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Civic Nurture

social, life and particular

CIVIC NURTURE Hygienic training for health, then, and economic education for efficiency, are the first two planks in a policy of social education. The third is civic cul ture, training in self-government and aid in ap preciating the nature of social relations—social obligations, social rights and duties—the social life in its entirety. This is no more the function of so-called civics courses, dealing with the framework of political government as it happens to exist in a particular community, than of those dealing with other subjects, such as history, literature, and biology. It is a by-product, like ethics, of which it is a part, of nearly all good teaching. If the new conception of government as a democratic coopera tive enterprise can be planted in the mind, this will help, but society does not consist merely of its courts and legislatures. Failure to recognize this has seemed to me the great weakness of those Junior Republics in which the whole life centers around the sheriff and the judge. The school must recognize that many a voluntary agency, like a trade union, a savings bank, a chamber of com merce, a church or synagogue—the family at one extreme and the human brotherhood at the other— all express social relations, and that any one of them, at a given moment, under particular circum stances, may have greater significance for the in dividual than the state itself. To be a good citizen

is essential. One cannot put it more strongly. But to be a good neighbor, to be a creditor in the community and not a social debtor, to live a full life in all appropriate social relations, is an even higher and more inspiring ideal.

This social ideal has in it a dynamic element. The school which fits into a sound scheme of social construction is not to pass on a civilization per fected and unchanged. It is no slavish instrument of things as they are. It assumes a progressive social order and seeks to implant a divine discon tent, an evolutionary spirit, a germ of that love of liberty and opportunity which has so often de stroyed the old and outworn to make place for the new. It is conservative only of what continuously stands the acid test of present needs and forward looking plans.