Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
CHILDREN AND SOCIETY

The Age of the Child. There are so many angles from which to approach the study of children in their relation to society that the student may well wonder where to begin. We have already suggested one important line of attack in our previous chapter dealing with family relationships. We have suggested another in our discusssion of population. Still other aspects will appear in the chapters on the youth movement and the social curriculum of the school. The sentimental viewpoint will immediately occur to the student as one which has occupied a large place in the varied discussion of children. The place of the child in literature, in art, and in the heart of the world has been a large one. The coming of Christianity, with its "Suffer little children," ushered in a new era of civilization. The whole modern movement of child welfare has accentuated and summarized the new place which the child has attained in modern civilization. One of the most valuable studies in this whole field is that which deals with processes and programs of child welfare, being prepared by Henry W. Thurston, of the New York School of Social Work and C. C. Carstens of the Child Welfare League of America. In this volume the history of the child welfare movement is illustrated by individual examples of child treatment from the earliest days to the present, and the modern situation is illustrated through programs of state, county, and city efforts for the promotion of child welfare.

The Child as a Basic Factor . In our opening chapters we pointed out the importance of considering the individual and his social development as the basis upon which society might build a better civilization. The individual is inevitably, of course, the first unit in the social fabric. But behind the mature individual, the child must be the basis upon which the individual may be built. Behind the whole problem of population, the number and quality of children must determine the size and nature of our future populations. Behind the problems of citizenship, it is a common-

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