Normals And Abnormals
( Originally Published 1899 )
NORMAL means natural or conformable to a type. The term may be applied to a child that at birth has a perfect body or to one whose physical or mental development is approximately the same as that of the average child of an equal age. If imperfectly formed, or if much beyond or behind in development, he is called abnormal. The term abnormal may be applied to a child who is unusually bright for his age as well as to one who is unusually stupid; to one who is excessively large for his age as well as to one who is particularly small. It is also applied to any one who is misshapen in any way, or who has unnatural enlargement or atrophy of any physical organ. The variation should be sufficiently marked to be readily noticeable in each case before the term abnormal can be properly applied.
Unusually bright children are often called precocious; unusually dull, defective. The term exceptional is applied to both classes by many writers. The child of six years of age that knows as much as the average child of ten is as much an object of interest and inquiry as the child at ten that knows no more than the average child at six. There is scarcely a schoolroom anywhere in which both are not found. Some children have fine memories, and yet seem utterly wanting in judgment; others remember practically every-thing they hear, but can recall little that they see. Occasionally a child is met that has prodigious mathematical ability and yet can not be made to understand the merest rudiments of language or of science.
Many children seem to be perfectly formed externally, and yet are seriously defective in one or more of the special senses or in some of the vital organs. While the per cent of children seriously defective at birth is small, the per cent more or less deficient is much larger than many people suppose. Occasionally a family is found in which every child is defective physically, the defect being of the eye in one, of the ear in another, possibly of both in a third, of motor control in a fourth, a defect of the brain or of some other organ in a fifth. In many families but one defective child may be found, the others being perfectly formed. In some families a child with a serious physical blemish has not been known for generations.
Some physically deformed children seem to be little more than freaks, so subtle are the causes producing the deformities. Several cases coming within my personal knowledge are so unusual on both sides of the family that the recognized laws of heredity do not account for them. In some cases the failure of certain bones to ossify properly, the arrested development of the cerebral tissues, the paralysis of the motor nervous system, the withering or shrinking of an arm or a leg, the atrophy of a special sense, seems to be due to some adventitious or accidental cause, as is frequently seen in other animals and in plants. In many children the physical deformities are easily traceable to measles, mumps, spotted fever, spinal meningitis, typhoid fever, whooping-cough, scar-let fever, scrofula, smallpox, and other disuses. In such cases, the physical deformity is not usually accompanied by an impairment of the mental faculties. Investigations show that in a large majority of cases spinal curvature, bandy legs, pigeon toes, and distortions of similar character are due to bad habits in sitting, standing, or walking in childhood. Not a few of them may be charged to the unsatisfactory desks in use in the schools. Inherited weakness may be the remote cause in many cases, but proper care might have prevented serious perversion.
Inherited diseases and deformities may be traced to one of three general causes: a similar disease or deformity in one or both parents, constitutional weakness in one or both, or bad habits in one or both. Instances without number might be cited to prove the regularity with which the law of heredity transmits the infirmities of the parents to the children. Its significance would be most appalling were it not for the fact that the same law governs the transmission of physical excellence, and that wise treatment may largely overcome the evils of heredity. Parents conscious of their own constitutional tendencies have by a rigid system of hygiene maintained such a vigorous physical tone in themselves and in their children that the prospective affections have been entirely averted. The presence of any constitutional or chronic malady in either parent is always evidence of its probable appearance in the children, and if this study does nothing more than put those in authority over them on the alert for the discovery and for the intelligent treatment of such cases, it will deserve well of mankind. It is an interesting fact that certain apparently opposite physical temperaments, though constitution-ally weak, bring forth strong and healthy off-spring. This tendency to mutual correction shows itself even in trivial irregularities. A neighbor's nose pointed distinctly to the right. The nose of his wife pointed to the left. The daughter's nose was normal!
