The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Volume 14, 1903, pgs. 154
Edited by Miss F. Noel Armfield. Sec., 26, Victoria Street. S.W.
To whom all Hon. Local Secs. are requested to send reports of all matters of interest connected with their branches, also 6 copies of any prospectuses or other papers they may print.
N. B.—Kindly write on one side of the paper only.
The Executive Committee has been approached with a view to starting Branches in the following places:—
Readers of the Parents' Review living in these districts, or having friends there, are asked to communicate with Miss Armfield, 26, Victoria Street, S. W.
Birmingham—The third meeting of the session (1902-3) took the form of an address to boys, given by Canon Lyttelton, of Haileybury, at King Edward's Grammar School, on Jan. 7th, to a very large gathering of more than four hundred boys of school age, accompanied in some instances by their parents. Canon Lyttelton took the subject of "Honour" and spoke very interestingly for about forty-five minutes. He instanced various kinds of honour, "outside honour," such as the honour received for good deeds, the honour of school and country, and "inside honour," the inner obligation to right, and this was the point he enlarged upon. The standard of honour is various, and in some cases curious and unexpected—honour among thieves, among horse-dealers, domestic servants, and then, finally, among schoolboys. He recalled several stories of his own school days, illustrating the subject, showing how one-sided a thing is schoolboy honour, and yet of what force and value. No schoolboys tolerate a companion who is dirty in his person, and yet how constantly they pass over the far worse uncleanness of soul. The standard of honour in any particular class (schoolboys for example) is often both low and limited, and some amount of bravery is needed in any individual to rise above it, but where this is achieved it is remarkable how helpful and inspiring such an example may be. This willingness to appreciate the efforts made to raise the standard of honour shows the influence of the Holy Spirit of God in every heart, leading men or boys, or whoever it may be, to recognize their own imperfections and shortcomings, and to acknowledge and accept a standard of right higher than their own.
Derby.—One of the most interesting lectures of the season was given by Mr. Arnold Bemrose, on Dec. 17th at his own house. His subject was "Wild Animals of Derbyshire 20,000 years ago." He described, with the assistance of diagrams and lantern slides, a cavern which has recently been discovered in the Peak district of Derbyshire, in which a large number of bones of extinct animals, probably belonging to the Glacial period, have been found. The lecture was of unique interest, in that the lecturer himself had taken part in the excavations. Afterwards the audience adjourned to another room and were allowed to examine some hundreds of the bones themselves. There was a large attendance both of children, to whom the lecture was primarily addressed, and of parents, who were only too glad to avail themselves of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Bemrose's kind permission to be present.
Hampstead.—A meeting was held at the Town Hall, on Wednesday, Jan. 14th, when the Rev. and Hon. E. Lyttelton (Headmaster of Haileybury,) gave a lecture on "The Teaching of Scripture and the Higher Criticism," the chair being taken by the Rev. Brook Deedes, Vicar of Hampstead. Canon Lyttelton said he thought there was no doubt that the subject which he had chosen was one which they all had more or less in their minds at the present time. It would be as well to take a few of the situations in which they then were in regard to the very difficult question, in many ways, of the Old Testament, their former ideas upon it, and the light that had been thrown upon it by modern science. First of all, they must remember that if any truth was discovered in the Bible it could not possibly do the Bible any harm. Instead of thanking the Almighty for adding to their knowledge, they spent about twenty years in abusing each other. He had seen it put this way:—Supposing they got a testimony from the rocks which spoke without any doubt as to the age of mankind on the earth, and supposing that contradicted a certain [comment] in the marginal notes of the Bible, which of the two were they to believe? The answer was that the testimony of the rocks was the Word of the Almighty in Nature, while the testimony in the margin of the Bible was written by the hand of man, and they could believe which they liked. For many years it was thought that anything which questioned the truth of the marginal notes of the Bible was an impiety; but it was quite clear that people had now got accustomed to looking at it in a different way. Let them take note of what the old view used to be and what the view is now. When he spoke of the old view, he wanted them to understand that it was not really a view at all. It was what Mr. "Punch" would call "a mixed notion." Anyone who grew up amid "mixed notions" would take strange views of the Old Testament. He did not speak as a man who had studied the history of Egypt, Assyria, or Chaldea; but he had been through the experience of being challenged as to what they thought and being asked what they held with regard to the Old Testament, and he had been inclined to resist what had been thrown up by other people on this momentous question. The first thing they had to ask was, what was the old view which many people were prepared to stick to at all costs? Briefly speaking, it was that from the very beginning of Genesis they had a historical record, and that the books in the Old Testament were written in the order in which they are placed; and that to doubt any statement in the Old Testament was an impiety. The question was, why was it an impiety? and the answer was that the writers were inspired to speak the truth. They had to consider the proper way of introducing this subject to the young child. The minds of the children were not capable of distinguishing between what was true and what was not, and the only thing to do was to wait until they began to ask questions. About the age of ten or twelve they might get questions which would show that the difficulties of the narrative were beginning to occur. The best thing to do was to reply what they believed to be true and teach the children to prepare for, and not be shocked if there were discrepancies. True or not true was not a proper test question about, say, the Creation. About the age of ten the child might discover that there are two separate accounts of the Creation, one in the first and the other in the second chapter of Genesis, and totally different. The answer to that was that they were written by different men at the same time, and afterwards put into form by a third. It was a very good thing to take the boy or girl to the British Museum, and let them see the tablet and picture showing how the world was made, point them out and explain them, and let them see the difference between inspiration and literal verbal fact. Whatever might be said about the first chapter of Genesis it contained verbal fact, and that man could understand. The best thing to teach children was that the story in the first chapter of Genesis was the best one that could be understood by a nation in its childhood, and to gradually impart that view to them, so that there could be no difficulty about it. What they wanted to do in the meantime was to get themselves in a position not to be shocked if something in the Bible which they had always believed was all wrong. Some people said that the new views about the Old Testament were introduced by the laity, and that it was a long time before they were accepted by the clergy. That was not true, for those who introduced these views were, without exception, clergymen of the Church of England, or ministers of the Church of Scotland. They must learn to love the Old Testament. He emphatically recommended those who had not done so to read what the best thinkers and writers had to say on the subject, and then they would find it easier to teach. It was a fact that the young people of the present day were not Bible readers at all. They might read it from a sense of duty to a certain extent, but after they reached the age of twenty-five they did not read it at all. Whatever views they might choose to take about the truth of the Bible, there was no doubt that it was the greatest book that was ever written, and it would be a loss which no man could describe if they allowed the younger generation to grow up without reading it properly.
