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Agriculture And Life - Education Aims

( Originally Published 1915 )



EDUCATIONAL AIMS

A Definition of Education Needed.—Just now, as we pass from the old idea of education for culture to the newer conception of education for vocational training, we feel more than ever the need of a satisfactory definition of education. A good definition would enable teachers to see more clearly their aim. But a satisfactory definition of education is hard to make. This is so because human life is complex and the aim of man is an ever-advancing one. Then, too, confusion comes from our failure to distinguish between education and schooling. The school is one of the institutions by means of which the process called education may be forwarded. When the home or the church changes or drops a given line of activity, there may be ground for difference of opinion as to whether the school should take it up. But there is small room for doubt as to the benefit that comes to a teacher who gets as large and full view of education as is possible. For as some one has said, " Men are really great in proportion as they act from the whole instead of from a part."

Aim of Man Varies.—In one age, we find discipline the dominant aim in education, then with the coming of Rousseau the aim shifts to the development of natural tendencies, but as Pestalozzi becomes popular, the idea of cultivation of the mental faculties becomes the aim of the great educators. After the theory of evolution is discovered, men begin to advocate the development of the scientific mind as the end and aim of education. And as evolution is supplemented by the development of sociology, the idea that education is for social service finds favor. These different views of education are not each abandoned for the next but each one leaves a valuable contribution.

The History of Education Gives Many Definitions.—The history of education gives us some three hundred different definitions of education, each by a great man who, like each of the blind men viewing the elephant, sees it from one stand-point only. To Plato, education meant spiritual growth; to Aristotle, preparation for citizenship; to the early Christians, preparation for church life; to Bacon and the scientists, education means preparation for the enjoyment of scientific discovery; and to Spencer, education means preparation for complete living.

Dr. Davidson made popular the idea that education is conscious evolution. Dr. Butler emphasizes the idea that education is giving one his racial inheritance. Dr. O'Shea argues that education is adjustment. Others claim that education is making one efficient. One teacher dubs education as, " learning to read, write, and cipher while gathering a smattering of geography, history, physiology, science and literature."

A New Definition.—Undoubtedly the old aim of education for culture is waning and the newer aim of education for vocational training is gaining. It seems to me that we need education for both culture and vocational training. Keeping both aims in view, let us see if we cannot put together some of the theories as to what education is and out of the synthesis get a definition which will serve as a guide for teachers of to-day. With this in mind, we say : " Education is the process of making one conscious of his racial inheritance in order that he may be better adjusted and of more efficient service to his fellows."

To this objection may be made that, as with the definition, " Education is preparation for complete living," it gives us no idea of how one is to be educated. That is answered in the following pages of the book, so far as I understand what agriculture can be made to do. Again it may be objected that the definition, " Education is the process of making one conscious of his racial inheritance in order that he may be better adjusted and of more efficient service to his fellows," does not tell us to what he is to be adjusted. Of course we mean adjusted to his environment and at the same time gathering power to change that environment where it may be changed to his advantage.

Now taking one or all of the foregoing definitions of education, let us ask ourselves what power or possibilities have the study and practice of agriculture to help toward the desired end ? Has the study of agriculture an educational value equal to or superior to that of other studies found in the common schools, the high schools and the colleges?

Agriculture and Life.—This book is the best argument that I can give to prove that agriculture helps one to live the freer, broader, deeper and more helpful life. It needs no argument to prove that the study of agriculture helps one to make a living not in the selfish, sordid, commercial sense where one profits by the loss of another, but in the higher social-service sense which the Master had in mind when he said, " He that loseth his life shall find it. Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you." Luther Burbank puts the thought beautifully when urging more men to stay on the farms and take up plant breeding. He says, " And thus with better fruits, nuts, grains, and flowers will the earth be transformed and men's thoughts turned from the base destructive forces into the nobler productive ones, which will lift to higher planes of action toward that happy day when man shall offer his brother, not bullets and bayonets, but richer grains, better fruits and fairer flowers."