The effect of the habits and occupations of the parents upon their children needs special emphasis. A few generations of musicians insure the fingers of the coming children to be well adapted to play upon musical instruments. The children of the lacemakers inherit that delicacy and suppleness of the muscles of the hand by which their ancestors have ever excelled their competitors in the markets of the world. Insurance companies not only lay great stress upon the constitutional tendencies of a candidate's ancestors, but also upon his personal habits as well. Anything that affects a man's vitality affects that of his future offspring also. The long train of physical infirmities in children that may easily be traced to narcotic habits in one or both parents is well known. The responsibility that a persistent user of alcohol or tobacco assumes is now so clearly established that it seems superfluous to appeal to statistics concerning it.
In the matter of eyesight alone, Dr. T. H. Dinsmore discovers thirty-one defectives out of eighty-six children whose fathers were addicted to alcoholic beverages. Out of three hundred and ninety-nine children whose fathers used tobacco before and after marriage, two hundred and twenty-four had weak eyes. The inquiries included children of old soldiers who used tobacco before their children were born; and it was found that one hundred and ten out of one hundred and fifty-six examined had impaired vision. It is con-ceded that some of the responsibility should be attributed to the hardships of the field, and possibly to other causes, but the summary contains a plain warning. One of Dugdale's Juke tables shows that but one out of nineteen temperate Jukes was diseased, and that ten out of thirteen intemperate were in ill health. Dr. Tatham, the British registrar-general, believes that the use of alcohol is the chief cause of excessive death rates, and says that the liquor trades are fatal to those who engage in them. His figures show the clergy to be the healthiest people in the world.
Physical degeneration in parents, whether caused by alcoholism, the opium habit, licentiousness, or excesses of any other kind, seldom fails to manifest itself in some way in the bodies of its progeny. Sometimes the subtle poison does not begin its work until manhood or middle life, but it often discloses its presence in the cradle. Nervous disorders, scrofulous tendencies, proneness to epilepsy, pulmonic weakness, and kindred affections, with their mournful train of miseries, tell too plainly that somebody has violated the laws of Nature. Joseph Cook quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying, in response to the declaration that any disease may be cured if a physician is called early enough, that the statement is true, " but ` early enough' would usually mean two hundred years in advance." Miss Clark, a high authority, says: " The imbecile is the result of corrupt living, frequently of guilt, sometimes of a line of ancestry unbrightened for a generation by a single responsible moral individual. In every case where a child has not been made imbecile through some prenatal shock, accident, or sickness, somewhere in the family annals there have been opium eating, immoral living, drunkenness, insanity, imbecility, or actual crime—perhaps all." Thirty-four per cent of the imbecile children are the immediate offspring of intemperate parents.
Inherited physical deformity means mental deformity, particularly when the former is an affection of the cerebral or sensory nerves, or even of the motor organism. So positively has this been demonstrated that in the treatment of feeble-minded and insane children, as well as of adults, physicians attempt to correct physical disorder first. With the normal physical functions restored, mental equilibrium also ordinarily returns.
Maudsley says, " No one nowadays who is engaged in the treatment of mental disease doubts that he has to do with the disordered function of a bodily organ of the brain." Ufer asserts that "by far the larger part of mental disturbance in children is due to bodily complaints; a good proportion of these can be cured, whereas, if ignored, incurable diseases will arise"
The gradations from the strictly normal mind fo the completely unbalanced mind follow very closely the gradations from the perfect nervous organism to that state of the brain in which all cerebral action is uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Intellectually speaking, the term normal is usually applied to a variety of minds even slightly defective in some directions, just as the term normal is applied to bodies which are approximately perfect. It should be borne in mind that every case varying from the normal, inside and outside the range just named, is, if not merely slow in development, just so much away toward imbecility or insanity. The causes leading to mental defects are, in general, the same as those already mentioned as leading to physical defects. Some investigators think that mental traits are often directly transmitted by inheritance, though others maintain that the physical traits are responsible for the transmission in all cases. However that may be, mental activity and mental growth are dependent upon the facility and exactness with which the physical organism per-forms its functions. If any of the sense organs be defective, there must be a corresponding lack of perception of the external world, and a consequent retardation in mental development. Superintendent Klock, after a thorough examination of the pupils in the Helena city schools, says that " in cases where children have attended school regularly for from eight to twelve years, and are from six months to two years behind in their grades, the loss of time is due almost invariably to defective eyesight or hearing, one or both." The mind is dependent upon the senses for the material which it elaborates into knowledge. Its higher activities develop normally only as the lower supply material in abundance and variety, hence the disadvantage under which every sense-defective labors.
