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The craftsman
Vol. XXIII, Number 2 (November 1912)

Green, Crawford Richmond
Do parents shirk their responsibilities? A study of the child in the home,   pp. 208-213 PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 208

"The spirit of childhood is like some frail flower that requires the
most delicate handling."
HE study of child life is giving evidence of becoming
ultrascientific; data and statistics of the most elabo-
rate character are being accumulated concerning the
development of the child, and we may well wonder
whether the conscientious parent who is not versed in
the sciences of biology and psychology and pedagogy
              is not appalled rather than helped by so great a show
of learning in regard to what would seem to be the simplest matters of
everyday life. Is it not quite natural that such parents should
inquire: "How does all this concern me, and how does it affect the
welfare of my children?"
   The present era has been called "the century of the child,"
for at
no other period has so much popular attention been devoted to the
problems of childhood or so much actually accomplished toward the
solution of those problems. At the present day society is making
gigantic strides to banish from the earth the physical handicaps to
which children have been subjected for centuries. The multiplica-
tion of milk stations to provide adequate nourishment for the children
of the poor; the establishment of boys' and girls' clubs to uplift
neglected children; medical inspection of schoolchildren, legislation
directed against child labor, and the institution of separate courts for
juvenile delinquents are but few of the many efforts directed toward
this end.
   Yet, if we consider the essential part that home life should play in
the culture of the child, we realize that the present state of civilization
will hardly suggest that we have arrived at the Golden Age of child-
hood. The increase of luxurious living among families of moderate
means, as well as among the rich, evidenced by the growing popularity
of hotel and club life among both men and women, and the never-
ceasing call of the automobile, the golf links and the yacht-all these
constitute a great and serious factor in our social life whereby the
child is made to suffer. Whatever demands of social life tend to take
the parent from the home, work directly to the disadvantage of chil-
dren. In the development of the child, parents play an important
r6le, with certain definite functions to perform, and these functions
cannot be carried out by deputy. No tutor, however competent, can
perform the duties of a father, and no nursemaid can fulfil the true
vocation of the mother.

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