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RAREBK B49.1 H31Bu c.3 
Harrison, Elizabeth, 1849- 
The unseen side of child 

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RAREBK B43.1 H31Bu c.3 
Harrison, Elizabeth, 1B49- 
The unseen side of child 


Natkmal-lxMiis Uni>t>rHi(y 



2840 Sheridan Road 

Evanston, Illinois 60201 







MACMILLAN & CO., Limited 





For the Guardians of Young Children 



Author of 

"A Stxtdy of Child-Nature/' "Misunderstood 

Children," "When Children Err," 

"In Story Land," "Some 

Silent Teachers," Etc. 

"The day of days, the feast-day of life, 
is when the inner eye opens to the unity 
of things." — Ralph Waldo Emerson, 

tOLLEii^ OF ip7 






^-, \ 

Copyright, 1922 

Set up and electrotyped. Published January, 1922. 




■i0 7(/.i 

this book is dedicated to 

Belle Woodson 

fob whom my love has steadily inceeased dxjbinc 
the twenty yeabs we have lived together. 

Chicago, Elizabeth Haeeison. 


Introduction 9 

Processional 12 

Visitors from the Outside World . 24 

Mastering the Machine 61 

The Invisible Bridge 90 

The Child's Art World 119 

Recessional 156 

Present Day Tendencies 163 



It is an acknowledged fact among the 
leaders in the educational world that there 
are three mighty forces upon which civiliza- 
tion depends. They are inherited ability,* 
right kind of environment,! and the develop- 
ing will-power in man, which latter may be 
so strengthened and trained that it recog- 
nizes whatever is best in the disposition or 
talent inherited and will make use of the 
environing conditions which aid in the de- 
velopment of these best inherited character- 
istics. But the will-power of the individual 
cannot develop alone but must receive from 
the social whole, and in return give to the 
social whole or community of which it is a 

• In my " Study of Child Nature " I have endeavored 
to show how to encourage the better inherited instincts. 

tin my "Two Children of the Foot Hills" I have 
related how I made use of environment in helping two 
little children to realize themselves as part of a 
Bocial whole. 


10 Unseen Side of Child Life 

part the best it has to give. This will-power, 
therefore, in man is the most important of 
these three great forces. It is called by 
various names : " self-activity," " self-mak- 
ing," " auto education," " character build- 
ing," " ideal end," " freedom," and so on. 
Last, but not least, by those whose faith has 
increased to insight, it is designated as the 
" divine element in humanity," which trans- 
forms men from mere animal life into sons 
of God. 

The purpose of this book is to show that 
much may be done to free children from 
many of the limitations of inherited traits 
and too confined an environment, and to 
give to each young life some of the joy of 
the inner growth of will-power, as well as 
the muscular control of the body, both of 
which rightly belong to the realm of child- 

I once heard a superintendent of the pub- 
lic schools of a large city say to an assembly 
of six or seven hundred teachers, " Of 
course, we do not expect a little child in 
the kindergarten to obey any law but his 
own caprice, and we do not expect much 
voluntary obedience in the first grade. But 
somewhere, somehow, between the end of the 

Processional 11 

first grade and the end of the high school, 
every boy and girl should have learned how 
to submit his or her will ito the law of the 
school and the law of the land, else he or 
she will be sent out into the world an unde- 
sirable citizen." 

This is foolishness, unless he meant coer- 
cion when he said obedience, and yet co- 
ercion, if necessary, should begin in the 
nursery. In fact, it has to begin there. 
What I hope to show is how it may begin 
BO early that the child in arms may learn 
that there are certain things which he must 
not do. For upon this matter-of-course 
obedience to necessary laws, depends the 
foundation of health, of family harmony, 
of business honesty, of patriotic citizenship 
and of a reasonable religion. 

12 Unseen Side of Child Life 


Just across the way from my home, is a 
large open space, near the center of which 
stands an old oak tree. Its twisted and 
gnarled branches tell of the many storms 
through which it has passed, and its 
straight, sturdy trunk tells of how it has 
mastered the tempest and has gone on grow- 
ing. Now, in its old age, it reveals an 
inspiring story of oak-tree life, for we all 
know that deep down under the ground are 
the roots which gave to it the strength and 
nourishment it needed to make it a noble 
specimen of the oak-tree race. 

We know that the trunk and the branches, 
the twigs and the leaves and shining acorns 
could not have grown and matured without 
the help of these unseen, often unthought of, 
tiny root fibers below the ground. They 
have continuously received nourishment from 
the mysterious power which Mother Earth 
gives. We know not how, but we do know 
that the thousands of forms of tree-life are 
dependent upon this same invisible power 
for growth, each after its own kind. Tree 

Processional 13 

surgeons tell us that any injury done to 
these unseen rootlets and any lack of proper 
goil for these same rootlets to absorb and 
transform into tree-life, lessens and mars 
the beauty and symmetry of the tree which 
we see above ground. 

This is only an analogy, it is true. Yet is 
it not through the visible world and the laws 
which govern it that we get glimpses of the 
invisible spiritual world and its laws? 
Every insight into the ethical as well as into 
the religious world we receive or we com- 
municate through the analogies of language. 
We speak of a " straight " man when we 
mean an honest man ; of a " warm heart " 
when we mean a sympathetic nature. We 
speak of the " bent twig " when we tell of 
the warped life of a misunderstood child. 
So, too, we have been taught by the Great 
Teacher to say " Our Father " when we 
speak of the Infinite Creative Power that 
awakens reverence and quickens prayer and 
praise. Comfort and consolation come to 
the sorrowing heart when the spirit of some 
loved one has laid aside its earthly body and 
there come to the mind these words : " In 
my Father's house are many mansions: If 
it were not so, I would have told you." 

14 Unseen Side of Child Life 

Let, us, therefore, return to the unspeak- 
ably great and significant lesson given us 
by this marvelous analogy between the life 
of man and the life of the tree; yet how 
blindly we stumble on in the greater work 
of caring for and nurturing the unseen side 
of child-life! 

Do we not all know parents who seem to 
think healthy bodies, fairly comfortable 
surroundings and as much freedom as is 
compatible with adult comfort are all that 
a child needs? Do we not all know that 
in thousands of homes too little thought is 
given to the guiding of the affections and 
emotions towards a sympathetic love for 
the best and most beautiful in this w^onder- 
ful world of created things? 

Do we not all know mothers and fathers 
who have failed to discern the tiny, embry- 
onic efforts of the will in an infant strug- 
gling to express himself? Were it not so, 
we would have in our nurseries more balls 
to roll or toss, more blocks with which to 
build, more rag dolls which the child could 
dress and undress, more low-hung black- 
boards on which the tiny hands could learn 
to scrawl, rather than expensive ready- 
made, mechanical toys or flimsy, cheap ones 

Processional 15 

that are destroyed in a few days. In our 
back yards or on our side porches, we w^ould 
have a swing or a climbing ladder, or a 
trapeze, or a sand box, or a jar of modeling 
clay instead of formal gardens that the 
child must not disturb, for we would realize 
that will-power strengthens and develops 
aright when allowed to master, transform 
and create with the materials by which it 
is surrounded. 

Do we not all know guardians of child- 
life who do not realize that one of the chief 
duties of the guardianship of the spiritual 
life of a child is to help him to change the 
chaos of sensations which greet him at birth 
into clear-cut, mental images such, as life's 
problems multiply, will reveal to his reason- 
ing power a well ordered, law-abiding uni- 
verse? Distinct speech aids this intel- 
lectual grasp of life and a willing obedience 
to its demands more than any other factor. 
We all rebel unless we have some compre- 
hension of why we must obey the laws of 
health, of time, of home routine, of com- 
munity life, and these greater laws of the 
growth of the soul. The sooner the child 
understands the meaning of words, the 
Booner he can begin to understand the ex- 

16 Unseen Side of Child Life 

planation of these laws. We shall consider 
this important subject more fully later on. 

As we consider the " embryonic impulses " 
in very young children we realize more and 
more the suggestive and picturesque name 
" root fibers of the soul," which Froebel has 
given to the feeling, willing and thinking 
powers of the young child, faculties which 
distinguish him from the lower orders of 
animal life. We know that in animals 
there is a reaction of motor-nerves to 
sensory-impressions and we are by no means 
sure that there is not some dim foreshadow- 
ing of the same in plant life. Froebel, with 
his training as a forester, speaking to the 
village peasant mothers about him, who 
were familiar with the care of plant life, 
was wise in calling these " embryonic im- 
pulses " of the child the " root fibers of the 
soul." He thus, by analogy, emphasizes 
the spiritual significance of these early 
impulses. I know of no other leader recog- 
nized in the pedagogical world who does 
this. I think it is the frequent use of anal- 
ogy in interpreting the spiritual life of man 
that has caused the kindergarten world to 
take a religious tone, which Dr. Stanley 
Hall has wittily called " Froebelolatry." 

Processional 17 

Kindergartners have learned to discern 
the infinite in the seemingly trivial matter 
of every-day life of the young child who has 
not yet learned to conceal his emotions and 
desires, or to cover up the struggle which 
goes on between the higher and the lower 
impulses. It is the same insight which has 
caused many a thoughtless young mother 
to fall upon her knees and pray for strength 
and wisdom to realize the greatness and 
sacredness of motherhood. I have had 
many and many a mother come to me with 
beaming face and say, in substance, " Oh ! I 
am learning so much patience and wisdom 
from the new meaning that I see in my 
child's play." A splendidly trained woman 
once said to me " My college training has 
to retire into the background. My nursery 
with my two children in it is now giving 
me a university course." I laughingly 
assured her that the two courses would soon 
cooperate. Almost any other kindergartner 
could tell you of the same enthusiastic in- 
terest awakened in the mothers of her 
Mothers' Classes. For the true meaning of 
insight is that it sees through the seen thing 
into the unseen. It brings the invisible side 

18 Unseen Side of Child Life 

of life so close that little or no doubt re- 
mains as to its divine, immortal significance. 

It seems strange to me that with the recent 
widespread and important interest in the 
physical development of children that there 
has been shown so little reference to the 
growth of the spiritual life of the child, or, 
to use a pedagogical term, " the psychologi- 
cal dawn of his emotional life." For upon 
the wise understanding of this depends 
much of his sympathy with humanity, his 
desire for harmony and his love of true 
beauty as well as his reverence for God. 

It is equally incomprehensible to me why 
the will-power in the infinitesimal mani- 
festations of babyhood is not better under- 
stood when the development of character 
depends almost entirely upon the growtli 
of a strong will-power which is ready, never- 
theless, to submit to just laws even though 
they demand subordination of one's personal 
preferences, and to demand of one's self the 
performance of a duty no matter how tax- 
ing it may be. This, as we all know, is the 
essence of strong personal character. 

A more definite idea of what are the 
essentials of education is much needed. I 
have told elsewhere of the man who adver- 

Processional 19 

tised that he had three daughters to be edu- 
cated and that he would pay a thousand dol- 
lars a year or more, if need be, for each if 
he could get the right kind of school for 
them. He added that he required but three 
things: namely, that they should leave 
school with well bodies, with a conscious- 
ness of their own ignorance, and with a de- 
sire to learn. This sounds very fine and 
up-to-date, but how pitifully inadequate it 
is when we think of the many demands of 
life for which education should prepare the 

What is it that develops the higher life 
of the individual? What is it that suffer- 
ing humanity most needs as it blunders 
along from one mistake to another? To 
bring the thought closer home, what are 
the characteristics you and I love most in 
our friends? Are they not the loving, sym- 
pathetic understanding of little children 
and the tender care of the aged? Is it not 
their generous and ready appreciation of 
excellence in others? Are they not the 
friends who are unfailing in their demands 
upon themselves as to sincerity and loyalty 
to duty? How lenient they are to our limi- 
tations! Yet, in some subtle way, are they 

20 Unseen Side of Child Life 

not continually holding us up to our best 
selves? Are such friends as these educated 
merely to care for their health and to have 
a desire for more intellectual growth? 

How the trappings of mere wealth or 
learning fall away and the true worth of the 
individual shines forth when we contem- 
plate such characters ! Not but that wealth, 
learning, social rank, buoyant health and 
personal charm add much to the possessor's 
influence and for a while may attract more 
than the higher, more sterling virtues. But 
in time, the soul seeks the true man or 
woman and history accords the highest 
places to these possessors of the eternal 

There is no other explanation of homage 
paid by succeeding generations to Moses, 
the leader of a wandering and apparently 
insignificant tribe of escaped slaves; to 
Homer, the blind beggar, journeying about 
from city to city, in ancient Greece, singing 
his songs of the ways of gods and men; to 
the humble fisherman and the obscure tent- 
maker, under whose teaching proud and 
profligate Rome forgot her glut of gold and 
her lust for power, and, as the centuries 
rolled by learned to seek the successors of 

Processional 21 

Peter and the writings of Paul for spiritual 
guidance and help. Again, we see the im- 
mortal Dante, a poverty-stricken exile, re- 
jected by his own city and despised by his 
contemporaries. The highest Christian 
authorities and the keenest theological intel- 
lects have learned to turn to him now for 
the marvelous pictures of the human soul 
making for itself a Heaven or Hell here and 
now, as well as hereafter. We see the same 
recognition of true worth on down through 
the ages to Huss and Wycklif, to Luther 
and Savonarola, to Wesley and John Knox 
and, nearer and nearer to our own time to 
Washington and Pitt, Lincoln and Glad- 
stone, and to hundreds of scientists and doc- 
tors, to teachers and preachers, each of 
whom has tried to help mankind to know 
the laws of the eternal God and to obey 

Need I speak of the great Christ Jesus, 
son of an obscure Nazarene carpenter, 
who in the brief period of thirty-three years 
so manifested the meaning of the divine in 
human life that he taught the everlasting 
truths concerning God, eternity, and man's 
immortality, truths which caused the re- 
ligions and gods tliat had been handed down 

22 Unseen Side of Child Life 

for five thousand or more years, from 
Egyptian despots, through Greek intellect- 
uals and Roman empire-makers, to be swept 
out of European civilization and which 
caused the Christ-life and Christ-teaching 
to become the foundation of all that is best 
in what the world calls civilization? This 
is not the place to argue concerning my 
dogma or your theology. I am speaking 
now of the influence which Christ has had 
upon the life of the world, whether we look 
upon Him as incarnate God or a human 
life that had the vision of the Divine ideal. 

Does not the old orthodox catechism be- 
gin with the words : " The chief end of man 
is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever"? 
What do we mean by " to glorify God " or 
"enjoy Him forever"? Right here is the 
difficulty. Here is where the mother's most 
important work comes in. She should feel 
herself to be God's assistant in leading her 
children to enjoy Him. 

This is not a mysterious something that 
she may not understand. We have been 
given a well-defined statement of ivhat she 
is to teach in every way she can, by personal 
example and by gentle suggestion. Saint 
Paul has described the " fruits of the spirit " 

Processional 23 

as " love, peace, joy, long suffering, gentle- 
ness, goodness, faith, meekness and temper- 
ance." This attitude toward life brings the 
joy of obeying and serving. Is not this the 
meaning of the formal statement of the old 

It is because we do not realize that the 
beginning of all these love-engendering, 
peace-producing virtues are in the nursery 
that we chill young hearts or warp young 
wills by our "lust for power." We dull their 
ability to think by doing their thinking for 
them; we neglect to give them opportunity 
to grow strong. We do not let them, when- 
ever it is possible, make their own choice as 
to what is right; and then, when they have 
grown into manhood and womanhood, we 
wonder why they are not truer, stronger 
men and women and why religion plays no 
vital part in their lives. 



Out of the warm, dark silence of his 
mother's womb the child comes into a world 
of countless sensations or attacks upon the 
sense organ of sight, of sound, of touch, 
of taste, of smell. No wonder that his first 
manifestations in response to this new world 
are a struggle and a cry, — the first faint 
dawn of the bodily activity and of language. 
" But all animals have these same manifesta- 
tions," says the skeptic. " Yes " ; and yet 
to the believer in the divine nature of man 
and in the immortality of his spirit they 
mean more. Froebel calls them " hints 
from Heaven unto the mother given." 

The thoughtful mother can easily trace 
the steady growth from mere animal cry to 
fretful tones of impatience, to wrathful 
tones of anger, to pitiful tones of injury, 
to purring tones of pleasure and cooing 
tones of delight, as her child develops his 
human nature as distinct from his animal 


Visitors from the Outside World 25 

nature. All these manifestations sliow the 
existence of an emotional life in the child 
which is beyond the mere sensation of com- 
fort or discomfort, although in the begin- 
ning they are closely related to these agree- 
able or disagreeable physical conditions. 
It is this God-given instinct in the mother 
that makes her coddle her infant in a tender 
embrace and speak to him in loving tones 
and smile coaxingly when she looks down 
into his eyes until she wins an answering 

But it may be said this is simply " mother 
instinct." The cow licks her new-born calf; 
the hen clucks to her baby chicks. True; 
and some human mothers do little more. If, 
however, the mere " mother instinct " is il- 
luminated by the thought of the divine des- 
tiny of man, it becomes insight, and she sees 
through the inarticulate cry and restless 
tossing of her infant's limbs the call for 
help to master his body and to learn to 
articulate in order that he may begin to live 
his human life and not merely that of an 
animal. These physical manifestations 
common to all babies are the summons to 
the mother to come and assist her child in 
creating a world of order out of the chaos 

26 Unseen Side of Child Life I 

of sensations awakened by things around 

him and to lead him into human speech as 

soon as possible. It is through the senses 

that the right use of the body and of human 

language must rouse the child's inner life. 

There is nothing great accomplished in this 

world without faith in its greatness. 

/ Even if her mind has not yet reached this 

( clear definite insight into the meaning of 

<<- true motherhood, let the mother hold on to 

: her faith that her child has an immortal 

destiny and that she is here to nurture his 

higher instincts for that destiny. 

This holding of an ideal or standard of 
life begins with the faintly conscious will- 
activity of infancy. It is these " root fibers 
of the soul," so often unnoticed, so seldom 
understood and yet so important in the 
nourishing of the right attitude toward life 
which by and by will develop genuine 
religion in the heart — that religion which 
recognizes in its deeds as well as in its emo- 
tions the brotherhood of man and the father- 
hood of God. But it must begin in the 
heart. It can begin nowhere else, and thus 
aroused, it must be allowed sincerity of ex- 
pression. This is why it is best to keep the 
infant in a calm, happy mood in general, 

yisitors from the Outside World 27 

but to let him learn also that there are laws 
that even he can understand and must obey. 

The first time that a child becomes con- 
scious that his mother or any one whom he 
has trusted has lied to him, the seeds of 
doubt of God are sown in his soul, and in 
a dim w^ay, he becomes conscious that speech 
may be false. This is long before he can 
express himself in words. Have you not 
seen some adult tell an untruth to a young 
child, and then noticed how quickly he turns 
his questioning eyes to his mother's face? 

I was present one day when a young 
mother was feeding candy to her baby. I 
modestly remonstrated on the amount she 
was giving him. She hid it behind her on 
the chair in which she was sitting. The 
child reached out for more. The mother 
said, "All gone. The candy is all gone." 
The child, who could not yet talk, demanded 
by gesture that he wanted more of the sweet 
sensation. The mother held up her hands, 
shook her dress and continued to say "All 
gone." In the meantime, she motioned to 
her husband to put the box farther away. 
The child, not yet a year old, evidently sus- 
pected something. He sat up on the bed, 
reached over and, catching her arm, began 

28 Unseen Side of Child Life 

searching her blouse and skirt. If a child 

I cannot trust those who are nearest to him, 

I how hard it will be to lead him to trust an 

all-wise, all-loving, all-truthful but invisible 


This is not the place in which to discuss 
lying to children or deceiving them in any- 
way. It is too large a subject for discus- 
sion here. The above is given to show how 
important it is that all sense-impressions 
should be as clear and definite as possible, 
as these lead to distinct mental images. 


Accurate mental images are formed 
through the right exercise of the senses; 
even the very young child begins to note 
form, color, motion and the various other 
properties of objects about him. This is 
easily proved by the baby's trying to stop 
a moving object and trying to move an 
object at rest, by reaching out for a red 
or yellow or other gaily colored ball and 
ignoring the blue and purple ones. Of 
course, the time of the baby's beginning to 
connect the pleasant or unpleasant sensa- 
tions with the objects varies with different 

[Visitors from the Outside World 29 

children, but it comes much earlier than 
most people are aware. 

The child begins as the race began, first 
by accidental discovery of the properties 
of matter, which leads gradually to learn- 
ing the laws by which he can use materials 
about him ; from these he creates new forms 
and finds new ways of utilizing nature's 
forces. Man accidentally discovered how 
glass could be made of melted sand; later 
he learned to shape the glass into telescopes 
and microscopes. These reveal the incon- 
ceivable magnitude of the starry heavens 
and the undreamed-of conformity to geo- 
graphical shapes found in the microscopic 
atoms at the bottom of the sea. Merely to 
mention what changes physics, mechanics, 
chemistry, and a score of other scientific 
studies have made in the life of man, even 
in our lifetime, would take us too far afield 
for the purpose of this book. 

