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While not interfering with the technical side of the work, this person has entrusted to him, or her, all matters affecting the general management and well-being of the women, the girls, and the boys employed. The presence of such an officer introduces into the workshop just that element which emphasizes the human side of the worker and which in the past has been too frequently absent. Such officers are appointed by the employer.
Other Welfare Officers, appointed by the Ministry, are concerned with the duty of assisting the workers in that side of their life which lies outside the factory. The question of suitable lodgings, of adequate transit to and from work, the supply of recreation suitable to the workers, and the care of the worker when sick, are among the matters which engage the attention of these officers.
Thus in the past few years the net of welfare has been flung wide, and whole sections of the community, whose condition was in the past little regarded, are brought within the range of public assistance and supervision. 10, Addington Square,
THE CHILD IN THE MIDST.
By the REV. ALFRED E. GARVIE, M.A., D.D.
The loss of life we are now witnessing is making many persons who were quite careless before concerned about its renewal and preservation. Modern society is being in so many ways laid in ruins, that many who never paid any attention to social reform are asking themselves how the waste places may be rebuilt. It is being increasingly felt that to get a good ending we must make a good beginning, that in the care of its life the nation bis dat qui cito dat. The child is being set in the midst, and many of the questions of the day have him as their centre of attention, interest, and endeavour. There must be life if it is to be cared for, and no life must be lost that can be kept.
The declining birth-rate and infantile mortality are being placed in the forefront of our social questions. As the importance of motherhood as a social function and social service is being recognized, the obligation of the care of the mother before, at, and after the birth of her child is being admitted. Even if the child is born healthy of a healthy mother the care must be continuous. Not only the first year of life must be guarded against physical peril, but the guardianship must be continued during all the years at school.
An education of the mind, in which there is neglect of the body, is cruel and futile. The weakly child cannot be forced to learn without increase of the injury, and will be incapable of getting full advantage of the teaching given. Not only is positive disease to be taken account of by the educator, but also insufficient nourishment. stomach means an enfeebled brain. The education, including physical care and moral training, as well as mental instruction, must be continued beyond the far too early age at which it now ends. All good citizens must hail with delight the proposals of the Minister of Education. In adolescence before 16 or even 18 years of age boys and girls are not fit, mentally, morally or physically, to take up the burden of life in labour for daily bread. Intellectual interests awaken just at
the age when most young persons have left school; a few years longer would incalculably enhance the value of the teaching already given. A premature arrest of the intellectual development means simply a waste of the resources employed to bring it up to that stage. It is true that to raise the school age must increase the already heavy burden of parental responsibility. If it is in the interests of the community that the education of the citizens of the future should be longer continued, the whole of the increased weight must not fall on the parents. Some compensation must be devised for the wages the boy or girl might have earned. The physical growth will suffer from too early assumption of the burden of toil.
Morally, the adolescent most needs guidance and guardianship, and yet is most eager to claim independence. Any measure of industrial independence carries with it the expectation of personal freedom. The boy or girl earning wages is not so ready to submit to authority. Continuance for a few years longer at school would meet this growing danger. The physical changes in adolescence with the emergence of the sex impulse increase the moral perils and make more urgent this moral guidance and guardianship. At the age at which most boys and girls now leave school it would be premature to teach them much about this peril and promise. In full adolescence they must be taught either by parents at home or teachers at school the solemn responsibility that is laid upon them in this respect, that not self-indulgence but racial function is the end of the new physical possibilities of which they are becoming aware. Adolescence is also the period of greatest religious susceptibility, and if the religious life is to be developed fully, it is now that the most potent influence can be exercised.
It would be a grievous loss if these added years of education were regarded as primarily devoted to prepare boys and girls for wageearning. Man or woman is more than an industrial machine of however great efficiency. Education may at this period include some technical training of a general character; but surely personal development, including intellectual interest, æsthetic taste, moral disposition, religious sensibility, must have more attention. A genuinely cultured man or woman is worth more to the nation in the long run than an expert tradesman, who is little, if anything, more.
In the education there should be kept in view fitness for citizenship. The formal teaching of patriotism is a mockery, unless the education is such as to make the boy or girl feel instinctively that the Motherland is worth living and dying for, that having freely received from it, he or she
should freely give to it. It is to be hoped that we have learned the peril of a too exclusive patriotism that casts off the common human bonds, and that in future patriotic and humane sentiment shall grow in perfect accord. Is it too much to hope for that we may yet get an educational system in which class separation and caste feeling will be unknown, so that every boy or girl, according to ability, will get equal opportunity for the full development of the capacity of each, irrespective of the accident of the social status of the parents ? Not for the sake of parent or child may such a plea be advanced, but in the interests of the nation, which cannot afford to lose by leaving undeveloped any vital, mental, moral, spiritual resources which it can command in the common good.
When school is left behind and industry is entered, can the community lose its interest and leave those it has hitherto cared for to sink swim as they are able? Incompetence, improvidence, indolence must certainly not be encouraged; but surely the community may and ought to see to it that the conditions of labour are such that at least a minimum standard of civilized life can be maintained even by the least capable, while encouragement for the fullest use of their powers is given to the most capable. The employment of women and girls raises a serious problem. A woman must, of course, be free to choose single independence if she prefers, and should not be forced into marriage to escape the pressure of economic conditions. But surely these things society should care for : (1) That woman's employment should be so regulated that she will not be made unfit for healthy and happy motherhood; (2) that motherhood shall be so honoured and cared for that woman will not be tempted to suppress her maternal instincts because the price of motherhood in physical pain or economic hardship is higher than she cares to pay; (3) that the importance of the service of motherhood to the nation shall be recognized in securing for the mother in the home a position of greater independence than present customs usually give to her. In respect of fatherhood, too, it is the interest of society that men should be able to marry, make a home, bring up children without undue anxiety and hardship, and send them out again into the world efficiently and worthily to carry on the life and labour of the society that has had a regard for their welfare from birth onwards. Thus will the society accompany with its solicitude and service the complete cycle of life. To carry on this care for a time and then give it up is folly and waste. Why bring life into the world that we allow to perish in infancy? Why save the child if we neglect the boy or girl? Why at great expense educate the man or woman, of whom we do not make the most, and for whom we do not do the best in after years? Place the child in the midst, and you must follow him till he becomes a parent, that his child again may be in the midst. The good beginning calls for the good ending.