural restraint and pride can make them tend to take the abundance of their child's affection for granted, and not let on when their neglect to perform some common courtesy hurts their feelings. But, for the children's sake, parents shouldn't be afraid to let their children know how they feel. Children should be allowed to see how their parents feel about them. Parents need to do this because no academic or religious education can teach as much as the education that teaches the power of love.

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Another thing to remember is that love doesn't grow by what it gets, but by what it gives. That's why students should never get out of the habit of doing services out of love. It's dangerous to confuse real love with affection. Affection is mostly an animal emotion. It shows itself in fawning, sentimental displays, such as 'Mother Darling,' or 'Dear Father.' Real love might be manifested with affectionate words and hugs, but that's not its foundation. Real love shows itself in acts of service. Little children are naturally affectionate, always ready to give and receive hugs, and showing affection in their own individual ways. But older children are self-conscious and more reserved. At this awkward stage of their lives, they require lots of tact and tenderness from their parents. Channels of service, friendliness and obedience need to be kept open since those are paths for the love that the children are less inclined to show with physical affection.

The Awkward Age

This period of awkwardness is a critical stage in the child's life. For the first time, they're so focused on the concept of their own rights that they overlook their own obligations. They're too preoccupied with their fair share to be concerned with what they owe others. 'That's not right,' 'It's not fair,' 'It's too bad,' are muttered to themselves even when they don't dare say such words out loud. Yet their view is aggravatingly unreasonable, and so one-sided that adults have a hard time seeing the logic. But, while their behavior is frustrating, it doesn't indicate a moral weakness. They're simply looking at it more from the perspective of justice than reason. Their claims could usually be

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granted if their side was the only one to consider. What they need is to be made as aware of the rights of others as they are of their own. When their reason has been cultivated, they'll be able to weigh their rights against the rights of the other person. Their aggressive pursuing of their fair share isn't naughtiness. They need to be approached from the level they're at. The parent needs to be careful not to offend the child's exaggerated sense of justice in all that pertains to them. They should receive all of the rights that are truly theirs. When they're obviously mistaken, the parents should try hard to convince them without being harsh about it.

Meanwhile, the parents also need to deal with the attitude that tempts the child to declare, 'I won't!' if he dared to say it out loud. He must be approached through his affections. The very feelings of offended justice that seem so offensive when he's focused on himself and complains, 'it isn't fair!' are the same feelings that are beautiful and good when they're channeled in the right direction, towards justice and kindness for others. This change of focus isn't just possible: it's easy and pleasant for parents to bring about. The passion for justice is already there, and love is there, too, although it's become an exaggerated form of self-love because its focus is on self and its own rights--to the exclusion of other people. It's a fact of life that a person's affection will flow in the direction of whatever his attention is focused on.

One way to effect this kind of change is to impress upon children that the household's happiness is a sacred trust in which every member has some control. A child who comes to dinner with a sullen face temporarily destroys the happiness of the whole family in the same way that holding your hand close to your eyes will block out all of the sun's light. What's the secret of having happiness

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every day? Is it special treats? Success? Exciting entertainment? No, it's constant friendly looks and tones of voice in the people around us. It's their interest, support and help in what we're doing. It's their service and their compassion when we're in need or trouble. A home can't be happy if even one member allows himself to have irritable moods and rude behavior. Little by little, the children will become more aware of how fragile the home's moral atmosphere is. They'll realize that, like a rare and expensive vase, even a single day's happiness can be destroyed by a thoughtless action or clumsy word. And, as a result, their attention will be taken off themselves and their rights and focused on a brother or sister, father or mother, friend or neighbor. Even a small thing like a friendly look can contribute to the happiness of any one of these.

We naturally feel more affection for people we can give happiness to. But a child who feels like he makes no difference to his family will give his heart to his dog. After all, he thinks, at least Prince's happiness depends on him. That's why Lord Lytton said, 'I think it's wrong to let children have a dog. It makes them less inclined to be available to people.' Let your child have a pet, but make sure he knows how many people he can bring momentary happiness to with even a pleasant word. Benevolence means finding pleasure in giving happiness, and it's a stream that grows deeper and wider as it flows. When a child realizes that he really can make a difference in his home, he'll start seeking opportunities. He won't miss a hint about what his father or sister would like. He won't find it difficult to be accommodating or considerate if he chooses to do it on his own instead of being nagged into it. One kind produces more of the same kind. As he shows kindness, people will respond to him favorably, returning his kindness. Soon kindness will be abundantly overflowing from him and to him. He'll begin to focus on others and their concerns and rights instead of his own.

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His passion for justice will be redirected into demanding fair play for others. He won't allow anyone to speak unfavorably about others in their absence. He won't assume negative intent, or quickly accuse someone else of unworthy behavior. He'll be fair in assessing other people's conduct, character and reputation. He'll be able to put himself in someone else's shoes without anyone suggesting it. He'll judge others in the same way he'd like to be judged himself.

'Teach me to feel another person's sadness
And to overlook the faults I see in others.
The mercy that I extend to others,
Please extend to me.'

That will be his attitude and unsaid prayer. His good-will and kindness won't only reach out to the needs of others, but will also result in patience when others are irritable, and nobleness in forgiving others when they offend him. His habits of kind, friendly deeds will slowly develop into principles, and then into real character, so that he gains a reputation as a virtuous person. There's not a lot that parents can do to produce this wonderful result beyond keeping the channels open, and directing the streams of their child's thoughts. They can make their child aware of the needs and rights of others, and from time to time, suggest the different ways in which the happiness of others depends on him. I don't think I need to mention that using such phrases as, 'Look out for number one,' or, 'Nobody else is going to protect your own interests but you,' or, 'You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours,' or, 'Tit for tat, I'll pay him back for that offense,' will obstruct the wellspring of others-first attitudes. Does that mean that all of moral education boils down to developing the child's affections? Yes! It just confirms the same old lesson,

'In the same way that every color of the rainbow is really only light,
Every grace and virtue is really only love.'

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Home Training - 4: Religious

In discussing the religious education of children, my goal is to remind parents how beautiful and powerful the holy life of a youth is. Our expectations are too low both for our children and ourselves. The goal we aim for is lower than what many blessed children attain to, in their own childish way--a life that's 'holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.'

'The person who aims for a star
Shoots a lot higher
Than the person who only aims for a tree.'

The few suggestions I'll make, just like the other educational suggestions I've made, are things that conscientious mothers are already doing.

First of all, 'every word of God' is the diet of the spiritual life, and those words speak to us more clearly during moments that we set apart for collecting ourselves, reading and praying. In children, these moments tend to be elusive and rushed. It's a good idea to plan the free time they need right into their schedule, perhaps a quiet twenty minutes every evening. And that time should be scheduled when it's not too late because the sleepy time at the very end of the day isn't a good time for the day's most serious matter. I've seen it work well where children have the habit of disappearing for little while in the early evening before the night's fun or work, when their minds are still alert.

Remember, the Christian life is supposed to be a progressive life. A child shouldn't feel that his spiritual life is like a door on hinges, swinging back and forth over the same thing. New and specific goals, thoughts and things to pray for should be presented weekly, so that

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'something ventured, something done' might give him courage. Or, if failures are discouraging him, it might inspire him with the hope of success. Even people who aren't members of the [Anglican] Church of England will find some help in that church's Sunday Collects, Epistles and Gospels. They give youths specific subjects to reflect on every week. It's unrealistic to think that anyone could ever live up to all there is in those weekly readings in their lifetime, but it's nice for students who are still at the beginning of their Christian journey to have the peaceful sense of being led step by step towards spiritual progress. I don't mean that this should replace wider Bible reading. But it could be used to give a specific focus for reflection and prayer each week, along with other prayers and prayer needs that come up in the course of their week. Bringing these readings and their related scripture passages home will provide opportunities for a few sincere discussions that won't be forgotten any time soon. This in itself is useful, because it can be difficult to bring up the most important topics with the people we live with, especially when they're youths.

Just one more thing. When it comes to how to spend Sundays with the family, don't let children feel confined by narrow, old traditions. Let them know the basic principle that what's right on Saturday doesn't become wrong on Sunday, but it isn't always the best thing. It's special for Sunday to have its own restful activities, and we should be as reluctant to give them up for the grind of everyday tasks or common entertainments as a student would be to give up his two-week break for more school lessons. Even selfish interests like health, comfort and convenience aren't worth sacrificing the physical, mental and spiritual rest

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that Sunday's change of thought and activity brings.

Once the principle of Sunday-keeping is understood, make it something pleasant. Let Sunday be an enjoyable day, with everyone in their best mood and using their gentlest manners. Set aside all worries and anxieties for the sake of the children. 'Vain deluding mirth' might not be acceptable, but there should still be light hearts and good-natured conversation.

Sunday should have its own special activities and entertainments. Reading aloud from the same book for an hour every Sunday, using a powerful, interesting text can make the afternoon refreshing. Whatever book is selected should give the family members some pleasant intellectual stimulus to chew on.

A little bit of poetry should be fit in, since there's time to digest it on Sunday. Religious poets like George Herbert, Vaughan and Keble are good, but don't neglect any poet who nourishes the heart with wise thoughts and who doesn't disturb the day's peaceful atmosphere with too much stir of life and passion. The whole point of Sunday's readings and activities is to keep the heart peaceful and the mind alert, receptive and open to any holy impression that might come from heaven, whether it comes while outside walking in the fields, or sitting inside by the fire. Sundays aren't for us to spend striving and working to get close to God in church or at home. It's okay for us to rest physically and spiritually, as long as we don't let ourselves get too distracted to be open to divine influences that come in unexpected ways. This is the attitude we need to keep in mind as we select storybooks to read on Sunday. Any pure, thoughtful character study or sincere biography will help to lift our thoughts towards God, even if His name isn't mentioned anywhere in the book. But tales full of gossipy affairs and the whirl of society, or passionate romances, are unfit for Sunday reading.

It's not a good idea to give children twaddly, 'too good to be true'

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stories. They'll come to detest these books, and then they'll blame the weakness of these kinds of books on Christianity. Music is a great way to make Sundays pleasant, but, in the same way, music that's associated with passion and tension should be avoided. It shouldn't be difficult to find something suitable, since the greatest works of the best composers were written for the church.

'A broad-minded soul produces broad-minded things' is a safe guideline to follow once the principle of Sunday rest's meaning and purpose is recognized. I'm spending more time on this subject because the issue of how to spend Sundays will come up for discussion between parents and their growing children.

Home Culture: Books

Parents have to abandon any attempts at academic training once their children start school, but they can still provide intellectual culture. If students don't get that at home, they won't get it at all. When I say intellectual culture, I'm not talking about acquiring knowledge or even learning how to learn. I'm talking about cultivating the ability to appreciate and enjoy whatever is true, noble, right and beautiful, both in thought and the way it's expressed. For example, a person might read,

'He lay along
Under an oak whose old root poked up
In the brook running through these woods.
Here a poor hunted, secluded deer
That had been wounded from a hunter's arrow
Came to die.'
-- adapted from Shakespeare, As You Like It

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and that person might miss everything except the four main details--the man laying down, the oak tree, the brook, and the wounded deer. But someone else can read those exact same words and get, not only those main details, but something else. He gets a delicious mental picture, and a sense of exquisite pleasure in the words used to convey this image. Assuming everything else is equal, the second person gets a hundred times more enjoyment than the first one. It's as if he has a sixth sense, an extra avenue of pleasure that adds to every hour of his life. If the purpose of life is to get rich rather than to enjoy the satisfaction of living, then people can live just fine without intellectual culture. But if we're supposed to make the most of life as our years go on, then we have a responsibility to enable our children to get this enjoyment.

It requires teaching. Some children inherit an inborn love for literature and take to books as naturally as ducks take to water. But delighting in a fine thought excellently expressed isn't something we're born with. And it's not the kind of thing that schools usually teach. The goal of most schools is to turn out young adults who know the specific information needed for the various things they'll run into in their lives, and who are clever enough to be eligible for promotion. That's the goal most schools aspire to, and that's the goal they usually accomplish. But academic scholars claim that a classical education can do more. It can turn out youths with cultivated, trained intellects who don't miss any refined thought but are well-balanced enough to be ready for action. Unfortunately, the rush and stress of our lives, and the demand for more useful information are squeezing out classical culture! Parents will have to determine not only to supplement any moral training that the schools leave out, but to provide intellectual culture, since, without it, knowledge may

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mean power, but not pleasure or the means to enjoy life.

Sir John Lubbock had some wise and amusing things to say about light, casual reading--it's a mild form of intellectual distraction that does more harm than we realize. There are lots of people who would never bother to read a certain type of novel, even if it's brilliant, but they love reading endless twaddle. No book is too shallow or too unsubstantial to read for their amusement. The superficial kind of books that airport bookstores sell is characteristic. Not everyone reads such twaddle, but the abundance of this kind of literature shows how few of us really read. This defect begins in early childhood. As soon as the child starts reading, all kinds of 'helpful' people show an interest in him by offering him a colorful, amusing picture book. A colorful, amusing book isn't necessarily high-quality children's literature. It usually just means that the text is broken up into short paragraphs with lots of conversation. Then come amusing chapter books for elementary-aged kids, and, when these are outgrown, the lightest books from Charles Edward Mudie's 'Select Library.' The supply of amusing books never ends, even in adulthood. And, thus, we have no time to attempt books that challenge our intellect, and we never develop the ability to assimilate and digest knowledge. We become as soft and lazy as a schoolgirl who eats nothing but cheesecake. Sir Walter Scott seems as boring and dry as dust, and even Charles Kingsley takes more effort than we're willing to expend. Although we have the skills to decode text, we remain poor readers for our entire lives. I doubt this is true for anyone reading my words right now, and I'm like a pastor preaching against drunkenness and stealing to the congregation while the drunks and thieves who need to hear the message are out on the streets. But the problem of poor reading habits is contagious, and even children of parents who read aren't safe.

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Monitor your young's child's library. Don't allow any book that doesn't have true literary quality. It's fine for children to just have a few excellent books read over and over again, a few really good books, but none that require no mental effort. They won't be deprived. Activity and effort, whether physical or mental, is a stimulating joy to a child. People in previous generations who went from Robinson Crusoe to Sir Walter Scott didn't find the mental diet too rich for them. I doubt that any eleven-year-old girl with an unlimited supply of books has ever experienced the enthusiastic delight that I did as I crouched by the fire, clasping my knees and listening, as I've never listened since, as Sir Walter Scott's Anne of Geierstein or The Maiden of the Mist was read aloud. For some reason, I've never gone back and re-read the story, but to this day, no sensory impressions have ever been quite as vivid as those masked faces, the sinking floor, the strange trial, or the cold bright Alpine village described in that book. And no moral impression has ever been stronger than the impression made by Philip's respectful treatment of his father. Maybe the impression made later by the Heir of Redclyffe [by Charlotte Yonge] comes close. But it's different today. Children's books used to be few and dull, but today there are lots of entertaining, amusing children's books.

While we're on this subject, I'd like to say something about storytelling. Here are some of the points to study that make a story worth telling to young listeners nestled and waiting to hear a tale: charming, artistic details, noble moral impulse expressed with a definite yet subtle touch, sincere human affection, sweet, imaginative link between children and the world of nature, humor, tragedy, good-natured [not mean-spirited] satire, and, last but not least, a story that doesn't turn on children or

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awaken self-consciousness. The dawning of self-consciousness in a child might be his individual 'fall of mankind' and realization of sin. But children won't be able to grasp such literature, will they? No, but make it a rule that no story, or part of a story, will ever be explained. Once you've sown the seed, leave it alone to germinate in its own time and in the child's own way.

Every parent should have his own collection of stories to tell. A dozen is enough, but they need to be beautiful stories told beautifully. Children won't put up with variations. They'll express justified irritation: 'You left out the way the lady's gown rustled, Mom!' Children won't listen to even a suggestion that the story they live in might be nothing more than the 'baseless fabric of a vision.' For the first five or six years of a child's life, put away all books and readalouds. The endless stream of story books and scenes shifting like a parade in front of the child's mind, is like mental and moral indulgence. It doesn't provide him with anything to grow on, and it leaves no time for him to reflect on what he takes in. It goes against his nature, too. 'Tell us about the little boy who put his finger in the dike and saved Harlaam!' Children who know that story, which is the most hero-making of all tales, ask to hear it again and again! And that's another advantage of story-telling over book-reading. With books, it's easy come, easy go. But if you have to study a story because you intend it to be a substantial part of your child's early literary diet, then you'll be as selective about choosing stories as a merchant seeking the finest pearls. Also, when a story is read, the parent is nothing more than a middleman. But when the story is told, it becomes like nourishment that's provided first-hand from the parent like breast milk. Wise parents who have seen their children's wide eyes as they listened and pondered an often-told story could tell us how true this is. But remember that story-telling is like breast

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milk. Eventually the child outgrows it and needs to read, learn and digest for himself. While we're talking about very young children who haven't started school work yet, I'd like to bring up a rather important subject.

We're pathetic when it comes to catch-phrases. There are not many more than a dozen that are currently popular, and, of these, most people use only one or two in their daily, routine conversation. A person might say that a cup of tea, or a dress, or a picture or book, or a person, is 'nice,' or 'perfect,' or 'lovely,' or 'terrific,' depending on who's talking, rather than on what he's talking about. Sometimes adverbs modify the statement: something might be 'nice' or 'really nice' or 'wonderfully nice,' but that just makes the niceness stronger; it doesn't add any variety. One person might say that everything he likes is 'so nice,' while someone else simply calls them 'nice.' Generally, things and people each have some distinctive quality. To recognize what it is and be able to express it with the most fitting word is proof of a kind of genius, or else the highest kind of cultural training. 'The abysmal question regarding the condition of East London': even if nobody had known that the person who said that was a man of fair-minded opinions, extensive knowledge and intimately familiar with current issues, those few words from a short conversation would have made it obvious. The perfectly appropriate use of the word 'abysmal' gave him away. Young children often surprise us with their fitting and elegant phrases. If we encourage this natural ability that children have by exposing them to good words and by discouraging the constant use of words like, 'nice,' or 'great,' then we'll not only make our children well-prepared to shine in society, but we'll also

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be helping to preserve the treasures of the beautiful English language that have been passed down from our ancestors. It might be useful to look up some good, sturdy Saxon words and phrases from writers of the 1500's and 1600's to use everyday. Many can be found in Milton's works alone. In his hymn that begins,

'Let us with a gladsome mind,'

there are a half dozen great adjectives that are used in an original way, and half a dozen that are used nowhere else but in that hymn, at least in the form they're used there. It would seem artificial for us to casually talk about the 'golden-tressed sun,' but using a word like 'gladsome' in our routine speaking is worth the effort. Or, how about the phrase 'happy-making' from Milton's wonderful poem, On Time--could there be a more perfect word for our best occasions?


Is it true that the charming habit of letter-writing is a lost art with the advent of postcards and email? Sir Richard de Coverley would probably say, 'There's a lot to be said on both sides.' At any rate, if we don't write letters, we can't blame postcards and email [but we might be justified in blaming the telephone!] But letter-writing hasn't totally disappeared. Don't we all have some friend whose letters are delightful because of their flowing ripple of talk, with just enough little touches of affection and intimacy to make the letter personal? Don't we all know what it's like to open an envelope with the certainty that we'll find pure delight in every line? Is it because we love the sender so much? Not necessarily. The morning mail might bring a letter from an unknown writer that will captivate you and

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fill you with a sense of well-being that lasts the whole day. And it isn't just because of the content of the text, but because the gracious tact of the letter makes you feel good about the world. One person can turn down a request, and another can accept it--yet the way in which the refusal is expressed might please you more than the favor from the other person.

That's because thoughtfulness is the secret ingredient that gives a gracious letter its lovely flavor. If our letters aren't as charming as the ones written by our grandparents, could it be because we don't think highly enough of each other to make a spontaneous outpouring of our thoughts on paper worth the bother? Children whose parents live in India usually write and receive interesting letters because the parents and children are happy to make the most of the only opportunity they have to get to know each other. Possibly no opportunity to write a detailed, lively letter should be allowed to pass. Let children grow up with the concept that it's worth the effort to write good letters. One schoolboy's entire collection of letters home one term was made up of two postcards that read, 'Okay.' and 'Which flight?' That's not a good model of letter-writing, although it's a great example to prove that brevity is the soul of wit!

Reading Aloud

There's not much opportunity to provide intellectual culture for a child who's preoccupied with school and its happenings. That's all the more reason to make the most of what little time there is. After all, when the child graduates, his character and habits will be pretty much set. It won't be easy for him to start thinking and doing things differently. It's up to the parent to keep the paths open to the pleasant places that are provided for his wearied mind. Few things are better for this than a family

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habit of reading aloud together. Even a dry book can be enjoyable when everyone shares in the listening, and a powerful, fascinating book becomes pure joy when family members' eyes meet at the most dramatic moments. Reading Thackeray's The Newcomes to yourself is like sitting down to a feast of strawberries and cream all by yourself. Every page has something that begs to be shared.

There aren't many family bonds stronger than the habit of occasionally spending an hour reading aloud, at least in the evenings during the winter. Readaloud evenings are pleasant while they're actually happening, and they make warm memories to look back on fondly. They provide opportunities for fun, stimulating conversation, and they strengthen the bond that the family shares because they're all sharing the same intellectual experience. It's hard to understand why any family would neglect such a simple way to have fun and share moral and intellectual culture. But the practice of reading aloud isn't something that can be started and stopped whenever the whim hits. Once the habit is dropped, it's difficult to get it started again because everyone will have found his own intellectual pursuit on his own, although it may not be worthwhile, and it will make him unwilling to listen to the family book. Don't let that happen. Let an hour every winter evening be spent reading aloud--or, one or two evenings a week, any way, and then everyone will look forward to it in the same way that a hungry child looks forward to his dinner.

In order for reading to be enjoyable for those listening, the person reading needs to be clear, relaxed, and getting into the book himself. And here's another thing that parents should do for their children because nobody else will teach them the habit of reading aloud for others to enjoy from the time they can read at all fluently. Besides indistinct and careless

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pronunciation, probably the two most annoying faults in a reader are not knowing what's coming next so that the next sentence is stumbled over, and too much gasping in the sentence so that the effect sounds like a fish out of water.

That last fault is easy to cure. Never breathe through the mouth while reading aloud, always breathe through the nose. If the mouth is closed while a breath is inhaled through the nostrils, then enough air can be taken in to fill the lungs and provide air for the reader. If too much air is taken in by both the nose and mouth, then it gets inconvenient as the reader has to relieve himself by gasping.

A stumbling reader spoils the book simply from a lack of focus. He should train himself to look ahead and always be a line ahead of where he's reading so that he can prepare himself for what comes next. Faults in enunciating need to be dealt with one at a time. For example, one week the reader might work on making the 'd' sound at the end of words like 'and.' The other letters will take care of themselves, and, the less they're heard, the better. In fact, if the reader is careful to pronounce the final consonants in words, especially d, t and ng, then the reading will sound distinct and polished.

Another advantage of family readalouds is that it gives parents an opportunity to catch and correct local dialects. Although people are often interested in preserving local accents and dialects for the sake if history, they don't usually want it preserved in their children! As far as everything else, practice makes perfect. Let every family member who can read fluently take a night or a week to do the reading aloud, and make sure each one understands that the family's enjoyment depends on him reading well.

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Selecting Books for Family Evenings

Creating a booklist of texts that would work for family discussions would be a hopeless task, and it's unnecessary. But what I can do is to discuss some principles to help in making those selections. First of all, obtaining information is not the purpose of family readalouds. The purpose is to familiarize young people with what a real book is and give them a taste for good literature--in other words, works that have so much literary value that they deserve to be read and treasured for their literary merit alone, no matter what subject the book is about.

This rule eliminates the books found in ninety percent of our homes, where books are likely to be funny or moralistic twaddling stories, or trashy novels, or mediocre writing in every subject from general literature to history, or compilations of data and condensed biographical outlines, which contain useful information. None of these qualify for family evening readalouds. In fact, the less they're read at all, the better. A set of good encyclopedias is a valuable treasure of information and should be referenced to clarify any difficulty that comes up in general reading. Information looked up in a reference at the moment it's needed will be remembered, but it's no good to read only to collect information.

Next, the book should be as interesting, entertaining or exciting as possible, but it shouldn't be too profound. Students who have been working all day need some relaxation. It's tragic that some students never hear the Waverley Novels read aloud in their childhood. Nothing in the course of their adult lives can ever make up for the delight of growing up knowing Peveril of the Peak, Meg Merrilees,

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Johnathan Oldbuck, that Master of Ravenswood, Caleb Baiderstone, and all the rest of Scott's characters. Every page is like a lesson in living righteously and having gentlemanlike feelings. But novels aren't the only possibility. Well-written travel books are always fun. And the best of all are good biographies of interesting people. I'm not talking about one of those single volumes of 'Eminent' people [probably a series of popular biographies?] I mean a big two-volume book that gives you time to really become familiar with the person.

Important historical works should be saved for school vacations, but historical and literary essays by educated scholars can be great fun. There's no need to rush. Evening readings shouldn't have any pressure attached to them. The important thing isn't to read lots of books; it's more important to limit selections to only great books, and to read them so easily and casually that those who hear take them to heart and make them their own intellectual property for life.

Introducing a child to a great author should warrant a little bit of ceremony. I don't know whether John Ruskin, for example, causes as much excitement anymore as it did to intelligent students when I was young, but the first time reading John Ruskin's The Crown of Wild Olive [four lectures about work, traffic, war and the future of England] still probably marks an important period in a young person's life.

One more point--it's a hopeless and unnecessary task to try to keep up with current literature. Later, it might be necessary to make some attempt to stay current with new books as they're published, but during a child's youth, he should be allowed to spend his leisure on standard, classic authors whose durability has weathered at least twenty years of criticism and acclaim.

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Poetry as a Way to Culture

Poetry is the most superior means of intellectual culture. Goethe said that we should see a good picture, hear some good music, and read some good poetry every day. A little poetry should make up part of the family evening readings. Poetry 'collections' should be avoided; instead, one poet should have at least a year to himself to give him time to do what he can to cultivate the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and the generous heart.

Sir Walter Scott, in poetry just like in literature, should be an early choice, partly because of the youthful enthusiasm of his poetry. Also, his poems tell a lively story, and that has more appeal for youths. Cowper [pronounced Cooper] doesn't tell as many stories, but many students are able to enjoy him at the same age that they begin to appreciate Scott. The careful, truthful word-painting that Cowper uses in The Task isn't hidden beneath poetic fancies, so it seems to appeal to matter-of-fact young minds. It's also satisfying to know poetry that has frequent opportunities to be verified:

'Now from the roost, or from the nearby stake,
Came trooping, at the farm-wife's familiar call,
The domestic feathered tribes--'

Anyone who has ever lived in the country has witnessed that. Oliver Goldsmith and some others might be possibilities as well as Cowper, if the opportunity arises. Milton is sublime, but not as helpful at developing culture in the 'uneducated or ignorant,' as some less well-known poets are. Milton gets out of reach, into scholarly and fanciful regions that youths aren't able to follow. Yet Milton should still be

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read--the mere attempt to follow his 'high themes' is a cultural education in itself. Christopher North [Scottish essayist and reviewer, real name John Wilson; the quote 'Music is the universal language of mankind' is his] is right when he says that good music and fine poetry don't need to be fully understood to be enjoyed:

'Together, both of us, before the green hills were visible
Under the dawn's morning light,
We drove out in the fields and we both heard
At the time of day when the botfly blows her horn,
Covering our flocks with fresh evening dew,
Often until the star that rose in the evening
Had sloped his west-turned wheel towards heaven's descent--'
-- from Milton's Lycidas

Any youth who carries those kinds of melodious, poetic lines will be less likely to be swept away with flashy, shallow poems. Some of the quotes from Lycidas alone are an education in developing a sense for poetry.

Many people feel that Wordsworth is the best poet to read and grow up with. He, perhaps more than any other English poet of the 1800's, has proved that he has a power, and that power is a power for good. He's able to make things that are true, pure and simple seem teachable, and to make emotional and spiritual things accessible.

The adventures of Una and her reluctant but finally victorious knight provide great mental food for the imagination, noble teaching of a spiritual kind, and great culture for developing the poetic sense. It's a tragic loss to grow up without ever having read and dreamed over Spencer's Faerie Queene.

There's no room to even take a brief look at the few poets who should have a share in cultivating the mind. After the fields of the mind have been plowed and broken up, the seed will 'take' by a process of natural selection. One poet might draw a few devotees here, another poet might draw some there. The parent's role is to bring their children's minds under the influence of the highest, purest poetic thought there is. As far

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as Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and other 'lords of language,' it's fine to introduce them later and see whether the student takes to them [after years of developing a taste for poetry].

What about Shakespeare? By no means should he be thrown in and alternated as if he were just another poet. He might very well be considered the daily bread of the intellect. Shakespeare can't be studied in a year. He needs to be read continuously for a lifetime from age ten and forever after. 'But,' you might protest, 'a child of ten can't understand Shakespeare!' No, but then, neither can a grown man of fifty. That great poet is like an abundant feast, and everyone who sits down to it receives according to what he needs, and leaves whatever isn't to his liking. A little girl nine years old told me the other day that she had only read one of Shakespeare's plays all the way through, and that was A Midsummer Night's Dream. I doubt she understood all of it, but she must have found enough to entertain and interest her. Perhaps, as a family activity, there could be a monthly reading of a Shakespeare play, with everyone taking a different character, for two or three evenings, until the play is finished. Shakespeare evenings would begin to be anticipated as family fiestas, and as the plays are read again and again, year after year, they'd yield more with each reading. And in the end, they would leave behind rich deposits of wisdom in the children's minds.

I don't need to add anything about the later great poets [modern poets, in CM's day?]--Robert Browning, Tennyson, and anyone else who stands above the crowd. Each of them will attract his own following of young fans from those youths who have had their poetic sense cultivated. It's up to parents to develop this ability to appreciate poetry, but it's not their job to decide which poets their children should prefer.

Those are my suggestions for family evening reading, which will be enough to develop the kind of intellectual culture I have

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in mind. With the right book, and the whole family sharing it together, and casual discussion about it, the rest will take care of itself.

Evening readings should be fun rather than a challenge that demands rigorous mental effort. School vacations, on the other hand, are too long to waste on mental dawdling. Every Christmas and summer vacation should be characterized by a family reading of some great work of literary reputation, whether it's history, or simply beautiful, light works. Reading and discussing a book like this every day during the vacation will add more meaning and cohesiveness to the child's school work. It will keep the mind alert with some intellectual activity, and add a bit of spice to the general fun and relaxation of the vacation.

Still, I have to admit--when it comes to reading, this kind of spoon-feeding isn't really the best thing. It would be even better for youths to seek out their own interests in reading, with their parents merely keeping a watchful eye on their choices. But the reality is that students are so busy with living that they don't usually read anymore. It's possible that a course of meat cut up and spoon-fed to them will help guide them through a time of life when their own mental digestion is weak, and steer them towards finding their own intellectual nourishment.

Mealtime Conversation

The kind of books the family reads aloud will influence the kinds of discussions they have around the table. But, considering how little parents see of their children once they start school, it seems like a good idea for me to mention that meal-time provides an ideal opportunity for parents to influence their children's opinions. Everyone agrees that lively conversation at the dinner table is necessary

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for good health. No one thinks it's okay for a family member to sit down to a meal in such a bad mood that he's absorbed in his own sullen thoughts and doesn't have a word to say to the others at the table. But conversation at meals isn't only something fun and refreshing. The life choices of many youths have been influenced by some chance comment at home over dinner. Just watch the eager way that youths latch onto every remark the adults make about politics, books, other people, and you'll see that they're actually trying to construct a chart to direct their lives with. They want to know what to do, yes, but they also want to know what to think about everything.

Parents sometimes forget that it's up to them to provide reasons for sound, fair opinions about lots of issues that concern us as human beings and as members of society. But these same parents who forget their duty are then shocked and dismayed when their teens express radical views that they picked up from some 'enlightened' member of their peer group. But their children will have opinions one way or the other. The right to make up his own mind and choose his own opinions is one of the points that youths insist on.

A few parents are unfair in this area. It isn't just the right of beings whose intelligence is growing to consider the facts it comes across and to come to conclusions about them--it's their duty. The assumption that parents have a right to think for their children and to pass on their own mirror opinions about literature, art, proper behavior and ethics is extremely irritating to youths. Headstrong teens resent it openly, while more easy-going, compliant youths avoid discussing it and make up their own minds about it without saying anything outright. Some people say that youths aren't wise enough to be allowed to form sound opinions because they don't have the knowledge or the experience that should guide them. That's true, and they're

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aware of that. That's why they hang on every word of adults they respect for anything that might help them to adjust their views about life and the world. Here's where parents have a great opportunity. Young people won't accept ready-made opinions telling them what to think, so keep yours to yourself. Instead, present the facts in their best, most complete light, and let the youths draw their own conclusions. The more you withhold your own opinions, the more eager they'll be to draw them out of you. As far as they're concerned, people are divided into two groups--good and bad. People's actions are either cold-hearted or good. Events are either blessings or misfortunes. They haven't matured enough to develop a philosophic mind. They end up being severe judges and have no concept of a middle-of-the-road perspective.

This period of a youth's life--the time when he feels compelled to have an opinion about every subject under the sun--is a critical period. It's a turning point in the lives of many youths, for better or worse. At this point in their lives, they'll find someone who will be their confidante, and this person is the one who will mold their opinions. Many mothers can pinpoint a moment when their child came under the influence of a specific person and got into worthless or evil things. Cultivating judgment in the immature mind of a teen is one of the most delicate tasks that parents have. The parent can't be arbitrary, as we've already discussed. He can't neglect this task. He can't be preachy, because teens can't stand being preached to. The parent needs to be open-minded, gentle, fair, inclined to listen patiently, and more prone to praise than to blame. At the same time, the parent needs to remain uncompromising in matters of principle, quick to spot error, ready to forgive without excusing, and ready to accept the good points of a person who shows a fault in character.

That last thing is very important. Youths have strictly defined

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boundaries and, when they're with someone they thought was so wrong and discover that he's not as evil as he was led to believe, they decide that he's a decent person after all, and that all the terrible things they heard before must have been slanderous lies. This is what happens in half of the harmful friendships that teens form. But if, instead, they had heard something like, 'So-and-so is a bold girl; she's honest and easy to get along with, but the reckless, lawless things she does make her an unsuitable companion,' then they'll feel differently. In this case, the girl has had a fair assessment, so there's no temptation to seek out her friendship.

If it's the parents' role to provide reasonable grounds for rational opinions about people, trends, books and events, when does the time come to discuss these things? Any time they happen to talk, or are in the presence of their children, and especially at the dinner table. Random opportunities will come up, but mealtime is an opportunity that can be counted on. Once I spent an evening with a wise, educated man. We had lots of interesting things to talk about until he unfortunately said, 'I jotted down such-and-such as a subject we might talk about.' That spoiled it. Yet the concept isn't a bad one. Parents should make themselves available to talk with their children, and they should keep a few topics of general interest in the back of their minds to discuss--but they should never be obvious about keeping a list. If parents sit down to dinner with things on their minds so that they're too preoccupied to engage in conversation, then their teens will either remain silent, or introduce whatever topic they want--and that will usually be either the 'shop talk' of school and schoolmates, or the gossip of today's current,

'Who danced with whom, and who's likely to get married.'

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It's much better to use this opportunity to inform teens about current events--who's made an important speech, whose book was just published and what its good and bad points are, political rumors, who's made news with a new work of art and what the characteristics of his style are. A daily newspaper and a good weekly or monthly news magazine will provide plenty of material so that there's something to talk about every day. The father who begins the discussion won't need to worry about having to sustain a monologue; in fact, there's more danger of him doing all the talking because he loves outlining his own opinions. Nothing is more delightful than the give and take of a lively discussion, where the children eagerly toss the ball back and forth. They want to know the details about everything. If the parent remembers something that illustrates the point, then the child will inevitably corner the subject being investigated, wanting to know, 'Is that right or wrong? Good or bad?' All the while, the parents show extreme tact in guiding the children to forming fair and just opinions without telling them what they have to think. Students will be engaged with the past in their schoolwork and in the family readaloud, so any attempt to expose them to something modern and current will be refreshing to them, like a breath of fresh air. It will add some life to whatever they're studying in school.

