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"Now," he said, "Rufus, you take Randall by the hand and tell him that you will never mention this subject unless he first speaks of it, but if he does that you will lick him." The boys joined hands, Rufus told it over to Randall, and then Randall repeated the same words to Rufus, each agreeing never to mention the matter; and the solemnity with which this proceeding was conducted all the way through, made a deep impression on all the other pupils so that they felt it to be too sacred a thing between the two boys to be mentioned.

A few years later the Civil War came. Randall went into the Union Army and served through that terrible strife of carnage and death. Rufus was on the other side. Both were then young men, and so it happened that after peace came, they were both students in the same normal school, and their former teacher was a professor in that school. They met now as men. Their compact had been sacredly kept. They were as firm friends as David and Jonathan, or as Damon and Pythias. It was delightful to see these two men and their friend, the professor, laugh over the incident, and they complimented him on his skill in settling the affair in such a manner as to bind them so closely together in all after life; and they volunteered the suggestion that if our statesmen had known better how to manage people, a great war might have been averted.

Here was a lesson in courage, honor, obedience, fidelity and self-control. The case was investigated, the compact proposed, agreed to, and ratified in ten or fifteen minutes.

The teacher wisely refrained from delivering a lecture on the evils of fighting. He let the matter rest with the pupils to think over, and for each one to apply it to his own case.


If one looks more closely into this case, which is such a one as is likely to occur in any school at the present time, the virtues that stand out most prominently in the character of these boys were courage and honor.

Each virtue has its opposite defect or vice, and as an opportunity arises from an occurrence or incident, the teacher can illustrate and enforce, at the right moment, in a few well-directed sentences, the essential points connected with the virtue involved. Both boys had manly courage in abundance. The opposite defect-cowardice, was absent.


Even small children understand how it is that every man lives upon the fruit of his own labor or upon the fruit of the labors of others.

A good illustration of this is given in one of the popular school readers, under the title of, "The Good Boy Whose Parents are Poor." This little boy rises early in the morning, and he helps his father and his mother as much as he can before he goes to school. When he goes to school he walks quickly and does not lose any time on the way. He is glad that he can work, and when he is in school he learns all his lessons well.

Let the teacher contrast this little boy's conduct with the one who is lazy and shirks every day. It is by drawing such pictures in strong contrast that the pupils are trained to do certain things and to eschew others. Place beside each other on the blackboard, the virtue and its vice, or defect, so that they can be analyzed and properly classified by the pupils in the room. Take work, and its opposite, laziness, put them on the board before the pupils when some incident has occurred to give a background to the setting. No life has so little in it as the idle life, and especially the idle life of the rich man or woman. The idle rich man gives little to the world and gets much from it. The able-bodied man gives the world as much or more than he consumes. It is industry that conquers in this world. The industrious man or woman will do thorough, honest work, and give to the world value received for what he or she consumes, besides adding something to the world's capital stock. The result of such a man's work is wealth under one or another of its diverse forms. It may be the most valuable kind of wealth-intellectual or spiritual wealth.

Laziness is the worst sort of vice, because it sacrifices the higher self to the lower self-it places temporary indulgence for the remote permanent interest. Laziness is the open gateway to poverty in its most hideous and degrading forms. Where industry is wanting, poverty and wretchedness are sure to be found.

Let the lesson be brought home to the child so that he will never be ashamed to work. Boys as well as girls in the cities should learn to do some kind of housework. A boy will feel better if he takes care of his own bedroom, and makes it look a little neater

and tidier than it had been before. It is far better for a boy to live on plain, wholesome food and work some each day, to learn habits of industry, than to spend his days in the back alleys where contamination grows most luxuriantly. Work as a duty, as a virtue, has its reward; its opposite, laziness, as a vice, has its penalty. Then as each virtue is brought into the school incidentally, it should be presented in both lights as previously indictated, the pupils leading in working out the outline from such material as they can command. The spirit of self-help is indeed the mainspring of all genuine worth.


There is not on earth a spectacle more worthy of the regard of good men than to see a great mind superior to its sufferings. The classic story of Regulus is an excellent example of this statement.


There is a wide difference between the description of an act and the explanation of it. The best training of morals consists in using both methods describing an act and explaining it. The highest outcome of all teaching results in character formation without which there is nothing great in man. Professor C. C. Everett, in speaking of the internal traits of Fichte as a man, said: "This was made up of an energy that could hardly be surpassed; of a power of love that was his inspiration, and of a passion for truth and for righteousness that pressed toward absolute satisfaction."

The theory of all moral training is based on two simple principles: (a) arousing the feelings so that the child will pass judgment upon the moral quality of the action; and (b) the determination of the child to put his decision into the thing that ought to be done. These two underlying principles may be briefly expressed thus: judgment and feeling combined, followed by doing. Unless the decision which arouses the feelings results in doing, moral training is abortive.

In developing right notions in the minds of children, concrete examples that have fallen directly under their experience, or such as may be brought within their sphere of comprehension, will serve the purpose best.

The reading lessons will furnish sufficient material for the inculcation of good habits and their opposites. Perhaps the most striking historical illustration touching obedience is the reply that Mrs. Washington, the mother of General Washington, gave to the French officer at the banquet given to the allied officers soon after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. A distinguished French officer asked Mrs. Washington, on that occasion, how she managed to raise such a splendid man! Her simple reply was, "I taught George to obey." Would that every American mother would practice the same method now!


That a child from mere impulse should choose early in life what vocation he will follow and stick to his choice permanently, is not expected except in very rare cases, and yet after a choice in due time has been made, it ought to act as a moral support on the character amidst the din and strife of conflicting influences. It is vital that one ought not to be severed from his particular line of duty. The sense of personal honor, family traditions, and many other subtle influences have a strong tendency to strengthen moral character, if the proper setting has been given to the pupil's bent of mind.

With the active and conscientious teacher the main question in the field of ethical instruction is how to present living issues within the experiences of girls and boys in the elementary and in the secondary schools; issues which these pupils have already begun to discuss, but which they rarely carry out to a finality. The best material should arise out of concrete cases which in some manner connect themselves with some familiar aspects of everyday life. To widen and deepen the sympathies of the pupils from personal experience, biographical and literary readings, interspersed with illustrations from various sources not given as lectures "on being good," but full of such meaning as each can put into some part of the incident, is worth more to the pupils than any over-wrought discussion, however finely spoken.

To lead a class out into an open field, definite questions, before a subject is formally presented, are of incalculable value acting as starting points about which principles will definitely cluster. Such

a method will cultivate the scientific habit of gathering and weighing facts as to their relative importance in awakening a cautious attitude of investigation before jumping hastily at conclusions, based on inadequate evidence. To think out problems of conduct in a broad, sympathetic and rational manner, and to act in conformity thereto, is the essence of all ethical teaching. As the pupils advance in their studies from lower to higher grades, they ought to grow more alert in finding out the truth in each case, whether it be a real or hypothetical case; and strive to convince their classmates and teacher of the soundness of their decisions, and to be open-minded on all questions upon which differences of opinions have existed. All ethical lessons ought to be lessons along the lines of moral thinking and acting. A character can only become strong and fixed in its struggles and conquests over temptation, and not by acting good all the time. One must also find his place on all burning questions in the ranks of those who know where, when and how to take their places in the community, state or nation, at the right time. When one has found his place of work for life, it is his duty to adhere to it, otherwise life is meaningless. Loyalty to one's chosen work contains all the elements out of which one's life must manifest itself. This is the permanent interest that each should have to stimulate him through life's journey.

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