The important point, just now, is how 
easily the child through his creative work 
may begin to distinguish between himself 
as a feeling, willing, thinking being and 
the unresting waves of the sea, the immov- 
able rocks of the shore, the silent plants 
and trees of the hillside, the inarticulate 

30 Unseen Side of Child Life 

beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, 
which in thousands and thousands of years 
have not changed voluntarily their habits 
of life or the kinds of homes in which they 
live, while the child may change his activi- 
ties a dozen times within an hour if he so 

We shall speak more fully of what con- 
nection this has with the religious life when 
we come to " creative play " in our study 
of the value of understanding the deeper 
meaning of play. Just now, I wish to call 
attention to the way a mother helps or hin- 
ders the process which is going on within 
her child, by means of which, having seen 
the objects often enough, he learns to recog- 
nize, i. e., to have a mental image of objects 
and to note resemblances and then to dis- 
guish differences between these familiar or 
unfamiliar objects. This is as near as we 
have, as yet, traced the awakening of that 
spiritual process through which man selects 
the materials he wishes to use and rejects 
those that will not help him give form to the 
impressions within him that are urging to 
be uttered or " outered." 

Have you not had some idea come into 
your conscious mind that left you eager and 

Visitors from the Outside ^yorld 31 

impatient until you could communicate it 
to your most congenial friend? It is the 
same impulse that causes baby's delight in 
holding up some toy for his mother to ex- 
press surprise or pleasure concerning it. 
Why does he at less than a year of age wave 
his hand " by-by " with pleasure, or play 
"pat-a-cake" when his mother begins to 
sing it, unless he is beginning to feel the 
delight of communicating, even when he 
does not understand the full meaning of 
these simple gestures? 

The father's or mother's part is to mani- 
fest pleasure at this uttering of the inner 
self, which sensations have awakened, and 
to add new sensations that will enrich this 
inner world of his, not too many and not 
too complex sensations, but enough to keep 
that dim dawning mind active and at work 
taking in and giving out, with quiet periods 
of rest between times. 

There are many means by which a baby 
may begin to compare sensations. The 
child less than two years of age would do 
much more of it if he were not thoughtlessly 
checked by his mother or nurse. Let me 
illustrate an instance of this self-education 
by means of which the child carries forward 

32 Unseen Side of Child Life 

this inner power of contrasting and judging 
tlie world about liim. 

One day, I chanced to be seated in a 
suburban train opposite two young women 
who were evidently much occupied by their 
conversation. Between them stood a little 
girl about fourteen or fifteen months of age, 
looking out of the window. In a short time, 
she turned and gazed, in child fashion, at 
her mother's friend; then she reached out 
her little hand and softly caressed the seal- 
skin of the lady's coat. The sensation evi- 
dently pleased her and she repeated it 
several times, stroking the velvet-like fur. 
Her mother drew the little girl's hand away 
rather impatiently and said : " Don't do 
that. It isn't nice." The temptation, how- 
ever, to repeat this new and delightful sen- 
sation of touch was too much for the child 
and in a few moments her hand was travel- 
ing slowly and caressingly over the sleeve 
of the sealskin coat. Again the mother 
pulled the hand down to her side and went 
on talking to her friend, still holding the 
little one's hand. As her own grasp re- 
laxed, the child again reached out and felt 
of the soft, pretty fur. It was done so 
quietly and gently, with such a pleased ex- 

Visitors from the Outside World 33 

pression of the face, that it seemed to me 
that anyone ought to have understood the 
situation, — but in polite society it is not 
considered proper, I realized, for a child to 
indulge the sense of touch by actual expe- 
rience. Therefore, to the mother it evi- 
dently became a duty to take the child's 
hand away from the attractive fur. This 
time somewhat emphatically, with a rather 
sharp word of rebuke at the " naughtiness " 
of disobedience she slapped the child's hand. 
For a short time, the little one, whose con- 
sciousness of a pleasing touch-sensation had 
been awakened, ran her fingers back and 
forth over the woven willow of the seat- 
back, then it returned to the warm, soft fur 
of the lady's coat. Again the mother 
slapped the disobedient hand quite severely. 
The child's face instantly showed resent- 
ment at what, to her, was an unjust and 
unnecessary pain inflicted upon her, and 
she raised her hand to strike back at her 
mother. Accidentally, it touched the plush 
of her own little bonnet, and instantly the 
wounded feelings vanished and an expres- 
sion of intense astonishment and awakened 
interest appeared in the child's face. She 
eagerly smoothed down the soft, silk plush 

34 Unseen Side of Child Life 

for a moment or two and then by way of 
.verifying this wonderful new discovery that 
two sensations in different localities could 
be the same, she was impelled to identify it 
with the former experience. She did the most 
normal and natural thing possible; she 
reached out and felt the fur. Her expres- 
sion and manner were those of an inves- 
tigator with no thought whatever of dis- 

The mother, however, did not see it from 
the child's standpoint. To her the child 
seemed troublesome and was annoying her 
friend. She took her down from the seat 
and placed her on the other side of her, at 
the same time reproaching her by the use 
of several unpleasant adjectives. The child 
at first looked perplexed, then sulky and 
finally moved away from her mother as far 
as the space would allow. She had been 
investigating an amazing, interesting, new 
world and her mental powers had received 
the stimulation of suddenly recognizing 
identical sense-impressions of soft furriness 
in different localities, and by means of 
different material. It was a real discovery 
in the outside world and this revelation was 
followed by an intense desire to verify thor- 

Visitors from the Outside World 35 

oughly the discovery; but the mother saw 
none of this and went on talking with her 
friend about some trivial matter. It was 
but one illustration of the thousand mis- 
takes and obstacles that daily hinder the 
young child's growth, — in acuteness of 
sense-perception and in development of 
mental images of judgment and of power to 

This would mean much in some line of 
work or of pleasure in after life. Mission- 
aries tell us all primitive tribes of people 
are in the habit of examining the clothes of 
visitors, handling them and asking ques- 
tions about them. It is their instinctive 
child-way of investigating the new phe- 
nomena by touch as well as by sight. I do 
not mean by this, that children should 
ordinarily be allowed to annoy guests in 
this way, but I do mean to urge that the 
" touch hunger " should be taken more into 
consideration in a child's early experiences. 

May we not stop here to explain a little 
more fully that it is the poioer to contrast 
and compare things rather than the recog- 
nition of objects which is educationally im- 
portant, although the recognition of the 
object must necessarily come first? 

36 Unseen Side of Child Life 

One valuable contribution which Dr. 
Montessori has made to education has been 
her insistence upon the importance of chil- 
dren being allowed to handle objects. She 
shows that the sense of touch is the sense 
which is developed first in the infant and is 
the most important sense to be developed 
throughout early childhood, and yet, that it 
is the one which is oftenest forbidden for 
the sake of the convenience of grown people. 
In one of her lectures, she significantly re- 
marked that if seeing and hearing were as 
troublesome to the average adults as is the 
touching of objects by children we would 
undoubtedly hear parents and teachers say : 
" Don't see that ! Don't hear that ! " as 
often as they say : " Don't touch that ! " 
This emphasis upon the training of the 
sense of touch is one of the very strong 
points, pedagogically considered, in her 
method. Our own Dr. Dewey long ago 
pleaded eloquently for the satisfying of this 
" touch-hunger " of children. Froebel had 
called our attention to the fact that young 
children run their fingers around the edge 
of the table or book thus by touch to help 
get the shape of objects more clearly fixed 
in their minds. 

Visitors from the Outside World 37 

However, neither of these had at the time 
discovered the tools which Dr. Montessori 
afterwards found Dr. Seguin had used so 
well in the arousing and quickening of the 
minds of defective children, and which she 
refined, completed and reorganized for use 
in her Children's Houses in Rome. The 
phenomenal success, in the almost miracu- 
lous rapidity with which these children 
learned to write after feeling the outline of 
the two-inch long cardboard letters, proved 
conclusively how much the sense of touch 
aids the sense of sight in building up 
mental images. There are many games 
which may be created for the exercise of 
this sense and for the other senses also. 
The child learns through the direction from 
which a sound comes to distinguish one 
sound from another and often one voice 
from another. 

The winter that I was studying in Rome, 
Dr. Montessori had a set of bells, or rather 
gongs, fastened to a low table. When 
struck by a small hammer, they gave forth 
the sounds of the scale of C. First one 
and then another of the children frequently 
created little melodies by rhythmically com- 
bining three or four notes. Thus they 

38 Unseen Side of Child Life 

learned to listen for melodies when the 
directress played on the piano. Even more 
and greater varieties of plays are created by 
a child's being allowed to see more than one 
object for a moment and then to let him try 
to name each object. If such exercises are 
carried on in the true spirit of the play, 
they are good for the nursery as well as for 
the kindergarten and elementary grades, 
provided, of course, that the nursery games 
are simpler and have fewer objects. Psy- 
chologically speaking this is playing with 
mental images of former sense-impressions. 

Have you not met people with such acute 
powers of observation that they could take 
a street car ride down a familiar street and 
on returning, recall their experiences so 
vividly as to hold the most jaded attention 
of indifferent listeners? Joyce Kilmer, in 
that charming book " The Circus and Other 
Essays," has a sketch entitled " Noon-hour 
Adventuring," which tells what James 
Jones, a country boy with awakened senses 
and quickened imagination, saw during his 
noon hours when free fifty minutes from the 
task by which he earned his living. 

Does not a part of the enjoyment of for- 
eign travel consist of gaining fresh sensa- 

yisitors from the Outside World 39 

tions by comparing foreign scenery and 
customs with our own? 

Again, mucli of the difference between 
skilled and unskilled workmen in any line 
of work is largely due to the sense-percep- 
tion on the part of the skilled worker and 
the haziness of the sense-impression of the 
unskilled worker. The slightest flaw is de- 
tected by the trained sense of touch of the 
sculptor. Rodin, the famous French artist, 
claimed that his power to give the wonder- 
ful, lifelike effect to his marble came from 
his having discovered the almost impercep- 
tible irregularities of surface which the 
Greeks gave to their statues of the gods. 
Michael Angelo before him had made use 
of the same discovery. The story is told of 
Theodore Thomas that in the middle of a 
rehearsal he rapped his orchestra into 
silence and then said in a tone of annoy- 
ance : " The third string of the seventeenth 
violin is out of tune." On examining his 
violin. Number 17 found that the third 
string of his instrument was not in the 
right condition. Similar stories are told of 
great painters and of famous scientists. 

After this frank acknowledgment of the 
importance of training a child in sense-per- 

40 Unseen Side of Child Life 

ception, I hope I shall not be misunderstood 
when I say that to restrict even a young 
child's play to mere exercise of the body 
and of the senses is to check his spiritual 
growth and leave him in the enjoyment of 
mere sensations that early lead to the life 
of a sensualist or lead to a dull, prosaic 
compiler of dull, prosaic facts. Fortu- 
nately, a child's inner self insists upon the 
right to be developed and bursts forth in 
some form of imagination. It is not always 
realized by mature minds that the imagina- 
tion, rightly understood, is simply the Ego 
or inner-self changing and transforming the 
images brought to it by the senses, so that 
these images can express the world of 
dreams and fancies which exist within the 
child ; and that out of the rightly developed 
imagination grow the men of creative vision 
who lead their generation in the great " yet- 
to-be's " which the mass of men do not be- 
lieve possible because not yet proved by the 

James J. Hill, the creator of the North- 
ern Pacific Railroad, when he was trying to 
persuade moneyed men to help him build 
the Northern Pacific Railroad, realized the 
difference between the man with creative 

Visitors from tJic Outside ^yorld 41 

imagination and the man lacking in imag- 
ination. He found that the one saw pros- 
perous farms, growing towns and crowded 
cities where the other saw only stretches of 
untilled prairies, muddy swamps and moun- 
tain passes. 

During the past decade, domestic science 
has slowly and cautiously crept into the 
best high schools, at first as an optional 
study for girl pupils. But the appalling 
ignorance of relative values of foods which 
the late war has revealed shows how limited 
has been the influence of this valuable 
course of study. 

When the far-seeing imagination of Her- 
bert Hoover showed what could be accom- 
plished by saving on the part of each 
American of one slice of bread per day it 
became the clarion call to our nation to 
arise and shake off the sloth and feed the 
starving millions who were fighting to save 
the world's ideals. How unprepared we 
were to give up our surplus sweets and 
wheats and meats ! Why? Was it not that 
the right guidance of our appetites had not 
been made in childhood? Long before 
adult life, an interest in the true purpose 
of food should have been established. We 

42 Unseen Side of Child Life 

know now liow much health and how much 
money have been wasted on unneeded feed- 
ing. And it is so easily done in the early, 
oftentimes, untended years of the child. In 
many homes, it has been considered an in- 
significant thing as to just how a child is 
fed. Thanks to the National Child Wel- 
fare Movement, this great blunder is being 
remedied, but we still have many, many 
families where condiments and stimulants 
are recklessly given to children, with the 
mistaken idea of thus being kindly indul- 
gent to them, and in so many other homes 
children's capricious preferences for this 
or that article of food are humored. 

Let me give you an illustration of how 
easy it is to appeal to the rational element 
of a child, even when he is too young to be 
reasoned with. I was dining one evening 
with some friends whose little four-year-old 
son pushed away the plate of meat which 
had been carefully cut up for him, saying 
in a fretful tone : " No, I don't want any 
meat." " Oh, Freddie," urged his mother 
coaxingly, " please eat the meat. Don't 
jou know the doctor said he wanted you 
to eat more meat? " " I don't care. I don't 
like meat, and I won't eat it," was the re- 

Visitors from the Outside World 43 

sponse. " Come, now, Freddie," said the 
father, " you eat that meat and I'll give you 
a nickel." " I don't want your nickel," re- 
plied the boy, pushing the plate a little far- 
ther away. Again the mother coaxed, and 
again the father bribed, but evidently the 
boy had had his own way and did not pro- 
pose yielding the point, so I concluded I 
would take a hand in the matter. " Fred," 
I said, "do you know what that little stomach 
of yours, away down inside of you, will 
do, if you chew up a piece of that meat 
and swallow it? " His curiosity was awak- 
ened and he replied : " No, what? " " Well, 
if that little stomach could talk, it would 
say : * M-m-m, this is fine ! That boy has 
sent me down some nice beefsteak, now I 
can make good bone and muscle out of this, 
w^hich will help him to run faster.' Then 
if you should take another piece of steak 
and chew it up well and swallow it, the 
stomach would say : ' M-m-m, here's some 
more of that nice beefsteak. Now I can 
make this boy's muscles strong, so that he 
can climb and jump.' Then, if you sent 
down another piece of steak, all chewed up, 
it would say : ' Well, well, well, now, I 
can get this little fellow so he can run 

44 Unseen Side of Child Life 

very fast, and can soon climb a tree.' " By 
this time the child had pulled the plate to 
him, and had begun eating his steak. A 
bit more of such humorous nonsense, and 
the entire amount of meat had been con- 
sumed with great glee by the boy. It was 
merely a device, of course, but it gave him a 
purpose which had not been presented be- 
fore for eating the meat. He was not 
mature enough to understand the transfor- 
mation of food into bone and muscle, but 
the dramatic presentation of this same 
thought caught his imagination. 

At the risk of fatiguing you, I want to 
give you one more illustration of hindrance 
of the right development of children which 
comes from encouraging them to indulge 
their appetites. I was in one of our lovely 
parks one afternoon just at sunset time. 
On a bench near me, sat a young mother, 
reading a book. Playing about on the grass 
near her, was her little three-year-old son. 
In a few moments, the sunset clouds had 
changed into a marvel of gold and crimson 
and purple which flooded the landscape 
with its own glory. The child looked up in 
wonder and evident admiration. " Look, 
Mom ! Look ! " he cried, running to her and 

yisitors from the Outside World 45 

pointing to the sunset clouds. She did not 
lift her eyes from her book but answered, 
" Yes, yes, run away and play now." But 
the child, longing for sympathy in this new 
vision of beauty which had so suddenly ap- 
peared, again pulled at her dress and said : 
" Look, look up at the sky." " Run away and 
play, dear, mother is reading," came again 
the response. A third time, the little boy 
made his appeal. The mother then, in an 
absent-minded way, laid her book down, 
picked up a paper bag which was in her lap, 
took from it a large cream chocolate and 
stuffed it into the boy's mouth, saying: 
" There, there, now, dear, don't bother 
Momie any more." 

A great educational opportunity to in- 
crease her child's love of beauty and to 
share with him this wonderful experience 
of a glorious sunset was hers. Instead of 
embracing it, she substituted an opportu- 
nity to encourage his appetite for sweets 
between meals. More than this, she was 
helping him to form the habit of self-indul- 
gence which is created by an undue catering 
to the taste for sweets. And yet, I doubt 
not that this mother would have been as- 
tounded had I asked her if she considered 

4:6 Unseen Side of Child Life 

the book she was reading more important 
than the aesthetic and moral education of 
her child. 

Even more than this, she was losing a 
" psychic moment " when the little one's 
emotions were deeply stirred by the splen- 
dor of the pageant of the skies. She could 
have entered into his feeling of mystery and 
reverence which the indescribable beauty of 
the moment had awakened. She could have 
taken him upon her lap and told him in a 
few, simple words the story of a shepherd 
lad, in a land where it was warm enough to 
live out of doors ; how he learned to love the 
wonderful sunsets so much that when he 
was grown he wrote a beautiful poem about 
the heavens declaring the glory of God. 
Then she might have added : " For you 
know, my son, that no man on earth could 
create one, single sunset, no matter how 
rich or how great he might be," or some 
such suggestion that would have helped him 
to begin to connect the sublime in nature 
with the emotion of reverence which is the 
foundation of true religion as well as the 
check to mere superstition. 

A great musician has said " Music begins 
where language ceases." Rather let us say 

Visitors from the Outside World 47 

that music may appeal to a child's emo- 
tions, may begin long before language is at- 
tained, for the earliest cradles of the race 
were rocked in rhyme to sleep. Though 
modern science now forbids the " rocking " 
the rhyme maj still continue. 

I had an intimate friend who possessed a 
remarkably musical voice. So fond of 
music was she that unconsciously she would 
hum some simple melody to her baby when 
the child's sleeping time came. Before the 
little one was three months old her face 
would wear a pleased expression when her 
mother would hum one simple tune. This 
caused the mother to repeat this particular 
melody. Within a few months the child 
began to hum in tune with the mother. 
Before she was a year old she could hum 
three different tunes. The mother would 
begin the first bar of the music and the 
child would continue the melody alone. 

The daughter is now sixteen years old, 

and is in no way a musical genius. But 

music is one of the joys of her life and she 

plays with much feeling. 

f Dr. W. C. Bagley has defined a cultured 

J^'person as one who sees through the deeper 

I meaning of the common things of life. In 

48 Unseen Side of Child Life 

order to attain unto this insight one must 
have learned the relative values of activi- 
ties. Valuable as may be this or that 
method of teaching, or of home training, 
one must always keep the end to be attained 
in sight. All methods and devices are but 
means to an end and necessarily must vary 
with different children. This is one reason 
why all teachers should have some knowl- 
edge of and love for the great poets, musi- 
cians and other artists of the world as well 
as methods. Even " projects and plans " 
may be overdone. 

A good illustration of this is shown by 
the use of the piano, not only to train the 
child's voice in singing, but as a means of 
impressing him pleasantly and imperson- 
ally with the presence of what Froebel calls 
" the invisible third," which means simply 
j this : that in every life there should come a 
comprehension of an impartial, impersonal 
Jl law of right which commands obedience 
] regardless of your or my individual incli- 

In the school room the piano can com- 
mand silence on the part of the teacher as 
well as of the children, or can command 
cessation of work, the beginning of marches 

Visitors from the Outside World 49 

and the ending of the same, fast and slow 
time, etc. When children are marching, 
skipping, or otherwise expressing them- 
selves they instinctively obey the piano. 
This may seem a trifling device or it may be 
so used as to be the harsh arbitrary com- 
mand of the teacher, but if she has the right 
insight as Dr. Bagley defines it, she can 
so use the piano as to have it teach the 
children to obey law promptly and gladly, 
as well as to love good music. 

A friend of mine gave me an amusing ac- 
count of her little four-year-old boy, who 
was playing kindergarten by himself at 
home one afternoon. He had been at work 
with some blocks on his play table. He sud- 
denly arose, walked to the piano and softly 
touched one or two of the keys. Then came 
back, sat down in his chair and folded his 
arms, as was the custom in the kinder- 
garten that he attended. He sat perfectly 
quiet for a minute or two, then rising, he 
walked again to the piano, struck another 
chord, then came back to his seat and began 
putting away his work. He had learned to 
obey " the voice of the piano " in the kin- 
dergarten and part of his reproduction of 
his morning's experience was his delight in 

50 Unseen Side of Child Life 

this prompt obedience to its impersonal 
command. I frankly acknowledge that this 
is a somewhat arbitrary use of the piano. 
It, nevertheless, is a very effectual instru- 
ment for commanding obedience, if the 
teacher herself has suflBlicent power of im- 
agination to separate herself from it in the 
minds of the children. But the piano does 
much more than this. It can be the means 
of stirring the emotions, or of quieting rest- 
less discontent; or, deep joy and profound 
reverence may be awakened by it. 

Unless we except the tones of the well- 
trained voice, there is no other means which 
can so arouse the full gamut of human emo- 
tions as does music. In fact, music goes far 
beyond words. Our military bands prove 
this and so do our church organs, not to 
mention the effect of the sweetness of a 
violin solo or of a piano when played well 
[with a sympathetic touch. 

