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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78



Take the first, both in its literal and figurative sense—sunshine. Surround the children with every possible cheer. I do not mean to pamper them, to make them weak; they need the winds, just as the plants do to strengthen them and to make them self-reliant. If you want your child to grow up into a sane, normal man, a good citizen, a support of the State, you must keep him in the sunshine. Keep him happy. You cannot do this if you have a sour face yourself. Smiles and laughter cost nothing. Costly clothing, too fine to stand the wear and tear of a tramp in the woods or sliding down a haystack or a cellar door, are a dead weight upon your child. I believe in good clothes, good, strong, serviceable clothes for your children—clothes that fit and look well: for they tend to mental strength, to self-respect. But there are thousands of parents who, having not studied the tremendous problems of environmental surroundings, and having no conception of the influence of these surroundings, fail to recognise the fact that either an over-dressed or a poorly-dressed boy is handicapped. . . .

I give the plants upon which I am at work in a test, whether a single one or a hundred thousand, the best possible environment. So should it be with a child, if you want to develop it in right ways. Let the children have music, let them have pictures, let them have laughter, let them have a good time; not an idle time, but one full of cheerful occupation. Surround them with all the beautiful things you can. Plants should be given sun and air and the blue sky; give them to your boys and girls. I do not mean for a day or a month, but for all the years. We cannot treat a plant tenderly one day and harshly the next; they cannot stand it. Remember that you are training not only for to-day, but for all the future, for all posterity.