The greatest duty of mankind lies in the proper uprearing of our children. The fact is recognized, but is the duty fulfilled? Do we rear our children as we should? There is but one answer: We fail. Teaching them many things for their good, we yet keep from them ignorantly, foolishly, with a hesitancy and neglect unpardonable—knowledge, the possession of which is essential for their future welfare.
The first necessity for well-being is a healthy mind in a healthy body. We can give our children that, if we will, by teaching them all about the body, its source of life, its different functions, and its care. The child should grow to maturity knowing that the human body is something fine, something that accomplishes good, something to be proud of in every way. Above all should the child be taught all concerning the process of reproduction, just as it is taught the action of the stomach or of the brain. By so doing, we can produce a better and healthier and happier generation to follow ours. By what strange and mistaken impulse in the past such absolutely required teaching has been so studiously withheld is beyond all comprehension.
We want the best for our children. We want them to grow up with right thoughts and habits, yet we keep from them the knowledge without which their thoughts and habits will surely be imperiled when there arises in them the generative instinct, which has its effect upon both male and female youth alike.
We give them no information as to sexual matters; and, when it comes to them, it is too often but in the way of half-truths, mysterious, exciting to the imagination, and dangerous.
Yet how simple and natural the giving of this information might be made; and how easily the child might be safeguarded! Mankind has demands which must be gratified. We have hunger; we have thirst; we have the impulse of reproduction. Each is right and natural. There should be no difference in the consideration of either of these wants. All about them the child should be taught, from the beginning, so that all will be natural and right and commonplace and a matter of course long before the age is reached when the sexual instinct is developed.
Is not this reason? Is it not healthful, logical, common sense? Is it not the wholesome and right and proper view?
Nature is devoted to reproduction. From the cell to the flower, and so on upward, the creatures of the world are but renewing themselves, and the learning of this is the greatest and most beautiful of all studies. All this the child can be taught.
Elementary biology, or the study of subjects of what we call zoology and botany combined, can be made the most attractive of studies to any child who has learned to read. The boy or girl may be taught that the trees and flowers are living things that are beautiful and are male and female. The child may be shown how the bees carry the pollen from flower to flower, and how other plants and flowers are produced in that way.
He can be taught the wonder of seed, and its consequences....