Physical and mental defectives are, generally speaking, moral defectives. It is well to remember here that a moral defective is not necessarily actively bad. He may be simply motiveless, or without impulse to moral action of any kind. Four classes of morally defective children may be recognized:
1. The harmless, passive sort, little energy, little strength in desire of any kind.
2. Those inclined to the good, though with little will power, easily misled.
3. The stubborn, evil-minded, cruel, sensuous passions prominent, intellectually dull.
4. The cunning, dishonest, inclined to petty thieving and to sneaking tricks, intellectually bright.
All these classes of moral abnormals, more or less defined, are often found in one school room. In a few localities they embrace a dangerously large proportion of the school children. As a consequence their management becomes a most perplexing problem. The intelligent treatment of moral defects must ever depend upon a knowledge of their origin.
Pathologists and criminologists generally agree that the law of heredity accounts for moral temperaments as fully as for the physical and intellectual. The authenticated story of the Juke family already mentioned may be approximately duplicated a thousand times over. In one hundred and fifty years " the descendants of one man, a hunter and fisher, a hard drinker, jolly and companionable, averse to steady toil, working hard by spurts and idling by turns, becoming blind in his old age, and entailing his blindness upon his children and grandchildren," contributed one hundred and forty criminals and offenders, including seven murderers. This showing does not include the long list of paupers, harlots, roustabouts, drunkards, petty thieves undetected, liars, cheats, disturbers of the peace, etc. Ribot tells of an educated man who secretly indulged in the alcoholic habit. Only one of his five children lived to maturity. That one was cruel almost from birth, and delighted in torturing animals in every conceivable way. He soon proved physically and mentally feeble, and at nineteen went to the insane asylum. Morel examined one hundred and fifty " children of the commune," ranging from ten to seventeen years of age, and says: "I am confirmed in my previous convictions as to the baneful effects produced by alcohol, not only in the individuals who use this detestable drink to excess, but also in their descendants. On their depraved physiognomy is impressed the threefold stamp of physical, intellectual, and moral degeneracy."
The transmission of certain kinds of immoral instincts is also clearly established. In some families it is lying; in others, cattle-stealing, homicide, burglary, pocket-picking, quarreling, incendiarism, dishonesty, forgery, licentiousness, etc. Recently a newspaper stated that a noted cattle thief had been killed, and added significantly that several other members of his family are now serving sentences in the penitentiary for cattle-stealing.
But heredity is not the only force effectively at work in a child's early life corrupting his moral nature. Environment, as a deadly nightshade, insidiously pours its venom into his heart. Breathing the fetid air of an ill-ventilated, drunken home, hearing nothing but oaths and obscene words from dissolute and vicious parents, mingling with foul-mouthed, mischief-plotting companions, taught that to lie and steal and fight make the ideal man, is it a wonder that the boy enters school "morally abnormal" ? His hereditary tendency being enforced by such environment and training, it were a miracle if it were other-wise. From such a home as that all the way up to the ideal fireside are homes lacking in varying degrees the spirit and assistance necessary to build up true moral character. Put a child blest with a royal inheritance in such an environment, and what must be his fate?
