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When should parents begin telling a child of his origin?—When a child asks about his origin he is old enough to be told the first story. Some children will ask about this by the time they are three or four years old, others not until they are five or six. A normally developing child will certainly become interested in this matter by the sixth year. If a child has not asked about his origin by the time he is six, it would be wise for the parents to ascertain by questioning him whether he has received this information elsewhere.

If they find he has gained this information from the vicious, what should they do?—I would suggest that they wisely, tactfully and kindly ask him to tell them all he has heard, promising him that they will tell him the real truth in a number of very interesting stories. If he has received only very limited information, I would tell him at once the story of the plants and promise him another story in a few days or weeks about the oysters. If he has received considerable information in half-truth and learned several vulgar expressions, I would tell him these stories of life, one at the time and one each day until I had covered all the half-truths he had learned. I would endeavor skillfully to impress him with the sacredness of the laws of life. I would try to induce him to discard every false name he has learned by giving him the chaste pure names. I would teach him that we should be modest and discreet regarding these organs, and when and how to speak of them; that we should carefully avoid entertaining the idea they are in themselves sinful or that they are our shame and humiliation; that these organs and their functions are sacred, delicate and pure; and that they are our pride and our glory.

If this advice were universally followed by teachers, ministers and parents among all children over ten, youths and adults, it would immediately reform and purify society.

If a child, especially a boy, is not fully satisfied with the information contained in these stories, and should ask for a more detailed explanation of the child’s origin, how would you answer him?”—I would first try to decide whether the child is prompted by natural or morbid curiosity. If the child is sincere, very bright and inquisitive, you will have a very pleasant task and one that should result in only good to the child. I would start with the plant and show just how the two natures reach eachother in the seed. Then I would pass in my detailed explanation to the oyster and fish. I would call his attention to the real visible examples of mating among the insects, birds, and domestic animals. I would call his attention to the father and mother of insects and birds as they build their cells and nests to receive their eggs when laid. I would call attention to the fact that food is stored up in the egg or cell for the young before and after it is hatched. I would call his attention to the fact that among the animals where the young is born alive, that the mother furnishes the young with food before it is born. If the child has witnessed the mating of the birds and domestic animals and this is explained to him in detail, the necessity for a detailed discussion of human mating will be avoided. The child could be informed that human mating is practically the same.

If the child is prompted by morbid curiosity, the task is a more difficult one, the ideal results are not so certain, but the above method is the only one that can be safely followed.

To be able to give sex and social purity truths effectively to children and youths, what qualifications should parents and teachers have?—They should have tact or skill. It is possible to approach them in such a way as to do great harm. This qualification comes to one as a result of careful study of these subjects, the{120}consciousness of personal responsibility and a realization of the child’s need of being safeguarded by a clear knowledge of the truth. (2) They should be able to discard all words and phrases they learned from the ignorant on the street and playground. They should be able to use a chaste, simple, scientific sex vocabulary. (3) They should be free from all mental and moral taint. No one can tell or willingly listen to a lascivious joke and then be able to tell effectively a child of his origin, the functions of his sexual system and his temptations and dangers in connection with them.

Would it be safe for all parents and teachers to give sex information to children?”—It would, if all possessed the qualifications mentioned. A thief is not the proper person to teach honesty to a child. A liar is not the proper person to teach truth. A tobacco-using father is not the one to teach his boy not to use cigarettes. A swearing man is not qualified to teach his boy not to swear. Occasionally a child is saved from one or more of these vices by becoming utterly disgusted with the vice in his father. The child is an imitator. The child is quick to detect the difference between teaching and practice. One must practice what he teaches, if he expects his child or pupil to accept and follow his teaching.

If parents and teachers do not possess these qualifications, what should they do?—It is their duty to prepare themselves for this service. Under present social conditions, they are not qualified to be at the head of a family, or to teach children unless they have these qualifications. Those who have these responsibilities upon them and feel that they cannot at present effectively perform these duties can secure the services of others or they can place in the hands of a child or youth a safe and interesting book containing what the child needs to know.

If a child is told these delicate truths will he not tell other children about them?—That will depend upon the nature of the child, the way he has been trained and the tact used in telling the story of life. Some children have inherited a gossipy nature and some have been unfortunately trained. They would. But most children would not seek to inform other children; they would not seek this information from the vicious when they know they could obtain the truth from parents and teachers.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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As the days and months glided by, our little girls were greeted one autumn morning by the advent of a little baby brother. Wife had given consent, years gone by, for me to tell the foregoing stories of life; but, only a few months before the above event, she had requested the privilege of telling this last story, as the girls would naturally ask of her how the little fellow came. This she told them, in a way no doubt, better than I could have done.

In lecturing to multiplied thousands of boys and many hundreds of girls, I have told the stories of life much as I did to my little girls, with this story added.

Baby animals.—We will now study God’s plan of increase in the higher animals and man. We shall find many striking resemblances and interesting variations between the lower forms of life that we have studied and the higher forms that we shall now study. All along the ascending scale of life we have found male and female organs of sex, possessing male and female natures. We have found that the male organs of sex produce a fertilizing substance called pollen in plants and semen in animals; that the female organs of sex produce seeds in plants and eggs in animals. We have found that every new plant, fish, insect, and bird comes from the union of the pollen with the seed, or the semen with the eggs. This last fact is true of the higher animals and man. We found that the seed of the plants are fertilized in the ovaries of the mother organs; that eggs of fish are fertilized outside of the body of the mother; that the eggs of insects and birds are fertilized inside of the mother’s body. This last plan is also true of the higher animals and man. We found that the seed of plants were sown or planted in the soil; that the eggs of fish were deposited in water; that the eggs of insects and birds were laid in some specially arranged place for them, usually called nests. In the higher animals and man the young starts from a tiny fertilized egg and grows in an organ in the mother’s body, called the womb, until it is strong and old enough to be born.

The earliest stage of plant life in the little seed is called an embryo. When the seed has been planted and the little embryo appears above ground, it is then a little baby plant. The earliest stage of animal life in the egg of the fish, insect or bird, is an embryo. The mother part of the plant stores up food in the seed and the growing embryo feeds upon this food, until its little roots have grown down into the soil where they can take up food from the soil and the blades or leaves are large enough to receive light and heat from the sun and food from the atmosphere. The mother fish, insect and bird store up food in their eggs for the little embryos to live upon until they are hatched. Among the higher animals and man, the embryo begins with the tiny fertilized egg in the mother’s womb and receives nourishment and life from the mother’s blood through a duct, called the placenta, which is connected with the mother’s womb at one end while the other end connects with the body of the embryo at a point called the navel. In this way the mother furnishes the young with all the air, food, water and life that it gets until it is born. Among the higher animals and man the young when born are very tender and helpless. For several weeks or months they are fed on milk from their mother’s breasts. In higher forms of life the birth of young is attended by greater sacrifice and suffering than in lower forms of life. For months, and in the case of man, for years, the parents must labor and sacrifice to feed, protect and educate them. Birth in the human family is attended by greater suffering and the little baby is more helpless and tender, and for this reason requires more tender care than the young of any other animal. You have observed that in the lower forms of life where the parents do not have to suffer to bring their young into{ the world or labor to provide for them food or shelter that they do not love their young. As we ascend the scale of life in our study, we find that love exists between the parents and young just in proportion as the parents suffer and labor for their young.

One of the most impressive and effective ways of telling the story of life in man was told by a wise and queenly mother in the following true story. This mother introduces the story by telling how solicitous she became about her little boy when he was about seven or eight years old. He was in the public school where he was likely any day to hear the story of life from some wicked boy. She was anxious that her boy should hear this story first from his mother’s lips.

How a mother told the story of life to her boy.—In telling the story, the mother said:

One morning, the opportunity that I had been praying and watching for, came. I observed my little boy playing rather roughly, not cruelly, with the pet cat. Speaking kindly to him, I said, “Son, don’t be rough with the old cat; handle her gently.” “Why, mamma?” he replied. “Son, mamma cannot make the reason clear to you now, but you obey mamma and in about ten days, mamma will tell you a very beautiful story, and, then you will understand.” As those days glided by, with pride I observed the unusual attention and kindness he showed the old cat. One morning, about ten days later, he came running into my presence, perfectly delighted, wonderfully elated, and overflowing with joy, he invited me out the back way to see what he had found. I anticipated his discovery, but I wanted him to have all the pleasure. So, I offered him my hand while he proudly led the way. As we stepped from the back porch, turning he pointed his finger under the floor; I looked, and there was the old mother cat and by her side were four as beautiful little kittens, basking in the sunlight, as the human eye ever saw. He bragged about having found them; called my attention to their color and markings; and claimed two of them as his own.

We sat down on a rustic seat where we could still see them. We admired their plumpness, color, eyes and playfulness and chatted together about them. At length I said, “Son, do you remember about ten days ago when you were playing rather roughly and I asked you to handle the old cat tenderly?” Promptly he replied; “Yes, mamma, and you promised me that in about ten days you would tell me a beautiful story that would explain why I should handle the old cat kindly. Can you tell me that story this morning?” “Yes, son, mamma is ready to tell you the sweetest and purest story that a mother can tell her son. When mamma asked you to be kind to the old cat, those fourlittle kittens were then in her body. That was why the old cat was larger than she is now. The little kittens were then much smaller and very tender, and, had you been rough with the old cat, you might have injured them; and, then, they might have been born crippled, deformed or dead. When they were born three or four days ago their little eyes were so tender that the full light of the sun would have put out their sight, so they were born with their eyelids closed and glued together. The old cat knew how tender their eyes would be, so three or four days ago she went away back under the dark floor and gave them birth. As they have grown older and their eyes have become stronger, every few hours the old cat has brought them a few feet nearer the light. Meanwhile, their eyelids have gradually opened until they can now look up at the sun as well as you can. If they had been born out in the open, the full light of the sun would have made their tender little eyes very sore or put them out.”