In one of the many admirable articles 
concerning the training of little children, 
Bent out by the National Kindergarten As- 
sociation, Mrs. Jean Barrett, a mother who 
has had the kindergarten training, gives the 
following examples of how music in the 

Visitors from tJie Outside World 51 

home sweetens the mood, lightens labor, 
and works off unhealthy emotions. 

"A little girl who was very miserable 
and managed to make mother or nurse most 
unhappy all through the process of hair- 
dressing and getting into bothersome 
clothes, would submit most graciously if 
mother sang 

* My mother bids me bind my hair, 

With knot of fairest hue; 
Tie up my sleeves with ribbon rare. 

And lace my bodice blue. 
For, why, she says, sit still and weep 
While others are at play?' 

an adaptation of Hayden's beautiful air." 

She tells how another mother learned to 
help her little boy work off some of his 
stormy fits of temper by going to the piano 
and playing some stormy, impetuous bit, 
like Schumann's " Wild Eider." The boy 
did not know why this was done, but he felt 
the mood of the music because it exactly 
fitted his own, and he would career around 
the room like a veritable wild pony, until 
his emotion, which might have worked in- 
jury to himself and others, had spent itself 
in this harmless way. She then adds these 
two interesting stories : 
" My sister remembers that even as a child 

52 Unseen Side of Child Life 

she recognized this power of music to bring 
sweetness out of temper. She was very 
angry one day with a sense of some injustice 
done to her and in this mood started to play 
her beloved piano. As she did this, she 
realized that if she played she would soon 
cease to be angry and not being ready to 
give up her resentful mood, she rejected the 
gentle ministry of music and went to her 
room to nurse her unhappiness. 

"As an incitement to bravery, music has 
often been used in the home. A little boy 
much afraid of the dark would go upstairs 
to a dark room for mother when she played 
a strong march for him as he went." 

While the kindergartner's opportunity 
comes later than that of the mother, she 
has the same responsibility to see that the 
children under her care are given the oppor- 
tunity for " full and all-sided development " 
to enable them to understand and appreci- 
ate the products of true art. Many children 
will come to her without having experienced 
in the home any of the delight in music 
which might have been theirs, and to her 
will fall the duty of awakening the first 
loving emotion for sweet sounds. 

Who that has ever witnessed the happi- 

Visitors from the Outside World 53 

ness of little children in the poorer, less con- 
ventional districts of a large city when they 
hear a street hand organ can doubt that 
music should be regarded as a beneficent 
influence in life and not as an accomplish- 
ment to be cultivated only by those of more 
than ordinary endowment? When the kin- 
dergartner says : " Who will sing our new 
song for us alone? " how often it is that the 
little fellow who cannot yet carry a tune 
eagerly responds, especially if mother is 
there to hear? If teacher and mother are 
wise, there will be no expression of surprise 
or dissent; for the correctness or lack of 
correctness in carrying the tune just now is 
not to be compared with the inner urge 
which makes the child want to express him- 
self in this new and delightful way. 

Of all the sensations that come to quicken 
the life within, good music brings perhaps 
the best and quickest appreciation of love 
for the beautiful. This alone should give it 
a place in the education of every child and 
a part of the time of every adult. 

It is the most universal of all arts. Our 
Protestant churches are just beginning to 
comprehend the added hold which the 
Roman Catholic Church has upon its wor- 

54 Unseen Side of Child Life 

eliiping members by its appeal to them 
through beautiful music that awakens the 
more exalted emotions. 

I was one morning inspecting one of our 
free kindergartens in a yery destitute dis- 
trict, when, soon after the singing began, 
a woman opened the door, entered quietly 
and sat down. Over her head was a worn 
shawl of the cheap order usually seen upon 
women who are in very limited financial 
condition. Wrapped in part of the shawl, 
she carried a ten-months-old infant. To my 
surprise, the director of the kindergarten 
seemed to take no notice of her other than 
with a slight welcoming nod. The woman 
sat motionless and the sickly looking child 
lay in her arms, with closed eyes, though I 
could see that he was not asleep. Wishing 
to make her feel that she was welcome, I 
went, in a few moments, over to her side, 
and after some words of greeting had passed 
between us, took the baby in my arms. He 
opened his eyes listlessly and then his head 
dropped. I changed his position in order 
that he might see the children who were 
singing. The mother saw what I was try- 
ing to do and leaning forward, said " Ye 
needn't be doing that, mum, he's blind; he 

yisitors from the Outside Wot^ld 55 

can't see, mum." " Blind ! " I exclaimed. 
" How long lias lie been so? " " Ever since 
he was born, mum, and that's why I bring 
him over every day I kin, so's to hear the 
music. It ain't much enjoyment he's going 
to have out of life, but I thought I would 
let him learn to like music. It will be such 
a pleasure to him." 

I felt humbled and reverent in the pres- 
ence of so great a mother-heart, as I looked 
at this poor, struggling, working woman, 
who had taken time from her wash tub, her 
getting of meals, or some other part of her 
weary round of daily drudgery, in order 
that she might implant something sweet and 
pure in the life of her helpless child. 

The director of the kindergarten, who had 
become accustomed to these daily visits, af- 
terwards told me that she was the mother 
of three other children, two of whom came 
regularly to the kindergarten, that her hus- 
band was a day laborer and that the family 
lived in two small rooms over a shop about 
a block away. She said there was scarcely 
a day, when the weather permitted, that the 
woman did not drop in with her blind baby 
in time for the musical part of the morning. 
I wondered how many mothers, who have 

56 Unseen Side of Child Life 

every opportunity and advantage to give 
their children the true love of music were 
doing as much as this overworked, underfed 
and loving-hearted woman. 


There are perhaps none of the great myths 
of the old Greek world which signify more 
than those which give us the story of Pan 
and his pipes, or Orpheus and his lute. 
We all remember how Pan with his simple 
pipes of reed tamed all the wild beasts and 
commanded them to do his bidding. Again 
there is the ancient legend which tells us of 
the fatal power of attraction which the sen- 
sual songs of the sirens possessed ; of Ulysses 
in Hades, warned that he must put wax into 
the ears of his sailors when he passed the 
fatal spot where the voices of the sirens 
could be heard. This he did, but that was 
not enough. Wise man that he was, know- 
ing full well the baneful destruction which 
lay beneath the sirens' smiles and alluring 
songs, he distrusted himself to such an ex- 
tent that he had his body fastened with 
ropes to the mast of the ship, when about to 
pass their island, and gave instructions to 
his sailors that they were under no circum- 

Visitors from the Outside World 57 

stances to release liim from these bands, no 
matter to what extent he might by gesticu- 
lation indicate that he wished to be released. 
A later legend shows us that a deeper insight 
had grown around these old Greek stories. 
It describes Orpheus as sailing past the 
direful place, all unmindful of the songs 
and sighs of the sirens, because his ears and 
heart were filled with the sweet music of 
his own harp. This last to me has always 
been a wonderfully significant and suggest- 
ive myth. 

Is there a mother who reads this page who 
will not draw from it a lesson full of import 
and help, as she looks into the pure, confi- 
dent face of her little boy and feels with a 
shudder the coming of that dreadful day, 
when the sirens will sing their songs to him 
and hold out their beautiful, bare arms to 
embrace him? If she knows anything of 
life whatever she knows that this time must 
come. She cannot always protect her boy 
from it, and oftentimes it may come in such 
form as she dreams not of. Sometimes ifc 
comes before the little lad has reached his 
teens. Let her read again the story of 
Orpheus and learn what these wise old 
pagans can teach us Christians. Let her 

58 Unseen Side of Child Life 

fill her child's soul while he is yet a child, 
with a love of sweet music, of high and holy 
music, such as will of itself arouse his as- 
piration and lift him into the higher life 
beyond the voices of the sirens of tempta- 
tion. Let her teach him to love good music 
as she teaches him to love pure air, sun- 
shine and the beauties of nature. Even 
when the confines of a crowded city-life 
seem to limit her in the use of these she can 
still help her child to love good music. 

I have spoken elsewhere* concerning the 
wealth of enjoyment that refines and up- 
lifts, which a training in the perception of 
beautiful color brings, whether it be in the 
man-made fabrics or the inexhaustible vari- 
ety and marvelous harmonies and contrasts 
that are to be found in the world of nature, 
the tints of color in the twigs and branches 
of shrubs — even before the leaf buds begin 
to take on their delicate pinks and pale 
yellows — in insects, moths and butterflies, 
the tones of green that sunlight and shadow 
bring to the tree tops, the blues and greens 
and grays and purples that water takes on 
in reflecting the sky. All these and a thou- 
sand other pleasures are for him who has 

• See " Some Silent Teachers " chapter on color. 

Visitors from the Outside World 59 

learned to enjoy color as color; and the 
most limited income can give this perception 
of beauty to one's child. It is always in the 
sky and often lurks in the vegetable-man's 
cart. But the art of music expresses the 
joys and sorrows of the human heart as can 
no other art, because, as has been said, it 
lends itself so readily to the emotions. 

Any life that is hampered in its emotional 
expression is hindered not only in the keen 
enjoyment of a thousand sources of pleasure 
but also in the power to sympathize with 
and help others. Again Mrs. Barrett says : 
" To sing the lilting measure when the heart 
is gay, to give thanks for cherished blessing 
in the glad hymn of praise, to send aloft 
on the wings of song a prayer for strength 
to bear the burden or grief too heavy to be 
borne alone — this is what God's great gift 
of music should mean to us. Let us help 
the little children to enter into their heritage 
of song." 

Have not soldiers rushed into the arms of 
death singing mighty battle hymns of their 
nation ! Are not the great anthems and the 
oratorios the means by which the soul of 
the multitude rises soonest to the most ex- 
halted religious moods? These are the vis- 

60 Unseen Side of Child Life 

itors, who may, in time, become your child's 
friends, leading him through exalted emo- 
tions to noble deeds, and thus opening wide 
the door to comradeship with the truest and 
best men and women that his community 
affords. Dante pictures the happy souls in 
his Paradiso as surrounded always with an 
infinite variety of color and ever-changing 
light, music — glad songs of worship — and 
that joyful fellowship where each soul recog- 
nizes the best in all other souls. To such 
as these is granted the vision of God. Truly 
a profound psychologist was Italy's im- 
mortal poet. 



FroebePs deep insight into tlie inner 
nature of man is nowhere shown more 
clearly than when speaking of the infant's 
first conscious smile. He says : " This feel- 
ing of unity first uniting the child with 
mother, then later on with father, brothers 
and sisters, and resting on a higher spiritual 
unity with humanity, with God, this feeling 
of community is the very first germ of all 
true religious spirit, for all genuine yearn- 
ing for unhindered unification with the 
Eternal — with God." 

This is the so-called incomprehensible 
mysticism of Froebel. Yet is it mystical? 
If we believe that man has the power to 
recognize himself as possessing an infinite, 
immortal spirit that can conquer all ex- 
ternal conditions, even all fear of death it- 
self, must not that realization begin with 
the beginning of consciousness of the self 
within, of which the body is merely the chief 
instrument? Therefore, is it mysticism to 


62 Unseen Side of Child Life 

claim that, wlien the love which illumines 
a mother's smile awakens a smile in re- 
sponse on the child's face, it means more 
than a " motor response to sensory nerves." 
When and where is the beginning of the 
feeling of pleasure in his mother's presence 
which is not included in the gratification 
of the appetite given by the nourishment 
obtained from her breast? 

Entirely aside from this interpretation of 
an infant's smile, we all know that a baby 
will reach out his arms to a swinging ball 
sooner than to one that is not in motion, 
will coo in response to the cooing tone of 
his mother or nurse, will cry when harshly 
spoken to, will cease his crying when the 
strong, warm arms embrace him and a gen- 
tle voice soothes him. All this is, of course, 
partly physical, but is it not also partly 
psychical? And is not the inner life being 
nurtured or injured as the outside stimulus 
awakens helpful or harmful emotions? Is 
not this too serious a matter to be lightly 
set aside? 

I saw a nursery-maid force a six-months 
baby into his carriage and tuck the carriage 
blanket so closely around him that his legs 
and arms could not assist in expressing the 

Mastering the Machine 63 

awakened wrath and indignation within 
him, until his face grew purple and his eyes 
had an expression of murder in them. I 
moved to one side so as to see the fkce of 
the nurse. It was angry and flushed also. 
Her mood had undoubtedly intensified the 
child's emotional excitement. 

Again, I have seen the same preparation 
for the home-going made so lovingly and 
gently, with bright, cheery words to the 
baby who had seemed unwilling, at first, 
to be placed in his carriage. He could not 
understand the words, but the tone of the 
nurse's voice awakened a corresponding 
mood within him, until he crowed with de- 
light as the blanket was tucked around him. 

In each case, the child was unconsciously 
absorbing the mood of the older person, and 
this absorbing of mental conditions comes 
before the actual imitating of physical activ- 
ities. It thus indicates the importance of 
selecting the right person to take care of 
early infancy. It is not enough to hire a 
trained nurse to care for the child, she 
should have a true mother-heart also, if the 
inner life of feelings, involving instincts, 
impulses and emotions are to be guarded 
and developed as well as the child's body. 

64 Unseen Side of Child Life 

They are dim and helpless feelings, but they 
are there, and many a child has been made 
wilful and selfish by the mistreatment of 
them. In early infancy, the tone of a voice 
may jar or soothe this tender inner-self fully 
as much as rough or gentle handling can 
arouse physical pain or pleasure. 

As the child grows older this instinctive 
absorbing of the moods of those about him 
soon develops into imitating their gestures 
and tones. This, in turn, very soon passes 
into the effort to imitate the activities of 
those around. We have all laughed over 
the nine-or-ten-months-old baby's imitation 
of his mother's delight when, having 
achieved the tremendous feat of letting go 
of the chair and standing alone, he has 
thrown up his hands in mimic astonishment 
and uttered an exclamation of joy before he 
tumbled over. I have seen a year-old child 
take a dust cloth and after rubbing it along 
the surface of a chair or stool, shake it vig- 
orously in imitation of his energetic mother. 

Who has not seen the little two-year-old 
girl stir up imaginary cake, or sip imaginery 
tea out of her toy cup? She is not merely 
imitating tea-drinking, she is absorbing the 
social mood of tea-drinking. Watch the boy 

Mastering the Machine 65 

of the same enchanting age spread out a 
newspaper before him and pretend to be 
absorbed in its contents. He is imitating 
the preoccupied mood of his father as well 
as his act of newspaper reading. Their 
young minds are more responsive than the 
most sensitive photographic films. Yet each 
impression made is awakening and feeding 
some instinct, or impulse, or desire, which 
is helping to make or mar the serene inner- 
life which ought to be the mood of every 

I do not mean by this that every word 
and deed should be guarded when in the 
presence of a child, but I want to emphasize 
the importance of keeping children in sur- 
roundings that are wholesome, and with peo- 
ple who are sympathetic without being weak 
or sentimental. In other words, the child 
absorbs the " spiritual atmosphere " that 
surrounds him and is fully as much affected 
by it as his body is affected by the fresh or 
foul air of his physical environment. He 
absorbs the one as surely as he breathes in 
the other. This is the reason why it is so 
vital a matter that what we call " the spirit 
of the kindergarten " should be in the home 

66 Unseen Side of Child Life 

and nursery as well as in the child's first 
venture into the life of the school. 

With this psychological insight, what shall 
I say about homes in which the teasing of 
the little child is one of the amusements of 
the adult life about him, or of those homes 
in which the child is permitted to hear the 
jars and jangles that, most unfortunately, 
sometimes come between parents or between 
mistress and maid? Blows upon the child's 
tender flesh are less marring. In time, 
bruised flesh will heal. But who can say, 
when will be wiped out the effects when such 
evil emotions as anger, suspicion, jealousy 
and rage are aroused? They, literally, not 
only poison the blood, but they check the 
impulses which should reach out from the 
innermost depths of a child's being toward 
fellowship with and love of all mankind. 
Better a millstone around one's neck and 
that he be cast into the sea than thus to 
offend one of these little ones. 

It is because we have trifled with these 
great, serious forces in human life that men 
have learned to talk lightly and glibly of 
the soul and of God, and that men and 
women have oftentimes thoughtlessly given 
over the religious training of their children 

Mastering the Machine 67 

to inexperienced young girls wliom, fre- 
quently, tliey do not even know personally. 
As before said, it is only when we realize 
the tremendous importance of these spiritual 
factors in the battles of life that we com- 
prehend the importance of how to appeal 
to the right emotions. Centuries of time 
have proved that it is the spiritual power in 
man that has built up those conditions of 
society which distinguish civilization from 
the savage. " Where there is no vision the 
people perish " is literally true. 

The definite religious training of a little 
child should not be delayed, but rather, if 
rightly understood, it is to be given early 
and it is to be a constant, daily, nourished 
activity. I will try in the following pages 
to explain how this may be done. 


Let us come back to Froebel's statement 
that the first smile with which a young in- 
fant consciously responds to its mother's 
smile is the dim dawning within the child's 
soul of its spiritual relationships. Froebel 
explains that this is the faint beginning of 
the child's consciousness of an harmonious 
relationship between himself and other hu» 

68 Unseen Side of Child Life 

man companions; thus he grows into the 
feeling of fellowship of human beings until 
it embraces ever larger and increasing num- 
bers. Finally, the brotherhood of man will 
signify more than mere words which often- 
times become empty and meaningless. 

The child soon begins to have moods of 
his own not mere reaction to the moods of 
his attendants. We all know that he 
reaches out to seize any object that pleases 
his attention, even if it be the moon. He 
enjoys also tumbling down the blocks that 
mother or nurse may have built up for him, 
throwing things on the floor, rattling news- 
papers, etc. A little later, the shaking of 
his rattle attracts him. In fact, anything 
that in any way quickens the dim feeling of 
power to control or alter any part of the 
external world which surrounds him is a 
matter of concern to him. 

All efforts of the child at creeping, sitting 
erect and trying to stand steadily upon his 
two legs come from the impulse or the de- 
sire w^ithin to master the muscular control 
of the body ; not that the child is at all con- 
scious of this, but the mother should be con- 
scious, and in a thousand and one ways 
should encourage the mastery of his body. 

Mastering tJie Machine 69 

She says, " How tall is baby? " and the lit- 
tle one learns to stretch his body and extend 
his arms to their full height ; or, " How 
much does baby love Mamma? " and the 
little arms will clasp around her neck with 
a vigor heretofore unexercised. All such 
bodily activities indicate his will trying to 
tell of his love. She teaches him to wave 
" good-by " as father leaves the house. She 
plays with him a little game of " Pat-a- 
cake" long before he has any idea of the 
significance of the words. He simply knows 
that the rythmic clapping of his hands 
pleases his mother. She plays " Peek-a- 
boo " with him and his whole body joins 
in the hiding or the discovery. She lets him 
crawl laboriously across the room when it 
would have been so easy to have carried him 
to where he wanted to go. She allows him 
to pull and drag at the small stool when it 
would have saved time had she picked it 
up and placed it where he would have it. 
She lets him climb with much dififlculty into 
the low, easy chair, climb out of it and again 
climb into it, because she knows that all 
such vigorous activities of the body are 
helpful in the growth of the will as well as 
in the development of physical strength. 

70 Unseen Bide of Child Life 

Of course, there is danger of activity to 
the point of fatigue and the intelligent 
mother knows that little arms and legs soon 
tire as they have not yet attained their pro- 
portionate growth; and yet she knows also 
that exercise is quite essential for them. 
When he has attained unto that marvelous 
accomplishment — when physically he is 
separating himself from her — she can still 
keep him close to her spiritually by her 
sympathetic interest in each of these new 

I had once the great pleasure of being in 
the home of an almost ideal, kindergarten- 
trained mother. Every evening when the 
fretting time of her baby daughter drew near 
she dropped all other activities, undressed 
the little one and robed her in her freshly 
aired nightgown and laid her flat on her 
back on the bed. Then began a romp with 
her, singing a rollicking little song as she 
caught first one leg and then the other, or 
perchance one arm and then the other, some- 
times rolling the little body over, still sing- 
ing gleefully. The child squirmed and 
twisted, pulling her legs free from the 
mother's hands or rolled herself back into 
her former position, crowing with delight 
throughout the entire play. When the 

Mastering the Machine 71 

child's voice began to lessen its tone of 
pleasure, the romp ceased. The mother 
smoothed down the rumpled gown and the 
baby was laid, tired and happy, on her own 
small bed and was soon sound asleep. 

This was not only good for the baby 
physically, as it caused the wholesome 
fatigue that brings sound sleep; but it was 
also good for the child spiritually in that it 
left her in a mood of companionship and 
trust. We all know when a child begins to 
walk alone, how he loves to run around tlie 
table or chair with no other motive than the 
enjoyment of running on two legs. Even 
when he tumbles down or stumbles over his 
stool, a word of encouragement from the 
mother starts him out again. 

In some nurseries a flat-top fence is pro- 
vided so that the little one may exercise the 
muscles used in walking and yet not fatigue 
them too much, as he soon learns to rest the 
weight of his body on the top of the hori- 
zontal fence while stepping along. A little 
later is used a board, about five inches wide 
and raised by strong supports about an inch 
above the floor, " to walk on " which be- 
comes the young adventurer's delight. On 
this board, so near the floor, a child soon 

72 Unseen Side of Child Life 

learns to walk with ease and poise and some- 
times to run. A like delight is shown by 
older children when walking on the elevated 
curbstone so dear to the childish heart. 

