Page images
PDF
EPUB

As this paper is not written to set forth what is the best system for educating a seeing child, I might well stop here, leaving to you to search out that best method and to apply it in your individual work.

But I also referred to certain reservations which are called for, not so much by the nature of blindness itself as by the thoughtlessness or mistaken tenderness of parents and friends, and the attitude of the child's civic environment. What I have to offer is designed to bring the blind child into line with his seeing fellows, and not to suggest differences in the methods in instruction.

The heaviest handicap of the blind is not his lost sight, nor his lack of one group of sense-cognitions. This is bad enough, to be sure, but his misfortune is greatly exaggerated in many cases by the ill-advised “helps” that are continually thrust upon him from the moment his blind. ness is discovered till at last he loses all ability to take care of himself, and, what is worse, all desire to do so.

From earliest infancy many a blind child is hedged in by a succession of restrictions that are worse than the foot bandages of a Chinese lady of rank. He must not put on his own clothes because, when he once tried it, he got on his trousers wrong side before. He cannot wash himself because he makes “ a mess of it." He is not allowed to move for fear he may run his nose against the door or bark his shins on the horse block. He might fall if he climbed a cherry tree in search of fruit, and to go on an errand to the next-door neighbor would be as dangerous as Nansen's expedition in search of the North Pole. Bobby must give up to Tommy his sweetmeats, his playthings, his priceless collection of pocket paraphernalia, with no adequate return, because “ Tommy is blind, you know;" and so Tommy becomes selfish as well as helpless. If parents could be made to understand the value of the cultivation in their blind child of manners, care and cleanliness of person, self-help and independence of movement, the little altruisms of the fireside and playground, and the vigilant suppression of habits which attract attention, the work of the school would be greatly simplified and relieved. For this training the parent is responsible, and it ought not to be delayed for, nor delegated to, the institution.

The gymnasium with a competent teacher should be a part of every well-equipped school for the blind as for the seeing; and for girls it is indispensable; but for boys I know of nothing that quite equals a military drill. It cultivates erectness of carriage, synchronous movement, measured step, varied exercise, and a certain alertness of mind, in co-ordinating muscular action. These are all valuable acquisitions toward the physical training of the blind; moreover, the soldierly drill eliminates one more of the things which “the blind cannot do,” and, to this extent, strengthens his moral power.

It is from this lack of moral power, or “grit,” or “sand,” to use the strong Saxon metaphor of the street, that our saddest failures come. The lack is largely due to the injudicious coddling just spoken of, and the physical and the mental flabbiness consequent thereto, and is increased by the universal sympathy which the misfortune of blindness engenders, and which finds easiest expression by a gift of coin or the paying twenty-five cents for a lead pencil dear at twenty-five cents a gross. I confess that the temptation of the blind is sore. To trade on his afflic. tion, to stand with placard on breast and cup in hand on a street corner and gather in the benevolent contributions of the passers-by, is so much easier than to “rustle” and to work; and when one sees the horde of stalwart, able-bodied tramps which infests alike city and country, it is small wonder that now and then a blind man yields to temptation and avails himself of the profitable and easy resource at his command. It is, however, our business to see that, so far as in us lies, every pupil goes forth equipped, not only with a book knowledge that shall place him in intellectual fellowship with his seeing brother, but also with a manly determination to do his part in the battle of life, and if need be to die in the conflict. It is not always necessary to live; to die is sometimes gain. The struggle of Gethsemane, the agony of Calvary, have helped men to suffer and to endure for nineteen hundred years.

Our boys should be taught, not the dignity of labor, but the dignity of the laborer; that the bread of charity is unwholesome; that a coin received in alms should burn in the palm like fire; that starving is better than begging; and, if down he must go in the fierce mêlée of life, let him go with unsullied soul and exulting manhood.

Somehow I cannot help thinking that this sort of education, this character-building, is more important than enlarging the blind boy's sense-perception of things that are of no particular consequence anyhow. Indeed, I sometimes think that we are unduly anxious about petty details of tactual perception at the sacrifice of matters of larger moment.

There are relative values in subjects for teaching, and the best instructor will best select from the vast storehouse at his command; not that all sorts of knowledge have not some value, but that some sorts are of more worth than other sorts.

In all departments of public education, and in life as well, this "terrible choice," as Robert Browning calls it, is of the highest importance ; but in the education of the blind it is vital, for misdirected effort during their school life is not so easily corrected and atoned for as with those who can see.

I sometimes fear that in these days of money-getting, when education seems so largely directed toward how to “make a living," we are neglecting the gentler art of "how to live;" that in the demand for mechanics we forget the nobler use and need for men. I once heard Charles Dudley Warner say in a college address that the ideal university of the future would be a place where nothing practical is taught. The remark was doubtless a humorous protest against the material tendencies of the age, but there was a pregnant thought at the bottom of it, viz.: that character and culture are better than coin ; that “a life" is better than "a living."