By this time I saw that my boy was very anxious to ask me a question. I was just as eager for him to ask it. I believed that he was going to ask the very question that my mother heart longed for him to ask; the very question that I believed God wanted my little boy to ask. I paused and looked into his little upturned face. As his deep, true blue eyes met mine, spontaneously, naturally, seriously he enquired, “Mamma, was I once in your body, too?” “Yes, son, you were formed in mamma’s body, in a little nest or home underneath mamma’s heart. You started as a little cell. For two hundred and eighty long days, nine full months, nearly a whole year, you were growing in mamma’s body. Mamma knew that you were there and loved and prayed for you long before you were born. Mamma had to be careful not to meet with an accident lest you might be born crippled, deformed or dead. Mamma had to be cautious about the food she ate, the air she breathed, the water she drank, the exercise she took, all she thought and did; because you were united to mamma by a little cord filled with blood vessels, through which mamma was supplying you from her blood with all the materials necessary for your forming body, mind and soul. In this way you were being influenced by mamma. Mamma was anxious that you might have a healthy and perfect body and grow up to be a smart, good and great man. If mamma had been angry, untruthful or dishonest during these months that you were a part of her, you might have been born with an ugly disposition, tendency to steal or be untruthful. Mamma was very careful about all she thought, said and did during the months you were a part of her body.

“Mamma knew about the day that you would leave your little home and come into this world. For hours mamma suffered great pain. The faithful doctor was present and did all he could to lessen mamma’s suffering. Papa stood at my side, held my hands in his, often stooped over and kissed my lips, cheeks and brow. As soon as you were born, the air rushed into your lungs and you cried, just as all little babies do when they are born alive. Mamma heard your baby cry and it thrilled her with joy known only to a mother, when she knows that her little baby is alive. But, son, when you were born and for many weeks and months, you were tiny, tender and helpless. No one in this world, and, God could not have found an angel in all of heaven who could have cared for you as well as mamma could. Mamma fed you at her breast, held you in her lap, fondled you in her arms and sung lullabies to you. When you were only a few weeks old you would have the colic. All night long your little body would be racked with pain and mamma would walk the floor with you, rub your little body and sing to you.” By this time my little boy was standing up close by my side, had both arms thrown around my neck, his little lips were kissing my cheek, and tears were rolling down his on to mine. Then he said, “Mamma, I am glad you have told me that story. I love you better now. I did not know that you loved and prayed for me before you ever saw me; that you were so careful that I might be well born; that you had to suffer so much when I was born; and that you cared for me so good when I was so small and when I was sick. This story will help me love you better and I will try never to disobey or tell you a falsehood.”

 

Do you not see how much better it was for this boy to hear the story of his life from the pure lips of his loving mother, than to hear it first from the lips of some ignorant and wicked boy or man? Well this is the story of your life. You cannot understand now how much your mamma suffered in bringing you into this world. Then, both your father and mother have made many sacrifices for you and are deeply interested in your future. If you should make a shipwreck of life, I am sure that their old days would be spent in grief. How can you repay your parents for all their sacrifices? If you will keep your thoughts, words and actions pure, every time your parents see or think of you, they will be thrilled with joy and appreciation. Will you not now promise yourself and promise God that by His forgiveness of the past, grace and help now and in the future, that you will keep yourself pure? When you have done this will you not go and kiss mamma, and tell her that you love her better than ever before and that you are determined to live up to her prayers and wishes?

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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When our little girls were seven and nine this talk was given. The previous stories were reviewed bringing out the resemblances and differences. They were permitted to ask questions. In this talk they were very alert to see and apply all the lessons learned from previous stories.

The beginning of love.—In this review of the story of life, among the plants and fish, we found no love or personal feeling between the male and female. Among the insects and reptiles we found that the males and females choose each other, when led by instinct to bring their young into the world. From the fish to the birds we find the simplest form of love and interest on the part of the parents in their young. This is shown by the care the parents take in the protection and care of the eggs and the food prepared for the young before they are hatched. The male crawfish picks up the fertilized eggs with his feelers, that are arranged in a double row underneath his tail, and, by means of these feelers, he carries the eggs close to his body until they are nearly ready to hatch. The frogs and toads show great tenderness for their eggs. A great many books have been written about all these animals and when you are older you will be greatly interested in learning more of the detail of reproduction among these curious animals. Among all the animals we have studied the male and female separate as soon as the eggs are fertilized and laid, in other cases as soon as the eggs begin to hatch. The parent animals show no interest in their young after they are hatched and their children never know their parents or love them.

The ant and the bee.—Two exceptions should be made to the above statement, the bee and the ant. They do not pair off and mate, as do other insects, but they live in colonies, or societies. They do not seem to have any special interest in their offspring or even a mate, but in the whole community of bees or ants. The perfect social organizations they form and the homes they build rival the skill and intelligence of man. There are some interesting books written about the bee and ant by persons who have spent years in studying them. When you are older you may be interested in reading such books.

Baby birds.—We will study God’s plan among the birds. In studying the family life of the birds we find a higher form of instinct, more love and care for each other and their young than among the animals we have studied.

We often feel disgusted at the ugly, slimy toads, lizards and serpents living in swamps and pools. But not so with the birds. Most of them are very interesting and beautiful and some are fine musicians. Among most of the wild birds of the fields and forests, in the spring time the male chooses among the females the one that most suits his fancy and they are mated or married. When they decide to raise them a family they build them a nest. This is their home. The partridge and lark build their nests on the ground, the swallow in chimneys, the pigeons in barns, the woodcocks and woodpeckers in hollow limbs, the wild ducks and geese on the ledges of rocky cliffs, or in the high grass and weeds on the edge of a lake, but most birds build their homes in bushes and trees. The cuckoo does not build a nest, but lays her eggs in the nest of other birds, to get rid of all labor and trouble of hatching, feeding and rearing her young. We feel a natural contempt for the cuckoo. In every female bird there are organs called ovaries where at certain seasons little eggs are formed.

While small or soft they are fertilized by the male bird. As the egg grows in the body of the mother bird a hard thin shell is formed around them. When the eggs are fully formed and the nest is completed, the mother bird lays the eggs in the nest, usually one egg a day. For several days these eggs must have some extra heat or they will not hatch. Among most birds, the mother sits on her eggs so that the warmth of her body will cause the fertilized cell in each egg to form the little bird. While she sits on the eggs the father bird gathers fresh berries and worms and brings them to the mother bird to eat. When not bringing her water or food, he is usually found perched upon a nearby limb cheering his wife by talking and singing to her. When her little legs become tired, he will take her place, while she goes and finds fresh food or water. When the little birds are hatched, from sunrise to sunset the parents are busy catching worms and insects and feeding their young. As their children grow older and larger, in some mysterious way, they teach them the danger of men and guns, cats and snakes. When they are about grown they are taught to fly. From this time until the next spring they will live in flocks, when they will again mate and raise a family. In this way all the beautiful feathery songsters are brought into this world.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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The story of baby oysters.—Before telling this story to my little girls I reviewed the story of the plants. This refreshed in their minds certain very important laws that they had learned in the first talk. This talk was given when they were about six and eight years old.

In studying the story of life among the plants, you will remember that we learned that in most plants the male and female organs of sex were in the same flower. Among the lower forms of animal life, we find both the male and female natures in the same animal. The oyster furnishes a good example. These little animals are surrounded with and fastened to a very hard and heavy shell. These animals live in great masses and their shells are cemented together. Growing in this way they cannot move about, or mix and mingle with each other. The mother parts of the oyster produce little eggs which are fertilized by a substance formed by other organs containing the father nature. The fertilized egg, when laid, floats off and becomes attached to the shell of some oyster on a nearby rock.{ Later, it hatches and the little baby oyster forms about its body a hard shell that is made larger as the little animal grows. In this way the little oysters come into the world. Among the oysters, we find the same laws that we found in the plants, i. e., each baby oyster must have a father and mother and the father and mother natures must unite. In the plants the father and mother natures unite in a little seed; in the oyster this union takes place in a little egg.

When God made the fish, lizards, snakes, birds and higher animals, he gave to one a papa or male nature, with suitable sexual organs; to another animal of the same kind he gave a mamma or female nature, with suitable female or sexual organs. In the plants we find that the female sexual organs, the ovaries, produced little seed. We found that the male sexual organs, the stamens, produced a fine powdery substance called pollen. Among the animals, the sexual organs of the mother produces little eggs and the sexual organs of the father produces a fluid called semen.

The story of baby fish.—Now we will study the fish. In the spring season of the year thousands of tiny eggs are formed in the ovaries of the mother fish. When these eggs are matured, the mother fishes swim in large crowds, called “schools,” from the deep water of a stream, river or sea to some shallow place that seems to them to be suitable for a nest or home for their young. The mother fishes lay their eggs in a mass of albuminous substance, like the white of an egg, that spreads out in a very thin sheet holding the little eggs one in a place and close together. The father fishes swim along sometimes a foot, a yard or more behind the mothers and expel from their bodies the semen that unites with and fertilizes the eggs. This special fluid of the male fish is formed by his sexual glands, called testes. In this way the father nature unites with the mother nature to produce every little fish that comes into this world.

Why the mother fish lays so many eggs.—The female fish forms thousands of these little eggs in her body each year. The female codfish has been known to lay as many as 6,000,000 eggs in one season. You could not count as many in a lifetime. The reason why the mother fish produces so many eggs is, that not one fish egg in twenty-five, on an average, will ever hatch and not more than one out of twenty-five little fishes ever grow to be an inch long. They have little, or no, protection, and they have so many enemies. There are hogs, turtles, crocodiles and alligators; the ducks, geese and other water fowls; as well as most of the fish that feed upon fish eggs and small fish. That the streams, rivers and seas may be kept supplied with an abundance of fish, God has planned for the mother fish to lay thousands of eggs.{

All baby fish are orphans.—Most kinds of fish leave their eggs as soon as they are laid and fertilized and never see or know their young. There are a few male fish, known as game fish, which swim over and around the eggs until they are hatched to keep other kinds of fish from eating the eggs. As soon as the eggs are hatched, he leaves. In this way all little fish grow up as orphans. They never know or enjoy the presence of their parents. The parent fish do not labor or sacrifice for their young, and, for this reason, they have no love for them. Should they ever meet their young in the river or sea they would have no way of knowing them or of feeling any sense of joy.

Fish do not pair off.—We found in the study of the plants that the seed were fertilized while in the pod or ovary. In the fish we found that the eggs are fertilized outside of the mother’s body. In nearly all the animals above the fish the eggs or ova are fertilized while in the mother’s body. There is no love between the male and the female fish. They do not pair off and live in families. Among all the spiders, lizards, serpents, many of the insects, crawfish, frogs and toads there is a tendency, at certain seasons, for the male to choose a female with a view to a home and family. But among all the animals we have named, many of the male and female animals part or leave each other as soon as the eggs are fertilized, and all{ the others leave each other as soon as the eggs are hatched. The love of the male for the female lasts but for a little time; while there is no love for their young after they are hatched. Before the young are hatched some of their parents show interest in their eggs and make some provisions for their young when hatched. But this is all done before the young are hatched. The young all grow up as little orphans.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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The author’s experience.—When our girls, Fay and Fern, were six and four years of age, they became interested in learning about their coming into the world. Their mamma had told me of their puzzling questions. We agreed that I should tell them a story of life, every six months or a year, until they were nine or ten. Then their mamma should tell them the last story, the story of their life.

