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ness. There is something vulgar about bigness. A neat little mind is much more pleasing to a person of taste. If a man's mind is bigger than his business, it's awkward for him. It gets him into all sorts of trouble. He's always seeing the other side, and going against his own interests. He gets himself so mixed up with the mass of mankind that sometimes he loses the chance to get ahead. And when he does get an idea into his head it's hard to control him. You can't
stop a magnanimous man by telling him that he will probably get hurt if he goes on. It 's hard to understand his motives. My business is to keep magnanimity from getting too much of a start. I begin early. There is a great deal of magnanimity in small children. They go about with notions that are several sizes too large for them. Whenever I catch a youngster acting from a magnanimous motive I put a little pusillanimous motive in its place. It acts like a charm. Parents and teachers like it because it makes discipline easier. They see results, and that's what they want. Of course there are other results that they don't
“Did you ever see,” he continued, “a small
boy helping his father in the garden? If the father has a large spade and a wheelbarrow the boy wants a little spade and a tiny wheelbarrow, so that he can help. It's a privilege to be allowed to work for the family. You perhaps know Tennyson's little poem called “Wages.' He says that all that heroes ask is the wages of going on.' That sounds very magnanimous, — in a man. Almost all boys are like that to begin with. All they ask is the wages of going on, with people whom they admire and in something that seems to be worth while. Just think what a state of things there would be if they acted that way when they grew up! • I suggest to the father that he had better
pay the boy for all the little services which he had been doing for the love of it. In a little while the lad loses his magnanimous ways and drives a sharp bargain whenever he is sent on an errand. This pleases the father, for he knows now that his son will be able to hold his own. I work the same plan in school. There are all sorts of ways of taking the spirit out of a child. Nagging is one way, but foolish little rewards are often more effective. He can resent a punishment, but he
cannot resent a reward of merit that he does n't want and that he knows he does n't deserve. He can only feel morally awkward at what is evidently an anti-climax. How would you feel if you had done a moderately heroic act, and the person whom you had rescued were to put his hand in his pocket and say, “Here, my good man, is a silver dollar, -- it is no more than you deserve.' Children are treated that way
all the time and some of them learn to like it. Even in college you may see the student grown man — still working for ‘marks.' He has
not come to the point where he works for the 'wages of going on.'” “In that case he does n't go on,” I said.
No," said the Merry Devil, “not after he gets his diploma."
The conversation drifted from one phase of the subject to another. I noticed that as long as we talked of systems and methods the Merry Devil retained his jaunty air. He was an old hand at finding the weak points in the best inventions. But when we came to mention the names of certain teachers, I thought I detected “a lurking trouble in his nether lip.” There was evidently a personal element which he could not easily deal with.
“In spite of all your efforts,” I said, “I predict that
will be beaten at last. The business of training citizens for a democracy has just begun. Educational ideals have thus far been largely dominated by aristocratic preconceptions. The aim has been to train the few to rule the many, or at least to escape from vulgar contact with those beneath them. Education has been the badge of a superior class.
“Such education was morally superficial. It invited pedantry. But to those who take democracy seriously education becomes at once the most difficult and the most necessary part of statesmanship. Its aim is to enable the many to govern themselves and to realize the possibilities of their own nature. This is the affair not of the pedant but of the patriot. To me the significant thing is the power that lies in the personality of the teacher and which exerts an influence on the whole character. Now I can tell you of a born teacher who_”
“Oh,” said the Merry Devil, holding up his hands, “I never claimed to be a match for a born