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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

370              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

Anyone who sees all this and who thinks of the usual be-
haviour of children four years old, who shout, break everything,
and have to be waited on, is moved to surprise by a scene which
evidently springs from the hidden fountains of energy, latent in the
depths of the human soul. I have often seen tears flow down the
cheeks of some who had been present at such little feasts.

Such discipline can never be attained by way of commands,
by sermons, by any of the disciplinary methods universally known.

Such a discipline cannot be secured by reproofs, or by per-
suasive speeches. These may at first create the illusion of being
efifectivea but very quickly, directly the true discipline appears, all
that dissolves like something worthless, like an illusion before
xeality; night gives place to day.

The first glimmerings of discipline appear as the result of
work. At some given moment it happens that the child becomes
deeply interested in a piece of work; we see it in the expression
of his face, his intense concentration, the devotion to his exercise.
That child has entered upon the path of discipline. Whatever
may be the application of it—to an exercise of the senses, to
fastening up something, to washing plates—it is all the same.
Our share in strengthening this experience is contributed through
the repeated lessons in * silence \ The perfect immobility, the
attention on the alert to catch the sound of his name pronounced
from a distance and in a toneless voice, and then the slight move-
ments co-ordinated for the purpose of avoiding objects and of
touching the floor very lightly with the feet—all these constitute
a powerful preparation for controlling the individual personality,
motor and mental.

The power to concentrate on work being established, we must
superintend it with scrupulous exactitude, graduating the exercises
as experience has taught us. Our duty as teachers in the creation
of discipline is to apply the * method * rigorously.

Here is encountered the great difficulty of really disciplining
man. It is aot only by words that it will be done- neither is
maa disciplined by hearing another speak; there is required as