This much space has been given to illustrate the causes that produce weak and abnormal children in the hope that sufficient interest may be aroused to insure a more exhaustive study of the unfortunates who ever appeal to us for sympathy and help. The average teacher and parent is too much disposed to ignore the presence of these fundamental defects in his children, and to treat them with a harshness that aggravates rather than relieves the infirmity. They overlook the law that the slightly abnormal tendencies of early child-hood, unless intelligently corrected, may even in early manhood bring utter ruin to body and mind. Two seemingly parallel straight lines may be but an inch apart at their origin and yet be ten feet apart at the end of a mile! Sufficient has been said to show that defectives are common enough to re-quire that all persons intrusted with the care and culture of children should familiarize themselves with the peculiarities of each child's physical, mental, and moral nature, and treat it as its individual needs demand. The average child has been given too much attention; the exceptionals, both above and below the average, too little. There has been a vast waste in our attempts to teach children in the mass rather than as individuals; to force them to come up to certain ideal standards rather than to take the time to find and to apply the means which their individual natures demand. Ignorance and thoughtlessness on the part of parents and teachers will not be excused much longer.
Many teachers accidentally discover facts concerning their pupils after they have done them great injustice. A personal friend tells me that one day a pupil asked for the repetition of an ex-planation of a principle which he had just given. He had taken much time and great care in giving it and thought all understood it. With conscious impatience, he exclaimed, " I should think that even an idiot could understand that." Her eyes filled with tears and, as the class filed out, she remained in her chair sobbing convulsively. He apologized for his language, and asked why she was so deeply affected. She replied: " Sir, my mother is in an insane asylum, and we children are in constant dread lest we may go there too. I feared you might be telling the truth, and that I am possibly already an idiot." Though he has taught many years since, he assures me that he has never again spoken unkindly to a pupil.
Some years ago a teacher in one of the grades was annoyed by the slowness of one of his pupils, and in desperation took her by the back of the neck and shook her severely. She had been afflicted a long time with spinal weakness, but at the opening of the year her parents hoped her sufficiently convalescent to enter school again. Her slowness was caused by her malady and her intense desire not to do anything which might cause its return. No wonder that was an anxious night in that household! In a spelling class the other day I asked the students to criticise the work of their classmates, and to mark the misspelled words. One of them complained to me that her critic had marked three words in her writing speller that were correctly spelled, though they had been spelled aloud for her guidance. The next day I took occasion to speak of the matter, assuring them that each critic would be held responsible for his work. As the class was dismissed, the critic mentioned came to me and confessed. I asked why she did it. She replied: " My eyes! I suppose it must be my eyes" Examination showed that she was right, and her many blunders were all explained. I had occasion once to reprimand, for the third or fourth time, a young woman who had been giving me much anxiety by her repeated indiscretions. She smiled as I spoke of her offenses, and giggled as I assured her that she was at the point of suspension. In surprise, I asked why she received my reproof with such levity. She answered that often when she wanted to cry she laughed, and that often when she wanted to laugh she cried. With a word or two, I excused her from the room and sought further light. It came from a friend, who said: " That young woman has suffered from childhood with epilepsy. For a year or more she had been so nearly well that her parents were assured last summer by her physician that if she could be sent among strangers for awhile she would probably forget her affliction, and in her new surroundings attain perfect health and self-control. She undoubtedly told you the truth about her crying and laughing muscles becoming crossed at times. Epileptics can hardly be expected to be either intellectually or morally normal."
A little fellow who was trying " awfully hard" to be good said to his teacher one day: " It is easy for you to be good. Your father was a minister. My father was bad, and drank and swore and gambled, and sometimes I feel that I must do just as he did." A young colored girl in the South said to a noble woman who had befriended her, "When I see how wicked so many of my kindred are, I often wonder whether it can be possible that I shall always live an upright life." These children, and thousands of others like them, are in the schools of every State in the Union. And yet you often hear people speak of " the sickly, sentimental doctrine of heredity!"
But in addition to these there is also a great army of children more or less belated in development along some of the lines heretofore mentioned. The bright, active child is encouraged and given a better chance than his sluggish brother. The natural modesty of one and the frowardness of another may explain the difference in their mental growth, for one has hesitated to improve an opportunity without encouragement, while the other boldly took advantage of it. The former fails to get the experience he needs, while the latter may gain even more than he needs. One child is sent to school because he likes to go, and another is kept at home occasionally because he likes work better than school. Ere long he loses class standing and, after a few spasmodic efforts at attendance, drops out of school forever. This whole chapter is a special plea for the children that for the various reasons cited do not get so good a start as some of their more fortunate brothers and sisters. Some of them are the rarest spirits that ever breathed, but all, no matter what their ancestry or what their talents, are entitled to that sympathy and encouragement which will give them an equal chance with their fellows in the struggle for life. The abnormal tendencies of the race are to be corrected by purifying the blood and perfecting the powers of the individual child.
