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VI. COOPERATION OF PARENTS AND
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS
Testimonial Church Supper of Parents to their Children's Sunday School Teachers, to follow up
Chapter III Singing : "When He Cometh to Make Up His Jewels." Bible Reading : Deuteronomy 6:1-9. “These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children," etc. Prayer.
PASTOR's Wife, Presiding. The fathers and mothers of the Sunday school children of this church (or of this town) have given this testimonial supper to the Sunday school teachers in token of their deep appreciation of patient and faithful service given freely to the souls of our children for Christ's sake. We fear our children have not always appreciated how great a gift 'this Christian teaching has been. And we, their Christian parents, have sometimes accepted this great gift as a matter of course without even saying, “Thank you.” Worse than that we have not done our part in following up this teaching. We have assumed it was the duty of the Sunday school teacher to do alone what used to be done by five agencies —the other four being : the family pew, the family altar, the church training class and the Bible in the public school. Some have said the Sunday school was a “failure” because this little finger among the five agencies, with only an hour and a half a week, has not done the work of the whole hand. We are here not only to thank you
for your generous assistance in our supreme task, but to confess our failure to do our part. “We are verily sorry for these our misdoings."
Most of all, we are here to promise that we will try hereafter, as God's lieutenants under the Bible orders I
have read, to follow up your good work regularly. Mrs. Adams has a resolution she will present, with any remarks she chooses to add.
MRS. ADAMS. "Resolved, that we cordially thank the teachers of our children for assisting us in our God-given privilege of training children for the service of God and of mankind, and, in accord with the principles of good teaching, we agree that the teachers should be allowed to have the “first showing” of the regular weekly lesson, and we, the parents, will gladly follow up the teaching, not only reviewing it to fix it in the memory but working it into the daily life. And with this in view we ask that in this and in every church it shall be considered a part of the duty and privilege of the teachers, or of the superintendent, or of the lesson writers, to PREPARE FOLLOW-UP SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS, TO BE SENT TO THE HOMES EVERY WEEK.”
I know of one instance where a Primary class teacher was accustomed to send home by the children the lesson paper containing the lesson which they had been taught that day, instead of the advance lesson, so that they might tell their mothers and fathers what they had learned, thereby giving much pleasure to their parents (and sometimes instruction as well), and opening the way for parents to apply the lesson to the child's life.
MR. BROWN. I rise to second the motion in behalf of the fathers. The Sunday school of course should not be a substitute for religious teaching at home, though it is often so regarded. Many parents do not hesitate to shift their responsibility almost wholly upon Sunday school teachers. Sunday schools are partly to blame if they do not organize the Home Department to follow up work, with leaflets or letters to show parents what is desired. Inasmuch as children, as a rule, do not attend church, both the home and the church are throwing their duties in
child training on the Sunday school. What wonder that we hear many murmurs and loud ones against the "inefficiency” of the Sunday school! It is bound to do faithfully its own work, but it is unjust to expect it to do the work of the home and the church in addition,
MRS. CHASE. I am glad to support the motion, and in doing so I wish to remind you all that another burden is being shifted upon the Sunday school, the teaching of public morals, which should be done in large part by the public schools as was the original American custom all over the land. The Bible is still read in the majority of American public schools but without sufficient care in selection and often without due earnestness and sympathy in the reading. I hold that so long as we live in a Christian State, there should be found in the schools the kind of teaching that prepares individuals for Christian citizenship, and Australia has proved that not only Bible reading but unsectarian Bible teaching can be given in public schools to the general satisfaction of parents of all faiths. It would be well for us to consider how the Sunday school, and the secular school might cooperate with each other. The International Sunday School Lessons—the Scripture part only, of course-has been read in some public schools. The teachers have even had the Golden Texts recited. Cooperation between the Sunday school and the public school is sorely needed if only to prevent juvenile vice and crime, for nearly sixty per cent of the children of school age do not attend Sunday school.
Mr. Davis. The Superintendent has asked me to respond in behalf of the teachers. We greatly appreciate the tasty feast you have given us, but yet more your voluntary promises of cooperation in our difficult yet pleasant task. Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls, but we are rewarded by the feeling that we are not only helping the
children to a better future but are also helping to provide our country with future good citizens. We shall do better work and our pupils will be more attentive because we shall know that our class work is to be tested in the home. We will work together to make the children proud to make a good report at home of what they have learned. Best of all will be your efforts to work the lessons into daily life. We will make it a rule to find how our pupils through the week have made the golden text work under parental guidance.
As it has been so pleasant and profitable to meet together on this special occasion to consider how we can cooperate in the supreme service of child training, I move that we here and now organize ourselves, after the pattern that has worked so well in bringing together parents and teachers in the public schools, as an “Association of Parents and Sunday School Teachers."
THE PASTOR. May I add a few hints as to how parents can help the Sunday school. If you cannot attend, pray while your faithful ally teaches your child. Ask your children to repeat the Golden Text or some other verse of the lesson when they come back from the school. Then review the lesson by the easy questions all beginning with W. Where? When? What? Why? Visit the class sometimes and tell the teacher how her work benefits your child. If you can't go, write. Send some present occasionally-at least an Easter or a Christmas card. Contribute regularly to the class expenses, so that teacher may have a good equipment. Give at least a dime yourself per month, and see your children give not less than a nickel per Sunday. Make them despise the mean "penny collection." Everybody can and should do better than that in these days. See that your child is both punctual and regular in attendance. Make him appreciate what a
kindness it is for the teacher to teach him free. Because the Sunday school teacher cannot and will not whip a pupil who deserves punishment make your boy feel how mean it would be to take advantage of her. Help as a supply teacher if you can."
Temperance Lessons Still Needed
TEMPERANCE SECRETARY. And now I am permitted to bring evidence of need of temperance lessons before this joint meeting of parents and Sunday school teachers. And some of the public educators of the town have come in especially for this part of our program.
It would have been comedy if it had not been tragedy, the way almost everybody thought the long war of right and wrong was all over but the shouting when in the brief space of one year prohibition and woman suffrage and the defeat of the Kaiser were all achieved. The Armistice was greeted passionately as the end of wars; and the end of the Turk was supposed to be the very surest accomplishment of the World War. About the same time China achieved prohibition of opium, shouting, "That Our Nation May Be Strong." But there have been two score petty wars since the big one. And opium has come back in China to an appalling extent. And the Turk is back at his old job of slaughtering Armenians, while Christian nations look on as in the old days. And prohibitionists are also having their "morning after."
Several denominations dropped their temperance boards when national prohibition was enacted, on the childish assumption that the posting of the Amendment would make the powerful liquor business, accustomed to lawbreaking, cease its activities forthwith.
1 For help in Sunday school work, take the Sunday School Times of Philadelphia, $2 per year, in addition to your denominational heíps.