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Ella Lyman Cabot.

Ethics for children : a guide for teachers and parents online

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BANTA



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STA R-l COLLEGt

SANTA DARBARA. CALiFOHNIA



ETHICS



FOR CHILDREN

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BY



ELLA LY1VIAN CABOT

Member Massachusetts Board of Education




BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO SAN FRANCISCO

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

(bc liibcrsibe press Cambnbge



COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY ELLA LYMAN CABOT
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



fce Rtoewtot $rtM

CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS
PRINTED IN THE U.S.A



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To Sylvia and Faith,
my helpers



PREFACE

THIS book was written at the suggestion of the
Educational Association of South Dakota. The Asso-
ciation was one of the first in the country to recognize
the need of religious motive and ethical instruction in
our public schools. In December, 1905 (at Brookings),
the Educational Association, through its Committee
on Resolutions, passed the following vote:

"Whereas a sound morality is the very foundation
of a truly progressive society and of a healthy public
opinion, we recommend that systematic ethical instruc-
tion be a part of the course of study in our public
schools. We believe that this instruction should be
entirely divorced from partisan or sectarian bias and
founded on the broad basis of Christian ethics."

A Committee of fifteen members was appointed to
prepare a course of study to guide teachers in giving
systematic ethical instruction. This Committee made
investigations of similar work in other states, but found
nothing adequate to its needs. It therefore compiled
a short outline of ethical instruction for the public
schools of South Dakota. Since that time it has been
felt that a fuller textbook is essential. Even those
teachers who have easy access to libraries find that it
requires time, energy, and skill to discover the best
ethical material on a special topic, for a special age,
and a special experience, hidden as such material is in
the alluring and bafHing books of a library. A library
is a gold-mine of ethical wisdom, but the gold is often



vi PREFACE

buried deep and mixed with alloy. Therefore it seemed
to the Educational Association wise to enlarge and
create a definite course of instruction in ethics.

In February, 1909, the author was asked to compile
a book for ethical instruction in the grades, and at the
meeting of the County Superintendents of South
Dakota in November, 1909, at Lead, the manuscript
of Ethics for Children was accepted as a basis for the
State Course of study.

This book offers definite ethical narrative and defi-
nite suggestion for teaching during every month of the
school-term from the first day in school to the end of
the Eighth Grade, in accordance with the provisions
of law and the State Course. The initiation of the plan
and the achievement of such help as this Guide may
offer is due to the foresight and devotion of the South
Dakota Educational Association and the Committee
charged with this responsibility.

Among the publishers to whose courtesy the author
is indebted for the use of their copyrighted material
are The Bobbs-Merrill Company, for extracts from
Child Classics, edited by Georgia Alexander; Messrs.
Doubleday, Page & Co., for material from Up From
Slavery, by Booker T. Washington; The Unitarian
Sunday-School Society, for selections from The Beacon
Series; Messrs. Little, Brown & Co., for an extract from
Bed-Time Stories, by Louise Chandler Moulton, and
one from The Golden Windows, by Laura E. Rich-
ards; Messrs. Ginn & Co., for material from Town and
City, in the Gulick Hygiene Series; The Century Co.,
for material from Fighting a Fire, by Charles T. Hill;
and to the Roycroft Press for an extract from A Mes-
sage to Garcia, by Elbert Hubbard. Thanks are due



PREFACE vii

also to the Youth's Companion for permission to reprint
Henry H. Bennett's poem, "The Flag Goes By"; to
the Pilgrim Press for permission to reprint the poem,
"America the Beautiful," by Katharine Lee Bate?,
and to Mr. Theodore C. Williams for the use of his
poem, "Fellow-Laborers."

The attention of teachers is called to Section 136 of
the South Dakota School Law, which provides that
teachers must classify the work of their schools in
accordance with the State Course of study. The State
Course of study, under the law, is the creature of the
County Superintendents and the State Superintendent
of Public Instruction. Attention is also directed to
Section 143 of the School Law, which reads: "Moral
instruction intended to impress upon the mind of pupils
the importance of truthfulness, temperance, purity,
public spirit, patriotism and respect for honest labor,
obedience to parents and due deference for old age, shall
be given by every teacher in the public service of the
state."