Agriculture Enlarges Consciousness and Helps Adjustment.—Throughout this book there runs the thought that the study of agriculture enlarges consciousness and enables one to see much in what now appears little. Since man must live by the sweat of his brow and be housed, clothed and fed from the products of the soil, and since the amount of land is fixed while population is increasing, it needs no argument to prove that the study of agriculture enables one to become better adjusted to his environment and gives power to adjust environment to self. Education for culture is a noble ideal, but it is useless to talk of higher culture for the great mass of humanity until they are better housed, fed and clothed, and until they have surplus leisure and are taught to use that leisure rationally. As Mr. Roosevelt says, " The hard materialism of our frontier life is now giving way to a harder materialism " where wealth is grasped for emulation and where money is spent lavishly for things that are destructive of human good. I believe that I show in the following pages how agriculture may be made to do its part toward giving us higher ideals while giving us more food, shelter and clothing. Our civilization rests on agriculture and we must learn to gain culture through agriculture or go without culture for the masses.

Agriculture and Our Racial Inheritance.—From one view-point education is giving a child his racial heritage. This idea was at the foundation of our American public school system. In 1647, the Massachusetts colony established a system of schools, " in order that learning may not be buried in the graves of our fathers." And yet we let young girls begin teaching unconscious of the fact that there are such educational principles as that children learn most readily and remember most clearly when they value that which they are learning, that the natural interests of a child should influence the course of study, that children learn and retain most easily when the words which they read and spell are symbols of what they recently did, saw or experienced, that we respect and love, in our later years, what those whom we considered above us respected and loved when we were children. Early interests condition the will.

Not only in pedagogy, but in agriculture as well, does the law hold that unless we give a child his racial inheritance, " three-score years and ten " the knowledge of to-day will be buried in the graves of our ancestors. With the death of every elderly individual there is slipping away from us knowledge to be gained again, if gained at all, by costly experience. Agriculture is necessarily a localized industry. Elderly people have gathered much valuable information as to the time to plant, the best varieties of fruits, grains, vegetables, the relative value of one line of farming over another, etc. They have paid heavily for their information as to when to gather the crop. They had to lose a potato crop or two in order to learn when the danger time comes. It is one function of education to get that information into the consciousness of the young. There are those who tell us that the home should do that. We answer, the home does not do so and with our shifting population it is doubtful if the home can do so. The booklet work described in detail in another place offers a chance to convey this localized information. And the booklet work offers a place for conveying the information from the specialists whose function is described in the next paragraph.

The Agriculturist and the Specialists.—Many of the large corporations employ expert men to gather information and to convey that information to the foremen and the laborers, for the improvement of the business. One of the large machine companies has an expert to weigh every part of each machine and then to test its strength in order to see if the weight cannot be reduced without endangering the strength and durability of the machine. Just so the farmers have an expensive, unless ration-ally used, experiment station system, to gather information of vital interest to the farmers. Is it right that the farm boy be allowed to become a man ignorant of this information ? Without the help of the experts, he cannot buy this information with less than half a life of costly experience. Diseases of plants, dangerous weeds and how to eradicate them, the food value of different feeding stuffs, the effects of breeding in different ways, or with different crosses, improved plants and animals, commercial fertilizers, and a host of other things are carefully investigated at these experiment stations. These reports are given in government and experiment station bulletins, free to the people whose taxes pay for both the experts and the publication of the bulletins. These bulletins and the reading of some of them should become an organic part of every school having farm children in it.

Mr. Roosevelt put this matter tersely in his Utica speech : " One reason why the great business men of to-day have gone ahead, while the farmer has tended to sag behind, is that they (the business men) are far more willing to profit by expert knowledge the knowledge that can come only as a result of the higher education. From railways to factories no great industrial concern can nowadays be carried on save by the aid of a swarm of men who have received a high technical education in chemistry, in engineering, in electricity, in one or more of a score of subjects. The railway man does not ask the college-trained experts to tell him how to run his business, but he does ask numbers of them each to give him expert advice. In just the same way the farmer should benefit by the advice of the technical men. During the last half century we have begun to develop a system of agricultural education at once practical and scientific, and we must go on developing it. And after developing it, we must use it."

The New Agriculture.—No one claims to be fully conscious of the ultimate outcome of the movement introduced into American life which has given us what we call the New Agriculture, which makes farming an applied science. Few even among educators are conscious of this new awakening and of the handicap with which one will start in life who was not in his early years put into possession of this spirit, the technic and the accumulated information of the specialists and of preceding generations. Few are conscious that the teachers in those States where agriculture is taught in the schools are inculcating in the young a love and confidence in their State which means much for the future; while in those States where little has been done along the line of teaching agriculture, the people are leaving faster than the natural increase and immigration together can replace their numbers. But we are becoming conscious of the fact that in rural districts where agriculture is not taught, there is growing an ever-widening breach between the school and the rural home.

