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Parents' and preceptors' duty at this allimportant juncture in the life of the young connects itself mainly with four points: 1. Aspiration. 2. Choice of calling. 3, The necessity and blessing of work. 4. Steadiness and persistence in what is undertaken.
Imagine a wise and loving father having a heart-to-heart talk with his son the day the latter completes his one-and-twentieth year.
“My son,” he says, “you are of age. You possess sound health and morals. Sacredly preserve these. You are now your own man, and must henceforth, in a new sense, be the creator of your own destiny. I love you no less than ever, but just because I love you I leave you to yourself, subject only to my counsel when you seek. If I had great wealth I would not give it to you. Gold gotten without his own effort curses a young man instead of aiding him. If you would succeed, cherish large ambitions and lofty aspirations. “Hitch your wagon to a star,' not to a stump. Believe in yourself. Let your business be a calling, not a job. Aim at and plan for a career with large-minded, far-sighted, rational resolution. “Much depends on your choice of calling. Take due account of your powers, preferences and propensities, and then adopt the line of life which appeals to you the most. Aim too high rather than too low. If in doubt here, consult your wisest friends. Friends often know our strength better than we do. If a sagacious parent, teacher or other acquaintance thinks you are fit for a given enterprise, you can safely undertake it. “It is not necessary, however desirable, that your life work should lie in the field for which school or college is supposed to have specially fitted you. A man's real bent often appears only after school days are over and serious responsibilities confront him. What has been taught him will, in any event, be found of service. No mental attainment of the slightest importance is ever lost. “It is also not necessary, however desirable, that you should take up your father's calling. If you are averse to it for any good reason, turn elsewhere, and turn resolutely. Among the worst mistakes parents ever make in planning for their children is the effort to coax or force sons into the old business at the old stand. Let us, by all means, urge the dignity and promise of life upon the farm, yet it is as good as certain that some of our sons would best leave farming for some other pursuit. Perhaps my boy, reared at the old homestead, will acquire fame and fortune as an artist, a surgeon, a preacher, a statesman. Do not try to down what is clearly a native bent. “Work—with energy, enthusiasm and unflagging perseverance. Nothing is achieved in any calling without this. “The great teacher, Francis Wayland, from whom came the idea that bystanders often size up a man better than he can do it himself, used to say, ‘If sagacious people near you think you able to master a difficult and desirable position offered you, accept it; only, when you get it, work like Satan.” “Work at high voltage. Never dawdle, Show jasm.” Do you know what ‘jasm’ means? Let me make dictionary for you a moment. ‘Jasm' is when a circular saw, making 2,000 revolutions a second, runs through a keg of Io-penny nails. That's ‘jasm,’ my son. Put it into all your work.
“Having adopted a life calling on the best advice and reflection at your command, persevere therein. Swerve neither to the right nor to the left. Your hand is on the plow handle; turn not back. Temptation to waver will assuredly come. There will be moments of discouragement, there will be beckonings of apparent fortune. Do not heed such.
“When E. M. Stanton was secretary of war in President Johnson's cabinet and Johnson was trying in every way to displace him, Charles Sumner telegraphed : ‘Stanton, stick!’ Let this message come to you with megaphone thunder whenever you waver in your profession. Be no quitter. Instead, stick, tenax propositi, steadfast to your purpose.”
THE CRUSADE FOR THE COUNTRY SCHOOL*
N most of its aspects city life is commonly thought more desirable than life in the country. To date it has probably been superior on the whole, and it may still be so; but the advantage, if it exists, is less and less pronounced. In a hundred ways country residence is growing in desirableness. Elegant mansions, vieing with the best city houses in almost all imaginable comforts—steam heat, running water in rooms, gas for cooking and illumination, electric lights—and in art and luxury as well, are numerous now far out upon the prairie, miles from railroads; and such establishments multiply yearly. The free delivery of mails, already general in many rural parts, will increase as roads improve. Motor carriages will supplant horses. To say nothing of 'phone and wire messages, newspapers and other intelligence by mail * Reprinted, by permission, from The Educational Review.