Gustav Spiller.

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L IE TRAINING
7 F THE CHILD

' Q - S FILLER.




^^HE-PEOPLE'S -BOOKS



THE

PEOPLE'S
BOOKS



THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD



THE TRAINING OF

THE CHILD

A PARENTS' MANUAL
BY G. SPILLER

ORGANISER OP THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL MORAL EDUCATION CONGRESS

AUTHOR OP "THE MIND OF MAN," " M >RAL EDUCATION IN EIGHTEEN

COUNTRIES," HYMNS OP LOVE AND DUTY FOB THE YOUNG," ETC.




' Train up a child in the way he should go." PROVERBS



LONDON: T. C. & E. C. JACK
67 LONG ACRE, W.C., AND EDINBURGH
NEW YORK: DODGE PUBLISHING CO.



l~C



s7



TO

HIS WIFE
NINA E. SPILLER

TO WHOM MUCH THAT IS MOST VALUABLE

IN THIS VOLUME

IS OWING



FOREWORD

THE physical health of children, more especially of
infants, has been the subject of most careful investi-
gations, so much so that we seem to have reached
nearly perfection in this matter. The best methods in
use which aim at developing the child's intelligence
cannot claim such striking results ; but yet there is no
mistaking the fact that kindergartners and other educa-
tionists have accomplished much. Only moral education
has been almost entirely neglected. In this department
the manuals for parents have yet to be prepared, if we
omit a few recent attempts.

The following pages, based on much close and exten-
sive observation, and written in the full glare of modern
psychology, represent an endeavour on a very modest
scale to meet the present-day demand for a manual of
home education dealing with the moral and intellectual
training of children.

LONDON, August 1912.



263236



CONTENTS

GENERAL PROBLEMS

PAGB

1. Education begins at Birth 9

2. Education should be Systematic . . . 10

3. Education should have a Conscious Aim .... 11

4. Parents, Nurses, and Governesses as Educators . . 12L-

5. Agreement between Mother, Father, and Helps . . 14

6. Older and Younger Children 14

7. Home Atmosphere, Correction, and Punishments . . 16

8. "Don't!" 27

9. The Care of the Body 28

10. The Four Ages of Man ... ... 30

THE FOUR AGES OF MAN

A. THE REIGN OF HABIT FEOM BIRTH TO THE AGE OP
Two AND A HALF

11. General Considerations 31

12. Order in Everything 33

13. The Simple Life 36

14. The Management of the Will 38

15. Fourteen Moral Habits 40

16. Intellectual Development 43

B. THE REIGN OF OBEDIENCE FROM THE AGE OF Two
AND A HALF TO THAT OF SEVEN

17. Continuity of Growth in the Child 44

18. The Child's Capacity during the Second Period . . 44

19. Obedience 45

20. Creating a Love of the Right in the Child ... 47

vii



viii CONTENTS

PAGE

21. Truthfulness 49

22. Order and Universality 50

23. General Behaviour 51

24. Occupations 53

25. The Child should be Helpful 55

26. Other Children 56

27. Co-operation 58

28. Example and Precept ........ 58

29. Instruction and Experiment 61

30. " Be Strong ! " " Be a Man ! " 63

31. The Mind 65

C. THE REIGN OP COMMENDATION FROM THE AGE OP
SEVEN TO THAT OP ABOUT TWENTY-ONE

32. One Habit, not Many 72

33. The Special Virtues of the Adolescent Period ... 73

34. Parents and School Life 75

35. School and Home 77

36. Secondary Education 79

37. Apprenticeship 79

38. The Adolescent Problem 82

39. Ethical Exercises 84

40. The Intellect 85

D. THE REIGN OP SELF-DIRECTION FROM ABOUT THE
AGE OP TWENTY- ONE ONWARD

41. Self-Direction 87

42. Precept and Practice 88

43. Conclusion . ... 92



THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD

GENERAL PROBLEMS
1. Education begins at Birth

Ifr somehow we could, at one signal, carry out all
desirable social changes, we should still fail in our
object, for since men and women, without careful
preparation, are unequal to the demands of a high
ideal, there would be a speedy relapse. Character,
habit, associations, would be remorselessly undoing
what had been accomplished by mechanical means.