For several years, in my own kindergar- 
ten, I had what is known as a housekeeper's 
step-ladder. A substantially built ladder 
with six broad steps. It usually stood near 
the blackboard in order that the children 
could use it when they wanted to draw the 
sun, moon or stars " way up above the 
houses." I do not now recall our ever hav- 
ing an accident in connection with this lad- 
der as the custom of the school was that the 
older children usually drew the celestial 
bodies for the children who had not yet 
learned to climb. And, oh, how proud they 
were of the achievement ! 

Years later I found that in both Germany 
and France one of the requirements in the 
kindergarten was that the children should 
climb a stairway each day. It was with 
them, so far as I could ascertain, merely an 
exercise, not the means to an end. When 
we were studying in Eome, with Dr. Montes- 
sori, a friend of mine visited an outlying 
Casa dei Bambini. The children were on the 
roof of the three-story house playing, but a 

Mastering the Machine 73 

Bignal was given and my friend saw them, 
thirty-five in all, some not three years of 
age, come down a flight of steep, outside 
stone steps, built against the wall of the 
house. The steps were less than two feet 
wide, yet not a child hesitated. 

Toymakers have invented a contrivance — 
called " kiddie car " — by means of which 
a child may be seated and yet keep pace 
with his adult attendant by moving his legs 
up and down without the weight of his body 
pressing upon them. For older children 
there are swings giving free, rhythmic mo- 
tion, the trapeze, with which the limitations 
of the weak muscles may be overcome in 
play, and sliding boards for destroying tim- 
idity and engendering physical courage. 

Tight clothing or very elaborate clothing, 
in fact any form of clothing that makes the 
child conspicuous or conscious of his body, 
hinders this very important form of play, 
for until the body becomes free, with the 
spontaneous use of every muscle of the 
body — the easily commanded instrument 
of the spirit — it cannot rightly deliver the 
spirit's message. 

How a young child loves to be held high 
in the air by its father, and sometimes to 

74 Unseen Side of Child Life 

be tossed still higher. It is a lesson in faith 
fully as much as in bodily courage. I one 
time saw a little two-year-old child jump 
from a second story porch into the arms of 
her father who stood on the ground below; 
again, I saw the same child wade fearlessly 
into the water until it reached her chin, 
because her father's outstretched arms were 
waiting for her. 

Long before the kindergarten age, the 
child is unconsciously training his body to 
obey the commands of his spirit. If this 
cooperation of body and mind could be kept 
up there would not be the self-consciousness 
so often painfully expressed by older boys 
and girls when they become conscious that 
their bodies are not obeying their intentions. 
Do you yourself not know men and women 
who have been handicapped throughout life 
by awkward bodies which should have been 
rightly exercised in childhood? The diffi- 
culty is that many mothers do not realize 
the value of these simple forms of a young 
child's physical activity in which the mind 
and heart begin their training along with 
the body. 

Many children in the stage of infancy are 
left feebly to express themselves through 

Mastering the Machine 75 

meaningless gestures which are without 
mental stimulus. Let me illustrate. There 
came one autumn, into my kindergarten, a 
five-year-old boy, the only son of wealthy 
parents. He was one of the shyest and most 
easily embarrassed children I have ever 
met, and this shyness often showed itself in 
grotesque attitudes of his body and grimaces 
of his face. He would sometimes seem al- 
most to twist his features out of shape. At 
first, this astonished the other children and 
then amused them. When they would laugh 
at the comic expressions which his twisted 
nose or crooked mouth would produce, he 
would blush and squirm in a painful man- 
ner. I saw that he was really suffering, al- 
though to the children he was apparently 
trying to be funny. I quietly persuaded 
them not to laugh when he made these 
funny gestures, telling them that he did not 
yet know how to act in our kindergarten, 
but that he would soon learn. 

In the meantime, I called upon his mother 
to try to get her help in the case. After 
talking on indifferent subjects for a little 
while, I asked her to tell me something 
about his infancy and early childhood, stat- 
ing that I did not quite understand him. 

76 Unseen Side of Child Life 

She seemed a little surprised at my remark, 
and said there was nothing unusual to tell, 
but added : " When he was a baby he would 
lie for hours on the bed doing nothing, but 
he was perfectly good-natured." I asked if 
he had any toys or other objects within his 
reach. She said : " Oh, no, he would simply 
lie there and twist his mouth into funny 
shapes, or lift his eyebrows up and down 
but that he was such a good baby and was 
so little trouble." I saw at once the begin- 
ning of the child's difficulty. His body had 
responded to the thousand and one sensa- 
tions which every hour of the day poured 
in upon the infant mind, but there had been 
no mother's cooing songs or baby play to 
help direct the response of the motor nerves 
to the stimulation that the outside world 
was bringing to him through his sense or- 
gans. Consequently, the physical response 
had been haphazard and meaningless. In 
other words, his body had grown while his 
mind lay torpid. Of course, my remedy was 
to keep him so busy and to give him so much 
to do that he would forget his awkwardness. 
But it was a painful task for both him and 
On the other hand, infants are often stim. 

Mastering the Machine 77 

ulated too inucli by their vain mothers or 
proud nurses, who are desirous of showing 
their friends " how smart the little fellow 
is." Both of these mistakes are serious sins 
against the child's physical welfare and 
hamper the development of his mental life 
and the true sincerity which comes from 
the body expressing frankly the spirit's 
message. This ought to be the most precious 
gift that parents can bestow wpon their 

These first nursery games are seemingly 
so insignificant that they are either neg- 
lected or used thoughtlessly because of the 
parent's desire to fondle his child when he 
himself wants to be amused and his love 
has found no better way to express itself. 
But to the student of the psychology of chil- 
dren's play, they are significant; first, be- 
cause they are the almost imperceptible 
means by which mother-love instinctively 
guides these spontaneous activities of the 
child's body. They cause also a change of 
brain activity which is quite necessary, as 
the brain of an infant is only partially de- 
veloped at the time of birth and fatigues 
very easily. They also, in the form of play, 
create a cheerful or happy mood in the 

78 Unseen Side of Child Life 

mother lierself which brings her into a 
closer relationship with her child, who is as 
yet unconscious of why he loves a merry 
tone of voice instead of either an irritated 
or a tired tone. It is also an excellent thing 
for every adult at times to become as a little 

Our purpose here is to call attention to 
the value of knowing how to suit the young 
child's external surroundings to his physi- 
cal condition and thereby help him to form 
an harmonious, happy, attitude toward life 
and the world at large. The too high- 
strung, nervous child needs quiet surround- 
ings with simple, pleasing exercise that does 
not excite him, and crowds should be 
avoided. The child who early shows that 
he is physically handicapped, slow or men- 
tally defective, needs stimulating exercise. 

I once witnessed a most pathetic scene 
and at the same time a beautiful evidence of 
instinctive mother-love and wisdom. It was 
a summer day ; in the park on a bench, was 
seated a young mother, evidently of the 
poorer class of wage-earners. Near her, 
romped two of her children, about three 
and four years of age ; on her lap was a ten- 
or-twelve-months-old baby. One glance into 

Mastering the Machine 79 

the little one's face was enougli to tell of 
the lack of mental life. Every now and 
then, the mother would dandle the child in 
the air or trot it on her knee, singing a lively 
little dance song, then she would nestle it 
close in her arms and let it rest awhile and 
then renew the enlivening sensation of song 
and dance. This was done so systematicallj' 
and regularly that I felt sure she knew con- 
sciously that she was quickening the child's 
inner life by outer stimulus. Whether this 
insight had been given her by some good 
doctor, or sensible nurse, or was the almost 
divine " mother instinct " often found in 
w^omen of limited education, I could not 
ascertain as the barrier of a foreign lan- 
guage stood between us. I longed to ex- 
plain to her that it would be better for the 
child, to have him reach out for some object 
such, for example, as a bright-colored ball 
swung on a string, a canary in its cage or 
some other moving object, as in that case he 
would have to make an effort to reach the 
object, whereas her dancing him up and 
down, although good in itself, lacked the 
definite effort of will on the baby's part. 

All infirmaries and schools for handi- 
capped children use some such plan in devel- 

80 Unseen Side of Child Life 

oping the feeble will of these unfortunate 
little ones. A visit for a day to the State In- 
stitution for the Feeble-Minded at Waverly, 
Massachusetts, would convince any one of 
the value of understanding the significance 
of the relation between the right exercise of 
the mind and body. Children who enter 
this institution unable to walk or to dress 
themselves are in time trained into being 
willing and efficient helpers in the house- 
hold work and later join in the labor on the 
farm. They also have dancing and some 
dramatic entertainments of a simple kind, 
and most of them thus developed seem 
happy and contented in their limited sphere. 
I wish every young mother might read 
Dr. Dearborn's little book on the " Influence 
of Joy " which shows the effect that joy has 
on the nervous system, the respiration and 
the rest of the functioning organs of the 
body. Any educated physician will tell you 
that fretfulness retards, and happiness pro- 
motes, health; and any true kindergartner 
will tell you that happiness is as necessary 
to a child's right growth as sunshine is to a 
flower. I do not mean by this that a young 
child's mere caprices should be humored; 
that does not bring happiness. Eight activ- 

Mastering the Machine 81 

ity prompted by right emotions is what is 
needed. Study a child whose feelings have 
been hurt: see how his body shrinks back, 
how his chest sinks, how his head droops 
and the light in his eyes recedes. Study an 
angry child and notice the tense tightening 
of the muscles, the set strain of the face and 
the harsh tone of the voice. Or, on the 
other hand, watch for a few minutes a child 
bubbling over with happiness. Notice the 
relaxing of every muscle, the lifting of the 
head, the added light that comes into the 
eyes, the smile on the face, the light, joyous 
tone of the voice, and you will be convinced 
that the emotions are moulding and shaping 
bodily conditions. 

And yet, from the average educational 
standpoint, how much attention is given to 
keeping children happy and interested in 
their occupations? Go into the average day 
nursery, where children have come from 
their drab, dreary homes and have been 
washed and dressed and fed but whose emo- 
tional life has been considered no more than 
if it did not exist. In many of the day 
nurseries that I have visited the children 
are placed in chairs, or allowed listlessly to 
wander about until the time comes for feed- 

82 Unseen Side of Child Life 

ing again or for the morning nap. All these 
precious hours could be utilized in some 
baby play or some simple activity which 
would give them just enough concentration 
to awaken interest and stir the dawning 
consciousness of power to do things. 

Later on, we all know what such delights 
as football, tramps, rowing, swimming, and 
the like do for the body and if used aright, 
how they aid the higher life. Boy scouting 
has taught many a boy to eat plain food, 
to sleep on a hard bed and to tramp miles 
uncomplainingly when out scouting. And 
this has taught him to master indulgence in 
the mere gratification of sensation and to 
use his body for higher purposes than sensu- 
ous enjoyment, which so easily turns when 
tempted into sensual indulgence. If thus 
trained to show his manliness by abstaining 
from what is unwholesome for his body, he 
will the more readily understand that the 
body is the temple in which the Spirit 
dwells. Girls' camps are also valuable, when 
rightly conducted. 

I know a fourteen-year-old boy who had 
developed his muscular power to an unusual 
degree, of which achievement he was very 
proud. Not infrequently, when guests were 

Mastering tlie Machine 83 

present, he made a display of liis physical 
strength by picking his mother up in his 
arms and carrying her from the dining room 
to the living room on the second floor. After 
an exhibit of this sort on one occasion, a 
friend, who was dining with the family, said 
to him : " You certainly have a remarkable 
amount of strength. How are you going to 
use it; as a Goliath or a St. Christopher? " 
The boy afterward told me of the incident 
and he added : " That question was a 
corker ! " It contained the two ways in 
which physical strength may be trained, 
and it suggested the two motives, one or the 
other of which may be given for the encour- 
agement of physical exercise from the be- 
ginning. This was the idea Froebel had 
when he wrote his " Mother-Play Songs," 
now so much derided, because so misused 
and so misunderstood. 

We frequently hear men say, " That fel- 
low must learn to stand on his own legs if 
he is ever going to amount to anything," 
meaning that the young man in question 
must learn to depend on his own exertion 
to earn a living. They are probably not 
aware of the fact that, in commenting thus 
on a young man's moral stability they are 

84 Unseen Side of Child Life 

using a figure of speech which comes direct 
from the nursery, where self-reliance prop- 
erly begins. 


Physiological psychologists tell us that 
the sensory nerves of the child receive a 
stimulation from the sights, sounds, etc., of 
the outside world through the sense organs 
of taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing, weight 
and temperature, and communicate the same 
to the motor nerves, although they frankly 
confess that they do not know just how the 
stimulation is transmitted from the one set 
of nerves enclosed in a medullary sheath to 
the other set similarly enclosed. These au- 
thorities do not attempt to explain why the 
body is thus constructed. 

Our purpose has been to suggest how the 
mother may help the little child in his feeble 
attempt to master his own body and to 
give her a reasonable explanation for his de- 
sire to control this complex construction of 
nerves and muscles. 

This explanation is almost as old as the 
record of mankind, certainly as old as the 
time when man began to think of and discuss 
his " self " or inner life of emotion, will and 
thought. From Plato down it has been a 

Mastering the Machine 85 

familiar theme discussed by all thinkers; 
and probably long before Plato's day it was 
doubtless the subject of earnest thought. It 
is the master message of the great Christ 
Jesus to mankind — the devout and rever- 
ent belief that man has within him that 
which is superior to time, space and the 
material world, and which will rise above 
these into eternity. As already stated, the 
fundamental doctrine of all forms of the 
Christian religion, Greek, Roman and 
Protestant is that man is a child of God, 
not bodily, in flesh and in blood, but in the 
power of the spirit to go out of the body in 
genuine sympathy with the sorrowing, or 
to rejoice with the happy, to transform de- 
sire and choice into actual deed and to com- 
municate thought through centuries of time. 
I have had young women come to me so 
shut in and hampered by their bodies that 
it took a long time for them to get the free- 
dom which is necessary for the kindergart- 
ner if she is to be the true playmate and 
inspiration of little children. They some- 
times reminded me of the statues which 
have been sent to our Art Institute encased 
in stiff wooden crates through the slats of 
which one gets glimpses of the beautiful 

86 Unseen Side of Child Life 

imprisoned forms within. I feel that this 
is a serious subject for the young mother to 
consider. It lies within her power to send 
her child forth to fight both the material 
and spiritual battles of the world with a 
well, strong body, rightly poised and at 

The world should be alive and full of 
friends to every child before he reaches the 
stage of development when discriminations 
and antagonisms necessarily come in. This 
" unity of life " is one of the most delight- 
ful traits of children, as it is the re- 
sult of a natural, normal and wholesome 

I had occasion one time to take a walk 
with a charming little girl five years of age. 
On our way home she was describing to me, 
in a bright, animated fashion, how the af- 
ternoon before she had washed her dolls' 
clothes and hung them up to dry. She was 
in the midst of the eager description of this 
domestic experience, when a tall, dignified- 
looking man approached us from the oppo- 
site direction. The child's animated face 
and voice evidently attracted his attention. 
His own features relaxed, and just as he 

Mastering the Machine 87 

was about to pass us, lie apparently could 
not resist the temptation to come personally 
for a moment in contact with such sweet 
child-life, for he said : " Hello ! hello ! what's 
all this about? " The little girl instantly 
stopped and looking up smilingly into his 
face said: "I was just telling her about 
how I washed Mary Louise's petticoats and 
underwear yesterday. They were awful 
dirty and I. had to scrub 'em hard." The 
man was taken by surprise at this sudden 
manifestation of perfect confidence in the 
sincerity of his request. He looked embar- 
rassed and said : " Oh ! oh ! Is that so ! 
Is that so ! " lifted his hat politely and hur- 
ried on. The child slipped her hand in mine 
again and continued her conversation as 
unconcernedly as if it had been momentarily 
interrupted by her father or some familiar 
friend. To her all the world were friends, 
so why not tell of her delightful experiences 
to anyone who might inquire concerning 
them? The boy or girl who shrinks from 
strangers or becomes self-conscious when 
spoken to has lost the sweet " unity of life," 
which begins with the unity of the body 
and mind that leads to genuine sincerity. 

88 Unseen Side of Child Life 


But you may ask, " What has this to do 
with religion? " We answer unhesitatingly, 
" Much, if done in the right way." A sound 
mind is sometimes found in a frail body and 
a strong body sometimes contains a weak 
soul. There are always exceptions, of 
course, but I am speaking of the general 
rule. When I was once urging the impor- 
tance of healthy babyhood from the stand- 
point of morality and religion, a witty friend 
said : " If I understand you aright. Jack 
Johnson, the prize fighter, is a more to be 
desired citizen than Ralph Waldo Emerson, 
the philosopher." " No," I replied, ^* But 
undoubtedly Jack Johnson would have been 
a less desirable citizen if he had had a dis- 
eased body. And who can say what Ralph 
Waldo Emerson or Thomas Carlyle might 
have accomplished if they had possessed 
good digestive powers? To come closer 
home : would Theodore Roosevelt have been 
of as much service to this country had 
his father not had the wisdom to fit up the 
upstairs side porch in his New York City 
home with gymnastic apparatus and encour- 
age the delicate boy to make use of it? " 

However, in this day when a National 

Ilastering the Machine 8S 

Better-Health Movement is being so vigor- 
ously pushed it seems almost absurd to stop 
to comment on the value of training the 
body into strong, vigorous life were it not 
that the moral result and the consequent 
religious view engendered is so often lost 
sight of, and this is largely because of the 
non-comprehension of the importance of be- 
ginning the physical activities aright. 



Emerson has well said, " The mastery of 
a new language doubles a man's capacity 
for expression." We know that practically 
in the affairs of this life, man attains 
through the mastery of language much 
power to serve in a material way, and there 
dawns on us still greater significance of 
language when we observe how readily a 
child with far more ease can acquire two 
or three languages than can an adult. Per- 
sonally, I have met children in Europe who 
spoke correctly and fluently, French, Eng- 
lish and German, and I have known of one 
case where a child five years of age could 
speak five languages, not with a large 
vocabulary, of course, but with accuracy of 
accent and expression. 

Modern psychologists teach us that the 
special language center of the brain is most 
active when the child is learning articulate 
speech. But if we accept the Christian phil- 
osophy of life as meaning the brotherhood 

The Invisible Bridge 91 

of marl and the fatberliood of God, we see 
the larger and deeper reason for this early 
ability to acquire a mastery over the natu- 
ral, racial barriers of speech. But for the 
wide range of expression that language 
gives, there would be very little develop- 
ment of religious life beyond the supersti- 
tious prostration of the body before the 
forces of nature and the uttering of groans 
and lamentations of sounds, or the wild, 
so-called religious dance of savage tribes 
that often end in sensual indulgence. With 
definite, clearly understood language, man 
is enabled not only to communicate his best 
thoughts and experiences to his fellow man, 
but to leave these high moods expressed in 
language for help and inspiration to future 
generations. How much mankind has ob- 
tained from the noblest minds of the past! 
How many hearts have been comforted by 
the Twenty-third Psalm! How many lives 
have been guided by the Sermon on the 
Mount; to how many minds the thirteenth 
chapter of Corinthians has shown the path 
of Christian love and sympathy ! 

How much poorer the spiritual life of 
man would be but for the records left by 
the great poets, philosophers and saints! 

92 Unseen Side of Child Life 

Thougli dead these hundreds of years 
their utterances still soothe our hearts, 
strengthen our will-power and make clear 
the meaning of life ! Thus they sweep away 
jealousy, envy, self-pity and all those 
meaner traits that hinder the God-ward 
growth of the soul. Of all the inborn in- 
stincts that surge within a little child, 
seeiiing for utterance, the impulse to imi- 
tate the activities about him and to repeat 
the words and tones he hears are those to 
which the mother should give closest atten- 
tion and the true significance of which she 
should understand, if she desires to aid her 
child, sympathetically and intelligently, in 
the development of his inner, spiritual life. 
The child's power to express himself not 
merely through bodily action but also by 
means of words, starts lines or " tracks " 
of emotion, good or bad. The right or 
wrong feeling is easily repeated, and once 
manifested, leads readily to right or wrong 
willing and thinking, which soon form 
habits or attitudes toward life and thus 
help or hinder the receptivity to religious 

A young child, even a mere infant, begins 
to manifest his hunger for closer comrade- 

The Invisible Bridge 93 

ship with those about him, by look and ges- 
ture, by holding out the object he has cap- 
tured for mother or nurse to admire or use. 

Little children have in common with 
young animals what is commonly called 
" the play instinct." That is, they love to 
run, to jump, to hop, to skip and to handle 
the objects with which they come in con- 
tact. Even very young children toss their 
legs and arms about seemingly in enjoy- 
ment of mere motion. This apparently 
aimless activity is usually spoken of as 
" animal spirits " and is rightly considered 
as a healthy indication showing that the 
child is in good physical condition. But 
the mother instinctively feels that her child 
is something more than a " little animal." 
Therefore, when her baby looks up into her 
face, although he is as yet scarcely able to 
steady the muscles of his eye suflflciently to 
focus his gaze upon her face, she smiles lov- 
ingly down upon him and instinctively, 
almost unconsciously, utters some cooing 
sound in order to hold his feeble attention. 

