Parent and Child Volume III., Child Study and Training
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Title: Parent and Child Vol. III., Child Study and Training
Author: Mosiah Hall
Release Date: February 2, 2004 [EBook #10916]
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PARENT AND CHILD
BY MOSIAH HALL
Child Study and Training
FOR THE DESERET SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, SALT LAKE CITY
A WORD OF INTRODUCTION
Home-making and the rearing of children is the fundamental business of thisworld. To make a success of this business we must understand it. The lovinghearts of many parents are suffering for a multitude of mistakes thatloving intelligence might have prevented. We cannot save our children inignorance. To perform the duties of parenthood well, we must understandthem more clearly. We need light and uplift. These days demand greaterknowledge than ever before on the part of parents to meet and master theproblems that now confront fathers and mothers.
Particularly do we need to study child nature. A clearer understanding ofthe laws governing the development of children would give parents greathelp in guiding their children into paths of righteousness, and inministering to varying child needs as they develop.
To give definite help and new spirit to our work, this volume has beenprepared. The keynote of the book is a more enlightened parenthood. Itoffers a series of lessons along a line most vital to parents—Child Studyand Training.
These lessons have been written for us by Mosiah Hall, Associate Professorin Education of the University of Utah, and High School Inspector for theState of Utah. We feel that he has done for our cause most excellentservice, and we gladly acknowledge our indebtedness to him.
This should be remembered: A book gives wisdom only in proportion to thethought that is put into it by the reader. The suggestions of this volumewill become rich only as they are enriched by study. They will becomevaluable only to the extent that they find application in our daily lives.The lessons will be vitalized only as the teacher pours life into them.
To supplement and enrich the course, references are given with most of thelessons, and a list of books is offered at the close of the book. Many ofthese volumes have already been purchased and distributed through theparents' class library. Each class should endeavor to procure at least onecopy of each of these books as it is called for in the various lessons. Inthis way a good library can be gradually built up.
Our desire is to make these studies bring lasting returns for good. May Godadd his blessings to make our work divinely successful,
Your brethren in the gospel,
Parents' Class Committee of Deseret Sunday
School Union Board,
HENRY H. ROLAPP, HOWARD R. DRIGGS.
NATHAN T. PORTER, EPHRAIM G. GOWANS.
A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR
This treatise on child study and training has been prepared primarily forthe Parents' classes in Sunday School under the direction of the GeneralBoard. It is well adapted also for study by Parent-Teachers' Associationsand for reading in the home.
Its purpose is to acquaint parents with the most vital problems of childlife and character and to suggest some methods of solving these problems.The work is not offered as a complete course in this great subject; it isintended rather to open up the field of child study for parents.
The welfare of the race depends upon the proper birth and the correctrearing of children. That this little volume may add its mite towardsthe solution of the problem—at once the hope and the despair ofcivilization,—is the wish of its author.
To the Parents' Class Committee and the General Superintendency of theGeneral Board, I desire to express my appreciation for the suggestions andhelp they have extended to me in the preparation of this work.
To my wife, who achieves in practice what I imperfectly state in theory,these studies are affectionately dedicated.
THE BIRTHRIGHT OF CHILDHOOD
It Is the Sacred Right of the Child To Be Well-Born
If the child has any divine right in this world, it is the right to bewell-born, to be brought into the world sound of body and whole in mind. Tobe given anything short of such a good beginning is to be handicappedthroughout life. Education and training cannot make up for the defectsimposed on the child by the sins of the fathers, which, the Good Book tellsus, are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
It is a fact to challenge attention that the child is the product of theentire past. His essential nature is comparatively fixed at birth and isbeyond the power or caprice of parent or environment to change in anyfundamental particular during the short period of a lifetime. Thisassertion must not be wrongly interpreted; the possibilities of trainingand education are great, but they can do little to overcome all of thedefects placed upon the child by heredity.
Science tells us that normal children are born with the same number andkind of instincts. By instinct is meant the tendency to do certain thingsin a definite way without previous experience. In all children, forexample, we find the instinct of fear, the instinct for play, forself-preservation. These instincts begin to manifest themselves more orless strongly as the child develops.