Neglected education cannot be altogether repaired,
and great efforts in adult life yield therefore in-
different results. This is in full agreement with general
experience, e.g. a person whose health has been under-
mined when young frequently suffers from the con-
sequences all his life, even though he may take
exceptional and extraordinary care of himself. With
the most anxious regard for cleanliness, fresh air,
sound and digestible food, proper exercise, he may
yet be delicate and often ill. On the other hand, the
robust adult may go very far in carelessness, and still
suffer comparatively little. Haphazard attempts at
taking care of ourselves accordingly count almost for
nothing. And thus in the life of action the moral
fibres should be sound when man's or woman's estate
has been reached. If they are not, much effort will avail
little and little effort next to nothing at all. Morality

9



10 THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD

is toot, singular in this, for it follows the general lines of
human nature. Reflection, therefore, justly points to
the need for character training to begin at birth.

2. Education should be Systematic
Granting the natural development of your child, you
must know what you can consistently demand of it
throughout every phase of that development. You
must be aware of your material, your aim, and your means,
and you must consistently and persistently apply
your knowledge to the solution of the moral problems
presented to you in the education of your children.

No observer will doubt that unsystematic training
is simply despairing in its results. It is as if a person
suffering from severe catarrh fitfully took precautions
or casually applied remedies, and then wondered that
his catarrh showed no signs of disappearing. However
excellent your theory, only rigorous and intelligent
application can make it useful. Otherwise the best and
the worst theory have pretty much the same effect.
As to the anxiety involved in such rigour and vigour,
it is far smaller than that found necessary in aimless
education. For instance, children often worry, and
then the parents, worn out or wishing to avoid un-
pleasantness, give way. The consequence is that the
child uses worry as its method-in-chief to attain its
ends, and that vast numbers of parents, though they
constantly yield, yet have their nerves habitually irri-
tated beyond endurance, whilst the child is far less
happy by reason of the absence of intelligent guidance
and control. All this is almost wholly avoided when a
reasonable scheme of education, one which endeavours
to do justice both to the individual child and to the
ideal, is rigidly 1 adhered to.

1 Rare lapses on your part or on the part of the child, whether
due to illness or other passing conditions, you may safely ignore.



CONSCIOUS AIM 11

If you adopt this plan it will be only at first that
you will necessarily have great difficulties, and occa-
sionally be under considerable strain. This strain, how-
ever, must be borne. Good health in the parents is
one means of lessening the strain, and previous experi-
ence with previous offspring, or experience with others'
offspring, is a further powerful means of attaining the
end required. Only at the start need you have much
anxiety, for later on your children, like all well-nurtured
children, will cause you little concern. Nevertheless,
even if your children are unexceptionable, you should
keep your nerves in good condition ; for there must be
no curtailment of the natural and boisterous activity of
early childhood.

3. Education should have a Conscious Aim
Those who are married should be conscious of what
they intend their offspring to develop into, and be
aware that education should begin not later than with
the birth of the child. In most cases perhaps no such
serious thoughts are present, and consequently when the
child sees the light of day, it is just marvelled at because
there is no conscious ideal of education hovering before
the parents. Perhaps the parents regard the newcomer
with wonder, while freaky custom and the suggestions
of the moment tend to be the guides in the education
of the future citizen.

Yoked with this attitude of wonder there are frequently
connected three other attitudes.

First, the child is looked upon as a plaything, as
something which affords amusement. Just as we give
sugar to a bear in order that we may have the pleasure
of seeing him perform his quaint antics, so we spoil the
child that it might display its charms. So long, of
course, as we are not reckless, so long as we gauge the
effect on the child, there is no harm in a little innocent



12 THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD

foolery; but it becomes far from innocent when the
child is made a prey to this kind of amusement.

Secondly, tlie child is looked upon as an object of
compassion. Its helplessness moves to pity, and there
is more or less a tendency on this ground to let the
child do as it pleases, and to spare it all immediate
unpleasantness. However good sympathy may be
when it has broad foundations, and however much we
may respect the good feeling involved in such senti-
ment, there can be no doubt that the child has to suSer
heavily for the blank cheque given to it. As to the re-
sults, from the moral point of view, they are disastrous.