Aesthetic Culture

In attempting to discuss how to develop aesthetic culture [the beauty sense], I think that giving a list of what's supposed to be tasteful is like writing rules about matters of conscience. It's like dictating to other people what they should be working out and deciding for themselves. Perhaps it's unacceptable to have a large floral pattern on our carpets but acceptable to have such a pattern on our curtains. If that's the case, then, rather than having somebody forbid it, it's better that a person be able to come to that conclusion himself as a result of his own growth and exposure to culture. If we

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decorate our rooms with bulrushes and peacock feathers, or geometric shaped art instead of traditional natural forms, or a sage and terra-cotta color scheme because it's the current fashion, then, no matter how nice the room might look, there's not much taste involved. Taste is the very essence and most delicate expression of individuality in a person who has grown up around lovely, fitting objects and had experience with the habit of discrimination. This helps us to understand what we can and can't do as we attempt to cultivate the beauty sense in youths. As much as possible, let their surroundings be decorated using a principle of natural selection--not haphazard selection, and not with a slavish obedience to fashion. Keep in mind the three or four general principles that work well with all the different aspects of building, decorating, furnishing and embellishing. It's good for children to hear these kinds of things discussed, and to see them applied in real life. Any item ought to be suitable for its purpose, and should harmonize with the people and things around it. After these priorities are considered, the thing should be as beautiful as possible in form, texture and color. And, last of all, remember that it's better to have too few things than too much. A child who is used to seeing a vase disposed of, or a fabric selected using these four guidelines, will develop the ability to discriminate without even being aware of it. He'll sense the discord of color schemes that don't harmonize, choose a pitcher with natural, flowing lines over one that's all geometric angles, and know his own mind enough to know what he likes. It may not be financially or logistically feasible to surround a child with works of high art, but that isn't necessary. What is necessary is that the child not live among ugly, unharmonious things. A blank, empty nothing is always better than the wrong thing. William Morris wrote, 'Nothing can be a work of art if it isn't useful. By useful, I mean that it should minister to the body that's well under the command of the mind, or it should amuse, soothe or elevate a healthy mind. If this rule were followed, then tons and tons of atrocious garbage that pretends to be art of some kind would be thrown out of the homes in our towns.'

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It's a shame that, with music and art, we tend to use compilations and 'Best Of' collections like we do with poetry. Avoid collections. Every painter or composer who's earned a name for himself has a few master ideas in his mind that he works out in his art--not just in a single piece, but a little here, a little there, in a series of studies of those ideas. If we want to treat an artist's work merely like a decorative ornament, then a little of one artist and a little of another is fine. But if we recognize that an artist is a teacher who can have a refining, uplifting effect on our cruder nature, then we'll realize the importance of studying his 'lessons' in sequence as much as we can. A house that has one or two engravings by Turner in one room, a Millet reproduction in another room, and Corot in another would be a real school of art for a child. He'll have the opportunity to study every line from at least three different masters of art. He'll be able to compare their styles, learn their individual characteristics by heart, perceive what they were trying to say through their pictures, and how they use their art to express it. This is a solid foundation for art education. For most of us, art education should consist of awakening the ability to appreciate, rather than the skill to create. Also, children should be familiar with one or two good watercolor landscapes to give them an idea of what to look for when viewing scenery.

But it's not always possible to choose pictures according to this kind of plan. If it's not, it's not a good idea to get a lot of other art to compensate. In fact, it's an advantage to get so intimately familiar with even a single good reproduction that the image left in the mind is almost as clear and distinct as the

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picture itself. The only thing the parents can do is to make sure that the child sees the picture. The refining influence and artistic culture happen independently, with no connection to efforts made from outside the child. The most important thing is not to corrupt the child's taste. It's better to have one single work of art in the house that will help the child's ideas form themselves, than to have the wall covered with mediocre pictures. Youths usually have to wait for an opportunity to visit an art gallery to discover the way a brush can capture the very spirit and meaning of nature, but that's not as bad a disadvantage as it might seem at first glance. Studying real landscapes in nature itself is what should prepare them to appreciate landscapes in art. No one can truly appreciate the moist, solid freshness of the newly plowed soil in Rosa Bonheur's pictures unless they've noticed for themselves what dirt clods look like after they've been turned up by the plow. On the other hand, what about this, by Fra Lippo Lippi?

'Haven't you noticed that we're made so that we love
Things we've passed a hundred times and never paid attention to,
Only after we first see them painted?
That's why they're better painted--at least better for us,
Which is the same thing. That's why art was given to us--
It's God's way of using us to help each other,
Borrowing from each other's minds. Have you ever noticed
Your rascal's hanging face? If you had some chalk to sketch it,
Believe me, you'd never forget it! How much more so is it
When I sketch higher, nobler things!
I'd be acting like a preacher
Interpreting God to all of you!

Whether it's paintings of landscapes or real scenery in nature, the only thing that parents can do is to help their children really see by using a suggestive hint to get them to really look. Seeing is what eyes need if they're going to learn. But they also need deliberate instruction. I don't think it's necessary to mention that John Ruskin's Modern Painters

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is the best book for teaching art appreciation to those who are unfamiliar with it.

If culture can flow in through the eyes with art, imagine how much more that's possible with the ears! Hearing is like a blessed sixth sense, but it doesn't seem to be bestowed on everyone alike. A lot of time, money and effort is spent to give children the skill of performing indifferently on an instrument. Playing an instrument indifferently isn't necessarily a bad thing, but people sometimes forget that listening with an appreciative, discriminating ear is as educational and 'happy-making' as playing an instrument, and appreciative delight is an ability that can probably be developed in anybody if the same effort were spent on appreciation as on playing. Students should hear good music as often as possible, and with educational guidance. It's too bad that we tend to like our music the same way we like our art and poetry--mixed, so that there aren't many opportunities to listen through all of the works of a single composer. This is what we should do for our children. Occasionally, they should study the works of a single great composer until they've caught some of what he had to teach, and are familiar with his style.

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2. Concerning Young Ladies Still Living at Home

Young Womanhood - Forming Character and Opinions

'As far as life in general, there's only one decree: Youth is a mistake.'
(from a quote by Disraeli)

The thought of staying home 'for good' after school sounds wonderful to a young girl who has graduated, and her parents are just as pleased at the idea of having their bright, young daughter around to add some freshness to their routine. If the girl is compliant and gentle, and ready to take on the role of student/friend to her parents, and if her parents are wise enough to see things from her perspective, and to realize how much of their instruction and advice she still needs, their relationship can be very sweet. But if the parents are satisfied to let their daughter settle into her new position with the concept that now's her time to get a free ride with all the benefits and comforts of home with no responsibility, then their relationship can be an embarrassment for both the girl and her parents. In spite of her sweet young innocence, the parents are disappointed that their daughter is so undeveloped in maturity. She's not very interesting to be around, poor

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girl. Her conversation is full of phrases such as, 'Oh,' 'well, 'ya know.' She has lots of illogical likes and dislikes, and, for better or worse, they form the bulk of her opinions. She seems to have learned a little bit from all those years in school, but that little bit doesn't help her in making sound judgments.

Her passions are as lacking in ethical reflection as her opinions. All of her emotional sentiment might be lavished on some outsider, usually a girlfriend or older lady she admires. Meanwhile, the people to whom she most owes her loyalty are neglected. It's the same with her sense of morals. She has an exaggerated sense of duty to things like loyalty to a girlfriend, or excessive observance of some legalistic point of doctrine, while at the same time she can be so blind to her obligations to her elders that it's almost comical, or oblivious to obedience, shirking and even outright lies. She imagines the great things she could do for some idealistic cause, but she's careless about details of kindness, things she says, and routine chores. She likes to talk about herself--what she feels, thinks, intends. Her conversation shows pathetically how blind she is to the human nature in herself that her thoughts revolve around. And this is a decent, nice girl--a girl who has every chance of developing into a fine person even if she's left to her own devices. But a little friendly help and advice might save her from a lot of blundering and regret.

There's another kind of girl who has no interests beyond cute clothes. These girls don't gush over some passion, they have no sentimental notions about duty or affection. They view the world as a place for them to have and get, but never, unless forced, as a place to do, to endure, or to share. These things are the foundations of a noble life, but they never even enter the minds of these kinds of girls. This kind of girl is often

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easier to get along with than the others because she knows what she wants and is clear about communicating it, but there's no character growth in this kind of nature. And then there are rare girls who are so sweet that, like the lilies of the field, they don't seem to need any adornment or human culture. But what can be done for the average graduate whose education is supposedly 'finished,' yet who's still rough and uninformed?

Just seeing her daughter so insufficient moves a mother as much as the appeal of a helpless infant. School hasn't completed the girl's education, it's only provided a beginning. Now the girl is home to learn how to make the most of herself, and how to succeed in life. How to make the best life is the issue she faces. A [homeschooled] girl who has been brought up and educated at home with her mother is in the same position. She also has to learn to live. She might become rich or poor, married or single--a woman's success in life doesn't depend on these circumstances. Many a wealthy woman whose children take advantage of her and whose husband ignores her knows the sorrow of a life of failure, while many a frugal woman is treated like a queen in her home, or accommodated with great respect in someone else's home. A woman who has herself under control, thinks for herself, reserves her judgments, thinks before she speaks or acts, is a woman who will succeed in life. Her success is measured in how generous her heart is, how broad her mind is, and how large her soul is.

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The Culture of Character

(a) Developing Character by Instruction--How successful a woman's life is depends on how strong the character within her is. Like any other ability, character is obtained through instruction and practice. Girls need someone to show them what they are, what they're not, how to become what they're not, and give them enough space to act and think for themselves. What they are is a fascinating subject for young girls, and open discussions about this will help them to avoid foolish and morbid sentiment. Young girls are full of vague self-consciousness. They watch the thoughts and emotions inside themselves from the sidelines with some curiosity. To their inexperienced minds, the internal stuff going on within is an unusual spectacle, and makes them secretly suspect that they're more special than other people, or, at least different than everyone else. From this suspicion comes a lot of the self-consciousness, shyness and awkwardness that are common at this age. A girl feels like an ugly duckling, unappreciated and undervalued by all the waddling ducklings around her. Yes, she'll admit, she's rather clumsy right now, but just wait until she grows into a full-fledged swan--then they'll all see!

This 'awkward' stage of self-consciousness and naive doubting self-promotion is common in all girls who are perceptive enough to recognize that there's more to them than meets the eye. But it hasn't yet occurred to them to notice what may or may not be hidden within other people. It's a symptom of moral deficiency and requires as much treatment and consistent nursing (of a moral kind) as a case of rickets. If left to herself, such a girl might become critical,

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morbid and overly emotional. The years that should have been spent laying the foundations for solid character are wasted. Many short-tempered, jealous, demanding women owe their ruined lives to the fact that nobody ever taught them to have an accurate assessment of themselves or others. Only a few girls are really lost--many are graciously saved. But this doesn't make it any less important or urgent for the mother to see her child safely through the turbulent waters of adolescence.

The best antidote for girls is a course of moral and mental science study. It doesn't have to be a profound course, just enough for them to see where they really are in relation to others. A girl's noble dream of doing something important or noble someday (although she's ready to accept the admiration for it now!) is shared in one form or another by every person in the world. After all, the desire for power or goodness are common to us all. The generous impulse within her that compels her to stick up for a friend who isn't there to defend herself and say passionate things in her defense, is no reason to be proud and feel a sense of superior virtue. Her reaction is no more than an impulse of the emotions of goodwill and justice that are born in every human heart.

When a girl has learned how much of her nature is common to everyone else in the world, she'll be more apt to view her secret self with less awe and admiration, and to view others with more respect. After all, her fault hasn't been foolish pride, it's just that she's been filled with sincere, bewildered wonder at the good, noble qualities that she's discovered in her own nature. Her only fault has been the understandable mistake of thinking that these are unique to her and make her exceptional. How is it possible that others around her could

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have the same qualities and yet there's so little that comes of it? She should be affirmed that, yes, the possibilities she dreams of, and even more, are indeed within her. But those possibilities are also in everyone else. It isn't what's within her that she'll be judged on, but what she makes of herself.

The fact is, a life of exciting activity and lots of responsibility is the best way to develop character, good or bad. But almost no women live that kind of a life, and even those few don't until they reach maturity. Provide a way for girls to learn what they could only learn otherwise through first-hand experience--teach her the rules and methods of knowing about her own human nature, since you can't provide the circumstances for her to learn it first-hand through life experiences. I won't go over those rules and methods here since I already wrote about that in detail [Ourselves, volume 4 of the CM Series]. In this way, the girl will learn about the nature of the appetites, affections, emotions and desires that motivate people to do what they do. She'll learn about the amazing power of habit. We aren't born with it, we have to come by it ourselves, yet it has more power than any or even all of the inborn tendencies that we act on. She'll learn about the demanding character of the human will. A person's will rules him, yet it has to be controlled and trained by the person. She'll learn what the conscience's jobs are, and what conditions are necessary to develop the spiritual life. By the time the girl has a little bit of practical knowledge about these great concepts, even though it will only be a fragment of what there is to know about them, she'll be able to consider her own nature and temperament, and get something worthwhile out of that kind of reflection. Instead of encouraging the habit of brooding introspection, this kind of thinking about herself is the very best way to

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prevent or even correct that bad habit. She won't compare herself with herself any more, or judge herself by her own standard. Instead, she'll know what the benefits and risks of human nature are, and she'll be able to think objectively about herself, deal with herself wisely, and she'll be in a better position to value her parents' counsel.

(b) Practice: Developing Character by Doing--The counsel that a girl's parents give her are a great help in the small practical affairs of life. They shouldn't tell her what to do so much as what the principles are that she should act on. For example, a girl might go to the clothing store. She looks at this, then that, she chooses one dress, and then changes her mind and chooses another one, then she decides that she doesn't want either of them. Finally, in despair, she turns to her mother and says, 'You pick something for me.' That's unacceptable, it shows a kind of failure in life. Her mother determines to correct this fault. Before they even go shopping, she applies her reason and tells her daughter what principles are important in deciding on a dress. A dress needs to be pretty, flattering on the girl, appropriate for the occasion it's needed for, and it has to go with whatever the girl needs to wear with it. Now when they get to the store, the girl knows exactly what she's looking for. She can reject the wrong thing and consider only what will work. It's easier to make a judgment because the decision is based on some principles that were already determined with some logic. Also, the girl's will steps in and accepts that the decision is final. She won't allow even a twinge of regret later for the cute outfit that she saw, but didn't buy. When it comes to developing the ability to make decisions, even a leap in the dark, such as Sydney Smith's maid Bunch made when she promptly chose between venison and wild duck when she had never tasted either, is better than the endless dilly-dallying, hemming and hawing, asking for opinions, and procrastinating that some women

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spend their whole lives doing--to the annoyance of their friends.

Or, a girl might be prone to dawdling. Writing a letter or doing some household chore seems to be taking all afternoon. An hour is spent doing what should only take fifteen minutes. Lack of attention is probably the fault that the mother will need to correct. Many active, energetic mothers bring up daughters who dawdle because the mother is so good at management, and so quick to plan the chores and entertainments of everyone around her, that the only way her daughter can squeeze in a moment to herself is to dawdle. Unfortunately, this leads to small deceptions, and storybooks read in secret--all the kinds of passive tactics that weaker people use to deal with stronger ones.

Dealing with her growing daughter is a very delicate task for the mother. The only way she can be of any help at this point is as an ally and confidante. A wise mother will stay in the background and refuse to take on her daughter's responsibility to direct her own affairs. She'll look for opportunities to give an encouraging word or approving look every time she sees a sign of improvement. She'll be gentle about her daughter's failings, remembering that, as upsetting as failures are, when it comes to honor and integrity, even failures usually come from the very moral weakness that she's trying to strengthen.

When she discovers this kind of fault within her daughter, a wise mother won't overwhelm her daughter with shame. Her own maternal distress will be apparent, but the girl should understand that her mother's sadness is because she shares her daughter's sorrow, and is upset for her sake. What's the source of the girl's fault? She doesn't have a proper sense of the sacredness of truth, and she has an undue fear of the consequences--in this case, the consequences are mostly loss of her mother's esteem. The girl is betrayed into making a deliberate lie. She claims she hasn't written the letter she was supposed to write,

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or said whatever she was supposed to say, when you know very well that she has done it. Such a girl should be dealt with gently. After all, she's no longer a child who can be punished or disgraced whenever her parents see fit. It's only her own conscience that she has to face now. But don't leave her with the sense that it's hopeless and there's nothing more that can be done for her this late in the game. Her conscience and intellect are still not fully matured, and her will is still weak. Give her some simple, sincere teaching about the nature of truth. Explain what truth is--the simple statement of facts as they really are. Everything that comes out of our mouths deals with facts. Therefore, the obligation of truth falls on all of our words. We should never open our mouths without speaking the truth. Even a trifling joke that misleads someone else is a lie. Perfect truth in thought, speech and deed is an obligation placed on us by God Himself. The obligation to be truthful is binding, not just with our friends, but with everyone we talk to.

A Christian mother will want to add even deeper teaching about God, who is Truth, and from whom all truth comes. She'll advise her daughter to be truthful about her own state of being. The girl might sometimes say she's 'fine, thank you,' when she actually has a headache, or that she'll 'be done in just a minute,' when the task will take a half hour. These departures from fact just slip out without thinking. That's why it's so important to think first, before speaking. But do such trifling details really matter? And if they do, who is so faithful about them that they can 'cast the first stone'? Most of us could probably stand some improvement in this matter, but every guard that a girl can put on her words is helpful if she doesn't have a profound sense of truth. It can help her to train herself to have the kind of truthful habits that help her to develop truthful character. Then, train the girl by trusting her. Always believe her. If you give

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her opportunities to make herself speak the truth, then her own courage will meet the challenge and rise to the occasion.

A very basic list of the duties that relate to truth, and the faults that are actually various forms of lying, can be helpful and instructive. The girl's heart will rise and resolve to do better when she learns that accuracy is truthfulness in common conversation that's careful to state even the most trivial fact as it actually is, simplicity is relating a story without drawing admiration or pity to oneself, sincerity is telling the complete truth purely, no matter how much might be gained by keeping back any part of it, candor is the habit of being open and free about our own affairs, which is what we owe to those we live with, and loyalty is being faithful in both important things and trivial things, and is a necessary part of having a truthful character.

Liberty and Responsibility

'Without light and free motions in doing household chores,
And steps of pure, innocent liberty,'

wrote Wordsworth about the girl who was developing into the 'perfect woman.' Sometimes the mothers who are the most determined to make their daughters skillful and capable at 'doing household chores' forget the 'steps of pure, innocent liberty.' In order for a girl to become a free woman with confidence in her opinions, she needs to be used to having some liberty. I don't mean license, but liberty, and she needs to be accountable about how she uses her liberty. She should be allowed to schedule her day however she likes, but she needs to be accountable to her mother for finishing her day's tasks. She should be allowed to decide which books to read, but her mother should know what her choices are. She should have the freedom to choose her own

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friends, but her mother should define the principles she uses in making her choices, and provide enough responsibilities at home to prevent her friends from having too much of her time. She should have some money of her own, starting with a small allowance that she has to use for certain necessary expenses, as well as personal spending money, and savings for gifts and charity. As soon as she can be trusted with more, she should get enough of an allowance to pay for her own clothes. That way she can learn to be sensible by having to do without necessities when she wastes her money on frivolous, unnecessary purchases. Another reason she should have her own money is so that she can learn while she's still young the joy and the personal cost of giving. Perhaps she'll grow up with the habit of setting aside a specific portion of her meager income to help those in need.

Taking care of her own health is another responsibility that should be turned over to the young lady. She's never too young to learn that good health isn't only a blessing, it's also a responsibility. All of us can do something proactive to maintain more or less sound health, and it's inexcusable when we don't do the things we know that will make us healthier. Any short books about health will give her the basic principles of cleanliness and health--daily showers with some vigorous rubbing of the skin, enough regular exercise outside in the fresh air, active use of arms and legs, moderate habits of eating and sleeping, keeping the bedroom well ventilated, airing out undergarments every night, scheduling regular times for mental work that's challenging but not excessive, determining to repress ugly tempers and unkind thoughts--it takes all of these to have a sound mind and a healthy body.

Keeping ourselves sound and healthy

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is something we're each responsible for. A girl who eats too much, or who eats the wrong foods and makes herself sick, or a girl who sits for hours buried in a novel so that her eyes, mind and body suffer, are both guilty of the same sin that leads to suicide, although a milder form of it. All of us, especially when we're young, are prone to neglect our accountability in the area of our own health. We tend to think that our health is ours to do whatever we want with. Yet no error is as surely and as promptly punished by natural consequences than neglecting to observe the most basic rules of health.

'Don't forsake your own friend, or your father's friend.' [Prov. 27:10] The duty of maintaining polite, kind relationships to friends and relatives far and near with letters, visits, or attention is good for youths. It helps them to develop the general kindliness in their spirit when the strength of their personal emotions to motivate follow-through can sometimes fail them.


The conduct of a girl who's been raised well will pretty much take care of itself. By conduct I mean how the girl behaves in various circumstances. But in this area, just like in other even more important matters,

'More harm results from lack of thought
Than ever came from lack of heart.'

A wise mother will find opportunities to bring up with her daughter the importance of forethought, restraint, self-control, and the obligation to be considerate of other people. The principles of duty that guide a girl's conduct at home are so simple and basic that it's not necessary for me to say much

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about the customs of life that should be adhered to at home with the family as much as in anyone else's company. If something is improper during a formal visit, then it's just as improper at home.

Whether she's waiting at the bus stop, enjoying a symphony concert, at the mall, or any public place she frequents, a young girl has a distinct role and she should familiarize herself with the right way to play her part. It wouldn't be good for her to go around in the world with her mouth open in bewilderment, wide eyes staring, looking every which way and saying the first thing that comes into her mind, like an overwhelmed child at a carnival. But isn't it better for girls to act naturally in public, as they do ay home? Unfortunately, none of us can afford to behave completely naturally, except in areas where proper behavior has become such an ingrained habit that it's automatic. With privilege comes responsibility: dignified girlhood means a subdued gaze, quiet, reserved expression, gentle tones when speaking, discreetness about expressing surprise, amazement, pleasure, or interest. It isn't necessary for a girl to do anything unusual to attract a second look because, besides little children, there's nothing as interesting in public as a young girl on the brink of womanhood. Her mere presence will attract attention, but it wouldn't be proper to do something obtrusive to draw attention.

The average passer-by in public has a right to a gentle expression on a girl's face that might be reserved but is never off-putting, and to courtesy or even docility in her tone and manner during any chance encounter. This is even more important if it's a man dressed in work clothes than a professional man. It's worth

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while to remember Napoleon's attitude as he moved aside to allow a charcoal-carrier to pass: 'Ma'am, respect the one bearing the burden.' If a girl only pretends to show regard for the working class when she's dressed in her sporting clothes, it will be obvious artificial pretense. Such respect needs to be natural as a result of being raised with the concept of her obligations to herself and her community. And this distinguishing mark of a true lady can usually only come from a mother.

The proper way to act in society is a fascinating question to a young girl who's about to 'come out' in society. There's so much to consider about this subject that whole books have been written about it, but the basic principle is simple. In proper society, just like any other public place, a girl whose mother has taught her to respect herself and respect others, won't make any embarrassing mistakes. As she enters any room, she'll bring the conviction that she owes respect and consideration to anyone she might meet. She'll be able to move easily, speak with quiet confidence, and control herself with the best manners. She won't be obsessed with the respect that's due to her, but she'll realize that every person in the room has equal right to her courtesy and the respect of each other. Whoever is conversing with her at the moment is entitled to her immediate mindfulness. She'll be reserved and self-respecting when she talks to those who are above her socially, and submissive when talking to people below her in society. The self-respect she owes herself, and the respect she owes others will motivate her behave with simplicity,

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courtesy, and calm poise that she uses when she talks to other women. In fact, these two principles will carry her with dignity and grace in any social occasion no matter who she's with.

And what should a mother do to enhance her daughter's self-esteem? Should she tell her outright that she's clever, pretty, charming, and that no one can help but like her? If she does, her daughter might very well grow into a forward young woman. No, the mother shouldn't praise her daughter for anything but routine accomplishments. She should treat every person she comes in contact with respect because she's a woman, or because she's a lady, or because she's a guest, or a fellow-guest, or a stranger, or a friend--positions like these should be all the reason she needs to show courteous attention to anyone she meets in public. A person who is quietly confident about claims like these will rarely receive a rebuff in response. Anything a girl receives or gives beyond that on the basis of her personal merit will take care of itself. The important thing to settle in a girl's mind is a due sense of what she has a right to, and what she owes others.

Pleasure and Duty

Now we need to consider a confusing issue that needs to be settled as a young girl finishes her school education. There are two rivals that want to claim her time and attention--pleasure and duty. The question is, what should be allowed for each, and how much can they clash? A girl who's constantly being invited to picnics, tennis, dances, concerts, dinners or parties might have tender-hearted parents who are apt to let her neglect duty and allow her to spend all of her time on frivolous pleasure. They say things like, 'After all,

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she only has one youth.' 'It's her time to enjoy.' 'We remember what it's like to be young; let her have a good time and enjoy herself while she has the opportunity.' 'If we restrict her from indulging herself now, she'll only crave good times all the more. Let her have her fun and sow her wild oats now. Then she'll be more ready to settle down to a quiet life later.'

But before they allow their daughter to take on the role of

'Youth at the prow and pleasure at the helm,'

they would do well to consider the matter carefully. For one thing, the result could jeopardize all of the benefits of the girl's entire education. It would have been just as serious to have let her do nothing but play since her infancy as it would be to let her play constantly now. After all, what she gained from her education isn't just the geography, science and French that she learned. In fact, she'll forget those things unless the paths to that knowledge are kept active with frequent mental traffic. But the even more important thing she took from her education is her ability to pay focused attention, apply consistent effort, and give her best intellectual and moral effort. Habits that are allowed to go unused might as well have never been formed. Abilities that aren't exercised grow weak and end up being lost. Everything that was gained in years of school training can be lost in a single year. And this is why girls who have supposedly received a good education never read anything meatier than shallow or trashy novels, don't make intelligent companions, and show very little evidence of moral effort.

As far as settling down to a quiet life later, that isn't the point. Once she's lost all the good habits she learned in school, she'll have to start from the very beginning to get back to where she was, only now she'll be older and it

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will be harder for her to acquire habits and develop abilities than it was when she was little. As I've said before, the taste for parties, entertainment and organized amusement needs more and more to satisfy the desire. It displaces the habit of being able to enjoy the many simple pleasures of home life such as evening readalouds, board games by the fire with the children, homespun music, and chatting with friendly neighbors. As Wordsworth wrote,

'Pleasure is spread throughout the earth
In stray gifts that can be claimed by anyone who will find them,'

and one of the disadvantages of constant parties and excitements is that it can blind a person to what real pleasure is and what it takes to experience it. Pure and true pleasure happens when you least expect it. It's a stray gift that's found, not sought after. It's just something that you happen to stumble upon as you're going along your way.

So, then, what about parents who have the opposite tendency and demand that their daughters stay at home and help their mothers? After all, they reason, they never wasted their time on idle pleasure, and neither will their daughters. They had responsibilities to attend to at home, and so will their daughters, because 'no good comes from gallivanting around town.'

But there's another perspective these parents should consider. It's good to keep in mind that you can't expect a young girl to think like an older person. Young things need to frolic, whether they're kittens or lambs or young girls. The activities that seem like deliberate attempts to seek pleasure for older people are, for young people,

'Stray gifts that can be claimed by anyone who will find them.'

Fun parties are so appealing to young girls because they provide opportunities for them to meet others like them,

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other young people that they rejoice to be with simply because 'it's in their nature to.' Prospero [Shakespeare's The Tempest] wasn't enough for his daughter Miranda. Birds of a feather flock together. Young people crave the company of other young people.

The trick is finding balance and knowing where to draw the line. Neither extreme is healthy. Girls need definite responsibilities that leisure activities are rarely allowed to encroach upon. Perhaps there could be a limit of one evening out a week, or two, and certain evenings could be reserved for family time, mornings for routine activities and chores, and a rule forbidding any kind of evening outings that render the girl useless the next morning. But suggesting rules about this is really presumptuous. Mothers know what's best for their own daughters, and will surely remember that,

'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy;
But all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.'


Now let's consider an issue that gets overlooked too often when raising girls. It seems normal for a girl to have opinions about things like dieting, style, fashion and home furnishings, but who cares what she thinks about public figures, political issues, books and events? Yet her opinions on these things does matter to the world. Even if she isn't the mother of future fathers and mothers, her influence will be felt in some way.

Young ladies should receive some general training and special preparation to help them form fair, just opinions. For starters, a girl should be encouraged to use her common sense to weigh issues that come up. The parent might ask, 'What do you think about such-and-such?' and then tease her good-naturedly if her thinking is foolish. But the

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special preparation requires a little more thought and planning. What are the issues and subjects that thinking people should have an opinion about? These are the things that young ladies should know enough about to form a sensible opinion.

First of all, a girl's success depends a lot on the relationships with other people that she associates with. She needs some understanding of character and human motives. Therefore, for the sake of her own developing character as much as for guiding principles on which to choose friends, every girl should take a basic course in moral philosophy. Everyone knows how easy it is for girls to be swept away by the way things are said until they find themselves attached to an unworthy friend, or a no-good lover. If she has no defense against bad logic, how can she possibly protect herself from lines like--'That's what everyone thinks these days!' or 'That's such an old-fashioned concept of modesty', or 'A person's first responsibility is to take care of himself; if everyone did that, nobody would be a burden to other people.'

Young women should also know something about the principles of political economy. So many women are quick to remark casually that 'it would be good for business if an earthquake destroyed all the houses in London,' or 'If all the landlords in England didn't collect rent from their tenants, the price of bread would come down,' or 'England would be a richer country if there were gold mines under the ground instead of coal and iron.' In fact, women tend to fall into any one of the little traps that Mrs. Fawcett sets for the unwary in her book Political Economy for Beginners which is as interesting as it is educational. Any girl who studies it with some thought and effort will be able to form sensible opinions about some of the current issues that

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are used these days, not just as matters of opinion, but as reasons to justify one social class's superiority over another. It would be good for England if educated women had fair and just ideas about these kinds of issues, not just so they can have something interesting and valuable to say to their husbands and brothers, but so that they can present a different perspective to the men in their lives, and influence them to see a different side of the issue. Often, a man's own situation might incline him to only look at things from his own personal standpoint.

There might be a ministry opening up for educated women. There needs to be a mediator between working men and business owners/managers. An educated, sensible woman might be able to persuade the owner to have patience with his workers, and, at the same time, help the workers to understand the difficulties and responsibilities of running a business. A woman with tact, sympathy, and quick intuition would be perfect for the task of mediating if she made the effort to gather the information she needed to qualify herself. She wouldn't even have to leave her personal sphere of family life and meddle with public affairs--but she might be able to discuss the issues with understanding and compassion with the wife of the business owner, if not the owner himself, during her regular social calls. Even a single comment that shows a real grasp of the issue spoken to someone she knows might be the spark that turns the tide of public opinion amongst a whole community of working-class people.

Women have lately been demanding their rights [women's right to vote was passed in England in 1918-1928; this book was written in 1906], and men have mostly been generous and gentle in meeting their demands. Women have so many rights these days that they can no longer justifiably claim the kind of immunities that secluded harem wives can. We aren't free to say, 'Oh, these things are beyond me; I let the men worry about those kinds of issues.' It's possible that God's Providence has brought women to the forefront in this age so that they'll be

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ready to act as mediators in these days when there's a dangerous risk of alienation and enmity between social classes. Some thinking people are convinced that we're in the early stages of a revolution. Whether this revolution can happen peacefully without the bloodshed and horrors of other recent revolutions may depend, more than they realize, on the women of England. At any rate, it's time for women to put away the trivial attitude that 'doesn't care for these kinds of things.'

It's not just in the social arena that a revolution is brewing. There is a dread of a great darkness overseas. Christianity is being challenged, and, even worse, the most basic belief in and worship of the Almighty God is under attack. The coming judgment, physical resurrection of our human bodies, everlasting life--these fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith are being dismissed, not only by irreverent people living immoral lives, but by people who are considered good and wise!

How are young girls supposed to prepare themselves to face this kind of moral crisis? First of all, it's not a good idea to shelter them from the anxious questions being discussed. Their enthusiasm and love will be ignited even more when they realize that, once again, Christianity and paganism seem to be heading towards another agonizing conflict right at our doors. But let their zeal be guided by knowledge. Lay thorough foundations for their faith. It's not so important that they know the difference between the Church and Dissent, or between High and Low and Broad Church. It's much more important that they fully know in whom they have believed, and what grounds their faith rests on. Give them sincere intellectual work to think about. Let them feel how necessary it is to brace up every faculty of their minds to understand the

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width and depth of the truths they're called to believe in. Don't let them grow up thinking that Christian literature consists of nothing but sentiment and emotional appeals, and intellect and the mind belong to the secular realm on the other side. Provide them with books of real caliber to give their intellects something to grapple with. That's very important, because the risk is that youths whose spiritual lives haven't awakened yet might come to feel that they're superior to the Christian faith that seems so simple and arrogant.

One more thing: don't let young girls maintain the notion that 'no one is responsible for what he believes, he's only responsible for what he does.' Test this idea for a minute by applying it to social relationships. Try saying that a man isn't obligated to believe in his wife's faithfulness, or his child's obedience, or in the routine ethics of the people he deals with every day. If the principle was applied to real life, the whole framework of society would fall apart. The fact is, our whole system, both commercial and social, is based on a system of credit that's kept afloat because of the limitless faith that one man places in another man. The very fact that a defaulter outrages us only proves how true most men are to the trust placed in them. If a rural farmer hides his money under his mattress because he's afraid to put his faith in the banking system, he's laughed at and called a miser. A man who refuses to have anything to do with his neighbors because he's afraid to trust anyone is called a cynic, and considered fit only to live as a recluse. No matter how much a man's trust may have been abused, if he won't place due faith in his fellow man, he's treated as an outcast. What, then, can be said about a person who lifts his head towards God, his Creator, Father, Preserver, Redeemer, closest Friend and always-present Judge, and says, 'I don't believe in You because I can't see You or understand You'?

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I'm not going to go out of my way to stress how strongly this attitude must be avoided. For the sake of their children who aren't born yet, make sure that girls are brought up to hate and dread this ugly sin of disbelief. When it comes to issues that aren't vital, they should be gentle and tolerant. They should have a firm grasp on why they believe that their own view is true, but they should leave it up to others to decide for themselves how to approach and serve God. But when it comes to the being, nature, and work of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and our relationship of loving and serving Him, there's no room for tolerance of adverse opinions, even from those whose opinions we respect. 'A person's doctrines must be correct if his life is going to be right,' is just the kind of fallacy that youths should learn to examine.

As far as evidence for God's existence, this needs no proof. Every heart that beats in the universe is a witness to God's existence, if we'll admit it, because it can't exist without God. Why aren't people as eager to challenge the existence of the sun? Yet apologetic books like Paley's Natural Theology and Butler's Analogy can be useful, even if it's only to show how many logical-sounding arguments have been answered a long time ago.

Pursuits and Activities

I haven't left much space to even glance for a moment at the pursuits and activities that are appropriate for young ladies still living at home. It's becoming more normal on the main continent of Europe, and, to some extent, here in England, for schools to teach girls the basics of maintaining a home--although that might be an invasion of the mother's jurisdiction. Every woman should understand and know how to do every

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task related to cooking, cleaning, mending or making in the home. A regular instruction time learning to do these things under her mother's guiding eye would be a good way to spend an hour or two every morning. One valuable and extremely useful project is a household book where the young girl writes down exactly how to do specific things, like how to strip a floor, or how to make an omelet. She should write down the exact steps she took herself to do it, or as she observed while watching someone else do it, noting any special circumstances specific to her own house. This kind of reference will be invaluable later because it contains personal experiences, and it will help her to speak authoritatively to her cook or servant who might say, 'I never heard of anyone doing it like that before, ma'am.' Planning meals, setting a proper table, every detail about managing a household for a week or a month, should all be taught and noted in her book.

