The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should have the opportunity of teaching itself. What does it matter if the pupil know a little more or a little less? A boy who leaves school knowing much, but hating his lessons, will soon have forgotten all he ever learned; while another who had acquired a thirst for knowledge, even if he had learned little, would soon teach himself more than the first ever knew.
We often hear of bad weather, but in reality, no weather is bad. It is all delightful, though in different ways. Some weather may be bad for farmers or crops, but for man all kinds are good. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating. As Ruskin says, "There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
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What we do see depends mainly on what we look for... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.
Our great mistake in education is, as it seems to me, the worship of book-learning-the confusion of instruction and education. We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind. The children in our elementary schools are wearied by the mechanical act of writing, and the interminable intricacies of spelling; they are oppressed by columns of dates, by lists of kings and places, which convey no definite idea to their minds, and have no near relation to their daily wants and occupations; while in our public schools the same unfortunate results are produced by the weary monotony of Latin and Greek grammar. We ought to follow exactly the opposite course with children-to give them a wholesome variety of mental food, and endeavor to cultivate their tastes, rather than to fill their minds with dry facts. The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. What does it matter if the pupil know a little more or a little less? A boy who leaves school knowing much, but hating his lessons, will soon have forgotten almost all he ever learned; while another who had acquired a thirst for knowledge, even if he had learned little, would soon teach himself more than the first ever knew.
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I cannot, however, but think that the world would be better and brighter if our teachers would dwell on the Duty of Happiness as well as the Happiness of Duty; for we ought to be as cheerful as we can, if only because to be happy ourselves is a most effectual contribution to the happiness of others.
All those who love Nature she loves in return, and will richly reward, not perhaps with the good things, as they are commonly called, but with the best things of this world-not with money and titles, horses and carriages, but with bright and happy thoughts, contentment and peace of mind.
Savages have often been likened to children, and the comparison is not only correct but also highly instructive. Many naturalists consider that the early condition of the individual indicates that of the race,-that the best test of the affinities of a species are the stages through which it passes. So also it is in the case of man; the life of each individual is an epitome of the history of the race, and the gradual development of the child illustrates that of the species.
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We are all great landed proprietors, if we only knew it. What we lack is not land, but the power to enjoy it. Moreover, this great inheritance has the additional advantage that it entails no labor, requires no management. The landlord has the trouble, but the landscape belongs to everyone who has eyes to see it.
Love seems to beautify and inspire all nature. It raises the earthly caterpillar into the ethereal butterfly, it paints the feathers in spring, it lights the glowworm's lamp, it wakens the song of birds, and inspires the poet's lay. Even inanimate Nature seems to feel the spell, and flowers glow with the richest colours.
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Our great mistake in education is ... the worship of book-learning-the confusion of instruction and education. We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind. ... We ought to follow exactly the opposite course with children-to give them a wholesome variety of mental food, and endeavour to cultivate their tastes, rather than to fill their minds with dry facts.
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