Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the Thuringian forest. Practically it means that the secret of progress is not opposition to evil — to the mere phenomena of negation, but active work for the evolution of the good — that is, of the positive forces of the mind which as far as they can be made operative, must finally become modes of the central unity even in their divergence from it.

«Es irrt der Mench so lang er strebt »

is Goethe's expression of the same idea —“Man still must ert or cease to strive) — is a law of human divergence from the perfect type of unity, but the higher law to which Fröbel trusted was that evil must be overcome of good whenever good is asserted against itthat negation, evil, the unrealities of the universe, must cease to exist to the extent to which the positive forces of reality - that is, of kindness and creative efficiency — actually operate.

This idea of central unity,” this faith in its omnipotence, was unquestionably the governing energizing force of the constructive German intellect of the nineteenth century. The useful « Higher Criticism » which Goethe takes cognizance of in Wagner, the laborious and aspiring «Famulus » of the German creative mind, has done its part, but it had little part in the higher education for which Fröbel stands with Goethe and the great geniuses of his century who have been moved by the sublime faith that as the good in a human soul is actually developed, the intellectual power of apprehending all knowledge the soul needs to express its realities of goodness is developed with it.

This faith, taking hold on Fröbel, moved him to begin the work of higher education, not in the university, but at the cradle, by developing in children from their tenderest years a sympathetic knowledge of all the forms of beauty, grace, and power, through which in the diversities of nature the central unity expresses itself. As all the principles of higher mathematics are involved in the growth of a plant from its seed to its blossoming, Fröbel worked systematically to impress these laws and all their related principles on the mind, through object teaching at its period of greatest docility and receptiveness. Whatever he may have left undone at his death, June 21st, 1852, he had still succeeded so far that a world which is painfully slow to recognize its benefactors had learned to know him at last and had put him in its pantheon among those whom loving service has raised to an immortality of usefulness.

W.V. B.

THE FAMILY AND THE SCHOOL

IN THE family the child grows up to boyhood and to school age. | Hence the school and family should be connected. There

should be a union between the school and life,– unification of the school with life; unification of domestic, family, and scholastic life. This is the first and indispensable requisite of a finished and complete development. Unification of the family and school life is the indispensable requisite of the culture of man at this epoch if we are ever to free ourselves from the oppressive inanity of mere communicated ideas, the dead results of memorizing, that we may have the pleasure and the freshness of inner intuition; of knowledge of realities, that we may be elevated to that observation and recognition of things which develops by its own forces as does a healthy, thrifty tree; or as a family or a generation full of life and joyful consciousness develops from within; - if, at last, we would cease in word and deed to make an unsubstantial pageant of life and go through it in a mask! Would that we could finally see for the sake of our children and our posterity that we have too large a burden of merely extraneous culture which we foolishly strive to increase instead of attempting to possess ourselves of knowledge developed from within and as an essential part of our own reality! Would it not be better for us to cease making an idle display of alien methods of thought, alien knowledge, and even alien sensations and feelings? Would that at last we might cease esteeming extraneous culture the highest glory of our system, giving our children accomplishments » as we place ornaments upon the graves of the dead! Surely this is an old disease. When we ask by what road the German people reached its present position of knowledge, we reach irresistibly the conclusion that the fundamental and basic principles come from the outside and that they were imposed upon us from abroad. And so it happens that for these elements or rudiments we have not in our mother tongue even a proper or significant word. The strong German mind and the strong German spirit work upon the foreign material and make it easily its own. Still the character of this knowledge as something extraneous and foreign is lasting. We have borne these shackles for centuries. Shall we, because of this, never begin to have in

ts we have And so it, and that

our hearts and lives a tree of life and knowledge and to foster and cherish this germ to its complete and beautiful development that it may bloom in fresh beauty and bring forth ripe fruits which indeed may fall in the present, but will grow again on the other side ? Shall we never cease stamping our children with a foreign image and superscription like coin, instead of beholding them walk among us in the image of God the Father, developing the law of life implanted by his commandments? Do we fear to be put to shame by our children ? What race, what people, what time will be magnanimous enough to deny itself for the sake of its children and the development of higher manhood ? What father, what family will allow its soul to be filled with this thought which will increase its strength many times over? Only from the secret chambers and sanctuary of the family can the welfare of the whole race of mankind return to us. With the foundation of every new family, the everlasting and ever-active Heavenly Father speaks to man through the heaven he has implanted in the heart of its founders, and there issues to mankind and to each individual the call to exhibit humanity in purer development and manhood in higher form!