If there are still younger children at home, the girl has a definite advantage. The details of managing children--cleanliness, ventilation, brightness, health and happiness--is a science. If there aren't any children still at home, it's worth arranging for her to learn these things by spending time with a friend who does a good job managing the affairs of her young children. As far as sewing, every woman should know how to sew clothing for herself and her children--everything including nice dresses. It's worth the time to learn how to cut out a pattern scientifically, and she needs to learn it by doing it. Yet she shouldn't spend more than an hour a day sewing. Most household duties require some healthy physical

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activity, but spending a lot of time in front of the sewing machine isn't good for a young girl.

Besides, she can't afford to spend too much valuable time sewing. Her academic education has hardly gotten started in school, and it needs to progress. She needs to develop her own independent habits of intellectual effort. She should have one or two hours every morning for nothing but solid reading. English literature is still mostly unknown her, so she'll need some of that. She has a lot of history to read--ancient, medieval and modern--and that will relate better when she compares it to her own current history. She probably learned to read some French and German in school, and now is a good time to introduce her to some French and German literature. She'll probably only find time for the best of the novels, the ones that have become classics, except for those occasions when she has a cold or earache or has a spare half hour after dinner. It's very helpful to have a 'commonplace book' or reading journal at hand while reading so that she can jot down any notable thoughts about the author, or her own impression of the book, or a portion of it. But it shouldn't be used for summarizing facts. If this kind of journal is kept diligently all her life, it will be extremely interesting later as a record of her intellectual history. Besides, we never forget a book we've written things down from, and taken the time to write a short review from.

Two or three hours should be spent on some kind of vigorous outdoor exercise, or long walk in the country, or a game like tennis or softball. A walk is interesting if there's some purpose to it, and that's where botany can be a benefit. At almost any season of the year, there's something to be seen in some out-of-way spot to add to a collection sampling some order of plants. If a girl isn't especially interested in

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botany or painting, she might look for some detail of nature, or bit of scenic landscape to describe in writing. This kind of literary effort is both useful and pleasant, and a record of these writings will be a valued treasure years later.

You can see that a young girl still living at home has so much to get done, plus her social obligations, so there's no time for dawdling. In fact, she should make up a schedule for herself to plan her day carefully so she can squeeze in everything she wants to do.

The activities I've indicated are all mostly with self-culture in mind, but they'll be more useful and more appealing if they're proposed to her as works of love and service. Household duties and sewing are obviously helpful in the home, but everything she does--walking, reading, and especially music--can be counted as contributions towards the good of the family, or the neighbors, both rich and poor. A girl who knows something about wildflowers, for example, will be a popular walking companion with all kinds of people in various circumstances. Teaching Sunday School, house visits to the poor, some kind of regular, challenging and even difficult effort for the uneducated or needy should be part of every girl's life. It should never be set aside lightly to make time for something else. We only learn to do by doing, and we can only learn to serve by serving. It's increasingly believed that an ideal Christian life is a life of service.

Later I'll detail the importance of specific training to qualify a girl for a particular

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kind of service career, such as teaching or nursing or general church work. But if she doesn't have that kind of training, then her mother might make 'I serve' the motto of her daughter's life in order to give her life some distinction beyond social popularity. She should guide her daughter down a specific type of helpfulness that she can throw herself into with her youthful energy.

"Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase)
Awoke one night from a deep trance of peace,
And saw within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,--
'What writest thou?' The vision raised his head,
And in a voice, made all of sweet accord,
Answered, 'The names of all who love the Lord!'
'And is mine one?' Ben Adhem asked. 'Nay, not so,'
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerful still,--' I pray thee, then,
Write me as one who loves his fellow-men.'
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
He came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's led the rest"
-- James Leigh Hunt

'Write my name down as someone who loves his fellow man!' is indeed the cry of all of those who are sincere-minded. Qualifying a girl for a specific kind of service, such as helping in a homeless shelter, candy striping at the hospital, helping the blind or handicapped, giving her life in some way to something beyond herself that doesn't advance her personally, is probably the kindest and wisest thing that a mother can do for her daughter.

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Purpose in Life - Why Special Training is Valuable

This consideration brings up an issue that's puzzling to fathers as heads of the household. What should they do for their daughters? It's not so difficult with sons--they usually go to college or get some kind of special training to prepare for their profession. They're started immediately so that they'll be prepared for the first opportunity that will lead them to a successful career.

But what about a daughter who graduates at age eighteen? She might have an older sister who appears to be staying at home permanently who's already her mother's right-hand man and who's so much identified with the family that her place seems to be already marked out. The second daughter finds nothing useful that needs to be done, so she enjoys her new sense of leisure and irresponsibility at first. Every girl should have a taste of this kind of free time for the same reason that a grocer gives his new employee all the free cakes and cheese he can eat--so that he doesn't crave them any more. The girl plays tennis, goes to parties, is allowed to socialize as much as her parents can comfortably arrange. In her free time, she does a bit of painting, plays around at the piano, reads a little French and a lot of novels. Her mother asks her to do some housework from time to time, and she does that fairly diligently, but that doesn't happen often enough to require all of her energy or resolution. Maybe she's given the job of doing the family sewing. But that kind of work comes in spurts, and everybody chips in to help with it. Anyway, the labor of always working as a seamstress would be unbearable to a spirited girl with an education. The daughter isn't leading a life of idleness. The things she has to do are spread out pretty evenly over the day, although a busy woman could easily get them all done in a spare hour or two. The girl enjoys quite a bit of

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free time and fun, and the parents view her situation contentedly, glad that she has the luxury to enjoy her youth.

For a few months, or even a year or two, this is fun. But in a year or two, life becomes a burden. Dancing with the same people, playing the same games, saying and listening to the same chit-chat month after month becomes unbearable. But then, someone objects, she has her work at home, and additional tasks could easily be found for her to do. But it's not as easy as that. The mother doesn't want to give up her own jobs. She's already discovered that, of life's two joys, work and the duty of our calling is much better than play. Besides, a girl needs more than routine household tasks. She needs a career. She needs work that depends on her to do it, and can't be done without her, and will bring her honor to do it--maybe even a paycheck. Is it enough for her to 'improve her mind'? Modern education doesn't tend to make girls love knowledge for its own sake. Even what girls do on their own to improve their minds tends to be too sporadic and aimless to be of much benefit or pleasure, unless the old prod comes into play--the need to make high marks in some public exam.

So, what is the poor girl supposed to do with her craving for a life's work, which is a natural desire for every adult, male or female? There have been some unfair things said about girls of this [Victorian] era, but she deserves more understanding than she gets. People forget that her faults are the result of not having any outlet for the energy that nature gave her. It used to be that there was only one career available to a girl of the lower or middle class. She had to wait until her prince came by and threw her his handkerchief. A girl who has more

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energy and ambition than modesty or breeding recognizes her opportunity. She won't wait around for her prince to throw his handkerchief to the wrong maiden and leave her out in the cold with nothing to do, nothing to look forward to for the rest of her life. She won't let that happen; she'll make sure he knows who to throw his hankie to. And thus her 'career' begins--a 'man hunt,' people call it, and she makes an ugly spectacle of herself.

A well-brought-up girl will hardly dare to admit even to herself that she dreams of having the best of all careers for a woman--the career of being a wife and mother. She's too humble and modest to make it the one goal she lives in hope for. In fact, it isn't totally up to her--her fate in this depends so much on the inclinations of someone else, that it's pointless to allow herself to set her hopes on it seriously, although her girlish romantic tendencies might make her mind wander innocently to love stories like Romeo and Juliet. Besides these sweet dreams that may seem half illicit and a little risqué to a pure-minded girl, the future is a blank void. She needs something substantial, something beyond the

'Human nature's daily food'

of daily housework, routine amusements and family affections. It's natural for the human species, just like every other species, to leave the nest. When the suitable age comes and the overgrown nestling doesn't leave its nest, it becomes a disheartened bird.

A girl needs a real career, a distinct direction in the path of life for her own feet to follow, as much as any young man does. But the current thinking is that girls will be provided for, while boys have to be capable of supporting themselves and a

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family with their own honest work. But that's not the point. People are beginning to realize that human happiness depends as much on worthwhile, meaningful work as on wages. It's real work that a girl craves--work of her very own. To be kept at home waiting for a career as a wife and mother that might or might not come to her, and that she isn't supposed to go out and aggressively seek, isn't fair to her. A weak-minded girl will mope and get depressed. A strong-minded girl will take matters into her own hands and mark out an erratic life path for herself. A good girl will make the most of whatever work there is for her to do, but often she'll harbor profound yearnings for some more definite, recognized work.

And the worst part of all is that these daughters living at home aren't being qualified so that they can fill a place in this work/career world any time in the future. Already, untrained labor is being paid less. Nobody is needed to do a job they aren't specially trained to do. This seems to me to be the solution for the question, 'What should we do with our family of grown daughters?' It's not enough for them to learn to cook a little, sew a little, and do laundry. Every one of the girls should receive some definite, thorough training in some art or profession that will enable her to earn her own living doing something useful for the world, and something interesting and enjoyable to herself, as all skilled work of the mind or hands is. I think that parents owe this to their daughters as much as they do to their sons. There is valuable training available in many fields of work suitable for women, and at about the same cost as it takes to support a girl at home. Whether the girl actually puts her training to work by getting a job in that field will depend on circumstances--and whether the prince throws her the handkerchief! But it doesn't matter; her training won't be wasted if she gets married. Besides the special

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aptitude she's acquired, she'll be more confident, stronger in character, and better able to do any kind of work. I don't think I need to list the areas that a girl can get training for--art, music, teaching, nursing, and even greater careers for girls who are more ambitious and better educated. But I'd like to make a plea for teaching in an elementary school. It's a humble job but is immensely useful. [I suspect she specifically means being a CM teacher, not just a certified teacher in the public school system.]

I'd also like to make a plea for becoming trained to do work that's too often done by poor, under-educated women. I'm talking about the truly honorable, often pleasant job of being a governess for a family [once again, I suspect that Charlotte Mason is suggesting that girls get trained at her House of Education to become CM governesses.] As parents become more and more aware of the importance of balanced, all around training for their children, the position of governess will become more and more lucrative and enjoyable for a girl who has been trained to develop and guide character in the right direction, and tutor using sound, reasoned methods. In fact, parental awareness is already happening to such an extent that the job of specially trained governess is currently the most sought-after and well-paid job for women.

But I don't want my readers to think that I'm like the fox who lost his tail in a trap and then tried to persuade the other foxes to cut their tails off by telling them that life is better without the hassle of a tail. [I'm not trying to persuade women to train for careers because I'm a working woman myself.] I can back up my position with evidence. I've heard from lots of women who have received professional training, partly to gain the discipline that such training provides, and partly to satisfy a craving to be actively involved in the world's work. Unless a woman managing her home and raising her children is reckless and self-indulgent, her circumstances will bring out whatever is strong and lovely in her feminine nature, But when a girl is still living

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at home, her parents have to be creative to keep her disciplined. They can't be battling with a grown daughter to keep her from the dawdling, procrastinating, self-indulgent habits that girls tend to fall into if they don't have any pressing responsibilities. She's too old to be treated like a child with strict discipline; she's an adult and they need to treat her on friendly, equal terms.

Young women want autonomy, and the discipline of work that they and they alone are responsible for. Tasks at home that don't make much difference if they get done or not, or that somebody else will do if they neglect them, aren't the same. A year or two at home in between graduation and this specialized training that I'm talking about is fine, as it gives parents time to really enjoy their daughters, gives the daughters a chance to enjoy life at home, and provides an opportunity to correct any bad attitudes or habits that the girl might have picked up at school. But if a girl knows that she'll be going for special training for a job of her own, she'll be motivated by the idea of a definite plan for her future, and she'll use whatever responsibilities she has now to prepare her for that future. This gives her incentive to exert some effort. The important thing is that she maintains the habit of intellectual, ethical, spiritual and physical effort. And whatever special training or job she receives doesn't have to prevent her from getting married. Girls these days don't get married as young as they used to, so a girl has some time to get trained and start a career before the wedding date. Also, a girl who has a life with passionate interests and confidence will be more attractive than a girl who's become stale from always waiting around at home.

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I'm sorry if I seem to be taking advantage of my position to emphasize what looks like a one-sided perspective of an important issue. There are many who feel as I do. Many enlightened men are making sure that their daughters receive professional training as thoroughly as their sons--not because they can't afford to support their daughters, but because they feel an obligation to start their girls, as well as their boys, on a useful career. Besides, this seems like the best answer to the question, What should we do for our daughters? Households with dependent adult daughters living at home aren't productive. It's not a natural situation, and doesn't help a girl to develop to her best potential. Unless the home is unusually well-managed with wisdom, a 'life of luxury' at home with no real work will necessarily lead to some deterioration in the girl's character.

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Part IV

"It Is Written"

Some Studies in How Character Evolves

'I also acknowledge how powerful early culture and nurture is.'-- Sartor Resartus

'Truly, it's the duty of all men, especially philosophers, to accurately write down and record the specific circumstances of their education--what furthered it, what hindered it, and what modified it in any way.'
-- Sartor Resartus

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1. Jorn Uhl and Thomas Carlyle: Two Peasant Boys

Jorn Uhl [1901] by Gustav Frenssen and Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship [1795] (Goethe's second novel) are both books that parents should read. To mention a modern book in the same sentence as a world's classic might seem bold or even foolhardy, but reading both of them presents both extremes. Wilhelm Meister becomes who he is passively. Circumstances play upon him, and he yields himself to their influence and allows them to create his character. Jorn Uhl is also influenced by circumstances, but only as far as they give impulses to his personality. Meister is very emotional, and his excessive sentiment chokes out his personality. But the peasant boy, Jorn Uhl, is raised in a rougher school and becomes a person. Actually, he doesn't become a person, he was a person from the start. In these two examples of childhood influences, we get a hint about the line that divides the world into two kinds of people: those who are at the mercy of circumstances for one reason or another, and those who are able to take hold of their lives in spite of circumstances.

Jorn Uhl was the son of Klaus Uhl, a peasant-proprietor whose farm in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany had been in his family for 300 years. Klaus Uhl is worthy of calling a father. He's known for his hearty, friendly laugh, memorable story-telling skill, ability to discuss

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politics, he drinks, and plays cards. He's popular among the social types around the rural countryside, especially because he's kind of a leader among them and always has a joke ready to make them laugh.

His wife, his complete opposite, dies giving birth to their fifth child, a daughter named Elsbe, mostly because her husband couldn't be persuaded to send for the doctor. So she dies and he has to weep over her--but he cries, 'Mother, Mother!' because he's ceased to think of her as a wife. She had been from a family of peasants named Thiessens who lived on the heath, and the qualities she brought from her own people influenced her husband's family. The three oldest sons were like their father, but Jorn and baby Elsbe were more like their mother's side of the family. Jorn was four years old when his mother died. The mother had been blessed with the loyal friendship of one faithful friend named Wieten--a servant woman to whom she entrusted with taking care of her children.

That's where the story begins. The scenes and circumstances of peasant life are chiseled into the story as if they'd been written with an engraver's tool. Without blatantly saying it, the reader senses that blond, handsome little Jorn has been placed in very harsh circumstances. This is what his life is like. What will be the result?

That's why I think this book is a suitable comparison to Wilhelm Meister. In both books, there's a boy who has to face the problem of life. Will he stand up and challenge his circumstances, or will he allow them to defeat him? That's the worrisome question that every mother faces when she kisses her children goodnight,

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and every father wonders when his children gather around him, curious to see what he has. Children look a lot more distinct and varied than adults, who tend to be a dull blend of conformity.

Little Jorn's first impressions of life are fun to read, Everything seems so big to him--the house, the barn, his father's fields seem to go on forever. The great big people outside working so seriously are a puzzle to him. There's no one like Jorn at all except his brother Spitz. They play and try some experiments together. One time they run into a ditch while chasing a rat. They're brought home, bathed, spanked, and sent to bed. They cry together and comfort each other. Another time they try to make friends with another youngster--a nearly newborn foal. They recognize that full grown horses belong to the world of grown-ups, but a tiny foal is something else entirely, so they approach it to get acquainted. Spitz, naturally, makes the opening introductions, but the little mare kicks at them, and they run away. Another time they peek down into a dark cellar that seems bottomless, and beets and turnips come flying at them. They fall and tumble right on a worker's head! All this time, Jorn has been like Robinson Crusoe and the world has been like his island. There was no one who could explain things to him. Wieten, the family friend who took care of the children, was too busy, and no one else cared.

Jorn, poor lonely soul, had to build his own home, make his own tools, and find his own nourishment. 'All for the best,' says the author, and maybe he's right. Little children need to ponder. We adults keep distracting them and bothering them

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with our annoying explanations and continual disruptions to make them listen to us when their minds are busy working. We don't seem to understand that even young children need to have a life of their own. It's one thing to give a young child two or three lessons in attention to encourage him to spend a little more time looking at something that he's already been interested in. But it's another thing to make him remember the name of a statue of Achilles, or pictures of all the kings of England. Children are capable of doing these things, of course. They're not idiots, they're just busy, and the things they find to think about and do are good for their development. Constantly forcing their attention to attend in all different directions might make a child incapable of responding to the valid demands that are placed on him later in his life.

But Jorn had no risk of anything like this. He and Spitz were left to themselves, although they ran inside many times a day to see that other soft young thing--Elsbe, the baby. And then one day, they were surprised to see the baby standing at the door! That seemed odd, but they welcomed her into their confidence and made their research projects a threesome. After a while, Spitz was no longer the leader, but he became more of a playmate, and all three were on equal footing, learning from each other. Little sisters can teach boys about kindness and bravery, and sisters can learn about confidence, love and pride in their brother that makes him a hero.

One evening, the children are sitting around Wieten's work-table with their friend Fiete Krey. His parents work around the place. He has a lot to say. The Kreys are almost a clan in the

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village. They're clever traders of petty items, but they have a reputation for being dishonest. Fiete has inherited his family's traits. He talks about hidden pots of gold, and strange underground creatures who guard the treasures. Then Wieten brings up a rich merchant who threw all his money into a well where a little gray man in a three-cornered hat sat guarding it. She also tells them about a student named Theodor Storm, who wanted to compile the folk tales into a book.

All of these things go into Jorn's education.

This is an issue that makes parents uneasy: They're distressed when they consider all the casual events and people their children meet by chance that might have a lasting impact on their children's characters. But the best attitude is probably a reasonable amount of ordinary prudence, but not over-sheltering. There's no way to know what will affect a child or how he'll respond. Sometimes evil that comes his way can incline him to good, and sometimes insisting too much on his being good can predispose him to evil. Perhaps events as they happen and people in life as they come should just be allowed to have their influence on a child. After all, a child is not a product and creation of our educational plan--he's a person whose spiritual growth happens in the same way that the wind blows where it will.

Meanwhile, Jorn's father noticed that Jorn was becoming a promising boy, but the only thing he did about it was to brag at the tavern. He wanted Jorn to be a distinguished scholar--Klaus himself remembered snatches of Latin he had learned in school--or maybe a land agent. He should become something that would make his father proud.

One day Jorn went to school--a pleasant

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schoolhouse under the linden trees, where bees could buzz in through the open windows. The teacher, old Lehrer Peters, was a kind man. When he considered the red-headed Kreys and the blond Uhls, he felt that they already had within them everything to develop into the adults they would become before they ever came to his school. One day the students were making up sentences. 'We've heard about King David in the Bible,' said Mr. Peters, 'Who is our king?' And a small child answered, 'Our king's name is Klaus Uhl.' And then a surprising thing happened. Jorn, the new little boy, stood up, angry and flushed with wrath. 'My father is no king.' Little Elsbe cried and said, 'Yes, my father is too a king!' When all the other children had left, Mr. Peters asked Jorn, 'Why did you say that your father is no king?' 'Because sometimes he can't stand up.' 'What? He can't stand up!' 'No, because he's often too drunk.'

The child had figured that out on his own--that a king should at least be able to control his own life, because self-rule is a sort of kingship. Already, evil had passed through the processing part of this child's mind and brought about some knowledge of good. But at what price? We like to say that experience is the best teacher. We also say that experience makes fools wise, but that's not true. Fools are people who don't learn anything from experience; experience just makes them more confirmed in their habits. When they make a mistake and suffer for it, they keep on making the same mistake and suffering for it. When they see someone else doing something wrong, they copy it, ignoring all warnings about penalties. Jorn's older brothers were fools of this sort. They didn't learn from experience.

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Jorn was bright enough to be able to draw that sad conclusion from his own experiences in life--that his father was no king. Experience really does teach people who have wise hearts, whether they're children or adults, but the price for such knowledge is so high that it can leave the pupil bankrupt for the rest of his life. Paternal reverence and dependence on his father disappeared for Jorn. The love of his mother and everything that can be learned from that was also missing from his life. Jorn, like a little Robinson Crusoe, was isolated from everything naturally good that a warm relationship with a father includes. Children can realize all too soon that their father is no king, and that their mother is no queen! We adults can't be off our guard. Children are always watching, seeing everything all the time. But it takes a small crisis in the child's life for that knowledge to take shape and become defined even in his thoughts. Poor little Jorn had probably seen his father drunk a thousand times without consciously forming his own thoughts about it, but when he considered kings, his vague ideas were clarified into clear knowledge, and that knowledge was overwhelming and shameful.

It was because they knew that children might form judgments that parents of earlier generations remained aloof and unapproachable. But that didn't prevent children from seeing through appearances and arriving at their own simple conclusions of worthy or unworthy. For better or worse, children know what their parents are, although it may be years before this knowledge really dawns on them.

It's enlightening to compare Jorn Uhl's beginnings with those of another peasant boy from a lower social class. What were Diogenes Teufelsdrockh's beginnings

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in the village of Entepfuhl? Or, what did the world look like through the eyes of Thomas Carlyle [who wrote his autobiographical Sartor Resartus, about fictional philosopher Diogenes Teufelsdrockh] in the Scottish village of Ecclefechan? First of all, his father, Andreas Futteral, was 'a man of order, courage, and sincerity in everything he did. He understood Busching's Geography, had been a soldier at the victory of Rossbach, and was left for dead in the Camisarde of Hochkirch.' You see, Andreas had been a grenadier sergeant and even a teacher in his regiment, serving under Frederick the Great. He was a diligent man, and maintained a little orchard, living on its fruit 'with some dignity.' In the evenings, he smoked and read (remember, he had been a teacher), and talked to the neighbors about the wars and related how Frederick had once told him, 'Peace, dog!' like a king should.

For starters, Diogenes, or Gneschen, as he was called, had a better chance of learning reverence from living with an upright father, and learning obedience from a former soldier than Jorn had living with his good-natured but weak-willed father. Plus, Diogenes/Gneschen had a mother. She was a good housekeeper, and a kind and loving mother. She provided 'a soft covering of love and vague hope where Gneschen lived and slept, surrounded by sweet dancing dreams.' To this man and woman living in their bright, roomy cottage surrounded with fruit trees and flowers peeking at the windows, a dignified Stranger came one serene, golden evening. He greeted the couple solemnly and placed in front of them 'what looked like a basket lined with green silk [containing a baby]. All he said was, 'Good Christian people, here is a precious loan. Guard it carefully, use it

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wisely. One day, it will be required back with either high return or great penalty.''

This gives us a good idea of what parenthood is. It's like a loan, a trust. It has great possibilities, and involves great responsibilities. The mysterious Stranger might be the imposing Angel of Life. The printed instructions for the care of the child he left behind might refer to the love, integrity, dignity or simplicity of the couple who would raise him, because these kinds of possessions are well spent on the raising and nurturing of a child. At any rate, these weren't casual parents like Jorn's father.

'Meanwhile, the developing infant Diogenes/Gneschen, totally ignorant of why or how or where he was, opened his eyes to a kind light, sprawled his baby fingers and toes, listened, tasted, felt--in other words, with all five of his senses and by his sixth sense of hunger and a myriad of internal spiritual half-awakened senses, made an effort every day to gain some knowledge of this strange world he found himself in, whatever it took. His progress was tremendous. In merely fifteen months, he could perform the miracle of--Speech!

'I've heard it remarked that he was a still baby and kept his thoughts mostly to himself. He rarely cried. Already he seemed to sense that time was precious, and he had more important things to do than crying or whining.' And so young Diogenes/Gneschen grew in his family's cottage with a father who provided for him 'a prophet, a priest, a king, and an obedience that set him free.'

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As far as his education, he listened to the old men talking under the shade of the linden tree in the middle of the village. He played, and those games served as lessons for him. The author says, 'in all the games children play, even in their reckless breaking or ruining things, you can see a creative instinct. The little human senses that he's been born a human, and that he was made to work. The best present you can give him is a real Tool, whether it's a knife or a BB gun, for construction or destruction. Either way, it's work, it creates change. In friendly games of skill or strength, the Boy learns to cooperate for either war or peace, as one leading, or one being led. Meanwhile, the girl, also aware of her calling, prefers dolls.'

Here's something to think about, a word to the wise that should motivate us to get rid of mechanical toys from our children's rooms, and all toys that are only for looking at. In this regard, Jorn and Gneschen were similar. They both grew up in open spaces where they could spend a lot of time outside among heaven and earth. We read about how little Gneschen took his bowl of bread and milk and ate it sitting on the top of the wall where he could see the sun setting behind the western mountains. He made friends with the cows and chickens and other animals. While his outdoor activity was making him agile and sharpening his wits, 'his imagination was stirred up and he developed a sense of appreciating history' because his father Andreas told him about the battles he had been in and adventures he had had. Gneschen was fascinated by these tales; he thought they were wonderful. 'I hung on his tales eagerly while neighbors listened around the fire. From the stories of dangers and travels almost as far and wide as Hades itself, a vague world of adventure expanded

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within my mind. I can't begin to estimate how much knowledge I acquired from those old men under the linden tree as I stood listening to them. The immensity of the world was a new concept for me, and these talkative, dignified seniors had been involved in that immense world for almost eighty years. I was amazed to realize that Entepfuhl was surrounded by an entire country, which was in the middle of a wide world, and that there existed such things as history and biographies--and one day, I myself might be contributing my own deeds or tales.'

It seems that nature, one way or another, opens up for children a sense of past time (history) and remote places (geography), and makes one suspect that these concepts are necessary mind food for the child's development. With that fact in mind, what good is a school education that either eliminates this mind food altogether, or else serves it in dry, boring tidbits that the imagination can't work on?

Jorn got some history and geography, too--but through other means. On the front of his house, there were inscriptions telling of all the previous Uhls for the past three hundred years. There was also an old oak chest, and Jorn gradually became aware of its significance. His sense of geography was associated with the wide heath where his uncle Thiess Thiessen lived. He was an odd hermit who often slept among his piles of turf, and he also had an intellectual outlet. His most cherished possession was an old atlas, and his whitewashed walls were covered with his rough scrawled writings about journeys he took from China to Peru, or Hamburg, or the outlet of Schleswig-Holstein--all kinds of places around the world. This was how a child should discover geography! Of all the mistakes we make, the worst one

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might be the way we cheat children out of the living ideas that they have a right to. Here's a wonderful description of how a basic geographical concept was understood by Diogenes/Gneschen and how slowly it dawned on him. (Normally, it would be enough to give the chapter and verse for people to know which section I'm talking about, but Sartor Resartus is an older book, and people seem to only read new books anymore. So I'll include the quote.) 'The mail wagon worked in a similar way, slowly rolling along under its burden of passengers and luggage, winding through our little village. It went towards the north in the dead of night, yet I could see it go towards the south in the evenings. It wasn't until I was eight years old that it dawned on me that the mail wagon must be like the moon--rising and setting by some Law of Nature just like the real moon. It must have come from highways made by men, from cities far away, and towards other cities far away, making them seem closer and closer in the same way that a weaver uses his shuttle to bring threads closer together. It was then that I consciously thought of this significant concept: any road, even this simple Entepfuhl road, will lead you to the end of the world!' That's just what an Irish peasant said the other day when someone asked him where a particular road led to.

He also saw the swallows that showed up every year all the way from Africa and made their nests in the 'cottage lobby.' From them, he learned how birds behave. 'Surrounded by the mystery of existence in this way, under the heavenly sky, enjoying the bounties of the four seasons with their various gifts (even grim winter had skating contests, shooting contests, snows and Christmas carols) Gneschen absorbed and learned. These things were like his ABC's, and they helped him later to

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decode and partly read the great book we know as the world. What difference does it make whether the alphabet you learn from is in big, fancy colored letters, or small plain ones, as long as you have eyes to see it? For Gneschen, who was eager to learn, the mere experience of looking at the letters was all the color he needed. His existence was a bright, soft element of joy, and out of that existence, wonder after wonder stepped out to teach him with its fascination, just like Prospero's Island [Prospero is from The Tempest].'

Jorn also grew up in a world that had wide spaces and he also experienced the four seasons. But neither Gneschen nor Jorn had a totally happy childhood. To be honest, childhood only seems completely happy to adults. Childhood's pains are felt just as keenly as its joys, and, even more, they're remembered forever. Experience hasn't yet shown them that hope wins out, so every grief and disappointment feels final. Around all children, just like around Gneschen, grows a 'dark ring of burden, still as thin as a fine thread, and usually overshadowed by childish fun,' but always reappearing, and always growing thicker. 'It was a Ring of Necessity that we all are born with. But how happy a person is when the Ring of Necessity is brightened by being transformed into a Ring of Duty [that he can choose to do].'

In this respect, Diogenes/Gneschen had an advantage over Jorn. Affectionate care and wise teaching helped the needs/must obligations of his life merge into the 'I can, I ought, I will' of Duty. It isn't that Jorn never learned about duty. He did learn, in the same harsh school where he learned about kingship, but duty for him remained a necessary obligation with no sense of the joy of choosing it of his own free will.

Then one day, Wieten [the family friend who was mothering the children] packed a picnic lunch for the children in a wagon so they could go over the heath

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and visit their uncle, Thiess Thiessen. On the way back home, they talk. Uncle Thiess says, 'The best thing in the world is to live on the heath and eat black bread and pork sausage,' and little Elsbe says, 'No, the best thing in the world is love.' 'No,' says Jorn, 'the best thing is work.' How did he learn that? He learned it little by little, day by day, as his little eyes watched the results of idleness and neglect around the farm. His father's neglected cattle, neglected crops, and neglected barns taught this wise child a lesson, and this is the principle he learned from it--that work is the best thing in the world. He never forgot it. He hardly relaxed, even for a day, from the persistent, patient labor that he had learned from the laziness of others.

But that's not the only thing he learned. 'Elsbe and I will never taste alcohol.' 'Not even when there's a party?' asked Elsbe. 'No, not me--I never will in my whole life,' he said. Little Jorn was left to grow up without much guidance or hindrance, but Diogenes/Gneschen says, 'I was forbidden from a lot of things. I had to renounce any bold desires. Everywhere I turned, a rigid, inflexible bond of Obedience held me back. Being used to Obedience as I was, it was much safer to be overzealous in obeying than to risk disobeying by not doing enough. Obedience is our universal duty and destiny, and those who refuse to bend and yield to it will be broken. It's impossible to train a child too early or too thoroughly to understand that, in this world, I want is nothing compared to I should, and not much compared to I will. In this way, the foundation of secular Discretion was laid down for me--not only Discretion, but of Morality itself. I hope I may never criticize my upbringing!'

His protest is justified. Being passive and compliant isn't the only thing we need to develop in children. It's their own

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choice of what to do that develops them, and they need more experiences than a strictly-kept house can provide. An attic, or a garden or yard or field where they can do what they want is necessary for children to grow and develop freely. We need to get rid of our notion that children can't think, can't understand principles, can't manage themselves with wisdom. Then children in families would grow up with no more sense of force or interference than we feel regarding our government's laws. As law-abiding citizens, we obey naturally without even being conscious of it most of the time, but when our obedience is required on a more conscious level, we're quite willing to comply.

There's something else that Diogenes/Gneschen is grateful for; he blesses his parents for it with such touching words that I'd like to quote them here:

'My kind mother did a completely valuable service to me when she taught me her own simple version of the Christian faith, not so much by word as by daily reverent attitudes and actions. Andreas went to church, too, but for him it was more for outward show and reward in the afterlife, and I'm sure he received that reward. But my mother had a truly soft heart, and a sensitive yet cultivated spirit. Her religion was a vital part of who she was. Good grew within her until it was indestructible and multiplied, even among the entangling evil around her. She was the highest person I ever knew, yet I witnessed her bowed down with unspeakable awe before Someone even higher in Heaven. These kinds of impressions, especially at a very young age, reach into the deepest core of a person's being so that the Holy of Holies mysteriously builds itself in the hidden chambers of the heart until it becomes visible, and the most divine Reverence that man can know springs forth from the heart's crude wrapping of fear. Which is better to be--a peasant's son who knows, even in the roughest way, that there's a

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God in heaven and in man, or a duke's son who only knows how many rooms there are in his family's mansion?'

But this intimate sense of God's presence wasn't to be for little Jorn.


'Jorn shall continue his education,' said his father. 'There's no doubt about that. He'll learn to be an estate manager. Let's drink to Jorn Uhl, the estate manager!' And they drank. And thus the village got the idea that Jorn was destined for great things. He went to school to be prepared for a classical academic high school by Lehrer Peters. It must have been good to see him sitting on the sofa with the old professor--the little boy with his blond hair standing on end, and his deep-set eyes eagerly devouring the book in his hand. It was an English book, because Lehrer Peters was a man with his own ideas. He knew a little English himself, and felt that English was the key to all wisdom, and to the meaning of the whole world. A little Latin was squeezed in, too, but just here and there.

Here's a typical episode from Jorn's school days. Charming Lisbeth Junker, the principal's niece, encouraged Jorn to go out fishing with her because her father was away [and couldn't take her]. While they were dangling their fishing lines, Jorn overheard her uncle, the principal, talking with the local judge and gathered from their conversation that his own father was in some trouble. Jorn learned another life lesson from this, about eavesdropping, and the principal lectured him very admirably. Jorn was upfront and openly admitted that he had overheard their conversation. The principal told Jorn

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a story about the successful career of one of Jorn's ancestors, concluding with a quote from 'the great thinker, Goethe,' that even though you may inherit gifts and talents from your ancestors, you have to work in order to develop and realize those gifts and talents. This concept made a deep impression. From that point on, the boy felt that if there was no one else who would be responsible at home, then it was up to him to take on the responsibility. He kept a close watch on the field hands, and two horse dealers who came to do business with his brothers were uncomfortable under his gaze.

But how can a person prepare for a demanding high school education with so many responsibilities to take care of?

The time came when Jorn had to go to the neighboring town and take his chances. Thiess Thiessen drove him and his books there in his wagon. Young Jorn entered in at the great gates, while Thiess said hello to an old cobbler who told him that, for every five students who entered, only one came out successful. But Thiess wasn't discouraged. 'Jorn is unusually clever. He spends all day with his book, oblivious to anything else. He has to succeed!' But, unfortunately, Lehrer Peter's love for English didn't prepare Jorn to meet the Latin requirement, and Jorn and Thiess returned home, utterly disappointed. And that was the end of Jorn's formal education.

His religious education was just as unsuccessful. Preparing for his Confirmation should been an enjoyable experience for him, but Jorn was only taught justification by faith and the do's and don'ts, such as thou shalt not murder. His confirmation classes were taught by a kind, diligent man, but they were a source of frustration to Jorn because he couldn't understand the material. For the record, a child's confirmation is an important event in the life of a German child. As soon as he turns fourteen, he leaves school (if he's a lower class child), and, before he starts any job, he studies with

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his pastor for six weeks, works for three hours a day in the church, and does some writing and learning at home besides. Before a child is confirmed, he can't even run an errand for a neighbor for loose change. Practical and resourceful Jorn knew all about the concerns of his family and the village, but he knew nothing about the sin and mercy that his pastor was trying to teach him at his confirmation classes. In his mind, the list of sins began too far down, with theft and murder, and God's mercy came too soon and easy to satisfy his young sense of justice. A person could get off scot free as soon as he confessed his sins to God. God seemed to Jorn like an impractical judge who kept his records meticulously inside his office, but allowed himself to be deceived by the people outside of his office.

