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11
THE TEACHER'S UNCONSCIOUS SUCCESS

and opinionated. It makes them the easy victims of fads and fallacies and makes them stubborn in adhering to whims which they have taken up. It makes them impervious to reason and argument because they hold to their pet ideas with a pertinacity which has a great deal of vanity in it. It makes them quick to talk and slow to think or study. We sometimes rejoice in the amount of reading that our people do in newspapers, magazines, and light literature, and we are multiplying libraries and reading-rooms with an easy confidence that it is all in the right direction. It is like other human devices, however; it is in the main good, but it is not all good. There is one disturbing reflection which we must take earnestly to heart. If a people's desire for literary food is met by light literature, it is satisfied and put at rest by light literature, and then there is no desire or energy to get anything better. The argument against novel reading which we used to hear forty years ago, has almost entirely died out, but it had some sense in it, on this ground if no other. The consumption of vast masses of diluted literary food destroys the tone of the intellect and the moral stamina also.

Such observations and reflections as these force us back again to our resources of moral strength. Where do they lie? Without disparaging the value of homiletical instruction and exhortation, it will be admitted by everybody that it takes character above everything else to make character. Here is where the personality of the teacher has a transcendent function in connection with imparting book-learning. The school educates the teacher quite as much as it educates the scholars. The life and work together under forms which involve discipline and orderly co-operation cannot go on without friction which tells upon both parties. The in-