Lastly, parents should beware of the bad custom of
blaming and punishing infants because they cry or are
restless. They should look for causes instead.

The conscious aim of the parent should be

(a) to act from enlightened affection ;

(6) on no account to depart from the rule of never-
failing gentleness and sunny temper ;

(c) to be guided by a lofty personal, social, and civic
ideal of a progressive nature ; and

(d) to realise this ideal by firmness, affection, gentle-
ness, cheeriness, refinement, intelligent anticipation, and
by providing sensible occupations.

4. Parents, Nurses, and Governesses as Educators

A few centuries ago it was the rule to employ working-
men as school-teachers. To-day an advanced com-
munity such as that of Basel in Switzerland demands
that every school-teacher should have attended the
University for a certain period. Now with regard to
home education we are largely yet where the Middle
Ages left us. Any girl will do for taking care of
young children, and when circumstances are favourable
a kindergarten nurse, who has had perhaps a year's
special training, is employed. Again, under exceptional



PARENTS AS EDUCATORS 13

conditions a young lady, after a semi-dose of secondary
education and a little extra preparation, undertakes to
act as governess to older children.

The vast majority of mothers have, of course, no
secondary education and no special training. Indeed,
one constantly hears it said that the higher education
of women unfits them for motherhood, and that woman's
business is not to meddle in politics nor to earn her
livelihood out in the world, but to beautify the home
and look after the children. Yet the mother is expected
to educate the sons who are to be actors on the world's
open stage, and to prepare them she is supposed to
have need only of her maternal instinct supplemented
by the fatherly instinct, which has not generally even
the advantage of constant contact with the child.

In practice the " instinct " theory merely means that
a child is " dragged up," and not " brought up." As
a rule the disciplinary measures are objectionable (as
were those in the schools of a century or two ago) ;
the reasoning faculties, the memory, and the imagina-
tion are neglected ; the inculcation of an ideal is not
thought of ; and conventional habits and attitudes
alone are developed. The one outstanding and redeem-
ing feature is the mother's love ; but this love would be
infinitely more potent if it were enlightened by education
and by experience.

Following the lead of the School, we must demand
four things :

(a) The parents should have a good education to
begin with ;

(b) a science of home education should be promoted;

(c) the parents (both of them, the author thinks)
should have experience of the world and receive inter-
mittent or consecutive training in the mystery and art
of home education; and

(d) nurses and governesses should be properly trained.



14 THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD

5. Agreement between Mother, Father, and Helps
Where school-teachers are thoroughly trained, there
is, comparatively speaking, no harm done when one
teacher takes the place of another. Indeed, when we
visit a number of classes taught by good teachers, the
most serious difference noticeable is hi the mere appear-
ance of the teacher. It would be almost the same if
we had a science of home education and if parents and
nurses were trained in applying this science. Unfortun-
ately this is not the case. Mother, father, and nurse
or governess, have diverging views and ways ; they
differ hi the example they set ; and the poor child has
to submit to three moral codes which, to cap the con-
fusion, vary from time to time. It is necessary, there-
fore, for parents to be conscious of this difficulty, and
to do their utmost to apply consistently a single moral
code, and to demand of the nurse or governess, if they
have any, to apply the same standard.

The author would suggest to parents to draw up
together some educational scheme or adopt some
manual for common guidance. The marital relations,
among other things, would be in general considerably
improved if this advice were followed.

6. Older and Younger Children

It is possible that you have only one child. If so,
you escape at least one complication, though the child
will lose much through being without youthful com-
| panions. But it is more likely that you have several
children. If this is the case, you are face to face with
the fact of one child imitating another.

Such imitation is very interesting to watch in the
early stages of the youngest child who, if he has a
brother just a year or two older, spends his time wish-
ing to do what his brother does, admiring his perform-



OLDER AND YOUNGER CHILDREN 15

ances, and doing everything as nearly as possible like
his brother. In this way the younger child is stimu-
lated to advance until he reaches about the age of five,
when his intelligence becomes more developed and he
no longer slavishly imitates.