Jorn decided on his own to take up his place as a farm laborer. He'd do what he could to put the neglected farm in order. His gait became heavy as a result of following the plow in the heavy furrows. He didn't have much to say because he spent more time with cattle than with people. It seemed like the intellectual light in his mind had gone out, and he was well on his way to becoming just like the other farm hands. That's all education did for Jorn Uhl.

Young Teufelsdrockh went to school, too, and learned to handle the earliest 'tools of his trade'--his school books. He can't even remember a time before he knew how to read. That's the case for many young scholars. He speaks of the education he received in school as 'insignificant.' He learned what everyone else learned, but didn't see any value in it. His teacher didn't do much for him and even realized it, but he figured that Teufelsdrockh was a genius who needed to go to the classical academic high school, and then to a university. Meanwhile, Teufelsdrockh, like Cervantes, eagerly read any scrap

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of page or printed text he came across, even pre-bound budget literature that he paid for with his own pocket money and sewed together himself.

This random reading did him some good. He came across bits of real history and bits of worthy fables, which he read, and his mind got the food it needed from them. This is a point to consider. We rarely hear about a famous man who got the mental sustenance that enabled him to develop from his school studies! More often, we hear about people whose paths in life were determined by the random reading they did outside of school. And yet, we continue to go on blindly and doggedly with our precious school curriculum as if this fact was insignificant. We say that students will have plenty of opportunity to get the mental diet they need after their school career is over. But life is too short to waste the freshest and most intelligent twelve years of a person's life. And, besides that, a child who hasn't developed the habit of getting mental nourishment from his books during his school education will never see the value in reading good books after he graduates. School hasn't taught him the intellectual art of reading, so he doesn't even realize that he's lost it. And the result is that he goes on in life as an imperfect, incomplete person with his best and most enjoyable abilities either asleep forever, or permanently damaged. What reason is there on earth not to give children the kinds of books they can live and thrive on, books that are alive with thought and feeling and delight in knowledge, during their school years, instead of giving them miserable textbooks that starve their minds??

Diogenes/Gneschen developed some ability to think in spite of his school education. When he was thirteen, 'I was sitting by the Kuhbach river one quiet day at noon, watching it flowing and gurgling, and it struck me that this same little stream had flowed and gurgled

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through all sorts of weather and changing fortunes from before the earliest dates of recorded history.' This sort of thought occurs to all children of average intelligence, although every child thinks that he's the first one to have ever thought of it.

Things didn't go much better for Diogenes/Gneschen at the classical academic high school. He was homesick, the other boys were rough and rude, he disliked fighting and hated to be beaten up but thought it was disgraceful to fight back, so he cried a lot, and that didn't help his schoolmates to like him any better. As far as his classes, he says that Greek and Latin were taught mechanically, and 'what they called history, cosmography, philosophy and so forth, were taught worse than if they hadn't been taught at all.' Still, he learned something by watching the craftsmen who he came across and from some bits and pieces of reading that he found at his dorm.

He complained that his teachers were inflexible hairsplitters, obsessed with their rules and lexicons, but with no understanding of the nature of children. 'They crammed us full of dead terminology (I can't call it dead language because those stuffed shirts didn't know any real language!) and claimed that it was to foster the growth of our minds.' He asks how any mechanical noun/verb labor can foster the growth of the mind, since the mind doesn't grow like a plant from having 'etymological manure' thrown over it like fertilizer--the mind is a spirit that grows by contact with spirit; it's 'thought that lights itself by touching the flame from the fire of another living thought.'

His years at that school brought him one concept that was fertile for both good and evil: 'I wasn't like anyone else.' This is one of the quotes that's full of profound intellectual insight; Sartor Resartus is full of them. There comes a period in every young life when the person realizes that he's an individual. He discovers that he's not like anyone else; he must be 'special.' It's this notion working in the mind

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of a youth that makes a quarrelsome girl or headstrong boy so uncontrollable. Current formal 'education' leaves youths totally unprepared for this important time in their lives. An arrogant young man tends to assume that everything about him is individual and, therefore, he must be superior in everything. No wonder he's unmanageable and won't listen to anyone! But if he were given a basic framework of human nature and taught what he had in common with other people, then he'd be able to make use of the individuality he had for the good of others.

In due time, Teufelsdrockh went to the university. He was fairly adept at 'dead terminology,' and thus assumed that he was going to the living fountain of knowledge to gain more ideas and abilities. But, unfortunately, it was just as true for him as it was for others in the treadmill of school life: 'he was still climbing the same pear tree at age twenty that he had climbed at twelve.' Oppressive poverty was also taking its toll on him because his father had died.

He discovered that the university he was attending was the worst one for his particular needs. There wasn't much good about it, but one of its worst defects was that 'we were proud of being a Rational University, utterly hostile to Mysticism. And so our vacant young minds were filled with all kinds of talk about the Progress of the Species, dark Ages, Prejudice, and other similar things. We were all quickly led to becoming argumentative. For the better students, this resulted in useless Skepticism. The less intelligent students grew puffed up with self-conceit and became spiritually dead.'

This points out a mistake in our educational methods. From the time a child learns to diagram his first sentences until the time he's able to read Thucydides, everything

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he learns is entirely critical and analytical. Even if he reads The Tempest, he doesn't allow the entrancing play as a whole to sink into him and become a part of him because he's so obsessed with figuring out what Shakespeare meant by 'those vex'd Bermooths.' His focus is on literary criticism, which is not only useless to him, but also harmful, in a sense, because it distracts him. It's as if someone listened to Milton's Lycidas read beautifully, but kept up a stream of interruptions with questions and explanations. We forget that critical analysis and study get in the way of understanding, and should be held off until the time when the mind is so filled with ideas that it begins to compare and critique on its own. Teufelsdrockh says, 'The children hungered for their mental nourishment and asked their spiritual care-giver for food, but she only offered them the east wind to chew on--useless jargon about metaphysics, etymology, and mechanical manipulation that pretends to be science.' But that wasn't the worse thing that happened to him. In addition to his lack of money, sympathy or hope, this kind of education gave him fits of doubt. He talks about crying for light in the middle of the night, and being distressed in his mind and heart. It took him years to soothe those anxieties under 'the nightmare of Unbelief.'

This disease of Unbelief is common to those with serious minds who have been taught to examine everything critically before they truly know and understand them through the slow but sure process of assimilating ideas. We need to accept the fact that we're incapable of analyzing what we don't truly know, and that kind of knowledge only comes from a slow, involuntary process of assimilation. That process is impossible for a mind that's developed a critical attitude. We teachers need to take time and effort to lay out the proper mental feast for our students rather than trying to make them

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criticize and analyze every morsel of knowledge that comes their way. What if we treated our food that way? Who could survive if every mouthful of food had to be held up on a fork for critical analysis before eating it?

Meanwhile, Teufelsdrockh got what he needed--not from his school lessons, but from the chaos of the University's library. 'It was here that the foundation of my literary life was laid. I learned all on my own how to read fluently in almost all of the cultivated languages, about almost all subjects and most fields of science. And, since it's human nature to be interested in other people, it was already a favorite activity of mine to try and read between the lines and speculate about the author.'

Teufelsdrockh had the makings of a philosopher, but Jorn had the makings of a scientist. Unfortunately, all intellectual opportunities were closed to him, except one. The chest he had discovered was like a page of history itself, and, inside it he found an old book of Astronomy by Littrow. He had always liked solid knowledge. In his later life, he said that Wieten and Fiete Krey had read him so many romantic legends that he lost his appetite for poetry or fiction. So Littrow became his only intellectual outlet. After awhile, he was able to obtain a telescope, the one luxury of his life. He built a revolving roof on an old arbor, and made observations of the sky, which he recorded on his own charts. In the heavens, he found solace and relief from life's many anxieties and hardships. Thus, in spite of hindrances, both Jorn and Teufelsdrockh became educated. Teufelsdrockh had discovered the infinite solace of books, and Jorn had found a single intellectual pursuit that his whole mind could busy itself with. But it's a shame when education leaves a youth

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without the ability or habit of reading, and without some absorbing intellectual interest. Some people, like these two, manage to get these in spite of their schooling. But it would be so much better if we could plan the kind of education that wouldn't just qualify a person to earn a living, but would also enable them to discover, use and enjoy a full life! 'Life is more than physical food.'

Next, we read of the various ways in which Teufelsdrockh tried to find success in the world, and about how Jorn Uhl had to persist doggedly at the same point. Each of them imagined that 'I had been called to struggle, not with foolishness and sin in myself and others, but with Work,' and how foolishness and sin overcame both of them.

Jorn Uhl forgot on one single occasion about his vow to never drink alcohol. He got drunk and was ashamed, and, in his shame, he fell into an even worse temptation--the sin of lust. But the woman was older and more mature than he was. She had learned about that temptation herself, and she taught him the virtue of Purity. He learned that lesson so well that he wouldn't even touch the hand of the woman he was engaged to until the wedding was arranged.

We can't follow Teufelsdrockh's disappointments in love and romantic sorrows, but we know the gist of what happened to him. For both of these young men, life was like a bitter, hand-to-hand battle. Both of them braced themselves and fought it out, and both of them carried the lessons gained all the way to the end, whether those lessons had hardened, softened, sweetened or embittered them. Both of them mostly learned from the hard school of experience. In Jorn's case, nature herself was a hard mistress, even though he passionately

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loved her. Each of the two young men accomplished his journey with the help of things and by using the methods people use to get what they need. It's sad to notice that neither of them got much help from direct teaching [their formal school education.]

The thing we need to think about is how much direct teaching and training can influence the development of character, and studying honest records like Sartor Resartus and Jorn Uhl will probably be as helpful as anything else. It's a good exercise to consider what could have helped at different places in the stories to guide, help or inspire the two lonely, courageous young pilgrims. I classify these books as records, even though both of them are novels--facts viewed through a veil of romance--because we recognize that both are essentially true [true in essence], and useful to instruct us in righteousness.

We've heard so much about Thomas Carlyle's sufferings and bitterness, that we might forget how much we owe to this philosopher who, more than any other philosopher, has put hope and purpose into the difficult conditions of modern life. Even more relevant to our current purpose, we might learn the lesson his book Sartor Resartus taught, that the gloom and bitterness we condemn were the inevitable results of the kind of upbringing we read about in Teufelsdrockh's experiences, but the strong virtues that we admire so much also came out of the same upbringing. It's the same with Jorn Uhl. In the end, things finally went well for him, but it took all of his wise, beloved wife's skill to tide him over periods of depression that were similar to Carlyle's.

This is basically how Jorn Uhl's record ends: 'Jorn Uhl, your life hasn't been an insignificant

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one. You had a peaceful childhood and a lonely youth. You wrestled bravely and single-handedly with life's questions, and even though you could only guess at the answers to a few of those riddles, your effort was not in vain. You fought for the land that lies around this well. You've been hardened by fire and frost, and you've made progress in the study of the subject that matters most--knowing how to distinguish the true value of things. You've learned to appreciate the passionate love of a woman, and that love gave you the second best experience that life can offer. You've buried Lena Tarn, as well as your father and brothers, and, in those times of human grief, you glimpsed into the eyes of knowledge and became humble. You've fought with bad circumstances and not given up. You plodded along, even though it was a long time before help came. You labored with gritted teeth and noble courage to gain knowledge at an age when most men expect to relax and take it easy. And now, even though building and measuring and such have been your job for many years, you haven't abandoned your life to them. You've remembered the land outside the boundaries of your measuring chain, and you've even remembered the books that your friend Heim Heidreter wrote.

'What else is there for a person to write about, Jorn, if a life with so much meaning isn't worth writing about?'

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2. Goethe: A Genius At 'School'

'Minds like Goethe's belong to every country.'
-- adapted from Carlyle


Every intimate and insightful book contains some autobiographical aspect. Even if it doesn't tell us something that actually happened to the author in a real circumstance, it reveals his idea of what would have happened under specific conditions. If this is true, then how can one man produce, not fifty men, like Browning claims to have done, but hundreds of actual people behaving in the ways they do because of the character of the author? To make this possibility a reality is as amazing and confounding as pondering the Milky Way. Does it mean that all things are possible for all people? Well, anyway, Wolfgang Goethe admits that he imagines himself in almost everything he writes. One fault, moral instability, is written about for us to learn from in his book 'Wilhelm Meister.'

It might not be very helpful to compare this hero with another hero from an intimate journal, our old favorite friend Arthur Pendennis. We don't need to bother asking how much of 'Pendennis' is consciously autobiographical because Thackeray never bothers to tell

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us. But Goethe, on the other hand, makes the greatest effort to trace the influences that resulted in who he became, not only in his autobiography, Dichtung und Wahrheit, but also in Werther, Wilhelm Meister, and Faust. He makes it a point to tell us again and again that everything he wrote is a record of himself. He writes about the astrological influences he was born under, the events surrounding his birth, he takes extreme care analyzing his own nature, tracing one trait to his father, another to his mother, and others to his great-grandparents. he tells us that he got his tall, strong frame and his earnestness in living from his father, who was a man who adhered to 'laws' and also had a taste for art. He married a woman half his age who was closer in age and tastes to their son than to him. As she wrote, 'My Wolfgang and I are both young.'

Catherine Goethe was a distinct person who wrote to many educated women who belonged to the Kultur Kampf as she did. She seems to have been a delightful woman, cheerful, emotional and creative. She wrote, 'Joyousness is the highest of all virtues. When we're content and cheerful, we want everyone else to be satisfied and happy, and we do everything we can to make that happen.' And she wrote, 'By God's grace, nobody ever went away from me dissatisfied. I love people, and both children and adults can sense that.' She says that she never tried to change or reform anyone. She saw the good in people and left the bad to God Who created them, and 'this is how I'm able to be content and happy.' All of this sounds very well, but in actuality, it meant that she was eclectic and only chose to experience what she wanted in life. For example, she would never tolerate anything that might bother her--

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and her son shared this attitude. We're told that, when she hired a new servant, she would tell them, 'You must never tell me anything terrifying, unsettling or unpleasant, whether it happens in my home, the neighborhood, or the town. I refuse to know anything about it. If it's something that concerns me, I'll find out about it soon enough. If it doesn't concern me, then it's none of my business. Even if a fire breaks out on the street where I live, I don't want to find out about it any sooner than I have to.' It wasn't that she was an unfeeling person, but she chose not to feel certain things. When her son was gravely ill in 1805, she wouldn't allow anyone to tell her what was going on. When he was finally recovered, she said, 'I knew it all along . . . now I can talk about him without feeling a stab in my heart every time I hear his name.' That's her excuse--she didn't want to feel a stab in her heart. She refused to 'dree her weird,' refused to experience her share of unpleasant feelings.

The limitations that concern Goethe's admirers were a result of her influence and example. He's such a great man, and it 'stabs the heart' to find that his greatness doesn't include love and care for his country and his kind. If only he had let himself care, when his country was experiencing one urgent crisis after another! If only he had helped when people turned to him, in his wisdom, for help. But his mother removed that care from him. And she's a lesson to future mothers. The concept of self-improvement and personal culture is fascinating, and seems so deceptively pseudo-virtuous, that many noble-minded women can be deceived. They believe that improving their minds and conserving their emotions is

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the best thing they can do for themselves and for society because, as they reason, if every person looks to himself, and takes care of cleaning the street in front of his own house, then the whole street will be clean. They bring up their children with the same attitude. Their children work and seek after their own personal improvement, but are aloof from the lives of other people. We need to be perfectly clear about this issue and recognize once and for all that personal improvement isn't a legitimate goal. It's fine to seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and to improve our mind and body so we're better prepared to serve others. When we recognize this, then our own self takes on an objective aspect rather than a self-centered one. We'll look at pictures and read books because the pictures and books deserve to be experienced, not just for our own gratification. Our children will carry on this wider perspective of life. They'll feel, think and work without holding back when the occasion demands it, and they won't be confined in an inlet of personal improvement.

We read about little Wolfgang's horror of ugliness when he was as young as three years old, crying, 'Take the dark child away! I can't bear it!' and this gives a key to a lot of what happened later in his life. He never learned to endure things as a child because his mother, who should have taught him, understood and shared his sensitivity. Therefore, endurance, which allows people to manfully and cheerfully accept the inevitable, never became part of his make-up. A person who can't endure things will be forced to avoid them, and we find Wilhelm Meister evading obligations with a determination that would have been better spent on some worthier cause. We hesitate to be critical about such a poetic soul, in fact, one of the world's few great poets. One time I heard a distinguished man who had had the honor of knowing Goethe giving a lecture about him. He fervently praised him, and why not? But he couldn't bring himself to blame Goethe for any failure. At the

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end of the lecture, he said to a friend, 'Haven't I done a good job of whitewashing him?' Goethe was too great to have needed whitewashing. He has offered himself as a beacon light to mankind. He not only tells us where to find safety, but warns us where the dangerous rocks are. We don't want to dishonor such a great genius by speculating about why, in some ways, he was less than other men, and how he could have been a greater person all around. [Or . . . perhaps the limiting influences in his childhood were allowed by God to bring out his other strengths for specific purposes in ways that we can't know? LNL]

His grandmother's huge bedroom upstairs was a favorite place to play for Wolfgang and his dearly cherished little sister, Cornelia. One Christmas Eve, this grandmother introduced a game that gave direction to the rest of his life after that. It was the now famous puppet show. He gives full details of the event in Wilhelm Meister. Wilhelm's mother says, 'How often I've been rebuked about that miserable puppet show that I unfortunately provided for you at Christmas twelve years ago! That's what put these plays into your head.' 'Oh, Mother, don't blame the poor puppets! Don't be sorry for your love and maternal care! It was the only hour I ever enjoyed in that empty, new house. I'll never forget that hour. I can still see it, I remember how surprised I was when, after we had opened all our usual Christmas presents, you made us sit in front of the door that leads to the other room. The door opened, but not so we could walk through and go in--instead, the entrance was blocked by an unexpected show! A porch rose up within that doorway, hidden by a mysterious curtain. We were all standing some distance away. Our excited anticipation to see what might be glittering or jiggling behind that half transparent veil mounted higher and higher, and you had to tell us to sit down and wait patiently. Finally, we were all

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seated and quiet. There was a signaling whistle, the curtain rolled upwards, and we saw the interior of the Temple in Jerusalem, painted in deep red colors. The high priest Samuel appeared with Jonathan, and their strange alternating voices sounded to me like the most striking things I had ever heard. Soon Saul came out, utterly confused at the impertinent giant of a warrior who had defied him and his people. I was so glad when the handsome little son of Jesse's came hopping forth with his crook and shepherd's pouch and sling and said, 'My strong king and noble lord, don't let anyone be disheartened because of this. If your Majesty will let me, I'll go out to battle this blustering giant!' The first act ended, leaving the audience even more curious to see what was going to happen next. We prayed that the intermission music would end soon. Finally, the curtain rose again. David dedicated the giant's body to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. The Philistine giant mocked and bullied him, stamped his feet mightily, and finally fell like a lump of clay--a splendid end to the battle. Then the young women sang, 'Saul has slain his thousands, but David has slain ten thousands!' The giant's head was carried to the little champion, and he was given the king's beautiful daughter as a wife. (This is from Carlyle's translation of Goethe's book.) This gives us the first indication of Goethe's career, the moment that a vocation came to the poet as a child. It comes in this way to many other children--casually and without warning. From here on, he spent his time dramatizing situations that he lived or heard about, and conceiving of other situations worthy of being dramatized. This helps us to understand how, for the rest of his life, directing

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the princely theater at Weimar was something he enjoyed and did well at. There are lots of details in Wilhelm Meister that show how young Wolfgang became more and more obsessed with the one single idea. We read how he pried around in the way that children often do, and found the puppets that had given him such pleasure set aside in the storage room. He begged his mother to let him have them, and created different costumes for them so they could play different parts. Then he wrote plays for them, and spoke all their parts with such sincere expression and proper enunciation that his father, who was more stern and had been unsure about his son's new interest, decided that it was a good educational activity.

Most parents don't imagine that their children are budding poets and are a little puzzled at their interest in any kind of acting, anything from comic puppets to real drama, and they wonder how much they should encourage an activity that might interfere with more serious interests. But all children are born poets, and they naturally dramatize all of the life they see around them as if it's all an endless play. Why not use this natural gift to further their education? In fact, I'll go a step further and declare that any child who doesn't dramatize his lessons, who doesn't play at King Richard and Saladin, or voyage with Captain Cook and excavate in Egypt with Flinders Petrie--isn't really learning. Any information that's simply memorized and not role played isn't assimilated and doesn't become a part of who he is.

That's why it's so important for children to have narration as an outlet. It provides a way for them to tell the things they know in full detail, and, if they're so inclined, to 'play' the different characters and role play the scenes

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that catch their interest from their reading. At the same time, there's always the risk that their imaginative play-acting might become more real to them than the event as it actually happened, or that a visual interpretation of a thing [such as a movie about an event] might occupy their whole minds. This might be a good reason not to indulge children by letting them see anything staged, or with the properties of a play--not even so much as a puppet show [or TV show or movie?] Children will find everything they need with things as simple as a chair for a throne, a sofa as a ship, a stick to be a sword, gun or scepter, whichever is needed. In fact, children's preoccupation with flashy, trivial things can be avoided if they're left alone. Their own imaginations will furnish them with plenty of props and fun scenes at the merest suggestion of reality. Bottom the weaver [from a Midsummer Night's Dream] and his crew provide a model for children's plays:

'This lantern can represent the moon,'

and there's a hint of Shakespeare's sincerity in this joke, because he presents the same idea on a larger scale in the prologue to Henry V. [by asking the audience to use their imaginations and pretend that the stage represents the battle fields of France].


Young Goethe's father loved teaching, and taught his children himself. There are still some exercises on paper that young Wolfgang did preserved in the Frankfort library in German, Latin, Greek, and French, written between the time he was 8-10 years old. These papers show that his lessons were unplanned and interesting. The father dictated something that had interested him, some item of current news, or a story about 'Old Fritz,' or the boy would choose something himself. It doesn't appear that he ever went to school except on one occasion,

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when the family's house was being rebuilt and the children were sent to school to be out of the way. Their experience at school seems to have offended the two children, who were very particular. They weren't used to the chaotic life of a school. It's possible that this first experience with children his own age was the beginning of Goethe's indifference to the public good that stayed with him all his life. But it can be all too easy to criticize this flaw in the great poet's character. After all, it's possible that his mind was philosophical to the point of analyzing what kinds of help he was capable of giving to mankind, and he realized that nothing he could do differently would be more help than what he was already giving.

It might have been during the short time he was in school that he learned to hate grammar, and, interestingly, for the same reasons that educationalist Herbert Spencer didn't like it--he couldn't tolerate arbitrary rules. Both of these great thinkers might have been better off by going through a few grammar lessons. At any rate, they both took their education into their own hands, and both are recognized as geniuses in their own areas.

Analyzing language frustrated Goethe, but analyzing human nature fascinated him from a young age. He writes about an interesting incident where he seems to be a normal child, in a natural attitude of curious interest before making any final judgments. He and some of his little friends entered a poetry contest. 'And then something happened that bothered me for a long time. I naturally felt, justifiably or not, that my own poems were the best ones. But I noticed that my friends, whose poems weren't very good, were just like me, and thought their poems were the best. What seemed even

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more odd was that one boy, who was decent enough but fairly useless as far as work goes, got his tutor to write his poems. He not only considered them better than our poems, but he was fully convinced that he had written them himself, and told me so in complete sincerity!'

At 9 or 10 years old, he had already observed one of the most baffling complexities of human nature--that our attempts to seem different than we really are is an intellectual fault, not a moral one, and that a hypocrite is often a person who has used his faulty intellectual habits to deceive his own self. This memory of Goethe's reminds us that a child can see things clearly because he hasn't been blinded by conventional habits, and such children are always watching us, taking note curiously and wonderingly, of all our hypocritical opinions and actions, although they don't realize they're doing it.

It's reassuring to see that young Wolfgang loved the same books that all children love. He says that Telemachus had 'a sweet, positive influence on him,' and, in his eyes, Anson's Voyage Round the World combined 'dignified truth with adventurous fiction.' He also loved Robinson Crusoe, folk tales and fairy tales.

It seems appropriate that Goethe's home was in an ancient city that was rich in history and traditions, and he loved all of it. It meant a lot to him to stand in the very hall that emperors had been crowned in, and on the same spot where one of Charlemagne's castles stood! As he looked up at the vault of Rathus, he loved to think about all of the leaders of the city who had made decisions there long ages past. And there were the charming houses of the Romer-Platz, and, last but

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not least, the stately old building with its projecting gables that the Goethes themselves lived in. He goes into detail about these things in his autobiographical Dichtung and Walirheit, writing about his early childhood impressions. There was also Frankfort, with both its history and its bustling modern life, which was 'a suitable care-giver for me, as a poetic child.'

The first impressions that a child gets of his native home are so precious and special that it will be good for us to see what it was like for Goethe seeking whatever ideas his Vaterstadt [Vaterstadt means hometown] could offer him.

'It was about this time that I became aware of my Vaterstadt, as I wandered up and down, more freely and more uncontrolled, sometimes alone, sometimes with my friends. How can I explain the impression that these solemn and revered surroundings made on me? I'll start with the impression I had of my birthplace as I finally became aware of its many aspects. I especially loved to walk on the Mainz bridge. Its length, strength and beauty made it a noticeable structure, but it was also an important memorial that the world owes to the burghers, who built it long ago.

'The beautiful river drew my gaze up and down as it traveled up and down stream, and I had a wonderful thrill when the golden rooster on the cross on the bridge glittered in the sunshine. Then we usually went through Sachsenhausen and paid a kreuzer for the ferry to take us across. When we got to the other side, we strolled along to the wine market and watched the cranes unloading goods. But our favorite thing to see was the arrival of the market boats, and the strange people coming off of them. Then we'd go into the

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city. We never went into the city without paying our respects to the 'Saalhof' which was on the very spot where the castle of Charles and his successors is supposed to have been. We lost ourselves in the old trading section, and were glad to be among the throng of people gathered around the church of St. Bartholomew on market days.

'I also remember the horror I felt as I fled past the crowded, narrow, hideous meat stalls. The Romerberg was a fun place to walk in. But what attracted my attention the most were the little towns within the city, like fortresses within a fortress. The walled cloisters that had been built long ago and the ruins like castles had been transformed into homes and warehouses.'

At that time, Frankfort didn't have any important modern architecture, but everywhere there were remnants of 'old, unhappy, far-off times, and battles fought long ago.' Forts, towers, fortified walls, and moats enclosed the new town of Frankfort, and everyone was talking about the need to provide a place for the public to go for safety in case of troubled times. 'I became interested in old, antique things. This interest was nourished and encouraged with old chronicles and woodcuts, such as those by Grave depicting the siege of Frankfort. I began observing all of the complexity of the routine circumstances of life with no regard to how interesting or beautiful they were. One of our favorite walks was around the city walls. We tried to do that several times each year. Gardens, patios, and out-buildings stretch to the Livinger, and we could see thousands of people in their natural, domestic, narrow, isolated lives. From the

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fabulous gardens of the rich, to the orchards of the burgher growing his family's daily food, from the factories, grounds where fabric was bleached, and similar workplaces, to the churchyard that was like its own little world within the town's border, we wandered on past a varied, wonderful, constantly changing scene, and our childhood curiosity never got tired of it.

'Inside the Romer, we loved everything connected with the electing and crowning of emperors. We knew how to get around the keepers so that we could get permission to go up the colorful imperial staircase, which was shut off by an iron gate. The Hall of Election, with purple hangings and gold fringes, inspired us with awe. The door hangings had pictures of little children or genies dressed in royal colors and bearing the royal insignia. We looked at them with great attention, and longed to see a real coronation with our own eyes.

'They had a hard time getting us out of the imperial hall once we had managed to slip in. We were grateful to anyone who could tell us the deeds of the emperors whose paintings adorned the walls all around. We heard lots of stories about Charlemagne, but we got really interested in history when we heard about Rudolf of Hapsburg, whose courage put an end to so much strife. Charles the Fourth also attracted our interest. We heard Maximilian praised as the friend of men and burghers. It was prophesied that he would be the last of his family to be emperor, and, unfortunately, that actually was the case. After he died, the only options for a successor were Charles V,

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the King of Spain, and Francis I, the King of France.'

It appears that all of this familiarity with his native town came before he was eight years old, or maybe a little bit later, during the time when his house was being rebuilt and he and his sister were spending more time with friends--during this time, they seem to have been left more on their own than usual.

His knowledge of the Vaterstadt [vaterstadt means hometown] seems to have been absorbed casually, from children like himself who had heard it from people like curators and workers. Any time there's an enthusiasm for any kind of knowledge, it comes from random, chance sources. It's too bad that English children don't seek this kind of knowledge. Every English county and almost every town has a wonderful, rich history and fascinating people associated with it. There must be some reason why we lack the patriotism that most other European countries manage to instill in their children. I once heard a German man in the Hartz valley tell his five-year-old little boy that this was the scene of Johann Tilly's famous march against Magdeburg, and, naturally, the child could envision the valley filled with armed soldiers, and pawing horses with waving plumes. He would never forget that association. A very young child on the streets in Bruges, Belgium could tell you where a specific painting by Hans Memling can be found. At the Hague in the Netherlands, you might find a working-class father taking his children around to the art galleries. You can't tell what he's explaining to them, but they certainly seem interested. But this kind of interest doesn't seem to exist for probably eighty percent of our children born in England. There seems to be two or three reasons for this. First of all,

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we've been raised to only approve of whatever is 'useful' in education and has utilitarian, practical value. We decide that reading, writing and balancing a checkbook are worthwhile because they help us to earn a living. Playing the piano, singing, and conversational French can help us in social settings. Classical Greek literature and math skills might earn a scholarship. But what good is it to know what happened in the past, or to even know what happened down the street? What's the practical value of having an imagination filled with beautiful pictures of various things and scenes that enrich life and provide a nobler existence?

It's the same old story. That's why I say that a strictly utilitarian education is extremely immoral. It cheats a child out of the relationships and associations that should provide an intellectual atmosphere for him.

Another notion that prevents any real appreciation of the past is the idea that 'We're the only people who matter!' We're so arrogantly sure that we know everything that needs to be known, and that we do everything that's worth doing. So we regard the traditions and memorabilia from the past with a superior smirk. We have the notion that, even if history writers didn't make up the things they write about, those feats are no big deal: 'I know a guy who could do just as much, and more!' There's nothing more unpleasant than the superior attitude and cheap sneers that both well-dressed 'cultured' people, as well as lower class people, express whenever they're in the presence of any historical monument they visit on their vacation. Sadly, we've lost the habit of reverence.

There's a third reason that's less repugnant. It's strongly instilled in us that bragging is wrong. We determine not to make a fuss about our private possessions,

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and that attitude unconsciously carries over to anything that we as a people might magnify of our past. But we need to remember that this kind of intimate knowledge of our past and historical associations is the right of every child, no matter what class of society he's in. Once we recognize this flaw in the education we provide for our children, we'll surely find ways to remedy it.


Goethe describes another fragment of his early education. The entire thing needs to be quoted to show how strong the impression was that it made in his mind:

'In my house, my eyes were most attracted to a row of pictures of Roman scenes that my father had decorated the ante-room with. Every day, I saw the Piazza del Popolo, the Colosseum, the Piazza of St. Peter's, the inside and outside of St. Peter's, the Castle of St. Angelo, and lots of other things. These pictures made a deep impression on me. My father, who generally didn't say much, was usually happy to give me descriptions of what these pictures showed. He was very outspoken about his love for the Italian language, and everything having to do with Italy. He showed us a small collection of marble and other natural objects he had gotten there, and he spent a lot of his time writing a journal of his travels.'

This gives us an idea of what we can do for a child by the pictures we surround him with. This row of pictures and his father's descriptions of them practically provided Goethe with a second fatherland. The

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language of Italy, the sunshine of Italy, the history of Italy, became a familiar home for his thoughts. We know how much his long stay in Italy later in his life affected his style as a poet, for better or worse. [Goethe wrote a book about his own travels in Italy in his late 30's, called Italian Journey: 1786-1788.]

Our first idea is that all we can do for children is to instill a proper feeling for art in them. For example, we can surround them with the open spaces and simple, enduring figures that we get in Millet's pictures. We can't do any better than that--but that's not all we can do. We can do more. Some of our pictures should be like windows that show our children a landscape beyond, ones like the Umbrian masters [such as Tiberio d'Assisi] loved to depict. That's exactly what children need--an outlook. Every souvenir of travel, such as a postcard or photograph, will almost certainly make a child think about the distant places his parents have seen and known, and will just as certainly result in the child seeking out these same places when he grows up--not simply because his parents have been there, but because his own imagination has been there, and because that place has provided a home for his thoughts.


Public events cause all people to reflect, and they had their share of influence in Goethe's education. One of the more notable events in Goethe's childhood was the unusual disaster that deeply troubled his peace of mind for the first time in his life. It was an earthquake that shook Lisbon on November 1, 1755. The news fell on the peaceful world like a terrible shock. The earth shook, opened, and a large, beautiful

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city, with all of its houses, towers, walls, churches, palaces, and 60,000 of its people, was swallowed up in the chasm, leaving nothing but smoke and flames around the ruins.

'Goethe [who turned 6 in August, 1755] heard everyone talking about this, and it greatly troubled him. God was supposedly the Creator and Preserver of heaven and earth--that's what the first article of the Creed so wisely and mercifully says. Yet this wasn't the way a father should act, bringing destruction on both the good and the bad. His young spirit tried to free itself from all impressions, but in vain, especially since wise men and scholars couldn't agree about what to make of this kind of phenomenon.'

Then he tells about another event the following summer that made him more acquainted with the angry God of the Old Testament. A violent hailstorm broke the windows out of the new house, flooded the rooms, and compelled the maids to shriek and beg God on their knees to have mercy on them. His faith was doubly shaken. He doubted the fatherhood of God, and the trust of men [who couldn't explain God's ways]. That attitude bore fruit in his later life.

Unexpected natural disasters that we can't prevent will naturally stir profound thoughts in the minds of thoughtful children. They think more about these things than adults, not less, because they're so new and unfamiliar to them. A child's faith can be devastated by the news of a major catastrophe and the casual way people discuss it, and he'll never say a word about it. But such disasters should be opportunities, not hindrances. Every day of our lives we're face to face with providential and unaccountable events. We can't reconcile one idea with the

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other. These contradictions are what the 'mystery of godliness' is for us. It might not be a bad idea to bring a child face to face with the existence of that mystery the first time his mind is troubled with some disaster, whether public or personal. We don't know everything; we're not meant to. God has made us limited beings. If we understood everything, then there'd be no place for faith in our lives. We'd only believe in whatever we could see and understand. But consider this: the sudden loss of all of those precious lives just might mean that life and death aren't as devastating and final to God as they seem to us. One thing we're sure of is that people who die go on existing. We don't know how, we have to trust God for that. After all, He's our Father--and theirs, too. These kinds of opportunities to exercise our faith should strengthen our confidence in God, not weaken it.

Later we read an interesting account of how young Goethe was dissatisfied with the religious training he had received, so he determined to create his own religion. Like many other children, he made himself an altar out of his father's lacquered music stand and offered natural objects with a constant fire to symbolize the way man's heart rises in desire for his Maker. He made the flame by burning incense cones, which he lit with a magnifying glass heated in the sun. But the second time he did one of these sacrifices, the altar caught fire, and that was the end of the poetic child's attempt to invent his own religion.

He writes that, through hard work, he finally learned the things that his father and the teachers that his father hired wanted him to learn. But he wasn't grounded with a solid foundation in anything. We've already seen that he disliked grammar, although he tolerated Latin grammar because

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the rhymes helped his memory. The children had a geography book in verse, too, and that helped them to remember facts and names of places. But using their finger on the globe to trace George Anson's voyages and their father's travels is probably what gave them their real knowledge of geography.

Goethe's father was proud of his son's gift for language and rhetoric, and he made lots of plans for the future based on these gifts. For example, his son should go to two universities--Leipsic first, and then he could choose the second one himself,--and then he should travel in Italy. And, at that, the father would start talking about Naples, which was much more interesting to the children than whatever might happen in the distant future.

