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IV. THE NEIGHBORHOOD CIRCLE OF LOVE
How does the family circle lead us out into the neighborhood circle of love, toward the ultimate circle of human brotherhood ?
The mother of the happy family we are studying comes in the morning to the front bay window to throw back the blinds that her children may have plenty of light for their play, in the sunniest room in the house. She cares less whether carpets fade than whether the children fade. Not content with throwing back the front blinds, she throws back the side blinds also—but suddenly starts, and her heart stands still and grows chill, and she leans on a chair to keep herself from fainting, for she sees that there has been attached in the night to the knob of the nearest neighbor's door a long white bow. “What if it had been my baby?” she exclaims, as she turns and clasps her own youngest child to her breast. Then she hastens over to comfort the bereaved mother, whom she does not know, for it is a city and neighborliness is supposed to have no duties in a city. But all formalities are swept aside by the "fellow feeling that makes us wondrous kind.” If the visitor has no timely verse of Scripture or poetry, the fittest for such a time, she holds that mother's hand by the half hour, and the hearts of those two mothers are knit together like the souls of Jonathan and David, for “one touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Then the father of the happy family comes over to comfort the father of the bereaved family in a manly way; and that sorrowing family is annexed. The two families never met before, but from that time there is no day without some
friendly interchange. The family circle is broadening out into the neighborhood circle.
The next morning there comes another human touch to accomplish the same expansion but in a joyous way. Up the steps right after breakfast romp the children of the nearest house on the left, shouting, "New baby over in our house.” And the mother of the happy family recalls in glad sympathy how such a cry has rung again and again through her own home, and she hastens over to this previously unknown neighbor to congratulate her and be of some service in that great hour. And that family is also annexed. The family circle is broadening into the neighborhood circle on all sides.
Here is a royal illustration of how mutual griefs make people neighborly, despite artificial lines of social separation. A lady-in-waiting to Queen Alexandra told a friend a touching little incident which took place soon after the death of her son, the Duke of Clarence. The princess, with her usual gentle reticence, tried to hide the grief for her first-born. It was shown only in her failing health and in increased tender consideration for all around her. One day, while walking with one of her ladies in the quiet lanes near Sandringham, she met an old woman weeping bitterly and tottering under a load of packages. On inquiry it appeared that she was a carrier and made her living by shopping and doing errands in the markettown for the country people. “But the weight is too heavy at your age," said the princess. “Yes. You're right, ma'am. I'll have to give it up and if I give it up I'll starve. Jack carried them for me—my boy-ma'am.” “And where is he now?” “Jack? He's dead !" the old woman cried, wildly. The princess, without a word, hurried on, drawing her veil over her face to hide her tears. A few days later, a neat little cart with a stout donkey was brought to the
old carrier's door. She traveled with them to and fro, making a comfortable living, and was never told of the friend who tried to make her life easier for the sake of her dead boy.
As a father or mother is drawn out by their own parental affection to love all children in a measure, especially those in their immediate neighborhood, so the children learn to treat other children like brothers and sisters, and in the schools start friendships that last as long as life itself, not alone with playmates but with teachers, who are often deeply loved, though nicknamed and ridiculed and deceived.
Parents' and Teachers' Associations The school house is the natural center of neighborhood life. As a sort of “lower house” in child welfare—the school board being the "upper house"-there ought to be in every
school district a Parents' and Teachers' Association, in which fathers as well as mothers should be active, which should meet frequently and express itself to school authorities by petition or deputation or in a symposium of letters.
Such an association should also develop reading circles, by which a class graduating from high school, for example, might continue its fellowships and its mental culture in a systematic and effective way, and by which, most of all, those who will not be able to go to college, may get at least a college outlook, such as is given by the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, through which tens of thousands out of school have been induced to devote forty minutes a day for four years to the history and literature of four great nations, Greece, Rome, Great Britain, and the United States, with briefer glimpses of other lands and other themes.
And such an association would in many cases be the most suitable body to provide instructive courses of lectures or out-of-school education of the whole community. The lectures of the National Geographic Society of Washington, D. C.--twenty-five great lectures a season at $3 for a course ticket, each lecture given to one audience in the afternoon and to another in the evening—are attended by great audiences and prove that lecture courses on serious subjects can be made paying and popular if undertaken wisely and on a large scale. The Illinois Prohibition Chautauqua proved through many years before the World War, that even small towns may have great lectures though a wholesale plan in which whole towns join to promote intelligence as a social necessity of life.
But the neighborhood's chief duty is to see that its children get a school education that is both practical and culturing
"Shall education train for the whole of life, or mainly for a living?" We answer, For both.
Undoubtedly the commercialism of the age should be resisted whenever it attempts to confine schooling to the "learn more, earn more” studies. Even the evening schools, especially those of the Young Men's Christian Association, should hang on the walls of their class rooms that watchword of the Religious Education Association, which has a patriotic as well as a religious bearing:
We hold that the supreme aim of public education
Schools have no claim on State support if they are not conducted to produce better citizenship but only to make
individuals keener for advancing themselves at the cost of their less educated fellows.
The broad aim of a true education is well stated by Isaac Ogden Rankin:
“We must define the educated man in terms of life anl not of mere scholastic experience. And we must define him in terms of the whole of life. Washington and Lincoln were educated men, though they had little experience of the school. The educated man is a rounded character, well adjusted by nature and by training to the world in which he is called to live. He has learned self-mastery, consideration for the rights of others, and the final art that schools so often fail to teach, of knowing how to learn and keep on learning. Knowledge that is applied to life and is increased in using; sympathy that is ever awake and active as a motive power for action; humility and curiosity that deepen and broaden the soul in following out the thoughts of God—these are the elements of the education we desire for all men upon earth.”
ANGELO PATRI ON WHY THE SCHOOL
And here is the definition of the why of education by Angelo Patri, who was the favorite press teacher of the United States in 1922:
Why do you send your children to school?
To be educated. The answer comes back instantly. You did not have to think about it. You knew the answer instinctively.
“M-m-m.” That's what I thought. The answer is too instinctive altogether. It might be the better for a little thought. Why, really, do you send your children to school? What is the education you are getting for them?
It ought to be this: "I am trying to give my child experiences that will develop his mind. I want him to have a mind. A real one. I want it to be the sort of