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would learn perfectly the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer, inscribed on a roll of honor; but very few could do it. They are stupefied and brutalized by ignorance and hard labor.
I do not know whether you will think the story too trifling if I illustrate “our brother in stripes” as a pupil by describing an object lesson that I watched last summer. I had a bright young man, now leading his class in the State University, employed as prison-teacher for the summer.
I spent a week near the prison, going every night to assist him in his work. He had attended the School of Pedagogy at Chautauqua, and was brimful of the “New Education,” which he expounded to me with much eloquence, and to which I listened with that humility which is becoming to old teachers in the presence of the younger lights. The development of thought by the Socratic method was his theme, and he promised to give me a specimen of it in the form of an object lesson that evening. “I shall take the pen as a subject, and bring out by question and answer the story of its development from the reed and quill to the present forms of the steel pen."
When we were seated in the school-room, and had sung and prayed, my young missionary - forming, in his youthful, radiant, Saxon beauty and inherited culture of face and form, a strange contrast to the stupid, dusky African faces around him - drew out his penknife and began after the most approved Quincy method: “Now, my boys, what is this that I hold in my hand :" He elicited the facts that it was a knife a penknife; that there were many kinds of knives — butcher-knives, pocket-knives, table-knives, carving-knives, etc. So far, so good. “But why do we call this one a penknife; who can tell me? Ah! that boy has his hand up. Well, my boy, why is this called a penknife ?” “'Cause you cuts your nails wid it!” called out the hopeful young brother in stripes. The demonstrator of thought-development by the Socratic method glanced rather nervously towards me, but saw only the greatest gravity and deep respect for modern pedagogic methods. So he took heart and began again with renewed courage. “No, no; that answer will not do. Think again. This is a penknife; now why, why a pen knife? Ah! there is a raised hand. I see by that boy's eye that he has thought out the right answer! Now, my boy, tell the class why this is called a penknife.” “'Cause you picks your teef wid it!” shouted the pleased disciple of the modern young Socrates. So that object lesson came to grief — the methods were all right, but the material all wrong. Excuse the apparent levity of this story. I want to give you some idea of the sort of subjects we have to work on.
am sure you will agree with me that this only makes a stronger reason for the work.
I suppose teachers to be familiar with names of noble men who are acting as the world's teachers, therefore I need hardly introduce to you F. W. Wines, of Springfield, Illinois, the present Secretary of the Prison Reform Association, the worthy son of the man who is justly called the Howard of modern times. I wish to end this paper with words from one of his letters: “Take this thought for your encouragement: Every man who is hopeless as to the possibility of elevating mankind as a race or as individuals is deluded by the devil, and plays the part of the devil's agent in so far as he gives expression to this sentiment by word or deed. But the man who works in faith for any of God's lost children is working with God for the accomplishment of a divine purpose, and to doubt that God is stronger than the devil is the worst form of infidelity.”
Take this, also, which was suggested to me by Dr. Wm. T. Harris, who said to me one day: “Those who have the missionary spirit in some one of its many diversitied forms—they only constitute the invisible church."
Do not care too much for sympathy or coöperation in your work. God requires no more patience on the part of His children than He manifests Himself. Whatever may be said of the world, it is God's world, and He will and does take care of it and manifest Himself in it. Never forget that He “loved it.” We must have the same love and pity for those who oppose is in our efforts to bless mankind, as for the ignorant and degraded creatures whom we are trying to help.
THE TEACHER AND THE PAREVT.
MRS. JENNIE S. M'LATCHLAN, CHICAGO, ILL.
I came to St. Paul because I was invited; and the significance of the invitation grows upon me more and more. I accept it not as a personal compliment, but because it is a fitting tribute to the motherhood of the nation, from the grand army who help to educate our children.
This making room for the parent at your teachers' symposium is, as I understand it, a sort of new departure, but we doubtless all agree, in theory at least, that it is a step in the right direction; for do not the school and home coexist for one and the same purpose the training of the child? And shall not the teacher and parent who preside over these two departments join heart and hand in mutual counsel and effort ?
