Billeder på siden

An exhibit has an obvious function in the work of the Sunday school department of the Religious Education Association. This platform is the rostrum of the department. The different Sunday schools of the country are the department's numerous laboratories. And the annual exhibit is its traveling museum. The museum and rostrum alike derive inspiration from the local laboratories. If the method of expression of the rostrum is more elastic, that of the museum is more concrete. Claims made upon the platform are demonstrated in the exhibit by the evidence of actual accomplishment. The exhibit is a friendly competitor of the platform. You have heard the adage, "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say." You remember, too, the Greek who said, "You can make the laws, only let me write the people's songs." The many men, women, and children who have made contributions to your exhibit have no reason to envy those who speak from this platform. You may make the speeches, if only we can make the exhibit!

An exhibit would seem to be as essential to the Young Men's Christian Association and Young People's Societies departments as to the department of Sunday schools. In fact, the educational work of all of these departments is represented in the exhibit which we have prepared.


Sunday School Plant: Plans, furniture, and apparatus.

Literature: Text-books and reference works.

Maps: Wall relief and print maps and atlases.

Pictures: Wall prints, small prints, picture cards, and stereographs. Models: Oriental dwellings, furniture, implements, and other articles.

Administration: Forms for records, programs, and diplomas. Curricula: The International and other one-subject courses and graded courses.

Manual Methods: Biblical maps executed by pupils in relief, colors, lines, and points; their picture-books of prints, titles, texts, written descriptions, and illustrative drawings; narrative books of biblical history, illustrated by maps and drawings; and illuminated cards and folders of hymns, prayers, prints, and drawing s.





The answer to this question that will probably first occur to most is the method long in vogue in Germany, and now adopted with some modifications in France and England. Under this system children of each confession go at certain hours, provided each week on the secondary programme, to special religious teachers, who are usually nominated by the church and examined and paid by the state. Germany recognizes Catholics, Lutherans, and Jews. England requires some religious instruction for all children, even those of free thinkers. This scheme has intricacies and many variations, but, in general, works well, and partial applications of it have been tried sporadically in this country. It is, however, hardly practicable here on a large scale, for many reasons which do not concern us here. What does concern us, however, is that it is very doubtful if Bible teaching, hymn, church forms, and history, especially when taught intellectually for examination, have much power for morality, and I, for one, am coming to think that however the Scriptures are taught they need to be supplemented by other agencies to entirely meet the ethical needs of our modern youth. It should be no shock to believers to find they cannot make the Bible do everything. This is a view now held by many, and so we have a number of attempts, mostly rather crude, to make selections from the facts and teachings of Confucianism and even Mohammedanism, but especially from Buddhism, and also several attempts by Protestants to select and re-edit a few of the lives of the saints, and some of the more liberal editors incorporate pertinent secular maxims and proverbs, extracts of Talmudic and patristic literature, etc. For one I cannot abandon hope of a Bible chrestomathy like that of Moulton or the Chicago Woman's Club, on which Catholics and Protestants and also, for the Old Testament, Jews shall agree, and to this I personally would like to add gems from other religions. This, together with a few hymns and prayers, is incorporated in all the best authorized German readers and gives them a unique and welcome character. The time has now

come for another committee of ten or less to try to solve this problem. But highly susceptible as youth is to religious influences, and potent above all other agencies as these are for virtue, even the above resources are not entirely sufficient for adolescent nature and needs. Religions do need to be supplemented by other motives to develop juvenile morality. Thus, secondly, while using to the uttermost every religious motivation, some have sought ways and means to supplement these by other efforts, as follows: English and other classical literature and history has been searched for outcrops of great moral problems. These have been excerpted, perhaps restated with some sacrifice of classical form for the sake of content, epitomized, and condensed and used to perform the decision of conscience, to show virtue both externally rewarded and also as its own reward, to broaden moral experience by depicting great struggles between good and evil in the soul, and in a word, to teach ethics by example. Mr. H. Bigg calls such an anthology an ethnic Bible, and in France an official text-book has been compiled to inspire youth to great deeds by illustrations from the national history and literature, and the Germans seek this end in their many-volumed readers. Indeed, the claim is now heard that every other end in the teaching of the vernacular literature, such as style, form, historical completeness, literary criticism, philology, should be absolutely subordinated to the purpose of moral improvement. With all these ideals and endeavors, I, for one, have the most hearty sympathy, and believe them pedagogically sound and full of hope. It would mean a radical reform and reconstruction of the present prescribed methods and ideals of high-school English, and would rescue this work from its present degradation of content in the interests of form.

But even both these methods are together not entirely adequate to the present grave and growing need of moralizing high-school education. To them should be added, as a third, a systematic course of moral education of a very concise, concrete, and practical kind, an outline of which, as it has grown in my mind, is as follows: First should come health as wholeness or holiness of body, comprising plain, personal, homely talks, with perhaps sometimes brief papers and discussions by the class on diet, regimen, individual hygiene, sleep, body-keeping generally. Here the intense zest for athletics should be tapped or turned on as a motive power. Temperance comes here. There should be a little sane and scientific teaching about alcoholism, the ideals of the simple life versus luxury, regularity, dress, and this part of the course should culminate in a few very plain medical talks to boys alone about purity, sexual regimen, and heredity.

