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children.* The Turners introduced an appropriate, convenient, and healthful costume; and endeavored at the same time to oppose the foolish vanity of a change of fashions. I shall say nothing at all of the fashions as prevailing among women. new is always the thing sought after, even if a new strosity is the result. The sense of beauty seldom betrays, but yet we have seen the hoop-petticoat and the French rococo style reappear.
When shall we cease to make children sleep in deep, stupifying feather-beds, and in unventilated chambers ?
Early to bed and early to rise, says the old proverb. Excessive mental labor is harmful to all, especially by night, and is utterly destructive to the young, and most of all when drowsiness is kept away by coffee, &c. Such a course results in a truly horrible condition of overstimulation, in which even a healthy person completely loses control over himself.
The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. How do those desecrate that temple, whose god is their belly! And it is most fearfully defiled and destroyed by the withering secret sins which have made such fearful progress amongst our youth. But our educators do little to avert the evil—they rather pour oil upon the fire. When, to the influence of stimulating drinks, excessive eating, hot feather-beds, we add that of provocative dances, plays, and roinances, and of those indecent pictures which make such deep impressions on the minds of the young, and destructively stimulate and entice during waking and sleep, who can wonder that such sins gain influence over our youth, and destroy them, soul and body? Do we make serious efforts to prevent these influences? Do we not rather behold them with indifference; arranging the dances ourselves, taking the children to the theaters when Kotzebue's and other loose pieces are acted ? Is it not so? And does not all the world cry out, Pietism! if any one says a word against this destruction of souls ?
But the question has been asked, almost despairingly, by many, How are these secret sins to be prevented ? First, by not giving them any assistance by making the young more susceptible to them, by rendering them morally and physically weak and corrupt. And, second, by positive discipline and strengthening of the body. The best protection of all, however, is an education in the fear of God; a means which may avail even when the destruction has gained a footing. Those who are corrupted in this way must be managed according to their peculiarities. To shameless cowards the truth should be told, that their habit is suicide; and that, if they go on in it, they have already lived most of their days. The sight of any one who has become idiotic by onanism produces a powerful effect on boys. There are also, however, cases where it is better to encourage, and to give assurances that, upon a cessation of the habit, the body will become strong again, though on that condition only.
* See the chapter on him.
Lying goes hand in hand with this devilish secret vice; and bodily and mental filth, and atrophy.
Lorinser's article “On the protection of health in the schools "* directed the eyes of educators to the startling condition of the health of the pupils in our gymnasia. It was asked, What are the universal sources of the destructive physical condition of the schools, that make their pupils die faster than other German youth? Lorinser answered, The evil is based in the nunber of studies, the hours of instruction, and the home labor.
The number of studies, especially since real studies have made way into the gymnasia, has increased since that time. Still, several Prussian gymnasium programmes indicate that the number of hours of instruction was as great formerly as now; because as much time was devoted to their fewer studies as to our more numerous ones.
Thus the reason of the evil should not be found in the number of hours of instruction, unless we answer that the scholars of the present day are less capable of study than they were then. Nor should the number of studies be blamed, without further examination; for fewness of studies has its evils too. Ratich taught "Only one thing at once. Nothing is more injurious to the understanding than to teach many things at the same time; it is like cooking pap, soup, meat, milk, and fish all in the same kettle, at once. But one thing should be taken up in order after another; and only when one has been properly attended to should another be entered upon. A single author should be selected for each language, from whom it should be learned. When he is thoroughly understood, and as it were quite swallowed down, another may be read. Nothing new should be taken up until what went before is understood quite thoroughly, and to entire sufficiency."
On this it has been remarked,
“Is this really according to the course of nature ?' Would it be natural to eat broth alone, or fish alone, for eight months together, and even longer, as Ratich's pupils studied Terence? Is not a variety of reading matter, as in Jacobs' excellent readers, much more suitable to it? Just as we never eat one thing alone, but bread with meat, for example, it should be the care of the teacher not to clog his pupils with one thing forever. And, as the skillful host tries to furnish, dishes which are suitable to each other, and which by their very connection shall conduce alike to good flavor and good digestion, so should the skillful pedagogue teach the same pupils, during the same term, various things, such as will serve to complete each other, and by whose alternation the pupil shall remain fresh, not satiated, but mentally nourished in a healthy way.”
* This appeared, in 1836, in the " Berlin Medicul Gazette,” (Berliner Medicinisches Zeitung.)
A judicious interchange of studies would be favored even by Lorinser; but an injudicious one-consisting merely in a restless changing from one thing to another, without ever asking whether all these single studies will harmonize together, and become one complete whole in the boy's mind-such an interchange I shall, of course, not need to discuss at all. On that point I agree wholly with Lorinser's
But the chief reason of the bodily as well as the mental bad condition of the pupils seems to lie less in the multitude than in the illcontrived method of the doing of the school-work. Many things are forced upon the pupils which they do not like; especially a chilly, abstract method of studying language, and an unnatural, over-stimulated mode of mathematical study and production. Nor is this the case at the gymnasium merely; the evil is still greater in the lower schools. And, on the other hand, the pupils are kept away from what is appropriate for them, and from what they enjoy. Such a perverted method of mental stimulation and over-stimulation must necessarily destroy the body as well as the mind.
