THE RENEWAL OF LIFE
Every human being must sooner or later know the facts concerning the origin of his life on the earth. One of the most puzzling questions is how and when such information should be given to the young.
There is nothing the parent more desires than that his child should have a high ideal in regard to the sex-life and that he should live in accordance with that ideal, yet nowhere is careful and systematic education so lacking as here.
What parent would allow his child to go untaught in the particulars concerning truth-telling, honesty, cleanliness, and behavior, trusting that in some way the child would discover the facts necessary to the practice of these virtues and live accordingly? And yet with apparent inconsistency one of the prime virtues is neglected; one of the most vital needs of every human being—the understanding of his sex-nature—is too often left entirely to chance. Not only is the youth uninstructed, but no proper way of learning the truth is within his reach. It is as though he were set blindfold in the midst of dangerous pitfalls, with the admonition not to fall into any of them. Those who ought to tell the facts will not, consequently the facts must be gathered from chance sources which are too often bad, poisoning mind and heart. Even the physiologies, with the exception of those large, and to the average reader inaccessible, volumes used in medical schools, scarcely ever touch upon the subject. Of course these larger books give only the physiological facts couched in scientific terms. How and where, then, can the youth learn what he needs to know?
It is true there is a noble effort being made for young men, and to a less extent for young women, by certain organizations that exist for the help of the young, to supply this curious defect in our educational system; but these efforts reach but comparatively few members in a community, and come too late in the life of the young to give them their first impressions on the subject. Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the future is the interest that thousands of mothers in all walks of life are to-day taking in the best methods of training their children to a right understanding and noble conception of sex-life. Innumerable mothers' clubs give the subject a place in the curriculum of the club work, at stated times discussing, reading, consulting all available authorities which may be of help. Some of these mothers live in poor homes in neighborhoods where their children are exposed to all sorts of evil communications and temptations. Others have sheltered homes, from which the children go out among refined associates from whom there may be little danger of learning that which is evil. Yet others live in moderate circumstances, where the home influences may be good, but where the children are liable to mingle with a heterogeneous society in their school and perhaps in their social life.
Moreover, in all these homes there are children of different natures,—some with temperaments which make it easy for them to imbibe harmful information, while others as naturally resent such information....