The suggestions already offered in the various chapters will guide in many of these inquiries, but a few additional ones are here given: Note the peculiarities in each child and seek for their causes. If a child is disposed to be active, does his activity have a purpose, or is it evidently aim-less and purposeless? Discover whether he is sensitive or hysterical; whether he " goes to pieces" easily; whether he is exceedingly voluble, but apparently knows little about anything; whether, though apparently trying, he is failing to make any progress in the work assigned him; whether he is wanting in ideals and motives; whether he is interested in trivial things or in matters of importance; whether the shape of his head is suggestive of feeble cranial capacity; whether the face indicates unusual cunning or shrewdness; whether the mouth and lips provoke a suspicion of vulgarity or sensuality; whether he is retiring, sullen, despondent, sanguine, persevering, standing still, or growing; whether he is defective in speech or muscular control. Whether he is conscious of his defects and whether his fellow-pupils are treating him in such a way as to increase his embarrassment.
The question frequently arises as to the amount of time that should be given to defective or delinquent children. The answer must be found in the needs of all. The interests of all should not be sacrificed for the benefit of the few. The aggressive, ambitious children must not be held back until the slow ones catch up. Absolute uniformity is impossible, much less desirable. If reasonable time and effort fail to accomplish any-thing with a child, he should be put exclusively under individual supervision or sent to a school devoted to serious and obstinate defectives. It should not be supposed that child study means the neglect of Nature's favored ones. It means such an acquaintance with every child as will enable the parent and teacher to adopt such methods of instruction and to produce such environments as will insure the most rapid progress possible in the development of all classes.
For lack of space several important subjects intimately related to the child's growth and well-being must be treated with great brevity.
Infancy, childhood, and youth are the three stages through which the child passes in his movement toward manhood. Sense-perception is the chief characteristic of his intellectual life in in-fancy, memory and imagination become active in childhood, thinking and reasoning predominate in youth. Infancy is the stage of dependence. It is spent at home, because of the individual sympathy and individual supervision then required. The period of childhood in a general way may be said to extend from the fifth to the twelfth year. At the beginning of this period the child is supposed to have attained sufficient development and self-control to enable him to mingle with children outside of his own household with-out much personal supervision; to enable him to take care of himself under ordinary circumstances; and to warrant his being sent to school. Youth begins with the pubescent period, at about the age of twelve. Independence and restlessness under restraint manifest themselves here more emphatically than in either preceding period. The new impulses which the radical physical changes at this time beget start the youth into new lines of inquiry and investigation, not infrequently developing irreverence, heedlessness, selfishness, and disobedience to an unfortunate degree. The grades in the public schools most difficult to govern are those embracing children from eleven to fourteen years of age.
Each of these three periods has several other characteristics peculiar to itself which observation will reveal. The way in which the child adjusts himself to the new environment as he leaves home to enter the schoolroom is an interesting and instructive study. This is one of the critical periods of his life, and for the successful transition discreet management is imperative. In many cases the approach of the pubescent period may be discovered through the mental changes in the child, even before the physical changes are manifest. The dispositions of infancy and childhood, whether good or bad, now usually become positively prominent, and character more clearly defines. Some surprising changes in mental power also occur. A child with a poor memory may suddenly show rare ability in remembering things; one sluggish in perception throughout childhood may become apt in discernment; one with a vivid imagination may become indifferent and prosy; one of habitually happy disposition may show symptoms of discontent or melancholy. If the transition be healthy and natural, the intelligent education and training of infancy and childhood begin at once to show results in superior judgment, in clear moral conceptions, and in a well-balanced will. These three stages in the child's development can not be definitely assigned to the limits mentioned, but they are sufficiently approximate to assist parent and teacher to a better understanding of the more critical years in the child's life and to suggest the need for a thorough understanding of ways and means adapted to each stage.