A few days later some young men, whom we were helping through college, and I were working among the flowers, when one of the girls made some inquiry about the relation of birds. This naturally opened the way for my first talk. I promised her and her sister a very interesting story at the rest hour at noon. As ever, they were both anxious to hear a new story. Dinner over, they followed me into the greenhouse. I gathered a number of flowers and invited them to be seated near me while I told them the story.

Praise a child for asking.—I opened the story by saying, “Mamma tells me that you have become interested in knowing where you were before you were born and how you got into this world. We have talked together about your interest in this matter and we are glad that you have asked these questions, and especially because you came first to us. For you to ask these questions so early in life indicates that you are very bright and intelligent. We are your natural teachers. We love you as no one else does or can. In the future, anything you wish to know about yourselves, come to us and we will take pleasure in telling you all that is best for you to know.”

Why the child should be told gradually.—You would like to be able to read and understand all there is in the fourth reader. There is nothing in the fourth reader that could do you a particle of harm. There are many things in the fourth reader that you could not understand. Papa and mamma might read and try to explain them to you. Still, there would be some things that we could not make plain to you, for the reason that you are not old enough for your little minds to grasp them. You understand that you must learn first what there is in the first reader. When you have learned all there is in it, then you are ready for the second reader. The mastery of the second reader prepares you for the third and the third reader prepares you for the fourth. There are some things that you understand to-day, that you could not understand six months ago. This great world is full of things that you cannot understand now; but, as you grow older and your mind grows stronger, step by step, you will learn and understand things that you cannot understand now. There are so many things in this world that may be known, that no one lives long enough to learn them all. Just so, you would like to know how God brings little children into this world. This is God’s wonderful plan. It could not do you a bit of harm to know all about it, if you could understand it. But you are not old enough now. Papa can tell you a beautiful story about how God brings all the little sprigs of grass, weeds, vegetables and trees into the world now, and in a few months I can tell you about the mussels, oysters and fish. Then, when you are a year older, I will tell you about the birds; later, I will tell you about the higher animals. When you are eight or ten, mamma will tell you the last story—God’s beautiful plan of bringing little children into the home.

Some things right one time and wrong at another.—You are both old enough to know that there are some things we do that is right for us to do under certain conditions, but would be very wrong for us to do under other conditions. Some things would be right to do during the week, but wrong if done on Sunday. Every few days you take an all-over bath. It is perfectly right for you to take these baths and for your mamma to help you. All people, who desire to live cleanly lives and enjoy good health, take frequent all-over baths. But you have noticed that when you take baths, other people are not invited to be present, not even papa is present. This is because our bodies are sacred. We wear clothing that our bodies may not be exposed to the gaze of other people.

We do not speak the name of God and Jesus in a light and frivolous way because these names are sacred.

Why we do not talk about the origin of life.—One of the most delicate, pure and sacred experiences connected with human life is God’s beautiful plan of bringing little children into the home. It is so sacred, pure and delicate that good people seldom speak of it, and never in a light and foolish way. It is for this reason that you have never heard your mamma and papa speak of it. It is right for fathers and mothers, husbands and wives to speak to each other about this matter; also, for grown people, when there is some good reason for doing so. It is not wise or best for little children to talk about how children come into the world except to their parents. We are your natural teachers and we want you always to feel free to come to us with questions about things of this nature. When you are older you will understand better why papa gives you this advice.

Many men and women, boys and girls have not been carefully trained to be good. They get angry and quarrel or fight, use bad language, break the Sabbath, and do many other wrong things. Some appear to take pleasure in doing wrong and in leading others to do wrong. This class of people do not look upon God’s plan of bringing little children into the world as being pure and sacred. They use very bad language when they try to talk about the story of life or tell it to others. When little children hear these people talk about the story of life, their little minds and hearts are filled with bad words and very wicked thoughts. In this way many little boys and girls are started wrong in life and they are sure to have a hard and painful struggle to rid themselves of impure thoughts, words and habits in after life.

It may not be very long until some schoolmate or someone older than you will say, “I know something that you don’t. You would like to know it and I will tell you, if you will not tell your papa and mamma about it.” Now, girls, whenever someone wants to tell you something and asks you not to tell your mamma and papa, you may be sure that it is wrong, that it will injure you, and most likely it is false. Mamma and papa would advise you to say to them, “We don’t want to hear anything that we cannot talk about to mamma and papa.”{

Story of the plants.—The story of life that papa will tell you to-day will be about the plants, vegetables and trees, how their young come into the world. Papa has gathered some beautiful flowers with which to illustrate the story. This will be our first lesson in Botany. Every part of a plant has special names. Many of the names are too difficult for you to remember. When you get older you will learn and remember the names. The story of life in all flowering plants begins in the flower.

The outer parts.—At sight, we notice that the many parts of a flower are arranged in whorls or circles. The outer whorl is called the (1) calix. You will notice that in some of these flowers, the calix is highly colored, in others it looks like little green leaves and in some of the flowers the calix is absent. You will observe that in some flowers the calix is composed of four or more parts. These separate parts are called (2) sepals. In other flowers the sepals have grown together so they appear to be only one sepal. In such flowers we count the sepals by the small notches on top.

The second whorl is called the (3) corolla. This whorl is usually the most highly colored part of the flower. If either of these whorls is absent in a flower, it is the calix. Sometimes both whorls are absent. The separate parts of the corolla are called (4) petals. Sometimes the petals are separate from the base of the flower. In other flowers they are more or less united.

The papa parts.—While the calix and corolla form the most attractive and beautiful parts, they are not the most important parts of a flower. The prettiest things are not always the best or most useful things. Let us now carefully examine these central organs. They are called the essential organs. Were it not for these organs in the flowers, no new grasses, plants, vegetables and trees would come into this world. Such a misfortune would rob this world of most of its beauty and much of its value. In this flower, the next whorl consists of a number of small slender organs. These are called (5) stamens. They are the father parts of the flower and possess the father nature. On top of these organs are little delicate bodies, poised lightly, and filled with a very fine dust. These little bodies are called (6) anthers. The fine grains of powder are called pollen. You can rub the pollen off with your finger. This dust varies slightly in color in different flowers.

The mamma parts.—The central organ in this flower is called the pistil. The pistil is composed of three parts. At the base of the pistil is the (7) pod, more correctly called the ovary. In the ovary little seed are formed. On top of the ovary is a slender organ called the style. On top of the style is a spongy enlargement called the (9) stigma. The stigma, style and ovary form the mother part of the flower and possess the mother nature. In some plants each flower has more than one pistil.

How the papa and mamma natures unite.—When the pollen is ripe, the anther cells burst open and the little, light, powdery pollen falls out and it is carried by gravity, the wind or by insects to the stigma. The little pores of the stigma open and admit the grains of pollen and the style carries the pollen to the ovary where it unites with the little seed. The seed are then said to be fertilized. This means that the father and mother natures have united in the seed. The seed grow and develop in the ovary. While this is being done, food for the little baby plants to live on while only a day or two old, is being stored up in the seed. In such seed is the tiny beginning of a future plant. The seed ripen in the pod. The pod bursts open and the seed fall upon the ground, or men gather them, and later plant them in the soil. The spring sunshine and rain cause the seed to sprout and as tiny stems appear above the ground, only an inch or so high, they are nothing in the world but little baby sprigs of grass, little baby weeds, little baby vegetables or little baby trees.

When God created the first grasses, plants and trees, He commanded them to be “fruitful and multiply.” In this story you have learned how all the grown-up plants and trees obey this command of God.

The two natures do not always exist in the same flower.—In the flowers we have studied, we found both the male and female organs in the same flower. Each flower possessed the two natures, male and female. But this is not true of all plants and trees. In some plants and trees flowers can be found having only stamens. These would be father-flowers. They could not produce seed or fruit. On some plants and trees may be found flowers having only pistils. These are mother-flowers. Flowers of these two kinds may be found growing on the same limb of a plant or tree, or on different limbs, or on different trees. The poplar and willow trees are examples of the last kind.

In the case of the Indian corn, the ear of corn, including the cob, the grains, shuck and silk form the mother part of the cornstalk. The tassel of the cornstalk is the father part and contains the father nature. The tassel produces a great deal of pollen. You have, on passing through a patch of corn, noticed the pollen falling everywhere and covering everything. Ears of corn sometimes have as many as 1000 grains of corn to the cob. Each grain sends out one or more little silks beyond the shuck to catch some of the pollen. Should these little silks fail to catch the grains of pollen, no grains of corn would form on the cob. The father and mother natures must unite if little seed are formed. From this we learn why it is that every little sprig of grass, weed, vegetable, and tree must have a father and mother and their natures must unite.

The three methods.—We mentioned three ways by which the pollen from the male organs is carried to the stigma of the female organ: wind, gravity and insects. In the corn, the ears are below the tassel and gravity is all that is necessary to carry the pollen to the silks. Where one tree bears bloom having only stamens and another tree of the same species bears flowers having only pistils, nature may use both the wind and insects in carrying the pollen from the male to the female tree. In some plants and trees the blooms are so constructed that gravity and the wind are of but little service. In such flowers a sweet juice is formed at the base of the flower. This attracts the bees and insects. As they press down into the flower to sip the sweet juice they rub off some of the pollen on to their wings, legs and back. The next flower they enter, some of this pollen is rubbed off on the stigma of that flower. In this way the seed are fertilized. From this we see that the real purpose of the sweet juice in the flower, is not produced for food for the insects, but for the purpose of attracting the insects so they may carry the pollen from one flower to another.