Then should come something about the life of feeling, especially anger, its place, the kinds of temper, and their vents, control, patience, with snatches of the new psychology in this field. So, too, the very delicate topic of love has aspects where wise instruction by hints and rapid suggestion can do much. Loving aright up the Platonic ladder to the good, beautiful and true, is a fruitful source and theme of wisdom. Friendship is a helpful and related theme, and its lofty ideals in antiquity and modern instances can be adduced, showing its qualities and influences, and what companionship, cliques, and even gangs and other forms of youthful association can do. Even sympathy with animals should not be omitted. So fear and cowardice, true courage, moral and physical, the Aristotelian fearing aright as the consummation of human wisdom, envy, jealousy, revenge, etc., should not be omitted.

So, too, the great primal duties, based on conscience and the moral instinct, and casuistry, habit and its relation to duty, can be enforced in an unsophisticated way, and made simple and direct. Work and the strenuous life versus sloth and idleness; selfishness versus altruism; generosity and benevolence, and the duty of helpfulness; obedience, authority, conformity to custom, conventional lies, independence, and individuality; courtesy, politeness, the ideal of the gentleman in relation to society and to women, social form, magnanimity, noblesse oblige versus exiguousness and overscrupulosity and meanness; patriotism and its duties and implications, citizenship and the rudiments of civic obligation; money, wealth, and poverty, their uses and abuses, display and simple tastes; all these virtues we know, if Plato did not, can now be taught to some extent. So, too, something is needed about euphoria, the joy of living, the place of fun, having a good time, play, sports, games, the duty of happiness, the optimist and the pessimist, the conduct of the imagination, revery, interest, curiosity, and their opposite, apathy, nil admirari, and indifference. Perhaps highest of all moral themes for youth stands honor. It can do for the modern heart some things religion cannot. It has had many a code and standard. In Bushido it is well called the soul of Japan, as it was of chivalry, and has given us our ideals of the gentleman. No human soul is so degraded that it cannot respond intensely to some form of this sentiment. It has made men who scorned religion accept disgrace and even death in silence, and fly to the wages of battle where life was at stake. Like all strong instincts, it is often perverted, and sanctions many evils, and is in crying need of edification. Probably every man of spirit would prefer death to dishonor. Perhaps its psycho-genetic root is loyalty to the unborn,

but if so, it is often strangely perverted. It can probably be made the strongest of all supports of true virtue. How can the true teacher, who is faithful to his high calling as a real shepherd of souls, view with indifference the distortion and degeneration of this primal principle or not yearn to re-orient and utilize it for morality?

I know that many wise teachers will doubt the feasibility of such a course in practical ethics. I grant it requires consummate tact, good taste, great knowledge of youth, and not only the experience that comes with age, but a unique equipment of modern special knowledge, and also that although there have been many tentative and partial efforts in this direction, it has not yet anywhere fully demonstrated its power. The text-books in elementary ethics are, the best of them, not adequate, and the worst, by far in the majority, are those that are devoted to ethical theory, which youth abhors, and which teach a senescent morality that suggest that Plato was right that a young man should be whipped who wanted to study ethics. But it is in the vast new resources of inductive and empirical psychology, ethics and sociology, that the most of the best of this material is found, and that these are now adequate I am fully and completely convinced. It is precisely here that it is capable, when the data are properly organized, of inaugurating a most needed and salutary departure. The opponent of such a course most to be feared is the academic professor of ethics of the speculative and historic school, because for him ethics means the study of ultimate standards of right and wrong, and it is precisely of this that I would say with Plato it should be forbidden to youth. What is needed is not types of theory, but types of each virtue and vice, the miser, hypocrite, saint, martyr, the sot and the sage, the paragon of patience or heroism, the great patriot, the dreamer, idler, the roué, the leader, and the henchman, the rollicker and the precisian and formalist, the ideal student, the investigator, the recluse and man of affairs, the fop, cynic, the Puritan and the cavalier, the ascetic and the debauchee, the finicky and overscrupulous man, and the slattern, the virago, the naïve, and sophisticated, and all the other types of human nature which stand out in letters and history more clearly and uniquely because in simpler lineaments than they are anywhere found in life. These are single, elemental, moral qualities personified, and so best suited for those in the elemental stage of studying man, the supreme end of all study. These put forth with strong colors, and fit incidents set in characteristic action, brought into conflict with each other with the good always triumphing over the bad, teach lessons that sink deep and take root and bear fruit in youthful souls. The moral must be submerged, impressed indirectly by hint and suggestion, but must never be absent.

« ForrigeFortsæt »