It is clearly evident that our German mind, our German spirit, can no longer tolerate a dead, extraneous culture and insight; that a mere outward polish can not be satisfying and sufficient if we wish to live as worthy children of God. Hence we need to search for knowledge, germinating in our own souls and minds, fresh and healthily developed in and of the sun, and thus strengthened and evolved for the conditions of life. Will we cover afresh with rubbish the fountain of life which God has created in our minds and hearts? Will we rob our children, our pupils, of the unspeakable joy of finding in themselves a fountain of everlasting life? Will your parents, or your representatives, your teachers and tutors, continue to compel your children to dam up that fountain with rubbish or to hedge it in with thorns? You answer: “Only thus equipped will they amount to anything in the eyes of the world. Children grow and mature quickly; who shail then provide for them? What shall they eat? What shall they wear ?" O foolish ones! you shall not be answered. «Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you,” for in your estrangement from God and yourselves, you could not comprehend that! But once more I reiterate that we are not concerned here with a dull and brooding life, without knowledge, activity, or efficiency! Mankind shall enjoy knowledge and insight; it shall possess power and efficiency greater than we can now imagine! For who has set metes and bounds to the Manhood conceived and born of God? But they shall grow as the development of each individual man, produced as it were a newly created self-development in fresh youth and youthful strength. Not slothful, lifeless, and sullen shall the boy take up the work of his life! No, he shall address himself to it cheerfully and happily, trusting himself, God, and nature; enjoying the manifold blessing of his activity. For peace, harmony, moderation, and all the high social and humane virtues will dwell in his heart and in his house; and through and in the circle of his activity, he will win that high prize of satisfaction after which all strive.

And in dealing with his son, he will not forbid the boy to follow his own calling, as being the most ungrateful of all Neither will he insist upon it that his son take up the business which he carries on himself with profit and satisfaction because it represents his own individuality. He will see that even the smallest business can be made great; that each business can be so ennobled as not to be degrading to any man. He learns to know that the humblest ability, cheerfully and lovingly applied to achievement and rightly directed, will bring bread, clothing, shelter, and respect. And therefore he will feel no care for the future of the children whose inner life it has been his highest care to develop.

WHAT SHALL BE TAUGHT IN THE SCHOOLS?

W hat shall be taught in the schools? In what shall man be VV instructed as a learner during his boyhood ? Only the

consideration of what is required to further his development as a boy and a learner will enable us to answer that question, while the knowledge of what this requirement is and of his actuality is derivable only from the phenomenon of manhood in the condition of boyhood. According to this phenomenon then, and under the mode of its manifestation, what is it that the boy should be taught ? The life and the epiphany of manhood begin

ning in boyhood show first a living, penetrating consciousness of its own spiritual self. It shows too the dim suspicion of a conditioned existence already attained and of the dependence of its own spiritual self on that highest reality by which the reality of all things is conditioned, out of which all things have proceeded, and on which all things depend. In boyhood man has a living consciousness of and sympathy with that life-giving breath and vital motion, in which and through which all things live and by which all things are invisibly surrounded, -as fish are in water, or as man and all created animals are in the clear, pure air. Man as a boy and as an incipient learner seems to be conscious of his spiritual essence, having a presentiment of God and of a spiritual reality in all things. He is manifested with an aspiration to verify his perceptions of truth and to confirm himself more and more in his apprehension of the Divine. Manhood in its condition of boyhood confronts its environment, feeling and hoping that in all things which surround it there is a pervading spirit like its own; and this feeling excites in the boy a vehement and irresistible longing in every spring and every autumn, with every quiet evening and every return of a happy holiday, to become conscious of the Omnipresent Spirit and to make it part of himself. The outer world confronts man in his boyhood with this double problem: Firstly, it is a world conditioned and originated by the needs of mankind, by man's power and will according to human progress; or else it is conditioned and sprung from the necessities and active forces of nature. Expression evolves itself from this outer, substantial, and corporeal world and the inner, essential, spiritual world, originally appearing at enmity with both, and finally separating itself from both,- uniting both, however, even in doing so.

Thus human nature and its environment of outer nature through its connecting medium of expression are the angle points of a boy's life,-as the Scriptures show they were the angle points of universal humanity in the first stage of its progress towards responsibility. Through this, the school and its training shall lead the boy to a triune knowledge, – that is, to a knowl. edge of himself in all his relations; to a knowledge of mankind in general, its being and conditions; to the knowledge of God as the Eternal Condition, the Everlasting Foundation and Source of human life and of all things; and finally to the knowledge of

« AnteriorContinuar »