Example is especially infectious between children.
If only you have trained your older children to be all
that they should be, your own educational task will be
immensely simplified. You will actually have your
older children educate your younger ones, and setting
them an example which they can understand and will
wish to imitate. Accordingly you should pay double
attention to your first-born offspring because their con-
duct will exert a marked influence on your later-born
offspring. Indeed, you should train your older children
to be the leaders of the younger ones, and to instil into
them a sense of their responsibilities and power for
good. If you are successful in this, you and your
younger children will greatly benefit by this, and your
older children will have been provided with a powerful
extra stimulus to moral and mental growth. Always,
then, you should have in view that the older children
should be teachers of and exemplars for the younger
ones.

Should you fail in the above, you will have another
problem to face namely, that your older children will
be teachers and exemplars of evil. This prospect in
itself should convince you of taking time by the fore-
lock and properly educating your first-born.

It is wonderful how far imitation will go. If Lilly
picks her fingers, shrugs her shoulders, twists her nose,
fidgets in her chair, insists on having always the last
word, acts as critic and censor, takes no notice of
anything said to her, very soon the younger ones,
whatever their temperament, will be picking their
fingers, shrugging their shoulders, twisting their noses,



16 THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD

fidgeting in their chairs, insisting on having always the
last word, acting as critics and censors, and taking no
notice of anything said to them. The home will be
turned into a veritable bear-garden. Instead of having
to correct the defects of one of your children, you have
to correct the same series of defects in all your children.
Truly no task to arouse envy in any other parent.

For this reason you should be constantly on your
guard, correcting every defect as it shows itself, and
preventing by all means in your power defects spread-
ing from child to child like a virulent infectious disease.

A further difficulty, not a great one though, arises
from having several children to bring up. The fact is
that, whilst they are very companionable among them-
selves and richly promote each other's happiness,
children have naturally little insight into the niceties
of conduct. Accordingly they tend, quite innocently,
to lower moral and intellectual standards when they
come to apply them among themselves. However, if
they are not taught anything objectionable they are
not likely to be more than just crude, that is, they will
not be vulgar, brutal, untruthful, or selfish. On this
count parents who have done their duty need be little
disturbed by their children's manners when they play
with one another or act together.

The one thing is for you to set a good example and get
your older children to do the same.

7. Home Atmosphere, Correction, and Punishments
" A king can do no wrong," it is said. You might
well add, though for a different reason, " nor children
either." This conception of child nature should deter-
mine, on the negative side, your fundamental attitude
in the home.

All punishments and rewards are consequently out of
place.



HOME ATMOSPHERE 17

In your soul there should not be one drop of anger,
indignation, or condemnation.

Your child may be doing what is wrong ; but you
should remember that he is not doing it because it is
wrong.

Difficult as such an attitude may appear to you,
seeing our miseducation and the false theories which
we imbibe, it is possible for you to acquire it in time
if you strive to allow no exception to the assumption
that young children are innocent, that is, that they
really do not mean to do wrong.

You might, of course, think that though your child
does not intend to do any wrong, a display of anger,
indignation, condemnation, and punishment will have
the effect of making it do and love the right. The
theory, however, that vigour and rigour are the proper
means to be employed in education is a theory about
which, if you are truly wise, you will say that it satisfies
and nurses the surviving brute nature in the educator,
and that it is therefore being abandoned as unintelligent,
ineffective, and mischievous in the treatment of school
children, apprentices, servants, paupers, criminals, the
insane, animals, and in our relations with all living
things, including wives. Parents who accept this theory
will tend, as a rule, to neglect to probe the deep and
varying causes of wrong-doing, to increase continually
the punishments in order to make them effective, to
train hypocrites and brutes, and to coarsen their own
moral fibres. Your own experience of what you have
seen in others' homes will tell you that there is nothing
more plausible and yet more pitiable as an educational
device than rewards and punishments.

