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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 24

(From the "Weekly Chronicle," Wanganui.)

(From the "Weekly Chronicle," Wanganui.)

At the outset, we may express our warm approval of this practical method of inculcating lessons of frugality and thrift in the minds of the children of a community. In these days, when the supremo importance of education is so generally admitted, when the instructors of our youth are becoming more and more enthusiastic in the cause, striving to attain a method by which the real and vital principle of education may be fostered and encouraged in the tender minds of the rising generation, there is but little doubt that an agency so well calculated to train up the children in habits of forethought and self-control as that of which this short pamphlet contains an interesting account, will meet with due appreciation at the hands of all who take a lively interest in the real progress of the race. Great as has been the interest we have ever taken in the cause of education, and warm as has been our sympathy with such earnest workers as have contrived to arouse the enthusiasm of the young in their charge, we have yet to confess to having entertained a lingering feeling of doubt and disappointment. Undoubtedly gain could scarcely fail to result from a movement by which the routine of education has been invested with all the charms of life in the eyes of the youthful disciples. With the prospect of an annual competition, such as that recently held under the auspices of the Rangitikei Educational Association, the ordinary, dull, and prosaic life of the school undergoes a wonderful metamorphosis; school-books become living, companionable realities, and the schoolroom itself is no longer looked upon as a place of confinement, but rather as the training ground on which to prepare for the annual tournament. Unfortunately, however, all this enthusiasm, with the progress in book-learning resulting there from, not only may, but very frequently does consist with the most perfect ignorance of those prudential maxims, a true and accurate knowledge of which is so essential to the proper ordering of the private affairs of each, and so necessary to the progressive advancement of the race. It is notorious that the youth almost everywhere are left absolutely uninstructed with re- page 23 gard to the great principles which govern human life. No systematic and well-considered attempt is made either by parents or teachers to train the young to habits of self-control and self-sacrifice, and the consequence is, that long ere the school-books have been finally closed, the pupils have of themselves acquired habits of self-indulgence and self-pleasing which no amount of after teaching or experience can entirely eradicate; society being thus rendered a seething volcano of selfishness, recklessness, and untruthfulness.