This growing separation between the school and the home comes from two things : First, the teachers, being unconscious of the New Agriculture, hold farmers and farm life in contempt and by their incidental remarks, their lack of interest and their inability to draw illustrations from anything but books and town, are spreading a desire for town life; and in return the teachers are gradually inculcating in the minds of educated people who live in the country an utter contempt for the poor pedagogue with limited capacity to learn from nothing but books. Our schools are " filled with uneconomic women and ease-loving men." The Country Life Commission says, " School-teaching is burdened with tradition." The second cause for the growing gap between some homes and some schools is the fact that the home itself has changed. In the old home from which both teacher and pupils came, all were taught to do many things. Now we are becoming over-specialized and hence ignorant and unappreciative of what the other fellow is doing. What we in the United States need are the many-sided men and women who see the value in every good and can point it out in an interesting way. We need for an ideal " the child in the larger contact," as Drummond would say; or " the child of the many-sided interest," as the Herbartians say.

Agriculture vs. Nature Study.—It was the hope of those who introduced it that nature study would give us the child of the larger contact, and in many schools the so-called " Fundamental Nature Study " is doing all that we can ask, but in too many schools nature study has become a sentimental matter dealing with trifles and always stopping just short of anything practical. Teachers need to be reminded that children in a rough way pass through the same stages as did the race; that man's human superiority is due largely to the development of hand rather than brain. This means that a child learns by doing, that he often does before he becomes conscious of what he is doing, and that in the lower grades the child should have life enriched with actual experience with simple and fundamental things of life; while in the high schools and colleges, the same pupil should have life enriched by science or classified knowledge. The race did not at first begin science with the microscope, or pick flowers and fruit to dry, press, stick on paper, poison, and finally " label with jaw-breaking, Latinized, polysyllabic names."

Much of our nature study is positively immoral. Every season our teachers send forth an army of youngsters to devastate field and forest of every vestige of native flower. While living in a small city, I had my flower bed looted daily by the children from the primary room who stole the flowers to take to their dear teacher. It was the common practice for the boys taking botany in a certain university town, to raid some one's yard each night, in order to get specimens for the class next day. And throughout the course not one word was said against the practice or about how to plant, propagate, and care for the plants; they were learning to analyze and classify flowers. Such practice makes one feel like the boy in the story. IIe was praying and, while doing so, his little sister tricked him on the foot with a feather, until he prayed, " Oh, God, excuse me just a minute, until I lick the dickens out of Annie.

Agriculture vs. Text-Books.—In the United States, we have become so infatuated with text-books and text-book teaching that we have lost all tendency to do original work. Everything is measured by the text-book. " Books," says Emerson, " are among the best of things, well used ; abused, among the worst.

They are for nothing but inspiration. I had better never see a book than be warped by its attractions clean out of my own orbit." It is to be hoped that we can save the subject of agriculture from the text-book cripple. As Professor Bailey says, " Everything will depend upon whether this teacher can escape from text-book drudgery and the old four-walled laboratory method. Agricultural subjects are alive and they are out-of-doors; it is for this reason that many persons are looking to the introduction of these subjects to be a quickening agency in the schools." If a teacher cannot teach the subject, it is to be hoped that she will leave agriculture alone. But the fact is any bright young man or woman can teach something valuable in agriculture provided he or she becomes conscious of the fact that the natural interests of the children should be the guide.

It must not be understood that we advocate that the teacher should not read books and bulletins on agriculture. She should read much, and one of the most important aims in teaching agriculture is to get the children to read and to introduce into their homes the bulletins of the State and the United States departments of agriculture. As a result of the teaching of agriculture in the public schools, the farm journals and the many excellent books that are now appearing on every phase of country life and farm practice, should find a place in our rural homes, in our schools and public libraries.