Children's ideals and motives are constantly changing and methods of instruction and of management must change with them. Many a youth is alienated from his father because his father does not understand him. He has failed to note that the child is a child no longer, but that he is reaching up into manhood and is thinking and reasoning for himself; that he is on that account entitled to have his own views and preferences heard with reasonable consideration. Many a youth goes out into the world for the sympathy and fellowship that are denied him at home.
The stage of the child's development should control in the administration of punishment. Indiscriminate punishment is worse than the indiscriminate use of medicine, however bad that may be. The old idea that retribution should be the controlling aim in the punishment of children is as cruel as it is unreasonable. That idea with very little suggestion comes into more or less prominence in the mind of the child anyhow. Punishment should in general be administered for the purpose of quickening the child's perception of right and wrong and of assisting him to resist temptation. Children err more often from lack of discernment than from lackf desire to do right. They are only learning what is right and what is wrong. Their characters are in the formative state and the spirit of helpfulness should always govern the inculcation of motives, whether through the positive forces of instruction and guidance or through the negative force of punishment. As a means of correction, punishment should serve for a temporary purpose only. The great and ever-active forces in character-building are sympathy and counsel, not punishment, as already explained in the chapter on Manners and Morals. Methods of correction which are slowly driving the child away from parent or teacher are their own condemnation. Nothing but that intimate acquaintance with the individual child demanded in the foregoing chapters will suffice for the wise de-termination of the necessity for punishment and of the kind of punishment that will prove most effective. Differences in disposition, in physical temperament, in sex, in stage of development, in home life, in previous education, in motive, etc., should control in all cases. There is, unfortunately, a widespread tendency to set up a multitude of little rules, for whose infraction the children are punished as impulse prompts. A late report shows that probably five times as many punishments, great and small, are inflicted as a result of a petty whim or for the violation of rules of propriety as for violation of the weightier laws embraced in the Ten Commandments. Children are far more reasonable than is generally supposed; if this be kept in mind, the problem of punishment solves with less difficulty.
The fatigue point is a profitable subject in child study. It has already been incidentally mentioned in connection with the eye. If you look for a few moments at a small red spot on a light-colored object and then look at a white surface, you will see a green spot of about the same shape and size as the former. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that in looking intently at the red spot the capacity of the nerve cells for appreciating the red color is slightly exhausted, while their capacity to appreciate the green, its complementary color, is not called into exercise at all. When the eye turns to the white surface, the capacity to appreciate the green being more acute, it promptly brings that color into prominence at the expense of the red. The regular tick, tick, of the clock becomes tick, tack, because of the slight difference in the exhaustive effects upon the auditory nerve cells. The sense of taste may grow temporarily obtuse to any substance because its nerve cells also become weary from the demands made upon them. This law of fatigue governs every organ of the body, including the muscles and the whole cerebro-spinal system. Rest and sleep are as necessary to the child's health and development as exercise. It is doubtful whether he can get too much sleep in infancy; few take too much in child-hood. Both rest and sleep have a higher purpose than simply to relieve the child of his sense of weariness. Weariness is but a sign by which Nature gives notice that strength is disappearing, and that tissues must be rebuilt and restored. That is a heartless taskmaker indeed, who ignores the law of fatigue in the management of children.
Weariness seems to be chronic with some children. It is often said of a certain child or of a certain man, " He was born tired." Such people are more probably afflicted with laziness which may or may not be inherited. Inquiry will show you, however, that there are some genuine cases of chronic weariness among children, due possibly to weak constitutions, to lung trouble, to heart affection, to nervous depression, to lack of vitality, to continued overexertion, to lack of nourishing food, to lack of exercise, to worry, or to some kindred cause. All these cases appeal at once for kinder consideration than is usually given, but healthy children make the same appeal. It is no more important that the former be made healthy and vigorous than that the latter be kept so. Some children naturally tire more quickly than others. It ought not to be expected that all children should do an equal amount of work in the same time any more than that all should be able to lift equal weights. Work done represents just so much strength used. If all must do the same work, it means that some must be under a high tension and that others must be doing less than they are able. The child should be required to do no more than that which he can do without overexertion, and which will gradually develop additional power from day to day. Excessive weariness at any time means that the work has been too heavy for the child or that it has been continued too long. Frequent rest periods and variety in work are demanded by every child.
