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Godfrey, Kneeland, Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 59, Number 4 (January 1955)

K. A. G.
Materialism - our biggest enemy?,   pp. 9-12

Page 9

materiahim- Our /igqeit Enemy?
    Today we are living in an industrial age, a time when material things
play a bigger part
in our lives than ever before.
    Some, those who prefer to be impressed and inspired only by things they
can touch and
feel, forget the other important aspects of the life of a well-rounded individual.
Many young
people, for instance, feel they've "arrived" when they own an automobile.
    This juvenile group is perhaps the most vital section of American people.
The young
people are our future leaders-they must learn today how to become real leaders.
Older folks
are more difficult to teach, but young Americans are ever reaching for new
    Why not present them with possessions in the form of ideas? Ideas like:
the importance
of a life in which religion plays a significant part, and where reading and
constructive thinking
have as big a reward, in the long run, as the earning of a dollar by a summer
    The President of the United States recently mentioned to the nation the
importance of prayer
and church-going as a sign of religious thinking. He realizes that today,
as much as ever, we
need to pray for help and for strength to lead the world along the right
path. And he realizes
that the nation he leads is no stronger than its individuals.
    Perhaps the best way to educate a man is to give him selected reading
material. Through
this, he'll improve his vocabulary and encounter many more facts and concepts
than by any
other means. Today, children are required to do little reading. They prefer
to collect comic books
rather than books of history and faith and accomplishment. Doubtless we need
to make the im-
portant aspects of a real education more interesting, not by colored picture
magazines, but
through education which treats the student as an adult, and expects adult
results from him.
It's time to stop pampering and glorifying the child in primary and secondary
schools. Instead
let's stress concepts like the "lesson of history," the types of
government, the development of so-
cieties of man. Science and math are fine, but aren't they overstressed in
primary and secondary
    What about the need to bring out constructive thinking in America's youth?
Grade and high
school teachers talk about the use of the method of class participation,
but really there's little
of it practiced.
    Most schools only expose the student to a subject and then test him on
it. There's not much
use of the controversial subject to help stimulate independent thinking and
    The practicing of these ideas, it seems from this corner, would help
combat the over-
importance we place today on material possessions. We must make our growing
men thinkers
so they can best use the material heritage they cherish.
        K. A. G.
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