They learned the basic facts of history from the great folio Bible, Comenius' Orbis Pictus, and Gottfried's Chronicle illustrated with woodcuts. Goethe was also nourished with fables, mythology and Ovid's Metamorphoses, which was the first book he made an effort to study.


In October 1756, when he was seven, a public event caught Goethe's interest. A war [the Seven Years' War] started that was to influence his life for the next seven years. Frederick the Great [Frederick II], the king of Prussia, attacked Saxony with 60,000 men, and instead of leaving the war to account for itself, he had issued a manifesto explaining why he had invaded Saxony. This clever move polarized people into two groups, and the Goethe family was divided just like everyone else. The grandfather had assisted at Francis I's coronation and received a gold chain from the Empress, so he and some of the family sided with Austria. [Austria, under von Browne, aided Saxony.]

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The father had been loyal to the unfortunate Charles VII, and he sided with Prussia. The family which had been united before erupted into endless feuds, because every subject brought to mind their passionate opinions that the war had stirred up. Goethe says, 'I was also Prussian--or, to be more exact, I was Fritzisch. That's what made us Prussians--the personality of the great king that had worked on all of our minds. I rejoiced over our victories with my father, gladly wrote some songs of triumph, and, even more gladly, wrote songs that taunted the enemy, although the rhymes were pretty bad.

'I was the oldest grandson and godson, and I had dined with my grandparents on Sundays during my entire childhood. The times I spent with them were the happiest hours of my week. But now even their food disgusted me, because I had to listen to them slander my hero. There was a different opinion here, another kind of talk than I heard at home. My affection and even my respect for my grandparents decreased. I couldn't tell any of this to my parents--my own instinct, as well as warnings from my mother, told me that I couldn't repeat any of it. So, I had to rely on myself. At this time, just like when I was seven after the earthquake in Lisbon, and I became a bit doubtful about God's goodness, now, because of the events surrounding Frederick the Second, I began to doubt whether public opinion could be counted on to be fair. I tended to be reverent by nature, and it took a lot of shaking to make my faith waver in areas regarding reverence.'

This makes us wonder how much children should be allowed to share the opinionated spirit and controversy about religion and politics that impassion their parents. I think everyone agrees that young

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children should be excluded from this kind of turmoil. We like to keep the youngest children sheltered in the innocence of heaven, and political animosity and bitterness certainly have no place there. But there's another reason why we should reserve our opinions about these urgent issues in front of our children. It's only natural for us to want them to share our opinion, but if we put too much pressure on them to embrace our perspective, then they'll be more likely to adopt the opposite view when they're older. Where they were biased and dogmatic allies at first, they can become indifferent or even hostile. This might be why we sometimes hear of children raised by Unitarian parents becoming Roman Catholics, or a liberal father having a conservative son, and things like that. For all of these reasons, we need to restrain ourselves in front of our children. In fact, moderating ourselves because of their influence might be good for us. But, eventually, a child will have to choose one side or the other, and decide for himself, whether he's right or wrong. Making up his own mind is part of his initiation into adulthood.

It's surprising that young Goethe, with his poetic sensitivity, didn't side with Maria Theresa, the good, kind empress, who was obviously entitled to his chivalric loyalty. But this is another case where we can read between the lines. He didn't take Frederick's side just because his father did--he also took his side because the clever king had stated his case, and, by its very nature, the stated case is convincing to a logical mind like Goethe's. We tend to miss that in dealing with matters of religion and the philosophy of life. We let those who disagree state the case, but it's a fact that the first statement almost always carries conviction. Maybe this is why atheistic teaching spreads so rapidly among

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intelligent creative types. For the first time, they've heard a logical statement that doesn't insult their intellect. Evidence can be found to back almost any statement, and the novice student whose mind constructs the reasonable argument to prove the idea is stirred with sudden joy at his own logic. 'I have thought!' he thinks to himself, for perhaps the first time in his life. His reason enjoys the satisfaction of demonstrating logic. That's why it's so difficult to shake such opinions--in this case, they're primal convictions. It's especially difficult to reach such a person through emotional sentiment. There's nothing wrong with pride of intellect. The mistake we make is in failing to use our intellect to justify right thinking and right living. We rarely bother to offer youths the intellectual logic for any opinions we offer them. Everything is done casually. And then we're distressed when youths show themselves to be wiser than we are and make an appeal to the mind to justify opinions that repulse us because they're so wrong.

Another thing to notice is the bold self-confidence of young people. All youths are confident about their opinions--not because they're foolish and arrogant, but because they haven't yet realized that equally reasonable, intelligent people have opposite opinions about any given subject. In this area, like so many others, I sense that a rational foundation of sensible education is lacking--in other words, a methodical study of human nature [like that presented in CM's 4th volume, 'Ourselves.']

We can learn a lot from some of Goethe's comments: 'Reflecting carefully on the matter, I can see now where there was a seed of indifference in me, even contempt, of the public that influenced a portion of my life. It wasn't until recently that I was able to control it

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through greater insight and cultivation. The awareness of injustice in my preferred political party was unsettling for me even then--in fact, it hurt me because it got me used to having a barrier between me and those I loved and valued.

'The endlessly rapid succession of battles and events left both sides without much rest or peace. We took mean-spirited pleasure in rehashing every imagined evil and magnifying every trick of the opposite side. We went on tormenting each other for a few years, until the French took over Frankfort--and then we found out what real discomfort was.'

The adults in the house kept the younger ones at home more often, maybe because they were afraid of what zealous young sympathizers might do in a town that was divided on both sides. In an effort to keep them off the streets, they came up with all kinds of ideas to amuse them and keep them busy. The grandmother's puppet show was brought out and used again, and plays on an even larger scale were produced. One boy after another was invited in to see the show, and, in that way, Goethe made lots of friends. But boys are restless, and the young actors had to start showing their plays to younger children who had parents to keep them in order. Goethe gives a detailed account of this time of his life in Wilhelm Meister. He writes about the plays he wrote, his friends' wonder, the frustration he had because his plays never seemed to come to a point, the elaborate staging, and lots of other things.

'I surrendered myself to my imagination. I rehearsed and prepared all the time. I imagined all kinds of colossal plans without ever realizing that, at the same time, I was undermining the foundation of my schemes.' He was the one who made the

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equipment and props the boy actors needed. He made the swords, gilded and decorated the scabbards, made plumes for helmets out of paper, made shields, and even coats of mail. 'We marched around the patios and backyards, and smote fiercely on each other's heads and shields. We had lots of arguments and disagreements, but none that ever lasted.' The other boys were happily satisfied with this battle play, but not Wilhelm/Goethe. 'Thinking about so many armed persons naturally stimulated ideas of chivalry. Ever since I'd started reading old adventurous stories, those romantic ideas filled my imagination.' He was particularly influenced by a version of Jerusalem Delivered [by Torquato Tasso] that he came across, and he lived in the atmosphere of that poem for a long time. Here's what he says about Clorinda: 'Her womanhood with its aspect of masculine strength, the peaceful completeness of her being, had a great influence on my mind, which was just beginning to unfold. I repeated the story of the tragic duel between Tancred and Clorinda hundreds and hundreds of times.'

'No matter how much the Christian perspective appealed to my nature, I couldn't help wholeheartedly siding with the pagan heroine when she made plans to burn down the besiegers' great towers. And when Tancred met the supposed knight [Clorinda] in the darkness and they battled under the veil of doom, I could never say the words out loud:

'But now the certain and fated hour is at hand.
Clorinda's course is ended and she must die!'

without tears rushing to my eyes. And my tears rushed even more when the doomed lover plunged

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the sword into the knight's breast, opened the helmet of the dying warrior, recognized Clorinda, the lady of his heart, and, with a shudder, brought water to baptize her. My heart ran over when Tancred struck his sword into the tree in the enchanted wood, and blood gushed forth from the tree and a voice came to his ears saying that he was wounding Clorinda again. Destiny had fated him to unwittingly injure the one he loved most again and again. Those verses took such hold of my imagination that the part of the poem that I had read began to dimly join into a whole in my mind, and I was so taken with it that I had to represent it in some way. I determined to have Tancred and Clorinda acted in a play. Two coats of mail that I had already made seemed perfect. One was made of dark gray paper with scales, and would be suited for the solemn Tancred. The other one, made of gold and silver paper, could be for the magnificent Rinaldo. In the excitement of what I anticipated, I outlined the whole project to my friends. They loved the idea, but they couldn't understand how such a glorious thing could be done--and, even more, how it could be done by them.' [using Carlyle's translation of Wilhelm Meister.]


And so, for a second time, circumstances compelled the young poet along the lines of his career. We also hear about his success as a story-teller. The youth of Frankfort were in awe at his story of The New Paris.

At this time, Goethe seems to have had lessons with other boys, but that didn't go too well.

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The teacher was harsh and cruel, and Goethe, his best pupil, made use of his cruelty to practice bearing pain without wincing. He writes about how three of the worst boys in the class attacked him once and slashed his legs with rods. He put up with it until the clock struck time for lessons to end. Then he turned on them and conquered them all. But, on the whole, his public school experience was deemed a failure and he was kept at home more often. It sounds like he was friendly with his classmates, but his superior attitude undoubtedly exasperated his friends, who weren't as gifted as he was. Maybe if he had done some training at the gym in his native town, things would have gone better for him. He would have learned about the give and take of life, how far to bear with things, when not to put up with things, and, most of all, how to bear things with good humor. He would also have learned that other boys have brains, too, and he would have laid a foundation for sound academics. Then, in the end, he wouldn't have had to confess that he hadn't been well-grounded in anything.

At any rate, that would have been the case with an ordinary bright child, but we can't be sure about a poet. We do know that we wouldn't have had Milton if scholarship hadn't been added to his poetic gift. On the other hand, Byron and Shelley have said that their school experiences at Eton and Harrow had very little effect on the poets they became later. Maybe the point is that the more original the mind is, the less capable it is of conforming and working in grooves so that grammar and even math are tiresome. But we can't assume that what's good for a genius is the best thing for all people of ordinary intellectual

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ability. The fact is, a genius can't accept the academic discipline of school--not so much out of rebellion, but because the genius mind is always preoccupied with evolving its own mental discipline. In this sense, a genius is a law unto himself. He's not lawless, but has a narrow focus about education. The parents of a genius might harm him if they don't at least give him a chance to try out school training as a means to habits of clear thinking, making judgments properly and maintaining relationships with other children--an ability often missing in people who have been casually educated [presumably, children who have been left at home without any methodical plan of lessons.] A genius's parents don't need to be afraid that school will repress the gifts that they prize in their child. Geniuses have an amazing and irritating enough way of evading things that bother them, and someday they'll be grateful for any education that their teachers were able to get into them.

Goethe sheds all the light there may be on the subject of childhood evolving into manhood.

'Who is able to truly speak about the fullness of childhood? We delight and admire little children when we watch them play, for, indeed, the promise of childhood is usually greater than the realized fulfillment. It's as if Nature, among her other tricks, has designed special tricks to foil us here, too.

'But growth is more than mere development. All of the different physical systems that go into the making of a man spring from each other, follow each other, change into each other, crowd each other, even swallow each other up, until, after a certain time, there's hardly a trace left of many of the activities and indications of potential abilities that the child had. Even if, in general, a person's talents appear to

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be in a certain direction, it would be hard for even the greatest and most experienced philosopher to trace it with any certainty. Yet it's quite possible to detect the underlying indication of a tendency.'

The Frankfort burghers' restless temper during the seven years of the war was undoubtedly among the various circumstances that influenced Goethe. Even when his town wasn't directly affected, every family and even every individual took sides, as we've seen. Frankfort had already been divided by three religious factions, and this further division was very heated. At first, Goethe's father, even with his sympathies for Fritz, continued to live his quiet, cultured life, like the few friends around him. Goethe lists a whole row of beautifully-bound books written by poets whose names are obscure today, at least outside of Germany. The father read these constantly and knew them well, and so did Goethe. He could recite long passages to entertain the grown-ups.

But all of those grown-ups understood that poetry was an art in which form was at least as important as content, and Goethe's father insisted on this formal character of poetry with passionate intensity when a close friend who had been greatly influenced by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock's Messias tried to gain his sympathy. But Goethe's father loved poetry that conformed to certain rules, and he couldn't accept Klopstock, whose poems didn't rhyme, and who was rather careless about metre. So the friend abandoned the argument and only read his Klopstock on Sundays. But he had gained three converts--the mother and children borrowed his book and memorized it during the weekdays [when he wasn't using it]. There's an amusing scene when these

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secret readings were going on. A barber was giving the father a shave, and the two children were sitting on stools out of sight [but within earshot] of the barber and reciting to each other in such strong language (one of the speakers was Satan!) that the barber lost his composure and spilled the bowl of lather all over the father!


The year 1759 was eventful for all of the families in Frankfort because the French occupation began and lasted for a couple of years. Goethe's father was especially affected. His newly rebuilt house wasn't even completed yet and he was expected to put up Count Thorane, the King's Lieutenant, and his staff. He couldn't reconcile himself to this invasion of his space. The first night when they were assigning rooms, the Lieutenant made an attempt at good-will. There was a random mention of decorating one of the reception rooms [and hanging art on its walls], and Count Thorane, who was interested in the arts, insisted on seeing the pictures immediately. He admired them, asked who the artists were, and did his best to be extremely careful with these household treasures. But in spite of this shared taste in art, Goethe's father couldn't accept this new living situation. He became more and more depressed. The difficulties were barely smoothed over by the head housekeeper, who tried to learn some French from a mutual friend. This mutual friend explained the challenge of the situation to Count Thorane.

But the children had a lot of fun. The Lieutenant had a kind of civil jurisdiction over the troops, and

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there were constantly officers and men coming and going. The children were always peering over the common stairway, and they got to know quite a bit about military matters and soldiers. Young Goethe made himself useful to the Count in a remarkable way. He was ten years old at this time and he knew where the local artists lived and hung out--the artists of the paintings his father had shown the Lieutenant. Even more than that, young Goethe was used to attending art auctions and had always been able to describe the subjects in the paintings that were being sold (maybe not always accurately?) He had written an essay suggesting twelve pictures that could be painted about the life of Joseph, and some of these had in fact been painted. In a word, young Goethe at ten years old seems to have been a connoisseur. Count Thorane not only took him around with him, but he took his advice about choosing pictures for the chateau that he was arranging for his older brother.

A little studio was set up in the house, and various artists came to paint for the Count. The artists all seem to have enjoyed having the boy around. This story is interesting in the way it hints at how versatile Goethe was. He could have been a great scientist, or a great artist, if poetry hadn't become the passion of his life.

Apparently familiar discussion with a man like Count Thorane must have been an important factor in Goethe's education. Thorane seems to be the kind of French officer that history has made us familiar with. He had dignified and reserved manners, maintained friendly

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relationships with the soldiers under him, partly through his clever and sometimes abrasive wit. One particular circumstance seems to have made an impression on young Goethe. For a day, or sometimes even days, at a time, the usually accessible Count would disappear. Apparently he was subjects to periods of hypochondria and depression. During these periods, he wouldn't see anyone except his valet. That's an impressive example of self-control.

'But I think I should explain in more detail how, in spite of these circumstances, I picked up some French fairly easily, even though I never formally learned it. My inborn gifts helped me to easily grasp the sound and rhythm of a new language--its flow, accent, tone and other distinctives. Many words were already familiar to me because of my knowledge of Latin, and, even more so, Italian. In a very short amount of time, I heard quite a bit of French from servants, soldiers, guards and visitors. Soon, although I couldn't start a conversation, I was able to understand questions and answers.' But he says that the French theater was even more help to him. His grandfather gave him a free pass, and he went there every day, against his father's wishes, but with the support and help of his mother. At first, it was entertaining just to catch the accent and watch the gestures of the actors. Then he found a volume of Racine at home, and he got the idea to memorize long speeches and deliver them as best he could in the same way he had seen them at the theater, although he didn't really understand what they were saying.

And then he made friends with a French boy who had some kind of connection with the theater. The two of them became inseparable companions. Since there was no one else to befriend,

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the other boy managed to understand Goethe's French, and with the help of their casual communication, Goethe made so much progress that his friend was surprised. The two of them spent a lot of time at the theater and found the room that was used as the greenroom [actor's lounge]. There, Goethe, without understanding much, saw what he described in Wilhelm Meister as the goings on of a small company. He and his friend discussed lots of things, and he says, 'in four weeks I learned more than you could imagine. No one could figure out how I had suddenly picked up French as if by inspiration.'

It might be possible that, when two countries are politically allied and have friendly relations, children from both countries could take turns visiting each other's families [an exchange student program]. More French can be learned from a month's friendship with a nice French boy than the best teacher could teach in a year. The desire to communicate with each other will provide all the motivation that's needed.

Goethe calls the French boy Derones. He introduced young Goethe to his sister. She was a serious, solemn young lady who never forgot that she was much older than he was. If it hadn't been for that, she probably would have been his first romantic interest in a series of many. But he complains that young ladies tend to treat boys who are younger than they are as if they were their aunts. His gifts of fruit and flowers made no impression on her.

After a while, the two friends had to fight a duel. There was no conflict or disagreement between them, but that didn't matter. Derones called young Goethe out and they went to a lonely place and wielded their toy swords. The French boy satisfied

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his honor when he stuck his dagger into a strap of Goethe's equipment. Then the two boys went out for a snack and were even better friends than before.

During the French occupation of Frankfort, there were plenty of fun times for the children and youths. There were theaters, balls, parades and marches for the soldiers, and the children came from all over to see. The life of a soldier seemed delightful to them. Since the King's Lieutenant was staying in the Goethe's house, the Goethe children became well-known, at least by sight, to anyone who had any rank in the French army.

But things changed when the war began. 'The French camp, the fleeing, defending the town as a distraction to hide a retreat and to hold the bridge, bombarding, plundering--all of this was very exciting and brought sadness to people on both sides.' This happened during Easter week of 1759. A great stillness came before the storm. The Goethe children weren't allowed to go out of the house. After a few hours, wagon-loads of the wounded from both sides came into town, signifying that it was all over. In a little while the victorious Count Thorane returned on horseback. The Goethe children ran towards him and kissed his hands to show how their joy. This apparently pleased him, and he ordered some treats to celebrate the event. But their father behaved very differently. He greeted the victorious General with insults and hostility. Everyone in the household rebuked him, because it seemed certain that he, the head of the household, would go to jail for this. But a friend intervened and saved this bitter and rather eccentric man, and life returned to normal.

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The children were still very much interested in the theater, and they started putting on half-historical, half-mythological plays. Goethe got the idea of writing such a play himself. So he wrote out a rough draft, then copied it neatly and laid it in front of his friend Derones as if it was a play for the actors to put on. Derones read it with great attention, and, when Goethe asked, he said it would be possible to put it on, but the first thing to be done was to go over it carefully with the author. 'My friend was usually easy-going, but now he seemed to think that his time to be the leader had arrived. He sat down with me to correct a few trivial details, but by the time he was finished, the play was so changed that hardly one stone was left on another. He deleted a character, added another one, changed another one, and substituted someone else. In fact, he acted so much like a wild director that my hair stood on end. He seemed to begrudge me any authorship whatsoever. He had told me lots of times about the three unities of Aristotle, the harmony of the verse, and everything else, so that I had to acknowledge him as the creator and founder of my play. He criticized the English and despised the Germans--in fact, he brought the whole dramatic routine before me in a way that I was to hear constantly.'

Poor Goethe took the remnants of his play back and tried in vain to reconstruct it. When he had made a fairly close copy as it had been originally, he showed it to his father. This time his play had a

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better reception, and his father no longer grumbled when he came home from the theater.

His friend's opposition caused Goethe to think. He was determined not to have his work criticized over theories that he didn't understand, so he read Pierre Corneille's book about Aristotle's Unities. He read and was bewildered by the criticisms and counter-criticisms of The Cid, and discovered that even Corneille and Racine had to defend their opinions from the attacks of the critics. He tried hard to understand their point, and the famous law of the three unities became as distasteful to him as grammar rules were. Once again he was a law to himself and played by his own rules. He didn't reconsider this decision for many years.

After a while, Count Thorane was transferred to another post, and Chancellor Moritz replaced him in the Goethe home. It seemed that everything that happened to the Goethe's was fortunate for them. The Chancellor's brother was the Councilor of the Legation. He loved mathematics so much that it was his hobby. He helped young Goethe with his math education, and Goethe used that to help him with drawing lessons, which took an hour a day. His drawing instructor 'was a good man, but only half an artist. He had us make lines and place them together. Eyes, noses, lips, ears and finally entire faces and heads had to grow out of these lines, but there was no consideration for natural or artistic form. We were tormented with this substitution for the human figure for awhile, until he thought that we had made enough progress that he gave us Charles Le Brun's so-called 'passions' to copy [probably his physiognomy studies], but we didn't like these pictures. We moved on to landscapes and

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all those things that are taught with the usual system of instruction without any aim or method. Finally, we were able to reproduce close imitations and we started reproducing the exact lines without caring about the artistic value or worth of the original work we were copying.'

Thus, we find that then, just like in our own day, creating art was supposed to be helped along with mechanical devices. Then, just like now, children were taught to draw, not from natural, real objects, but from drawings of those objects. In other words, they were (and still are) taught to copy lines instead of receiving and recording actual impressions of real things. Goethe's father believed that there was nothing more motivating for children than having their elders learn right along with them, so he also worked hard at this unprofitable copying. Using an English pencil on fine Dutch paper, he copied not only the lines of the drawing, but even the engraver's text! The Emperor is reported to have said, 'Everybody must learn how to draw.' Goethe's father seized upon that quote like a blind man groping in the dark about the puzzling and challenging field of education.

Charlotte Bronte wrote about how Lucy Snowe practiced in the same laborious way, and imagined that she was learning to draw. Fictional Lucy's experience is probably an account of 'Currer Bell's' own efforts. We don't ever hear that Charlotte Bronte ever learned to draw, but we know that Goethe always wanted to draw. Even as an old man, he was still copying details of some picture, line by line, shade by shade. It seems like we're permanently handicapped by the flaws in our education, not just in a general way, but subject by subject, method by method. The only real progress we make is in whatever had a living beginning in our youth.

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It was always intended that the Goethe children would learn music, but it wasn't until young Goethe took matters into his own hands that the right man for the job appeared to teach them. Goethe happened to hear a friend who was taught by a music teacher who had a little joke for each finger, and silly names for each line and note. This appealed to even a gifted child like Goethe. But as soon as the man was hired, the jokes ended, and the music lessons were extremely dry and boring until his father, like a creative educationalist, hired a young man who had been his secretary to be a school teacher. The man could speak French well and teach it. The town hadn't been happy with their public school teaching, and this provided an opening for a private school. The young man worked so hard to learn music that he made amazing progress in just a few weeks. Not only that, but he became acquainted with a man who made first-rate instruments, and he introduced him to the Goethe's. This young teacher's enthusiasm was just the spark that the Goethe family had been waiting for regarding music.


'The more I was allowed to work in this way, the more I wanted to, and I even spent my free time on all kinds of wonderful activities. Ever since my earliest days, I had felt a strong interest in learning about natural objects.

'I remember as a child how I used to pick flowers apart to see how the petals were attached. I even plucked birds to see how the feathers were fastened to the wings. Children shouldn't be

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blamed for this. Even naturalists think they'll find out more by tearing apart and separating than by connecting and uniting, and learn more from studying dead things than living things.

'One day a magnetic lodestone carefully sewn into a red cloth experienced the result of my curiosity. Not only could it exercise power over a little iron bar attached to it, but it got stronger. Every day it could attract a heavier weight. This secret ability delighted me, and I spent a long time just wondering about this ability. Finally I decided that I could find out more by taking off the outer covering. So I removed the cloth, but I wasn't any wiser about its secret, because the uncovered iron didn't teach me anything more. So I removed the iron, too, and held the bare lodestone in my hands. I never got tired of experimenting with iron filings and needles. My mind didn't get any real benefit from these experiments other than one lesson learned the hard way. I couldn't figure out how to put the thing back together again. The parts got destroyed and I lost the secret phenomena as well as the object itself.'

A friend of his had an electric machine, and this was a source of interest to the children. It was one more way of awakening young Goethe's scientific imagination.

Two activities that their father made them do were hardships for them. One was taking care of silkworms. A room was arranged to raise the worms, but it was difficult to keep them healthy in such an artificial environment. Thousands of them died, and removing the dead ones and keeping the rest clean and in good condition became the children's responsibility. The other task they

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disliked related to the pictures of Rome that had brought so many early impressions. The engravings that had been displayed on the walls of the old house for so long were no longer in nice enough condition to decorate the new house. The children were given the job of keeping a sheet with a copperplate attached constantly moistened for a considerable amount of time, until it was soft enough to be removed from what it was mounted on. There were quite a few engravings, so it was a big job. Anyone reading Goethe's book feels glad that he had some dull tasks to do. He seems to have had very little work that he had to do; the meaning of must can only be learned by having to follow through on a duty that would be preferable to shirk.

'In order that we children wouldn't lack anything that life and learning had to offer, an English language teacher happened to offer his services. He would teach anyone with some experience in foreign languages how to speak English in four weeks--at least, enough English to continue studying it on his own. He required the same moderate fee no matter how many students signed up.

'My father resolved to make the attempt on the spot. He took lessons from this efficient teacher along with me and my sister.

'The teacher gave the lessons, and there was plenty of repetition. For four weeks, all of our other studies were laid aside. After the four weeks, the teacher left our house, satisfied with our progress, and we were satisfied, too. He stayed on in town and found plenty of other students, but he came to see us from time to time. He was thankful to us because we had been one of the first to trust him, and he liked showing us off as models to others.'

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It would be interesting to know if that unnamed English teacher anticipated the conversational methods of teaching foreign languages that we use today.

But having new skills means new responsibilities. Their father was anxious that their newly acquired English should be kept up as well as the other languages they had learned. Goethe was tired of so many grammars with their individual lists of exceptions. He came up with a plan. Although he didn't originate it, it might do us good to follow it.

'It occurred to me to settle the matter once and for all. I made up a story about six or seven brothers and sisters who were scattered over the world far from each other, and who exchanged news about their various living situations and experiences with each other.' The oldest brother told about the circumstances and his journeys in good German. The sister, in a feminine manner with full stops and short sentences, told him and then her other siblings about her domestic routine and love life. One brother studied Latin, and wrote very formal Latin, with an occasional postscript in Greek. Another brother was an agent in Hamburg, and had to manage the English correspondence. A younger brother in Marseilles had to communicate in French. As far as Italian, one brother was a musician writing his very first essay. The youngest had been cut off from all other languages and had to speak in Juden-Deutsch [a form of German spoken by the Jewish population], and his fearful phrases threw his siblings into despair. 'This idea made my parents laugh. They decided that this extraordinary plan needed some organization. So I studied the geography of the places where

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my characters lived, and created basic localities with all kinds of human interests--whatever related to the interests of my characters. In this way, I was learning more. My father was happier, and I absorbed quickly what I needed by revising and completing the stories.'


In our own times there's an unfortunate tendency to undervalue knowledge, yet knowledge is the main aspect of education. Bible knowledge in particular is disregarded for several reasons. A practical utilitarian person asks, 'What value is there in teaching a child the mythological stories of the earlier books, and the insignificant histories of the unimportant nation of Israel in the later books?' while religious parents tend to pick and choose only the portions of the Bible that they think will inspire religious sentiment in their children. In these days we also have the added issue of higher criticism and its attacks. We wonder how safe it is to offer Biblical knowledge to a child when we haven't heard the final result of critical challenges yet, and our child may later hear everything we've ever taught him refuted point by point. If only we could know how this kind of knowledge affects a child. If only we could know how a clever child's own critical intellect probes scripture all by itself, and if we could only know what's left for the child to hold onto after his own skepticism has toyed with the Biblical text.

Goethe tells us all these things in Aus

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Meinem Leben. ['From My Life,' i.e., his autobiography]. He gives us all of the most trivial details of his own Bible studies, tells us what his attitude was as he approached these studies, and how, little by little, his knowledge of the Bible became the most precious of all his intellectual treasures. Here's how it came about. When he was nine or ten, he was bewildered with the several languages that his father expected him to keep up with, so, as we've just read, he came up with the idea of starting a family journal with pretend siblings writing their portions in the language of the country they were supposedly living in. He had some knowledge of Juden-Deutsch [spoken by Jewish Germans, something like Yiddish], so one of the siblings was going to correspond in that language.

This clever idea, like all ideas, led to more ideas, producing after its own kind, so to speak. His analytical mind found the Juden-Deutsch language to be fragmentary and inadequate. So he had to add Hebrew to the list of languages he was learning. His father was able to get him lessons from Dr. Albrecht, the Rector [chaplain] of the classical preparatory school. This Rector seems to have had an original mind, playful and satirical. The people in the little town didn't understand him very well. Naturally, he got along well with the young genius he was going to teach.

The Hebrew lessons were undoubtedly a pleasure for both teacher and student. The impressions that the Hebrew Scriptures [Old Testament] made on Goethe are particularly interesting to us today, at a time when the issue of teaching Old Testament history is so often debated. Young Goethe was already able to read the Greek New Testament, and seems to have followed along at church from the New Testament in the original language as they were read aloud during services. But a boy with his brilliant mind, with its tendency towards both logic and science, found plenty of discrepancies in Scripture. 'I had already

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noticed the contradictions between tradition and actual and possible, and I had confounded all of my tutors with questions about the sun standing still for the Gibeonites, and the moon also standing still in the valley of Ajalon [both in Joshua 10], as well as other improbabilities and inconsistencies. All of these questions were stirred up again because, in learning Hebrew, I worked entirely from the Old Testament, not in Luther's translation, but using the interlinear version with Sebastian Schmid's translation printed under the text. My father had gotten it for me. Reading, translating, grammar, copying and repeating words usually took less than half an hour, and, with the time we had left, I'd immediately begin to attack the meaning of the passage I had just worked with as well as discrepancies that I remembered in later books, even though we were still working in Genesis. At first, the good old man tried to discourage me from asking these questions by coughing and laughing, but after a while, he started to find my questions amusing. His coughs seemed to hint that he just might submit to answering them, so I was persistent, although I was more interested in stating my doubts than in having them answered. I became even more lively and bolder, and his behavior seemed to be encouraging me. But I never could get anything out of him except an occasional laugh that shook him, and the comment, 'you foolish rascal!''

All the same, his teacher was aware of the difficulties that young Goethe was having, and was willing to help him in the best way there is. He referred him to a great English Commentary in his collection that tried to interpret difficult passages in a thoughtful, sensible way. The divine scholars who translated it into German

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had actually improved the original! They cited different opinions and interpretations and then adopted a view that preserved the dignity of the Bible, making the basis for Christianity evident, but making allowances for human understanding. From now on, when young Goethe brought up his doubts and questions at the end of the lessons, his teacher would refer him to the Commentary. Goethe would take one of the volumes of the book and read while the teacher read his own book of Lucian. When Goethe would ask any more questions, the teacher would just chuckle in his peculiar laugh. 'During the long summer days, he would let me sit as long as I could read, often alone. Later he started letting me take individual volumes home with me.'

It would be nice to know more about these Commentaries that satisfied such a keen young mind. At any rate, we can recommend and imitate Dr. Albrecht's wisdom. Of all the different ways of finding truth, discussion is probably the most futile because the person making the accusation is intent on justifying his own doubts, not on having them answered. Their individual will unconsciously adopts a combative attitude, and cherishes the doubt as a cause to be defended and fought for. As we know, Reason is ready to provide arguments to support any position that we take up. But if youths are given a good book dealing with the questions they've brought up, and given time to digest it at their own pace without discussion or comment from us, and according to their own level of sincerity and intelligence, then they'll be more open to conviction. The silence and chuckling of this wise teacher are worth remembering when we're shocked by the daring declarations of the young skeptics we know. Also, his wise passiveness put a solution into the hands of the young questioner without making any attempt to convince him.

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'People can go where they decide to go, they might do whatever they decide to do, but they'll always return to the path that Nature has prepared and planned for him to travel on. And that's just what happened to me at that time. My work with the Hebrew language from the text of the Bible created a vivid vision in my mind of that often praised land of Israel, and the countries on its borders, as well as the people and events that glorified that spot for thousands of years.'

Some parents who believe in God are apprehensive about familiarizing their children with the Old Testament because of the discrepancies in it, or the sin and immorality in some of the stories, or the multitude of questions about who really wrote them and whether they were really inspired. Those parents might find this portion of Goethe's education very instructive and interesting. Goethe was a boy who was prone to doubt, quick to criticize, whose eager mind tore the heart out of any subject he studied. He admits that he found pleasure in certain scientific problems that the Bible seemed to have. But what was the final result? It was this--Goethe's childhood memories are the most valuable defense of Bible teaching that I know of.

'This little spot of land, the Holy Land, would witness the growth of the entire human race. The first and only history we have of the beginnings of the world came from there. This setting was presented to my imagination, and changed and adapted to include many great wanderings and settlements. From this place, between four rivers whose names we know, was chosen out of

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the whole populated earth, a small but totally pleasant spot for the early epoch of man's existence. Here is where his activities would develop, and here is where he would meet the fate that was passed down to all of his descendants--the fate of losing his peace in exchange for striving after knowledge. Paradise was closed off to him forever. There were more and more people, and they grew more and more wicked. God wasn't yet used to the evil deeds of this race of humans. He got impatient and destroyed the race. Only a few people were saved from the devastating flood. As soon as those deadly flood-waters had gone down, those grateful saved souls saw the familiar ground of their homeland. Two of the four rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris, were still flowing in their usual places. The Euphrates River is still there with the same name. The Tigris is inferred by the course of its path. One would hardly expect every detail of Paradise to remain exactly the same after that kind of violent catastrophe. Now the new human race began for the second time. The people found different ways of getting food and working. Mostly, they did this by gathering big herds of tame animals and traveling around with them. This way of life, and the amount of people as families increased, made it necessary for the people to divide and go different ways. The idea of relatives and friends leaving and never seeing them again didn't appeal to them, so they came up with the idea of building a high tower that would show them the way back from a distance. But this attempt failed, just like their first one had. They weren't going to be allowed to remain happy, wise, numerous and united. God sent confusion among them and their building project came to a halt. The people were scattered and the whole world became populated, but divided. But our focus and concern is for this particular region. At last the founder of a race of people went out from this region. This man was fortunate enough to have influenced and stamped a definite distinctive character on his

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descendents, and this character is what would be the means of uniting them for all time. They would become a great nation, inseparable through all the changes that would come.

'Under the influence of the divine guidance, Abraham wanders westward from the Euphrates River. The desert isn't too difficult for him to journey across. He reaches the Jordan River, crosses it, and wanders over the beautiful southern land of Palestine. Palestine already belonged to another people and was pretty well populated. This land had mountains. They weren't too high, but they were rocky and not too good for growing things. Many pleasant, well-watered valleys cut through them. Towns, camps, and single dwellings were scattered all over the plain along both sides of the great valley whose streams flow into the Jordan River. The land was inhabited and built up, the world was still spacious and people weren't careful about how they spaced themselves out, or active enough to take over adjoining countryside.

'Great, wide spaces lay between their properties, and grazing herds could easily pass up and down them. Abraham and his nephew Lot camped in these spaces, but they couldn't stay on these pastures for long. A land whose population fluctuates, and whose resources are never enough for its needs is susceptible to unexpected famine, and, when famines come, visitors suffer right along with the locals, whose own resources have to be shared with the visitor. So, Abraham and Lot, the two Chaldeans, went to Egypt. And, in this way, the stage is set for the most important events in the world that will unfold over the next few thousand years. From the Tigris to the Euphrates, and from the Euphrates to the Nile, we see people living and thriving, and in this populated area, a man who's known and loved by Heaven, and already honored by us, travels up with his flocks and material possessions. Before long,

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his wealth has increased abundantly. Abraham and Lot return, but realize that they'll have to separate. Both of them go on to Canaan in the south, but Abraham stays at Hebron near the plain of Mamre, while Lot goes to the valley of Siddim. If we can be bold enough to imagine an underground outlet from the Jordan so that the place where the Dead Sea is now could be dry land, then it would seem like a Paradise--even more so because the people who lived in and around the area were known for their softness, which would suggest that they led comfortable, cheerful lives. Lot lived among them, but he wasn't one of them. Meanwhile, Hebron and the plain of Mamre were the important places where God appeared to Abraham and spoke with him, promising to give him all the land as far as his eyes could see in all four directions.