How can either work intelligently and successfully without the support of the other? - and especially how can the parent, endowed by nature with the first and last and largest interest in the child, expect the teacher to do his best when they live as strangers to each other? When the child is sick, we send for the doctor; but we do not merely introduce him to the sick-room, and then
about our household duties. We stay by to answer his questions, to tell him all we know about the causes and conditions of the case, listen anxiously to his diagnosis, and become his willing and obedient servant in helping on the cure.
Is our information less essential?— and shall we show less interest in the
mental and moral treatment for which we hold the teacher so largely responsible?
Admitting that the real purpose of the school as of the home, is characterbuilding, and that the best success demands an active sympathy and honest conference between teacher and parent, what can we do toward making the practice conform more nearly to the theory? For we know
• They're no more like than hornets-nests and hives,
Or printed sarmons be to holy lives." We know that instead of mutual sympathy there exists outward indifference and sometimes inward prejudice; that the relations that should be dovetailed together, are often more fitly illustrated by saw-teeth; that where direct acquaintance exists at all, it has too often been forced by some unpleasantness or unbearable misbehavior on the part of the child.
We know that among you, as teachers, the sentiment prevails that we, as parents, are indifferent to your work; and you confess with a tinge of bitterness, that you care less for the children because we care so little.
Appearances are against us, and I shall not attempt a defense for what seems to be a great lack in our lives. Personally, I am under conviction, and am willing to go forward to the anxious-seat and ask an interest in your prayers,
my sins may be forgiven, and that at this glorious revival meeting I may receive new inspiration to press forward in the performance of duty; and furthermore, that having sought and found the light, I may be instrumental in leading other parents to see and perform their duty more faithfully.
But I am not quite satisfied with confessing the sins of the parents, or willing to admit that they should bear all the blame for non-intercourse. I sat beside an esteer and teacher on the train the other day, and for the sake of a fresher insight into the teachers' feelings, I drew her out a little on the subject in hand. She was not at all slow to respond, and betrayed such intensity of feeling in her denunciation of the shabby treatment of the teachers by the parents, as relieved me, for the time being, of all responsibility in finding fault with myself; and she was so full of her subject that, when our little journey ended, she expressed regrets that the time was so short for relieving her mind. I felt the justice of her accusations, and my only attempt at defense was expressed in the mild question, "Do you think the fault is all on the parents' side? Why shouldn't the teachers call on the parents?” “Oh, that would be considered presuming in aristocratic society.” Allowing that her individual experience may have been such as to create this impression, I am sure it is an unfair estimate of public sentiment in general.
The day is fast passing when a woman loses caste because she earns her living, and the time is at hand when her claim to public respect will be based upon honest effort to pay the world for the privilege of living in it; and although the latest Unabridged reserves for men alone the application of the word loafer, I trust the next revision shall put it in the common gender.
The teacher is honored and respected in the home, and the reason why this respect and interest does not oftener find expression in the hearty hand-grasp, is simply that it is “crowded out.” Not a sufficient reason, I admit, for we should always make room for the best things; yet for the sake of your
indulgent consideration I would fain make you understand how much there is behind it.
Mothers are housekeepers, and to catalogue the innumerable and infinitesimal duties required of us would be an endless task. We are in bondage to details, which not merely follow each other in close succession, but are constantly lapping over in a way that paralyzes systematic effort, and robs resolution of its energy. I have sometimes thought that if I could write up the history of a single day it would be a satisfaction; and I was so much entertained by a mother's statistical annual report — the only one I ever saw that I am tempted to give it to you as a sample summary for the average mother; the only question as to its verity being raised by the query, "How did she ever find time to write it down?” It purports to be an answer to the question of a foolish, innocent man, “How do women kill time?” by a woman who had one husband, two children, two servants, and lived in a house of nine rooms.
