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CATION contains the following remark, which is applicable here: "It is a simple waste of nervous energy for the average teacher to attempt to be what she cannot become without a new birth into the realms where genius, culture and executive capacity combine with sanctity in the production of the ideal pedagogue."
The consequences of misdirected energy have already appeared by way of illustration in considering the causes, and therefore little more need be added to give one a glimpse of them. Suicides have increased within the last ten years at an alarming rate, so that the number in the United States alone has annually reached many thousands. Men are held up and robbed in broad daylight, not only in Arizona, but in the streets of Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities having a strong police force. Lynching, with its attendant outrages, is by no means decreasing. The hand of the gambler, the speculator and the defaulter is hardly losing its grip upon the people, and is causing much distress and misery. All these things take place notwithstanding our improved educational facilities and the many other agencies that ameliorate the condition of the human The world, the State, the Church and the family have their part of this work to do, and therefore they share the responsibility for the condition of the rising generation with the school. We do not propose to say just how much of the responsibility the school shall bear, nor how far short educators have come of performing their duties. We have regarded it sufficient to show that much of the world's energy is still misdirected or wasted, and that there is room in the educational field for welldirected energy that shall more effectually stem the tide of misdirected energy in the world's great drama.
As some other phases of our subject will interest educators, and as the want of space forbids anything like a full discussion of methods intended to overcome this great evil, we shall simply lay down, informally, a few general principles, and then intersperse, here and there, only suggestive hints on applying them in the course of our remarks on the additional phases of the evils under discussion.
The safeguards against misdirected energy, and the consequent deterioration of the race, are intelligence and character, because these will remove the causes. Intelligence removes
ignorance and improves the judgment. The highest type of character leaves no room for selfishness and prodigality. Intelligence prevents men from doing senseless things and planning visionary schemes; character keeps them from the clutches of avarice on the one hand or debauchery on the other. Education properly conducted awakens intelligence, and forms character. In this sense it is the most powerful auxiliary to religion.
In the rapid march of civilization many young teachers, and some others, hastily adopt new methods in order to be up to date in all they do, instead of deliberately and cautiously proceeding on safe principles, and adopting methods that are thoroughly tested and well adapted to the schools which they teach. To do a thing that must be undone later on, is a blunder and a misdirection of energy. We should say to young teachers, Steer clear of novelties. Experiments are expensive, and should be conducted by wise and experienced men at suitable places.
Even among the things that are tested in education, the young teacher may be at a loss to choose aright. For example, shall the teacher encourage pupils to study by offering prizes? What effect will prizes have on their diligence? A powerful effect, as a rule. What effect on modesty and humility? A bad one, of course. What effect on jealousy? A powerful one to increase it. What effect on the desire for gain? A great effect. Will it stimulate the scramble for office in after-life? Yes. Will some pupils study who could not easily be induced to study voluntarily in any other way? Yes. And so we might go on.
There are answers enough to show that the system works both ways; but it is not favorable to the formation of the highest type of character. If the teacher sees that he must be satisfied with a lower type, and has much trouble to induce pupils to study, he will probably award prizes; but if he is able to awaken a higher motive to study than the prospect of a prize, he will abandon prizes. The direction of his own energy in the latter case promises a better direction of the pupil's energy in active life. Very often the teacher does not test the bearing of the method before him for the future; but he stops with the
immediate effect upon the pupil. He does not ask whether it will make selfish pupils more selfish and grasping, and in that way will fail to form the character that makes the best citizen.
The spirit of selfishness may be, and often is, cultivated by another species of winning, the most dangerous form of which sometimes becomes an occasion for gambling. Games played for amusement or for exercise may be allowed to degenerate into contests which bring the people together to witness what would be regarded under other circumstances as a foolish waste of time and money, if not gross cruelty. Betting on such occasions is no less gambling than it is at horse races. The players strain every nerve to win, and they do it often at the expense of health, or life itself. The whole number of men injured at such games is never published, because the glory that is sought would be diminished by full reports, and certain injuries only manifest themselves later in life. If there were a pension bureau at which such persons might apply for a pension, the number injured would be ten times as great, and the injuries very much more serious than they are acknowledged to
That men so engaged learn to suffer defeat, and form habits of attention, punctuality and moderation in eating and drinking, no one will deny; but the motive for doing all this is not primarily to become the most useful citizens, but to gratify ambition, and very often vanity and pride. It is ambition in the original sense of getting around and ahead of another. It is selfish, not unselfish. There is nothing altruistic whatever in such demonstrations. Let this spirit be carried from the educational sphere to that of the State, and political strife and contention must be fanned into a consuming fire. Fortunately other elements of character are also developed more or less, and these check the spirit of selfishness somewhat; but how much more powerful would that check be if educational centers and families tolerated only games that can be kept within the limits of pleasant recreation and good exercise. To say that the best advertisement for an institution of learning is a first-class team of players, is to say that the most important thing in education is to become a good player. We are glad to note that some educators are not willing to say so, but the number who recognize such a notion
as tending to a vast amount of misdirected energy for education and for life is too slowly increasing.
Educators should avoid carrying on, in the schoolroom and on the playground, anything that afterwards leads to ruthless, unneighborly competition in business, and to grasping selfishness in the affairs of State. Although education cannot so effectually remove selfishness-the leading cause of misdirected energy—as it can remove ignorance and improve the judgment, yet it can do more than it has done, by proper effort to this end. Prodigality was not mentioned last as a cause of misdirected energy, but our suggestions on preventing it are placed last because its fruits are the bitterest, and represent the grossest waste and misdirection of energy. Some phases of it are beyond the limits of the teacher of small pupils; others work in embryo among them, and must be counteracted most vigorously from the beginning.
Excesses in eating, for example, may begin before the child is old enough to attend school. This leads to dullness, peevishness and irritability, from which will come inattention, idleness and willful disobedience. Let the teacher strike at the cause, and there will be less trouble. Then come the indulgence in alcoholic beverages and the use of tobacco. Every teacher is familiar with the methods of dealing with this question. We shall only say that a vigorous crusade, judiciously conducted, will richly reward the teacher in the future conduct of his pupils as citizens.
The social evil, with its dark train of horrors, cannot be passed by because it is unclean. No teacher can, for a moment, afford to be silent for fear of being defiled, when he knows that there is danger ahead; on the contrary, he should feel that his silence defiles him before the first steps in the direction of the evil defile his pupils. Here, as well as in higher institutions of learning, the need of direct teaching of purity and the need of safeguards against impurity in the social circle of students, should call forth the very best instruction and the wisest discipline. Even then the bad example of conspicuous characters in society may destroy much of the good done by the teacher.
Here the press can come to the teacher's rescue, and be an educator with him. The local papers, the school journals and
the religious press, all laboring together, can do an incalculable amount of good in this direction as well as in many others. Let the press everywhere hold up before the people the real object of life, and the world will read, and will be influenced in the right direction.
One of the most powerful agencies against misdirected energy, particularly in the direction of excesses, is direct personal work in the religious field of activity. The weak and the tempted are encouraged to walk in the path of rectitude, and thousands are rescued from the grasp of inebriety or lust, or both. The teacher can learn many lessons from religious workers, that will aid him in uplifting the morals of his pupils.
In closing we would emphasize the power of a self-sacrificing example. This virtue has outlived many others, and has in many instances outlived its possessor for centuries. Witness. the example of the Great Teacher, and go and do likewise.
HELEN CARY CHADWICK, MALDEN, MASS.
Dripping red of autumn leaves
Twisted in the old green tree,—
Something large and something true;
God so fashioned thee from breath,
All is ours that e'er is his.