'Now we need to turn our eyes away from these quiet dwellings and shepherd people who walk with angels, who treat them as guests, and have conversations with them. It's time to look towards the East again and consider the settlement of the neighboring tribes. It was probably a lot like Canaan. Families stuck together and united. The tribe's way of life was determined by the land they held or had taken. Among the mountains whose streams flow into the Tigris River, we find warlike people who remind us of the raiders and war-lords who would come in the future. Their campaign is astonishing for that period of time, a foretaste of wars to come. At this time, God renews his promise to give Abraham unending heirs, a prophecy whose scope continues to broaden. All of the land from the Euphrates to the Nile River in Egypt is promised to Abraham. But Abraham has no heir,

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so the fulfillment of this prophecy seems doubtful. Abraham is eighty years old and doesn't have a son. Sara has more trust in her husband than in the gods and becomes impatient. She wants to do according to Oriental custom and have a child by a maid. But almost as soon as Hagar is handed over to her master and the hope of a son is in sight, there's contention and stress in the household. The wife doesn't treat her pregnant substitute very well, and Hagar runs away to find a better position serving another tribe. But God's divine guidance leads her back, and Ishmael is born.

'Now Abraham is 99 years old. The promise of various kinds of prosperity is repeated again and again until both Abraham and his wife begin to wonder. Yet, the hoped-for blessing comes to Sara. She has a son and names him Isaac. The history of the human race happens with regulated growth. The most important world events can be traced back to the domestic life of the family, so who the father of a race marries is worth considering. It's as if God, who loves to guide man's fate, wanted to outline every aspect of marriage, as if drawing a picture. After living so long with a beautiful, desirable, but childless wife, Abraham finds himself the husband of two wives and the father of two sons at 100 years of age. And at that point, domestic peace disappears from his life. Two wives living together, and two sons whose mothers are opposed to each other, make matters impossible. One son, Ishmael, is less favored by the law, by bloodlines and by personality, and needs to step aside. Abraham has to let go of whatever feelings he has for Hagar and Ishmael. Both of them are forsaken, and Hagar, against her will this time, is forced to strike out again along the same road she took so long ago when she fled by choice. At first, it seems like she's heading for certain destruction for both

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herself and her son. But God's angel who made her return before, saves her a second time. This time she is saved so that Ishmael can be the ancestor of a great race of people, and so that the most unlikely of promises can be fulfilled more fully than ever dreamed. Now Abraham and Sara are an aged pair with one single late-born son. Surely they can spend the remainder of their years in peaceful family life and earthly happiness! But it isn't to be. God is preparing Abraham, the great patriarch, for the most difficult trial of all. But we can't begin to discuss this until we consider some things.

'If a universal religion was going to rise up, and if a specially revealed religion was going to develop from that, then this land that our imaginations have lingered in, the way of life, the very people themselves, were the best suited for it. In the whole world, we can't find any other circumstance better suited for such a development.

'If we assume that the natural religion developed earlier in the mind of man, then we have to admit that this race had an admirable clearness of perception, because their religion rests on the conviction that the Divine Being extends a universal providence to certain individuals, families, groups and races. Such a conviction couldn't have originated from the human spirit. It implies that there was a tradition handed down, and customs carried forward from the earliest times . . . The first men on the earth seem closely related to each other, but their different skills and jobs soon divided them. The hunters were the freest of all of them, and warriors and rulers evolved from them. Those who used plows and spent their lives tilling the soil built homes and barns to keep their possessions. They could think highly of themselves because their circumstances promised them permanence and safety. Shepherds watching their flocks seem to have the

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most narrow possessions, yet they enjoy unlimited possessions [in the fresh air surrounded by open land]. Their flocks increased tremendously, and the land they grazed on went on and on in all directions. It appears that those in these different professions looked down on each other with contempt and suspicion. Since townspeople hated shepherds, the shepherds stayed away from them. The hunters disappeared into the mountains, and the next time we hear about them, they've become pillagers. The fathers of the religions belonged to the social group of shepherds. Their way of life in the vast deserts and pastures helped their minds develop scope and freedom. The wide sky they lived under with its stars at night instilled a sense of awe and dependence in them. They, more than active, resourceful hunters or secure, cautious farmers on the homestead, needed an unshakable belief in a god who went with man, visited them, sided with them, guided them and saved them.

'There's one more thing to consider before we move on in the progress of history. No matter how human, beautiful or encouraging the religion of these fore-fathers seems, there are traces of cruelty and savagery that these races rise from, and sometimes sink back into again. It's not hard to imagine that hatred could be avenged with murder by killing defeated enemies, or that peace could be agreed on between rows of slain soldiers. It seems natural that men would think of confirming contracted covenants by slaughtering animals. And it doesn't seem so amazing that people would try to appease and win over the gods with sacrifices when gods were regarded as taking sides, either helping or opposing them.'

Following this is a very interesting discourse regarding the ideas that men expressed when they made sacrifices,

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in order to introduce the story of the supreme sacrifice that was demanded of Abraham as a final test of his faith.

'Without even a shudder, Abraham blindly determines to carry out the command. But as far as God is concerned, the will--being willing--is enough. Now Abraham's trials are over--what else is there to put him through? But Sarah dies, and her death provides a circumstance that necessitates possessing the land of Canaan. He needs a place to bury her, and, for the first time, he looks around for a piece of land to own. He may have already eyed a double cave in the direction of the fields of Mamre. He buys it along with the field next to it. The legal form that he observes regarding this purchase shows how important this possession is for him. It was probably even more important than he imagined, because he, his sons and his grandsons would be buried there. The claim to that land, and the increasing desire of his descendants to live there, had their foundation in the special way that Abraham acquired the land.

'From this time the many scenes of family life come and go. Abraham continues to stay isolated from the local inhabitants. Perhaps Ishmael, whose mother was Egyptian, has married one of the native women, but Isaac must marry someone within the extended family, and of equal birth.

'So Abraham sends his servant to Mesopotamia, where his family is. The wise servant Eleazer arrives unrecognized. In order to make sure that he brings the right girl back with him, he tests how serving the girl at the well is. He asks for water and, even though he hadn't asked, she waters his camels, too. He gives her a gift and asks for her father's permission to marry her to his master. Her father allows her to go. So Eleazer takes her to his master's home and she marries Isaac. They waited a long time for children.

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But Rebecca has years of trial before she has her twin sons, and her family experiences the same kind of division that Abraham's had because of his two wives. Her two sons have opposite personalities, and they start conflicting even before they're born. When they come out into the world, the older one is strapping and strong, while the younger one is delicate and wise. The older one is the father's favorite, and the younger is the mother's favorite. Their wrangling that began at birth to be the more favored one continues. Esau is unimpressed and indifferent about the birthright that fate blessed him with, but Jacob can never forget that Esau forced him back. He watches for any opportunity to get this desired advantage, and then makes a trade with his brother for his birthright and gets his father's blessing in an underhanded way. Esau is enraged and vows to kill his brother. Jacob flees and determines to make his way in the region where his ancestors live.

'Now, for the first time in such a noble family, a trait appears that almost doesn't justify dwelling on--the trait of using deceit and strategy to get what nature and circumstances have denied. There have been quite a few comments and discussions about how the Bible doesn't present our first ancestors who were favored by God as if they were role models of virtue. They're just people with various personalities and weaknesses and failures, but they have one special quality that men 'after God's own heart' must have. That quality is an unshakable belief that God hears them and cares for them and their loved ones.

'A universal, natural religion doesn't take any special belief. The conviction that a great governing, managing, ruling Personality is hidden behind Nature in order to make it possible for us to comprehend Him--that kind of conviction occurs to everyone. In fact, even

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if a person drops the guiding thread that leads him through life, he'll be able to pick it back up again at any time. But it's totally different with a religion that says that this Great Being is specifically interested in one person, one family, one nation, one country. That kind of religion is based on faith that has to be unshakable to keep the religion from being entirely destroyed. In this kind of religion, every doubt is fatal. A person can find his way back to conviction, but once he leaves faith, he can't go back to it again. That's the reason for the endless trials and long wait to see often-repeated promises fulfilled that brought the patriarchs' living faith into play.

'Jacob had his share of faith. His strategy and deception don't gain our respect, but his lasting, unbroken love for Rachel does. He wins her for himself, just like Eleazer won Rebecca for Isaac years earlier. The promise of an abundance of descendants is first fulfilled in Jacob's life. He saw many sons gathered around him, although he suffered much heartache because of them and their mothers.

'He served seven years without any impatience or hesitation in order to win the woman he loved. His uncle was as underhanded as he was, and had a similar opinion that 'the end justifies the means.' His uncle deceived him, treating him as badly as he had treated his own brother. Jacob wakes up the day after his wedding to find a woman that he doesn't love in his arms. Admittedly, Laban does give him the woman he loves in order to pacify him, but only on the condition that he serve for seven more years. Then comes one disappointment after another. The wife he doesn't love is fertile, but his favored love doesn't have any children. She decides to have a child via a maid just like Sara did. But Jacob's first wife even begrudges her this advantage. Thus, the father of the race ends up as the most

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tormented man in the world: he has four wives, children from three of those wives, and none from the wife he loves! But finally God blesses her and Joseph is born, a child born late in life out of a sad love story. Then there's conflict. Jacob flees with everything he owns, and Laban finds him, partly due to luck, but partly due to cunning. Rachel delivers another baby, but she dies during the delivery. The baby, Benjamin, born of sorrow, lives--but Jacob's trials aren't over yet. He suffers even more pain when Joseph disappears.

'You may wonder why I'm writing such a detailed account about this history that is universally known, often repeated, and studied many times. Maybe this will explain why: there's no other way I could show how, with all the distractions of my life and my irregular education, I was able to focus my mind and emotions in quiet activity regarding one issue. There's no other way to explain the peace that enveloped me, no matter how disturbed or odd my life's circumstances got. When an ever-active imagination, which the story of my whole life displays, led me in different directions, and when the combination of fable, history, mythology, and religion seemed like it would drive me to distraction, I would re-visit those ancient lands. I lost myself in the first books of Moses, and there, among the journeying shepherds, I would find the most restful solitude, and the best company.'

This is a very good and complete reason to make children intimately familiar with the Old Testament. Some might say that, in Goethe's case, that intimate familiarity never did lead to true religion. It's true, he was never religious in the traditional sense. Even at the time that he wrote the lengthy confession of faith that we just read, the faith that he got in his

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panoramic view of mankind's history as it's unfolded in the Bible, typified by the history of Jewish nation. We don't need to be intimidated from teaching the Old Testament because of the doubts and challenges that clever children will bring up. Let's do what good Dr. Albrecht did. Let's not try to diminish or evade their questions, or pretend to give them the exhaustive, definitive answer. Let's introduce them to a cautious commentator who weighs difficult questions with modest and extreme care (I'd love to know what that 'big English book' was that Dr. Albrecht referred young Goethe to!) If we do this, then difficult issues will assume their proper perspective. In other words, they'll be forgotten in the gradual unfolding of the great plan that educated the world.


My purpose here is to indicate how the education of a boy influenced the man he became, so it isn't necessary to pursue these enlightening records from Aus Meinem Leben any further. As far as I know, we don't have such a detailed, almost impersonal account anywhere else of all the influences that went into the making of a man. The fact that this particular man was a genius and a great poet isn't important to us from an educational perspective. The fact to note is that every single fragment of his education, nearly every book he read, every hobby he pursued, almost every subject in all of his numerous studies, directly and obviously influenced the man he became. But there's another side to this. With all of his intellect and mighty genius, he didn't possess anything in his adulthood that hadn't been sown in the course of his

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education. The examples of both of his parents and the ceaseless efforts of his father had a cultural emphasis [rather than an emphasis on building character], and he died exclaiming, 'More light!' The specific subjects that he studied as a child--these subjects, and no other subjects--are the subjects that inspired him and stimulated him until the end of his life. His English language lessons put him in touch with Shakespeare, who became a passion and force in his life. His scientific interests stayed with him all his life. In some respects, we can say that he was a precursor to Darwin: he was the one who discovered that all plant forms are modifications of the leaf, and came to the certain conclusion that there must have originally been one single plant from which all other plants came. In his days as a student, the cathedral of Strasburg led him to study Gothic architecture, and, in later life, to studying architecture in Italy. Towards the end of his life, we read about him saying that there were other poets living at the same time he was writing, and the world had seen greater poets than himself--but no other person had come up with his theory of color. He used the time he spent in Rome for drawing, learning perspective, teaching himself about architecture, practicing landscape composition, and modeling the human form, limb by limb. His drawing never amounted to anything more than a taste for the art of drawing, but he himself recognized that the value of his drawing practice was in learning to appreciate the work of others who were gifted at drawing. In the same way, his study of music was a painstaking endeavor. When he was 80 years old, he took daily music lessons from Felix Mendelssohn, and his approach is one that we'd benefit from imitating. He would go off into a dark corner for an hour and just listen to Mendelssohn play! He was intimidated by Beethoven, but Mendelssohn insisted on introducing him to that great composer anyway, although there was no noticeable result. But

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in his notes about art and music, just like we find throughout his autobiography, he repeats what we might consider a standard of art and music education. He says that the ability to appreciate art and music is more valuable to many people--probably to most of us--than the ability to produce it, and appreciation should be cultivated just as deliberately and regularly as lessons in skill.

As we've seen, the puppet show in Goethe's childhood developed into a driving affinity of his life, if not a passion. His directing the theatre at Weimar when he was a middle-aged man was bigger in scope, but the same kind of activity as managing his childhood puppet plays.

The huge amount of things he worked on, or various occupations of his childhood, continued until the end of his life. Even then, he was glad that he had learned to play cards as a boy in Frankfort, because 'a day is infinitely long, and you can only squeeze so much into it.' He considered card games as a way to make himself sociable when he was around people, just like the late Professor Jewett, whose last advice to a child he knew was, 'Be a good girl, my dear. Read the Waverley novels, and learn to play whist.' But it's still questionable whether knowledge of cards for the sake of being social might risk awakening the gambling instinct that's within all of us.

As a child, Goethe read the classics. The first volume of Ovid's Metamorphoses seems to have been the first book that he absorbed in an intellectual sense. Although he was strongly attracted by the romanticism of the age he lived in, he kept returning again and again to his old faith. When he went to the University of Leipsic, he traded his entire collection of books

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by modern authors with a fellow student for a few volumes of classics, and then he lived only on those for awhile. Later, he comes under the realm of Shakespeare and admires him as father and inspiration. His greatest work undoubtedly is from the time period when he discarded the confining rule of Aristotle's three 'Unities,' and let himself follow the guidance of Nature. But he got interested in that old theory again after his two-year trip to Italy, and the astonished country of Germany had to help completely overthrow old theories (?)

We've also seen how his Bible studies stayed with him and formed a fertile background for all of his thoughts. In other words, every single aspect of his early education produced fruit of the same kind throughout his life until he was very old.

On the other hand, if we look at the records of most famous English men, we find that what they studied in school passed into oblivion and were like things that didn't have any real effect on their later careers. The random reading they do on their own has a strong influence in their lives, but their school lessons don't seem to count at all. This is something worth serious reflection. We know that Goethe's education was casual and had gaps. We've heard him lament the fact that he wasn't solidly grounded in anything. Yet this imperfect education enriched him with seeds of thought that resulted in every kind of development in his adult life. Was it because he approached each of his studies as if it were a new spacious field for his intellect to roam and explore, in spite of the defective and inadequate teaching equipment? If that's the case, then we should include this kind of attitude, this outlook that the

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individual brings with him, with the other disciplinary tools of our planned school lessons.

Maybe every one of us should be able to trace the result that was produced from every seed sown in our childhood education, like Goethe was able to do. But, instead, we file away our school studies as if its only purpose was to discipline our minds, and that it would be pointless to look for any fruit from those seeds of knowledge that were sown in our early childhood. This is sad, and it's a reckless waste of everything gained intellectually in our school years.

Goethe's valuable record presents another lesson that's just as important. There's another side to the shield. Everything that had a start in his early education developed noticeably in his adulthood. But if anything was overlooked in his education, it never arrived later in his life. The lack of discipline from his childhood continued to be a flaw in his character for the rest of his life, and he never made up the lost ground from his university years. He didn't distinguish himself at Leipsic or at Strasburg. The local dialect and mannerisms that he picked up from his upbringing in a Frankfort burgher family were always a liability for him, and influenced how he acted. He always had the impression that only people from noble families could have the possibility of being completely cultured. He never lost that idea, even though he was close to the grand-duke's family at Weimar. Of course, he couldn't change the circumstances of his birth, but his perspective was dependent on his family's point of view. If he had been constantly exposed to some other concept of manhood other than being cultured, then these kinds of comparisons wouldn't have occurred to him,

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and he wouldn't have been upset or frustrated by a sense of inequality.

And this leads us to the major thing that was left out of this highly cultured boy's education. When it came to religious impressions that were presented to him with enough freshness and power to reach him, he got vivid concepts from the books of Moses, but, as far as he writes, nothing else. With his parents being so focused on the single idea of culture, he probably didn't get anything from his home atmosphere. Even his eager reading of Klopstock's Messias doesn't seem to have left anything more than a literary impression. Like most of us, his moral education seems to have been pretty much left to chance. We don't read that he received any instruction and not very many impressions about how to relate to other people he came in contact with, or his country, or his own kind, and what his obligations were towards them. He doesn't seem to have had any awareness that he had the ability to regulate his emotions, or that his moral life should be under the control of his will. Therefore, Goethe is disappointing as a man. He reminds one of a great city planned on a grand scale, but only half of it is built according to the plan. The rest of it is left overgrown, or taken over with miserable shanty houses. Goethe should have been a great man, not just a great poet. He had every possibility for greatness within him, moral as well as intellectual. We find him wasting himself on endless immature affections, temporary love affairs, changing friendships, self-focused goals, and small-minded thoughts about public issues unless they affected his art. He was a man of great intellect. He should have been a great example and a great teacher to others like him, but instead, he was hemmed in by narrow limitations and flawed by moral faults. We might tend to say, 'But a poetic soul shouldn't be judged

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by the same standards as other people; his emotional nature overwhelms him. We can't expect one person to be both a poet and a moral person, so let's accept the one aspect he had and be thankful for that.' This kind of reasoning, and the irresponsible living that it causes, comes from the notion that morals and religion are isolated and independent from the intellect, and are issues that don't really concern the mind. But when we recognize that a truly moral life depends on how wide the intellect's perspective is, and how hard the intellect works, then we'll understand that making an effort in the areas of morals and religion should be a concern that geniuses aren't excluded from.

There was probably never another genius who better supported the theory that genius itself is the ability and practice of exerting effort. Goethe had extraordinary patience and talent for detail. The fact that he didn't use these gifts to develop himself so that his moral aspect was as great as his poetic greatness, seems to be totally the fault of his defective education: it didn't present this kind of effort to him when he was an eager, enthusiastic child. Anything that his early education didn't initiate, was never accomplished in his adulthood.

There's another way that this educational study should be helpful to us. No matter how far back Goethe goes in his memories, he's never less than himself. At every age, he was always capable of an immense number of interests, and an immense number of studies at the same time, but never interfering with one another. At every age, he had aesthetic instinct, the ability to generalize, and to appreciate and enjoy the poetic form. In fact, everything that he was as a man, he was as a child--he didn't have the potential for it, but he actually was that, actively. This is where we make a mistake in the way we deal with children. We think of them as people who have immature, weak intellects, and so we deliberately

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deprive them of the range and activities that are appropriate for an active, capable mind. Not every child has the makings of a Goethe, but every child has some degree of ability to deal with the knowledge that will become a part of him and influence the adult he becomes. Inability isn't his limitation--ignorance and physical weakness are. That's why it's our responsibility to feed him daily with the knowledge that's appropriate for him. Granted, he needs small portions because he's a child, but he also needs mental food of the finest intellectual quality, because he's a person. Our job is to provide this daily knowledge, not to furnish him with tools for dealing with knowledge [he already has those; he was born with them], or even to make him an expert at using these fine tools. And, of all the knowledge that a child should get, knowledge about God is the most important, and the knowledge of himself as a human is next in importance. We don't need to send any child out into the world as a moral or intellectual vagabond.

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3. Pendennis of Boniface

'The beloved child shone like a sign in the heavens of a group of stars...'
-- loose paraphrase from the Iliad


Arthur Pendennis is as real as Wilhelm Meister is [both are fictitious names, but true stories from the authors' actual childhoods]. If we study Pendennis, it will be just as educational as Wilhelm Meister. He's so much like James Barrie's Admiral Crichton! He carried himself down Main Street with a lordly grace, as if he believed he was the Prince of Fairoaks [that's what Thackeray refers to him as!] Even the young lords themselves didn't mind being his followers, and he had such a fine nature that he made no distinction between gentlemen and simple folk. He had princely tastes in wine, leisure activities, and material possessions, and he enjoyed many tastes! Horses, books, art--he appreciated everything, as long as it was the best. He had lots and lots of bookshelves, and they were filled with rare editions and expensively bound books. His walls were hung with rare art prints (first proofs, of course). Not even Alcibiades could have outdone him in the elegance of his personal habits. A perfumed bath was as necessary to him as it was to witty Alcibiades, especially after any contact with the rabble of less distinguished people. He also had a reputation

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for intelligence: 'Pendennis would be able to do anything he wanted, if'--and this was a momentous syllable--'if he would only work.' But, really, why should he work? He had tried the schools: 'During the first term of Pendennis's school career, he went to classical and math lectures with a fair amount of attentiveness. But before long, he discovered that he didn't have much talent or inclination for studying exact sciences [math!], and perhaps he was also annoyed that one or two rather crude young men who wouldn't even use straps with their pants to cover their socks and shoes that were too coarse and thick always outdid him in the classroom. So he dropped that class and announced to his loving parents that he was going to devote himself to the study of Greek and Roman literature. But soon he discovered that he didn't learn much of anything useful in his classical lectures. His classmates in math were too smart for him, but the students in his classical lecture were too slow. Mr. Buck, the tutor, was no smarter than a high school freshmen at Grey Friars. He might have some trivial, dull notions about the metre and grammatical form of a quote from Aeschylus or Aristophanes, but he didn't understand poetry any better than Mrs. Binge, the maid who made his bed, and Pendennis got tired of hearing the dull-witted students and tutor blundering through a few lines of some play that he'd be able to read in a tenth of the time they spent on it.'

We know how that kind of situation usually works out. In time, this promising youth became somewhat tired, absent-minded and cynical. I wonder if debt might not be simply another cause for cynicism, or else maybe our biggest and most bitter complaint against the world for not understanding our claims, and not seeing that we have a right to

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enjoy the best in life, no matter what it costs. This certainly is a blundering world. The Prince of Fairoak's day of disgrace is at hand. After a brilliant, admirable career, in spite of his school education, he, Pendennis of Boniface, of all people, is apprehended, and flees from Oxbridge like a dog who's been kicked and chased by lots of creditors.

We know that he finally picks himself up, at the cost of his impoverished, pinched mother and friend Laura, because he does have some good character within him. He gets back on his feet, finds a friend, and finally earns his own living. He has been saved, so to speak, by the two women who loved him. But he never loses the cynicism that a whipped dog has, and a particular kind of stamp of the world that he had when he went to college remains with him for the rest of his life. It's good for parents who are bringing up promising young boys and girls to always remember that a leopard doesn't change his spots. Our negligent trust that our children's regeneration will come about somehow, either at school, or at college, or by their career, or by having a family, or by public volunteerism, really stems from our own laziness. We know that it has to be done somehow for our children, but we don't bother to do it ourselves. We abdicate our responsibility, so our children bear our neglect and their own faults until the end of their lives.

The author of Pendennis goes into great detail to tell us how Pendennis's regeneration came about. These kinds of passages are written to teach us, if we'll listen. It would be interesting to know how many parents and teachers could withstand a probing examination regarding the life lessons that Thackeray suggests to us about how to bring up children.

First of all, Arthur Pendennis was the Prince of Fairoaks--but what was Fairoaks? It was a

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small, unimportant estate, only worth about five hundred a year. But any flea hill is big enough to feel superior about if we're determined to. Thackeray's shrewd wit, and sharp but not mean-spirited satire, poke great fun at this princely family, whose ancient ancestral glories were probably as fake as their family portraits, but believed in as firmly as if Debrett's publishing company wrote it in a book.

The Pendennis family isn't the only family to raise their sons as pseudo-princes. In most cases, it begins with the child's 'princely heart of innocence,' manifested in the way he holds his head, the bold, fearless look in his eye, and the matter-of-fact way he takes hold of the world that he assumes is his. His parents watch him in doting admiration, and begin to suspect that his regal bearing is an inherited family trait to be cherished rather than a human tendency to be discouraged. They don't encourage a sense of greatness or scope, but they nurture their child with an attitude of superiority. Then, when he leaves home, he either acts like a pompous prince to anyone who will put up with it, like young Pendennis did, or they realize the truth and become disproportionately depressed and reckless, or they attach undue importance to class distinction, like Goethe did because he never got over a sense that his burgher birth disqualified him for higher society.

Right from the beginning of a child's growth, his parents have a role to fill. Here's how the little person comes to us:--

'Those pure, innocent notions I had in my infancy, and that divine light that I was born with, are the best concepts I have to this to this day to perceive the universe with. Surely Adam in Paradise couldn't have had sweeter, more curious notions about the world than I did as a child.

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'Everything seemed new and strange at first, too rare and delightful and beautiful for words. I was a tiny stranger, and because I was so small, my entrance to the world was welcomed and surrounded with many joys. The knowledge I had was from Heaven--I intuitively knew things then that I've had to re-learn with the highest reason since I fell away from it into apostasy. Everything was untarnished and pure and glorious, yes, and it all belonged to me and was joyful and precious. As if I was an angel, I was entertained with God's works in their splendor and glory. I saw everything with a peace as if I was in Eden . . .

'The corn in the fields seemed like lustrous, immortal wheat that had always been there and had never been sown, and would be there eternally, never reaped. I assumed that it had been there from everlasting to everlasting. The dirt and stones in the street were as new and precious as if they'd been gold. The gates (of Hereford, the town he was born in) were the end of my world. When I first noticed the green trees through one of the gates, they delighted and mesmerized me. Their sweetness and new kind of beauty made my heart leap, and almost overwhelmed with ecstasy, they were so strange and wonderful. And people! Old people seemed so noble and wise, like immortal angels. And young men seemed like glittering, sparkling angels. Young ladies were like strange angelic slivers of life and beauty. Children playing and running in the streets were like moving jewels. I didn't know that they were beings with a mortal, finite existence. Instead, everything seemed as if it had been there eternally and was supposed to be just the way I saw it. The Light of Day was an eternity, and everything seemed to have an infinite nature that communicated with my expectation and thrilled my desire. The City a little ways off might have been in Eden, or built in Heaven itself. The streets seemed to be all mine, the church was

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mine, the people were mine, their clothes and jewels were as much mine as their sparkling eyes, fair skin, and rosy faces. The sky was all mine, and so were the sun and moon and stars. The whole world was all mine, and I assumed that I was the only person watching and enjoying it.' [Thomas Traherne 1636-1674]

Here are some verses by Traherne:

'I came down to earth so much like an angel!
Everything here looked so bright!
When I first appeared among His works,
His glory crowned me!
The world resembled God's eternity
That my soul walked in
And everything I saw
Spoke to me.

The streets seemed paved with stones of gold,
The children belonged to me,
And how their faces did shine!
People seemed like holy beings,
They appeared in joy and beauty,
And everything that I found here
While I had the perspective of an angel
Adorned the ground.'

Now, if this is the way children come to us, then what should our role be? Parents are correct when they think that the wonderful sense of dignity and luminous knowledge that their child seems graced with, should help him in his life and should be preserved at all costs. But they make their child a fool when they use this gift as a means to magnify their family. Any traits of dignity and greatness that the family has in its background will undoubtedly exert a huge amount of influence

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on the family descendants, and the less fuss is made about them, the better. But young Pendennis grew up in an atmosphere of false dignity, and that dignity was still contrived, even though his whole family bought into it. As a result, he always felt superior to any situation--but that's a natural human tendency that should be downplayed, not encouraged. In spite of his kind, generous personality, Pendennis was never very friendly or open at school or at college or out in the world. When he had outgrown the desire to put on airs, he developed the superior attitude of a cynic.

Imagine what a good start a child would have if his parents recognized that their child had all the distinction he needed simply by virtue of being a human being. After all, being a person is no common thing. In every case, it's special and a unique distinction. And imagine how sweet and obliging people in the world would be if everyone was brought up to be everything within himself [and to realize all the gifts and talents he was born with].


Is it in bad taste to suggest that the influence of that accomplished hero, Major Pendennis, was a big reason why young Pendennis went astray? He seems so great in his own circle, so absurd and respectable. Yet he's very likeable in spite of himself, and the neatness and polish of his unworthy code of ethics sounds so convincing! It makes the title of the book a puzzle--which of the Pendennises is the hero and namesake of the book? That's the perspective of anyone on the outside reading the book, but what if we had been raised all our lives to reverence the old worldly Major, and been placed under his guardianship? What if such a person accompanied us as mentor from the very first time we went out into the world?

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'God bless you, my dear boy,' said old Pendennis to young Arthur as they were lighting the candles in the house on Bury Street before going to bed. 'Please remember as you go through life, my dear Arthur, that as long as you have a main dish--a good main dish, I mean--it's as easy to be in good company as bad. After a proper introduction, it's no more trouble or money to be on good terms with the best families in London as it is to eat dinner with a lawyer in Bedford Square. Remember this when you're studying at Oxbridge, and, whatever you do, be very particular about the acquaintances you make because the first step is the most important step of all. Did you write your mother a letter today? You didn't? Well, write it before you go to bed, and call to ask Mr. Foker for a nickel. They like that. Good night. God bless you.'

To us, the old man's twaddle sounds incredibly absurd, yet we store his quotes in our memory because they might be useful some day. As for young Arthur, he was with the very person that his family had been glad to honor all his life, the person who had succeeded at the very thing that all young people set out to do--he had conquered the world, the enchanting social world that all young people dream about.

We older people don't realize how ingenious the young mind is, how ignorant and naive youth is. At the same time, we don't recognize that they reverence us merely for the sake of our experience. They say bold, clever and flippant things, so we assume that they're up to everything. In fact, we think that they're more sophisticated than we simple elders, and our response is to come up with our own little share of worldly wisdom so that they won't think we're

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complete imbeciles, and we convince them more than we realize. They grasp every scrap of talk that displays any familiarity with the way the world works--the rather evil world, I mean--and from our random comments, they construct a picture that's vastly different from our actual limited and simple experience.

Dr. Portman, the excellent rector of Clavering [in the book] will play right into this. He, too, has seen the world. He insists on Pendennis ordering his wine, and the best quality wine, from a winemaker in London. Pendennis does, and does an even better job after he's had some instruction. Major Pendennis praises a little dinner party given in Arthur's honor, imagining that it doesn't happen very often. 'Poor Arthur! the worthy uncle had no idea how often these dinners took place. Meanwhile, the reckless young man, like Amphitryon [a general of Thebes who accidentally killed his uncle] was delighted to show off his hospitality and gourmet skills. There's no other art that youths are more eager to have an air of knowledge about--yet no other art takes so long to learn, is so hard to obtain, and is so impossible and beyond the means of many unhappy people. A knowledge and taste for good wine and excellent food seems to them like the sign of an accomplished rogue and successful gentleman.'

What can be done? Young people are determined to have a knowledge about what they call 'life.' If all we offer them is scraps of our experience, which is often secondhand, then they'll generalize and conclude that we aren't really the worthy, virtuous people that they had thought. They think that we've had the very kinds of experiences that they want to try. And this is why they're attracted to bad companions for reasons we don't understand--because these companions know about life. Here are some wise words worth reflecting on--'The thing that youths like in their companions is exactly what gained young Arthur part of his reputation and popularity--his real or supposed

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knowledge of life. A person who has seen the world and can talk about it with a familiar air--a rogue, or a young man like Lovelace [probably the charming villain from Samuel Richardson's novel 'Clarissa'] who has adventures to tell about--is guaranteed to attract an audience. It's hard to accept, but it's true. Our human nature respects that kind of savvy. Ever since our earliest school days, we've been taught to admire it.'

A youth who has a stronger motive than popularity and the respect of his peers, even if it's only a desire to earn academic distinction, gets through somehow. But many youths with talent, ability and a generous personality, youths like Arthur Pendennis himself, ruin their lives. What can be done to strengthen these youths against the particular temptations that are a part of that period of life is a serious issue. Novels can be an excellent source of help. They contain the very knowledge about life that youths crave. The characters in the novel play out their roles for him, and he's allowed to enjoy greater intimacy with them than we usually experience with people in real life. There's no personal attack against the person reading, and no preaching. If the novelist does moralize a little here and there, it's only to relieve his own feelings. He isn't preaching to the young reader that his lessons come home to with illustrations that can never be forgotten. I've heard that a neighbor accused Mr. Meredith of creating a caricature of him in his portrayal of the Egoist 'Willoughby Patterne,' but Meredith replied, ''Willoughby Patterne is myself. Everybody is Willoughby Patterne! We are all Egoists.' In the same way, every youth who reads Arthur Pendennis, or Edward Waverley, or Fred Vincey, or, alas, of Tito Melema, or of Darsie Latimer, George Warrington, or Martin Chuzzlewit--the list is endless, of course--finds something of himself in the lead character. Novels can only teach us lessons

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to the extent that we give thoughtful, conscientious reading to whatever novels are also literary enough to be considered literature. A youth who reads three novels a week of the Mudie [cheap thrill/romance] type probably won't find 'examples of life and lessons in manners' in any of them. We glean those kinds of lessons after reading a book that's worthwhile over and over again. This should make us realize how absurd it is to say, 'I've read' Jane Austen or the Waverley novels. No educated person says, 'I've read' Shakespeare or even Browning or Tennyson [as if one reading completed the task!], and saying 'I've read' any of the great novels is actually a mark of ignorance.

But how many parents make sure that their children read, reflect, learn and inwardly digest the single novel Pendennis before they go off to college or out on their own? It's absurd to disregard such a great vehicle of educational life lessons--yet too many careful parents 'disapprove of letting their children waste their time reading novels,' or else they allow them free reign to read trite garbage from the library until they can't even recognize a good book when they see one. 'But,' says one good mother, 'I have other reasons for disapproving of novels besides the time-wasting factor. I've worked hard to raise my children in an atmosphere of innocence, and I want to keep them from being exposed to the kind of knowledge about life that novels portray.' That perspective has a point, but choices in life are never simple, and forbidding knowledge doesn't guarantee innocence.

We need to remember that ignorance isn't the same as innocence. We also need to remember that ignorance begets insatiable curiosity. But my point isn't to persuade parents to allow indiscriminate reading of any and all novels. Novels fall into two classes--sensational and reflectional (a word I made up). Tales of

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daring, narrow escapes and bold adventures aren't necessarily sensational novels. By sensational I mean books that appeal to physical sensations related to lust, regardless of how innocent they seem--the kind of books that say, 'his lips met hers,' or 'the touch of her hand thrilled every nerve in his body,' that are so common in the goody-goody stories that many families reserve for Sunday reading, but have absolutely none of the qualities that distinguish our best English novels. Reading about a girl being betrayed doesn't spoil the innocence of a young mind in any way, but allowing oneself to thrill with the emotions that led to that betrayal is the emotional equivalent of tasting vodka. It's as addictive and destructive as alcoholism. By reflectional novels, I don't mean books that make reflections for us, like those of a popular female author in this day [1906]. A writer who tries to save us the trouble of reflection is enabling the intellectual laziness that's at the root of our shallow thoughts and trivial lives. A reflectional novel is one like Pendennis that stirs reflection with every page we read, and offers a standard in every character and situation that we can measure our random thoughts and careless behavior by. If we keep in mind that obvious reflection [such as books that do our reflecting for us?] are as harmful in their own way as sensational reading, then we'll find that the standard of arousing reflection eliminates all trivial, superficial books and limits us to the works of the greatest novelists.