This is the dim dawn of language. It is 
the child's first effort to cross the invisible 
bridge that separates him from the rest of 
humanity. Soon his mother begins to play 

94 Unseen Side of Child Life 

with him, uttering all sorts of sounds best 
known to mother hearts. The longing 
within her to come nearer to her baby's real 
inner-self than mere caresses and hugs of 
his body can bring her, causes her to begin 
to speak a few simple words to her child. 
She says: "Mother's precious one!" 
" Mamma's little lamb ! " " Sweetest thing 
in the world ! " or some similar term of en- 
dearment, although she knows that the 
child does not understand a word she is 
saying. Out of this instinctive desire on 
her part to begin her closer companionship 
with her child's spirit, have arisen the 
" nursery songs " that from time immemo- 
rial have been crooned or sung to each suc- 
ceeding generation of helpless infants ten- 
derly nestled in mother-arms. 

As soon as the baby begins voluntarily to 
move its limbs and voluntarily to open and 
shut its eyes, to utter faint, gurgling 
sounds, the instinctive mother feels and the 
intelligent mother knows, that her work of 
nurturing her child's spiritual life through 
play and song is to begin. For these feeble 
efforts are not merely the beginning of the 
development of the muscles and the vocal 
organs, but are also the awakening of his 

The Invisible Bridge 95 

soul or inner life. Each mother feels this; 
some dimly, some with a clearness of insight 
that awakens all that is best and most God- 
like in the soul of man. 

If we believe that God, as Creator of the 
material universe and Creator of man, en- 
dowed man, as has already been stated, with 
power as creator to re-create and so adapt 
the materials and forces of nature, as to 
free himself from the bondage of climate, of 
space, of food and hundreds of other limita- 
tions; and that God also created man with 
power through language to enter by sym- 
pathetic understanding into the lives of liis 
fellowmen and thereby assist them in their 
higher spiritual life as well as to strengthen 
his own inner life, — if we believe this, then 
we must realize the importance of language, 
which is, truly, the invisible bridge between 
soul and soul. 


Dr. Hailman in his translation of " Edu- 
cation of Man " calls our attention to the 
fact that mothers and other attendants of 
children not unfrequently retard thought 
by excessive indulgence in so-called " baby 
talk." He says, " The child struggles 
against many difficulties of speech, calls 

96 Unseen Side of Child Life 

cows, ^ tows ' ; calves, ^ talves ' ; bread, 
^ bed ' ; brow^n, ' bown ' ; and so on. Fond 
mothers and attendants find these imper- 
fections of speech so attractive that they 
imitate them and they are loath to have 
their children lose the charming defects of 
babyhood. In the mistaken indulgence of 
their selfish delight, they even intensify 
these faults and invent new ones, which 
they force upon the child. Such inventions 
as * hannies ' for hands, * hootsy tootsies ' 
for feet, * dinks ' for drink, and other un- 
meaning plurals for singular corresponding 
forms. In all cases, it is the mother's clear 
duty to speak plainly and correctly, in 
order to aid her child in overcoming the 
troublesome difficulties that speech in- 
volves. She need not on this account ad- 
dress her child any less tenderly, soothingly 
and fondly, for the tone means as much 
as the words. 

" There are indeed phases of baby talk 
that are not open to these objections. As 
soon as the child begins his meaningless 
monologues of practicing certain sounds, 
such as * ta-ta, ta-ta, ta-ta, pa-pa, pa-pa, 
pa-pa, da-da, da-da, da-da.' The attendant 
may join in these exercises. This helps the 

The Invisible Bridge 97 

child to listen to others as well as to him- 

The average mother comes instinctively 
to the rescue. She repeats any number of 
times his " ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, f, f, f, m, m, m, 
gh, gh, gh, gh," and wisely delights in his 
growth toward human speech when she per- 
ceives in her baby's babbling a new vowel 
or consonant or combination of the same. 
Just as she has lovingly helped him to 
locate the different parts of his body, by 
such play as " Where are baby's toes? Here 
they are ! Here they are ! " " Where are 
baby's eyes? " and so on. 

This is so universal a custom that it 
would be stupid to take time to speak of it, 
were it not for the far-reaching effect pro- 
duced by the right kind of help or the lack 
of help. As already stated, these first move- 
ments of the face and body seemingly mean 
nothing to the child. They are probably the 
mere physical reaction of the motor nerves 
to the sensory nerves. But they are the first 
utterance of the child. They, the body and 
the voice, are to be the tools, so to speak, 
which will enable him to develop his moral, 
his intellectual and his spiritual life. For 
.without expression, impression ceases to 

98 Unseen Side of Child Life 

grow. Stop a moment and think what it is 
that most helps man to express his sym- 
pathy for a grief-stricken fellow-man, or to 
encourage real effort by showing true ap- 
preciation of it. Is it not the power to say 
just the right thing at the right time? 
What is it that best strengthens man's char- 
acter? Is it not the resolute will formu- 
lated in concise words that prompts the 
courageous deed or checks the unrighteous 
one? What is it that makes clear and defi- 
nite the thought? Is it not the power to 
express the thought in clear and definite 

While the child is not yet able to commu- 
nicate by means of language, the mother 
may in her play with him, when giving him 
many experiences in touching things, in 
hearing new sounds, in seeing new objects, 
etc., use simple, distinctly pronounced 
words that will help the mental image he 
is forming. There are many pleasant little 
games, familiar to mothers, in which all 
babies delight, because they help to distin- 
guish parts of their bodies or objects about 
them, and at the same time, they aid them 
in their effort to enter this new world of 

The Invisible Bridge 99 

As soon as the baby can creep about, he 
begins his voyages of discovery. He finds 
new objects and brings them to his mother 
and puts them in her lap and looking up 
with an eloquence far beyond words, 
dumbly asks her to help him by giving him 
some word or words that will aid him in 
this difficult task of learning to use human 
speech. As stated above, the mother should 
distinctly name the object and later on, add 
some descriptive adjective, such as smooth 
table, red apple, etc. When she under- 
stands and responds to these questionings 
of her child, how he loves to bring each new 
discovery to her, although she may be as 
unconscious as the child of the fact that she 
is helping him to master the material world 
in order that he may live more freely the 
life of the spirit in the immaterial world of 

One of the dangers of gossiping in the 
presence of children is that they listen 
eagerly to the language of grown-ups with 
whom th^ are associated because their 
young souls are hungering to master human 
speech. But while they are attempting to 
get new words and their meaning by thus 
listening, they are having petty views of 

100 Unseen Side of Child Life 

life and critical attitudes towards neighbors 
implanted in their hearts when they should 
have given to them instead a love for all 
mankind and an appreciation of every good 
quality that they can understand, in order 
that they may begin through seeing good- 
ness in others, to have faith in the Infinite 
Goodness of God. " If you love not your 
brother whom you have seen how can you 
love God whom you have not seen?" 

There is nothing more beautiful in child- 
life than its loving trustfulness, as a rule, 
In all human beings whom it meets, and 
there is nothing which so helps the child in 
free, spontaneous conversation as this feel- 
ing that everyone he meets is his friend. 
And nothing hinders more this beautiful 
sincerity in communicating one's thoughts 
and desires than suspicion created by ill* 
natured gossip. Sometimes a child instinc- 
tively discriminates between sincere and 
insincere people and withdraws from those 
who are cold or evil-hearted. But this 
instinct, which seems almost a guardian 
angel, may be terribly injured or even 
destroyed by the child's hearing those who 
are his guides belittle people whom they 
receive with seeming cordiality. 

Tlie Invisible Bridge 101 

It is equally helpful in the training of the 
spiritual life of the child to use definite lan- 
guage as to the moral quality of this or that 
line of conduct. Rather than say : " Be 
good," or " Be a nice boy while Mamma is 
away," say instead : " Don't tease little 
sister while Mamma is away," or " Be a 
good boy and do what nurse says," or 
" Don't play in water in the bathroom till 
Mamma gets home," or name whatever 
destructive tendency might tempt the little 
fellow during your absence. Or, better still, 
say : " Help take care of little sister," 
" Try to help nurse keep little sister from 
crying," or " Play with your blocks, ball 
and wagon, and when Mama comes home, 
then we shall have another play with the 
water in the bathroom." This makes defi- 
nite the " do " rather than the " don't " side 
of life. 

It is vitally important that one should be 
truthful with children. For them to learn 
that one can say one thing and mean 
another is a marring of that sincerity of 
character which is essential to true reli- 
gion. One of the saddest illustrations of 
many so-called Christians is the habit of 
evading the disagreeable by vague terms. 

102 Unseen Side of Child Life 

They lack the courage to tell the truth, or 
to lie deliberately and be conscious of the 

I am speaking of the training of the child 
in intelligent speech now, not of the ethics 
of lying. The opportunity to help the child 
to understand and use aright this great 
medium of communication with his fellow- 
men comes also when he looks at pictures — 
simple pictures, such as animal or child- 
activity, pictures of home life or other 
nearby adult activities. Strong but not 
crude coloring, adds to the attractiveness of 
the picture. At first, pointing to the object, 
animal or human being, and calling it by 
name is sufficient. I know of one child to 
whom a dozen pictures of the animals in 
Lincoln Park Zoo had been given. He 
played with these pictures until he was 
familiar with them, and when he was four- 
teen months old his mother and grand- 
mother took him to the Park, and of course 
he was taken to the Zoo to see if he would 
recognize any of the animals. Much to the 
astonishment of his elders, he not only 
pointed out this or that animal, but called 
each by its proper name, not making a 
single mistake. As yet he could not articu- 

The Invisible Bridge 103 

late a sentence, but with delight he would 
point to the animals, saying : " elfant," 
" deer," etc. At the same time, he watched 
keenly the movements of these animals and 
later at home he tried to imitate them. 

Too many picture books, however, tend to 
confuse rather than help the child. A few 
well-selected ones are better; and where 
some activity is represented, the picture is 
more interesting to him than merely the 
man, cat or dog standing still. 

I had at one time as a neighbor a dear 
little lad a year and a half old. He had 
never attempted any articulate speech. I 
soon began showing him pictures as well 
as objects, pronouncing the names dis- 
tinctly. He was especially attracted by a 
picture of a little girl seated on a stool 
beside her baby brother's crib. The baby 
was apparently asleep. At the other end 
of the picture was a large dog that had just 
bounded into the room. The little girl was 
holding up her hand in warning to the dog. 
My young friend had a baby brother only 
a few weeks old, which I presume was the 
attraction, as the picture was in black and 
white and in itself not particularly well 
drawn. I began, of course, pointing to the 

104 Unseen Side of Child Life 

objects in the picture saying " girl," then 
" dog," then " baby." Soon I began with 
" baby asleep," dog says " bow wow," little 
girl says " Hus-s-sh." In a few days the 
little fellow could say these three simple 
words, especially enjoying the " hus-s-sh," 
which I had dramatically uttered. 

Over and over again he wanted this 
simple, one-act drama. I thus began intro- 
ducing him into the great world of lan- 
guage and of dramatic expression. About 
a month later he came into my home. I 
was busy and told him I could not play with 
him just then. He went to the table where 
the picture books were kept in an adjoin- 
ing room, selected the book which contained 
the above mentioned picture, took it over to 
his small table by the window, drew up his 
chair and settled himself with an air of 
anticipated pleasure. He opened the book, 
looked for a minute or two at this or that 
picture, then turned to the picture of the 
baby, the dog and the girl. He sat studying 
it for several moments. Then he said 
" Bow wow " quite gruffly. Then he 
raised his hand warningly and whispered: 
" Hus-s-sh." His back was to the door and 
he was entirely unconscious of the fact that 

The Invisible Bridge 105 

I had to come into the room. He repeated 
the scene several times with evident delight. 
After that, you may be sure we talked over 
other new pictures and dramatized them. 

I have given this instance in detail partly 
because the child had been made painfully 
self-conscious in his own home by hearing 
himself discussed by his elders, — an inju- 
rious habit of many adults. This little 
scene shows that he had forgotten himself 
and had entered a new world where dogs 
and girls and babies lived and acted. I 
cannot emphasize too much the injury done 
to children by their elders who discuss in 
their presence their good and bad traits. 
It checks the child eagerly reaching out for 
the larger life of the world and throws him 
helplessly back into his own limited world. 

I wanted also in the above sketch to show 
how simple little stories can easily grow 
from showing a picture to a child not yet 
sufficiently developed to follow a language 
story; and how the great world of story- 
land may thus be opened to him and bring 
a hundred experiences which the narrow 
life of the senses cannot give but which 
that richer world of the imagination fur- 
nishes, adding wealth to the fast-growing 

106 Unseen Side of Child Life 

vocabulary of speech, which will help him 
later to understand the plans and desires 
of his fellow-men and will interpret to him 
religious imagery. 

But let me return to the early nursery 
stages of the great world of human lan- 
guage. If the little child is encouraged to 
pick out two or more objects for his mother 
to touch, to look at or otherwise " to sense " 
as a part of the game, the more interested 
will he become in this unconscious language 

We could not, if we wanted to, stop this 
inner life of the child in mere sensing of 
the outer world, but we can help or retard 
it. He is ever striving to master it, to 
transform it, to make it over into an expres- 
sion of himself, of his inner world of emo- 
tions which rouse action and awaken rea- 
soning power for good or bad. So infinitely 
small at first are these efforts, that we are 
prone to reject the idea of their importance. 
But do we not see that he is unwilling to 
remain in a world of mere sensation? He 
begins to bite his rubber ring, to thrust his 
finger through it, even to try to put his toe 
through it. He drops it on the floor; you 
pick it up and he throws it again to the floor 

The Invisible Bridge 107 

and in a score of baby ways tests it and in 
a score of baby ways tries to master it, even 
without speech. 

If we remember from the Christian point 
of view that these efforts are the " image of 
God " within the child, reaching out to get, 
in some way, more of the great God's uni- 
verse we will rejoice in his ceaseless activity. 
It has already been shown that the senses 
assisted by language, are to be part of the 
training of the inner life of the child. The 
process is simple. It is through the making 
of mental images of sense-perceived objects, 
through the recalling of these images at 
will, through transforming them by means 
of the imagination into a language that 
speaks to the spirit that this training comes. 
The greatest help that language can give is 
thus gained by the power to use mental 
images for the expressions of love, of sym- 
pathy, of desire to help, of the ideals that 
urge us upward and forward. 

So many thoughtless people speak of 
children being destructive at this age. Just 
the contrary is true. Here comes another 
difference between the child and a young 
animal. Children are striving to trans- 
form, to create, to construct with the mate- 

108 Unseen Side of Child Life 

rials about them, and yet clear sensations 
must come first, else the child will construct 
confusedly. What animal does this? Lan- 
guage, definite language, clearly pro- 
nounced, as has already been stated, is of 
the greatest help in aiding the bewildered 
little being sooner to come into communion 
with intelligence beyond his own. 

Let us remember that it is compari- 
son rather than sensation that helps the 
child to go forward in his mastery of lan- 

In speaking of this first stage in which 
the soul or inner-self is not yet conscious of 
itself and does not separate itself from the 
impressions made upon it, Froebel in his 
" Education of Man " urges, " It is highly 
important for man's present and later life 
that he absorb nothing morbid, low, mean; 
nothing ambiguous, nothing bad." He goes 
on to say that quiet voices and pure counte- 
nances are necessary not merely for the 
physical welfare of the infant but also in 
order that only the purer, better emotions 
of the inner-self may be awakened. This 
is but another example of the truth that out 
of the emotional activity of the child grows 
his voluntary will-activity. What a child is 

The Invisible Bridge 109 

interested in, lie willingly does. It is not 
what he is coerced into doing that tells most 
either in character-building or in vigor of 
mental acquisition. I do not mean by this 
that children should never be compelled to 
obey authority, but I do mean that freedom 
and self-control grow best from voluntary 
obedience. Coercion is the surgeon's knife 
that must sometimes be used. Eight obedi- 
ence to authority is the salvation of every 

But the wise understanding of how to 
awaken the better emotions and how to give 
the needed impressions while the young 
mind is in this absorbing, unresisting stage 
is highly important. It secures for the 
young child a quiet, serene and as undis- 
turbed infancy as possible, with proper sur- 
roundings, obtained often at the mother's 
sacrifice of travel, society and other recrea- 
tion. It also holds good as the child grows 
older. I was reading the other day an 
article written by a famous musician, in 
which he urges that the educating of the 
young child's ear should begin long before 
the training of his fingers. He argues that 
a large amount of the needless indifference 
to good music, even hatred of it, is caused 

110 Unseen Side of Child Life 

by putting the child to the practice of the 
technical side of it before a love for it has 
been awakened. This is recognized in our 
best schools but not always in our homes. 
It is but one illustration of the mistakes of 
well-meaning mothers and the w^orse than 
wasted hours of childhood that come from 
the lack of understanding of this first state- 
ment of psychology — that out of the 
unconscious depths of the child's being 
come forth the emotions, impulses and per- 
ceptions, good or bad, which are awakened 
by his surroundings or, psychologically 
speaking, by the external stimuli. Is it not 
worth while then for any earnest mother 
to know how to supply the right kind of 
stimulation for the awakening of the right 

This study of the needs of the inner life 
of the child is not so difficult as it may seem 
to be to many young mothers. Sunshine, 
fresh air, wholesome activities, not too 
much, not too little, and affectionate treat- 
ment are the first requisites after the first 
few weeks of quiet sleep. When we come 
to the art world of the child, we explain also 
the need of creative activity. Just now we 
are considering neither health nor manual 

The Invisible Bridge 111 

activity but the development of power to 
communicate by language. 

One of the reasons why Mother Goose 
rhymes are so popular in the nursery is that 
most of the words are short Saxon words, 
easily pronounced. I had, at one time, 
daily contact with a little boy about two 
years old who, so far as his mother had 
observed, had made no effort at articulate 
speech. I amused him quite frequently by 
showing him highly colored pictures in the 
" Mother Goose Rhyme Book," reciting a 
line or two of the rhyme as I pointed to the 
picture. After two or three experiments of 
this sort, he caught the easily pronounced 
sounds of " Bo Peep." You will notice that 
the consonants here are lip sounds and the 
vowels are two of the easiest, " o " and " e." 
After the book was closed and we had 
turned to something else, he continued to 
say " Bo Peep." The next time we took up 
the picture book he instantly said " Bo 
Peep " and when I turned to the picture 
an expression of intelligent pleasure came 
on his face. I recited the verse and he tried 
to follow me. He succeeded so far as to say 
" LiP Bo Peep." For days, that was the 
first picture for which he asked and he 

112 Unseen Side of Child Life 

seemed proud to be able to designate by 
words one of the pictures. As he had never 
seen a sheep, had never seen a woman cos- 
tumed as a shepherdess, I could not help 
feeling that it was the smooth, easy-sound- 
ing words which caught his attention and 
made him conscious of the fact that words 
had meaning. Afterwards we had frequent 
recourse to the simpler " Mother Goose 

In the early education of the child the 
Mother Goose words and rhyming lines, and 
oftentimes its excellent pictures, are help- 
ful in aiding the child to master speech, 
until such time when the true poet will give 
us a more normal and childlike content 
with equally good lilt and rhythm. 

Another great value of leading the child 
as early as possible into simple and correct 
speech is that it enables one to teach the 
reasonableness of obedience to rational 
rules, such as ought to govern all nursery 
life. Of course, I do not mean abstract laws 
but the necessary requirements of baby life. 
I know a dear little three-year-old who, 
when offered anything to eat either shakes 
his head and says, " That's not good for 
liT boys," or asks, " Is that good for li'l' 

The Invisihle Bridge ■ 113 

boys? " It is needless to say how this 
splendid control of appetite came about or 
how fortunate the little fellow is to have 
a mother such as his. The kindergarten 
does much in training the child to under- 
stand this inhibition that is often necessary 
by being clear and explicit in her own use 
of words. Conversation should be an 
important feature of school life and should 
not only be allowed but encouraged, with 
always the accompanying courtesy or tol- 
erance which permits each child an oppor- 
tunity to express his opinion or relate his 
experience and the rest to listen while he 
does so. 

How many an angry religious contro- 
versy could have been tempered with mild- 
ness if the disputants' early training had 
been such as to establish a habit of toler- 
ance! Encouraging the child in courteous, 
intelligent conversation is only one of the 
many advantages of letting a little child 
associate with children of his own age. 
This should be done under the supervision 
of adults who believe that right habits, con- 
sciously formed, help to make the entrance 
into a life of self-control over appetite and 
passions. The consciousness of one's own 

114 Unseen Side of Child Life 

invisible power that self-control brings 
comes later and leads more readily into a 
faith in the great, unseen power that reli- 
gion demands. 

A little child instinctively understands 
the tone of voice and knows when he may 
not heed and when he must obey. I was 
amused by an instance of this sort not long 
ago. A young father in my neighborhood 
was starting off one morning to his business 
when his active little two-year-old son ran 
after him. He let the little fellow follow 
him about fifteen or twenty feet, then he 
turned and said : " Go back, Ned." But 
he said it in a laughing tone of voice, as he 
was evidently much amused by Ned's deter- 
mination to go with him to the city. He 
walked on and the child continued to 
follow. Again he turned and said : " Go 
back, Ned," and again walked on, and the 
child continued to follow. This was re- 
peated once or twice more before he reached 
the corner where a traffic street had to be 
crossed. The father then turned and said 
very seriously : " Ned, go home." Ned 
looked disappointed, but he instantly 
turned and walked slowly back to his home. 

