The pure, the bright, the beautiful,
-----All the Year Round---"Imperishable."
YOUTH is always interesting. No subject, commonly discussed, commands wider or keener attention. And this is natural; and for several reasons.
We have all of us been young ourselves and, however much we may strive to conceal it, the pictures that memory paints of the days of our boyhood and girlhood are gripping and alluring, and generally the happiest we know. To enter fully into the spirit of youth, to grapple once more with its problems, to share in its hopes, its aspirations, and even its disappointments,---all this brings a thrill of its own and lays hold on our hearts. The feeling is hard to define. But it is there and it is very real.
Again; most of us of an older generation have children of our own or, at least, a deep interest in the children of our friends. Their problems are constantly in our thoughts. Their future is very vital to us. In the new and somewhat changed conditions under which youth is forced to fight its upward way we are a bit perplexed as to the part which we should play. The old standards do not seem to fit. The old rules will not always hold. Many of the most helpful agencies of former days have been swept away. We need help; and we turn eagerly to any who by experience or position seem likely to offer any helpful clue to the solution of our baffling problem.
And finally, we have heavy stakes in this younger generation so soon to take our places on life's great stage. We are all building for the future. Our tasks will never be completed as we would wish to have them. Others must carry on our work and carry it to the higher levels our vision has pictured for it. And these others are the youth of the present day. No wonder then that these boys and girls are of such tremendous interest to us all.
If youth has always been interesting to its elders it is doubly so to-day. Youth has been acting of late in ways that are strange and hard for us to comprehend. These actions have distressed and annoyed; and we have been free with our criticisms and complaints. But our criticisms have seldom been constructive and our complaints have not always been fair. And youth, responding normally to the conditions with which it finds itself surrounded, as youth has always done, has sensed the injustice of our self-righteous attitude, has resented our interference, and has left us more helpless than before. For youth did not create these conditions. Youth found them ready-made. The responsibility for their existence rests squarely upon us of older and supposedly wiser years.
The seeming blindness of the older generation to this responsibility is hard to understand. Yet that responsibility is clear and grave and easily sensed by those who will pause and ponder.
The excitement and selfishness of a materialistic age have rendered us indifferent to the needs of and our duties to others. The awakening must come soon or it will come too late. Conditions which threaten the welfare of society and the stability of the nation will not be altered by our petulant protests; they can and must be changed by earnest and unselfish effort. For the sake of the fathers, the mothers, and the citizens of tomorrow the obligation which is plainly ours must be assumed, and now.
A fairly long and intimate contact with youth is my excuse for attempting to point out in this volume wherein we have erred in our dealings with our boys and girls and the course we are bound to pursue if we are sincere in our desire to aid them in attaining manhood and womanhood that shall be strong and self-controlled and that shall enable them in the years just ahead to carry on successfully our unfinished tasks. Youth has far more at stake than we have; and youth will not knowingly hurl itself to destruction. Youth asks for a fair field and a fair chance. That much, at least, it is our duty and our privilege to supply.
THE DUAL NATURE OF YOUTH
THE HOME IN CIVILIZATION
RELIGION IN CIVILIZATION
MODERN SUBSTITUTES---THE MOVIES, THE STAGE, AND LITERATURE
MODERN SUBSTITUTES---SOCIAL CONDITIONS
DISCIPLINE VERSUS SELFISHNESS