There's another step of the young rogue's progress [that's what Thackeray calls him] that we need to note. To add my own comments here would be redundant, unnecessary and arrogant, as it would be elsewhere. 'Mr. Bloundell playfully picked up a green wine glass

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from the supper table that had been set there for 'iced cup,' but he put something more sinister into it--a pair of dice that he took from the pocket of his vest. Then he waved the glass gracefully, exposing the fact that he was very experienced at throwing dice, he called seven's the main number, emptied the ivory-colored dice gently on the table, swept them up again lightly from the tablecloth, and did this whole thing two or three more times. Later, instead of going home, most of the people there were sitting around the table playing dice, passing the green wineglass around from hand to hand, until Arthur Pendennis finally shattered it after throwing perfect sevens six times. After that night, Pendennis immersed himself into the fun of thrill-seeking as eagerly as he had pursued every other pleasure.'


Like Goethe, Pendennis was a mother's boy. His mother was more affectionate, sweeter and less humorous, and, since his mother was also much younger than his father, he was his mother's companion. One evening the two of them walked on the lawn of Fairoaks and gazed at the trees in the opposite park of Clavering as their leaves were beginning to turn gold, and the river running off towards the west where there was a dark, quiet wood and an old abbey church with its towers. 'Little Arthur' and his mother cast long blue shadows over the grass, and he would recite in a low voice (because a beautiful scenic view always affected him, having inherited this kind of sensitivity from his

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mother) certain lines from a quote that began, 'These are your glorious works, Parent of Good. Almighty God, this universal structure is yours,' which delighted his mother. These walks and conversations usually ended with lots of hugs, because loving and praying were the biggest part of this dear women's life. I've often heard Pendennis say in his wild way that he was certain he'd be going to heaven, because his mother could never be happy there without him.'

What a sweet picture! Every mother's heart will respond to this, and want the same thing with her own son. It's right that a little boy should love his mother, and through her, learn about the best and highest good--Nature itself, and the God Who created it. And how sweet to a mother's heart are those hugs! Later, we read that Arthur, as a child and youth, considered his mother as practically an angel, a supernatural being filled with wisdom, love and beauty. And, in fact, so she was. Helen Pendennis was not only a perfectly brought-up and lovely woman, but she was also unusually pure and heavenly minded. If she had any faults at all, they stemmed from her rather unreasonable family pride that made her regard her son as a 'young prince' and practically worship him. It's an odd twist of justice that the small faults of good people, those faults that seem to originate from the very virtues of the people who have these faults, and aren't actually very different from their virtues--these faults that good people have seem to produce a bigger crop of tragedy than the obvious, glaring sins of more unworthy people. Maybe it's a case where more is required of those to whom more is given. A careless mother who spends her time having fun will sometimes

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have children who are more responsible about their duties than a mother whose only fault is loving her children too well but not wisely enough. But there's nothing we need more urgently than to fix our moral code of ethics. Although Thackeray writes tenderly about Helen Pendennis, he speaks about her family pride and maternal rapture as 'an unfortunate superstition and idol worship,' and he says that those were the causes for 'a lot of the tragedy that befell young Arthur.'

We've talked about the pride that made Arthur's mother think of him as a prince. But every mother's son is a prince, and the hardest thing in the world is to see our son the same way that others see him. It's harder to recognize that maternal devotion, and profuse hugs between mother and child can be a danger because they cross the line of balance, moderation and honor which is our duty. Before long, this excessive tenderness becomes like a plastic coin that the mother offers to the child, and the child offers to the mother, in place of the only genuine treasure we have among us--our duty. Later we find Helen hanging over her son as he lays on the couch reading a French novel, and offering him a cigar, which she lights for him, even though she doesn't approve of smoking and detests it! And he tells her himself that he knows she would burn down the house if she thought it would please him!

'I couldn't love you so well, my dear,
If I didn't love honor even more.'
--from Richard Lovelace

That should be true of maternal love as much as with any other relationships. This kind of holy passion of a mother for a child is also meant for serving, not for the mother's own gratification. A child who knows that his mother would do anything for him, also knows that he's taking the place of duty in his mother's life, and knows that he means more to his mother than her

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duty to him and to others. Such a child grows up without ever learning the meaning of two important words in our language. Must and ought become concepts that can be explained away.

This religious mother did another great injury to her son. Yes, she taught him religion, but the religion she taught him was all sentiment, no duty. Little Arthur loved the sound of the church bells on Sunday mornings, the echo of hymns and choruses, as much as he loved to watch the sunset from the lawn. He also learned to love sacred poems and songs from his mother as a little boy. He was exposed to all holy associations. But his mother neglected to teach him his duty towards God. This is where many kind-hearted mothers fail. They're so anxious to present the beauty of holiness and the love of the heavenly Father. She herself loves the sentiment of religion so much that the 'stern Daughter of God's voice [whose name is Duty]' whose command is the only one that humans are able to obey in the face of resistance, isn't allowed to speak to her child. Religion and serving God are presented as matters that a child can choose if he likes, or not, but never as something that he has to do, or as the only duty in the world that he can't choose not to fulfill. Parents are in a unique position as having the opportunity to expose their children to the concept of duty. If they let the opportunity pass, it's useless to make up for it with religious feelings, sentiments and emotions. Such things are passing phases. They aren't any part of the tie that binds us to God. We know that, on his first night in London when he was on his way to Oxbridge with his uncle, he neglected to say his evening prayers. Later, Laura says that she doesn't dare ask him what he still has left of his faith.

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Pendennis was casually educated, as was Goethe. It's arguable that people with this kind of education do quite a bit of the work in the world--in fact, people with great talents and original minds often manage to evade the regular routine of conventional schools. Like Pendennis, while the rest of the class struggles line by line and word by word through a Greek play like the one that 'the Doctor' valued so much, they've read ten times as much while waiting for everyone else. If we allow geniuses to write their own rules, then we'll have to be careful that ordinary bright youths don't also escape their lessons. In fact, as we've seen in Goethe's case, even a genius might benefit and be a better person by having to labor through the daily routine with everyone else. At any rate, Pendennis probably wouldn't have taken to such disastrous ways at Oxbridge if he had acquired the habit of working under rules and towards some goal.

It's good for us to reflect on this at a time when we're searching around rather wildly to figure out what education is, and what it's supposed to do. There is undoubtedly a certain body of knowledge that everybody should possess since, without it, the mind is as limp, weak and helpless as a malnourished body. There's also an opportune time for gaining this knowledge--an intellectual season that's like springtime to the mind. It would be interesting to analyze how much progress a person can make in any field of knowledge that hadn't been planted and sprouted in his mind during his childhood. We can conclude that the first fifteen years of a child's life are spent in what might be called a synthetic stage of education [synthetic/analytic in the sense that Kant talked about. Synthetic might be compared to viewing the whole, vague picture while analytic is focusing on the details]. During this stage, a child's reading should be wide and varied enough so that the young scholar can

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get in touch with nature, history, literature, and a lot of other things, too. His intellectual life requires these things, and they are especially needed to provide him with raw material for the second stage of his life, the analytic stage, which continues for the rest of his life. It's during the second stage, the analytic stage, that the value of classical and math discipline is recognized. Such discipline provides a certain sanity of judgement, and, because of that, a certain ability for handling situations, an ability to examine questions. Those qualities distinguish a public school [boarding school] scholar--not just the university graduate, that's another matter--but a person who has followed through and worked through the Greek play that both Pendennis and young Goethe contrived to get out of. Public [boarding] school might have its faults, but it can't be accused of manufacturing irresponsible eccentrics. The risk of a transition period [when experts are trying to decide which direction education should go next] like we're in now is that it might produce people whose judgement is unbalanced and whose will is undisciplined.

'Oh, friend,' Atrides said, 'steady your mind.
Having strength refers to strength of will.
Respect the good points in your opponent,
and be distressed about things done shamefully.'

[from The Iliad, Book 5, about line 525, Chapman's translation; Fagles translates this as 'Atrides ranged the ranks, shouting out commands: Now be men, my friends! Courage, come, take heart! Dread what comrades say of you here in bloody combat! When men dread that, more men come through alive...' line 610 of Book V]

This quote from Atrides could justifiably be the motto for our public [boarding] schools. It summarizes surprisingly accurately the very thing that they accomplish. The steadfast purpose, public spirit, and noble sense of honor that distinguish our public services comes to a large degree from students of our public schools.

But these wonderful qualities that we're so proud of can co-exist with ignorance, and ignorance is the source of prejudice as well as the stubborn enemy of progress. The task of setting the house of our

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country's educational system in order is a delicate one. We need to protect the positive aspects of our previous educational system, while seeking to recover the passionate desire to learn for the sake of knowing that brought about the Renaissance. Thinking of education as nothing more than useful for instilling discipline is like planting plows and hoes instead of planting corn. At the same time, an eager, deliberate pursuit for knowledge with no purpose or method carries its own risks to a person's character. There's a lot of talk about reading these days, and using public libraries to further education, and young students are buying into the plea for more 'general reading.' Reading three books a week seems to be a common thing, and even a source of pride. But, once again, this is the result of our failure to truly value knowledge, and our tendency to forget that knowledge is mental nourishment. If we recognize that knowledge is a food that's as necessary to the mind as bread is for the body, then we must also realize that it needs to be ingested in regulated portion sizes, properly combined, served on time and scheduled at regular intervals in order to get the cooperation of the digestive organs. Just like physical food, if knowledge isn't properly digested, it adds a workload to the mind rather than helping its development. That's why random, haphazard reading does nothing more than entertain and perhaps provide an occasional stimulus to thinking. Casual reading--meaning vague reading about a subject without making a systematic effort to really know--isn't much better. If we want to read and grow from our reading, then we need to read to know. Our reading needs to be like studying--planned, deliberate, and with a goal. This way, both the synthetic and analytic stages of education connect and blend. The wide reading encourages intellectual discipline, and the disciplined, analytical stage stays well-nourished as it continues its habit of wide reading.

Arthur Pendennis failed at college, and barely succeeded in his later life

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because of one other cause that affects most young students. Arthur went to college without having had any moral teaching whatsoever, except for a few virtuous traditions and tendencies that he absorbed from living with his parents that were mixed in with some other tendencies that weren't so good. But he had never been shown a roadmap to life that could have given him a noble perspective, and warned him of the pitfalls and tangled mazes that many brave young travelers disappear into. This is another result of our nation's disrespect for knowledge. Knowing is not the same as doing, but that's no excuse to withhold knowledge. We should never leave our youths to hopefully stumble into right actions without providing them with any guiding life philosophy. The risks are too great. We who claim to follow Christ don't always think to notice that Jesus' daily work was trying to make the Jews know. 'You just won't understand,' was the reproach he gave them. Even though we have Christ's example, we don't make much of an effort to make our children realize the possibilities for noble deeds that lie within them and within everyone else. Yes, we give them certain warnings--warnings about ruin, and loss of reputation. But we don't warn them against the deadly dull failure that's implied in every commonplace successful career. Pendennis was 'plucked' [??] but many students who get their degree are motivated by petty ambition, and never draw real knowledge or love or strength of will to do their duty from their school studies. If a student sets academic distinction as the worlds he wants to conquer, then he won't have any spirit left for further effort, unless more worlds and rewards to conquer present themselves.

In some ways, the Greeks had a better perspective of education than we do. They seemed to have

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believed that philosophy, as well as gymnastics and music, is every youth's main concern. Plutarch said, 'A freeborn son [i.e., not a slave] shouldn't neglect any part of the cycle of knowledge. He needs to go through one subject after another and get a taste of each of them--it would be impossible for anyone to master all of them--but he needs to make a serious study of philosophy. I can illustrate it like this: it's fun and interesting to visit lots of different cities, but it's only worthwhile to linger in the best ones.

'The philosopher Bion was right when he said, In the same way that Penelope's suitors made free use of all her stuff after they realized that they couldn't get her, those who find that philosophy seems too hard will distract themselves with other fields of knowledge that are worth nothing in comparison. That's why philosophy needs to have the first priority in education.

'Men have developed two tools for the physical body: medicine and gymnastics. One takes care of its health, and the other takes care of its strength. But when it comes to the diseases and sorrows of the soul, philosophy is the only cure.

'By learning philosophy, man comes to know what's good and what's bad, what's fair and what's not, and, especially, what he should strive for and what he should avoid. He learns how to behave himself towards God, towards his mother, towards his father, towards his elders, towards the laws, towards strangers and superiors, towards his friends, towards his wife, and child and slave. Philosophy teaches humility towards God, honor for parents, respect for the elderly, obedience to the law, how to submit to authority, love one's friends, and be pure towards

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women. She teaches kindness towards children and gentleness towards slaves. She shows the highest good to us so that our joy will be portioned in happiness, and our grief will be restrained in misfortune. That way, we won't be like animals who are unrestrained in both their desires and their rage. I believe that these are some of the benefits that we can obtain through learning philosophy. Being modest when we have good fortune, not envying, having a gentle mind and knowing how to suppress our evil desires is wisdom. Allowing our angry spirit to rule us is a sure sign that we don't have even common understanding.' [Opera Moralia, from Otto Guthling's translation of Ausgewahlte by Plutarch.]

The things that Plutarch claims philosophy will do are attributed to religion in our culture. When we credit religion, we place life on a higher level. Philosophy and religion are fundamentally different in this way: philosophy only instructs, but religion instructs and enables. But the difference isn't the issue; the important question is, shouldn't the science of life, or the art of living, which should be taught via philosophy, be made its own distinct subject, with its own teaching methods, classifications and rules of progress, but under the authority of religion, and assessed at every step with a standard of religion?

The way it is now, the moral and philosophic training that we give is hit-or-miss and pitifully disconnected. We're so sincere about our complete dependence on God that we've become shamefully ignorant about our own natures, our possibilities, and the risks we face. And this is despite the teachings of Jesus Himself! Not a single person should be sent out into life without a methodical knowledge of himself. For instance, he should know that he has certain appetites who act as servants whose job is maintaining the physical body, and, when the right time comes, increasing the whole human race. The

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most important thing is to never allow ourselves to give in to any one of these appetites, in either small things or great things. These appetites were designed so that, if they're treated as servants, they serve diligently and obediently. But if they're allowed to overstep their bounds, they become tyrants. Knowing about these kinds of things in detail won't guarantee that a youth will be saved, but it should certainly make him think, providing a moment when he might listen to the divine Counselor who can save him.

Not many youths enter life armed with the knowledge that they've been given desires whose main job is to see that the mind is nurtured and ideas are generated in a way similar to bodily appetites that have their own specific purposes. Not many recognize that becoming the slave to any single desire, like ambition or admiration, results in a truly unbalanced and uncontrolled person just as surely as improper gratification of any single appetite leads to imbalance, although it may not be as obvious. Not many realize that staying healthy is a duty, not just a preference, and that a strong, capable body that's prepared to serve is an obligation we owe to ourselves, our family, and everyone in our circle. There are some who at least recognize the advantage of having a fit body, but very few understand that possessing an alert, intelligent and thoughtful mind is also one of our obligations. Very few are aware of the immeasurable joys of knowledge, imagination, or well-reasoned thinking. Those who understand this are an example of readiness for the rest of us. Again, not many youths realize that they enter life with two great affections that are capable of ordering all of the bonds that unite them to their fellow man in appropriate measure. That knowledge is just the thing for a life of continual service to others. Not many youths know how their conscience can be toyed with, or how their reason can

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be undermined and taken over, or how the proper functioning of the will can be replaced with unreasoning stubbornness. Do they have enough of an understanding about their relationship with the Supreme God? Are they aware of their obligation to man or God? Our religious teaching falls short because we've allowed ourselves to be ignorant of our own natures. Therefore, we're in danger of losing the concept of God that should keep us in a proper attitude. We're so used to hearing about God's love and care and saving power that we come to focus on ourselves as the objects of His infinite kindness, and thus gradually lose the perspective that makes people heroes and saints serving their Master. In other words, we imply to our youth that food and comfort is more important than existence itself, that succeeding and making one's way in the world is the first priority, and having is better than being or doing. Of course, there are a few noble youths who somehow seem to get their relationships and priorities correct, just like there are people who are so balanced that just living around them is a continual inspiration. But if we could only arrive at a more profound and true perspective on life, then such people might seem more usual rather than exceptional. Everything that we need to teach to youths is included in the Christian religion, either implied or stated directly, but I can't help thinking that we should be making more progress towards that perfection that's commanded of us. And we could probably make that kind of progress if we determined to study life with the same kind of method and purpose that we give to other subjects--but with a sense of very special divine support and guidance.

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4. Young Crossjay [from The Egoist by George Meredith]

Like a golden thread woven through dull gray cloth, or a shaft of sunlight in a gray sky--such is the intermittent appearance of young Crossjay Patterne in the rather depressing book in which a selfish English gentleman is displayed, resting upon himself fold upon fold, every sudden, stealthy snakelike movement confirming the deceit and doings of the Egoist. But Crossjay Patterne isn't included in the book only as a comparison to Sir Willoughby Patterne. With his sincere, outgoing boyish nature, he does present a sharp contrast to the unhappy, self-focused and self-loving Willoughby Patterne. But the author, George Meredith, is a serious student of the mystery we call education. He's studied children and how to handle them, and he has written a very clear, easy-to-read manual in more than one book, about how not to handle them.

But we don't listen. We discuss the plot of one novel, or the symbolism of another, or label the author as a master of some specific style, or quote him as evidence against people who claim that we don't have any great novelists anymore, and make comments about the characters. But we totally miss the fact that philosophy as found in today's philosophy texts

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has become purely academic. Philosophy no longer 'cries at the gates, and the city entrance, and the doors, crying out, I'm calling out to you, people, and my message is for all of you.'

Instead, philosophy has become a school matter. People meet with her there--not so much for the good of their souls, but more for the enjoyment of academic gymnastics.

But philosophy still has two or three hidden havens where we can still hear her saying, 'I'm crying out to you, oh people!' The poets still invite her to visit, and she still appeals to people through them, but her message is often implied, and only someone who's paying attention will catch her meaning. Those few who do strain to hear her coming to the door get valuable oracles, glowing words that have specific meaning for the age they live in.

But in novels, Philosophy speaks more clearly and directly. She takes on all of the aspects that Plutarch attributed to her, reveals human nature for the impoverished thing it really is, and shines a floodlight on our seemingly innocent little ways and moods we try to justify and excuse. And, because philosophy is what teaches us about life, and because our most important task is to raise the next generation, novelists offer us a key to the troubling issue of education.

Young Crossjay is a great example of this. We read that 'real, joyful pleasure came upon Letitia' when young Crossjay Patterne came to live with her. The phrase is perfectly justified, especially considering who it came from. The fact is, a real, joyful pleasure shines from every page on which Crossjay appears. We smile as we read even a mention of him, just like we do when we come across a charming child. Here's how it happened. As we know, Sir Willoughby is like a great sun with a multitude of satellites orbiting around him because of his gift of

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attracting anyone who came into contact with him and causing them to revolve around him. His cousin, Marine Lieutenant Patterne, is one of these orbiting bodies. The fact that he wasn't a part of the regular military services was simply considered a typical English eccentricity. It made interesting conversation after he distinguished the Patterne family name by doing some heroic military action. So, he's dutifully invited to Patterne Hall. One day when Sir Willoughby was proudly strutting in the yard in front of many admirers, most particularly the lady he loves, he spies someone in the distance. It's a rather ordinary, stocky man [Crossjay's father] carrying a suitcase. His quick intuition tells him that this must be his Marine cousin. When the servant produces the Lieutenant's card, he's told that 'nobody's home.' And this answer sets off the fiery trial between cousin Crossjay's higher and lower nature, and the story largely hangs on this struggle.

'Charming' isn't a word most people would use when describing Crossjay. 'He was a twelve-year-old boy, with enough boyish spirit in him for twelve boys.' And, 'He was a rosy-cheeked, chubby rogue of a boy who loved meats and casseroles, and devoured them with the charming confession, stated in innocent simplicity, that he'd never had enough to eat in his whole life.' He said that his four sisters and three brothers were 'all hungry.' I need to relate how he came to live with Letitia. She was one of the many persons who had been drained of vitality by that all-absorbing egoist, Willoughby. He drew his strength from the life force of the people around him. Vernon Whitford was Willoughby's cousin, one of the few who wouldn't allow himself to be absorbed. He

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got a meager salary from Willoughby for helping to manage his estates. Vernon was as outgoing as young Crossjay. He'd heard about cousin Crossjay's large family, and knew that he'd been told, 'nobody's home,' and decided that such a response was shameful and he would obliterate it himself. So he went to Davenport and brought the Lieutenant's oldest son, young Crossjay, home with him, because, we read, 'Vernon Whitford was one of those people who didn't know what to do with their money, didn't have any home repair bills, yet had an uncontrollable desire to spend!' He thought he'd keep Crossjay at the Hall in order to prepare him for the Navy, but he hadn't consulted his host, Willoughby. Sir Willoughby refused to take such a risk. The boy's hair was too red, and his skin was 'too eruptive.' So, instead, Vernon arranged for Crossjay to live at the Dales' cottage. And that's how the 'sunny pleasure' named Crossjay ended up with Letitia. 'The child's pranks, his pure delight in country living, and his muddy wildness amused her from morning til night.' She taught him lessons in the morning if she could catch him, and she taught Vernon in the afternoons if he could catch him--but it was a big 'if.' The child wasn't only lazy. He hated the kind of knowledge that was found in books, and, 'But I don't want to!' was his response to all attempts at persuading him to learn. He had to be dug out of the ground, usually caked with dirt, when it was time for lessons.

This determined hatred for books sounds like a fault in young Crossjay, but we get a clue about why later. When Clara Middleton, the 'dainty rogue made of porcelain,' arrives on the scene, she and Crossjay become good friends. She was concerned about his idleness, and, like a wise teacher, she made an effort to find out what he might enjoy. After running a race with him and winning without even getting out of breath, which

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surprised him, she earned his respect and the right to question him. She makes him admit that girls are better than boys, that they can run faster, and learn their lessons better. 'But,' he says, 'they can't become sailors and soldiers.' She mentions Mary Ambree, Mistress Hannah Snell of Pondicherry, and other obscure heroines, as well as Joan of Arc and Boadicea, and they end up having a serious talk. She says, 'Someone is spoiling you; it's either Miss Dale or Mr. Whitford.' 'They do?' 'Then maybe it's Sir Willoughby.' 'I wouldn't say he spoils me, although I know I can get by him.' This is a secret that many children discover about Mom or Dad, or the babysitter, and make them wonder, 'How is it that those little rascals are able to get by me?'

And then we pat ourselves on the back and think, 'It's just that I'm so good-natured. I'm too kind-hearted to be hard on those little monkeys.' It seems to me that George Meredith included the character of Crossjay to prevent us from deceiving ourselves this way. It's not our wonderful kindheartedness that enables children to get by us--it's because we share some of the same traits as the most wearisome, unbearable character in literature--Sir Willoughby Patterne. It would be a worthwhile and rather sobering exercise for those of us who deal with children to memorize all of the scenes involving Willoughby and Crossjay from The Egoist. Perhaps the best of us will find himself wondering, 'Lord, is it I?' before he's halfway finished. With light touches, such as the conversation between Clara and Crossjay, the serious problems of education are brought up for consideration and, most important of all, some solutions are offered.

A few pages back, we read that Crossjay was very much opposed to acquiring knowledge

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'via books.' But after a few questions about Lord Nelson, he promptly responds with some knowledge he got from books. His answers are as ready as the cannons on a good ship. Nobody ever explained or taught him the kind of naval knowledge that he displays. 'Uncle Vernon bought me the books,' is the only account he offers of his knowledge. Apparently, then, there must be two different kinds of knowledge to be gotten from books--the kind he's opposed to, and the kind he doesn't mind. Here, in this charmingly-told incident, we see the rock that our ship, HMS National Education, crashes into. We keep offering children books about the kind of knowledge they're opposed to instead of the kind they don't mind.

'But it wouldn't be right to make education too interesting,' we say. 'They need to learn the discipline of drudgery, and work that requires effort.' We forget that you can't make a horse drink. In the same way, a child won't assimilate any knowledge if, like Crossjay, he doesn't want to. The information might get into the part of the mind that we call the verbal memory, where it can be retrieved on call without the mind making any change to it, without any ideas touching it, without the imagination warming it. It's just dry information, dead matter that the mind excretes. And that's all the return we get for our hard work when we get knowledge into a child that he doesn't want to learn. No wonder he vomits it all up as soon as he can, and retains a disgusted dislike for more of that kind of knowledge.

But isn't there any knowledge that he does want to know? It's clear that Crossjay, anyway, found some knowledge of that kind in books, and he knew it solidly enough to talk about it as pointedly as if he were at target practice. He was being prepared for the Naval entrance examination, so he probably had textbooks about naval subjects as well as the ones Uncle Vernon gave him. So it can't be the

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subject itself that a child dislikes. He wants to know about foreign lands and far off times, great persons, and, in fact, about all of the very things that we want to teach him. He'd rather get his knowledge from books than to have it poured into him via lectures. Books are more brief, graphic, and satisfying to the mind than listening to someone, unless it's an unusually interesting person. A child actually has a huge hunger to know. If he doesn't want to learn, it's because he isn't getting the right books.

We give children a diet of dry facts that are either condensed or diluted. We don't realize that the mind can't use facts that the brain's intelligence hasn't acknowledged. It takes ideas to stimulate new ideas, and it takes intelligence to awaken more intelligence. The heavily abridged texts that schools use are worthless in education. An encyclopedia is another matter because once our intelligence has been stimulated and our curiosity excited, that's when we consult it. Every school or family library should have a good encyclopedia that every student is allowed to use. If only we could awaken to understand how important the rights books are in education, then we'd find that Goethe was right--'a day is infinitely long,' and we'd no longer hear complaints of over-scheduled curriculums. We've become our own worst enemy--we've brought up students on a diet of dry facts for so long that even we adults are starting to believe what we teach. We travel with Baedeker's travel guides instead of the old, red Murray handbooks [by John Murray; view a sample here] and, as a result, we're becoming informed yet bored instead of intelligent and alert travelers. Our concept of history consists of lists of facts. Yet if three people see the same event down the street and tell about it, we'll discover that circumstantial evidence is unreliable, whether it's historical or something else. Books

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bore us, and no wonder, when you see the kinds of books we choose.

But Crossjay's experience is encouraging. He would have done great if he'd taken today's Naval entrance examination. He liked the kind of knowledge that the world is just now discovering the value of, and he knew how to get it. He knew the habits of birds and where to look for their eggs. He knew all about fish and how to catch them. He knew how to manage rabbits. Before longed, he had wandered over hundreds of miles of the country. Someone had shown him a collection of all kinds of birds that are native to England, and after seeing them just once, he could describe 'fern owls, which had more mouth than they had head, and dusky wings with dark spots like a moth, all very detailed.' We're finally recognizing the use of nature-knowledge, but we ruin everything by the way we teach it! We're not content for children to know the things of nature in the same way they know a friend, by the way they look and act. That's an unconscious comprehensive kind of knowledge that sinks in as a result of a lot of observation. Instead, we assign them fragmentary scraps of scientific research. So they set out to investigate, and lose the joy of seeing. Their attention is focused on this or that detail, and they lose the all-around awareness which is the most important tool of a student of nature. Some day we'll wake up and realize that our method of nature study doesn't add a thing to the joy of living. Children in the future won't feel any thrill of spying the little spot of red under the tail feathers of a little brown bird. Yet every small boy likes to know these kinds of things, and it will be a sad day when our method of 'nature study' has driven that kind of knowledge out of existence.

Like any other boy, Crossjay has his loyalties. He has a passion for the British Navy, and can

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even be persuaded to get through the routine of daily lessons for its sake. He thinks of his father as the kind of man who was 'good enough to lead an army,' and that presents a problem that he pondered in his childish way, bringing it up again and again, to the dismay of friends. He always came to the same climax ('he walked ten miles in the rain'), but never actually came to a conclusion. He just kept turning it over and over in his mind, hoping that eventually a conclusion would arrive. That's the way young people work. They observe, remember and keep moral questions in suspended animation until some crisis or slight event triggers a conclusion that becomes part their moral being for the rest of their lives, for better or worse. This is Crossjay's moral problem: 'My father's the kind of man who's good enough to lead an army. But, Mr. Whitford, Sir Willoughby is so kind to me and gives me silver dollars. Why did he refuse to see my father? My father walked ten miles in the rain to see him, and he had to walk all ten miles back, and sleep at a hotel.'

But we won't consider Sir Willoughby just now. For the moment, it's enough to understand why he wasn't one of Crossjay's loyalties. But Vernon Whitford was, in spite of cousin Willoughby's attempts to make him out to be a stern slave-driver.

Crossjay tells Clara Middleton that he would go to the bottom of the river for Vernon Whitford. Crossjay is shrewd, too--he believes that Whitford is supporting him as a way to make up for the grievous abuse of his father being sent back in the rain. That offense pricked his anger, and filled him with righteous indignation. And how did he feel about Clara? He was her knight, chivalrous in obeying her will (even when it meant losing his dinner!), full of unbounded love, admiration, respect, and

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a pleasant friendship that she encouraged. They both loved wildflowers, games, sincere openness, birds, and all living things. That was plenty of basis for friendship!

In connection with this friendship, we get a peek into boy nature that will benefit us to observe. Clara was reclining on the grass with half-closed eyes as she talked to him. We read that if she'd been sitting up, he would have sprang forward and kissed her!

This shows us a decent, moral boy's unconscious reverence for the holy mystery of sex. There's not much that's more offensive and more likely to result in disaster than the way we deliberately undermine a child's divinely-given reverence in our hurry to provide knowledge about matters that aren't meant for the mind. Chivalry, honor, tact, obedience, and passionate obedience to God's law--these are the chords within the child that we need to play on if we want our youths to be pure. But we have to believe that chivalry and purity are already there within them, rather than foreign concepts that we need to introduce with lectures. This is where parents often fail. They're aware that there's evil within their child, so they make allowance for it, and this proves to be a deadly mistake. And then their suspicions create the very evils they dread! We've seen how Helen Pendennis believed the worst about her son when it wasn't the case. One would think that she believed the worst in order to create an opportunity to make sacrifices for him. It's good for us to recognize that suspicion is also a sin. It results in mistrust and offense.

I think we'd have the Utopia we dream of if we realized what kinds of wellsprings of goodness are within our children just waiting for the right touch to make them burst to life. Crossjay is nothing more than an ordinary nice boy, but we see that he has everything he needs for living a noble life, except

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for knowledge, and a few specific physical and mental habits. He behaves like a man of honor when he overhears some talk after he wakes up under the sofa-rug. Although he has a burning sense that his lady has been wronged, he has all the wit and delicacy of a gentleman. He knew that the offer made to another lady was something that shouldn't be talked about, but needed to have something proactive done about it, only it was beyond his power to do anything about it. And this suggests one reason why boarding school is so good for boys. They have more opportunity to practice common sense, perception, discrimination, and gentlemanly sensitivity in a school where the students operate more like a democracy, than they ever get at home, where the parents have all the authority, even if it's a kindly authority.

And this is how Crossjay is presented to us, with skillful writing. He's a very 'human boy,' to quote the immoral Mr. Chadband. This 'human boy' is delightful to us. We recognize everything he already is as a person. We also see where he needs safeguards in order to give him room to develop as he should.

It seems like we barely get to know Crossjay before he comes to a crossroad in his life. He encounters a moral crisis, which we watch anxiously. Because Meredith is a master writer, we're totally unprepared and surprised by the temptation that Crossjay is faced with. Yet it's a very common temptation, and more promising children are ruined by this than by any other cause. This is the situation: We know that Willoughby refused to let Crossjay live in his home. All the same, he took on the attitude of a patron. It was only natural, maybe even inevitable. It's good to see him with young Crossjay. A casual observer would think that he's perfect with the boy--he's 'amused, indulgent, almost playful.' He always has a joke or game for him, catches him by the elbows and tosses him into

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the air, laughs at his idleness and mischief, and is a delightful contrast with Vernon Whitford's 'scholarly sternness.' 'He had the attitude of a British father who's permissive about the kinds of things kids like and boyish pranks, and he was good about providing pocket money.' Here's another way he was different from Vernon Whitford. 'He didn't act like the kind of teacher who gets poor little children in their grips like hookworms.' Willoughby poses as the kind of person he's not, and the kind of person he's impersonating is admirable. In fact, it's just the kind of person that everyone who works with children is tempted to be like, especially people, including fathers and teachers, who neglect the responsibility of their task and try to win popularity by adopting good-natured ways with their charges. It's surprising that Crossjay wasn't fooled. He enjoyed it, since it's human nature to take to that kind of personality. He would run up to his patron Willoughby, accept his pocket money--'usually half a crown, but one time it was a whole sovereign'-- and he genuinely enjoyed his jokes and antics. And yet, was it the memory of his father being sent back to walk ten miles in the rain, or was it the constant reminder of that cruel treatment every time he saw other circumstances that were so trivial, he was hardly aware of noticing them? That seems to be how we're reminded of the faults and failings of people around us. We think they're forgiven and forgotten until we remember them because of some new evidence about the same defect. But Willoughby would have been too much for Crossjay if it hadn't been for the help of his friends. Crossjay wanted to be an official 'gentleman,' the kind that doesn't work, but plays, rides, and generally takes it easy through life. But he couldn't do these things and get into the Navy. Willoughby, for no other reason than enjoying another person hanging on to him, deliberately decided that Crossjay shouldn't work. Instead,

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he should depend on Willoughby for whatever he wanted and liked to do. The title of the novel tells us why. After all, wasn't he The Egoist, whose every action and motivation was designed to magnify himself? Crossjay finally did cram and take the Naval entrance exam, so he was finally saved, but it practically causes an earthquake at Patterne Hall, a complete overthrow of the perspectives of all the people whose lives revolved around the Patterne gentleman. But the lesson is there for all of to learn from.

There are lots of ways that we act like 'egoists' with the children in our sphere, but 'the attitude of a British father who's permissive about the kinds of things kids like and boyish pranks, and he was good about providing pocket money' is without doubt the most fatal. We appeal to a child's lower nature to make him like us, and, since all humans have a lower nature, it almost always works. If we think of him as a creature who can be won with money and candy, then we'll turn him into just that sort of person, and then we'll have to live with the results. Egotism is a subtle trap, and it's hard to be aware of it, but keeping our goals narrowly in focus will help us. If we respect children for themselves just the way they are instead of only thinking about the things we do for them, or their opinion of us, or how our relationship looks to spectators, and other self-involved motives; and if we focus outwardly on the children themselves, instead of always focusing on ourselves, then we'll be able to see them as they really are. We'll be able to recognize all the great possibilities that they have as children, and all the fearful dangers that we need to guide them through.

All of us need instruction about the art of raising children. For that reason, we're grateful to the philosopher who gave us the character of 'young Crossjay.'

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5. 'I'm Better Than Others'

Two people meet on King Archon's porch [near the judicial court]. One is bringing an accusation, and the other seems to be defending himself against a very serious charge. We know the accused man was Socrates, and we know why he was there. Meletus, a young man who wasn't very well known, accused Socrates of corrupting the youth of the city, and of inventing new gods and denying the existence of the old ones. Socrates says that Meletus shows a lot of character in the accusation he makes. He says, 'I guess he must be a wise man, and, since I'm the opposite of a wise man, he's found me out . . . With all of our politicians, it seems to me that he's the only man who begins the right way, by cultivating virtue in our young people.'

