Quiet Talks by Samuel Dickey: Gordon, Samuel Dickey - Quiet Talks on Home Ideals: 74. The Value of Training.

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Quiet Talks by Samuel Dickey: Gordon, Samuel Dickey - Quiet Talks on Home Ideals: 74. The Value of Training.

TOPIC: Gordon, Samuel Dickey - Quiet Talks on Home Ideals (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 74. The Value of Training.

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The Value of Training.

But the greatest training is of the child. It is greatest because the stuff is so open to impression. Whatever is put in sticks. The impression made then stays, and stays to the end. The work goes in deepest, and lasts longest. Training a child is the highest and holiest and most fascinating of all occupations And it takes the most heart power and brain power combined of any, too.

The babe is a mute eloquent appeal for a teacher, and for the best there is. He is a blank sheet of white paper waiting the first pen that comes. That sheet will take whatever is written upon it, the merest scrawl, or the finest copperplate engraving; the most ungrammatical crudity, or the polished sentence.

The babe may be more when he is a babe in possibility, than at any later time actually. Or he may go on becoming more. Every life is a story of the ascent of man, or the descent, according to the training, or the lack of it. Sometimes one looks at a babe, and then at his parents, and wonders how such a babe was born to such parents. He seems so much finer a bit. of humanity than they.

It is because he starts in where they did, but they grew up untrained, and knew no self-training, and have distinctly shrunk mentally and morally. They have become each simply a bundle of ignorances and prejudices and shiftless purposelessness. Their child stands for the point whence they started to go down. Training makes the life-story one of the ascent of a man: the lack of it of the going down of a man.

Through heredity the child is more than either parent, for he is all of both. Through training he may be made more than either, and more than both. He should begin where they are at the time of his birth. The child that does not become more than his parents becomes less, because be begins with more, even though he may not be to blame.

He stands on his parent's shoulders and should reach higher up. The parents should expect their child to be more and better. They ought to plan for that. It is a distinct drop when it turns out otherwise. The child must be better to be as good. But it all depends upon the training.

Someone has figured out the possible value of a bit of raw iron worth five dollars, according to the work put upon it. As iron ore it is worth five dollars, and will remain so if left alone. If made into horseshoes it will increase in market value to twelve dollars according to this reckoning; if into needles, to three hundred and fifty dollars; if into watch-springs, to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

The changes made by skilled work upon that precious bit of humanity, the child, may not be so easily figured out. There's a market value, too, but the values run much lower, and much higher. The child may become a charge upon the State, and a menace to society.

He may become a common day-labourer valued only for muscular strength; or, a skilled workman combining brain with hand and muscle; or, a trainer of skilled men. Or, he may become a thinker, making work for thousands; or a leader, moulding the lives of the crowd for good, with his value to society beyond what dollars can buy or figures tell.