Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/352

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tricts where beys acquire of necessity more of handicraftsmanship they need manual training less. In cities it is essential.

The boy of mental peculiarities will not settle down to efficient work till he finds his own place, his level, range of action, and by his own initiative. This discovery is always the outcome of a gradual evolution; it should not be forced. From this secure position, once attained, he can fare forth satisfactorily and finally achieve his adult sphere of usefulness. That boy is fortunate who is content with his own province when discovered and does not invade that of another. Many a boy fitted to make an admirable and happy ranchman, soldier, sailor or farmer becomes a misfit self-detesting clergyman, physician or lawyer. His early advisers are generally to blame in compelling him to masquerade as a scholar, who was formed to be an excellent capable every-day man. Intelligence, capacity, is not to be measured by degrees so much as by qualities, aptitudes, characteristics. A first-class foreman in a factory may possess a far more symmetric intelligence, a clearer judgment, than the lopsided genius who invented the objects which he manufactures.

One of the surest criteria of capacity, at any level, is, according to M. W. Barr, the grasp, the quality of the grip of the hand. The grasp shows many things indicating the comprehensiveness of the mind. Certain minds can readily learn by doing, yet they grope feebly in pure intellectual effort. They reach an equally worthy goal if only they know their limits, stop at their own station, go to their own home. Over-stimulation in scholasticism is as hurtful as overtraining in track athletics; the staleness may pass into permanent mental impairment.

Shyness, inertia, resentment of interference, timidity, gloom, indolence or stubbornness may indicate no essential defect, but may be due to awkwardness, defective coordination. The cure is kindly encouragement, guidance in activities, development of unrecognized aptitudes, praise, wholesome incentives. Many have little tactile sense; this should be encouraged in all ways; it may finally come in fair measure and form the ground for conspicuous abilities by cooperation of other faculties long overshadowed. Barr quotes Buffon 'how wonderfully the senses are alike at bottom, how they supplement each other!'

The limit of receptivity is often reached early. It is then wise to be content with careful training on a lower level in which excellent capacities can be attained. One man can become a thoroughly good soldier, to obey orders, to die at his post, to follow to the death, who never can lead a company, much less plan a campaign or sail a ship. The best captain is by no means necessarily a good oarsman or a gunner. Always it is essential to achieve even qualified success to begin special training as early as possible during the plastic stage. No good sailor can be made from an old farmer or an old professor of mathematics.