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There is nothing in all the world so important as children, nothing so interesting. If ever you wish to go in for philanthropy, if ever you wish to be of real use in the world, do something for children. If ever you yearn to be wise, study children. If the great army of philanthropists ever exterminate sin and pestilence, ever work out our race salvation, it will be because a little child has led.

-David Starr Jordan

VIII

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF CHILD
WELL-BEING AND OUR CARE OF THE YOUNG

A

LL the higher animals care for their young. Some animals, low in the scale of life, desert the offspring as soon as born. A few birds lay their eggs in other birds' nests and have no further care. But for the most part, all warm blooded animals care for their young. Even some fish prepare a nest and carefully guard the eggs until hatched. The common sunfish may be seen standing guard over its dish-like depression in the gravelly bottom, or chasing away any intruder. The human offspring has the longest period of infancy and immaturity of any in the animal series; consequently it has the longest period during which it must be cared for. Human life is motivated by two great fundamental instincts-that of self-preservation and the preservation of the species. Both these instincts focus upon the child, for on the one hand the child is a part of the parent self; on the other hand, he is the new member of the species -the hope of the future. Thus the end and aim of life

is the care of the young.
It is true that this aim is
sometimes perverted, but it is important to note that
when this is not the aim of life, it is a perversion.

It is of course true that many men and women have no children, but the majority of such people are nevertheless living and working for the children of others. The kind and quality of care given to the youth varies over a wide range: all the way from the simplest instinctive interest of the ignorant moron or imbecile, up to the intelligent care of the most highly developed individuals.

The Care of
Offspring

We Do Not

Put in Prac

Know About
Children

While the former group is never disturbed by its ignorance of the problems involved, many of the latter group are perpetually conscious of their own ignorance of what is really best for the child. They are constantly seeking knowledge that shall enable them to give their children the kind of care that shall most completely fit them to best represent their parents and most efficiently serve and promote the welfare of the race itself. Between these two extremes there are all gradations, and the average is disturbingly low.

While the most intellectual parents may be said to be tice All We using all the knowledge that the race has acquired in the care of its offspring, the masses are not beginning to use the information that is available. Thus it happens that in the group as a whole, the gap between our knowledge of child well-being and our actual care of the child, is enormous. That this gap must be bridged is evident on all sides. It is the purpose of this chapter to marshal the evidences of this need.

Are We Improving?

If the care of our youth were intelligent and efficient, we should expect to find each successive generation becoming more and more free from the problems, difficulties, and annoyances that previous generations had to contend with. Instead of this being the case, many of the most serious problems are increasing in magnitude and complexity. Crime, for instance, is decidedly on the increase if we are to judge from the increased number of inmates in our prisons and penitentiaries, the increase in cost of courts for the trial and conviction of the perpetrators of crime and this in spite of the efforts of an army of workers who are trying to improve prison conditions and make the treatment of criminals more efficient. Some there are who claim that this increase is because of the work of these sentimentalists (as they are sometimes styled), but that this is not true is pretty clearly shown by the fact that our institutions for the care of

juvenile delinquents, from whom most of the criminals come, are also on the increase.

In one State (Ohio) the need for accommodations for juvenile delinquents is so great that although the law states that a child committed to the Industrial School must remain until he is 21 years of age, unless earlier reformed, the officials have been obliged to establish a fiction whereby each child is reformed in twelve months. The two institutions, the one for the boys and the other for the girls, are thus regularly emptied every twelve months, in order to make room for the new cases that must be provided for.

The statistics show that fifteen thousand murders and homicides are committed each year, and the number is increasing in proportion faster than the increase of population. It costs the Government of the United States, six hundred thousand dollars annually to guard the mail sacks. There is four thousand million (4 billion) dollars worth of property stolen in the United States each year.

Nor is the situation any better if we consider the problem of the insane. In most states we are either building larger institutions or more of them, for the care of this class of persons. One hundred and forty thousand cases of dementia præcox alone, between the ages of ten and thirty, are admitted to the insane hospitals each year. Finally, hoodlumism and sexual immorality are believed to be increasing enormously.

Juvenile
Delinquency

Crime and

Criminals

Insanity

Increasing

If it is true that "as the twig is bent the tree is in- The Cause clined," we have a right to attribute most of this intellectual, social, and moral irregularity to our faulty care of the young. We have not succeeded in bridging the gap. Not only have we not bridged the gap, but we have not even located the difficulty or, I should say, the causes of the difficulty. The way in which we have attempted to solve these problems and produce a better

Not a Rational Argument

New

condition by changing situations which are mere incidents to the problem and in no way causal does not speak well for our boasted intelligence and progressive civilization.

One group of persons has laid all our troubles to alcohol. Another group lays it to the movies; and we spend large sums to censor the pictures. We pass laws prohibiting the exhibition of prize fight pictures, and the depicting of criminal acts. But with no effect upon the situation.

Another group attributes the trouble to the Sunday School, and points out the small proportion of children who are receiving moral instruction in the churches. Another group thinks the automobile is the most pernicious influence that has come into modern society. Still others declare the fault is with the schools, both public and private-that they teach too much literature, history, and science, and not enough morality.

All this is very childish and superficial. It is just as rational and intelligent as it would be to attribute an epidemic of typhoid fever to alcohol, automobiles, movies, Sunday School, public schools, or any other agency which was merely an accidental agent in spreading the infection, and in no way the cause of the trouble, which a few people might be intelligent enough to diagnose as due to an infected water or milk supply. But these intelligent people would be regarded as cranks by the masses, and no concerted action could be obtained to purify the water or stop the dairymen from distributing infected milk. Consequently the people would continue to die. This is a close analogy to the situation that we have been discussing.

The analogy holds in another direction. Time was Knowledge when we knew nothing about disease germs and their transmission through water or milk. We have been similarly ignorant until lately of the diversified natures

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