A most wise, sacred and beautiful plan.—In this little story, you have learned in a general way God’s plan of bringing all little grasses, plants, vegetables and trees into being that come from a seed. You have learned two great laws, namely; every plant that comes from a seed must have a father and mother, and, the father and mother natures must unite in the seed. These two great laws are just as true in the animals and in the human family as among the plants. When we most admire a beautiful bed of flowers or a blooming tree, when we gather a bouquet of flowers to wear, or offer to a friend, at that very moment the two natures are uniting for the purpose of increasing their kind. God is the author of the male and female organs of the plants and for this reason the union of their two natures is sacred and pure. Plants were the first living things that God made; man was the last. The plants were at the bottom of God’s work of creation; man was at the top. If the same laws we have found in the plants, that enable them to bring their little children into the world, are the same laws that enable human fathers and mothers to bring their little children into the world, and since we found this plan to be sacred and pure among all the flowers; then this same plan, when used in the human family, must be pure and sacred. If man is so much higher in the scale of life than the flower, then these laws must be even more sacred in the human family. This will show you how very degrading it is to entertain low and vulgar thoughts about the coming of little children into this world, as some people do.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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Social conditions of childhood changed.—The social conditions of childhood have changed much in the last fifty years. Just as our children have opportunities and possibilities far greater than had we when we were children; so they are exposed to temptations and dangers greater than were we, when we were children. The suggestive, and oft-times positively obscene pictures on post cards, in books and on billboards; the viciously immoral literature; the cheap moving picture shows of to-day, were not social problems threatening the purity of our childhood.

Knowledge of self important.—There were ethical, biological and vital truths that our parents, because of mock modesty and a false and inadequate education, failed to give us in our childhood. This was a serious defect in our early education. We met with temptations, were often overcome by them and we are not what we might have been had we been safeguarded by a better knowledge of ourselves. But, because of the better social conditions of our childhood, we were better able to grow up without this information and with less injury to ourselves, than our children can, without this information, under present social conditions. If we would safeguard the character of the children of to-day and the youths of to-morrow and the manhood and the womanhood of the succeeding day we must give our children a correct knowledge of themselves.

The confidence of childhood.—When children are born, they have a capacity for learning how to stand alone, crawl, walk, love and hate, speak and read, to judge of what is right and wrong. All they may come to know in the future, true or false, good or evil, they must learn. Coming into our homes without knowledge and utterly helpless, they naturally come to recognize their parents as their rightful teachers and to have absolute confidence in them. Ask a child from three to ten years old who he thinks is the best man in the world. The reply will be, “my papa.” Ask him who he thinks is the best woman in the world. The instinctive reply will be, “my mamma.” The answer may be true or false, but we do not question the sincerity of the child. The greatest calamity that can come to that child, comes when he is compelled by convincing evidence to reverse in his judgment this sincereand implicit faith in the goodness of his parents. No greater misfortune than this, can come to the parents. This natural and complete confidence and dependence of the child gives the parents a very decided advantage over all other teachers in the future training of the child.

Inquisitiveness of childhood.—It is because of this natural confidence that the child goes to the parents with his many questions. The almost ceaseless activity and playfulness of a child, are in response to nature’s call for exercise in the natural and healthful development of every organ of the body. The many questions of a child are in response to nature’s call for exercise in the development of every faculty of the mind. The unfolding, growing, developing mind of a child naturally asks questions. It is for this reason that a child is said to be an animated interrogation point. Some of the questions of a child may perplex a philosopher, tax the patience of a Job, or embarrass a brass monkey; but the naturalness and sincerity of the child demand honesty, frankness and wisdom on the part of parents.

How did I get into this world?—At the age of three, four and five the child will begin to ask questions as, “Where does the rain come from? Where does the snow come from? Where do the clouds come from?” When kittens, pups, pigs, a calf, a colt are born, the child very naturally asks about their origin. The child is told repeatedly that he is four, five or six years old; that he has had that number of birthdays and has seen that number of Christmases. He remembers only half of them. He listens with interest to his parents as they relate some thrilling event of years gone by. A bright inquiring child will naturally ask, “Mamma, was I in the world at that time?” The mamma replies, “No, darling, that happened six months before you were born.” How very natural it was for the child to ask, “Well, mamma, where was I at that time? How did I get into the world?” An angel could not be more sincere, or ask a purer question. This was no evidence of the child’s depravity. When I find a child of seven or eight years old who has not asked about his origin, I know that one of three conditions will explain this unusual mental state of the child. (1) The parents have not encouraged the child’s mental development by permitting him to be free in asking questions. (2) The child has heard the story of life told by vicious companions, in half truths, clothed in vulgar language and is keeping his information a secret from his parents. (3) The child is not developing quite as fast as I would like for my child to develop.

The unsatisfied mind.—When the inquiring mind of a child has once become interested in this question, it is not possible for him to be satisfied until a plausible answer has been received. The child’s future, physical, mental and moral life more largely depends upon the answer given to this question, than to any other question of his childhood.

The most vital part of a child’s education neglected.—In the past, parents, teachers, reformers and ministers have very largely held to the old theory, that, if children are to be kept pure and innocent, they must be kept ignorant of all information pertaining to sex. We have them learn the physiology, anatomy and hygiene of their brain, heart, lungs, digestive and nervous systems as if their very lives depended upon a correct knowledge of these parts; but we have allowed them to grow up in total ignorance concerning the sacred sanctuary and function of human reproduction, upon which so much of health, happiness and success in life depends.

Mistakes of the past.—In the past all faithful parents have loved their children as much as we have loved our children. They were as much interested in safeguarding the virtue of their children as are the parents of to-day. They endeavored to train their children in harmony with their ideals of right. Our parents, in their childhood, got the idea that all language and information concerning sex was essentially impure. All their information was received from vicious, ignorant sources. In matured life, they came to see that all the words and language they had heard pertaining to sex and all the mental and moral impressions they had received, had done them great harm. Their experience led them unwisely to conclude that all information of this kind is injurious to a child. They failed to see the difference between receiving only half-truths, expressed in vulgar words and phrases, taught by the vicious and ignorant; and in receiving the pure truth, in chaste language from the lips of a wise teacher, a noble father or a pure mother. A nugget of gold may be pure gold, whether found in a mud hole, a slop bucket, a tar bucket, or a clear stream of water. But, if you come in contact with the surroundings of the gold, your remaining clean, becoming cleaner, or becoming soiled, will depend on the place where you find the gold. The effects, good or bad, of sex knowledge, upon a child are largely determined by where and how he gets his information. If he gets this information from a careful and wise teacher no harm can come from it. If he gets the information from the misinformed and the impure, only harm will follow.

To teach sex truths, two qualifications necessary.—You would not think of having your child taught mathematics by one, who, himself, was never properly taught, or who knew only half-truths about mathematics. You might not demand of him a moral qualification, if he possessed the intellectual equipment. But, in the teaching of sex, a moral qualification is even more necessary than the intellectual. But few adults are prepared to tell the story of life to a child, and fewer still are prepared to give additional instruction as the child grows older. For one to do this work successfully two qualifications are absolutely necessary. (1) Parents and teachers must have a moral qualification. They must regard the organs of sex and their functions as pure and sacred. If they have the taint of lasciviousness in their thoughts of the creative function, it would be a dangerous experiment for them to attempt to teach their children about the origin of life, or to give other instruction to those more advanced in years. The misinformation and false education they received in childhood and the consequent mock modesty, are the greatest difficulties in the way of their performing this sacred duty to their children. For this reason the adult classes are as much in need of correct instruction in sex as are the children. (2) Parents and teachers must have a mental qualification. One-fifth of the names referring to the organs of sex, their functions and their abuse, that adults are forced to use when they try to express their thoughts about sex, could not be found in the dictionary, and, one-half of those that could be found in the dictionary would not refer in their meaning, even remotely, to the sexual system. They picked up these words in childhood from ignorant schoolmates and companions whose minds were tainted with debasing thoughts of sex. The use of these vulgar words, in the presence of a boy who has heard them before, suggests to his mind that which is lascivious. Those who would teach these things, to the young or old, should be able to command a chaste, clean, plain, language.

How a father failed.—During one of my courses of lectures, a cultured lawyer invited me to his office for an interview. He reproduced, in language and gesture as best he could, a speech he had made to his twelve-year old boy warning him of the dangers of the secret sin. I saw the lawyer was deeply interested in his boy. He loved him and was deeply concerned about his future. The language he used was the same he had learned when a boy and the same his boy had evidently heard on the playground. I question whether the father’s advice did his son much good. Here was a case where good service was neutralized by suggestive language.

How a teacher failed.—A few months ago I lectured in a city where immorality was appalling. The superintendent of schools called into the chapel about six hundred boys, from ten to eighteen, and attempted to lecture them on social purity. He soon became embarrassed, used some street terms, excited lascivious thoughts, looks, smiles and laughter among the boys and utterly failed in his efforts. If this lawyer and teacher failed with the advantages and solicitude they must have had, would not the great mass of parents, teachers and ministers fail for the same reasons.

Parents not wholly responsible.—A few editors, doctors and reformers have censured parents severely for not teaching their children the truth on these subjects. They should remember that ten years ago a very few parents had read a sane book or listened to an intelligent lecture on these subjects. Their only information had been gained from the playground and street on the sly. Courses of lectures, adapted to age and sex, should be given in every community. Ministers, teachers, physicians, merchants, parents, young and old, educated and uneducated, all should hear them. A few standard books on sex-hygiene and social purity should be put in every home. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” More people are in physical, mental and moral slavery because of ignorance concerning the laws of sex, than all other causes combined. It follows that those who have learned the truth should impart it to those who have it not.

How children have been treated in the past.—We have seen how parents have been led in the past to conclude that all information as to the origin of life is injurious to a child. For a child to inquire, “Where was I before I was born? How did I get into this world?” was a sure sign of his depravity. As a result of these traditionary ideas some parents have slapped a child for asking about his origin. Still, others have scolded and ordered the child from the room, commanding him never to ask such ugly questions again. What must be the feelings of a child treated in such an unappreciative and heartless way! Such treatment has never satisfied the inquiring mind of any child. Under such treatment a child will go off alone, pained and puzzled to know what was wrong in that simple, natural, honest question. In most cases the child’s question has been evaded by some one of a hundred falsehoods about “swamps,” “sinkholes,” “hollow logs and stumps,” “bird nests,” “storks,” “old women,” “doctor’s satchel,” and “under a cabbage head.” When only a small boy, I was called from my bed early one spring morning to see a beautiful colt the mare had found. For awhile I looked at the colt with admiration and wonder. Then I very naturally inquired, “Where did the mare find her colt?” I was told that she found it in a nearby brush pile. For the next six months no brush pile escaped my eager eyes.

