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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

DISCIPLINE IN THE CHILDREN'S HOUSE        383

two or three little jumps; then she took up the dish and carried
it to another table, always repeating her jumping. But never did
she interrupt her long round of work in serving twenty tables with
her soup-dish, and never did she relax the vigilance required for
controlling her movements.

The will, like every other function, is strengthened and deve-
loped by methodical exercise. In our method exercises of the
will are incorporated with all intellectual exercises and in the
everyday life of the child. Outwardly the child is learning
accuracy and grace of movement, refines his sensations, learns
to count and to write, but, as a more deep-seated result, he
becomes master of himself, the forerunner of the man of strong,
ready will-
One often hears it said that the child's will should be sub-
ordinated in obedience, and that in this way that will is being
trained, because the child ought to submit and obey. But this
theory is irrational, because the child cannot give up what he does
not possess. It is in this way that we prevent him from cultivating
his own will-power, and commit the greatest sins against the child.
He is never allowed either the time or the means to test himself,
to evaluate his own strength or his limitations, because he is always
being interrupted and overborne by our superior power; he loses
heart over the injustice of his treatment when he hears himself
reproved sharply because he does not possess what is continually
being destroyed within him.

In this way there originates in the child timidity, which is a
kind of malady acquired by a will which cannot develop, and
which, in the usual slanderous fashion in which the tyrant,
deliberately or not, covers up his own errors, is considered among
us to be a characteristic of childhood.

Our children are never timid. One of the most fascinating of
their qualities is the fearlessness with which they approach those
with whom they are working in the presence of others, and show
what they are doing freely and with a desire to get them to
participate in their doings.