But Euthyphro, the other speaker, who has come to bring a suit, doesn't like this explanation. He thinks that Socrates should be brought to court as a Neologian, like he is himself. Socrates thinks that the dangerous thing isn't being considered wise, but trying to impart wisdom to others: 'I have a kindhearted habit of pouring myself out to everybody. I'd even pay someone to listen to me! I'm afraid

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that the Athenians might think I talk too much.' Then the discussion moves on:

Socrates: And what exactly is your suit, Euthyphro? Are you the one bringing the charge, or are you the defendant?
Euthyphro: I'm the one bringing the charge.
Socrates: Who are you bringing the charge against?
Euthyphro: You'll think I'm crazy when I tell you.
Socrates: Why? Does this fugitive have wings?
Euthyphro: No, in fact, he's not very lively at this time of his life.
Socrates: Who is he?
Euthyphro: He's my father.
Socrates: Your father, my friend?
Euthyphro: Yes.
Socrates: And what is he accused of?
Euthyphro: Of murder, Socrates.
Socrates: My goodness, Euthyphro! Common people know so little about the nature of right and truth. A person would have to be extraordinary, and made great strides in acquiring wisdom, to have come to the point where he could make this kind of accusation.
Euthyphro: Yes, Socrates, he must have, indeed.
Socrates: I guess that the person your father murdered must have been one of your relatives. Of course he had to have been. After all, if he had been a stranger, it would never have occurred to you to prosecute your own father.
Euthyphro: Socrates, I'm amused at the way you make a distinction between a person who's a relative, and one who isn't. Surely the sin is the same in either case for a person who knowingly associates with a murderer when the right thing to do is to clear yourself and him by pressing charges against him.

Then the case is explained more clearly. The murdered man 'worked for us as a field laborer on our farm in Naxos.' In a fit of drunken rage, he killed another one of the servants. 'My father tied up his hands and feet and threw him into a hole' to await further inquiry into the case. Meanwhile, the man was neglected and he died. 'And my father and my family are all mad at me for siding with the murderer and prosecuting my

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father. They claim that he didn't kill him, and that even if he did, the dead man was nothing but a murderer and I shouldn't take any notice because a son who prosecutes his own father is unholy. Which only shows, Socrates, how little they know about how the gods feel about piety and impiety.'

Socrates: And what is piety? What is impiety?

Euthyphro: Piety is doing exactly what I'm doing--in other words, piety is prosecuting anyone who's guilty of murder, or sacrilege, or any similar crime, whether it's your father, or mother, or whoever else it might be; it doesn't matter. Not to prosecute them is impiety.

People like Euthyphro are still around today. In fact, Euthyphro is a familiar figure. He's mentioned in every newspaper, talked about over every dinner table, and making disciples in almost every home. We might call him Pro-pigtails or Pro-pease (from the Punch magazine). He might go without a hat, or go around in casual sandals, which are innocent enough in themselves, but he has one thing in common with Euthyphro: Perhaps he's not dragging his father off to court, but he's always the first to ask, 'Do you want to know what piety is? It's doing just what I'm doing,' whether he's criticizing his country or espousing a diet of fruit and nuts. As it happens, he's usually doing both.

We criticize Euthyphro for being narrow, one-sided, unforgiving, unnatural, undutiful. We say he's unreasonable, silly, foolish. But he doesn't even notice us. He says that 'piety means doing what I'm doing, and it's piety because it's pleasing to the gods.' If you're as wily as Socrates, you suggest that you might be a candidate to follow him in order to give you an opportunity to refute the fallacies as he divulges them. But it's no use. 'Maybe another time, Socrates. I'm in a hurry and I need to go.'

We call him a crackpot, yet he gains lots of followers

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because anyone with his confidence brings relief to the hesitancy of most people in general. But he himself can't be convinced of anything. No matter how outrageous his actions are, whether he persecutes others, or considers himself exempt from common law, or delegates what he owes to his country or his people to someone else, or limits himself to petty rules of piety by saying, 'I always wear this,' or 'I only buy my tea at this store,' or 'spend my summers at this place,' (the superiority is inferred in the word 'always'), he has an infallible creed. We, like Socrates, if we can presume to say so, are tolerant of the 'crackpot.' 'He's not such a bad guy,' we say, 'he just has a bee in his bonnet.' When we don't fall into his religion, our vanity is stroked--it's satisfying to feel like we're too smart to fall into his bizarre eccentricities.

What harm is there in him? we ask. Even if he prosecutes his own father, he's doing it with the best intentions. The harm is that such a narrow-minded, unforgiving, unjust person should exists. It's too bad that he's free to propagate his 'pious doctrines.' That's why every foolish little rule that we accept as the 'whole duty of man' makes us less capable of being fair, generous, and respectful in our thinking. We can't be anything more in a situation than our concept of what that situation requires. No matter how likeable he is, a crackpot is not a harmless person. He's bad for himself, and he's bad for other people.

But Euthyphro isn't open to being convicted. His entire mind is full of his own fallacies and wrong reasoning. We won't be able to reach him later, so we need to catch him now [in his childhood], before he becomes a bore. In order to do that, we need to figure out what

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it is within him (and within ourselves, too!) that helps to make him a crackpot.

There's an incident in George Borrow's Lavengro that's enlightening in this area. Preacher Williams went around doing good deeds with his wife Winifred, but he was prone to periods of spiritual despair. They usually affected him on Saturdays because he had to preach the next day. He would cry, 'pechod yspryyd glan,' which is Welsh for 'the sin against the Holy Spirit,' and he would cry out in grief and terror. Lavengro overheard him and asked him to talk about his life story. Apparently, when he was seven years old, he had deliberately and willfully said certain bad words, and he felt that he had committed the unpardonable sin. His sweet wife had always suggested that pride, not bad words, was his sin, but it was Lavengro who made him understand that that was the case. 'You said that after you had said those bad words, you would look at your friends at school with a sort of gloomy superiority. You considered yourself some kind of lone, monstrous being who had committed a sin worse than any of them would ever dare. Are you so sure that your friends weren't looking on you and everyone else with the same feeling of being worse than everyone else? What I mean is, they probably had their own secret sins, and maybe some of them even shared the same sin you felt so miserable about!'

'Are you saying,' said Peter Williams, 'that the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit is committed so often?'

'Well,' I said, 'in the way you describe it, it's very common,

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especially among children, since they're the only ones who are likely to commit it.'

And this points out the root of the issue. The desire to be different and exceptional is within all of us, and some people would rather be distinguished for something bad than nothing at all. Pride can be manifested in all sorts of unexpected ways. When it compels us to feel a sense of specialness because of something odd about ourselves, then we're on our way to becoming unbalanced.

What we notice about people like Euthyphro is how strong their convictions are. They may not be conscious of the fact that they're seeking some kind of distinction that way--that never even occurs to them, or to us, either. But the passionate energy that they cling to and spread their trivial item of importance is what characterizes them and differentiates them from prigs [smug, self-righteous prude], although the two have some things in common. They take their own personal conviction to be the absolute truth, just like Euthyphro did. His conviction was so tight in his mind that no stray beam of light could ever shine in. We might not go quite that far, but most of us can blame our failures on the fact that we refuse to be convinced against our convictions. The more passionate we are, the more guilty we'll be if our convictions turn out to be wrong.

That's why it's so important that we make our children understand from an early age that our Reason is a servant of our Will. Reason isn't necessarily an independent authority whose job is to seek truth. That's one of the lessons that even a young child can understand from history--how a good person can convince himself that wrong opinions and deeds are logical and right. It isn't so much that he convinces himself, but his own Reason seems to act independently, and

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brings up convincing arguments that favor the conclusion that he's already accepted, even though he's not consciously aware of it.

Every child should know this bit of knowledge about his own nature if we don't want him to be at the mercy of random chance convictions. If a child understood this, he would see for himself what the object of his education is. Youths would be eager to acquire knowledge once they realized that a wide knowledge of people and events needs to be the foundation for convictions that are fair and just, as well logical.

That's one reason why children should have a broad and generous curriculum. We try to hold them back with a tidy pre-packaged box of pre-assembled opinions, principles and convictions--and then we're shocked when students don't stick to them. But people can only get those kinds of things through the process of working it out for themselves. The only people whose convictions can be trusted are those who have a broad, liberal mind, because their convictions are the fully matured fruit of their knowledge.

But a crackpot (I think it's okay to use the labels of crackpot and prig because nobody totally fits those characters), is someone whose mistake is an error of excess. It isn't always that he doesn't know--the problem is that he lets one single aspect of a topic fill his entire mind. Euthyphro knew about the love and respect owed to parents as well as anyone, but he allowed a single concept--the concept that justice with no regard for persons was pleasing to the gods--to fill his mind exclusively.

Here's how to raise a crackpot: magnify and praise one single good quality or single conviction until there's no room for anything else. We probably won't instill the virtue or the conviction itself, but at least we'll get in the notion that one aspect of truth is the

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whole truth. This kind of mental attitude is the reason why our own opinions and efforts regarding education are so sporadic. First we say that our nation's children should be brought up knowing about nature, then we decide that we need to focus on handicrafts, then we feel like nothing is more important than science, and then we want to emphasize art. Our problem is that we refuse to recognize that knowledge is food for the mind. That's why we go on thinking that all of education can be accomplished through a single subject.

Maybe someday we'll consider Aristotle's notion of the Mean when we plan our lives, not because that's safe and comfortable, but because excess is like injustice and no one should allow himself to be carried away by a single idea. People who put all of their energy into attacking any specific fortress of sin--whether it's drunkenness, impurity, ignorance, or wickedness--necessarily make that the priority of their life, at the expense of other obligations. They're like soldiers in wartime who are exempt from the responsibilities of other citizens. The rest of us consider extreme excess as a weakness. We think of unbalanced characters as being dangerous to society. I would even go so far as to say that when schools zealously focus on a single virtue, such as sobriety or thrift, while neglecting or leaving out other subjects, the nation's character might be damaged. We know how the focus on thriftiness and savings has worked in France. We should include sobriety and thrift, but we should also teach diligence, sincerity, kindness and all the other graces that comprise love and justice, as well as all the habits that encourage intelligence.

I'll say again what I've already so frequently insisted on to the point of becoming a bore: we need to teach children definite, progressively-scheduled lessons in the philosophy of life. You say that all of that is already in the Bible? Yes, it is, but our teaching of the Bible isn't the thorough,

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exhaustive, progressive kind that's needed for a balanced character.

A school curriculum should exemplify the concept of Aristotle's Mean when it comes to subjects and students. The curriculum's success shouldn't depend on extremes like emulation or ambition to motivate the students. We've all seen how the desire to be distinguished that makes a normal person excel in sports or academics can turn a more erratic person into a crackpot. But neither one has been treated fairly. Lots of motives need to be allowed to have some play, and lots of interests should be allowed to be presented if we want a student to be sane, serving, and outgoing. We're all so different. Sometimes we wonder how a fashionable lady makes it through the stress of the London season [?]; we attribute it to excitement that propels her along, and we don't think any more about it. Yet many ladies who aren't the least bit excited by any of the season's events manage to get through the pressure of the season easily and enjoyably. In the same way, a busy man might be overwhelmed by the bewildering number of tasks on his list, while another man feels like the day is 'infinitely long,' and has no problem fitting everything in.

Both children and adults seem to spend half their time being bored. The reason we're bored is that our thoughts wander from the task at hand and we're inattentive. When we do have to brace ourselves for a moment to really pay attention, we're surprised by the invigorating effect. We feel alive, and it's so good to feel alive that we seek out other stimulating and entertaining amusements. And that excitement leaves us more listless than ever because we've only been stimulated, not invigorated. Being bored becomes a habit. Secretly, we can't wait for the end of every occupation or amusement. We're

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ready to try any 'crackpot' idea that might offer distraction and fuller living, even if it doesn't last very long. Maybe by the time we're tired of that interest, something else will turn up.

Maybe our inability to find enough life for our living is one of the 'shoots of eternity' that reminds us that we're 'children with an infinite hope' who are destined for a better place. But that's no excuse to avoid these 'growing pains' by doing anything that will stunt our personal growth. But there is something we can do for our children to prevent them from developing the habit of being bored. Generally, even the best of children only pay attention to about a third of any lesson. The rest of that time, they're at the mercy of random, unpredictable thoughts. By the end of the lesson, they're mentally exhausted--not because the lesson was so grueling, but because of the throng of wandering imaginations that have played with their inattentive minds.

What would happen if we tried to teach the same amount of material in a third of the time, with the kind of interest that attracts focused attention? Then we'd be able to reduce our work time by a third, while still covering more subjects that meet a child's very real need for knowledge in various fields. Instead of being bored, students would discover how delightful knowledge is. Everyone would benefit, because there would be a hope that, instead of closing their books after graduating, every person under the age of ninety would have their days varied and the springs of their lives renewed with periods of definite studying. We'd all be students, blue collar workers as well as people with lots of leisure time. I knew a man who started taking Spanish lesson at ninety years old. We know how Queen Victoria started studying Hindustani when

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she was seventy. All of us know about some valuable work accomplished by senior citizens.

But these various intellectual studies must not have the fleeting and casual attitude that amusements do (and this is why lectures--where someone else is spoon-feeding a person knowledge with no effort from the listener--aren't the best way to learn). Every subject should show some continuation and progress so that we pick up every day from where we left off, and we're assured of covering new material each time. Maybe someday we'll also realize that moral and spiritual progress are worth pursuing, too--not so we can be better than others, but because it's good for all people, and we're human beings.

Many different kinds of knowledge, and lots of it, the habit of studying and learning started early and continued throughout a person's life, some familiarity with the principles of a well-managed moral life, and some knowledge of economics, should help to develop well-managed, balanced people who are able to live without boredom, without a desire to have other people notice them. But if giving bright, impulsive children knowledge, motivation and work can prevent them from turning into erratic adults, what about slower, more narrow-minded people who might be prone to turning into smug prigs with a little bit of culture?

This letter from a boy's teacher to the boy's father talks about what I mean:

'Teachers sometimes complain because they have bad boys in their class. Is it unreasonable to complain that Herbert is a little too good? I've always thought it was difficult to define a prig; most people couldn't define it, but I feel like I'm watching one develop right before my eyes. Such early tendencies need to be dealt with. Do you have any suggestions to give me?

'Herbert does everything well. He's punctual, and on

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the rare occasion that he's late, he always has an excellent reason. He's never in the wrong. He's always busy with something productive, prepares for his tests, does his share of the work when it's his turn, even completes his French exercises, his desk is in order, his notebooks are neat, and he dresses well. Is there anything that he doesn't do right? He excels in nature study, can write passable poetry, and plays baseball decently. 'What are you complaining about?' you'll ask, 'Haven't I sent you a well-behaved, model pupil? Does it matter if he's a little bit conceited?' But he's not exactly conceited. He's also not dutiful. What he does is to show off the virtues he has more of than the other boys--yet the other boys are actually more interesting and more original than this boy, who reminds me of Admiral Crichton. He surrounds himself with an air of righteousness that other mere mortals can hardly breathe in. He's at his most annoying when truly great people are being discussed. There's nothing wrong with being humble, but at those times, he starts acting like Uriah Heep. If I ignore him, he's sullen, stubborn and silent. He's always too busy trying to look good to be helpful to any of the younger boys . . .'

This kind of 'virtue' tends to come from the way a child is raised at home. We don't know how long Herbert had been at school, but the school was probably a small one for young boys. And his parents were most likely the kind of people who were genuinely interested in education and set ideals before their son. It sounds like the boy doesn't have much originality, although he could write 'passable' poetry.

This is truly a young prig in the making. We live in a time when parents and teachers take education very seriously, but we need to remember that this boy

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is probably the result of this kind of zeal. Another similar wave of educational zeal reached England in the 1700's and resulted in 'Mr. Barlow' as a respected role model [inspired by Rousseau's Emile], Maria Edgeworth's Frank from her 1801 book Early Lessons [this book also includes Edgeworth's story of Rosamund and the Purple Jar], and all of the neatly labeled scales of virtues and vices. A child who is less gifted than his siblings might recognize that his parents praise things like doing a good job cleaning a bicycle, and punish his brothers and sisters for being late, messy, or careless. Maybe he's partially aware of how inferior he is to his siblings, so, in order to make up the difference, he works hard to excel in those things that seem important to his parents and are within his reach, and ends up becoming a 'prig.' It's not an easy condition to treat. It's hard to tell someone that their virtues are insufferably boring and nobody cares about them. Snubbing doesn't work because snubbing someone who sees himself as such a good person will awaken a slow of fire of resentment within him that will probably never go out. Maybe education should be treated like religion in family life--something that's done without being talked about. There's a very real danger when material is offered for false ideals. A child with plenty of inborn character will sometimes submit to the yoke of that false ideal, and make jokes about it, not realizing that it's helping to shape his character. But a slower child thinks that he's gaining true merit from these false ideals. He adopts whatever ones come his way and constructs a shell from them to hide in. His virtues become an outward adornment instead of inward growth and maturity. It's hard to even get through to him because there's no depth to his character to be reached. Even a failure that would be the bitter ingredient that helps most people appreciate true success doesn't seem to affect such a person, because he has no accurate standard to measure bad or good. We have to remember that he has as much desire for distinction as anyone else, but since

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his mind is small and limited [she really doesn't like this kind of a person!], he decides to excel at good behavior instead of standing out for being the odd one.

But even this is only a phase in the uneasiness of human nature. It's encouraging to consider that a child's sense of being not good enough might be the root of the problem. That's why, for the sake of the weaker child, we need to be careful that we don't make too much fuss about trivial conventional virtues that are not only necessary, but easy to do. In our reading and talking, head and heart qualities need to be emphasized instead of focusing on little outward behaviors that are only done to impress others. We need to make children understand that things done only to seem good are annoying to other people. Kind deeds and serving others are only good if they're done out of real love. Work and perseverance are only good if they're done out of a real sense of duty. Diligently doing school lessons is only worthwhile if they're done out of a love for knowledge. The problem with dealing with this kind of a child is that we might lose sight of our own ideals, and accept virtues that are done for praise because those virtues make our own lives more convenient.

Hopefully, Herbert will eventually go to a bigger school. Boys won't tolerate the 'I'm better than you' kind of virtues. For them, goodness has to be spontaneous and unconscious, not pre-meditated and deliberate. They can smell a prig from far away, and they have their own ways of removing it from an offending child.

The prig and the crackpot have one thing in common: both of them want to be noticed and distinguished in one way or another. This is a universal desire that's supposed to help feed the mind, just like hunger motivates a person to eat for his physical health. But it's wrong to bring

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children up with an attitude that morals can be adjusted and added onto like darts and hems at an alteration shop. There's more to life than being praised and avoiding criticism, and every child is capable of receiving more from life than that.

The more sincere we are as we look at the problems of education, the more leery we become about any way of dealing with human nature that's too cut-and-dry. Increasingly, we sense that a person is an infinite being, capable of many joys, lofty aspirations, wholehearted effort, heartbreaking distresses, and anxious uneasiness that's as restless as the ocean. The question that's always with us is, How will we ever get the gentle patience we need to deal with children and teenagers? We know that their distresses and anxieties are part of their normal growing pains, but we also know that they're not always able to bear them, so they sometimes find ways to escape their aching that sacrifice their growth.

Isn't there any peace? We've already read how Goethe found an interesting kind of peace that lasted his whole life from his understanding that 'we are His people and the sheep of His pasture,' that he got from studying the first books of the Bible.

I know of a German hang-out that lots of poorer Polish Jews go to; they're probably sent there by other benevolent Polish Jews. They aren't at all phlegmatic--groups of three or four of them will sit and talk for hours at a time, sincere talk that anybody would envy, but, judging from their expressions, talk about impersonal subjects, not like the kind of talk about symptoms and therapies that you hear from other people's conversations. They probably don't adhere to conventional virtues. But the interesting thing about these men is that, whether they're ruddy-complexioned or darker, they have a look of tranquility about them. Their faces remind you of little

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children--simple, interested, untroubled, and carefree with no worry lines. Could it be that, like Goethe, they recognize that they're merely 'sheep of His pasture,' and that they take life as it comes, one day at a time?

This kind of peace comes to all simple, natural people who have faith in God, just as it did for Goethe, because faith is the only thing that exists to that 'science of the proportion of things' that makes it possible for us to have the perspective that we're just part of the general scheme of things, and we're sure to be fed and managed, and there's no reason to make life too strenuous or stressful. We forget that 'My peace shall flow like a river.' God's peace is an active principle, always flowing, always moving, always nourishing, always fertilizing. It's not a passive state, like a quiet creek where we can lay around stagnate if we feel like it.

'My peace I leave unto you' is like a legacy, and it's for children as well as grown-ups. Children are able to make use of this peace when they're very young so that they can live in carefree joy, but we disturb them too soon. We try to make them dependent on their own efforts. We try to make them feel their naughtiness without reminding them of the good that's possible for them. We make them anxious and unhappy so that they cringe when we touch them, and we don't open the free paths to goodness and knowledge for them.

The question of whether children need God's peace in order to make growth possible is an issue with practical implications. If we believe that they have a right to God's peace, and that it can't be given to them as a reward for doing well, or taken away from them for doing wrong, then we'll be less likely to feel like they're under our complete control because we'll recognize that we aren't the ones pasturing their young souls. The kind of mother who micromanages and

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interferes with every hour of her child's day and everything he does because she thinks it's her duty, wouldn't exists anymore. She would understand, with some amusement, why it's often the lazy, self-indulgent mothers who are often blessed with good children. And she'll also leave her children alone--not because she's lazy, but because, as a dutiful mother, she'll understand that. She'll realize that if she gives her children opportunities and plenty of elbow room, they'll be more likely to mature into natural people instead of prigs. But, thankfully for society's sake, children brought up this way tend not to be micro-managing types who intrude into other people's lives and make themselves intolerable in all of their relationships.

Yes, children are deeply grateful to managing parents. Aren't we all lazy enough to appreciate people who control our lives for us? But well-meaning micro-managing people encroach on other people's lives. As humans, it's part of our responsibility to act for ourselves and think for ourselves--and to allow others the same freedom.

The Puritan influence in us compels us to take too much upon ourselves and others--we feel like we have to 'earn' merit, and that others do, too. We assume that feeding in quiet pastures and being led beside still waters are rewards for some specific merit. We don't understand that it's a natural state and condition that can be had by anyone who will claim it. If we recognized this, then we'd be less intrusive in the way we deal with children. We'd make an effort to be quiet and stay in the background, but making sure that our deliberate inactivity is masterly.

Wordsworth summed it up in just a few profoundly insightful lines, and added a noble suggestion. He said that if we're given enough elbow-room and the freedom of opportunity, we have natural abilities within us, and in the normal course of their affairs, they'll correct any mistakes we make. Maybe we'll even come to discover that

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this is part of God's way of forgiving our sins.

'It's a known fact
That when we stand on the ground where we live,
Unpressured by the kinds of things that oppress
Our active abilities, those abilities themselves become
Strong enough to repress our worst qualities.
They sweep grouchiness from our busy day,
And make the whole long year
Run over with happiness, so that the Being moves
In beauty throughout the world, and everyone who sees it
Blesses him, and rejoices that he's their neighbor.'

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6. A Modern Educator: Thomas Godolphin Rooper

I can't think of a better way to end this book than to include a grateful word of appreciation, unworthy though my words may be, to a truly great Educator. His understanding and criticism stimulated me, and his life and thoughts inspired me for the twenty years we worked together. Even this brief chapter about a man who devotedly served his country through education might be enough to inspire our readers, although I hope to do him justice by having a longer book written about him with which to assess his outstanding life.

The Parents' Union suffered a loss that can't be measured when Thomas Godolphin Rooper died on May 20, 1903. From the time the concept of the PNEU was kindled, he was on board with us. He was a member of the very first committee we had. That committee began in 1887 and had many meetings in Bradford, where he had a job as Inspector of Schools. At the meetings, members would discuss ways and methods of starting this kind of a group. He went straight to the principles of the PNEU, and embraced them warmly and insightfully.

His ability to fully realize the result of a high-quality, well-cultivated

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mind that had read widely and knew about many different issues, made him able to weigh possibilities and performance of the PNEU delicately and fairly. For example, he thought that 'the Parents' Union is the most important group to start discussion' about educational issues. And I think he felt that schools would become living and useful only to the extent that parents got involved and took an active part in educational opinion and plans. That special quality that enabled Mr. Rooper to be fair and just in his appreciation, and to be steadfast in his hope regarding the PNEU and other educational efforts is what made him a sharp observer and effective critic. Everyone who worked with him felt confident that, if there was a problem, he would notice it and help to correct it.

The Board of Education, other members of the Inspector Team, teachers in his district, and many other assorted educational groups have deeply felt the value of his encouragement and unbiased criticism. But the PNEU seems to have added a new dimension to his rich mind and generous personality. It might be said that he possessed the unique ability of minimizing his own ego, except that he didn't seem to have any ego to diminish. During his last sad days, he would tell the nurses when they sympathized with his fatigue, 'It's all in a day's work.' That saying was a key to his life. He didn't seem to feel that it was necessary to express his own self or advance himself. The work itself and him being there to do it seemed to be all that was on his mind. That's where I think the PNEU can be glad

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that they were able to draw some graceful, scholarly wisdom from his cultivated mind. He probably never would have written just for the purpose of expressing himself his own thoughts, but from time to time, we've been able to get written lectures from him--enough to fill almost two books of essays (School and Home Life, and Educational Studies and Addresses). They are filled with wisdom, charmingly written, and full of profoundly philosophic teaching. The secretary of one of the Branch PNEU offices would invite him to speak, and he always considered that an honor. The lectures he would write for these occasions would deal with some relevant issue of the day, and at the same time would display his treasures of wisdom, scholarship and wide reading. Some readers will remember his essay 'Reverence, or the Ideal in Education.' We find phrases like these in it: 'Without great thoughts there can be no great deeds;' and 'The true spirit of patriotism is having enough appreciation for one's country that a person feels humble, modest, and ready to sacrifice himself as an insignificant part for the good of the whole community.' The excellent quality of his thoughts was a result of his life being so noble. Near the end of his life, he smiled and said, 'I feel like a soldier who has given his life for his country.' Interestingly enough, he's not the only one who noticed the comparison. Someone else said, 'He died as a martyr to the cause of education.'

One of his very delightful essays is called 'Lyonesse: Education at Home versus Education at a Public School.' 'Lyonnesse' is the name he coined for the romantic land of public/boarding school, separated from the turmoils of this troublesome world, but not

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forgotten. He chose 'Lyonnesse' because his own school, Harrow, was founded by a man named Mr. Lyon. There's probably never been anything more charming written about this subject; he reveals the reverence and loyalties that a person feels for his school, things that stay with a person for the rest of his life. It makes one wonder if a person as modest, cultured and capable as Mr. Rooper could have been produced anywhere but a great English boarding school, or one of our traditional old universities. Rooper was loyal to Balliol College in Oxford, and a devoted disciple of its headmaster, Benjamin Jowett. His loyalty to Jowett was unbounded, and he partly owed his insight regarding life's true issues to Jowett. He also picked up Balliol's distinctive way of leaving a question open--of stating both sides and every side of an issue. I think he hated dogmatism and declamation. His quiet, tentative way of offering ideas and suggestions could be misleading to anyone who wasn't used to his piercing wit and philosophic shrewdness.

A knowledgeable person reading his essays might see in them the springs of thought and purpose that moved his life. Was Lord Collingwood his hero? The essay on Collingwood's 'Theory and Practice of Education' seems to have a deep understanding of a life that helped make Rooper who he was. When he wrote about the three great admirals--Sir John Jervis, Horatio Nelson, and Cuthbert Collingwood--he said, 'It's hardly even possible to mention these three men without our words and thoughts rising to a level above common, ordinary conversation.' This sentence provides a key to the struggling passion that brought about his untimely death. But then, Collingwood was also an educationalist. Rooper wrote:

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'It was Collingwood's character, superior education, and study of education with its related study of occupation in daily life, that made it possible for him to accomplish such an unparalleled feat' (of keeping 800 men healthy and content on a ship at sea for 22 months).

In fact, what Rooper says about Collingwood is practically word for word what many people would say about Rooper, so I can't resist quoting further: 'It wasn't just his ceaseless military (or, educational, in Rooper's case) tasks that wore him out. Collingwood answered an immense number of letters, and his judgment was so highly respected that people came to him from all over to ask about all different subjects. He was by nature and education a man of cultivated, refined tastes, and simplicity of character. He combined both intellectual ability and friendly approachability. Those two gifts are rarely found in one person. At home, he liked to read, especially history, and he liked to compose well-written abridgements from them as he read. He liked to draw and cultivate his garden at Morpeth. He once wrote, 'My wits are always at work finding ways to keep my sailors busy, both to keep them healthy and to keep them out of trouble. Lately we've been making musical instruments, and now we have a very good band. Every moonlit night, the sailors dance. They seem as happy and festive as if we were in Wapping itself.'

'Lord Collingwood seemed like a saint, but he was human, too. He wasn't a Puritan. The right kind of activity was the crux of his educational system, and it seems to be the safest and most practical thing to do for anyone involved in education.'

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In this essay about Collingwood, we find several keys to Rooper's own life. He also read widely, especially history, he loved his garden, and he shared the concern of trying to keep others busy in daily life. He was a devoted supporter of The National Handwork Union and their magazine, 'Hand and Eye.' He loved creating a perfect wooden spoon on his Sloyd bench, and wanted to learn leather-work by watching House of Education students. Everyone knows about his enthusiastic work with school gardens and his report on Continental school gardens.

We get another glimpse of Rooper's friendly wisdom and multifaceted character in his charming essays, 'Gaiety in Education,' and 'Don Quixote.' In his praise of chivalry, even when it's reckless chivalry, we see a little more into the moving springs of his life.

I need to mention one more essay that he submitted just a few weeks before he died, about 'Robinson Crusoe in Education.' I've never known of anyone else to see another 'Pilgrim's Progress' in Crusoe's delightful adventures. Rooper writes, 'But the island hermit isn't alone in the spirit. He had thoughts that, now that they were undistracted by the slow staining of the world, led him to a more elevated frame of mind than he could ever have found in society.

'Knowledge and truth and virtue were his theme. The thoughts he treasured most were lofty hopes of Divine liberty.

'Robinson Crusoe saves a Bible from the shipwreck, and his sad life alone on the island leads him to appreciate it. In the same way that Crusoe is cut off from social and political life, he's also free from denominational controversy. As Crusoe struggles

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with Nature and subdues her bit by bit, his spirit wins its way to religion with no human aid, only the Bible. If you overlook this passage, you can't understand the gist of Robinson Crusoe.' This gives us a glimpse into an area of thought that Rooper usually kept jealously guarded. He hated hypocrisy--educational, social, or religious. But those who knew him best and spent a lot of time with him considered him, like Collingwood, 'a saint.'

Audiences loved his lectures, but I think he enjoyed giving them as much as they enjoyed hearing them. On his annual visits to the College at Ambleside, Rooper always had gleeful reminiscences of Parents' Union meetings in different places that he had spoken at. He was incapable of pettiness or harsh criticism. Whether his audiences were small and slow, or large and intellectual, he was always delighted that such an audience would gather to discuss education. In fact, the Parents' Union itself was always a fresh wonder to him, an extraordinary realization of the ideal concept. Maybe the same sense of joy, almost self-joy, was shown when he brought news of graduated students that he'd found working in various places. In their work, he also seemed to be surprised at seeing the ideal realized. Dante wrote, 'Hope is the distinguishing mark of all the souls that God has made friends with.' Without always putting it into words, Rooper projected hope, confidence, aspiration and humility to the young teachers he'd come to assess.

Rooper was not at all lavish with praise, and he

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was almost severe in criticism. Yet student teachers felt like he was pleased with their enthusiastic spirit and satisfied with their work, even when he didn't say so. He was remarkably thorough--he'd start working at 8:30 and not take a break until 1pm, listening to each of the teachers lecturing, and the second year students giving lessons that had been chosen from three sets of notes. What both the teachers and students loved was his keen questioning and the personal interest he had in every subject they taught. He had a way of leaving people more in love with knowledge than they were before. One time, insect galls would excite his curiosity and interest, then weaving, then local geography. He'd be enthralled by a passage in a French or German book, then Italian, and then math. He always had a pleasing way of making the teacher feel like the subject she was teaching was extremely interesting in and of itself, whether it was baking rolls or working on math equations. All of us noticed some instance where his thoroughness was worth recording.

The lesson notes that students gave him to choose from have always covered a broad range of topics in languages, handicrafts, art, science, and lots of other things, but it occurred to him that he'd never heard any of them giving piano lessons, so piano lessons were squeezed into their already busy schedule. In the afternoon, he would examine the different student handicraft projects with interest and knowledge. There were drills [calisthenics] to be observed and books to be looked at. In the evening, the students would usually entertain him with some kind of impromptu acting, or sometimes a charade where they'd poke kindhearted fun at him, their Inspector. It was good to see this kind of fun on his visits.

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He knew lots of people and knew what was going on everywhere he went, so he was able to have a lot of conversations with the students about things they knew about. He loved having contact with some ladies from another culture who were preparing for the same passion he had--education. He liked their enthusiasm and their simple manners. The students respected and liked Inspector Rooper. They could see that he knew his stuff, and that he cared. A couple of times, in his zeal for education, he came here to give lessons to students about topics that he knew would help them, even though the trip was very inconvenient for him. On one of these visits, a student teacher was giving a very dull history lesson. So Mr. Rooper gave the same lesson, using various associations, illustrations, and living interests that most of us had never heard before. The lesson wasn't a good model for students to copy, because not many people in the whole country could have shared such a storehouse of information!

He used to entertain everyone at the dinner table by solemnly referring to the time 'when I was a governess.' As a matter of fact, after he graduated from college, he had taken care of the children of his friends Dr. and Mrs. Miller when he was between jobs. Apparently he enjoyed it, and that experience along with the five years he spent tutoring the student who became the Duke of Bedford made him especially interested in the education of children who stayed home [as opposed to going to boarding school], and that led to his interest in the House of Education.

It's difficult to talk about Mr. Rooper's fun and stimulating conversation, and his good-natured interest in everything. When he died, we lost a great man,

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and just when his achievements, talents and knowledge would have been especially valuable to his country. One of his many friends wrote, 'For me personally, the loss can't be replaced.' Those words are shared by many other people. Many knew how he was as devoted as a brother. But to everyone who is mourning him, he has left the legacy of his life, as well as three quotes that he said when he was near death: 'hope,' and then, after a long pause, 'press forward,' and later, 'help from God.' Even when he didn't speak those words consciously to those of us who were like his sisters, those words are the message of his life. The death of martyrs has always been the seed that the church has grown from. Let us all 'hope,' 'press forward,' and look for 'help from God.'

I can't think of a better way to close this inadequate remembrance of a great and good man than by including some quotes from Mr. Rooper's essay The Grammarian's Funeral that includes the motto, 'Great men mean what they say'--

'His whole life was like a long climb up a mountain, with no flat places.'
'He lived to magnify the mind.'
'He quit playing and started working, and struggled with the world in his determination to escape from the common life.'
'He had laid out the plan for his lifetime.'
'A great work will take a whole lifetime to accomplish, but a person won't get paid for it until he gets to heaven.'

So, let's--

'Leave him even more noble than the world knows, Living and dying.'

[This article was first published in the Parents' Review shortly after Mr. Rooper died. The more personal references were from letters that Miss Rooper and Miss Agnes Rooper wrote and allowed me to quote.]

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A Few Books Dealing With Education

Charlotte Mason included short articles from her Parents' Reviews that reviewed books about education. Since these are obscure, out-of-print books that most readers won't be seeking out, I'm going to list the titles, but not a paraphrase of the reviews. They can be read in the original language version of Volume 5.

Pastor Agnorum: A Schoolmaster's Afterthoughts, by J. Huntley Skrine, Warden of Glenalmond

School and Home Life, by T. G. Rooper, M.A., H.M.I., Balliol College, Oxford

Thoughts on Education, by Mandel Creighton, D.D.

Vittorino da Feltre and other Humanist Educators, by W. H. Woodward

Educational Studies and Addresses, by T. G. Rooper, H.M.I.

Special Reports on Educational Subjects, Vol. VIII.: Education in Scandinavia, Switzerland, Holland, Hungary, etc. by. Mr. Sadler

Special Reports upon Educational Subjects--Supplement to Vol. 8. Report on the School Training and Early Employment of Lancashire Children

Special Reports on Educational Subjects: Education in Germany

Ideals of Culture: Two Addresses to Students, by Edward A. Sonnenschein, Oxon

Ethics of Citizenship, by Professor J. Maccunn, M.A.

A Survey of English Ethics, being the first chapter of Mr. Lecky's "History of European Morals," edited by W. A. Hirst

Knowledge, Duty, and Faith: a Study of Principles Ancient and Modern, by Sir Thos. Dyke Acland

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