An example.—On my second lecture trip through Canada, a father told me how he answered his little girl’s question, “Papa, how did I get into this world?” His answer was as follows: “Daughter, God dropped you out of heaven one day while it was raining. Papa saw you falling from a cloud and ran out and caught you in his arms and brought you into the house.” That father was boasting of his tact and wisdom.

Another example.—A mother in the South, in reply to a similar question asked by her five-year-old boy, said: “Son, God sent you into this town on the Cotton Belt train, about three o’clock one afternoon. The doctor was at the depot and saw you. He knew that we wanted a little boy, so he put you in his satchel and brought you to mamma.” When this mother related this to me, her boy was nine years old and had not asked her another word about his origin. At the close of my lecture, with tears in her eyes, she said: “Professor, do you suppose that my little boy has been hearing vulgar stories and is keeping his information a secret from mamma?” “Yes, nine times out of ten, if you have a bright boy,” was my reply. Upon investigation she found that her boy had been hearing vulgar talk for about three years. How long do you suppose it will take that boy to eradicate from his mind and heart the evil effects of such training? It is not a question whether your child and mine shall get this information or not. That question is settled. The child will get the information. The questions for us to settle are: When shall this information be given? Who shall give it? What shall be given? How shall it be given?

Results of the old method.—I shall not call in question the love, sincerity and honesty of these parents. In most cases they were sincere and did the best they knew how. I am concerned about the results of this time-honored method. Did the old method of deception, misleading and false replies ever satisfy the inquiring mind of a child? Did the old method ever make a child wiser? Did it ever lead a child to regard human reproduction as delicate, sacred and pure? Did it ever lead a child to greater love and faith in its parents? Only negative answers can be given to all these questions.

How the child finds out.—As a rule, it is not long after a child becomes interested in his origin until some older child, a playmate or servant will say, “I know something that you do not know. You would like to know it. It is how little children come into this world. I will tell you all about it, if you will not tell your mamma and papa about it.” I do not care how good the child may be, how well trained, or how obedient: such is the intense interest of a child in the mystery of his life that he will agree to keep the story a secret. Now the child listens eagerly to the half-truths, couched in impure language and gets a perverted vision of the origin of life.

What are some of the results?—Five very sad misfortunes have come to the child. (1) The child has learned that his parents evaded his question; in most cases, he discovers the answer to have been a falsehood. (2) To the extent that the child comprehends the falsehood, does he lose confidence in his parents. (3) He has learned to keep these vital matters a secret from his parents. (4) The child cannot think of his parents’ relation to the initial of his life, except in terms of vulgarity. Early images do not easily leave the mind of a child. Ugly words, impure pictures, obscene language, with all their vile suggestiveness, ofttimes remain through life. (5) He regards the organs of sex and their functions as vile and sinful. God never planned that any human being should entertain any such degrading and demoralizing views of the divinely created organs and function of human reproduction. It is impossible to estimate the evil effects of this false training. Yet, there are many people, often very religious, who estimate their modesty, refinement and culture by the degree of conscious shame they have when questions of sex are referred to. Just to the extent that we fail to see that God is the author of sex, that sex is sacred and pure, our glory and not our shame, has a false training degraded us.

Boys lose confidence in their parents.—You ask, does a child lose confidence in his parents when he has discovered that they have told him a falsehood about his origin? Certainly he does. In the past three years not fewer than seven hundred and fifty young men from eighteen to thirty-five have written me for advice in regard to their youthful indiscretions. One question I have invariably asked those young men, “Did your father ever warn you of your sexual dangers?” Only two have replied in the affirmative. Those young men were once as innocent and pure as your little boy. They first went to their parents for information about these delicate matters. They were treated as I have described. They received their information from sources and in a way that led to sexual abuse.

Girls lose confidence in mother.—While on a seven thousand-mile lecture trip, in company with twenty other lecturers, conducting purity conventions in many of the large cities in the United States and Canada, after the evening sessions were over, in company with one or two detectives and other parties of our crowd, we visited the “red light” districts and saw several thousand erring girls from twelve to twenty years old. Those girls were once as innocent, pure and sweet as yours or mine. They first went to their mothers and asked about the origin of their lives. Those were golden opportunities for safeguarding the virtue of those girls. More easily than at any other time in life could those girls have been impressed with the sacredness of sex. At no other time in life is it so true that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Much more of Christian effort is put forth to rescue the fallen than to prevent the youths from falling. More churches are open to lectures on rescue work than on preventive work. More money can be raised for rescue work than can be raised to prevent youths from falling.

Boys and girls want to know the real truth.—One morning a number of high school boys requested that I give them a lecture more advanced than the one I had given. While passing through the hall, at the close of this special lecture to the young men, I was approached by the lady principal with the request from the high school girls for a special lecture. She told me that fourteen had made the request and that several added: “We wish that Prof. Shannon was a lady lecturer. There are so many things we would like to know, but would hesitate to ask a gentleman lecturer.” Then the lady teacher added, “I said, girls, why do you not ask your mamma for such information?” With hands uplifted, a look of surprise, a gasp for breath, those girls replied: “I would not think of asking mamma such questions.” Why not? Let me tell you why. When they were little innocent girls they went to their mothers with their first questions of sex. They were treated as already indicated. Their inquiring minds and unsatisfied interests in the mysteries of life led them to go elsewhere for this information. It was at this point in their lives that a chasm started to form between themselves and their mothers. There is not one boy in twenty-five who will go voluntarily to his father for information or advice about his sex-nature. The same statement is almost as true about girls and their mothers.

1,000,000 children adrift.—1,500,000 children are born annually in this Christian nation. One-third of this number die before they are ten years old. Annually one million children inquire, “How did I get into this world?” Not more than one in twenty receive a kind, truthful and intelligent reply. More than nine-tenths are treated in one of the following ways: (1) Told some one of fifty falsehoods. (2) A slap, with orders to clear out. (3) Some form of ridicule, such as “shame on you.” “Don’t let me hear you ask such an ugly question again.” “I am disgusted with you.” That settles it. The golden cords of confidence and influence are severed. Never again will those children go to their parents for information pertaining to sex. Elsewhere, they will find friends who will gladly give them the information. These children, one million strong, are now adrift on the storm-tossed sea of passion, without chart or compass; drifting, drifting, drifting for years toward ports, to them, unknown.
Danger!

Danger!

 

The virtue of a quarter of a million of boys sacrificed.—Time passes. The boys are now sixteen to twenty-five. They have boon and base companions. Their imaginations are at fever heat with morbid interest and their ambitions are aflame with daring. One quarter of a million young men annually sacrifice the priceless gem of manhood’s virtue just here. Now, they are nearing the fearful rapids of vice where most of this number annually become diseased and many perish as sex-maniacs in the awful maelstrom of lust.

60,000 girls annually.—With the passing of time, the girls from twelve to seventeen, many without the safeguard of knowledge, are associating freely, gayly with their boon male companions, exposed to all the temptations and dangers incident to young womanhood. Many, many thousand young women annually sacrifice the priceless gem of womanhood’s virtue just here. Owing to the double standard of morals, sixty thousand of this number are forced against their own wills into the public maelstroms of immorality.

Who is to blame.—Thousands of poor prudish parents line the shores, and, with broken, bleeding hearts are crying out in anguish, “My God, my God, why has this awful blow fallen on us?” The poor, ignorant, diseased, exiled, passion-ridden children, in many cases beyond the reach of the home, society and the church, exclaim, “Oh, if I had only been told of these dangers!”

All along the almost socially inaccessible rock-bound shores of this sea of human passion, the churches and philanthropists are building and maintaining rescue and foundling homes at an outlay of millions in money. They are not, and cannot, rescue one in twenty. The foundling homes are crowded to a dangerous, unsanitary overflowing with illegitimate children, whose mothers are out in the rapids of vice, or entirely lost in the maelstrom of immorality. Too long have the churches been satisfied with snatching, here and there, a piece of human wreckage from the waves of vice, instead of erecting a lighthouse system of properly warning and informing the childhood of the land.

The new way.—We have seen the results of the old way of dealing with children in matters of sex. Is there a new and better way? We shall see. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The new and better way is to tell the truth to the child.

How shall a child be told.—One day when our little girls were four and six, wife said, “Husband, I am in trouble about our little girls. They are asking where they were before they were born and how they got into this world. How am I to answer them?” “Tell them the truth,” was my reply. “But, they are not old enough to be told the whole truth,” was her reply. We talked over the problem and arrived at the following solution of the problem: Since I had been a teacher of biology for years, and it was presumed that I was familiar with the stories of life among the plants and animals, it was agreed that I should at once tell them a nice little story about God’s beautiful plan of bringing all the little plants into the world. Six months later I was to tell them the story of life about the oysters and fish. Every six months to a year I was to tell them a more advanced story. As they were girls, wife reserved the right to tell them the last story to be told when they were nine and ten.

These stories were all told in the order given. Our girls are now twelve and fourteen. We have never had an occasion to regret that we have followed this natural method of instructing them. They seem to have no morbid curiosity about questions of sex. They look upon the facts as being natural, sacred and pure. Wife and I can approach them on these subjects without embarrassment to them or us.

When should a child be told?—The average boy should be told all these stories by the time he is eight, not later than nine. The average girl should be told all these stories by the time she is nine, not later than ten. The developing mind of the average child and the social influences to which he is exposed, demand that he be safeguarded by the whole truth, this early in life. While the girl and boy develop alike until they are ten or eleven, the boy being exposed to vicious companions more than is his sister, he should be told the story of life earlier than she. At the age of seven, boys know more about these things than the girls do at ten and twelve. You had better tell the child the truth at six, than to have him told by the vicious at the age of seven. If a child could understand the story of life at three, and was properly trained afterward, this information could not do him one particle of harm. This statement is either absolutely true, or God is the author of a plan of human increase, the knowledge of which is essentially sinful. Personally, I decline to believe the latter.

If the child has been informed by vicious playmates or servants and his mind has been tainted, the only sane and safe method is to tell him the full truth as quickly as possible, regardless of his age.

If the child has been allowed to grow up to the age of nine or ten, ignorant of the story of life, I would tell him all the stories, beginning with the first story, telling them only a few days apart. Where parents are not prepared to do this, I would advise them to place a suitable book, presenting these stories in a clear, chaste and interesting way, in the hands of the child, saying, “Here is a very interesting little book telling you just what you will be interested in knowing and what I would like for you to understand.”