The case requires particular attention where each teacher in a school is attentive to his own department only, and makes such requirements upon the scholars as if they were under his instruction only, and had no other work to do. Thus, when the historical teacher requires of them to learn the most trifling things, such as innumerable dates; the geographical teacher, the smallest towns and rivers, the number of inhabitants of unimportant cities; the French teacher, the six first books of “Télémaque;" or the Latin teacher, many pages of the “ Loci Memoriales,” to be committed to memory; when the mathematical teacher spurs them forward to the integral calculus, &c.; in such a case, the conscientious scholar must indeed succumb to the burden of "home-labor," or must quite give up conscientious work.*
As an instance of the unreasonable couduct of many department-teachers, it may be mentioned that, in a certain well-known institution, the teacher of mathematics set as much home-work to the scholars to do as all the rest of the teachers together.
What has already been said indicates clearly enough that nothing is usually done in this direction by parents; but quite the contrary. It is usual to enervate the children, to seek to satisfy all their desires.. Nor should this astonish, in an age when the most fleshly epicureanism prevails. How could strong self-denial and self-command grow out of such an idle, pleasure-loving home-life? These virtues are to most persons bitterness and folly.' Woe to humanity, when nothing is desired except mere undisturbed animal enjoyment, and when all nobler aspirations pass for folly!
It is difficult to proceed methodically in the more passive portion of bodily training. This must be lived rather than taught. Boys in the country, who run about out-doors, in the hottest as well as in the coldest weather, in rain and snow, become hardened against wind and weather, without their parents or teachers knowing any thing of it. But if a child grows up in a great city, where it is probably half an lour's walk and more to the nearest city-gale, especial pains must be taken to see that he goes into the fresh air every day. For this reason gymnastic establishments are an especial need of large cities.
It is important that the child should become inured to wind and weather during the first years of his life.
Journeys on foot afford the best opportunity for hardening and privations of all kinds. Bad weather, bad roads, miserable inns, and innumerable other inconveniences, annoy even the most fortunate traveler. But all this will be endured, especially in the company of companions, not only with patience but with superabundant delight. He who makes some sour faces at rain and bad food suffers double.
It is to be lamented that steamboats and railroads have made such a destruction of journeys on foot. Such a flitting across countries is entirely useless. It does not strengthen the body; one who goes in one day, by railroad, from Manheim to Basle, seems to himself afterward to have dreamed of an exhibition, where the Rhine and Neckar, the Black Forest and the Vosges, Heidelberg, Carlsruhe, Strasburg, &c., were all passed rapidly before his eyes—all is to him a transitory cloud-picture.
In war, young persons who have been hardened, who are easily satisfied, and not corrupted by luxury, are far superior to their opposites. The latter are quite without self-control, and as if without their senses or courage, upon being summoned to turn out a little early in the morning, especially after having a cold night in the
It is well known how highly the Greeks valued gymnastics, and
how the Roman boys practiced bodily exercises as a preparation for war. We are equally well acquainted with the bold strength and activity of the ancient German nations, and their chivalric renown in the middle ages. As the cities became prominent, the citizens were not behind in this respect, and there grew up among them fencingschools for the mechanics, privileged by the emperor.*
That bodily exercise is an important part of the training of the young was a truth recognized by Luther; but which, since the sixteenth century, has been made most prominent by those already mentioned as realists.
Luther says, "It was right well thought of and ordered by the ancients, that the people should exercise themselves, and learn something useful and honorable, so that they might not fall into rioting, vice, gluttony, drunkenness, and gaming. Therefore these please me the best of all-these two exercises and amusements, to wit, music and tilting, with fencing, wrestling, &c.; whereof the first drives away care of heart and melancholy thought, and the second gives well-proportioned and active limbs to the body, and keeps it in good health, by jumping, &c. But the most weighty reason is that people may not fall into drunkenness, vice, and gaming, as we see them, sad to say, in court and in city, where there is nothing except 'Here's to you! Drink out!' And then they gamble away perhaps a hundred florins, or more. Thus it goes, when men despise and neglect such honorable exercises and tiltings."
Luther observes, very correctly, that an active, healthy man, skillful in his exercises, and who takes pleasure in them, will for that very reason energetically withstand the loose and vicious life of mere pleasure-seeking, while the sensual at once give up to it.
Montaigne, the realist forerunner of Rousseau, blames those weak parents who can not bring themselves to keep their children on simple food, to see them covered with sweat and dust from their exercises, riding a spirited horse, receiving a smart thrust in fencing, or a kick from the discharge of a gun. "He who desires," he says, "to see his son a strong man, must certainly not make him effeminate in his youth, and must often set aside the rules of the physician. It is not enough to make his mind firm; his muscles must be made firm too. I know well how my own mind is tormented by its companionship with so weak a body, which depends so much, and bears so heavily, upon it."
Rousseau says, "The body should be strong, that it may obey
*See Jahn's" Turning System," (Turnkunst,) p. 278.
† Walch, XXII, 2250, 2281.
* Essays, 1, 299-301.