CONTENTS



INTRODUCTION: METHODS OF TEACHING ETHICS . xiii



FIKST YEAR

ETHICAL CENTRE: Helpfulness

INTRODUCTION 1

SEPTEMBER: GOING TO SCHOOL 2

OCTOBER: GENEROSITY 4

NOVEMBER: GRATITUDE 9

DECEMBER: THE JOY OF GIVING 11

JANUARY: CLEANLINESS 14

FEBRUARY: USEFULNESS 19

MARCH: KEEPING YOUR PROMISE 21

APRIL: KINDNESS 25

MAY: COURTESY 28

SECOND YEAR

ETHICAL CENTRE: Home Life

INTRODUCTION 31

SEPTEMBER: KINDNESS TO LITTLE CHILDREN .... 31

OCTOBER: KINDNESS TO ANIMALS 34

NOVEMBER: GENEROSITY 39

DECEMBER: PEACE AND GOOD WILL 42

JANUARY : OUR FAMILY 48

FEBRUARY: THE GOLDEN RULE . 52



x CONTENTS

MARCH: GOOD DEEDS 54

APRIL: THE COMING OF SPRING 56

MAY: KINDNESS TO THE SICK AND OLD ... 59

THIRD YEAR

ETHICAL CENTRE: Work

INTRODUCTION 61

SEPTEMBER: POWER 62

OCTOBER: THE BEST WAY TO GET AHEAD ... 67

NOVEMBER: WORKING TOGETHER 71

DECEMBER: SELF-CONTROL 74

JANUARY: COURAGE 77

FEBRUARY: PERSEVERANCE 78

MARCH: AMBITION 81

APRIL: OBEDIENCE 81

MAY: FAITHP-ULNESS 84

FOURTH YEAR



ETHICAL CENTRE: Golden Deeds

INTRODUCTION 91

SEPTEMBER: THE CALL TO RIGHT-DOING 92

OCTOBER: FAITHFULNESS 94

NOVEMBER: COURAGE 98

DECEMBER: BEARING ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS . . 99

JANUARY: HEROISM 103

FEBRUARY: FORGIVENESS 105

MARCH: COMPASSION 110

APRIL: PATRIOTISM 112

MAY: PERSEVERANCE . 114



CONTENTS xi

FIFTH YEAR

ETHICAL CENTRE: Loyally

INTRODUCTION 118

SEPTEMBER: LOYALTY TO OUR PROMISES 119

OCTOBER: LOYALTY TO OUR COUNTRY 121

NOVEMBER: LOYALTY TO WORK 122

DECEMBER: LOYALTY TO OUR FAITH 125

JANUARY: LOYALTY TO DUTY 127

FEBRUARY: LOYALTY TO COMRADES 130

MARCH: LOYALTY TO HONOR 135

APRIL: LOYALTY TO TRUTH 139

MAY: LOYALTY UNTO DEATH 145

SIXTH YEAR

ETHICAL CENTRE: Friendship

INTRODUCTION 148

SEPTEMBER: FAITHFULNESS 148

OCTOBER: TRUTH 150

.NOVEMBER: GENEROSITY 154

DECEMBER: LOVING-KINDNESS 156

JANUARY: IMAGINATION AND SYMPATHY 162

FEBRUARY: DEVOTION 165

MARCH: COURAGE AND SELF-CONTROL 170

APRIL: FORGIVENESS 173

MAY: THE DUTY OF SERVICE 177

SEVENTH YEAR

ETHICAL CENTRE: Patriotism

INTRODUCTION 182

SEPTEMBER: OUB NEED OF ONE ANOTHER . . . .184



Xll



CONTENTS



OCTOBER: PERSEVERANCE 188

NOVEMBER: MEMORY 195

DECEMBER: FREEDOM AND OBEDIENCE 197

JANUARY: SELF-RELIANCE 200

FEBRUARY: JUSTICE AND FAIR-MINDEDNESS .... 205

MARCH: TAKING RESPONSIBILITY 209

APRIL: LOYALTY 214

MAY: How WE CAN HELP OUR TOWN . 216



EIGHTH YEAR

ETHICAL CENTRE: Choosing a Calling

INTRODUCTION , 221

SEPTEMBER: THE VALUE OP INTERESTS 221

OCTOBER: THE CHOICE OF INTERESTS 224

NOVEMBER : THOROUGHNESS 226

DECEMBER: SYMPATHY 229

JANUARY: THE USE OF TIME 234

FEBRUARY: THE VALUE OF PERSEVERANCE .... 239

MARCH: TAKING RESPONSIBILITY 241

APRIL: DISCIPLINE 246

MAY: SUCCESS 249

INDEX . . . , . . . 255



TO THE TEACHER

WE, teachers, stand as long ago in Judea the disciples
of Jesus stood, with a little child in our midst. The
presence of that child turns us in eager humility toward
our work. How shall we give to the children of our
nation the best that is in us? How, even more, can we
help to develop in them the best that is in themselves?
I We are in honor bound to see ahead for children, to
forestall some of the difficulties of their route, and to
