Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/828

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What reformer so unimaginative that he does not thrill at his own mind-pictures of a perfected humanity! But, alas! how few reformers, however earnest, who are patient enough to build from the mudsills up! For the most part we are a set of idle dreamers. Science has reclaimed from the unknown much more than we teachers have utilized. The laboratory is far ahead of the classroom. To our shame be it said. We know better than we do. The time has come to stop this trifling. I, a man, cry to myself, Halt! And I ask myself what I would do if I did the best I knew. The answer comes clear and unmistakable. I would stop trying to educate boys by the hundred—an impossible task and devotedly try to educate a little group. I would begin at the beginning. One must know the sort of material one has to work upon. This is the beginning. Education must take in the whole day, and not a mere fragment of it. Knowing the condition of the whole organism, the powers and defects of each organ, our first business is to set about making this organism healthy and adequate for the life of a man. This is a matter of daily régime and not of intermittent treatment. It is a matter of food, baths, clothing, rest, and exercise. It can not be divorced from school life any more than it can from home life. This is the first and great requirement. No boy, unless heavily handicapped at birth or by subsequent accident, will fail to respond to such treatment and come out a relatively healthy organism.

Meanwhile, we are not forgetting that power resides in the head. But neither are we forgetting that the head is only made possible by the rest of the body; that the supply of blood depends on that pumping engine down below, the heart; that the condition of the vast system of nerves of which the head is the center depends upon the health of the entire network; in short, that not the least and meanest function of the organism is without influence.upon the crown of it all. Education begins by a bodily renovation. And while this renovation is in progress, much else is being done. Each organ of sense is not only to be in health through its own health and the general health of the entire organism, but it is to be gaining power through exercise, for it is the office of the senses to supply the brain with raw material—that is, with sensations. There are many opportunities for such exercise. To begin with, let us consider the eye. Incidentally, all life contributes to its culture, and yet for lack of adequate training it remains a very inaccurate instrument. Its function is to appreciate distance, color, tone, light and shade, proportion. Put in the most general terms, it is to apprehend relations. Many wholesome exercises could be devised to develop these several phases—judgments of distances, discrimination between different colors and different shades of the same color, the evaluation of light and shadow, the