The ideal way.—The ideal way would be to start with the child when he first inquires about his origin, telling him the first story about the plants. Promise to tell him other stories about the oysters, fish, insects, birds, animals and man as he grows older and can understand them. Where a child is naturally very inquisitive and insists on knowing more, I would not hold him off too long for the next story.

How to introduce each new story.—I would introduce each new story by reviewing the story of the plants and flowers. There are at least three reasons for this. (1) You can go into all the details of reproduction in the flower without danger of awakening the sex consciousness of the child. (2) It saves going into the detail when you have come to the higher animals and man. The child’s mind usually comprehends more than we give it credit for. If he understands the details of reproduction in the flower, his innocent fancy will fill in the details when he hears the other stories. (3) If he has been so unfortunate as to fall in with bad company at any time and his mind has been tainted with their stories, there is no means you can use in ridding his mind of impurity, quite so effectively, as by telling him the story of life in the flower.

Teaching these truths in the public schools.—The violation of the laws of sex is the chief cause of physical, mental and moral degeneracy. The degenerate classes are increasing at an appalling rate. Correct sex-instruction in childhood is the most important and effective step in the solution of this problem. There is a growing conviction among the students of sociology that sex-hygiene should be taught in the public schools. There are some teachers in all departments of school work, who, in morals at least, are not fitted for this delicate work. At present, an extremely few have the educational qualification for this delicate work. When teachers are required to take a course of training in these subjects, there will still be but few who are possessed of the natural talent for effectively and wisely presenting these subjects to children of the different grades.

Already colleges and universities and even a few high schools have begun to teach sex hygiene in a limited scientific way. This work will first be introduced into the high school work and later, gradually be introduced into the lower grades. Definite instruction will not be given, for many years at least, and possibly never, to boys under eight, and girls under ten or eleven. If this statement is true, it will be seen that the schools will have left the first and most important part of this training to be done in the home. The teaching of morals in the public school can never be substituted for the teaching of morals in the home. The present great awakening on these subjects will shortly result in three-fourths of the parents teaching these truths in their homes. Since one-fourth of the children do not get any moral instruction in the home and they do not go to Sunday school or church, the public school is the only place where they can be given moral training for citizenship.

How this can be done.—In my opinion, the safest and most effective method of dealing with these questions in the public schools, for the present at least, would be for the school boards in two or three counties to select and employ a gentleman and a lady lecturer, having natural gifts, moral and educational qualifications, whose duty it shall be to lecture to all the boys and girls; the male lecturer, lecturing to the boys and the lady lecturer, lecturing to the girls. All other teachers should be required to be sufficiently versed in these matters to enable them to solve any individual problems that may arise in their social relations to the pupils in school.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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Home a unit of government.—As already observed, the home is a partnership. It is a unit of government. In an ideal unit of home government, every member is governed by and through an intelligent understanding of the customs, rules and laws, a conscientious recognition of what is right and wrong and the golden rule of love. Each have equal rights. What is wrong for one is equally wrong for each and all. What is right for one is equally right for each and all. Such a home is a unit of government where parents and children are organized under a constitution of intellect, conscience and love; for the purpose of building character, fitting themselves for larger citizenship in this life and the life that is to be the sequence to this one.

The home is the biggest institution in the world. Home building is the noblest and highest vocation in life. Its responsibilities are stupendous, its possibilities are limitless and its rewards are infinite. Home builders should be the best qualified and the most skillful of architects.

The training of a child.—Solomon said, “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The thoughts, actions and habits of childhood have much to do with a child’s future character and possibilities. When a child’s training is commenced in early childhood, was it begun soon enough? After a noted surgeon had examined a patient, turning to a friend he said, “If I could have had this patient two generations ago, I could have saved his life.” When Oliver Wendell Holmes was asked when a child’s training should begin, he replied, “At least one hundred years before he is born.” Sometimes it happens that good children are made bad and bad children are made worse by the company they keep before they are born. The little boy was not far wrong, who, when he found his mother lamenting the choice she had made of a life companion, said, “Mamma, we made a bad choice when we chose papa, didn’t we?” Some children have made an equally bad choice of their mammas and some appear to have made a doubly bad choice of both parents.

Each child must be studied.—A child is not easily understood. No two children are alike. Each child has a very complex nature. He is the product of the ages. The complex nature of his parents are blended into his being, producing a more complex being. He is not a duplicate of either. He has received from his parents a blending of their natures; in a limited way, what they inherited from his grandparents and their grandparents back to Adam. Parents and teachers should try to discover his latent forces, his slumbering passions, his genius, his inherent propensities and native goodness. They should wisely use nature’s laws and God’s gifts, in constraining, controlling and eradicating the inherited and acquainted tendencies that are pernicious; also in drawing out, giving direction to and developing the inherited and acquired good in his life.

Importance of early training.—Children in the home are to be trained. Their prenatal culture, the most important part of a child’s education, may have been respected or neglected. This cannot be altered now. The next agency to be utilized in the child’s training is environment. This can be applied from its birth. The child is more susceptible to external influences in babyhood than in childhood, in childhood than in youth, in youth than in maturity. The child becomes more fixed in disposition and character and more difficult to change as he grows older.

The training of parents.—If I were a perfect sage, philosopher or Christian, or all three combined into a perfect teacher, I would much prefer the task of training one hundred little children than the task of training ten parents (including the author) how to train their children. Most parents need to devote three hours, to a careful analysis and study of their inherited and acquired weaknesses, to one devoted to a similar study of a child.

A study of disposition.—Such peculiarities of mind and disposition as cruelty, ambition, firmness, conscientiousness and affection may be so pronounced in one’s life as to bias his judgment and unfit him for the training of children. When one of these characteristics is very dominant in a father or mother, it will most likely appear in an exaggerated form in one or more of the children. Like excites like, is a law that should be thoroughly understood by parents. Where firmness is very pronounced in both parents and child, there will be a constant clash unless one or both exercise full self-control. Such a child should be controlled largely by love. A severe or cruel parent will make a coward of a timid child and a criminal of a self-willed child. The over-conscientious parent will disgust one child and make a fanatic of another. The over-affectionate parent will appeal alone to the affections and leave the will of a child undeveloped. Appealing alone to the ambition of a very proud, ambitious child is likely to make him conceited and egotistical. For a parent to quarrel, have a fit of anger or to use violence is degrading and demonstrates his weakness and incapacity to be at the head of a family. At the same time, these mental states tend to awaken similar feelings in the child, which usually result in a clash. If the child had first displayed anger, this could have been overcome by self-control, kindness and love on the part of the parent.

The law of influence.—If you want to arouse a desirable feeling, sentiment, emotion or conviction in another, you must be controlled by that mental and moral state and allow it to emanate from you. If you are controlled, by an undesirable thought or feeling, others must have self-control enough to resist your influence, or soon they will be controlled by a similar mental state. Thus, we see that unless parents exercise judgment and self-control, they will often use methods that are unwise and harmful.

Defects in our homes and schools.—One of the saddest defects in our home training and our system of education is, that when a child reaches maturity in the home or graduates from the high school or college, he knows more about other things than he does about himself and the essentials of building a home. How to analyze, study, know and control one’s self; how to understand, train and govern children would be of far greater value in the education of young men and women than many departments of study we now emphasize.

The function of the home.—The children are in the home for the primary purpose of being developed into ideal men and women. To accomplish this end is the mission of parents. To do this effectively parents must possess high ideals. These ideals include such training and education as will lead to a strong and healthy body, a keen and well-trained intellect, a moral and religious character and an abiding faith in God.

Physical training.—The physical, mental and moral natures are intimately and vitally related. One influences each of the other two. The physical health and strength of a child hinders or helps the mental and moral life. The proper time to overcome the weakness of any physical function, or inherited physical weakness, is in childhood. This is done by proper dieting, hygienic living, bathing, exercise and sexual chastity. Improperly prepared and unwholesome food are the chief causes of death among infants and a leading cause of impaired indigestion in childhood. The kind of food used, effects the mind and character of the child. Too much candy, rich pastries and meat are not good for a child, or grown people either.

Use of medicine.—One hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) are spent annually on patent medicine and fully that much or more on mineral drugs. We are not animals. We do not know how to live. Few men would be willing to give a lawyer ten dollars to tell him how to keep out of trouble, but he will give him all he has to get him out of trouble. Few would give ten dollars to a doctor for preventive advice, but they will pay a doctor all they possess, for a cure. Oliver Wendell Holmes had a custom of saying, “If all the drugs of the world were thrown into the sea, it would be a blessing to humanity, but a curse to the fish.” Children should be kept healthy by hygienic living.

Use of condiments, coffee, tobacco, etc.—Condiments, tea, coffee and tobacco are not foods—they stimulate—they do not strengthen; they create unnatural appetites and inflame the passions. No one would drink tea or coffee were it not for the tannin and caffeine contained in them. If these drugs were removed, these drinks would be no more tempting than a cup of warm water. Most people, who use these drinks would consider it a sin to go to a drug store, buy some pure tannin or caffeine, dilute it with water, sweeten it with sugar and drink it.

The tobacco habit is an enormous evil.—It creates a demand for something stronger. It paves the way for the whisky habit. Drunkenness is largely due to a pathological physical condition. Remove the causes, coffee, tobacco and sensuality and it will do more to check drunkenness than all the legislation that can be secured in the next century.

Mental training.—The mental training of children is very largely committed to school and college teachers. Parents should take a very intense interest in the child’s education. They should study the talents and discover and strengthen the weaker faculties of the child. Most children get their minds “stuffed” with unassimilated facts. Nothing is clear to them. They do not remember what they have learned. They cannot reason logically. They have had their minds “stuffed.” Parents as well as teachers, can largely prevent this. From the earliest mental training of the child, he should be trained to take a personal interest in knowing things. He should be taught to think. Encourage a child to ask questions. If he asks questions which he should understand, have him answer them and give his reasons for the answer. In some cases ask him questions that will suggest an answer. Getting a child started right is the more important half of his education. He will look after the other half.

Moral training.—The object of all moral training of a child is self-government or self-control. Before a child is capable of self-government, he must be taught to distinguish between right and wrong. This is largely the work of the intellect. His conscience must be awakened and quickened. Conscience is a natural instinct through which God’s spirit and man’s conception, of right and wrong, prompts him to moral action, and which condemns the action he conceives to be wrong and approves the action he conceives to be right. The will must be so trained and developed that a childis able to will to do what he knows to be right and his conscience approves. He is now a perfectly free agent, a law to himself. He is governed from within and need not to be governed from without. This moral training requires years and should begin in infancy.

