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Newspaper Page Text
The systematic moral instruction now given in the grades is a
further aid to the moral development, though it is second, and by a long distance, to the moral opportunity already mentioned. It is necessary for proper moral development that in the lower grades instruction in definite moral truths be given. There are very young children in whom the line between the right and the wrong in certain moral questions is very obscure. We have doubtless all seen small children who had not yet learned that it is wrong to take things that belong to others that it is wrong to always insist in hav ing one's own way that it is wrong to say what is not true, or to swear. So the small child needs to be told definitely what is right and what is wrong. In some, the uncontrolled impulse overpowers what moral knowledge or inclination the child may possess. It is this ''uncontrolled impulse" which renders definite moral instruction necessary, and necessary in the form of much repetition. Even in infancy it seems to rule many children. It is often erroneously call ed "will power," and the correction of it erroneously called "break ing the will" of the child. Perhaps no virture is insisted on by the teacher of the earlier grades than kindness—the virtrue without which the world is lost. And the proper altruistic spirit and social virtues are encouraged by group games and other school activities. Systematic moral instruction should be continued by oral les sons and lessons from a text, by the selection of appropriate material for opening exercises, by emphasizing the moral element in a daily lesson—as in history—until all the common virtues have been taught and duly impressed upon the young mind. The moral subjects in clude honesty, heroism, obedience, thoroughness, promptness, per severance, patience, patriotism, faithfulness to trust and to duty, correct views as to importance of habit, the nobility of work, the value of good deeds. Fortunately, the published graded lessons cover these and other virtues, so that material is abundant. As the child grows, however, definite instruction in moral con duct becomes less necessary, and the great need is inspiration and stimulation. The more mature the mind becomes, the more does it need inspiration rather than instruction. It is doubtful if the study of ethics in college has any appreciable influence on the conduct of 6.