It might perhaps be easy for a wise mother who has God-given Instincts guide her. Says Simon Y. McPherlain the interior; but a teacher, even he be also a father, must reach the motors of another's boy by proceeding from without inwards. His first diagnosis will inevitably be superficial, intimate and sympathetic knowledge of relatively slow growth. Yet this and of knowledge is essential, because no two boys are exactly alike, they are severally individual, with unique capabilities, good and bad.
There is difficulty also" in the word “practical." If it means only the capability to use brains in technical work, the boy may become a useful, possibly money making machine, but there is danger lest he miss the abundant human life and be in the end one sided and distorted, incapable, especially in later years of making himself happy in human service. But if "practical" ran" real instead of fanciful, useful instead of dilettante actual, concrete and positive instead merely theoretical abstract, and negative, then in my opinion, it fines the true education of the normed and average boy. Every true boy, and every true man, will have a working ideal. The question is what his ideal shall be, for whether high or low, will determine his gaol. That ideal will emerge in little things as well as in large, and it will be set or changed by the aims which he is taught.
That ideal will be chiefly created by his heredity and by his home-training. A discerning boy will begin with the tight ancestors centuries before his birth. But whatever his hereditary tendencies, they will be chiefly corrected, or confirmed, by his home. The home "forms" the boy most of all in his prenatal training and the training of his early years. No school, college or university can do much, more than build upon the foundation fixed by his home. Schooling may bring out the best, and retain the worst, installed by his earliest legacies and circumstances, but, can hardly do much more. The raw material presented to a school are always products of the home. Mothers and fathers are the primal and formative teachers.
But the school in the education of a boy, while keeping character and service as the end, will hold a triune method in view.
First it will seek to develop his health and physical vigor. For upon these depend, greatly the success or failure of his career. When he is wholesome, a boy must be active. He ought to do bodily work, and, if possible, of a kind interesting to him. He should have his defects corrected. Physical rectification and training give him the physical basis of virile life. He hungers, too, for fun and for competitive games. Play is a demand of his nature. Nor was the psalmist the only one whose hands the Lord taught to war and his fingers to fight. Except in the lackadaisical, the competitive instinct is universal. Nor can agreeable games to a boy's mind, be entirely free from peril or as he thinks, from heroism. Fond mothers may, for example, see nothing but brutal danger in football. They may ignore its splendid lessons in fortitude, in keeping the temper under difficulties, in learning to lead, by first learning to obey, in subordinating selfish personal display to the interests of a "team," in working together for a "cause," in ascertaining by hard experience the resistless value of organization. But their "barbarian" sons, meanwhile learning to keep the body under will hold a different view intuitively and as I think, correctly.
Second, the practical training of a buy should emphatically be intellectual The field of knowledge is already so large and so constantly growing larger and the aptitudes of boys, are as they always have been, so various that these young aspirants cannot all be fitted to one Procrustean bed. But the order of education followed and tested for centuries has the presumption of superior value on its side, and the newer education is only proving its right to an equal standing. Moreover, the theory that mere “interest” or preference is a final gauge for the education of boys is much like that assumption that babies should live on sugar because they are fond of it. There is no easy or royal road to "practical," or real, education. If it be worthy of the name it exacts hard work, some of which must certainly at first, be drudgery. Easy writing makes hard readings and indulgent, lazy education makes poor scholars and shallow men. The secondary school next after the home, and beyond the usual college experience, is the place for making genuine, trust worthy boys and students, if not scholars. Such work is essentially character-building. Parents, therefore, who would be able to trust their boys to the growing freedom of college life, should support the secondary school in its highest intellectual standards.
In a third place, it goes without saying that moral education is a supreme element in "the practical education of a boy." In the writer's judgment, the moralities find their stable and final foundations in evangelical Christianity, Properly presented and exemplified; Christ is the supreme mag net for these open-hearted hoys. That magnet should be first of all made to attract the buy in his home life. The school, with the church, has the secondary opportunity to draw the young heart. The college and the world will severely force our boy to face dogmatic and practical doubt. The home and the school, therefore, should enlist his heart and his life; the mind then when it comes to deal with philosophic subtleties and with urgent problems, will be kept true to its pole. God will be enshrined there beforehand. But, in the school, over and above the appointed religious teaching, the boys themselves, by their spirit and tone as well as by their Interchanged teachings, will Influence one another perhaps most of all. Their fathers need to " teach them the mysteries of manhood; their teachers should illustrate and explain the winsome Christ; the boys should by the cooperative prayers of both, establish a reverent and magnetic habit of trust and service, so that physically, intellectually and spiritually they may receive the truest and most comprehensive practical education.