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great, no love so real as that which intelligently leads the child to obedience of law. From this is born trust and faith, and ability to enter into the lives and difficulties of his fellow-men. It is the open door for all wider and higher life. To will the will of God,-this is real union with God, and while, step by step, we depend upon love, the individual must make his choice, or he will not be free.

The development of the individual child's feeling for God, knowing about God and consciousness of God, begin with the mother,— the will of the individual conflicting with that of the mother. To awaken and develop the will to do right, this is her aim. To help the child to choose the right and will it, this is gain indeed. For mother first, for right, second; infinite love and patience are needed to develop this. Obedience lays the foundations for faith and many other virtues, but pre-eminently faith. We cannot always know, but we can obey and believe; the act of faith makes possible all things.

The religious experiences of children differ as widely as those of grown people. When the first conscious experience comes of right conquering the wrong condition within, we do not know. What the motives are for action we cannot always tell; but recognition, on the part of parent or teacher, of right intentions goes a long way toward helping right to reign. Happiness should follow every step that is conquered. The voice within the heart of the child should speak in commendation as well as condemnation. Conscience has not a negative voice alone but a positive one as well. And the individual should be welcomed back in to the life of the family, from which he may have been temporarily separated. From every deed in life there is a way to God.

In the family circle may come times set apart by the parents to be with their children. At meals, of course, some one says; but this is one of our modern problems, with father away all day and dinner late at night. The mother may gather her children together for talks and stories or singing before supper. In the dusk, many confidences are exchanged and many little hearts are opened. The stories mother tells sink deep into the memory. The poems she recites or sings are always with us. What a golden opportunity for the father if he can reach home early enough to unite in this! He may live over again his boyhood, and thus better understand his own son. He has a chance to review some of the stories he loved, and tell of his own deeds of prowess. When will he ever have a more sympathetic audience than this one, or one that will believe him to be more of a hero? In living with our children we are enabled to go over again our incomplete education, pick up the lost stitches, and make of it a continuous whole. Then

at bedtime, before the children sleep, the mother may say their prayers with them and hear the confessions and explanations that often come at this time. A comforting or discriminating word dropped into the mind just here sinks deep and does its work of uniting mother and child in their efforts to do right. Music is a power for good. What mother and father sing or play carries great influence.

Another way for love to express itself is in giving opportunities for service; the right direction for the increasing bodily activity and strength. Hard things to do, when conquered, lead to union between parents and children. The parents should see to it that their attitude toward work is a noble one, toward the worker, a respectful one, and the child will desire to work too. This is the first step toward creative work. The feeling that father, mother, and children are united in their lives and with God gives them the basis for true spiritual living.

I hesitate to touch on the one subject that is of most importance, for fear I shall be misunderstood. Christ is the great reconciling force of the world. As we exercise this reconciling activity ourselves, we become conscious of God. The child must be led to discover this as a law in nature, in stories, in literature, in the Bible, in heroes, and in the person of Jesus Christ. The conflicting elements in life must be reconciled even for little children.

The harmony of nature, of the mother, of the home, all help the chi'd to find harmony within himself, but his relationship to Christ becomes a conscious one when he begins to understand his need for living the life of reconciliation. God is throughout the universe, filling, pervading it with life and love; we are His children; part of His infinite nature is giving us life. Our life, our happiness, is in opening our hearts for more and more of this consciousness. We are both finite and infinite, in the sense that we have both a human and a divine inheritance. Out of the human, we may lift the divine. Spiritual life is not a thing apart; it is possible here, if we have but a heavenly aim. What keeps us so far away from God? Is it worldly ideals mixed in with spiritual aims, that we cannot find our way from every point in life to God? Can we not live so in the unity of life that our children may be brought in as well? Can we not keep their confidence and respect as they grow older, through together striving to live the highest. life? Steps in attainment are for us all. We are all endeavoring to do right, parents, teachers, and children, and sometimes we fail. We can all, fathers, mothers, and children, know and love God, our Father, with a growing understanding and confidence, and this love must finally pass out from the home into the community and make way for a still deeper experience of God's spirit.




The doctrine of periods distinct and definable in a child's growth is, of course, old, and has been always practically operative in education. Indeed, nature has written it so large in the facts of his physical growth that it could not be ignored. But the modern psychology of childhood, confirming and sanctioning the doctrine, and freeing it largely from vagueness, has so deepened and widened its influence in the educational theory and practice of our day, that we feel almost as if it were a new discovery. The full recognition in the child's whole training of this doctrine and its far-reaching implications works many most beneficent results. One of these implications is that we must seek subjects and aspects of subjects adapted to the period of growth within which we find our child; further, that in presenting to him subjects and aspects of subjects for which he has no apperception, we are either wasting our time since they fail to become reality to him at all, or if by ill luck he does grasp them, we have done the greater wrong of forcing his season of readiness, and have contributed toward producing that most tragic object-a premature child.

