A Lesson on Success for All of Us

The following item was found in the Battle Creek Enterprise, Thursday, March 20, 1930 on page 1.

Commenting on the emphasis now being placed upon character education in public schools, State Superintendent Taylor writes the Enterprise: “At an examination held in November, 1929, those who were writing on the subject of English Composition were asked to write a composition of not less than three Hundred words on the subject of Character Education. The composition which is enclosed was written by Vera Miller, Battle Creek, (junior in high school). It may not be the best composition submitted from Madison county, but it at least may be accepted as typical”. Her essay follows:

School is not only a place of book learning but of character education as well. The lessons learned while at school will follow the child longer than rules of spelling and arithmetic. The character formed while young is the character you live with all your life. This character is formed while at school. Then is it not an important duty of the teacher to try to help his pupils form good characters?

Habit is a cable. We weave a thread of it every day till at last we cannot break it. These threads are woven while at school. When the child graduates he has woven those threads into cables. Are they the right kind of cables? Should not the teacher help the child weave good, strong and useful habits?

At the age of five years the little tot starts to school. His mother entrusts that precious little bit of humanity to the care of his instructor. At this age the child begins to know right from wrong and to realize why he is “paddled”. So it is not the mother who teaches her don or daughter, it is the teacher. How may teachers realize the real responsibility that many a fond mother places in his hands?

Twelve years glide swiftly by and mother’s heart leaps as her son is given a diploma as a reward for his diligence. He has leaned Latin, mathematics, science and many more. He has also learned character. Think of the pain in that mother’s heart if that boy had developed the wrong kind of a character. How often have we heard the expression,  ‘That’s what he learns at school,”  when ‘sonny’ comes home with some slang. As he grows, too often has the slang that he adopted from his fellow classmates, led to other offenses. And so it is not always the amount of knowledge you have gained from books that counts. It is the character you have formed that really determines your success in life.