Children also have certain capacities. Capacity may be defined as thepossibility to develop skill in certain directions. One, for instance, mayhave a greater capacity to develop musical ability than another; so withart or business, or ability for any other work. Capacities, more thaninstincts, seem to depend on the characteristics of parents or immediateancestors. Thus a child may take after father or mother, or grandparent inthis or that particular ability. Instincts, on the other hand, seem to behis inheritance from the race. But whatever his gifts from parent or pastthe child is born a distinct individual. This is true not only with regardto his physical organism but in respect to his spiritual nature. Therelative strength of his instincts, added to the number and quality of hiscapacities determine what is called individuality. This is what makes eachchild differ from all others, and this distinctive nature cannot beessentially changed, within our brief lives, though it does possessmarvelous powers of development and adaptation. For illustration:Cultivation may develop a perfect specimen of a crabapple, but no amountof careful training could change the crabapple into a Johnathan. Likewise,no system of education can hope to change a numskull into a Newton, or toproduce a Solomon from a Simple Simon.
The first vital concern of parents, therefore, should be to see that thechild is not robbed of his sacred birthright to be well-born.
It is a matter of regret that the white race generally is such a sorrymixture of humanity. The good and the bad, the intelligent and theignorant, the feeble-minded and the strong, the criminal and the righteous,have been combined so frequently and in so many ways that the marvelis that more of the human race are not degenerate as the result ofcontamination. Since the great characteristic of heredity is to breed trueand thus perpetuate its kind, and since training and education must takethe individual as he is, with only limited power to change his intrinsicnature or to develop any capacity not present at birth, it becomes a matterof serious importance that parents do all in their power to guide properlythe mating of their children. The teaching of the Gospel on this point ismost significant.
Heredity determines to a great extent the kind and the nature of theindividual, and thereby sets limits, which the environment may notovercome. Among these limitations are the following:
1. The relative strength of instincts.
2. The number and kind of capacities.
3. The form, size and quality of bodily organs.
4. Susceptibility to, or power to resist disease.
5. The possibilities of mental attainment.
6. The possibilities of emotional and spiritual response.
7. The possibility to execute undertakings, to control situations, and togovern self as well as others.
Heredity also endows a person with his peculiar temperament, with his goodor bad looks, and with the chief components of what is called personality.On the other hand, training and education have almost everything to sayrespecting the relative standing of the individual among the members of hiskind—whether or not he shall be a blighted or a perfect specimen. A fine,sweet, juicy crabapple is more desirable than a scrubby, diseased Jonathan.
It is the province of training and education to take the individual as heis born, and endeavor to make of him a perfect specimen of his kind. "Achild left to himself bringeth his parents to shame." If left alone orimproperly trained, a child is almost certain to revert to a lower type ofindividual. The same high possibilities that, properly directed, producethe superior being, if neglected, or subjected to a vicious environment,produce the moral degenerate. The child is born morally neither good norbad, and while inherited tendencies may make development in one directioneasier than in another, it is possible for a favorable environment,assisted by education, to develop any normal child into a sweet, wholesomeproduct of his kind.
Shearer in his "Management and Training of Children," says: "The child mayinherit instincts, but a kind Providence has ordained that he shall notinherit habits. He may inherit certain tastes, but he does not inherittemptation. He may bring into the world tendencies, but he does not bringwith him prejudices."
Questions for Discussion
1. What does the expression "being well-born" mean to you?
2. What responsibility is laid upon parents by the fact that the child isthe product of the past? Read the second commandment here and discuss itssignificance in application to this point.
3. What are some of the instincts and capacities given to the child byheredity?
4. Explain the difference between an instinct and a capacity. What seemsto be the source of our instincts?—our capacities?
5. What are the chief limitations placed by heredity upon the child?
6. What may education and environment hope to accomplish?
References: "The Right of the Child to be Well Born," will be found ahelpful book to study here. It may be well, if the book is available, tohave someone appointed to report on it or to read a few choice paragraphsfrom it. Also read "Being Well Born," by Guyer.
IMPORTANT LAWS OF HEREDITY
A Wise Application of the Laws of Inheritance Is the Most Certain Means ofDeveloping a Superior Race
In the preface of Dr. Guyer's remarkable book, "Being Well Born," we readthe following: "It is no exaggeration to say that during the last fifteenyears, we have made more progress in measuring the extent of inheritanceand in determining its elemental factors than in all previous time." Ifthis is true, it would seem to be almost criminal for teachers and parentsto neglect to acquaint themselves with the fundamental laws of heredity.This author says further: "Since what a child becomes is determined solargely by its inborn capacities, it is of the utmost importance thatteachers and parents realize something of the nature of such aptitudesbefore they begin to awaken them. For education consists in large measurein supplying the stimuli necessary to set going these potentialities and ofaffording opportunity for their expression."
Mendel's law is probably the most important known principle ofinheritance. Through its application practically all of the improvements inplants and animals have been brought about. This law may be explained asfollows: A certain kind of pure bred fowl is found which is either purewhite or black. If either color is mated with its own color the resultingprogeny will be true to the color of the