give them the best chances for helpful happiness. We
know, in our own experience that in so far as we have
acquired the momentum of loyalty, of courage, of per-
severance, of sympathy, of truthfulness, our feet move
more swiftly. We are less entangled in vacillation,
laziness, sophistry, and fear. We want to give good
gifts unto our children, and therefore we want to help
them to gain virtue, which is power, and wisdom,
which maketh all things new. They must learn to see
the invisible ideal, and, following it, to endure hardship
gladly.

The purpose of this book is to suggest the best avail-
able ethical instances for every year from six to four-
teen. The structure I have built is only the scaffolding
for the greater mansion that I hope each one of you will
erect. By and by you will throw the scaffolding aside.
Meanwhile, all first-hand experience is significant, and,
since we are dealing with a study essentially new, it
may be of value if I give a few suggestions for the right
attitude and methods in character-training.



xiv TO THE TEACHER

Most important in ethical teaching is the attitude
of the teacher toward her subject and her class. The
attitude of people who talk about the need of ethical
teaching often seems to me exactly wrong, because it
is discouraged and solemn. I believe that the attitude
of the teacher should be at once light-hearted and confi-
dent. No one can teach ethics who is not anchored to
faith, and every one who has strong faith has cause to
be full of zeal and of rejoicing. Therefore her classes
can abound in animation and in confidence. A good
laugh is often far more effective in moral training than
a bad scolding.

Too many teachers seem to think that moral lessons
are given to reform children because they are bad. The
opposite is the truth. If such lessons are helpful, it is
because the children are full of unreleased goodness.
Emerson tells us to respect the child, respect him so
much that we will not endure his misinterpretation of
himself in wrong-doing, but appeal to himself against
his trifling. The teacher must find out and reverence
the characteristic, but often buried, goodness of each
child in her class. If ethical teaching is successful, it is
because every child seems a child of promise. You can-
not help any one much until you love and admire
something real and unique in him, and love it so much
that you cannot let him be a caricature of himself.

FEED THE CHILD'S STRONGEST INTEREST

To see the unique in each child and to love it means
intimate knowledge both of that child and of others.
No one can draw out the best in each child until he
knows the characteristics of a given age and of the
individual boy or girl. Therefore a study of the normal



TO THE TEACHER xv

interests of each age must underlie any effective ethical
teaching. A boy of twelve is a very different character
from a boy of seven. He will reject with scorn a fairy-,
story that lights up the wondering eyes of the younger
child. He has begun to want solid fact. He seeks
heroes who have actually lived. We need therefore to
know at just what age a particular truth can be assim-
ilated. We must not give infants moral nuts to crack,
or feed young athletes with predigested food.

