If Father could see the state of the school system today, he would be dismayed! Our job as parents is a heavy (and blessed) responsibility.
Who WILL we have spend most of the waking hours with our children??? Are we, as parents, doing our job in the home, forming those little minds and hearts?
This is a most vital subject and needs prayer and discernment on the part of the parents….then courage and action!
Today schools become finer and finer, more complete in their control of the child, longer in the hours they take the child from home and more of an alibi for delinquent parents.
Even the Catholic parents (and I am not sure of the correctness of that word “even”) are inclined to put the whole burden of the education of their children on the school.
Already they think that because religion and morality are included in the Catholic curriculum they need not worry about their own duty of teaching their children to know and love God and to honor the right and hate the evil.
Let the priest and brothers and sisters in the magnificent parochial and private schools take up that duty.
And all the while the experimental facts are completely against this shifting of parental responsibility to anyone else, even to the most expert educator.
The school cannot remotely take the place of the home. Teachers cannot, except most inadequately, take the place of the parents.
Schools Are Only Substitutes
Any intelligent child, no matter how young he is, feels the institutional character of even the best and the most modern school.
The intensely personal relationship of parents and children in the intimate environs of the home cannot even be imitated in school surroundings.
Children recognize that and in the vast majority of cases, like Shakespeare’s immemorial schoolboy, still drag reluctantly to school.
At best schools are unnatural. There is something formal in the most informal, something regimented in the most systematically homelike.
Perhaps the child instinctively knows that schools exist merely to supplement homes or because homes have failed their natural purpose. For certainly in the majority of cases the child resists school with a competence that is one of his most significant achievements.
What he would have drunk in naturally at home he regards as a chore in a classroom. Education that he was meant to absorb through his pores from the delightful association with his parents and his brothers and sisters now serves to stiffen his spine resistingly.
Schools were not in nature’s plan. Children seem to know that. Hence it takes long years to teach children in school what they should be able to learn in a matter of months in a natural home environment.
School Are Too Late
Besides if parents have waited for the school to start the education of their children, they have waited much too long. School comes too, too late.
Even with the incubating process common nowadays, where the fledglings are tucked away in educational brooders, the school still comes too, too late for its training really to affect the child.
Children are established for life before they are five years old. After that they merely build on the foundation already laid. In fact some more modern psychologists are convinced that all essential foundations are laid in the child before he is two years old. And I don’t know any schools that take children quite that early.
Home First in Everything
Any parent who thinks that he can shove off onto schools the training of his children doesn’t know either his children or the schools.
Homes are the places where children learn easily, instinctively, without resistance, and under nature’s own perfect conditions. Schools furnish merely the supplement who what the home has already given.
Hence it is that we who have taught in schools are grimly aware that the difference between the varied types of students before us is largely a matter of the training and preparation each received before he ever set foot in a classroom.
The child from the good home is alert, interested, keen, on his toes, well mannered, possessed of quick and right instincts.
The child from the sloppy, inadequate home is dull, uninterested, uncooperative, bad mannered; he fails to catch on, fails even to try to catch on.
The Difference in Children
The difference between this child and that one is often largely a matter of what he saw in and heard from his parents.
His religious response, his sense of honesty, his ability to play with other children and be unselfish toward them, his attitude toward books, his appreciation of the beautiful, his sense of what is right and what is wrong, his quick apprehending of the charming and noble, his ready reaction to music that is good, his approval of heroism and his rejection of evil and cheapness – how happy the teacher who finds that all these things have already been established in the child’s mind by the parents, who alone can deeply and strong-rootedly establish them!
We have to remind parents with all the insistence on our power that schools, even the most expensive or the most expert, cannot supply for fine heredity or wholesome environment.
School does not give first impressions or second or third or ten thousandths.
It can only correct, if possible, the false impressions made by parents, or it can continue the child’s progress in the happy grooves established by a noble father and a gracious mother.
We teachers work on the material that is sent us by the parents.
That material is already so formed and shaped and set and established and concreted that our modifications can often be only amazingly slight.
No wonder then that we pray for good homes and parents who take seriously the inescapable duties of their profession.
From find parents come, except in rare and almost abnormal cases, fine children.
From slovenly, slipshod, careless, badly trained, neglectful, or definitely selfish and evil parents come….Ask any educator in his moments of honesty to finish that sentence.
He can build with fine material. He works hopelessly with material already spoiled by the master builders who are the parents.
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