It matters little whether the work assigned be physical or mental. The brain tires as well as any other part f-the body. Some kinds of brain work are more exhaustive than others. Statistics show that school programs which ignore the law of fatigue are most wasteful in results. Dr. W. 0. Krohn has tested about forty thousand children with reference to the period of the day when memory is most retentive. He found that if the subjects were taken indifferently during the first school hour of the day, the average retentive power of the pupils was eighty-nine per cent; for the last hour of the morning, sixty-three per cent; for the first hour of the afternoon, seventy-five per cent; for the last hour in the afternoon, seventy-seven per cent. This shows very conclusively that memory is twenty-six per cent more effective during the first morning hour than during the last. When the order of the subjects was reading, grammar, arithmetic, geography, and history, the average was eighty-nine, fifty-eight, sixty-eight, and seventy-six per cent respectively; when the order was arithmetic, elementary science, reading, drawing, geography, and history, the average was eighty-nine, seventy-nine, eighty-two, and eighty-six per cent. This last arrangement of studies increases the retentive power of the aver-age pupil over that of the hit-or-miss program sixteen per cent for the third hour, seven per cent for the fourth, and nine per cent for the last hour of the day. In other words, a rational arrangement of the school program increases the memory power of the children from ten to twelve per cent for the day as a whole a saving of one year in ten in the school life of the child by this means alone. Accuracy and attention tests by other investigators show approximately the same results, though the inquiries have been confined within narrow limits. In collating data on these questions many errors creep in, but the figures are sufficiently definite to show how fruitful in results to the home and the school further inquiries may prove. Of course, the program problem is not to be solved by memory tests alone. Some one is yet to do the children a great service in determining specifically the most profitable study and recitation hours for the different subjects.
A study of the child which ignores the aesthetic instinct would be incomplete. Art realizes itself in expression, or, possibly better, art is expression. Its finer forms are poetry, music, architecture, sculpture, drawing, and painting. In their earlier stages they evidently served a utilitarian purpose, or at most served to give tangible expression to commonplace ideas. The beautiful forms in nature kindled impulses to imitate them, and aesthetic taste slowly developed, becoming more discriminating and more refined with each succeeding generation. In some such way the child begins and progresses in drawing and painting. The first or the hundredth picture may be very crude indeed to us, but it is perfect to him, for it expresses an idea. As long as it symbolizes that to him, it has a mission. Read a story to the children, asking them all to draw pictures of the most interesting parts of it. The collection will show the points in the story most vividly affecting them, and will probably demonstrate the fact that the intellectual rather than the esthetic activities dictate the kinds of pictures they draw. These drawings will also help you to discover the indications of artistic promise among your pupils. It is probable, though, that in most of the children the emotions of the beautiful are aroused through music and song long before they are perceptibly responding to color and form.
