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asserting that the one object toward which they will bend all their efforts of reform is “the securing of a solid education from the foundation up.” When the water in the Scotch lakes rises and falls, as the quay in Lisbon sinks, we know that the cause of both must lie far below, and be independent of either locality.
The agitation of itself is wearisome, but its existence proves that it inust be quieted, and it can be so quieted only by a rational solution, for every irrational decision, being from its nature self-contradictory, has for its chief mission to destroy itself. As long as it continues, we may be sure that the true solution has not been attained, and for our hope we may remember that we
“have seen all winter long the thorn
We, however, are chiefly concerned with the education of our own girls, of girls in America. Born and bred in a continent separated by miles of ocean from the traditions of Europe, they may not unnaturally be expected to be of a peculiar type. They live under peculiar conditions of descent, of climate, of government, and are hence very different from their European sisters. No testimony is more concurrent than that of observant foreigners on this point. More nervous, more sensitive, more rapidly developed in thinking power, they scarcely need to be stimulated so much as restrained; while, born of mixed races, and reared in this grand meeting-ground of all nations, they gain at home, in some degree, that breadth which can be attained in other countries only by travel. Our girls are more frank in their manners, but we nowhere tiud girls so capable of teaching intrusion and impertinence their proper places, and they combine the French nerve and force with the Teutonic simplicity and truthfulness. Less accustomed to leading-strings, they walk more firmly on their own feet, and, breathing in the universal spirit of free inquiry, they are less in danger of becoming unreasonable and capricious.
Such is the material, physical and mental, which we have to fashion into womanhood by means of education. But is it not manifest in the outset, that no system based on European life can be adequate to the solution of such a problem? Our American girls, if treated as it is perfectly correct to treat French or German girls, are thwarted and perverted into something which has all the faults of the German and French girl, without her excellencies. Our girls will not blindly obey what seem to them arbitrary rules, and we can rule them only by winning their conviction. In other words, they will rule themselves, and it therefore behooves us to see that they are so educated that they shall do this wisely. They are not continually under the eye of a guardian. They are left to themselves to a degree which would be deemed in other countries impracticable and dangerous. We cannot follow them everywhere, and therefore, more than in any other country must we educate them, so that they will follow and rule themselves. But no platform of premise and conclusion, however logical and exact, is broad enough to place under an uneducated mind. Nothing deserving the name of conviction can have a place in such. Prejudices, notions, prescriptive rules, may exist there, but these are not sufficient as guides of conduct.
Education, of course, signifies, as a glance at the etymology of the word shows us, a development-an unfolding of innate capacities. In its process it is the gradual
transition from a state of entire dependence, as at birth, to a state of independence, as in adult life. Being a general term, it includes all the faculties of the human being, those of bis mortal, and of his immortal part. It is a training, as well of the continually changing body, which he only borrows for temporary use from material nature, and whose final separation is its destruction, as of the changeless essence in which consists his identity, and which, from its very nature, is necessarily immortal. The education of a girl is properly said to be finished when the pupil has attained a completely fashioned will, which will know how to control and direct her among the exigencies of life, mental power to judge and care for herself in every way, and a perfectly developed body. However true it may be, that life itself, by means of daily exigencies, will shape the Will into habits, will develop to some extent the intelligence, and that the forces of nature will fashion the body into maturity; we apply the term Education only to the voluntary training of one human being who is undeveloped, by another who is developed, and it is in this sense alone that the process can concern
For convenience, then, the subject will be considered under three main heads, corresponding to the triple statement made above.
Especially is it desirable to place all that one may have to say of the education of girls in America on some proved, rational basis, for in no country is the work of education carried on in so purely empirical a way. We are deeply impressed with its necessity; we are eager in our efforts, but we are always in the condition of one “whom too great eagerness bewilders." We are ready to drift in any direction on the subject. We adopt every new idea that presents itself. We recognize our errors
in one direction, and in our efforts to prevent those we fall into quite as dangerous ones on the other side. More than in any other country, then, it were well for us to follow in the paths already laid out by the thinkers of Germany. I shall, therefore, make no apology for using as guide the main divisions of the great philosophers of that nation, who alone, in modern times, have made for Education a place among the sciences. Truth is of no country, but belongs to whoever can comprehend it.
Nor do I apologize for speaking of what may be called small things nor for dealing with minor details.
" When the fame of Heraclitus was celebrated throughout Greece, there were certain persons that had a curiosity to see so great a man. They came, and as it happened, found him warming himself in a kitchen. The meanness of the place occasioned them to stop, upon which the philosopher thus accosted them: 'Enter,' said he, 'boldly, for here too there are gods !"" Following so ancient and wise an authority, I also say to myself in speaking of these things which seem small and mean: Enter boldly, for here too there are gods; nay, perchance we shall thereby enter the very temple of the goddess Hygeia herself.
THE CULTURE OF THE BODY.
“Hæc ante exitium primis dant signa diebus.”—VIRGIL.
“Not my belief is—and this is a matter upon which I should like to have your opinion, but my own belief is-not that the good body improves the soul, but that the good soul improves the body. What do you say?”—Plato, REP. Book III.
If we could literally translate the German word Fertigkeiten into Readinesses, and use it as a good English word, we should then have a term under which to group many arts of which a fully educated woman should have some knowledge-I mean cooking, sewing, sweeping, dusting, etc. When a woman is mistress of these, she is called capable, that good old word, heard oftener in New England than elsewhere, which carries with it a sweet savor of comfort and rest. Some knowledge of these should undoubtedly constitute a part of the education of our girls; but the “how niuch” is a quantity which varies very materially as the years go by. For instance, the art of knitting stockings was considered in the days of our grandmothers one to which much time must be devoted, and those of us who were born in New England doubtless well recollect the time when, to the music of the tall old kitchen clock, weslowly, laboriously and yet triumphantly, • bound off'” our first heel, or “narrowed off” our first toe.