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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Material Resources and National Defence

Material Resources and National Defence.

The lecturer next proceeded to demonstrate the indirect creative powers of the teacher in influencing the development of the material resource of a country, and in building national defence. Stress was laid the paramount necessity for recreating in the sense of re-creation or rebuilding of the individual—a process which, it was pointed out, need not be confined is games, but might also take the form practical training in healthy local outdoor industrial occupations, volunteer drill, etc. A sufficiency of open-air exercise school be a compulsory part of the school curriculum and, in the lecturer's opinion, [unclear: at] page 65 least two afternoons a week should be spent in this way, besides ensuring a daily minimum of outing. (Photographs illustrative of practical rural instruction in Japan were shown, and the lecturer lamented the absence of any extensive system of this sort in New Zealand.) It teemed to be thought, he said, that farming was a rather inferior kind of occupation, and the tendency of the rising generation was to seek clerkships or other city billets. No doubt, country life could be very humdrum if the farmer did not rise above being a mere unthinking drudge, but to the man who used his brains, and set to work to make the best of his land, his crops, and his animals, and who took a keen interest in his surroundings, farming was an ideal life. It as, of course, the healthiest for the individual and the best for the race. But arming was more than a simple occupation—it was one of the finest professions in the world, and with the growth of modern knowledge there was scope on the farm for every bit of thought and intellect that a man liked to put into it.