On the whole, there is less harm done by giving chik
dren what is above their heads than is done by talking
Avwn to them. They will be bored by the profound;
they may permanently resent the sentimental. A boy
of my acquaintance, who was sent to kindergarten at
too advanced an age, has never got over his scorn of a
well-meaning, sentimental teacher. She once told him
that because he had been a bad boy the sun would no
longer shine for her, and she thereupon proceeded to
draw down the dark curtain. To his mind, it was a
transparent combination of foolishness and cheating.
All his life since, he has repudiated the deed and the
doer. The ruse, while not admirable, might have passed
unscathed with a little child. This lad was too old and
his teacher knew it not.

Studies of children's characteristics and interests at
given ages are as yet scattered and incomplete. Dr.
G. Stanley Hall has put together an interesting group
of papers on Aspects of Child Life and Education. Pro-
fessor John Tyler's Growth and Education gives whole-
some counsel concerning the stages of physical growth
in their relation to education. Mrs. Annie Winsor
Allen's Home, School and Vacation is alive with intelli-
gent comment. Three essays dealing mainly with boys



xvi TO THE TEACHER

are notable: Judge John E. GunckeFs "Boyville"
(Toledo Newsboys' Association) is a graphic account
from first-hand experience of the characteristics of news-
boys in his city; Mr. William George's "The Junior
Republic" is an invaluable tribute to boys rightly
dealt with; Mr. Joseph Lee in "Education in Play-
grounds" (Educational Review, New York, December,
1901) describes with vivid illustration three phases of
boyhood. These articles are all worth consulting. They
should lead to a first-hand study by every teacher of
the tastes and characteristics of her class.

THE MORAL CURRENT

We cannot give ethical teaching unless we know to
whom we are speaking. The class and its point of view
must be vivid before us. If we want to strengthen their
good will, and thus drive out the evil, we must know
why children are tempted to wrong-doing, and how they
can be supplied with temptations to right-doing. Why
are children troublesome, or, as we crudely and falsely
term it, " bad " ? Usually, from one of two reasons. They
lack vitality, or they overflow with uncontrolled vital-
ity. Fretfulness, laziness, cowardice, lying, and even
aggressive faults like perversity and obstinacy, are
often due to lack of vitality a pathetic, misjudged
protest against being forced into the wrong work. Bad
temper, cruelty, roughness, stealing, and all the myriad
acts we classify as "mischievous," may result from the
great gift of superabundant vitality an energy which,
like electricity, is capable of service, but disastrous
when uncontrolled.

The course of a misguided child is not unlike the
"ourse of a misguided bicycle. The bicycle falls if it



TO THE TEACHER xvii

does not go ahead and if it is nt steered. So a child
will do wrong either because he has not motive power
enough to go ahead on the road which leads to his goal,
or because he has plenty of vitality, but no steering
gear. The aim of ethical teaching is to give and to
control the motive-power; to make the best there is
for a child so inviting that he will work eagerly and
persistently to win it.

Let me give an example. The principal of a Massa-
chusetts Normal School instituted in the eighth grade
* course in practical carpentry. Its result was notable.
"Formerly," said the principal, "if a boy saw a some-
what worn table, he would carve his name on it with a
jackknife; now he comes to me and offers to plane and
varnish the table so that it shall be as good as new."
Here we see the self-same energy turned from waste
to construction, from evil to good. A boy's desire to
use tools and to impress his immortal initials on wood
thus achieves an end beyond his own hopes. It is more
fun as well as preferable to leave one's mark upon
a table by planing it than by nicking it. Later, the good
artisan may rightly carve his initials on the corner of
his finished product. Even Whistler enjoyed making
his butterfly on the edge of his paintings.