I happened at another time to have close 

The Invisible Bridge 115 

and intimate contact with three very lov- 
able little children in whose home there 
seemed to be no law, no order, no system of 
any kind. When these children first began 
coming into my home, the mother, a sweet, 
lovable woman, told me I would have to 
watch them, that they destroyed everything 
they laid their hands on. The first time the 
little boy, less than two years of age, pulled 
down from the table one of my books, I 
went to him, gently and pleasantly taking 
the book from his hand and said : " No, 
Charlie, my book," and at the same time I 
handed him a ball and said : " Charlie's 
ball." Then again, pointing to the book, I 
repeated : " My book." He understood and 
we began a little play with the ball. The 
next day the temptation came again for the 
book and the little hand reached out for it. 
I repeated again quite firmly : " No, no, my 
book," and took his hand away from the 
book, calling his attention immediately to 
some object with which he was allowed to 
play. Within a week I was able to trust 
the child where books were on the open 
shelves, lying on the library table and some- 
times on the window sills, and he made not 
the slightest effort to disturb any of them. 

116 Unseen Side of Child Life 

After playing heartily and freely with my 
toys, these children learned to pick up the 
playthings and put them away or when I 
told them it was time to go home, or, occa- 
sionally, when a guest came in and they 
knew that would end our play together, 
they would gather up the playthings and 
quietly leave. 

In his book " What Can Literature Do 
for Me," Dr. Alphonso Smith tells us of 
Lincoln's effort even when a boy to make 
every new idea that came to him first clear 
to himself and then he could not rest satis- 
fied until he had put it into language plain 
enough for any boy to understand. Dr. 
Smith adds that it was this acquired habit 
of Lincoln which made him a leader among 
men, because he was able to say in his 
letters and speeches what other men were 
beginning to feel but could not express. In 
his immortal address at Gettysburg, last- 
ing less than five minutes, in which he dedi- 
cated the field of the dead soldiers, he enno- 
bled the emotions and comforted the hearts 
of tens of thousands of sorrowing fathers 
and mothers and wives by a few simple, 
tender words. This speech alone would 

The Invisible Bridge 117 

have made liim immortal if he had done 
naught else in the winning of the war. So 
great is the power of the mastery of lan- 
guage when a truly noble soul speaks in an 
exalted moment. Dr. Smith has so admir- 
ably worded this thought in the inspiring 
book referred to above that I take the lib- 
erty to quote him more fully : " When lit- 
erature holds before us the vision of the 
ideal, it points us to the future; when it 
gives us a more sympathetic insight into 
men and women with whom our lot is cast, 
it points us to the present ; when it restores 
to us the men and events long since van- 
ished, it points us to the past. It has three 
tenses because human nature has three 
tenses, each tense is an outlet. 

" No power of the poet gives me a greater 
feeling of awe than that by which he says 
to oblivion : * Hitherto shalt thou come but 
no further and here shall thy proud waves 
be stayed.' The enemies that man has 
fought most persistently from the begin- 
ning are death and oblivion. He fights 
death with science; he fights oblivion most 
successfully with literature. The historian 
may galvanize the past but the poet vital- 
izes it. The great deeds of the heroic dead 

118 Unseen Side of Child Life 

are preserved in annals and chronicles, but 
they live in song and story. Enshrine his- 
tory in literature and you give it both cur- 
rency and permanency. We often speak of 
' the irrevocable past ' but to literature 
there is no irrevocable past. Literature 
cannot only recall the past, but can make 
of it an ever-living present." 

It is only when we understand the 
important part which language plays in 
the development of the higher relationships 
of life that we can understand what is 
meant by the words, " Man is made in the 
image of God." Does not that great revela- 
tion mean that we have this power of enter- 
ing one into the life of another, of helping 
to develop the nobler impulses, to encourage 
the weak faith, to define the ofttimes con- 
tused conception of what is duty to man 
and what is worship of God? 



Antiquarians in their discoveries of 
towns and cities, so ancient that we know 
not of their origin, tell us that they come 
upon children's toys, such as dolls, toy ani- 
mals, etc., that must have been used by chil- 
dren in those ancient times. Again, there 
is recorded in the tombs of Egypt and on 
the vases of early Greece, pictures of chil- 
dren playing and dancing. I know of no 
records concerning the habits of the early 
races of mankind that do not speak of the 
child-like play of the adult in their day. 
Old Homer gives us a charming picture of 
Nausicaa and her maidens playing ball 
after a hard day of labor. Plato in his 
" Republic " realizes the educational value 
of play to the extent that he urges public 
playgrounds for the children and free 
instructors to be with them, in order that 
they might learn — by being active and at 
the same time obedient to the laws of the 
game — that obedience is an essential 


120 Unseen Side of Child Life 

The twelfth- and thirteenth-century 
painters, picturing Paradise, represented 
angel children as at play, sometimes tossing 
flowers, sometimes flying about, sometimes 
singing with all their hearts, sometimes per- 
forming on musical instruments and some- 
times just simply playing. Luther took the 
Christmas festival out of the church and 
put it into the home with the Christmas tree 
and the Christmas plays and games. Tur- 
ner, the English painter, in his great pic- 
ture, " The Fall of Carthage," has some 
innocent-looking and happy little children 
in the foreground playing at ship-building 
and rope-making in imitation of their 
elders, who were vainly striving to save the 
city. Jean Paul Richter and many of the 
poets and thinkers have exalted play as a 
beautiful and significant expression of 
child-life. In fact, it would be hard to con- 
ceive of child-life, when not tyrannized over, 
as existing without some form of play. The 
mere fact that child-play has been univer- 
sally recognized shows it to be a natural 
and normal activity of the young human 
being. Genetic psychology shows that the 
play of animals seems to be a rudimentary 

Tlie Child's Art World 121 

preparation for the higher use of the 

I had an acquaintance who was a teacher 
in interpretative and fancy dancing and 
who spent most of her time when at the 
World's Fair in Chicago, watching the 
trained animal show. She said she learned 
more from the graceful coordination of the 
muscles of the lions, leopards and foxes 
than all of her previous training had given 

The ethical benefit as well as the physical 
value of the right kind of play has been 
recognized by educators who are thinkers. 

The great period of intellectual activity 
which brought forth Fichte, Shelling, 
Hegel, Beethoven, Hannaman, and Sweden- 
borg also brought forth the great poet 
Schiller, who seems to have summed up the 
insight of that era in his famous, but to 
many people mystical saying, " Deep mean- 
ing often lies in childish play." But it 
remained for Frederick Froebel to organize 
definitely and to utilize play as the chief 
element in educating and developing char- 
acter during the earliest periods of child- 
life as well as to show it as a " spiritual 
activity "' in this period of the child's devel- 

122 Unseen Side of Child Life 

opment. Froebel's persistent and insistent 
demand for play as a part of education lias 
developed a play period in elementary 
grades and children's playgrounds in our 
large parks. In fact, the first regular play- 
ground ever established was in the Tier- 
garten in Berlin, through the influence of 
the English wife of Emperor Frederick. 
She was an ardent advocate of the kinder- 
garten, and a real lover of little children. 
" Parental environment " is a term coined 
by recent writers to define the subtle, uncon- 
scious influence in the home which arises 
from a parents' psychological view of a 
child's needs, and is not to be confused with 
the ideas of material environment which all 
well-meaning parents strive to provide for 
their children. In other words, this new 
term refers to the father's and mother's gen- 
eral attitude of love and solicitude for, or 
of indifference to and neglect of, the needs 
of a child's inner life. This kind of a psy- 
chological environment can only be sup- 
plied by intelligent parents, especially while 
the young child is in the plastic stage of 
infancy and early childhood. All orphan 
asylums, no matter how well conducted, 
show the lack of this parental environment. 

The Child's Art World 123 

It cannot be given to children en masse. 

Nowhere is this intangible but ever- 
present influence more to be reckoned with 
than in the mother's attitude toward her 
child's play. If she looks upon her child as 
a creature living solely in a world of sense- 
impressions, she will inevitably lead him 
into the kind of play in which exercises for 
the body and senses predominate. If she 
regards him as an Ego or spirit of which 
his body is the chief instrument or tool, she 
will just as inevitably encourage him in the 
kind of play in which self-e.rpression is 
emphasized. Even in the earliest nursery 
plays this distinction begins. I have seen 
fathers tease infants until the fighting 
instinct brought every muscle into play. 

For our present purpose it is sufficient 
for us to observe the three forms of play 
that are most easily understood. 

The first is right exercise of the body, 
such as jumping, hopping, running, skip- 
ping and various other seemingly aimless 
activities; but these are not without pur- 
pose, for they are in reality helping the 
child to master his muscles. This form of 
play has been described in a preceding 
chapter in this book. 

124 Unseen Side of Child Life 

In the scliools this kind of play at the 
present time takes the form of dancing or 
rhythmic gymnastic exercises, which a 
witty friend of mine has called " sterilized 
dancing." In the home life, little songs are 
used in which the child keeps time, chant- 
ing an easily rhymed poem committed to 
memory; and in the present-day use of vic- 
trolas, children can learn much that is 
valuable by the use of a few simple melo- 
dies for dance steps that awaken only 
happy emotions. I once heard Miss 
Frances Willard laughingly tell that she 
learned to dance by her mother clapping 
time as she sang a hymn tune while she and 
her sister kept step to the clapping. In 
that day, dancing was strictly prohibited 
in the Methodist Church but the wise 
mother saw to it that little Frances and 
her sister should have graceful and rhyth- 
mic iise of their bodies. 

The second form of ^lay includes the 
beginning of the child's mastery of the 
material world about him. He is trying to 
understand the secrets of materials and to 
discover and create new forms. For exam- 
ple, he tries to find the possibilities of his 
ball: he rolls and tosses and throws and 

The Child's Art World 125 

bounces it. In a like manner he tests other 
objects about him. Later the kindergarten 
provides the opportunity for his full and 
free expression in the use of many kinds of 
materials and aids him in creative self-ex- 
pression through them. 

The third form of play, which is dramatic 
play, may be expressed in the words of 
Schiller already quoted, viz., " Deep mean- 
ing often lies in childish play." This 
thought is the main basis of Froebel's 
system of the play-school. It is the child's 
ejfort to understand the activities of life 
about him, and in a childish way to feel the 
emotions which cause these activities. 

" Play is the highest point of human 
development in the child-stage, for it is the 
tree expression of the child's inner being. 
Play is at once the purest and most spir- 
itual product of the human being at this 
stage. It is a type and copy of all human 
life, of the inward natural life that is in 
man and in all things; and it brings forth 
joy, freedom, contentment, rest within and 
without and peace with the world." 

Because play with the materials of the 
world about him helps the child to express 
his inner freedom and contentment, and 

126 Unseen Side of Child Life 

because in dramatic play he reproduces the 
activities of animal and human life which 
add to the joy of the child as quoted above, 
we call play the art world of the child. 
Because all true art is the result of the 
human soul's adequate expression of its 
emotions in some form which will awaken 
corresponding emotions in others. 


Having already dwelt at length on the 
mere play of the body, let us consider more 
fully the child's " creative play," keeping in 
mind the most important message that the 
founder of the Christian religion brought to 
mankind, namely, that God is our Father 
and we are His children. All the rest of 
true religion is included in this. We believe 
that the child has an immortal life of the 
Spirit, which, if trained aright, not only 
sweetens and makes helpful and harmoni- 
ous this life here on earth but prepares him, 
on entering the next stage of existence, to 
begin it in a form of life nearer the Divine 
purpose. If we have this genuine Christian 
religion we will rejoice to help forward the 
lovable and more Christ-like characteristics 
of every child. A profound thinker has 

The Child's Art World 127 

said, '' It takes the recognition of all that is 
test in all humanity to give us some faint 
comprehension of the nature of the great 
Eternal Creator of the Universe whom 
Jesus taught us to call ' Our Father/ " We 
are taught that God created the Universe 
and created man, giving him a creative 
power far beyond that of any animal. Dogs 
and horses and some other animals can be 
trained into a few tricks and even show 
some intelligent understanding of the com- 
mands of their masters. But no dog or 
horse ever built a fire, no animal has ever 
invented a machine, built a ship, or discov- 
ered the law of aviation. No animal has 
ever erected a temple, carved a statue, 
painted a picture, written a poem or com- 
posed a symphony. No animal has ever 
worked the miracles that synthetic chem- 
istry is now creating. No animal has ever 
developed any of the great sciences, such as 
geology, medicine, surgery and the like. 
Therefore we have the right to say that man 
is the created being who has been given cre- 
ative power. Stop and think on the far 
sweep of thought into which this takes us. 
The Christian religion claims that we are 
children of God — surely not in form, with 

128 Unseen Side of Child Life 

legs, arms, torso, etc. Is it not because of 
the power to transform and make over the 
world about us, to level mountains and 
build up valleys, to turn the course of 
rivers and unite ocean with ocean and to 
perform other and mightier deeds, trans- 
forming and transcending our limitations of 
temperament and character, that we are 
called " children of God "? 

The more we dwell upon the achievement 
of man's creative power the easier it is to 
think of him as partaking of the nature of 
the Infinite Creator, and in reality being 
a child of God. There are greater reasons 
than this which will be given later. With 
this marvelous thought of man's power to 
create let us turn to the nursery and to 
what we may call its " creative play." 

Was it not Aristotle who first made use 
of the term " Time arts and space arts," the 
former including music, poetry and danc- 
ing, or the rhythmical motion of the body, 
the latter including architecture, sculpture 
and painting? Each of these arts has its 
place in the development of the human race, 
through the appeal which beauty makes to 
the soul, and each of them serves to enrich 
and to ennoble the child's life and may be 

The Child's Art World 129 

given in such a way that the child learns 
gradually to love them more and more. 

A taste for each of these arts may begin 
in the nursery and can there be fostered and 
developed to a much larger extent than the 
average mother realizes. The little one's 
building blocks may be well proportioned, 
his rag doll may be pretty instead of ugly ; 
materials which he may take apart and put 
together in some new way are far more 
stimulating than ready-made mechanical 
toys. His picture books may have to be few 
in number but the pictures may be well 
drawn and may be bright in color but not 
gaudy. If carefully handled with freshly 
washed hands, and respectfully used they 
last a long time. As for poetry and danc- 
ing, all little children love rhythmic sound 
and easily respond to melody. The right 
kind of education includes not only the head 
to think or the hand to work and the heart 
to love, but it also includes the careful, 
thoughtful and abundant training of each 
child into a love of beauty, in order that the 
richer realm of imagination may be his as 
well as the realm of fact and of thought. 

Through sense-impressions are awakened 
the emotion, desire or understanding which 

130 Unseen Side of Child Life 

the child wishes to express. Oftentimes 
this awakened effort at expression is so 
crude or inadequate that only the most sym- 
pathetic soul can recognize it. I was pres- 
ent one Christmas day when a little two- 
year-old, who had been much impressed by 
the excitement of the giving of Christmas 
gifts at breakfast time, after a couple of 
hours of refreshing sleep began to re-enact 
the scene as she understood it. She tore off 
a piece of the newspaper that lay in her 
mother's lap and crumpled it into a small 
wad; going solemnly up to her father she 
handed him the bit of crumpled paper and 
said " Dat's pencil for oo ! " Then repeat- 
ing the crumpling up of another scrap of 
paper she presented it to her mother as a 
box of candy. Again another piece of paper 
became a doll, and still another a handker- 
chief, and so on, until each person in the 
room had received some object which the 
child had been given in the morning. For- 
tunately the family were all sympathetic 
and thanked her duly for her gifts. She was 
in the world of imagination and as she was 
too immature to understand the real signifi- 
cance of the morning's activities, she was 
trying to express the impression it had 

The ChilcVs Art ^Yorld 131 

made on her and thereby to get a better 
idea of it. It was not the object given but 
the joy of the giving that had impressed her. 
Not consciously but instinctively she was 
striving to enlarge her life so as to take in 
what had so pleased the rest of the family, 
and either ridicule or indifference would 
have pained her and would have seriously 
retarded her efforts at self-expression of the 
emotion that had stirred her. 

This is an illustration of the early stage 
of what for the lack of a better term I have 
called " creative play." By the word " cre- 
ative " I mean the putting of an emotion, 
desire or impression, enriched by the child's 
imagination, into some form that may be 
recognized by the senses, using as the means 
of expression any object or material near 
at hand that the child can change or trans- 
form. With the aid of sand, mud, clay, 
water, blocks of wood, sticks, rings, paper, 
chalk pencil, a tube of paste and scissors 
or other simple tools to help, this may be 
accomplished. All these and any addition 
of nature materials, such as stones on the 
sea shore, new mown hay, autumn's dead 
leaves, in fact almost any transformable 
material, may become a treasure to a child's 

132 Unseen Side of Child Life 

young eyes. Often they are things that are 
trash to our eyes because we have allowed 
our hearts to grow old and our eyes to 
become dim as to the needs of little children. 

The thought I wish to emphasize is that 
a child should have materials about him 
which he may easily re-arrange or transform 
into some new form with which his imagina- 
tion for the time being may be busy. One 
point of resemblance is oftentimes sufficient. 

A few boards on the crooked branches of 
a tree may become a robber's hiding place 
or a king's throne according as the child's 
imagination has been fed. I have seen a 
newspaper cap transform a child's every- 
day clothing into a military uniform, some 
easily molded clay furnish all that was 
needed for an entire banquet, three chairs 
in a row become a train starting for New 
York, and so on. 

" Science has given us a new universe not 
more marvelous in its vastness than in its 
unity. For the spectroscope has shown that 
everywhere through immeasurable space the 
same chemical properties and laws obtain. 
The telescope has revealed with what math- 
ematical precision the orbits of the heavens 
are traced and how unwaveringly here and 

The Child's 'Art World 133 

among the stars gravitation maintains its 
hold. Man never had so immense and yet 
so varied a world before. Polytheism once 
was possible, but science has banished it 
forever." * 

May not this advance toward unity — 
notwithstanding the immensity of variety 
which science reveals — lead to a more 
thorough understanding of the value of pre- 
senting a project to a child, or accepting 
his project and helping him to work out 
a plan which shall definitely lead him to 
discover the possibilities and the limitations 
of material and thereby learn the laws of 
construction? This will quicken his cre- 
ative ability and energize his pov/er to exe- 
cute a plan, until a universe with self-evi- 
dent laws in all its manifestations — and 
yet without a Law-Maker — will be banished 

The League of Cook County, — including 
Chicago Women's Clubs, — in their research 
work concerning the beginnings of educa- 
tion, report among other things that they 
have been surprised and pleased by the 
readiness with which young children learn 

* Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick in " Tlie Meaning of 

134 Unseen Side of CJiild Life 

the laws of construction and apply tliem in 
constructive activities in ways tliat have 
heretofore been considered far beyond the 
concepts of the child-mind. This is an ad- 
vanced step in both nursery and elementary 
school education — long ago realized by 
kindergartners, but now being reaffirmed by 
non-professional research workers. Tliis is 
from the side of man as a creative being 
whose possibilities are only beginning to be 

Now let us turn to the hopeful aspect of 
the other end of the proposition. 

The recent appointment of Professor 
Maurice De Wulf to the newly created chair 
of scholastic philosophy at Harvard indi- 
cates that a new era in the annals of great 
universities of America has begun. Let us 
hope that other great universities will fol- 
low Harvard's example. For scholastic 
philosophy teaches that at the center of the 
universe is one great creative power desig- 
nated as " God the Father." This does not 
demand that we accept all of St. Thomas 
Aquinas' theology. 

Of course, much fun has been made of 
some of the old monks arguing as to how 
many angels — immaterial beings — could 

The Child- s Art World 135 

dance on the point of a needle — a limited 
bit of space in the material world, etc., etc. 
My point is that Harvard, which was the 
first university in America to demand that 
science be given a place in university courses 
of study equal to the place given to the 
classics — even while science was asserting 
that the conflict of material " forces " caused 
the creation of the universe, and such books 
as Draper's " Conflict between Science and 
Religion " were pronouncing the Christian 
Religion a mere traditional superstition — 
that this great University is now placing 
side by side the marvels of scientific research 
and the historic and theological bases of 
Christian faith. 

It was, I think, with this thought in mind 
that Frederick Froebel invented his "Gifts." 
He realized that clear-cut sensations were 
the starting point by means of which the 
mind of man begins to climb toward univer- 
sal thought, and that mathematics has to do 
with each material object, and yet the 
science of mathematics is in itself universal, 
immaterial and tremendously creative when 
once mastered. He therefore suggested put- 
ting among the child's playthings objects 
which helped the child to see that rounded 

136 Unseen Side of Child Life 

objects move readily and rectilinear objects 
remain stationary. Also to learn the differ- 
ence between horizontal, vertical and slant- 
ing surfaces, positions of surfaces and 
straight and curved lines. So convinced 
was he of the value of these and similar 
mathematical concepts that he called his 
"Fourth Gift" "The Doorway to Archi- 
tecture " because by building with these ob- 
long blocks the child learned to notice the 
relative value of the blocks placed in a per- 
pendicular and in horizontal positions and 
thus began to feel dimly the right propor- 
tion between the uplifting and dov,m-bearing 
principles that underlie all beautiful archi- 
tecture. His one thought in all his work 
was to bring the soul of man nearer and 
nearer to feel the unity of all creation with 
God as its Creator. This is why he placed 
religion as the first and most important sub- 
ject in his plan of education.* 

Undoubtedly Froebel was too abstract 
and too technical in his demands and still 
more undoubtedly we, his followers, have 
almost destroyed his original thought in our 
zeal and have crowded into the two precious 
years between four and six much that was 

* See " Education of Man," paragraph 60. 