Modern experience is teaching all of us that " You
are earnestly requested to . . ." is far more effective
on a notice board than " Trespassers will be prosecuted."
Coming one day, on a ramble, to an opening in a wood,

B



18 THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD

the author said to his companion, who is well known as
a moral instructor : "It says e Trespassers will be pro-
secuted.' " " Then," he replied promptly, " we'll tres-
pass." On another occasion the author visited abroad
a training-college for teachers, and chaffingly pointed
out to a group of teachers that one of the wall notices
was rather peremptorily worded. " Oh," they laugh-
ingly answered, " our Board of Education is responsible
for this notice ; there," pointing to another couched
in altogether different worlds, " is one of our own."

You will find that rays of kindness are far more
effective in moving young or old than the bleak winds
of threats. The old, old story of the competition be-
tween the sun and wind embodies a profoundly impor-
tant truth. A prohibitive tone is provoking, and if you
say to anyone, " You must not," you will very likely
receive as a spoken or unspoken reply, " Then I will."

A genial, courteous request one is ashamed to deny.

The thought which should guide you is that your
children are pupils, and have to be taught how to con-
duct themselves precisely as they have to be taught
with the greatest difficulty and the utmost persever-
ance their " lessons."

You should therefore display as much self-control
and foresight as the teacher, for, broadly speaking, your
task and that of the teacher are identical.

However, what you are not to be or do will furnish
no atmosphere for your home. Assuming affection for
your children as a matter of course (without which
everything you attempt crumbles to dust ultimately, and
which alone can give you the strength to do justice to
your children), the home atmosphere should be one
of happiness, joy, cheerfulness, geniality, and good
temper.

Happiness will act on your children as the sun acts
on the vegetable kingdom. They can never have too



HOME ATMOSPHERE 19

much of it. They will grow best, learn best, behave
best, if you keep them happy.

Arrange a game with your children that nobody
(including yourself) should answer a request if " please"
is not said, and there will be great fun when someone
" forgets " to say this word and keeps repeating his or
her request, wondering why no answer is forthcoming.
Having gained your end thus far, you initiate the further
game of good-naturedly ignoring and even refusing
the request (if not an urgent one) unless the "please"
formed part of the original sentence embodying the
request. The complementary " With pleasure," when
your children are asked to do something, can be acquired
by them in the same manner. In all such cases you
will find it well to have a real game where the needed
word or words or actions recur repeatedly, in order
to stamp them on the memory. Your children are
sure to enjoy this.

A little girl of five had, for some reason, developed
the exasperating habit of slapping everybody. Habits,
as you know, are difficult to remove. She agreed with
her father (when on a holiday) that she was " forgetting
herself," and that he should help her not to " forget."
Accordingly, he told her good-humouredly many times
during the day (this is the essence of the method) to
think of not forgetting herself, and when there was
the slightest reason to expect temper she was told to
be careful not to raise her hand. If she " forgot "
herself she was, with her consent, sent into some other
room to " think about it " carefully, on the under-
standing that she would soon be called back. (The
" other room," when by the seashore, was any big
pebble near by.) If there were several lapses or bad
lapses she would understand that she must " think "
for a long time. In this manner the " illness " was
soon cured. It, however, returned after a time, owing



20 THE TRAINING OF THE CHILD

no doubt to nervousness, and a single half-day in bed
from after lunch to tea time had an electric and lasting
effect, besides making her feel very happy. Indeed,
once she volunteered to go to bed on a certain occasion,
though she intensely disliked it.

Following this principle, you say that you cannot
hear when addressed in a loud voice ; that " must "
means " must not," and " must not " " must " ; that
" always " means " never," and " never " " always."
Do not argue with your children about such things.
Let them know in a pleasant manner, as you already
know, that habits cannot be acquired or removed by
argument or exhortations.

Take another case. A boy five years old hears that
if his sister four years old will not cry for a whole day
she will be called a diamond, and so on until she
becomes a rainbow after a week, when she would be
taken out for a walk by her father. The result of this
is that the boy for six weeks does not cry once, and,
indeed, cannot be got to cry under any circumstances
during the period mentioned. By the end of this time
he does not care any longer for the fanciful names given
to the days or even the weeks, and he even forgets
about being taken out. This strikingly illustrates
the growth of a habit. The little girl for whose special
benefit the experiment was made actually remained
for eight days without crying, indisposition breaking


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