The harmony of knowledge and experience is called truth; the harmony or agreement of truth, as ideal, with concrete forms is called beauty; the harmony of truth and personal action is called right. The intimate relationship of the beautiful with the true and the good makes its cultivation essential to the highest attainments in the other two. In the properly educated child the pleasures of the higher senses gradually displace those of the lower, and in their turn they become subordinated to the pleasures of the intellectual life. The fine arts, appealing as they do directly to the senses of hearing and sight, thus become a powerful factor in developing the finer instincts of the child's nature. They stimulate the imagination and quicken all the higher activities of the self. For this reason every child should be surrounded with beautiful things of nature and. of art. The home, however humble, should be architecturally a model, inside and out; its furniture, though plain, should be in good taste, both in design and arrangement; the yard should be beautified by ornamental shrubs and trees, flowering plants contributing their wealth of color to the scene. Such a home costs no more than the ungainly looking boxes which many people set up in barren plots and call a house and its educative effect is beyond estimate. With books on the shelves and pictures on the walls selected with the same taste and judgment, though they be few, the ideal home environment is complete, provided always that a consecrated mother's heart warms every nook and corner in it. What is desirable in the home is, in its way, also desirable in the schoolhouse. All the forces that can be brought to conspire for the cultivation of the aesthetic sense will contribute also to the making of gentler, truer manhood. Superintendent Powell, of Washington, says that since manual training, including drawing, clay modeling, and simple designing, have been introduced into the city schools, many ill-kept and degraded homes have been revolutionized both in appearance and morals. The children take matters into their own hands and become the schoolmasters of their parents, transforming repulsive hovels into cozy, inviting homes. It is an easy step from beauty of form and beauty of language to beauty of thought and action, for they are always mutually strengthening and refining each other.
The unconscious or subconscious influences that alike affect the child and the man are not less powerful in shaping the child's tastes and character than those coming consciously into his life.
The atmosphere of his environment permeates every fiber of his being, giving him tone and temperament that long years of effort can not entirely overcome. Waldstein says that the essentials in education are " about the same among all civilized nations, and that the conscious self is substantially the same wherever schools and colleges exist." The subconscious self, however, which is "built up out of that countless multitude of sub-conscious impressions from the surroundings, customs, language, national types, physical effects of climate, and many other sources is widely different." So effective and yet so subtle are these subconscious forces in infancy and childhood in organizing this fundamental self that doubtless much is attributed to heredity which really owes its existence to them. Conscious imitation is al-ways accounted a great factor in education. In these earlier years unconscious imitation is continually reacting upon the child and molding him after the pattern of those with whom he constantly associates. After I had reached manhood I traveled for nearly a month with a friend who lisped in speaking certain words. Afterward, to my surprise, I found myself lisping a little, and it was years before I was entirely free from it. A distinguished professor in a Western college stammers slightly; so did his father, and so does every one of his five children. There seems to be no physical reason for it. May it not be due wholly to subconscious imitation? One of the most popular teachers of English in the West tells me that she is constantly fighting the influence of the incorrect language of her pupils upon her own language. To this principle is due the fact that a child who reads only books written by masters of diction unconsciously perfects himself in literary style. For all practical purposes, a few years of such reading is worth more than a set course in rhetoric. How important, then, that every, book put into the hand of the child, whether at home or in the schoolroom, be the most perfect book on the subject that the genius of man has created! The relation of these subconscious elements to knowledge was discussed in connection with the sensation continuum in Chapter VIII, and it is hoped that their function in education has been sufficiently emphasized in several places to pre-vent their being overlooked by any reader of this book.
The function of sympathy in the care and culture of children has been recognized ever since Eve named her firstborn, but its unselfish exercise is not so general as its antiquity would warrant us to expect. The social instinct finds its most grateful satisfaction in sympathy, in the consciousness of being the object of disinterested affection and interest. The child as naturally responds to sympathy as does the plant to moisture and sunshine. Many even of his physical impulses await the encouragement of sympathy. His intellectual and moral impulses still more fully depend upon it. Whatever contributes to the child's pleasure at-tracts him, and its unconscious influence upon him is assured. The greatest direct educative force that can be brought to bear upon the child is sympathy; that sympathy which counts no sacrifice too great that may result in good to him; that sympathy which prompts an exhaustive study of his nature and of the various forces by which he may attain to the stature of the highest manhood; that sympathy that goes out alike to the rich and the poor, to the favored and the ill-favored, to the keen-witted and the dullard, to the faithful and the faithless; that sympathy which is long-suffering and kind, which endureth all things, which never faileth. Sympathy is the mother of patience and the inventor of devices. Its touch never chills, its resources never fail. If the study of the child does not quicken affection and interest for it, you are not called to its service, either as parent or teacher. If you are not moved to give it the best of your life, your work must in large measure be vain. The great teachers have ever been men and women of warm hearts and of unselfish devotion.