Harrow.—"Co-education" was the subject for lecture and discussion on Jan. 8th, at the house of the Hon. Sec., Mr. Charles Rice, of West Heath School, West Hampstead, was the lecturer, and Mr. Fred. Matheson in the chair. Mr. Rice said he had never found that girls are inferior, nor are they superior, to boys; but they are more receptive at an early age, and more nimble-minded; boys, on the whole, are slower, but they see more deeply. He said he had found that girls who had been brought up by sensible mothers are no whit inferior to boys in games, and what they lack in strength they make up in nimbleness. Mr. Rice urged that there should be no artificial restrictions between girls and boys; if we do allow this, then we shall certainly deface our own handiwork: and every time we weaken this we shall make the time of sex-consciousness begin earlier. Mr. Matheson spoke, after the lecture, a few words as to the great good co-education had achieved in America, and Mrs. Curwen, whose life had been for the most part spent in America, said that girls brought up entirely with the opposite sex there have as much esprit de corps as is usual among boys; and it was agreed generally that the reason that English girls as a whole are somewhat lacking in this sense was due largely to the fact that their education hitherto has been deficient in the bringing out of that particular quality.
Hyde Park and Bayswater.—Hon. Sec., Mrs. E. L. Franklin, 50, Porchester Terrace, Hyde Park. "At Home" Thursday mornings, or by appointment.—The first lecture of the session was announced for Jan. 22nd.—On Feb. 11th, Professor Adams (Professor of Education at the University of London) will lecture at 3 pm, at 17 Oxford Square (by kind permission of Mrs. Henry Gooch) on "Mental Backgrounds." Tea and Coffee, 4.30.—March 13th, Dr. Helen Boyle will lecture on the "Use and Abuse of Nervous Energy in Girls and Young Women," at 3.30, at 98, Harley Street.
Ipswich.—A most interesting lecture, the second of the session, was given by Mr. C. Simmons, of University College School, Hampstead, on "A Talk upon Home Work." Mr. Raynor, Headmaster of Queen Elizabeth's School, Ipswich, was in the chair. The lecture, which denoted the most patient study and diligent observation of "that complex organism"—boy, was greatly enjoyed by the audience. The lecturer started by saying that the average boy was a deeply misunderstood and ill-used being, and that after thirty years of teaching he was only beginning to understand him. Mr. Simmons maintained throughout that home work was, to any large extent, injurious both to nerves and eyesight, both in boys and girls, and a hindrance to family intercourse. The most productive mental results were obtained when little or no home work was the custom. Mr. Raynor agreed with Mr. Simmons as to its being the ideal theory, but did not see how it could be put into practice. He thought that the opportunity a boy had in his own home to do the work or leave it was formative as to character. Mr. Cattell, Headmaster of the Middle School, endorsed Mr. Raynor's remarks. Mr. F. Bond seconded the vote of thanks, coupling Mr. Raynor's name with that of the lecturer.
Wakefield.—The fourth meeting of the session was held on Jan. 8th, at the Girls' High School, when a most interesting and suggestive lecture was given by the Hon. Canon Lyttelton, on "Time for Growth." The lecturer told us that the tendency of the age with regard to education is to hinder the healthy growth of children's minds by giving them too many facts at a time, which prevents proper digestion, and is the reason why so much is forgotten, and this is caused by parents and teachers being over-anxious for quick results. he pointed out that mentally children do not all grow at the same rate, and therefore it is wrong to expect all children of the same age to show equal intelligence. He condemned the present system of examinations as being entirely a wrong one. The lecturer suggested that a child's thinking powers may be much aided by the intelligent use of questions, put by those in authority, but is certainly hindered by his being crammed with facts. At the close of the lecture, Canon Lyttelton spoke of the importance of religious training for the young, and he said that what is really necessary is that they are to be led to feel the need of religion, and that it is something to give them strength in time of temptation, the strength and help which nothing else can give, and it is then not likely that when they grow up they will regard religion as something superfluous and which has nothing to do with their own lives.
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, Feb 2009
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