Our teaching in ethical classes, like all our teaching
and example outside such classes, must help to show
each child that the right act is what he truly wants,
just as he truly prefers to plane and varnish the table
and see his work embodied in a useful and attrac-
tive act, rather than to see his deed result in marring
the table. How can ethical teaching advance this
aim?



xviii TO THE TEACHER

THE MATERIAL FOR ETHICAL STORY-TELLING

There are two factors of paramount and almost equal
importance: one is the choice of the right material, and
the other, the right method of presentation to the class.
I have given in this book material suitable for every
grade in the elementary schools, and I have tried as
far as possible to associate it with the literature or
history that the child of any grade would naturally be
studying.

Among the best in ethical meaning are the classic
stories, including a chosen group of Bible stories. These
are the great inheritance of our race; a treasure which
we have of late too much allowed to rust. Bible stories
are never sectarian; it is our fault if we so interpret
them. They are pervaded by a perennial humanity, a
direct simplicity that makes them appeal to the young
of every century. Do not alter the language. Children
grasp its beauty even if they miss the meaning of a
word. Omit or rearrange verses where necessary, but
trust the child; he will like King James's version. We
cannot now write as the men wrote who fervently
translated our Bible. The faith unquenched of Daniel
praying with his windows open toward Jerusalem; the
devotion of the widow casting her two mites, even all
that she had, into the treasury, these are better
ethical teachers than any sermon, for they are character
in action.

Next among the classic ethical stories come those
that age after age has loved and treasured. These
include some of the legends of India brought together
in the Jataka Tales, the Greek legend of Prometheus
the fire-bringer, the tender spiritual record of St.



TO THE TEACHER xix

Francis of Assisi, the legend of St. Christopher, the
story of Sir Galahad.

Equal in value, though different in their appeal, are
graphic incidents from great biographies, the story
of Socrates loyal unto death, of Joan of Arc, illustrated
by Boutet de Monvel's pictures, the courage of Henry
Fawcett the blind statesman, of General Gordon, flam-
ing hero of the Soudan, and in our own day of Pasteur,
of Waring, of Florence Nightingale. These and many
other lives picture loyalty, beautiful and moving as a
rushing river which seeks the sea.

After biography, I come to heroic incidents of loy-
alty. We need for our help vivid scenes of right action
under difficulty. I have given the story of self-control
and self-reliance in the wreck of the steamship Republic
and the patriotism of Senator Foelker as modern ex-
amples. Every teacher will find others, as her teaching
of ethics makes her eye prehensile to catch glimpses of
the loyal deeds blossoming all around us, but hidden
to our unobservant eyes as the arbutus hides fragrant
under wintry leaves.

Variety is to my mind of great importance in ethical
classes. Moral life is full of variety, of vitality, and of
humor. We need not fear to bring these qualities to the
class. Humor is a leaven. Without it, ethical teaching
becomes flat. I hope the teacher will gather together
fearlessly stories as varied as that of the "Winter at
Valley Forge" and that of "Epaminondas and his
Auntie." Moral experience is as wide and as thrilling
as life itself. We must redeem it from its prosy reputa-
tion. The ethical class ought to be, and in my experi-
ence often is, the most popular class in school.

Among the books which I should like every teacher



xx TO THE TEACHER

of ethics to own are: Poems Every Child Should Know,
by Mary E. Burt; How to Tell Stories to Children, by
Sara Cone Bryant; World Stories, by Joel H. Metcalf;
The Pig Brother, by Laura E. Richards; An American
Book of Golden Deeds, by James Baldwin; The School
Speaker and Reader, by William DeWitt Hyde; and
Control of Body and Mind, by Frances Gulick Jewett.

METHODS OP TEACHING

And now a few suggestions as to methods of teaching.
It is most important to know before each lesson just
what you want to bring out in the topic of the day.
The teacher must see her subject vividly, and feel its
beauty and appeal. Her full faith must go with the
lesson. This is impossible without preparation. Suc-
cess means saturation with your subject, not with
its moral, but with itself. Children will gain most from
stories of right and wrong told in so graphic a way that
they leave a picture. The instinct of a child is to love
a story and to repel a moral. He is right. In the best
stories, the true act is seen clothed upon as it is in real
life, not protruded immodestly and self-consciously as
in a moral. In the story of the Dutch boy at the dike,
faithfulness is seen in action and compels our homage.
When we hear of the boy at the dike, we are ready,
every one of us, to keep an aching ringer in the hole till
help comes. For a moment, at least, we see loyalty face
to face and swear allegiance to it.