Let the baby alone.—Good babies are made bad by receiving too much attention. The baby should not be lifted from the cradle, fondled and coddled, kissed and talked to, simply because it gurgles or makes an innocent attempt to be noticed. This is needless attention. At first it is disagreeable to the child. Later a demand is created and the child is spoiled. If left alone babies would entertain themselves much of the time.

When a baby is learning to crawl and walk, observe the “let alone” policy as much as possible. Keep an eye on the child to see that it does not get hurt. What you do not want it to have, put out of its reach. It should be safeguarded from places of danger. If these precautions are taken, you will be saved the excuse for that endless round of “don’t get hurt,” “don’t touch that,” “don’t do that,” etc. By these endless “don’ts” children are taught disobedience. If the child falls, unless it is hurt, do not run and pick it up. Let it alone, it will get up. In this way you teach it to be independent and self-reliant. If you run and pick it up, the child gets the idea that you were to blame. Later, when it falls, it screams, cries and gets angry. Perhaps you hit the object and teach the child that the object over which it fell was at fault. This is deception and has a bad effect.

Give the child something to do.—Teach it to dress itself, to take off and put on its shoes and stockings. It should have a special place to put these, on retiring. It should have a drawer or a room where it can put its individual belongings. This teaches the child the idea of responsibility.

The first idea of wrongdoing.—When a child eats some forbidden thing, or does some forbidden act, from which it suffers, it can be led to see that it has violated the laws of nature. If possible, alleviate the pain, but the lesson which nature would teach, through pain, should be emphasized. The child should see that the pain came as a result of violating the laws of nature. A little later in life, the child can be taught that all desires, thoughts, words and acts that are helpful to self and others are right and those that injure self and others are wrong. These principles can be applied gradually to the laws of the home, of society and God.

Parents should agree.—There should be a perfect agreement between parents, with respect to the government in the home. Where parents disagree, children lose all respect for parental authority. Differences should be discussed by parents, only when the children are not present.

Punishment in the home.—Whipping, slapping and cuffing are relics of savagery. Whipping should never be resorted to except in extreme cases. It is not the natural consequence of disobedience. It never appeals to a child’s sense of justice. Punishment should always be natural and consistent with justice. Some examples will illustrate these principles, as follows: A child is called to breakfast—it does not come. Stubbornness or disobedience is the cause. What should be a natural punishment? Scolding, slapping, jerking the child up and forcing it to the table? No—there is no logical connection. The punishment should consist in the child’s doing without its breakfast. This should be explained to the child: A boy loses his toy. Should he be pitied and another bought for him? Certainly not. Should he be whipped? This would not be natural. He simply goes without his toy until he finds it: A boy steals some object. Should he be whipped? No. His attention should be called to the nature of his sin. He should be compelled, if necessary, to return the stolen object and confess his wrong. The deep sense of humiliation is the natural punishment. Let him feel the full force of it: A boy uses tobacco. Should he be whipped? Certainly not, as long as his teacher, the family doctor, the minister and the father use it. No child on earth could see any connection between the wrong and the punishment. What should be done? Nine times out of ten, under present conditions, the boy will use tobacco, in spite of all that a mother can do. So long as doctors, teachers, ministers and fathers use tobacco, legislation against the cigarette will increase our youthful criminals. If a father has a moral right to use tobacco, so has his boy. If the boy can be led to see clearly that the use of tobacco is wrong, if his conscience can be awakened and if his personal will can be brought to constantly oppose the use of it, then he can be saved. THIS IS THE ONLY REMEDY.

Study the offense.—Find the natural consequence. Become an example of obedience to every law, for your child. Show the child the results of wrong living and the benefits of right living. This will usually obviate all punishment, aside from what nature inflicts.

Corporal punishment.—If corporal punishment be unavoidable, it should not be administered when either parent or child is angry. This would only increase the cause that made the punishment necessary. In most cases it would be best to postpone the punishment until the next day. Only a very rebellious child can be helped by this method.

Scolding and threatening.—From a hotel window I heard a mother say to her twelve-year-old girl, “I will gouge your eyes out.” “I will slap your head off, you little hussy.” A child treated in this way becomes willful or spiteful, loses self-respect or respect for the parent. Scolding and threatening children are sins against their finer natures.

Three good rules.—The author’s father would not employ men on his farm without the understanding that they were not to swear, speak vulgarly about a woman, or tell a “ghost” or “bugaboo” story in the presence of his children. A servant, man or woman, about your business or home, can undo or counteract in a few hours or days, in a single statement or story, picture or book, act or habit, the life efforts of a noble father and a pure mother. One of the purest men recently said to me, “When I was only fifteen years of age I heard a servant utter one sentence that required a score of years to get its effects eradicated.” Men have told me of the pernicious effects of servants, dating back to when they were two and three years old. Frightful stories and startling statements, of impending dangers, destroy the natural freedom, independence and courage of many children for life. Once I sat by the side of a nervous mother holding a nervous four-year-old girl in her lap, as our train sped forward at the rate of fifty miles an hour, over one of those magnificent stretches on a western prairie. We had discussed heredity, child training and other interesting and vital subjects, when she referred to her nervous little girl and told me how at night she would notice her little body twitching, jerking, floundering and all at once she would awake with a scream having dreamed that she was falling from some dizzy height toward jagged rocks and certain death beneath; or that some huge angry beast, poised on tiptoes and in the act of pouncing upon her and tearing her body into shreds—a horrible nightmare. About the time she had finished describing one of those fearful experiences and was in the act of asking me for advice, we were passing an object on the outside that interested the little girl; quickly she turned and began peering through the window. She was in no danger. Her head was not projected beyond the window. The nervous mother grabbed the little girl by the body and cried, “You are falling! You are falling!” My reply to her request for advice was, “My! if you should handle me that way, I would have a half dozen nightmares here in open daylight.” I told that mother that her daughter’s nervousness was due to bad heredity and bad environment and that she was responsible for both.

Personal purity.—As soon as a child begins to enquire about its origin, it is old enough to be told the truth in the right way. Some children become interested when they are three and four, all normal children by the time they are seven. Since the inquiring mind will not rest satisfied until a plausible answer has been received, and since the ignorant and vicious youth is ever alert and anxious to give this information in a pernicious way, it behooves the thoughtful parents to safeguard their children with the truth told in the right way. No normal boy should reach the age of eight, or girl the age of ten, before they have been told the story of life.

Children often discover, or are taught, the secret vice at a very early age. Sex consciousness and pleasure may be early developed because of some unnatural conditions of the sex organs. For this reason, parents should know that these parts are normal in their children. When children are observed to frequently handle, or scratch these organs, unnatural conditions should be suspected. The child should not be slapped or scolded, rather call in the family physician. Trying to keep a child ignorant concerning this vice is impossible, therefore unwise. There is not one boy in fifty who does not know of the vice, and understands the language used to describe it. Trying to keep a child from vicious companions is good as far as it goes, but the facts are that the child is most likely to discover the vice himself, while it is hardly possible to keep a child entirely away from the vicious. The only sane method is to teach the child the laws of personal purity. If the secret vice is to be prevented, some children should receive council when they are six, others at eight, all by the time they are ten or twelve. Children have inherited lustful tendencies. Their troubles are more largely from within than from without. Hence the children that have been most carefully guarded from bad company and kept in ignorance are usually the ones who are most injured by the secret sin. A single talk to a child is not sufficient. We frequently instruct and appeal to the child to be obedient, truthful and honest; in like manner we should at reasonable periods instruct and encourage him to keep his thoughts and desires pure.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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The girl in the home is a member of the partnership plan of the family. She should have the same financial, social and moral rights of her brother. Her moral training should be no better than his. If she is properly trained in the home, her services are as valuable as her brother’s and she should have the same financial rights.

The girl and her father.—The father, if worthy of being such, should have the confidence, respect and love of his daughter. She should feel free to approach him with her wishes and her problems. His advice and council will be of great value to her in her social relation with young men. Many girls fail to show themselves interested in their father. Girls should be attentive, kind and loving in their relations to their father.

The girl and her mother.—A mother should not forget the experience of her girlhood. Though busy and burdened with many cares, she should take time to talk, often and intimately, with her daughter, of her own girlhood, her own temptations, her own experiences in the various vicissitudes of life. By wisely cultivating the relation of a sympathetic companionship, the mother can often bridge her daughter over that period of adolescence, when many girls come to regard their mothers as “old fogies.” This is a stage of growth in a girl’s life. It usually occurs when they are in the high school. They openly and unkindly criticise their mother’s dress, speech, advice, council and religion. This is a period of development that girls pass through. The right relation between the girl and her mother would save the mother from many tears and heartaches and the girl from many regretful memories of misconception and blindness.

Fortunate, is the girl, who has never had an attack of “high school snobbery,” who has never spoken lightly of the imaginary deficiencies of mother; but, who has always found it a joy to divide gifts with mother, to hand her the prettiest rose and to read her a choice story.

The girl and her brother.—Girls do not always appreciate the influence they are exerting over their brothers. A boy’s estimate of woman is often received from his sister’s influence. A sister has it largely in her power to make her brother gentle, true and pure. She can make home attractive and pleasant for him and thus save her brother from seeking pleasures in questionable places and ways. Brothers and


Chums in the Home

Chums in the Home

sisters should grow up together, be educated together, play together and, as far as possible, help each other. Their joys and sorrows, aims and purposes should be mutual. Her lack of physical strength, her natural tastes and aspirations, her duties and mission in life, being in many respects different from her brother, require a line of preparation unlike her brother receives.

Her first and most valuable training.—Marriage is not the only goal toward which a young woman may turn, but it is the most natural, important and worthy. Most all girls look forward to marriage as a possible and desirable goal. Perhaps no woman would refuse marriage, if the right man should propose. It is for this reason that every girl should prepare herself thoroughly to be a housekeeper, a wife and a mother. This should be her first and most thorough training. She should not rest satisfied until she has learned every phase of how to keep house, to care for the wants of small children and to manage hired help. This training should begin in childhood. A girl should be able to dress herself and to keep her own room by the time she is ten years old. Whatever may be her career in life, she will always be the better off because she is a good housekeeper. She may not have to be a housekeeper, for she may have servants, still she is all the better off, as she will understand how to manage the servants.