Here it is : ** Number of lunches put up, 1,157: meals ordered, 963; desserts made, 172; lamps filled, 328; rooms dusted, 249; times dressed the children, 786; visits received, 897: visits paid, 167; books read, 88; papers read, 553; stories read aloud, 234; games played, 329; church services attended, 125; articles mended, 1.236; articles of clothing made, 120; fancy articles made, 56; hours in gardening. 49; sick days, 44: amusements attended, 10.
Besides the above, I nursed two children through measles, twice cleaned every nook and corner of my house, put up 75 jars of pickles and preserves, made seven trips to the dentist's, dyed Easter eggs, polished silver, and spent seven days in nursing a sick friend, besides the thousand-and-one duties too small to be mentioned. yet taking time to perform."
Please notice that she had two servants, whereas the majority of families can afford only one, or none at all. We know that she had no direct relations to the public school, because her children were too young to dress themselves, and was therefore uninitiated in the wear and tear of one of the liveliest hours of the day, from 8 to 9 1. M.
A teacher has told me that she is weary of that maternal whine, “You can't appreciate the feelings of a mother.” We are glad she cannot; and furthermore, we fear if the pressure and excitement of the "getting-ready-forschool” process could be borne in upon her mind, she would be too forgiving toward the culprit who was thirty seconds late, or without written excuse for vesterday's delinquency.
It's all very fine to talk about “taking time by the forelock,” but only the mother of a rollicking half-dozen can appreciate the number of things to be done at the last minute — the fresh surprises that greet you in a shower - the joints in the colts' harness which give out all at once. In the school-room, children are supposed to stay in place, and ought to be clean. Out of school, they ought for the most part to be dirty; and this is one of the “oughts” that takes care of itself. Natural affinity for Mother Earth begets that close communion which results in an even smear, but when it comes to communion with soap and water there is no evenness about it, and no amount of persistent drill will insure you against the glaring annoyance of seeing "spots on the son.” After the tableau vivant of “You Dirty Boy” has been several times enacted, there follows an equal number of tussles with the hair-brush. “Harper's Young People” furnishes a double cut, giving front and back view of the boy who brushed his own hair. It does not illustrate the
argument needed to convince him that his success in pasting down the forelock, makes only more conspicuous the rebellion in the rear. Having at last secured the buttons, sewed up the rips, put on the neckties, distributed the pocket-handkerchiefs, the slate-rays and the kisses, and dispatched them with the warning to hurry lest they be late, the tired mother draws a long breath, and audibly exclaims, “Thank God for the public schools, and the faithful teachers who take these young irrepressibles into line!” Then turning to collect the debris left in their wake, she hastens to the kitchen to take up the discouraging task of training the "dumb Swede" by pantomime and object lessons to quickly assert her independence and become mistress of the situation.
Human life has its limitations in every direction, and are we altogether sinners because we trust you to do your work without our supervision? We know you are doing it ten-fold better than we could do it ourselves. We believe you could do it better still if you knew us better, and our children through us, for “character is hand-made,” and there is no lumping process in saving souls. It is also in your power to help us know our children; for while our time and energy are absorbed in the demands of the physical and material, there are unexplored regions and undeveloped resources in their natures which we have no time and ingenuity to cultivate. There may be evil tendencies and habits which reveal themselves to the teacher's observation and are overlooked by the parent, and on the other hand a word of confidential explanation from a mother may often give the needed clue to some perplexity which will not yield its secret in the school-room.
In stating the hinderances in the way of visiting the school, I draw the inference from my own experience that a parent's visit is often an embarrassing ordeal to the children themselves; and this not of necessity because they are ashamed of their record, but rather that in the precision of the school-room a visitor seems to be an innovation. Sometimes when I have remarked, “I think I will come to school to-day,” the child would reply, “Oh, mamma, don't come; you visit the school more than anybody else.” One child in my family was, from a baby, so distressingly bashful, that I had a trial in reconciling her to going to school at all, and after she grew to a state of “harmonization with her new environments," it was sure to upset her if I looked in. Her tears were a mystery to the teacher, but I understood they were caused