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PART II. FORUMS ON HOME PROTECTION
Slogan: Frank and friendly free speech. (To follow up the talks in Part I, in same auditorium, or in smaller room adjoining, where a simple meal may help discussion.)
The very best auspices for these forums are the Parents' and Teachers' Associations, to which, for these discussions, fathers and pastors should be especialled invited. We hope that many of these forum programs will also be used in homes and schools for "after dinner speeches"
at weekly or semi-weekly or daily “banquets," which will prepare our boys and girls to speak effectively in later years in what Wendell Phillips called "our "government by talking."
It is not necessary, it is not even desirable, that the food shall be rich or super-abundant when a feast for mind and heart and soul is to be added. Sometimes the "forum” (iri some cases the better name for it will be "round table"), may be a "breakfast conference,” such
as British people have made very useful, with only a half hour added to the usual allowance of time. In that case the talk may begin at the very beginning, the talkers getting in their eating before or after their talking, or on both sides of it like a sandwich.
Americans have fully proved the pleasure and profit that put into a noon lunch conference. That would go well in a school where there is a lunch room. An afterlunch program in schools might be the best sort of help in teaching public speaking and citizenship.
In most homes the best time for a "banquet" program would be at the evening meal, which should in any case be the center of a family hour, when every member of the household will be expected to be present unless imperatively prevented, because that is almost the only time in a modern day when the whole family can regularly be together.
Let the home or boarding school supper begin with the doxology or one stanza of a hymn, sung as a grace in which all can join. Then let all say the Universal Prayer, "Our Father, Who art in heaven," which all should know was used by people of all the great religions when they met together in Peking at the beginning of the World War for a peace conference under the auspices of the International Reform Bureau. First a representative of each religion read the teachings of his religion in favor of peace, and then all joined in the Pater Noster. “Our Father" is satisfactory to all faiths as a name for the Creator of all men. By the time the family has reached the dessert, if not before, “the feast of reason” should begin with some introductory words by father or mother or teacher or pastor or toastmaster, including some apropos verses from the Bible, and when the eating is over, all should join for a few minutes in singing carefully selected hymns and popular songs. (It is sheer laziness to be singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" every timeand besides it is better to cut soldiering out even in hymns if we want world peace.) Then should come the special program, often followed by games and plays, with parents and children as "playmates”-see Longfellow's "Children's Hour.” The "neighborhood prayer meetings,
often organized so happily all over town during an evangelistic campaign, suggest weekly neighborhood round tables, when parents and teachers, sometimes with the older boys and girls—may study how to save the younger boys and girls of the new generation from the sins and prejudices and follies that must be cured to prevent world chaos by substituting in place of sham joys the real gladness of true recreation and helpfulness.
The International Reform Bureau (206 Pennsylvania Ave., S. E., Washington, D. C.) has up-to-date literature on all the many subjects discussed in this book, single copies of which will be sent to any pastor on application with stamp.
All welfare societies, and the various departments of city, state, provincial and national governments in every land will be glad to give information in print or by letter to those promoting social betterment.
GOODNESS AND HAPPINESS After-supper program for home or boarding school or
church, to follow up Chapter I of Part I Father. (Or Principal or Pastor.) This is our first Round Table. If we like it there will be more. King Arthur, in Tennyson's "Idyls of the King," which every boy and girl should read in the teen years, gathered brave young knights at his “Table Round” who were to go forth at his command to defend the poor and weak, and especially women and children. These young knights took this great oath :
“To ride abroad redressing human wrongs;
And worship her by years of golden deeds." The police work those knights did as volunteers is now done by regular police, and so true 20th Century Knights do not carry swords or spears or pistols; but there are still "wrongs” that we can “redress”; and “slanders” are spoken to which true gentlemen and ladies will refuse
to “listen”; and we too should 'hold our own word as if it were God's, which means to despise a lie as a selfish coward's trick, for if we all were accustomed to lie we could not live together as civilized people. Our table isn't "round" but a Round Table for us means "we'll all be around," not for the food alone, for we should be no better than animals if we didn't pass around to each other at the table something besides food. The Round Table is to feed our minds and hearts and souls. Have you noticed God has made us sixteen mouths apiece-fifteen of them to feed the mind and soul? What are they? Eyes and ears, yes. And there is another “mouth” to make us think of beautiful truths by beautiful odors? Yes, the nose. And there are ten more that are the best mouths of the deaf and blind; and they help all of us to know many things by the sense of touch? Yes, the ten fingers.
When a lot of boys from many homes go together to a picnic every one is proud to bring his share of food. We don't like to be deadheads. So in our Round Tables we expect everybody to bring something for the eye or ear or nose—some bouquet of flowers or better some bouquet of words—beautiful words of song, or word gems from our memory jewel boxes, or one of Dr. Frank Crane's keen and kindly four-minute talks, from the papers; or one of Walt Mason's rhymes, that almost always ring true; or some good clean jokes from the Literary Digest that help us “digest” our dinners by sideshaking laughter.
We should never bring any sour or bitter words to our meals. A scientific professor put a window in the wall of a cat's stomach to study the digestion of food; how milk and mice change to cat. He found that when he fretted the cat, digestion stopped. When he petted her it started
right up again. Solomon knew all about that, for he said, in substance, that a vegetarian dinner eaten by a loving group is better than a barbecue with a fuss (Prov. 15:17).
Goodness and Happiness is our theme for this Round Table. Now all put on your “thinking caps.” You know the Goddess of Liberty pictured on our coins wears a liberty cap such as was worn by those who fought for liberty in France. If the world is to be kept free, the voters everywhere must wear "thinking caps," and we are all going to be voters some day.
One thing we must think about very early in life is amusement, for men who sell commercialized amusements, if they care for nothing but to make money, sometimes sell pleasure for today wrapped up with headache for tomorrow and heartache for all the coming years. The word "amusement" is not really a manly word. It is for babies. It means something that is only a diversion with no sense in it, as when we shake a rattle to amuse a crying infant. A better word for boys and girls and men and women is re-creation. That means something that combines enjoyment with benefit to body or mind; something that makes us stronger or wiser, in addition to giving us pleasure. When you must choose between amusements, ask which has some sense or use in it; and which has the most re-creation in it? That will be outdoor sport in preference to indoor sport, when you can choose, will it not? And “getting into the game," rather than the bleachers or the sporting pages, will it not? Ask also which will be pleasantest in the long run, for we have memories