The Contribution of the Home to the Preparation of the Child for Life
Sherbon, Florence Brown, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences
FROM THE ARCHIVES
This article was taken from the February 1927 issue of the Journal of Home Economics.
Florence Brown Sherbon based this article on a paper read before the American Home Economics Association, Minneapolis, June 29, 1926.
In casting about for a statement of what would generally be accepted as factors in the adequate preparation of the child for life it occurred to me we might well take the international children's charter. This charter, or Bill of Rights, was drawn up bythe International Save the Children Fund in February, 1923, and, after some revisions, was endorsed by the Assembly of the league of Nations in September, 1924.' The original English draft as presented to the British Fund in 1923 reads:
Irrespective of race or class, politics or creed, every child should First, be born in health and honor, and nurtured under healthful conditions. Second, every child should be preserved in health and succored in sickness and distress and rescued when in error. Third, every child should have opportunity for physical, mental, and moral and spiritual development. Fourth, every child should be brought up as a member of the human family, conscious of its kinship with all other children and prepared to play its part in the service of its fellows.
The adoption of this concrete statement of the fundamental rights of childhood by the nations of the world is significant and presents a definite challenge to that human institution which exists, fundamentally, for the sole purpose of producing and fostering the child, namely the family, or to use that other comprehensive term which adds the concept of environment and relatively fixed habitat, the home.
It is highly appropriate that home economists should consider the part the home plays in preparing the child for life. If, as we begin to believe, the home permanently conditions the child, physically and emotionally, before the school has a chance at him, and if the school assumes a responsibility, as we now believe it should, for preparing the child to the full extent of its opportunity for the simple business of living, pre-parental training in all its aspects becomes of vast human importance. It therefore becomes necessary for the home and school to agree upon the order and emphasis in values in what we are pleased to call training and preparation for life. There must be no violence and disruption in the experience of the child as he passes from the home to the school and the school to the home. Here lies one of the essential difficulties of the past and, to an extent, of the present: the school has ignored the home, and the home has had little contact with or understanding of the school. The child has therefore led a dual, or, more correctly, a triune existence, comprising the child the home thought him to be, the child the school thought him to be, and the confused little entity which he kept within himself and which no one ever fully saw or fully understood.
Fortunately for the child, with the evolution of the human race and human philosophy we are passing out of the period of exaltation of intellect through the period of exaltation of physical health - an orderly sequence, by the way, for we had to have trained intelligence before we could achieve the simple, basic needs of an efficient human machine. if I mistake not the signs of the hour, we are entering upon an era of exaltation of personality. In other words we are, at last, trying to consider the child as an entity.
The international bill of children's rights places first the right of every child "to be born in health and honor." It is well to recognize at the outset that there is a limit to what can be done by home, school, society, or any other agency, for the child who is born in physical, mental, or social dishonor. In order to achieve the inspiring world ideal that every child shall be born in honor it will become necessary to inculcate into all human thinking a pervasive realization of the importance of clean and adequate human inheritance. …