The CliikVs Art World 137 

intendent to have begun in infancy and to 
have extended to the eighth or ninth year. 
For the sake of the hand work we have in 
the past omitted, much of the wonder-w^orld 
of Nature which feeds all that is poetic in 
the child's heart and awakens his reverence 
for the unseen power which manifests itself 
in all out-of-door life. 

However, it must be kept in mind that the 
creative use of materials has an important 
place in the development of the child, and 
that the early discovery of the fundamental 
laws which govern the right use of materials 
saves time and temper, and awakens the 
mind to logical thought upon which rational 
religion is based. Mere blundering ahead 
with the wrong use of material or with pur- 
poses that are of no real value is one of the 
most materialistic forms of the reaction 
against mathematical exactness of the Froe- 
bel material. 

Toys were excluded from the early kin- 
dergartens and have been used in excess in 
some of the later kindergartens. They have 
their place in the child-world. They are the 
means of guiding his affections and thoughts 
in right directions and they lead him into an 
appreciation of the work of others in the 

138 Unseen Side of Child Life 

great world of industry and art. But they 
should be simple, strong and as artistic as 
circumstances will allow. 

Let me illustrate by an experience of my 
own how easy and simple a thing it is to 
awaken and satisfy a child's desire for new 
experience with which to enlarge his inner 
life by some creative play, even if it must 
be in the world of imagination instead of 
with actual human experience in the world 
about him. Similar experiences are com- 
mon occurrences in the life of any kinder- 
garten-trained woman. 

While on a railway journey not long ago, 
I became much interested in a young mother 
who was traveling alone with two small chil- 
dren. She looked weary, as the demands 
which the two active little creatures made 
upon her were incessant. I motioned to the 
older, a bright little fellow four years of 
age, to come over to my seat and see my 
flowers. In a short time, having discovered 
that he was accustomed to gardens, I made 
the suggestion that he should play he was 
a gardener, planting flowers in a park. 
The iron lattice work, which protected the 
steam pipe near the floor of the car, was 
selected for the park. For a time he was 

The Child's Art World 139 

greatly entertained by sticking tlie flowers, 
one at a time, in the open lattice-work, occa- 
sionally calling my attention to this or that 
arrangement of them. 

At last, tiring of this, he said, " Now that 
will do. I guess I will go back to Mama." 
I glanced across the aisle and saw that the 
baby had gone to sleep, and that the tired 
mother was just closing her eyes, so I felt 
that my services were still needed. I turned 
to the boy and said, " If you go away, I 
must get a new gardener. Will you be kind 
enough to stay and teach this new gardener 
how to take care of the garden? I am 
afraid he does not even know the names of 
the flowers." Then I tore a bit of paper in 
the shape of a man and handed it to the 
child. He was much pleased by being given 
the position of authority with his supposed 
superior knowledge that this phase of the 
play implied. He at once assumed the role 
and for ten minutes or more was happily 
engaged in instructing his successor. At 
the end of that time he began to glance 
uneasily toward his sleeping mother. I saw 
that he had exhausted his imagination along 
that line, and that it was now time to change 
the play, so taking another piece of paper, 

140 Unseen Side of Child Life 

I folded it quickly into the shape of a house 
and then placed it on the window-sill and 
said, " Here is the new gardener's house on 
the top of this hill. Do you suppose you 
could get a painter to come and paint the 
gardener's house? " I spoke as if much 
perplexed by the problem. " I'll be the 
painter," he exclaimed joyfully. This, of 
course, was what I had expected. 

The change from sitting on the floor to 
standing by the window rested him physi- 
cally and the change of thought refreshed 
him mentally. I twisted a small fragment 
of paper into a paint brush and showed him 
how to play that his nearly closed left hand 
could be the paint-pot. Later on we made 
a chair for the gardener to sit on when he 
was tired. Then we created a bed for him 
to sleep on, I making each object very slowly 
and carefully at first and then taking the 
pieces apart and showing the child how to 
make it. When the play of painter began 
to flag, we made a hoe and a rake and a 
garden house to keep them in. With very 
little trouble I kept him pleasantly and cre- 
atively occupied for nearly an hour and all 
the materials needed were a few half with- 
ered flowers and one or two advertisement 

The Child's Art World 141 

leaves from the back of a magazine. The 
look of gratitude which came to me from 
the mother when she opened her eyes more 
than repaid me for the slight effort I had 

What I was in reality doing was not 
merely entertaining the boy but helping him 
to utilize his creative power in arranging 
the flower garden and constructing the gar- 
dener's house, bed and chair and by means 
of his imagination to enter into the human 
activity of house painter. This may seem 
only a device to the average reader, but to 
the kindergartner it was helping him to 
enlarge his conception of life by thus enter- 
ing through play into the activities of other 
lives. Do not smile when I add that he was 
beginning to learn that form of philosophic 
thought which reasons that all created 
things must have a creator. 

This may seem absurd to you, but never- 
theless it is true. The child who has every- 
thing brought to him ready made can not 
develop what is called " inventive power " 
as can the child who has learned how to 
make things. 

142 Unseen Side of Child Life 


Let us now take up a form of creative 
play which is known as " dramatic play " in 
which the child's body, the expression of his 
face, the gesture of his arms, the tone of 
his voice are the chief instruments used, 
although occasionally a bit of drapery or 
other accessories will add much to his en- 
joyment of expressing to the outside world 
some of the surging, ever-active inner world. 
In dramatic play the child is striving not 
only to gain more of human life by under- 
standing more of the people about him, but 
he is also learning to recognize his own 
spiritual inner-self by putting it forth or 
uttering it in dramatic form, in order that 
he may the better understand it. This is 
the child's deepest need at this period of 
life. It is the beginning of his effort to un- 
derstand the conduct of other people, which 
is always and at all times of great value. 
The child here puts forth his effort in play 
and unconsciously feels the result of the 
play. It is his way of enlarging his life by 
adding the life of others to his personal 
experience through re-enacting the human 
activities about him. 
As has already been said, the adult ex- 

The Child's Art World 143 

presses his spiritual life in forms of art, 
either the art of the plastic world, such as 
sculpture, painting, carving, or building 
beautiful buildings, or he expresses it in 
writing, singing or in the drama. These 
are the great forms of art, but the greatest 
and most beautiful of all art expression is 
beautiful living where the gracious, serene 
and sincere self is to be seen in every word 
and deed. 

What do we mean when we say of the 
teacher that " she is an artist in her work "? 
Is it not that she puts her whole soul into 
her work and makes it so beautiful that it is 
a joy to see her with her children? Who 
is there among us who does not recognize 
that sublimest of all forms, the beautiful in 
the ideal mother's beautiful love shown in 
the wise nurturing and training of her 

Does this interpretation of the dramatic 
play of children seem mystical or far-fetched 
to you? If so, observe the children around 
you with this thought in mind and see how 
direct and child-like their play is. And yet 
it is always the child trying to be at one 
with the thing played. As a rule the more 
robust and vitally alive a child is the 

144 Unseen Side of Child Life 

more heartily he plays; that is, the more 
eagerly he tries to get hold of the life about 
him, to make it his own. Let me give you 
an illustration of one of the many hundred 
scenes of this kind with w^hich my memory 
is stored. I was on a visit to my sister once 
at Christmas time when her little boy, two 
and a half years old, was given a toy menag- 
erie, the animals of which averaged about 
two and a half inches in size. The father 
and the uncle of the boy amused themselves 
by describing to him the wildness and sav- 
agery of some of the strange new animals 
represented by the toys. As he w^as a child 
of vivid imagination he soon became 
frightened and refused to play with the 

Among the animals was a lion, the de- 
scription of whose roars and savage strength 
seemed to intimidate the little fellow more 
than any of the other animals. A few days 
later I came unseen by him into his play- 
room. He had put the toy lion behind the 
bars of the cage which came with the 
menagerie and had placed himself in a 
crouching attitude on his hands and knees 
just in front of the cage. He then roared 
loudly and shook his head as much like a 

The Child's Art World 145 

lion as his limited knowledge permitted; 
then he paused to see the effect of this chal- 
lenge to the wild beast. Soon he began 
gnashing his teeth and roaring again with 
savage fierceness, shaking his head at the 
same time. After this highly dramatic per- 
formance had been re-enacted several times, 
he called out, " I am not afraid of you ! 
Come out of your cage, you old lion." With 
that he reached his hand in the cage and 
drew forth the lion. His timidity had van- 
ished because he had taken the supposed 
fierceness of the lion into himself, and had 
discovered that he too could roar and gnash 
his teeth. In other words he had added lion 
life to little boy life and therefore felt equal 
to the lion and even his superior. 

I have related the above incident because 
it illustrates the early stage of imitation, 
namely, the imparting of the child's own life 
to inanimate objects, which is usually called 
animism. The child thus imparting the 
only kind of life he really knows, which is 
his own, oftentimes represents quite ear- 
nestly the supposed activity of the object. 
When your two or three-year-old boy noisily 
Tushes around the room puffing out " choo, 
choo, choo " then calls out " toot, toot, toot," 

146 Unseen Side of Child Life 

he has attributed life to the attractive 
steam-engine in order that he may add 
steam-engine experience and thereby under- 
stand steam-engine life. This is one way at 
this stage of his development that he can 
come into a sympathetic understanding of 
the steam-engine. When, with a string tied 
around his waist, he delightedly gallops 
along in front of you, pawing and shaking 
his imaginary mane, he is tryiixg to add 
horse-experience to his own experience and 
thereby to understand horse-life. The only 
way he can get this added life as yet, let 
me again repeat, is to impart his own life 
and feelings to the objects about him and 
then to interpret their external appearance 
or manifestations by how he would feel if 
he were those objects — steam-engine, horse 
or what not. It is, therefore, a mistake to 
try to divert a child from auto-education or 
self-instruction when he is engaged in this 
kind of play, by laughing at him and thus 
making him self-conscious, for this shuts 
the door of steam-engine life or galloping- 
horse life and brings him painfully back to 
merely little-boy life with its limited experi- 
ences. It is equally harmful to try to give 
to a child who is thus playing, a scientific 

The Child's Art World 147 

explanation of the facts of the case. He 
is not yet ready for scientific laws and facts. 
He must first gain a live and sympathetic 
interest in the animate and inanimate world 
about him through his simple childish ef- 
forts to understand these by putting his 
own life into the life of the world about him. 

Let me give an instance of a less imagi- 
native character, one of the kind that is 
taking place every day in the average home. 
I was calling on an intimate friend one 
morning when our conversation was inter- 
rupted several times by her little two-year- 
old boy coming in front of her and dropping 
a book on the floor, at the same time calling 
out in a slow, drawling tone, "D-i-i-z-e!" 
He would then trot off, hunt up another 
book, bring it to her, drop it on the floor as 
he had dropped the former book, and again 
drawl out in a sing-song tone of utter indif- 
ference " D-i-i-z-e." 

After this somewhat unique performance 
had been repeated three or four times, the 
mother said, " Yes, yes, dearie, run away 
now. Mamma is busy." 

" What is he trying to do? " I asked, for 
I realized he was dead in earnest over it, 
whatever it was. " Oh, he is just playing," 

148 Unseen Side of Child Life 

she replied laughingly. " But playing 
what? " I persisted. Then she explained 
that each morning while she was dressing 
him, they could see from the bedroom win- 
dow the ice-man drive up, jump off his 
wagon, pick up their block of ice between 
his tongs and drop it over the gate into their 
yard, calling out at the same time, " Ice ! " 
and that it was a favorite game of her child 
to play that he was the ice-man. I took up 
the game much to the little fellow's delight, 
and played that I was a nearby neighbor 
who consumed a vast amount of ice. Each 
time he deposited a book in front of me, I 
called out, " Please bring me some more ice 
this afternoon." At this he would nod glee- 
fully and run off to pull down another book 
from the book shelf or table. When he 
would bring this new supply of ice, I would 
call out as if from an upstairs window, 
" Mr. Ice-man, will you be so kind as to lay 
that ice over there in the shade? I am 
afraid it will melt where it is. The sun is 
so hot to-day." I thus helped him to live 
for the time being the life of an ice-man and 
thus enlarge his own narrow life. 

Let me again illustrate how this im- 
portant activity of childhood is often 

The Child's Art World 149 

thwarted by well-intentioned adults. I was 
on a railway train one breezy spring day, 
and just opposite to my seat was an intelli- 
gent-looking gentleman with his little three- 
year-old son. He had placed the boy on the 
window side of the seat and then opening 
his newspaper was soon absorbed in reading 
it. The little fellow amused himself for a 
time by looking out of the window at the 
passing objects. He then began to ask ques- 
tions concerning them, but as he received no 
replies from his father, he soon tired of this 
occupation. He next began a restless climb- 
ing off and on the seat. This slightly dis- 
tracted his father who, almost unconscious 
of what he was saying, uttered the words, 
" Keep still, Henry, can't you ! " The lit- 
tle fellow obeyed as long as he could, then 
the restlessness began again. I motioned 
for him to come over and share my seat with 
me. He turned eagerly to the father and 
said, " That lady over there wants me to 
come over and visit with her, can't I go? " 
The father looked at me for a moment, 
smiled and bowed his consent, and in an- 
other moment the child was climbing joy- 
fully into my corner nearest the window. 
We chatted together for a while, when sud- 

150 Unseen Side of Child Life 

denly the engine of the train blew a long, 
sharp, shrill whistle. " What did the car 
say then? " the little fellow asked, turning 
eagerly to me. 

I realized that he wanted to put his life 
in touch with the new life about him and 
that in his stage of development this could 
only be done through imagination. So I 
replied, " Oh, it was just saying ' good morn- 
ing ' to the trees and cattle and things that 
we pass on the road." 

A pleased smile lighted his face. Again 
the train whistled, and again he asked, 
" What did it say this time? " and I replied, 
"It said * Good morning! Good morning! 
How do you do,' to all those tall old trees 
over there. Don't you see they are bowing 
* Good morning ' to the train? " He nodded 
assent and then said, " Tell me some more 
about how the engine talks to the trees." 

This was followed by an imaginary and 
friendly conversation between the trees that 
had lived all their lives in one place and the 
engine that had led a varied train-life, com- 
ing and going through many towns and see- 
ing many people. The boy was greatly in- 
terested in this play of fancy as it was en- 
larging his world and quickening his sym- 

The Child's Art World 151 

pathies. But the newspaper in the seat op- 
posite rattled uneasily. 

In a few minutes more the train again 
whistled and again the boy asked eagerly 
for an interpretation of the shrill sound, 
and again I created an imaginary conversa- 
tion. This was too much for the father 
across the aisle and he said, " Come over 
here, Henry, I want you." 

The boy reluctantly obeyed. Again, in a 
short time, the engine whistled once more. 
The little fellow looked up, his face full of 
animation as he asked, " Papa, what did the 
train say that time? " The father laid down 
his paper and, turning to the boy, said quite 
seriously, " My son, an engine is made of 
iron, it cannot talk ; the sound you hear is 
that of steam escaping from the boiler. 
Some day I will take you out and show you 
how the steam escapes and what causes the 
noise you hear." With that he resumed the 
reading of his paper and the little boy, ex- 
iled thus ruthlessly from a world of imag- 
inary companionship to which he had a right, 
sat silent and dejected with his hands folded 
in his lap, looking drearily out of the 

This semi-tragedy of childhood need not 

152 Unseen Side of Child Life 

have taken place had the father understood 
the necessary steps in the growth of a child's 
inner life. 

Let me illustrate with a still higher form 
of dramatic play, without inanimate ob- 
jects — play in which the child tries to in- 
terpret human emotions through actions re- 
sulting from human emotions, thus not 
imputing emotions to inanimate objects but 
re-enacting the deeds of human beings. 

The little five-year-old daughter of a 
friend of mine, returning home from a week- 
end visit with her grandmother, was full of 
interest in the story of Cinderella, which 
she had heard for the first time while on 
her visit. She told it and retold it to her 
mother with great animation and evident 
pleasure in emphasizing the crossness and 
irritability of the wicked stepmother. Then 
she said, " Oh, let's play Cinderella. We 
can play it just lovely ! You be Cinderella 
and I will be the stepmother." The wise, 
young mother, realizing that her child was 
trying to internalize phases of human nature 
with which she had not personally come in 
contact, said, "All right! What shall I 
do? " The child replied : " You stoop right 
down there by the fireplace and play you 

The Child's Art World 153 

are scrubbing the floor, and you must be 
crying just as hard as you can cry." The 
mother entered into the spirit of the play 
at once and scrubbed and sobbed in fine 
dramatic fashion. The little girl straight- 
ened her body into the haughty attitude of 
assumed superiority and in a tone of con- 
temptuous scorn said, " Now, Cinderella, 
you just scrub that floor good and hard, and 
you stop your crying, I tell you! Don't 
think you can go to the ball. You can't 
because you have got only ragged and dirty 
clothes." At these words, the new Cin- 
derella began to sob pitifully. This was 
too much for the tender-hearted child. In- 
stantly she sprang forward, threw her arms 
around her mother's neck and exclaimed, 
" I'm not the ugly, old stepmother any 
longer ! I'm the fairy god-mother ! " Then 
turning her head critically to one side, she 
said in a light, airy tone, " Now, my dear, 
stop your crying at once and stand up. I 
am going to send you to the prince's ball in 
a beautiful dress, all embroidered in gold." 
Touching her mother lightly with her hand, 
she cried, " There, now ! See how lovely 
you look." And the play went forward rap- 
idly with chairs and stools representing the 

154 Unseen Side of Child Life 

coach and horses supposed to be made from 
transformed pumpkins and mice. 

By trying to act out the part of the hard- 
hearted stepmother, the child had awakened 
to a consciousness of the odiousness of such 
conduct which no amount of didactic moral- 
izing could have made her realize. 

What more does the great actor do than 
through his imagination fill his heart so full 
of the emotions of a Hamlet or an lago that 
he relives for the brief hour the Hamlet or 
lago life? In fact, what is the greatest ser- 
vice that a great artist gives to humanity? 
Is it not to lend us his eyes that we may see 
more beauty, to give us what he hears that 
we may hear more harmony, to touch with 
his sympathy our hearts that we may be 
more alive to the joys and sorrows of the 
world, and thereby enter more into the 
greater meaning of life? 

This is why President Hadley in accept- 
ing the Harkness Memorial Building at 
Yale, said, " Of the various means to develop 
and perpetuate this spiritual side of educa- 
tion, beautiful buildings are one of the most 
important." Cardinal Newman placed them 
in the forefront among educational agencies, 
as more essential to the main purposes of a 

The Child's Art World 155 

college than anything else. There are many 
reasons for thinking that he was right. A 
monumental building, if it be really beau- 
tiful and glorious, gives a visible and per- 
manent object round which life and loyalty 
can grow and to which tradition and senti- 
ment can attach. The man who looks out 
day after day into the college quadrangles 
of Oxford or Cambridge finds a stimulus 
both to his love of beauty and to his love 
of learning. 

This is why every form of art lifts the 
emotional life of man beyond bodily appe- 
tites and passions. 

No wonder the wise old Catholic Church 
sought art in her structures, her stained 
glass windows, her frescoed walls and sol- 
emn rituals. But there is something greater 
than an appreciation of art, and that is the 
creation of some art expression which to be 
true art must come from the inmost depths 
of the soul. It must be se7/-expression, and 
when this self-expression is noble, it becomes 
beauty and we come nearer that " image of 
God " which the world of art tell us is a 
reality because man alone can create it. 

156 Unseen Side of Child Life 


Man's conviction that his spiritual self is 
at one with God is the foundation of re- 
ligion. With this thought in mind let us 
recall the closing sentence of the greatest 
and at the same time the most practical ser- 
mon ever preached on the subject of religion. 
" Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your 
Father in Heaven is perfect." Note that 
throughout this sermon Jesus gives no theo- 
logical dogma, no formal ritual is presented. 
It is simply the translating, oftentimes 
transfiguring, the common-place affairs of 
life by showing their spiritual significance. 

The theological teachings and the im- 
pressive symbolic rituals of this or that 
church have their significant place as en- 
vironing influences over their people. They 
are the mother tongue through which chil- 
dren learn to express religious emotions. 
But these are not enough unless they lead to 
consciousness of union with God. 

The surest possible preparation for the 
great at-one-ment with the Divine Creator 
and Source of all things, is the fundamental 
foundation of the religion that shows itself 
in service to mankind and love and rever- 
ence for God. More than this, a child who 

Recessional 157 

has been brought up to have a friendly rela- 
tionship toward all about him, has ten times 
the chance of coming in contact with the 
best in the people by whom he is surrounded, 
and thereby to have the inspiration and the 
help which such revelations bring. Whereas, 
the child whose social instinct has been 
warped or starved, is apt to be critical be- 
cause of this isolation of his soul. In such 
a condition, of course, he calls forth the dis- 
agreeable limitations of his associates, and 
in consequence, his belief of what is heroic 
or great in his fellow-man lessens and his 
vision of God becomes dim. 