On no side of a child's training do we need so much the light of this principle of fitness as upon the side of religion. By a combination of causes not difficult to trace, it has come about that Christianity, and Protestant Christianity in especial, has developed a system of religious teaching that confronts the child with a material and a method which disregard every requirement of fitness. This system draws its whole material from books, not from the actual world, from books which record an alien ethnic experience, the experience of a peculiarly unchildlike race at a very developed stage of its existence. This system has frozen at its source every impulse toward the making of new spontaneous myth. It has used the old myth as if it were history. It has refused the aid of new concrete symbols, and has interpreted into abstractions the old symbols. It has imposed upon the child a ready-made code of adult morals, and has expected from him the response of adult emotions and mature conduct. Therefore the new light that we are getting from psychology and pedagogy which helps the religious educator to find material fit at each stage of his child's growth, and enables him to discriminate with some certainty the hour

of the child's ripeness, has set us immensely forward on the road toward a sane and effective religious education. But the very fact that there is so much of truth and helpfulness in the theory of the periodic character of the child's development tempts us, as always in the case of a satisfying and solving theory, to overemphasize and overwork it. Indeed, the psychologists themselves, in their apparent pre-occupation with the explaining power of the doctrine of periods, have opened the door to mistakes on the part of those applying the theory. The first mistake to which the practical teacher and lay parent is liable is that of trusting too much to the belief that one's attitude toward the child may safely be one of complete laissez-faire; that the qualities and characteristics appropriate to the child at each stage of his growth appear of themselves and take care of themselves; so that there is some danger that the old meddling, nagging form of bad education may be replaced by the other bad form of indifferentism, growing out of our confidence in the power of the child's new period to redress the balance automatically.

Another danger arising out of the same doctrine comes with the point of view that these periods in a child's life are isolated, detached; that there is a sort of gap or chasm between the periods, on one side of which a child is a different sort of being from what he is on the other side. This point of view, if not encouraged by recent popular studies of certain periods of experience, such as adolescence, is at least not sufficiently guarded against. Now, to lose sight of the fact that the human personality is one thing, evolving slowly and continuously through all its periods and experiences, is to cut the nerve of education. It is gradually, by imperceptible degrees, that the normal child passes, or should pass, from period to period in his growth; and it is the part of wise teachers and parents to see to it that his evolution from stage to stage is without shock or jar. It is no more imperative to select his educational material to fit the period he is in, than to plan that it may lead naturally and smoothly to the material he will use in his coming period.

On the side of his religious training we should provide with sacred care for this safe, harmonious, continuous development. The fact that we have not hitherto done this accounts for many of the unfortunate conditions in the religious world. Children have been thrust prematurely into a world of objects and ideas which took on no value, no aspect of reality for them. From such a basis the soul's progress is almost necessarily backward. Much of its future history is necessarily negative, denying what it never should have been taught,

correcting points of view that could just as easily have been correct to begin with.

Now, in attempting to provide our children against such dislocations in their religious experience, it is a safe principle to agree upon, that they shall have as little as possible to unlearn as they go on. This would seem to suggest these things: That we learn and take to heart the pedagogical principle applied elsewhere in education, and begin by giving our children the large, simple primitive things of religion, rather than the specific details of a very late stage of religious culture. Surely, we are all more than ready to acknowledge that religion is not a matter of a knowledge of facts, not a matter of a specific record in a given book, not a matter of worship or ceremonial, but a spirit, a vision, a way of looking at life and the world. What is it other than an attitude of reverence and acquiescence, and later the consciousness of a guiding immanent spirit in life and the world? What, then, are the facts of life, what are the phenomena of the world by which we can lead a child toward these things? These we will choose whether we find them in the Hebrew Bible, in the records of other races, in the seasons, the weather, the mill, the grocery, the slice of bread and butter, the ant-hill, the rose-tree. Whichever of them we use, they will all yield the lesson of reverence and acquiescence,—of a sense of the immanent guiding, interlinking Spirit, the Father of life. These are the simple but profound things of religion at which we aim in the religious training of the young child. Into this framework of the largest fundamental things, all details, and all the soul's later experiences, will fit. There is nothing here to unlearn.

Doctrines and systems are not for the child, but the large and simple spirit underlying these and all other systems is what, for the sake of his later harmonious development, we should give him.

That the child may have as little as possible to unlearn or correct, it is necessary that he be dealt with quite frankly in the things he is taught. Let the materia' chosen for his training be fitted for his stage of development, so that he may safely go completely to the bottom of it. It is, of course, not wise in teaching material from the Bible, for example, to try to put the child in possession of the conclusions of modern scholarly criticism. But the teacher who knows these conclusions is under obligation to teach in the light of them.

A part of this complete frankness and honesty in teaching the child should be the teacher's endeavor (be he preacher, parent, or instructor) to get at the essence, the spirit, of the thing he is handling, and put the emphasis upon that. Who will calculate the amount of suffering the

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