Agriculture Gives Executive Ability.—It was not so much the information that the farm boy got as his many-sided interest and his intellectual and work-habit discipline that accounts for the leadership of the men reared on the farms. What in the present school course equals a good farm as a place to train the senses and the power of observation ? The song of the bird, the chirping of the insect, the blight on leaf or flower, the crawling snake, the light foot of the rabbit are easily understood by the delicately trained ear and eye of the farm boy. For him, each domestic animal has its language which tells of health or sickness. Sight and hearing and touch and smell are in constant use on the most varied of objects. But memory and imagination coupled with quick action are called for no less often. The breaking of a calf, sheep, dog or goat (Fig. 2), the driving of a team, the adjustment of farm machines, the planting and ripening of grain—all call for memory and reasoning coupled with quick decision and action. And then the power to work though the body be weary and the muscles ache or the power to be alone and meditate—to develop these, what equals plowing, harrowing, harvesting, or husking corn, picking fruit, coffee or tending sugar cane ? These are what make the boy from the country superior to the boy in the town. And yet, where is the school that allows this boy to enter with this splendid equipment of mind and body and not feel in disgrace because he is somewhat behind his town cousin in books ? The country boy knows the real things, the town boy, the symbols as found in the books on arithmetic, geography, grammar, and history.

Agriculture Makes Better Citizens.—The first attribute of a good citizen is the power and desire to make an honest living, therefore our schools should enable him to read with pleasure any book that will help him toward that end. But it must not be understood that we argue that the tiller of the soil should read books on agriculture only. The next attribute of a good citizen is the power or desire to use his leisure so as to become something better and nobler each day. The farm child is not to be shut off from the masters in science, art, and religion. The farmer needs the love of beauty and harmony that comes from contact with Greek thought as revealed in Greek art and literature. He needs the love of order and obedience to law that come from loving contact with the old Romans. He needs vision and imagination stimulated by the early English writers (Fig. 3). He needs the power to adjust himself readily to human associates, which comes with an intimate knowledge of human nature as revealed in the classic dramas and novels. The farmer needs the inspiration and the broader and deeper outlook that come from reading the master poets of all the ages. No country is safe with a democratic form of government unless. a large pro-portion of its people have their minds brought into contact and held in contact until they work with ease and pleasure on the productions of the masters. The key to history is in the conflict of different races. Other races are making valuable discoveries of which we may learn only through their literature. Unless a large number of our people read the foreign languages, some day " cur children or our children's children will mourn for our negligence."

The human mind loves to gather from the experience of others, but it loves also to share its experience with others. Our public schools, by not offering an outlet for the pent-up longing in the breast of many a child, lead him to a dawdling sentimentalism. Not all children love to write. Some love to do. How-ever, many a child who might be led to do something or write something of great value to his race, now sits around with a longing to win in athletics or to write something sentimental be-cause these are the fields where he has most often heard of young people winning distinction. A few years ago, the editor of the New York Independent compiled the life histories of a number of Americans in different occupations. Of these people, only one was dissatisfied with her lot in life. She was the wife of an Iowa farmer. It was her desire to become an author, but since she lived on an Iowa farm, she thought that she could come in contact with nothing worth writing about. Poor, unconscious woman, surrounded by nature on every side and possibilities undreamed of ! She might by learning and telling in an interesting way the life history of a single insect and how to control it, or the work of a single bird, toad, frog, snake, germ, blight, smut, or whatever it may be; she might by becoming conscious of it and its bearing on human life and by telling what she has learned in an interesting way, do her fellow-worker more real good than has any writer of fiction or drama. If this poor woman had been led to see, in her public school days, that in the comparative study of animal intelligence we have one of the most promising fields for explaining some of the deepest problems in human conduct, she would have found her work of " driving the calves across the road and leading the colts to water" anything but the drudgery which she so laments. If she had been wakened to the possibilities of introducing fruit and vegetables of better cooking or keeping qualities, she would have found her little kitchen and cellar anything but uninteresting. Those who have seen Domestic Science and Fundamental Nature Study introduced into the grades and Elementary Agriculture and Domestic Economy as living, out-of-door subjects introduced into high school (Fig. 4), have seen young girls awakened to possibilities of human service in the kitchen, and boys awakened to possibilities on the old farm, undreamed of while they were chasing books for an ideal. In this connection I wish that the teacher would read Markham's " Man with the Hoe," and ask herself :

Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?

