Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

13. The Law of the Fourfold Life.—Some of our modern educators have given new emphasis to the importance of recognizing the whole life of the boy and girl in the work of religious education. They have called special attention to the statement regarding the growth of the boy Jesus: "and Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men." Here is a fourfold development, mental, physical, spiritual, and social. The truth we wish here to emphasize is that the entire life should be brought under the influence of religious education and spiritualized. Just as there is perfect coördination in the life of the boy between these four aspects of his nature so there should be like unification in the entire educative process. In a recent deliverance the Young Men's Christian Association has taken a unique and decided step forward in this direction. The same step will have to be taken between the Church, the Association and the public school before the educative process is really unified. The action of the Association is as follows: “All phases of Association work taken together constitute a body through which the soul (i. e., the religious) should function; therefore, every Association secretary whatever may be his task, should be regarded as a religious worker, since it is his business to definitely relate men to Jesus Christ, as Saviour and Lord of Life. Be it, therefore, resolved, that the Religious Work Committee of a local Association be composed of representatives of all the departments of the Association to

[ocr errors][merged small]

gether with representatives of industry and of welfare work in the community.”

14. The Law of Progressive Social Contacts.The force of this law can best be seen by stating two or three very fundamental and self-evident facts. Man is above all a social being and can never live a complete life until his social nature is fully developed. The social nature of man is developed by his coming into contact with certain social groups and institutions which are the socializing forces at work in the world.

A man's social nature can never be fully developed until he has come into conscious contact with all of these groups. This he does by passing progressively from the smaller to the larger circle of relationships. Until he has lived his life completely within the smaller group, he cannot hope to enter fully and appropriately into the life of the larger group. The social order must be fully Christianized in order that it may properly educate men. The social contacts which every individual must make as a condition of complete spiritual living are as follows:

Home Contacts. Here the growing child gets his first experience in social living and his character is shaped for all time to come by the action and reaction of the social forces within the home. If a man cannot be a thorough-going Christian in his own home, he cannot be one in the community. If a man does not love his home, he cannot love his country. The Apostle John stated trenchantly this fundamental educational law when he said, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." The power to know God fully is the capacity of the soul to love. Again the apostle says, “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen.” The most primary social relationship in the home is parental and filial love. The child who grows up without knowing fully the content of this love will never become a willing member of a world family wherein all men are as brothers and God is the common Father. It was the influence of the home in the heart of the American boy that made him fight so valiantly amidst the devastated homes of France. The development of a community spirit, of national solidarity and of the idea of a League of Nations founded not upon force but upon moral and social obligations and relationships have their root in the primary social contacts within the home. The Divine love is released in the world every time a child is born; and the world will grow kind and Christlike just in proportion as men grow in appreciation of each succeeding generation of children. The manger at Bethlehem was the birthplace of a world democracy. It is a fact of immense educational significance that God entered visibly into the life of the world through the home.

School Contacts.Passing outside the home the child creates new and wider social contacts in the school. The public educator is coming to put increasing emphasis upon the socialization of educa

1

tion. Among other things the school must work in a more vital and intelligent coöperation with the home. The forces set in motion in the home must be conserved in the school life of the boy and girl. The social relations created through play make a deep impression upon character. I recall vividly that, during my boyhood days, I was twice soundly thrashed by the principal for playing on the way home from school. Now the school supervises the play of children after school hours.

Church Contacts. Here the growing boy finds still other relationships. Some of his social contacts are the same as those made in the school only the emphasis is placed differently. The pastor and Sunday school teacher have a coveted opportunity of entering into and quietly spiritualizing the social relations of the young of the Church. As a pastor I hailed with delight the chance to join several ball teams and to go on hikes with Boy Scouts. I always organized two bird clubs every spring. The social life of the young people of the Church can be lifted and spiritualized immeasurably by tactful suggestion and coöperation.

It is in the Church that the boy and girl gets the vision of the great group of people in the community and in foreign lands. He begins to sense the spiritual basis of brotherhood. In a recent appeal, Dr. P. P. Claxton, Federal Commissioner of Education, has indicated the socializing power and opportunity of the Church. It is so much to the point that we venture to quote at length; “We

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

have a great educational task in Americanizing the 5,000,000 foreigners in our midst who do not speak the English language nor read or write the tongue that is current among us, by bringing them to know our country, its history, and its ideals.

«The Christian Church is the greatest agency that we have for Americanization. It holds up the spirit of unselfishness, of brotherhood, of love; that spirit which, incorporated into international dealings, would make the world safe for democracy. In all your efforts for social welfare do not forget these needy people. Two and one-half millions of them cannot read nor write in any language. The government has been holding conferences with representatives of many of the alien races in our midst. These people want our friendship.

“Secretary Lane suggested that if for every person of foreign birth, who is not yet acquainted with our institutions, some real American would volunteer to be his 'big brother,' our problem of Americanization might speedily be solved. Women could perform the same service for the foreign women and our children for their children. This carrying out of the part of true brothers and sisters would do more to Americanize them than any other conceivable method.

“The Church is the one organization to bring about this needed work. The Armenian who flees to our shores to escape persecution and worse than death, has a right to expect to find here true friendship. The task to which we are summoning Chris

[ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »