Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, October 29, 1911, EDITORIAL, Image 19
Bee Magazine Page CopyrlKht. 1911, by Amertcan-Fmimlner. Cirfat Brit!n WrM Ttricrvrd. Q3t TOE This- At Five Bsglnt to Learn, Graduated on 22nd Birthday, ilST """i.nwiiHl At 28 Takes Up His Work. At 60 Is In His Intellectual Prime or This At 5 a Student. ICOL itoe I At 12 He Enters College. At 20 Does Bril liant Work. At 40 a Worn Out Old Mai. 1 vJ :V I'- S lr . ... ' . a . . . . -- v , 7 SJvliti! uiilfe vylfk- mvm .tsjF.-n umin atrtm..ft t 5H CS ." w Does the New System of Creating "Intant Prodigies" Mean "Educational Infanticide?" rHE proper education of Vic child is the paramount problem of to day. Dr. Quy Putter Benton, the recently inaugurated president of the Vnivernity of Vermont rerc takes issue radically with Professor Boris Sidis, of Jlarvard University, whose system of education has received world-wide no tice through the entrance of hi thir teen year old son 11 imam into Har vard as an advanced student. Professor Sidis begins the education of the chila at the age, of three. His ideas are quoted in part at the lefi hand top of this page. Since the case of his son became public many "infant prodigies," pro duced by slight variations of the Sidis sys tem have appeared. The most notable is a girl, Winifred Stoner, of Pittsburg, who at the age of thirteen compares with young Sidis in learning. t Does this early education of the child cut one tnird of thcallottcd three score and ten, making old men and women of them at fortyt Dr. Benton says so, calling the system "educational infanticide." His arti cle upon the subject, uritten especially for for this newspaper, follow s By Dr. Guy Potter Benton President of the University of Vermont. EDUCATIONAL infanticide, aa I call It, la a wicked crime against civilization. I define educational infanticide as the process of pushing maturity down into infancy. It Is the intellectual forcing of chil dren, just as plants in a hothouse are forced, by being surrounded with the most ideal con ditions. Their brains are encouraged to be come unhealthily active. Their mental pow ers are overtaxed. Their minds work overtime- There have been cases of children who did wonderful mental work at an early age. Be fore they were six they were ablo to read and write better than most grown folk. A year or so. later they were delving into the ancient Greek and Roman classics for light reading. At the age when the normal child is romping about his play they wore toying with the Fourth Dimension. That is what I call educational infanticide! There are two possible ways of educating the children of the age. The one method I have called the "hothouse method." By that method the child is "forced" and his bruin is unhealthily stimulated. It undertakes tasks too heavy at a too early age. The other method is the one adapted to the normal development of a man or woman. Under this method the educational process is not rapid. The child is led slowly along the way it should go, Instead of being pushed or Jerked up a path too steep for its feet to negotiate without Injury. My idea of a proper educational plan would extend over a much, longer period than the "hothouse" method could endure. Too normal boy child begins to talk be tween the ages of one and two years. He begins to observe at once, and the next three or four years are crammed with mental ac quisitions. The human being learns more, normally, between the first and fifth year of Its existence than In all the later years of its life. It acquires the art of speech. It learns to walk. It learns to see clearly and to understand the words of others, it acquires a great mass of general knowledge of the world in which its life is to be spout This knowledge comes to the child, whether its mind is fed with other information or not. At this age the child mind is immensely re ceptive. Its capabilities for assimilation are immense- Hut they cannot be taxed to the uunobt without being strained and weakened. The normal child's mind hus about all it ran do, in these years, without extra strain, go, until the child is five years old, I should teach it nothing and make little or no con scious effort at its instruction. In the normal child the fifth birthday marks the point at which it is eafe and advisable to begin instruction. The child is not yet ready for strenuous mental work by any means. It Is no more ready for higher mathematics than at the age of two it was reudy to run u hundred yards in ten seconds. Hut the capa bilities for learning are latent, and the first teachings should be elementary and simple. If they are delayed, harm is done. If they are begun too soon, much greater permanent harm is done. When the child is five years old, tt may begin to learn the alphabet, to gain some idea of the manner in which words are sym bolised in written or printed characters. It may. in short, begin to learn to reid and rt Dr. Benton, on the Right, Raises Hit Educational Creed Against That of Pro fessor Boris Sidis on the Left. "Educational In fanticide!" Says Dr. Benton, "A Bugaboo I" Says Sidis. il l . 7 J njpi y W Little Winifred Stoner, V 'j; f ,,,, iil l V' V "5 TW the Pittsburgh Child lxV''4vt' ,V- ' 'If V I Raised by the Boris t- -i,t'ArlW ' '"'VA ' i,,. M f II . ' V I1 Sides Method, Now a f v'' J'W III f ' Ml Prodigy, but Whose tWWiMVm f '- ' yM V ' Life Will be Short- ff lHr4Wi,v i jtfltf&A ' ' . ' VII it ' l" 'I ft ( M ill wiV jfp rw i Vr, Jr t w.rj'itirr .... . UiMWOT The average child will do well to enter the elementary schools when it la seven years old. Uy that time, from association with Its small playfellows, it has overcome the diffi dence of the baby, and the entrance into a new life In the schools Is not so abrupt. The elementary school training should oc cupy eight years, as It does in most places at the present time. There should bo no at tempt at short cuts or "double promotions" during these elgfit years. The child should learn leisurely at this period of its life. For it is learning all the time, outside of school, more than it learns In the classroom. The high-school course of four years in the proper length, and here again the child ehould not be hurried- That is the first prin ciple of a proper educational plan, in my opinion. Leisurely acquisition of knowledge. FurHiilng its studies in regular course, the child Is ready for college at the age of eigh teen or nineteen. By that time. In bnyj at any rate, the change to college life, with the usual separation from home ties, Ih a benefi cial one. The boy is old enough to think for htmself and to adjust himself gradually to the changed surroundings of college. The child will bt graduated from col lege at the age of twenty-two or twen- Willie Sidis, Raised by His Father's Method, Who According to Dr. Benton Will Bo Senile at 40. ty-three. I say "the child" still, for the normal person Is, and should be, an infant until the age of twenty-five. t After graduation from college the young mnn Is ready to choose u profession or to decide on bis life work. Hefore that time he has uot been competent to do so. The pur pose of a colligo education, to my way of thinking, Is to enable a man to decide Intel ligently what his life Is to be, In my ex perience I have seen many Instances to sup port this view. 1 have seen young men who cunio to collece with tho idea that becautte they hud fitted their homes with loctrlo bells they had the makings of electrical en gineers. It took the llrHt hitter taste of some branch of higher mathematics to convince them that they had mistaken their calling. Then tin y were quick to petition for a change In their elrctlvPB. At the age of twenty-eight to thirty years the youth lu ready ami able to tuk up his life work. He Ih a wi-ll-bulunced, normal, sane being, in the fullness of strength and rendy for the work ahead of hliu. Contrast this plan with the one urged hy thorn who would rush a child into man's cHtaie in ten or fifteen years. At the ago of two, the child's mind Is eager and acquisitive, but the play instinct Is dominant.. A year later it has been taught something of how to think and has learned to read and to write. The play instinct Is suppressed by tho influence of the parent or teacher. Another year sees the play instinct dor mant, and the child tho intellectual equal of a well-grown young man! At bIx years old, tho play instinct Is hope lessly dead. The child live only through its brain. It Is a serious minded thing, whoso sense of humor responds only to tho stilted jokes of tho classio authors, or the pon derous epigrams of Dr. Johnson and his school. The body may be developed properly. The child may he physically healthy. Hut the brain Is overworked steadily!" For a few years the effect will not appear. The child will be a "prodigy." so oalled the pride of Its parents and the admiration of Its parents' friends Then the body will begin to dwarf Itself automatically. Physical effects will appear. The abnormal brain will shine out through the eyes, and In most esses the head will be unusually developed. Through the twenties, the child will do wohderful things Intellectually. Then come the thirties, and an in evitable and practically universal decay and aging of mind and body. . ; t Death, insanity, or a loss of the brain's powers surely follows! The life is cut from the allotted three score years and ten to a bare two-score. The effect of child labor le familiar to every one. It may be seen most frequently In Euro pean cities. The streets are full of queer lit tle figures with preternaturally grave faces, old before their time. They are men when . they should be playing around In someone's back yard. When they ehould be men, a few years later, they are most often mental and physical wrecks. It is the same way with too early and too strenuous brain work. The child can do it all right, Just as the child laborer can tend the machine or pick the slate from the coal, or drive the mule team In the coal mine. But the effect is sure to make itself felt. The mind of the child becomes, all too soon, the mind of a grown man. And ten or twenty years later, when the mind should be at its best, the "hothouse" child is a mental wreck and good for nothing. I have said that to-day is the age of the prepared man. The value of preparation la seen every day. The slow and sure process of education is the one that wins out in the long run, every time. The list o men.H'hifl,., have accomplished great thing in thtilr youth and have continued their accomplish, meats through a lopg and worthy life is a short one. The age limit of efficiency has advanced in this century. The men who controlled and directed the destinies of this republlo in Its early days wore usually within the fifties. .'. few years ego Dr. Osier declared that a man of sixty had arrived at th limit of uh fulness. Hut now we see a man of sixty-five appointed to the Supreme Court of the United IStates, and many instances might be unuio erated of perfect accomplishment reached only after the age limit fixed by Dr. Osier had been passed. ' The longer the period of Infancy is pro tracted, the more efficient your man will be. Stop the Crab! It's Fast Following the Lobster Into Oblivion! By Rene Bache WHAT is Broadway going to do? The "lobster palaces," representing the hlghedt gastronomic uplift of the metropolis, are in danger. What Is a lobster palace without lobsters? One might reply that crabs are an available ttubjt.tuta for tha nobler and fast-dlsappeailng crusta cean. For some time past, indeed, chafing dish and other appetizing preparations of crabs have been commonly and acceptably served in place of lobster at New York's moat eipenklve hotels and restaurants. Hut, aUi! wnat agonulng cry is this that begins lo make iuelf tieurd? The crft'j output, hitherto ileomod unlimited and luextiaustl i.Ie, is showing signs of rapid tiiuii r.,;tion. It U liable much longer to . t uid the tremendous drafts upon It It Is the canning business that Is mainly responsible for tho threat ened d'eappearanre f tho "bHe" ir:;b. For wine unknown reason, the ar.luial breeds oii'y iu the lower part of Chesapeake Hay, where all '.he canneries nru situated. An In quiry into the subject made by the Fisheries bureau showed that a slnKle canning establishment used Komu hundreds of millions of crabs in a year- nearly all of them egg bearing females. As one result, "soft" crabs are getting scarce, and those which come to market are undersized. It has been said that no other water space of equal area In the world produces so much food for mankind as the Chesapeake, and, If oysters be excepted, crabs are its principal crop. Not oBly are vast numbers, both soft and "hard bucks," xent alive to distant points, but tho "meats" ura put up In bulk tor shipment to ail parts of the country. Add to these items the luiiiriretU r,( millions ueed annually by canners, and It is not surprising that crabs should be getting scarcer. The situation, however, is unde niably alarming. What is to be done about it? Hatch them artificially, says the Fisheries Hureau. It Is the only way to solve the problem- But, fortunately, the business of hatch ing lobsters for one reamm, bo cause unlimited quantities of their eggs are readily procurable. An average ft-mulo lobster carries only 10,000 eggs, while tho mother crab products 2.M)0,000 at a spawnlns, her ova being no bigger than "ilu.-u" shot, such as that used for Lining humming birds. Tims it Becm.s that a few thou sand ftijialo t rabs, collertod at the spawning treason n the lower Ches apeake, would yield billions on bill Ioiib of e;:ns, wh'ch (us tiia's id ready mane have shown) run easily be hatched in (.'las jars, such as thoso employed for the incubation of shad ck:i. Ktatlons for the purpose could bo estahlluhud at tuitablo points on the shores of tho lower l'oti.inuc and Chesapeake Hay, and as muny baby crabs could be turned out as ininlit be required to maintain the supply, no niattor how great the draft upon tho latter by the lobster pa'aces, the enormous Western demand for the llvo iced product In seaweed, and the rrnsiiinptlon of "meats" in bulk and In cans. 1 .19. try J H .(1J The blue Crab of America Which May Fellow the Lobster Into Extinction.