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VERMONT

SCHOOL JOURNAL AND FAMILY VISITOR.

VOLUME III.

MARCH, 1861.

NUMBER III.

SOCIETY AS AN EDUCATOR. Society acts no small part and sustains no trifling responsibility in the great work of education.

Childhood, for the most part, is confined to the family circle. Its associations are formed amidst the endearing relations of home. . Away from the strife and bustle of the world, it breathes a purer atmosphere and feels the more refining and exalting influences of love and mutual affection.

Youth is more exposed. It mingles in the village and the school with companions and strangers and receives the impress of their example. It has not yet learned to distinguish between the good and the evil, and, therefore, drinks in every influence without discrimination.

But soon childhood and youth pass away. Manhood comes laden with cares and fearful responsibility. The daily transactions of life, the public meeting, the customs, manners and laws of society, the arts, the professions; all these constitute the real life of manhood.

We may here enquire how far society is responsible for what manhood is and what it does. The educational influence of society for good or evil, is threefold, viz: the positively bad, the negatively bad and the positively good. A positively bad influence, implies the prevalence in community, of false views of life, erroneous principles and a decidedly corrupt state of public taste and morals. Now, it would be presumptuous to rely upon home and school education, however pure and correct, as sufficient to prepare the mind and heart to encounter successfully such a tide of error and corruption. There is extreme necessity that early training be thorough and evangelical, but this is not enough for the safety and success of the rising generation. The influence of the wretched habits of thought, feeling and action that may often be found in community, is sufficient to counteract, neutralize, or destroy the results of the most successful early education. And this controlling influence of society is felt much earlier than is generally supposed.

Could the mother's love and pious example, control the child until early manhood, he would be comparatively safo; but how often is public example responsible for impressions made on the almost infant spirit, for a train of influences that contaminate the atmosphere of the nursery and school-room. How often has the true mother acting in all the dignity of her exalted position, by a calm and christian spirit and a pure christian example, instructed, refined and elevated her child, until under God, it seemed to be allied to the angels in its nature. And still as often, the world has come in to mar her beautiful workmanship and sometimes to destroy it. Society is responsible, therefore, for the removal from her borders of all injurious and corrupting influences.

Again, a negatively bad influence produces much evil to the cause of education.

The child comes from the bosom of the family-his heart all glowing with the kindly influences of home and with the love of the pure and beautiful. The pupil leaves the school where he has tasted the sweets of learning and felt the inspiring influence of the earnest and true teacher's example. He enters the community where there is felt no interest for the child, or his school, or his educa tion. His warm affections meet a cold and lifeless formality. He finds little, or no sympathy. And what must be the influence of such indifference, upon the child, upon

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the pupil, upon the teacher ? It has a tendency to para!ize every effort and well nigh destroy the beneficial results of any nominal school system.

And how does this spirit manifest itself? In various ways.

The old school-house, valuable now as a relic of antiquity, has been allowed to oppose its weather-beaten sides to the stormy winds for half a century, for want of interest to build

A school meeting is warned, but not generally attended except for party purposes. A district agent is chosen, and a Teacher employed, but only to .conform to custom or avoid the rebuke of a law which is universally unpopular. The cheapest and not the best master is sought: for the school is backward and the district is too poor to pay greater wages. The inhabitants in that district own splendid barns and comfortable houses and employ the most able servants upon their farms, and for the same reason—they cannot afford to have it otherwise. Their sheep and their cattle would, like Balaam's Ass, speak out against them, if their barns were no better than their school house; and their farms and their merchandise would soon waste away, if their men servants and their maid servants knew no more of their business than their School Master.

Such parents are unwilling to provide suitable books and apparatus for school purposes. They seldom visit their schools, or speak of their teacher except to criticise and censure. And thus the school begins and ends with as little profit as pleasure, and all in consequence of indifference on the part of those who should be the most interested.

A positively good educational influence implies the existence of a high tone of moral and religious sentiment; a deep and abiding interest in the education of the young at home and in school, and a corresponding course of action both private and public.

More than half a century ago Edmond Burke, in speaking of the English and French Nobility, said the French had the advantage of the English, in being surrounded by a more powerful out-guard of military education. How powerful that out-guard was against the attacks of an internal enemy, the strange history of that nation will show. But how much more wise and noble the purpose of society, to protect the rising generation, by emplanting around them the more powerful out-guard of a thorough christian education. Society should be itself a school, capable of imparting every lesson and precept fitted to elevate and enrich the human character. It should be the guardian of domestic and public education and the defence of private and public virtue.

The historian informs us that the laws of Lycurgus and Solon were only the public sentiment of the age in which they lived, and that their names have been immor. talized for doing what circumstances demanded. Would that such a state of public sentiment existed among us, as would not only create wholesome laws, but the necessity for their execution, would not only make us feel the importance of education to our individual, social and civil welfare, but compel ug to act in accordance with that conviction.

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SEVER BE NAUGHTY.-A humming-bird met a butterfly, and, bedits pleased with the beauty of its person and the glory of its Wis made offer of perpetual friendship.

I cannot think of it," was the reply, “ as you once spurned me, an alled me a drawling dolt."

Jinpossible," exclaimed the humming-bird ;. “I always enterta if the highest respect for such beautiful creatures as you.”

'r rhaps you do now," said the other, " but when you insulted m. vas a caterpillar. So let me give you a piece of advice ne:er insult the humble, as they may some day become your superio -."

There is a higher art than the art of the physician the art, not of restoring, but of making health.

X х THE HOME: HOW TO EFFECT A BETTER EDUCA

TION WITHIN AND AROUND IT. Hereby, the undersigned would respectfully but earnestly solicit an interest in what may in truth be consid. ered the fundamental Reform, the causative Cause, among the philanthropic agencies of the day. It is but faintly intimated in the title above. Please look at facts. Full one-sixth part of the time of public school-teachers, in the wide average, is taken up in the management of disorderly pupils. Of course, full a sixth part of the immense amount of money paid for school education is lost from its appropriate object. And why? Mostly because of the failure of parents in their own previous duty to these pupils. Again, how enormous the cost of our criminal courts and penal institutions ! The largest part of it might be saved by elevating and purifying that first of all institutions, the Home. Besides, how are our sensibilities daily pained, and our fears excited, by the accounts of vices and crimes in all grades of society !-injustice in business, intemperance, licentiousness, frauds, embezzlements, thefts, burglaries, robberies, fire-settings, stabbings, murders. This vast expenditure of money and these terrible visitations might be very greatly diminished by ear. ly, right, and continued culture in the home. Who can intelligently aver, who can unconcernedly rest in the thought, that reform is not here needed? Look around on the families of your acquaintance, near and far; scrutinize their moral condition; and then see if you can positively affirm that your own children are secure, even with your best care. Society around, through all its classes, must be moved and moulded anew, before any faithful father and mother can possibly be relieved from anxiety and painful watchfulness. Yes, reform in the ideas, the habits, the influences, the training of the family, is needed; it must be had, and it will be. The prominent, the pressing question is, how shall this reform be brought about?

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