The material achievements of men are but the temporary housings that perish with the using. If in some great cataclysm of nature all the houses and railways and ships and temples and monuments and wealth were destroyed, and the world could be left with its accumulated experience of faith and hope and charity and patience and love that have been gathering force thru all the ages, the world would be the better for the change; for out of the wreck of matter would speedily rise a new earth, spanned by a nobler heaven than vision of prophet ever saw. No need of crystal sea, nor jeweled gates, nor golden streets, to adorn this new Jerusalem ; the all-sufficient glory and beauty thereof would be its true and faithful men and women.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

ARRANGED BY STATES, CLASSES, AND YEARS OF CONTINUOUS MEMBERSHIP

REVISED TO DECEMBER 1, 1899

The marginal figures indicate the year of the commencement of continuous annual membership for those whose names immediately follow. The indented figures indicate year of appointment to present educational position. The names of deceased members are indicated by a *.

Extra copies of this list may be obtained by remitting twenty-five cents to the Secretary, Irwin Shepard, Winona, Minn.

[ocr errors]

ALABAMA

ACTIVE MEMBERS 1882. JULIA S. TUTWILER.

Principal of Alabama Normal College for Girls, Livingston. 1888. J. H. PHILLIPS, A.M., Marietta Coll., O.; Ph.D., Southern Univ., Ala.

1883. Superintendent of Schools, 2231, 7th Ave., Birmingham. 1892. FRANCIS MORTON Roof.

1897. President of Howard College, East Lake. 1834. LUCIEN V. LA TASTE.

General Agent, University Publishing Co. of New York, Box 564, Montgomery. JOHN MASSEY, A.M., '75, LL.D., '79, Univ. of Ala.

1876. President of Alabama Conference Female College, Tuskegee. 1895. MARY A. CAHALAN.

1884. Principal of the Powell School, 2311, 4th Ave., Birmingham. J. B. CUNNINGHAM,

1898. Principal of High School, 600 S. 27th St., Birmingham, ROBERT ALEXANDER MICKLE, A.B., '86, Davidson Coll., N. C.

Principal, Jefferson St. Primary and Grammar Schools, 101 Georgia Ave., Mobile.
KATE E. MOON,

Grammar Department, Public Schools, 110 N. Conception St., Mobile.
JAMES K. POWERS, A.M., '73, LL.D., '97, Univ. of Ala.

1897. President of University of Alabama, University:
JOHN D. YERBY, A.B., '79, Southern Univ.; A.M., '96, Univ. of Ala.

1894. Superintendent of Schools, 996 Government St., Mobile. 1897. ALABAMA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE.

President, William Le Roy Broun; Librarian, Charles C. Thach, Auburn. 1898. ROBERT VENABLE ALLGOOD, B.P., '88, B.Sc., '90, So. Univ., Greensboro; A.M., '93, Univ, of

Nashville.

1894. Superintendent of Public Schools, 5th Ave. E., Avondale, Birmingham.
J. F. ELLIOTT.

1897. Principal of High School, Brookwood.
J. A. KNIGHT, B.C., '87, Keochie Coll., La.; B.Sc., '95, Nat. Nor. Univ., Lebanon, O.; A.B.

Superintendent of Schools, Mt. Willing. 1899. ARTHUR U. CRAIG, B.Sc., '95, Univ. of Kan.

1895. Teacher of Physics and Mechanical Drawing, Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee.

ARIZONA

ACTIVE MEMBERS 1895. HORACE E. WILSON.

1898. Superintendent in charge of Supai Indians and School, Supai. Lydia HUNT WRIGHT.

1894. Superintendent, U.S. Indian Boarding School, Indian School, San Carlos. 1898. T. E. DALTON.

Ex-Territorial Superintendent, Phænix.
R. L. LONG.

1899. Superintendent of Public Instruction, 211 Fleming Block, Phænix. 1899. FRANK Yale ADAMS, A.B., '88, A.M., '94. St. Lawrence Univ.

1897. Professor of History and Pedagogy, University of Arizona, Tucson. W. J. ANDERSON, B.Sc., '97, National Univ., Chicago.

1898.' Grand Avenue School, 12th Ave., Box 282, Phænix.
EDWARD J. BERRINGER.

Teacher in Indian Schools, Parker,
SIDNEY C. BOTKIN.

Matron of Indian Schools, Parker.
F. A. COOLEY, A.B., '92, Stanford Univ.
1898. Superintendent of Schools, 51 Council St., Tucson.

« PreviousContinue »