If there be such among us, or if we develop a country peasantry as low and degraded as that of Europe, at the doors of our public schools part of the shame and disgrace must lie. But we must not hope to make life on the farm all joy and pleasure. One of the unfair comparisons so often heard is that where the average man or woman on the farm is compared with the rich in town. The only fair comparison is to compare the life of the farmer with the life of the laborer in town. It is often claimed that there are more women in proportion to population who go insane on the farms than in town. The superintendent of the Iowa hospital denies this but says that there are more of those who were reared in town and then move to the country, for which they were unprepared by previous education and training. I quote the following from Dr. Pauline E. Leader, physician at the Clarinda, Iowa, hospital. Speaking of this woman who came from the city or town, she says : " She does not realize until late that she has been burning her taper at both ends. She begins to weaken, she is slow with her work, she tries to hurry ; confusion takes the place of order; she begins to worry, and worry is to work what discord is to music; little things annoy her, she becomes irritable, begins to feel depressed, peculiar ideas take possession of her, and the result is mental unbalancing. The short, busy season will not always permit the woman on the farm to systematize or plan her work so that there will be no more than she can easily accomplish in one day, so that mind and body may have a relaxation or rest some time during the day. She often arises tired and weary in the morning, plods along all day, walking the treadmill of daily routine, for she is mother, housekeeper, dairymaid, washerwoman, and fills various other places indoors, while she is often gardener, milk-maid, and chore boy outside, and often with all this she is preparing for the coming of the stork; race suicide is no part of her thought or creed. She works on into the late hours of the night, for each day brings more than its own work, and before the tired muscles and nerves are relaxed and renewed by sleep, she is up and at the same or similar work again.

" She never takes time to rest and drink in the beauties of nature all about her, to watch the sunrise, to listen to the robin's song or the blue bird's call, to study plant life, etc. Her work is never done. She never reaches the end of her goal. The farmer woman usually has a double worry, that of her own and that of her husband who often confides all of his cares and worry to the tired brain, thoughtless of the psychic suicide he is helping his wife to commit. Hence she helps her husband worry over the crops and stock, fearing lest the season be too dry or too wet for the oncoming crops. Thus it is true that ` evil in this world is as oft begot by want of thought as by want of heart.' " -

What are our school teachers doing to help this noblest of the world's mothers ? Is there anything in the arithmetic or grammar, the reading or composition lessons that sends the children home more appreciative of mother's and father's efforts? Is there anything in the school that gives the children inspiration to go home and work off some of their surplus energy helping to care for the garden ? What are the children getting in school that sends them home with joy to talk over with mother the life of the birds or the beauties of animals and plants? Preaching is important, but I would rather be a school teacher who sends her children home to inspire and cheer mother, than be the preacher who thrills the people of a great cathedral.

The Bread Basket and Universal Peace.—Then, too, for ages mothers have been bearing sons for men to shoot in war. Sixty per cent of the governmental revenues of a number of European countries goes to defray the expenditures for army and navy. In America we hear men arguing for larger appropriations for our army and navy. But really the most certain and secure national defence is to be found in the bread basket filled by the American farmer. English working people must eat. German laborers demand American breadstuffs. Let a boat loaded with American breadstuffs be crossing the Atlantic and we have the protection of the most powerful battleships of the nation for which that boat has cleared. Increased exportation of foodstuffs offers increased prosperity and happiness at home and increased protection and friendship of the nations abroad.

Twentieth century woman in her clubs must be made conscious of the power of better agriculture in America to help us to realize that happy day " when man shall carry to his fellow-man not bayonets and bullets " but more bread and meat and raw products for labor to work upon. Women on our farms must be made conscious that they and their families are part of a great organization and that in the last analysis the farmer is doing quite as much as any one to usher in universal peace.

The Economic Value of Agriculture.—In the preceding pages, I indicated some of the distinctively educational values of the study of agriculture. It now remains for me to give some of the economical, aesthetic, ethical and religious values as first outlined by Professor Hodge. Those wishing a fuller treatment of these topics should read Chapter I of Hodge's " Nature Study and Life," also pages 156 to 161 of Foght's " The American Rural School." The most significant thing in American history is frontier life, and the most significant thing in frontier life is the dead earnestness about making a living. If teachers wish to make their schools popular with the people, they must make them practical. And that means that the teachers must enable the children to become men and women able to make more money. And that in turn means vocational education, though, if rightly directed, there will be more to vocational training than increased earning ability. In a democracy like ours, people must be taught to find pleasure in the content of their work or the government is in danger.