Insight illumines necessary work and 
makes of it a divine opportunity to help our 
children to live richer, fuller lives. Like all 
other really precious things, insight costs 

You must really want to help your chil- 
dren to grow into noble men and women 
more than you want any tiling else in the 
world, or you will not be willing to pay 
the price that true insight demands. I have 
tried to give you a few devices, some prac- 
tical suggestions, a certain general method 
of dealing with the average child, but I can- 
not give you insight. That comes only when 

158 Unseen Side of Child Life 

we try to live according to the highest 
standards we can comprehend, no matter 
how much effort it may cost. 

A great teacher has said that one of the 
chief difficulties in the way of the religious 
development of our children is our own lack 
of vital piety. " It is easy to teach the cate- 
chism, but it is not easy to awaken and fos- 
ter the spirit of faith, hope and love. Any 
mother can force her child to memorize the 
definition of God, but only a mother who 
has herself the filial spirit can teach him to 
know his Heavenly Father. She whose own 
eoul is dead may be a religious drill master, 
but only the living spirit can communicate 
spiritual life." * 

Dr. Marie Montessori when questioned 
concerning her ideas of religious training 
of children, almost invariably answered; 
"Young children cannot know God. They 
can only feel Him," which was her way of 
making simple the psychological fact that 
all religion is based on the emotional nature, 
although it is strengthened by the develop- 
ment of the will in the right direction and 
it is clarified by thought. 

The great affirmation of Christianity that 

* Susan Blow in " Educational Issues." 

Recessional 159 

there is a beneficent Personality at the cen- 
ter of the Universe which we call God is 
confirmed by the conviction that " I am I." 
It is the power of this conviction that rises 
above bodily conditions that assures us of 
the truth that there is something within us 
that is beyond the body. Else why is it 
that you and I have smiled while tears were 
dropping from our eyes, that in the midst 
of unrest we have attained unto rest, that 
in sorrow some of us have found that peace 
which passeth understanding? This union 
between man and God is the central thought 
of FroebePs theory of education. A famous 
biologist* has recently acknowledged most 
frankly that he finds his serious biological 
studies interfered with in a confusing way 
when he thinks of sympathy, love, pride and 
hope. Such emotions have not yet been 
explained by the most earnest and learned 
scientists. Has any present-day materialist 
taught us how the bodily functions cause 
thought to think thought? 

I have tried to emphasize in the foregoing 
chapters of this book the important fact 
that the child should begin at the beginning 
of active life to know he is an individual and 
that he should grow steadily in the con- 

* Dr. Vernon Kellogg in Atlantic Monthly, May, 1921. 

160 Unseen Side of Child Life 

sciousness that lie must develop separate 
and distinct from all other individuals 
whom he may meet, that he must be re- 
sponsible for his own deeds and for his share 
in the betterment of the community in 
which he lives. Then the Comtist theory of 
racial growth, in which the life of the indi- 
vidual with its temptations, its struggles, 
its defeats and its victories is to be sub- 
merged, will seem less plausible. 

Some few parents wishing to avoid teach- 
ing what seems to them to be the out-worn 
creed of past traditions, and some who are 
not quite sure of what they themselves be- 
lieve, try to get rid of the problem of the 
religious training of their young children 
by postponing all teaching concerning the 
supernatural. They might as well try to 
postpone the growth of a child's muscles or 
the development of his nervous system. 
Some theory concerning this unseen but 
very real life about him will inevitably arise 
within him, as shown by the questionings 
of children as soon as they can talk. Aye, 
even before they can formulate sentences 
their questioning eyes, the alert turn of 
their heads at any unusual sound, the puz- 
zled expression on their baby faces, each 

Recessional 161 

tells that the spirit within is already seeking 
the unseen cause of things. 

If the mother is not ready or not willing 
to undertake this most delicate and im- 
portant part of her child's training, then 
gome one else will do it. Her child will get 
it from his ignorant superstitious nurse, or 
from his untrained Sunday School teacher, 
or from some older but still immature child^ 
or in the bewilderment of his own little 
mind he will build up some crude confusing 
explanation of the questionings that arise 
within him. The extremely interesting 
study of the superstition of children in gen- 
eral help, if any other proof is needed, and 
the sympathetic study of one's own child 
and his questions prove this. Most mothers, 
however, realize in some fashion the sacred- 
ness of their high office and strive to lead 
the inquiring young soul into some form of 
religious belief, and oftentimes their blun- 
ders are as pitiful as is the child's unaided 
fetish worship. 

The training of a child along lines that 
help him to accept the teachings of Jesus 
Christ concerning the Fatherhood of God 
and the Brotherhood of Man and to strive 
to live according to this divine conception 

162 Unseen Side of Child Life 

of life is the parent's supreme duty and the 
child's greatest need and is the true basis 
of education. It includes all that is best for 
man's body, for his heart, his will and his 
thought and it is his surest guide into true 
service for his fellow-men. Let us remem- 
ber always that it is what a man is^ not what 
he does, that counts most in the sum total of 
life, and helps most to strengthen our faith 
in God and immortality. 

Present-Day Tendencies 163 


Throughout the last half of the nineteenth 
century man learned to control the forces 
of nature as he had never dreamed of before, 
and science seemed to advance by leaps and 
bounds. In a single half-century he mas- 
tered many of her laws and learned to ap- 
ply them to his every-day life as he had not 
done in any thousand years of the world's 
past history. And now in this first quarter 
of the twentieth century, having learned 
that nature seems immutable in the regu- 
larity with which she obeys these laws, he 
has caused her to work miracles before our 

For example, when we think of the sci- 
ence of mechanics, we see how man has 
caused nature to defy gravity and lift tons 
of weight into the air and speed through 
space with the swiftness of time. We have 
but to recall how brief has been the period 
since man learned to compress and condense 
his forts, and putting them on wheels, send 
them forth over ditches, climbing steep hill- 
sides, butting through thick walls to the 
battlefields, there to crush all that opposes 

164 Unseen Side of Child Life 

them. These are but two striking instances 
of the thousand things that the mind of man 
has done in the name of science, in order to 
enforce his passion of hatred or, perchance, 
to check the greed and ambition that would 
destroy the slowly growing ideals of the 

Think of the marvels that chemistry has 
performed. Note how the mind of man has 
succeeded in extracting nitrogen from the 
air and has fertilized his fields with it, caus- 
ing them to bear from three to five times 
their former harvest; and how he has con- 
densed the oxygen and with it created heat 
so intense that it melts steel into molten 
liquid, and how he has performed other 
" miracles " too numerous to mention. 

Again with the mere mention of the word 
" electricity " comes the vision of man's 
turning night into day, winter into summer 
and summer into winter; utilizing the 
means to speed along the great highways, 
or sooth himself into quiet repose with 
sweet music. All these things and many 
more has man achieved since he has learned 
that nature has laws and that he must obey 

Frequently the earnest student of any 

Present-Day Tendencies 165 

branch of science, be it astronomy, geology 
or other " sub-human " study, forgets that 
it is the mind of man which has mastered 
these laws and utilized them. 

Therefore, when we come to biology why 
should we be surprised that the biologist, 
absorbed in his own great work, seems to 
forget that mightiest of all forces which we 
call the self or mind of man? 

I have attempted to condense the many 
books that I have studied, the many maga- 
zine articles that I have read and lectures 
and convention speeches I have heard in the 
last twenty years, into as simple a state- 
ment as possible of the main theory of the 
following list of leaders in the educational 
world who do not accept the Christian in- 
terpretation of life. They have been, all of 
them, earnest, sincere men searching for 
more light in the dim dawn of the great 
world of psychology. 

We are learning how undreamed of pos- 
sibilities in the material world are revealing 
themselves, then why should we doubt the 
undiscovered possibilities in the human 
mind. At the present time the educational 
processes of the past are being turned up- 
side down in order to develop the creative 

166 Unseen Side of Child Life 

power of the child. This is partly because 
we are beginning to realize that education 
must begin in infancy ; partly because of the 
appalling educational deficiency of men 
called to the front by the recent war ; partly 
also because of the brilliant discoveries of 
modern science. 

The danger before us lies in our overesti- 
mate of the value of ingenuity and skill in 
the use of materials to the neglect of cre- 
ative thought. If the former is the im- 
portant thing in education our mechanical 
inventors in the development of material 
power would take precedence over our 
teachers, poets and the prophets. We who 
subscribe to the Christian philosophy are 
still clinging to narrow creeds and dogmatic 
interpretations of the Bible. We are still 
apt to give lip-service instead of life-service. 
Our spiritual advance is not keeping pace 
with our material advance, and yet, there 
are strong indications to-day that science 
and religion are reaching out to clasp hands. 
Science is admitting that it must have faith 
in unknown power and future possibilities, 
else it must cease experimenting; religion is 
recognizing that faith must be accompanied 
by works or it is of no value; and philoso- 

Present-Day Tendencies 167 

pby is asking psychology " How do you ex- 
plain thought's power to think thought? " 

The " theistic philosophers" — the think- 
ers who place a personality at the center of 
the universe — are the only teachers who 
have explained genius. To them it is the 
downpour of the over-soul which Christian- 
ity has called the inspiration from God. 
For a good illustration of this read Vernou 
Kellogg in the Atlantic Monthly, May and 
June, 1921, on the subject of Life and Death 
from a biologist's standpoint, and Harry 
Emerson Fosdick's little book entitled, 
" The Meaning of Faith." Other broad- 
minded men are making the same con- 

The question of how shall the finite ex- 
plain the infinite reaches far back into the 
past. We hear Socrates driving home the 
truth concerning it with the unanswerable 
logic of his questions, Epictetus reasoning 
about it, and Marcus Aurelius meditating 
upon it. 

I feel almost as if an apology were needed 
in summarily condensing the writings of 
grave and learned men, whose devotion to 
their special field of study demands our sia- 
cerest respect and admiration. But this is 

168 Unseen Side of Child Life 

not a book on anthropology, biology, phys- 
iological psychology or pragmatism. It is 
a book which concerns itself with the Chris- 
tian explanation of the higher human in- 
stincts and its application to the early life 
of childhood. The writings of the men men- 
tioned may be obtained at any public 
library. I have a list of some forty-six of 
them and each year adds more names. But 
the documents of Christian writers are as 
the sands of the sea. 

If we go no further back than to Herbert 
Spencer, we get a connected outline of the 
ups and downs of the psychology which 
leaves out God. In Spencer's book " Edu- 
cation " and also in his " Psychology " he 
explains the activity which the child ex- 
hibits in play as so much " surplus energy " 
not needed in the maintaining of physical 
life. To him these necessary activities do 
not absorb all the vitality created by sleep 
and food, and this " surplus energy " is 
used in play. This is, as you plainly see, a 
purely physiological explanation of child- 

Professor Groos in his " Play of Man " 
follows Spencer with the argument that this 
" surplus energy " serves as practice or 

Present-Day Tendencies 169 

preparation of the nerves and muscles and 
senses for the serious pursuits of adult life. 
So his theory also has a physiological basis 
and shows no spiritual response to the 
acquisition of food, clothing, shelter and the 
propagation of the race. Yet he claims this 
activity is instinctive; that it is born in the 
healthy child, no matter what may be the 
race, religion or economic conditions. His 
theory seems to center in the development 
of the higher type of animal called man. 
He does not answer the questions, " Is there 
a God?" "Is immortality a dream or 
not? " In one place he says, " Even in the 
case of instincts which are not now useful 
it does not follow that if they appear before 
their life-serving usefulness, they must serve 
as a practice and preparation for such later 
use. Nature is not so parsimonious as that 
would indicate; it is not necessary to ex- 
plain doll plays of little girls as practice 
and preparation for their future and ma- 
ternal duties. They may be simply exhibi- 
tions of a material instinct which somehow 
in the life of the individual fuay be useful, 
as when a tree show^ers down ten thousand 
seeds of which only one may germinate." 
Professor Gross does not seem to realize 

170 Unseen Side of Child Life 

that lie is giving the best possible argument 
for the theory that all instincts which are 
shown to be universal must be of value in 
the growth of the individual if rightly un- 
derstood, and if given the right environing 
stimulus and protected from injurious in- 
fluences. • Luther Burbank and his co-work- 
ers have demonstrated the almost unbelieva- 
ble possibilities of what may be done in the 
plant world by right care of seeds and 
patient study of what have hitherto been 
called worthless weeds. Shall we claim less 
for the undeveloped " weeds of humanity "? 

As already stated, Dr. Edwin E. Slosson 
in his book " Creative Chemistry " tells of 
the transformations that have been achieved 
by that great science. They would seem to 
be but the excited imagination of an unbal- 
anced mind, except for the fact that they 
exist and are being used in a multitude of 
ways undreamed of twenty years ago. Why 
should we then not assume that the in- 
stinctive activities of childhood if developed 
aright will function the higher life of man- 
kind? This is a problem for both parents 
and teachers to study because it is the true 
" science of education." 

The difficulty in the case of many men of 

Present-Bay Tendencies 111 

science seems to be that they have given 
their attention exclusively to the definite 
forms of life or to the material forces that 
have been discovered, which make up the 
finite world and have neglected the study of 
the infinite Something to which every pro- 
cess of reasoning, every outgo of emotion, 
every physical activity inevitably lead, to 
God, the Infinite, the Unknown. 

In the psychology that is being promul- 
gated to-day in our institutions of learning 
we come to another instance of the mind of 
man trying to explain the infinite by ex- 
plaining the finite. 

Herbart's theory, as explained by De 
Garmo in " Herbart and the Herbartians," 
— I have not read the original German, — 
claims that the child's free activity comes 
from the necessity of passing through the 
more important stages of racial history. 
Dr. Stanley Hall, in his great book "Ado- 
lescence," as well as in his many articles 
in Journals, says that the seemingly un- 
necessary activities of the child are the re- 
mains of animal activities that were once 
necessary for the preservation of life in the 
pre-human world. 

Dr. John Dewey in his "The Child and 

172 Unseen Side of Child Life 

the School," and other writings, as well as 
in his demonstration schools in Chicago and 
New York, has tried to show that the 
natural environment of primitive man is 
being taken away from the child by city life 
and by the use of machinery, and that it 
must be artificially supplied in the school 

Dr. Patrick claims that provision must 
be made in our schools for more play, in 
order to counter-balance the strain and 
stress of modern life. 

Dr. Kirkpatrick insists that the fighting 
instinct is the first instinct to manifest itself 
in the race and in the child — fighting for 
one's mate or figthing for individual self- 
expression. But he adds that seeking the 
favor of the mate also develops from the 
racial instinct of continuation. In other 
words, self-development and propagation 
are the instincts that run through the ani- 
mal and human world. The one balances 
the other; the one creates power, the other 
creates the desire to serve ; the one develops 
individuality, the other sympathy; the one 
awakens desire for recognition of one's self, 
one's personal ability and attainments; the 
other the desire to give some part of one's 

Present-Bay Tendencies 173 

self to another. Here we find some recog- 
nition of the spiritual side of instincts in 
man as contrasted with instinct in animals. 
Dr. Watson, whose work along this vast 
line of thought has made him one of the 
authorities, with the modesty of the true 
scientist says, "I believe that more mere 
nothing has been written about human in- 
stincts than any other subject connected 
with human activity. Those of you who are 
familiar with what has been said on the sub- 
ject know that most elaborate lists of human 
instincts are put down. Hence anyone at- 
tempting to study instinct now goes m with 
the wrong point of view. He sees in the 
child's activity examples of instinctive ac- 
tion, regardless of whether that action really 
belongs to the original nature of the child 
or to his social surroundings." Dr. Watson 
later adds, " I have spent some time in an 
orienting study of the instincts but my 
results are so pitifully meager that I 
advance my conclusions with a great deal 
of hesitation." 

The above are but a few examples — with 
scores of present-day psychologists omitted 
— of the many who have attempted to 
explain life without including the Christian 

174 Unseen Side of Child Life 

theory of a personal God and of the immor- 
tality of the human soul, which has done 
more than all other forces to lift man from 
the state of the beast to that of highest 

Unquestionably the child has been helped 
to attain unto a larger life through the val- 
uable contribution of this form of anthropo- 
logical research, which has resulted in the 
demand for playgrounds, school-gardens, 
pets, excursions, festivals, pageants, etc., all 
of which give a child a freer, larger physical 
life, and may help his inner life. 

The recent war has shown the world-wide 
struggle between hatred and idealism, 
between retaliation and tolerance, between 
greed and generosity, between profiteering 
and patriotism; in fact, seemingly between 
all that is good and bad in the heart of man. 

A century or more will be needed to clear 
away the confusion that has arisen through 
the conflict of so many emotions. Then it 
will be seen that " the Lord hath caused the 
wrath of man to praise him." 

The war has already awakened America 
to the all-important subject of the health of 
our children. When thousands of young 
men stood ready to serve our country, even 

Present-Day Tendencies 175 

to the giving up of life itself, they were 
debarred by ill health caused by ignorance 
of their parents, or their own ignorance of 
the fact that sins against the body bring 
their own penalty. 

With our usual energy we have estab- 
lished a nation-wide campaign for health. 
The children's bureau in the Department 
of Labor at Washington, D. C, sends out, 
without charge, a list of books and pamph- 
lets on seemingly every topic that concerns 
the health of children: the right kind of 
diet and exercise for the pregnant mother, 
the prenatal care of the child; the danger 
of employing ignorant mid-wives; the 
prevention of blindness at time of birth; 
the tremendous importance of breast feed^ 
ing, and when breast feeding is not possible, 
definite directions as to the preparation of 
pasturized milk, sterilized milk, condensed 
milk, dried milk or milk powder as the next 
best food to be given. 

Pamphlets on diet for children from the 
age of six months to twelve or fourteen 
years are furnished on application. All 
these are written by experts of agricultural 
colleges or domestic science schools of 
national reputation. The doctors, surgeons 

176 Unseen Side of Child Life 

and nurses have contributed simple and 
easily understood directions as to the care 
of the skin, the hair, the eyes, the nose and 
the throat. And the dental associations 
have given invaluable information relative 
to the care of the teeth. How to detect and 
meet children's diseases is also explained 
for any mother who cares for the health of 
her children. 

The far-reaching and exceedingly import- 
ant matter of weighing and measuring chil- 
dren, as a means of discovering normal or 
subnormal conditions of a child's health, 
has been especially helpful. The United 
States Government has intrusted its R. F. D. 
men to allow rural mothers to weigh their 
infants on the parcel-post scales. 

In my own state, Illinois, the tender and 
beautiful thought that established the Eliz- 
abeth McCormick Memorial Fund for a 
little eleven year old daughter of Mr. and 
Mrs. Cyrus McCormick has made it possible 
for mothers throughout the state to know 
the value of weighing and measuring a child 
as a test of his physical condition. 

Town community centers, mother's study- 
clubs, parent-teacher associations, social 
settlements and visiting nurses' associa- 

Present-Day Tendencies 111 

tions all stand ready to give information as 
to where and how help along the lines of 
parental efficiency may be obtained, or how 
new welfare associations may be estab- 
lished. Most of our leading newspapers 
have health departments which furnish 
advice or at least information as to what to 
read or where to apply for help. 

The work still grows and much more can 
be done. This national movement for the 
welfare of the child's body is so far-reach- 
ing, so important as an aid in the making 
of future healthy citizens, that it can 
scarcely be over-estimated. 

And yet — is there not as vital a need 
that character should be built according to 
spiritual laws as that the body should be 
cared for with reference to physical laws? 
Our psychologists seem to have turned their 
attention almost exclusively to the material 
side of life, forgetting that the spirit grows 
on what it feeds upon as surely as the body 
grows on what it is fed upon. 

"As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." 

In one of Maurice Maeterlinck's books I 
came across the following : " We are not 
considering the ordinary text-book psy- 
chology which concerns itself only with 

178 Unseen Side of Child Life 

such spiritual phenomena as are closely 
interwoven with the material, having 
indeed usurped the beautiful name of 
Psyche. The psychology of which I speak 
is transcendental and throws light on the 
direct relationship that exists between love 
and soul and on the extraordinary presence 
of the soul. It is a science that is in its 
infancy ; but by it shall men be taken a full 
step higher, and very speedily shall it 
dismiss the elementary phychology that is 
dominant to-day." 

In this book I have attempted to place 
before you, kind reader, the two explana- 
tions of the unseen side of child life. The 
one is based on the study of the child's body 
and its influence upon his spiritual life; 
the other is based on the spiritual life of 
the child and its influence upon his material 

All that is best in mankind, all that 
causes him to rise above mere gratification 
of animal instincts is the result of the 
ideals, which increase his bodily strenfith, 
extend his influence for good in his com- 
munity and add assurance that there is life 
beyond that of the body. 

We pray " Thy kingdom come. Thy will 

Present-Dai/ Tendencies 179 

be done on earth as it is in heaven/'' for- 
getting that the kingdom of heaven is within. 
It is the man behind the gun that does 
the fighting, not the gun. We may destroy 
our battleships and limit our armaments but 
not until we destroy our hatreds and limit 
our greed will we cease to be in danger of 
war. This is the law of that kingdom 
within. We forget also that loyalty can 
begin and should begin in the heart of the 
little child.