The next point of importance in ethical teaching is to
make this vision of the right act lasting. I have tried
to do this by giving a number of very different stories
and poems all illustrating the same virtue. If, for
example, you wish to bring out the quality of persever-



TO THE TEACHER xxi

ance, it can be pictured by Laura E. Richards' story.
"The Hill"; by the story of Booker Washington and
the brick-kiln; by the "Message to Garcia"; by the
legend of Robert Bruce and the spider. If you want
sympathy to shine in your class, the story of "Mar-
garet of New Orleans"; of St. Francis making nests for
the doves; Alice Gary's poem, "A Lesson of Mercy";
and Tolstoi's "Where Love Is God Is," speak, in their
varied voices, of the same ideal.

Another way in which we can deepen an ethical im-
pression is to connect several stories which deal with
the same incidents. For example, the story of Florence
Nightingale can be reinforced by Longfellow's poem,
"Santa Filomena," and by Tennyson's "Charge of the
Light Brigade."

Many of the simpler fables, like the "Sun and the
Wind," or the "Blind Man and the Lame Man," can
be acted, and thus the impression made more perma-
nent. Short poems can be learned by heart, and strik-
ing epigrammatic sentences like: "Truth is mighty and
will prevail," may well be written on the blackboard.

Shall any comment follow the story? Not always.
Stories like Tolstoi's "What Men Live By" are too
perfect and complete for any comment. Often, how-
ever, questions and comment of the right kind will draw
out the meaning rather than blur it. In the early
grades, questions must be simply enticements to fuller
understanding and expression. Ask the children what
they like best in a story and why. Let them repeat the
simpler stories; let them ask again for their favorites.
With children under ten, no disputed questions of right
and wrong should be discussed. I once heard a teacher
ask a small girl whether it was nobler in case of a fire



xxii TO THE TEACHER

to rescue your father or your child. The question is
abominable; the reasons given for either act are too
cold to be true. Love leaps to rescue in an emergency.
It hears the call. It cannot question.

In the later grades of the Grammar School, we can
begin to add real discussions of a practical nature. In
grade seven, for example, in connection with reading
Edward Everett Bale's Man Without a Country, I have
suggested a number of questions in patriotism. "Was
Nolan too severely punished for having cursed his
country? Why or why not?" This should bring out a
discussion of the wrong of disloyalty to our country,
and should give a chance to quicken our allegiance to
the flag. This allegiance can be reinforced by learning
"The Flag Goes By."

THE VIRTUES THAT CHILDREN HONOR

I have spoken already of the value of knowing chil-
dren's interests and characteristics at a given age, in
order to teach ethics. Our method of teaching rests on
this knowledge. Just as the larger muscles must be
exercised before the smaller, so must the larger and less
analytic forms of a virtue. No child wants to be good;
he is too active and too unconscious. But every child
wants to be good-for-something. Through stories, ques-
tions, and timely supplements to his own experience,
we can help him to succeed.

I believe that truth is too difficult a conception for
a little child. Trustworthiness is its earlier form. He
will respond to an appeal to keep his promises when he
has not fully grasped the idea of loyalty as expressed
in, what is to him, the new and complicated art of
language. I know a wise mother who, when her chil-



TO THE TEACHER xxiii

dren tell falsehoods, says to them: "Oh! I see, you are
not old enough to speak the truth."

Even very young children feel the call of courage in
its aspect of self-control. "I bumped my forehead when
I fell down, but I did n't cry." Here is a chance for
genuine appeal. The forms of courage which involve
meeting danger real to the child's mind, will grow with


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