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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/462

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

not. Men will teach, for bread and butter just as they will preach and pray. Too many are in the school because they have nothing else to do. They have not elected teaching. Like their boys, they must undo a great deal of their past, and this in a man requires not a small degree of plasticity. Some possess it, some do not. To look within the soul and draw one's inspiration from that well of living water is not given to all men; to communicate it, in all frankness and generosity, to but few. Our education has made us all too cautious. We are too afraid of speaking out and expressing our inmost convictions. And so our goodness, if we have any, does not prove contagious. No wave of spirituality proceeds from our teaching.

In contending against these odds, the pressure from without and the insufficiency within, the teacher experiences alternations of hope and despair. The faculty of a manual training school is commonly made up of young men. The more thoughtful among them have been attached to the movement by its immense promise, but under their hopefulness there is observable a current of almost premature seriousness. It is a grave task to undertake the regeneration of humanity, even when it is in the bud.

In attempting to carry out this idea of boy development, the atmosphere of the school is an object of constant solicitude. Great care is taken that it shall not be charged with the miasma called information. It is to be kept fresh, and, above all, morally wholesome. Character is to be grown there, but one spirit must pervade the school; it is that of a divine egotism. The boy is taught that for himself the one object of supreme importance in the whole universe is himself. His gaze is directed toward the naked human soul, stripped of the false props of apparel, of family, of possessions, even of knowledge. He is led to do this and that not for the sake of the product, although this is duly valued, but for the sake of the doing, and the reaction it will have upon himself. Education is thus made intensely subjective. The worth, the dignity, the responsibility of the individual are given greater emphasis than the facts of geography, of grammar, or of history. It is in this spirit, the constant recognition of a definite end, that manual training attempts to work. It would not do, however, to talk to boys very much about the soul. It is an abstraction to them, and they would soon cease to listen. They must be made to feel it. The task is a very subtle one; its nature must never be forgotten, but seldom displayed. The kingdom of heaven can not be taken by violence. It is through gentleness and patience, through love and sympathy, that the inner recesses of boys' hearts are to be reached. They have been taught in a vague way that the body has a soul. The statement is here reversed, and they are made to feel, if possible, that the soul has a body. They