If from the start the parents see that the children come home with renewed interest and enthusiasm for the farm and the farm work; if the farmers see from the first that the children come home with new and valuable information about pests and how to control them, or if they have learned to select better seeds, to select and take better care of the stock, and to be more economical of the feeding stuffs, agriculture in the schools will be popular, and money for the schools wherein it is taught will be given freely. The economic is not necessarily the highest value but it is basic. That was wise advice that Professor Holden gave to the progressive teachers in Page County, Iowa, when he told them to begin the work in agriculture by having the pupils learn to test milk and seed corn. When the farmers saw that the children had learned how to weed out the poor cows and the ears of corn that would not grow, they had no objections to the other work done in agriculture. In teaching agriculture as in oratory the same rule will hold: begin with the highest motive to which your people will respond and then pass to a higher and a higher. Teachers of agriculture aim at " the universal diffusion of the maximum amount of the most important knowledge."

The AEsthetical Value of Agriculture.—Children have an instinctive love of the beautiful. In fact, love of the beautiful begins way back of the human race. The most superficial study of animals and plants makes it plain that their lives are largely shaped and controlled by influences that make for beauty. The beauty of shape and color in flowers is undoubtedly due to the choice of insects that are attracted by them. Even the odors are due to the choice of insects. The mating of animals has led to a natural selection that has given us the bright plumage and other colored parts, the heavy manes, the proud struts and the beautiful shapes of many of the animals. While this instinct for the beautiful is present in all normal children, it may like other instincts or tendencies be allowed to remain dormant until the child ceases to respond or get pleasure from the really beautiful. Much of our hard pioneer life has tended to crush out this instinctive love for the beautiful. And yet, strange as it may seem, the love for the beautiful is a very " practical " affair. When our farmers are more like the farmers of France and put up their farm products in neater, nicer looking form, their prices will rise rapidly. When their fruit is better sorted and boxed, when their butter looks more attractive, when their eggs are graded as to form, color, and size, when they bring their milk to town in more attractive cans; the amount consumed and the price paid will be greatly in favor of the farmer. Even a beautiful lawn and well-kept buildings often win a farmer city customers who pay much more than the regular market prices.

The first half of the twentieth century is the critical period aesthetically for many States. The buildings and other temporary improvements of the pioneers are to be replaced by permanent improvements. If our schools turn out a generation sensitive to the beautiful, we need have no fear but that the beauty of the country will give way to greater beauty of the permanent home makers. Esthetic culture will teach the country folk to love their open skies, their beautiful groves and open prairies, their wonderful landscapes with their golden harvests, their woods and their orchards. If we teach the children to appreciate the beautiful, they will be content to dwell in the country, and when they are away, they will long to return to the beauty, the quietness and contentedness of the country. But we cannot make children love the beautiful by talking about it and nothing more. To love the beautiful, we must study, and dig, and plant, and compare, and hold communion frequently, and for a long time. Nothing short of living consciousness of the beautiful will make us love the beautiful.

The Moral Value of the Study of Agriculture.—If we teach children to become men and women who make more money, and if we teach them to love the country for its beauty, then we teach them to desire to build up the country, and hence the economic and the aesthetic values of agriculture have an indirect bearing on the social or ethical development of a people. But with agriculture in the school there will come more property that belongs to the pupils and ownership leads to a respect for the ownership of others. We learn to love trees and lawns and birds and pets and flowers and fruits by having and caring for these things ourselves. Vandalism, like other forms of crime, is usually due to ignorance or to short-sightedness. The melon patches are looted by those who never raised melons, the fruit is stolen by those who do not grow fruit. The birds are killed by those who do not have orchards infested with insects or those who do not know that a single downy woodpecker, eating but one codling moth a day, for the hundred and fifty days between April and December, will save $585 worth of apples from becoming wormy. The weeds are allowed to grow by those who have no garden or pastures to protect. Destruction of injurious insects takes on a new meaning when one has a pet or plants that are being injured. Not being told but doing, not seeing but owning, gives us respect for the property and the property rights of others.

The Religious Value of the Study of Agriculture.—If one can make a better living, find more beauty, and do more to help others, he is not far from leading a religious life. No human being can live in loving, first hand contact with nature without loving its author. It is natural to pass through nature to God. The love of nature soon leads to the love of God. Those who hold communion with nature soon hear the still small voice and this, as Foght says, " Offers the teachers manifest opportunity to take advantage of the ` still voice' of nature to reach the inner recesses of the child's soul to instil there a love for well-doing in looking after the happiness of God's created things." If a child is correctly taught, he learns to read nature as a " message from God, fresh written every morning." But in many instances where we have not taught agriculture, the farmer in his haste to get rich has forgotten to learn to live, he has not learned to love nature, his work or his God.



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