The independent girl.—In addition to having prepared herself for a housekeeper, a wife and a mother, she should now prepare herself for some vocation in life. The right man may not present himself, she may be called upon to support an aged mother or father, or an invalid husband, and she will need to know how to earn a living. A girl, unprepared to support herself, waiting year after year for some man to come and marry her, is an object of profound pity. If the right man comes along and marries her, all is well. But she often marries the wrong fellow, or waits for many weary years and yet, he never comes. A generation ago few opportunities of earning a support were open to a girl. Conditions have changed, woman’s ideals have grown and the world offers her other vocations than housekeeping, wifehood and motherhood, and unless these come in very attractive form she can choose the vocation of art, music, teaching, stenography, book-keeping or some other calling. By the time she is eighteen, a girl should be able to keep a house or earn a living in some business way. This will give her an assurance of independence. Regardless of the wealth of her parents, she should have these two qualifications. If her parents are poor and she is ambitious, she can now work her way through college, if she desires.

If the morals of a girl have been properly safeguarded by her mother’s training and teaching, the independent girl is little more likely to fall than the girl who remains at home and waits for a husband.

The independent girl who goes out into the world with her brother, shoulders the same burdens, wrestles with the same problems, fights the same battles and overcomes the same difficulties, will meet a better class of men than those who would likely seek her out in her home. She is more likely to be happily married, than if she remained at home. She is now better fitted to be a housekeeper, wife and mother, than if she had remained at home. She has learned how to produce a dollar, she now knows the value of it and how, wisely, to spend it.


Mother’s Responsibility.

Mother’s Responsibility.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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The boy problem.—The boy problem is becoming one of unusual interest to writers, teachers, lecturers, ministers and parents. Books, teaching, lecturing and preaching can aid some, but the real problem of the boy must be solved in the home.

A boy should be treated differently from his sister.—The mental make-up of a boy, his superior strength, his natural aspirations and his duties in life, require that some of his training should differ from that of the girl.

He should be taught to work.—One of the most important steps in the solution of the boy problem is to have the boy actively engaged in some wholesome, pleasant and rational way. He should be given work that is worth doing well and that will be of use to him in future life. This training should begin in childhood and continue until he is matured. Every day he should have some task to perform and he should never be allowed to neglect his work.

Boys enjoy making money.—A boy should be

 

Ideal Relations of Children in the Home
Ideal Relations of Children in the Home

given a chance to make some money. Rarely should money be given to a child. It is far better for him to earn it. He will in this way learn the value of a dollar. He should be encouraged to deposit his money in bank, to loan it, on interest, or to wisely invest it. It is a great deal better for a boy to invest and lose than to spend his earnings for candy or a ticket to a ten cent show. A boy had as well be allowed to swear, drink and steal as to waste his money. If started right most boys would take pride in saving their money. Usually when parents wish their children to have candy or some other luxury, it would be wiser for them to pay for it, than for the children to do so. A child should be encouraged to give, out of his own money, to the needy, Sunday School and church.

Boys should have their own room in the house, their own things in the room and their property rights should be respected. When he fails, he should be encouraged; when downhearted, he should be boosted and when he succeeds, he should be praised and commended. Give the average boy a chance and he will make a man.

His future vocation.—Very early, boys show aptitude toward special vocations. When they do, they should be encouraged in every way possible. However, they should not be nagged and forced to follow any vocation for which they may have shown interest and natural skill. Furnish them helps and books and allow them to develop their own individualities. Parents should not choose the boy’s vocation for him. They should not interfere with his choice, unless it be pernicious.

Morally, his training should be the same as that of his sister.—Parents, who hold to two sets of morals, do right for the girl and do as you please for the boy, are not qualified to train a boy. A boy should be trained to believe that whatever is morally wrong for his sister and mother is equally wrong for him; it is just as ungentlemanly for him to swear, as it would be unladylike for his mother and sister to swear; that it is just as wrong for him to use vulgar and obscene language as it would be for his mother and sister to do so; that if he can drink and be sexually impure and remain a gentleman, his mother and sister can indulge in the same vices and remain perfect ladies. If parents believe in the double standard of morals, that the boy must sow his “wild oats,” most likely he will. There is no sane reason why a boy should swear and his sister should not, why a boy should use tobacco and his sister should not, why a boy should drink and his sister should not, or why a boy should be sexually impure and his sister should not. The boy, with the single standard of morals instilled in his mind, is incomparably more likely to make a useful, successful, great and good man than the boy trained to believe in the double standard.

Boys should play with girls.—Boys are, by nature, inclined to be rough, rude, coarse and untidy. They need to associate with girls who naturally have just the opposite tendencies. It is refining for boys to learn to enjoy the games of girls.

A girl’s ambition is to be beautiful; a boy’s ambition is to be strong. These preferences are natural and they should be encouraged in them. All boys delight in displaying their physical powers. Thus, they are led to test their strength with their sisters and often display roughness and rudeness. They should be carefully instructed that it is natural for girls not to be as strong as boys, and that for this reason they should protect girls and never be rude with them. Boys should have a place and the proper means of taking exercise.

The boy and his mother.—The mother and her boy should be chums. They should keep on the most intimate terms. The mother can often instill, into the mind and heart of her boy, a refined nature, gentle feelings, pure motives and a manly purpose, in a way that is not aggressive, and yet it is permanent.

A boy’s companions.—It is important for a boy to have good companions. If he has been trained as indicated, he will not rebel when his parents offer
Let Them Play Together

Let Them Play Together

suggestions. However they should endeavor not to appear to be choosing his companions.

Going to college.—Many boys would be better off never to go to college. The contaminating influences of some colleges cannot be overestimated. Of all rowdyism, college rowdyism is the most demoralizing. In very recent years special efforts have been made in some of our colleges to eliminate this objectionable feature. There are some colleges where the manly, the moral and the religious predominate and the boy is fully as safe as at home. Before a boy is sent to college he should be fortified and safeguarded against college contaminations. Parents should investigate college morals before making the choice of a college for their boy.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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Husband and wife equal partners.—In the partnership of building a home, the wife is, in the truest and fullest sense, an equal partner with her husband. Equal rights and privileges should characterize their financial, social and moral relations. They are complements of each other. Neither is ever completed until the other half is found. They are essential to each other’s highest development. Neither can build a home without the other. Their relations to the home are of equal importance.

How they differ.—They differ in their functional relations to the building of a home. While their interests are mutual and their duties often overlap each other, yet they differ in some respects in their relations to the home. The husband is the producer; nature and God place on him the responsibility of feeding, clothing, sheltering and educating the family. The wife is the housekeeper; nature and God place on her the duty of motherhood and the love and care of children. Both husband and wife need special preparation before and after marriage for their respective relations to the home.

Marriage means motherhood.—Unless a woman loves little children and desires to teach and train boys and girls to become ideal men and women, she should not think of accepting a marriage proposition. Marriage is for the purpose of offspring. All girls should train and develop themselves with a view to the sacred functions of motherhood. Those who are mentally opposed to and physically incapable of motherhood should decline marriage. Such women can and should find some other occupation better fitted to their tastes, or physical condition, where they can be contented and help make the world better.

A farce.—In apartment houses, hotels and lodging places are to be found men and women living together under a form of legal matrimonial alliance, where the true idea of home is not contemplated, children are not wanted and no domestic happiness anticipated. These are human abodes, where the echo of birth is never heard; where the thrill of joy, caused by cooing babies, is never felt; and where conversation is never disturbed by romping children. This is a home only in name. This is a place of lodging where two miserable selfish beings are waiting for death to step in and end the farce.

A good substitute for a home.—I was once entertained in a home where the husband and wife had crossed over the half century line of life. During my first day in that home, every few hours, the husband or wife would bring in from two to six boys and girls introducing them to me as their boys and girls. When the number had run up in the neighborhood of twenty, that home got interesting. When I inquired how often they had been married and how many children they had, I was informed that they were only borrowing them from the neighbors. I never saw a home with a greater influence for good. Though childless, their home was a heaven; for the neighboring children resorted, played games, and received instructions of the highest order there. The children were trained to hunt up the old, the sick and the poor and to daily carry them flowers gathered from the yard and garden of this old couple. This was an ideal imitation of the real thing—a model home. I wish every childless home could be converted into such an ideal imitation, or a real home.

A good housekeeper.—One of the qualifications a wife should have is a reasonable practical knowledge of how to keep house. It may not be necessary for her to do all her house work, but she should understand how it should be done. A man has as much right to demand that his wife know how to wash clothes, bake bread, sweep a room, and make a bed, as she has to expect him to be industrious, know how to form or conduct his business or profession. She must know how to do these things in order to properly manage a well-ordered home.

She should know the value of a dollar.—The wife should know the value of a dollar and how to invest it in food, clothing and household comforts. To do this, she must make these things a study. Unreasonable extravagance of wives has caused many unhappy homes.

She should keep herself attractive.—She could never have won her husband had she not made herself attractive. Marriage does not lessen man’s interest in his wife’s attractiveness. The wise woman will not permit her husband to become ashamed of her.

She should be industrious.—A reasonable amount of physical exercise is just as essential to a woman’s health as it is for a man. The indolent wife who settles down in an easy chair and reads novels all day, satisfied with the fact that she is married and unconscious or indifferent to the fact that she must keep her husband’s respect, is likely to lose his respect and love.

She should take an interest in her husband’s affairs.—A wife should know enough of her husband’s business or professional affairs to enable her to appreciate his ambitions and to sympathize with him in his trials. In this way, some women help to make their husband’s success. There is quite a difference between interest and encouragement, and in interference. One leads to success; the other to failure.

Home first.—A good wife or mother will make the interests of her home first. If her home is first, in her mind and heart, she will not find time or inclination to gossip about her neighbors, or to contrive new ways of amusing herself. Her home interests will completely fill her life, consume her time, satisfy her æsthetic nature and furnish her the greatest opportunities for Christian service in the world. This does not preclude membership in a humanitarian society, a reading circle, or church. Great as this service may be, it is not equal to the home. A home builder is never justifiable in neglecting her home duties for her obligations to a club, a lodge or the church. By spending a few hours, in practical contact with other housewives at a social meeting or church, she is all the better able to perform her home duties. But these things should be subordinate to the duties of home building. Christ in the home will mean Christ in society, the church and the nation.

The anteroom to heaven.—When a woman has entered married life with her prince, determined to make a real wife and mother, she has chosen the highest and most fascinating career that is possible for a woman. Her home will be an anteroom to heaven.

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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