This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
In a few moments the mother looked up again, and her little son had piled around his sister all the toys he could find. He sat upon the floor, looking first at his sister and then at his mother, trying in vain to suppress his delight in his mother's approval, which he seemed sure he would get. "I told you so; come and kiss me again," said she, making a quick move as if to catch him while he dodged from the room with a joyous ha! ha!
The greatest factor in the education of a child, and the most important element in the development of character in children, is the confidence that we show them; for the confidence reposed by others in us determines the estimate that we place upon ourselves. To believe in a child is to beget self-confidence in that child.
After we are older, and have had more experience in the world, we are able to excuse ignorance, and we crave the confidence only of the best people. By this we estimate ourselves, but in children the love and confidence, and expressed appreciation, of those nearest and most closely related is the most powerful factor in the development and growth of all the latent elements of manhood and womanhood.
Children easily enter into sympathy with those with whom they are constantly associated, and the blighting influence of a home in which violent displays of temper are made, or hysterical conduct in any form is exhibited, is harmful to both the mental and physical development of children. Here they unconsciously acquire habits that frequently last them through life.
In the use of suggestion upon children for the correction of vice and the cure of evil habits, moral perversions, etc., both with and without hypnotism, no rule can be given that will apply to all children alike. One must know children and deal with each one according to his or her own individuality, first securing their confidence. They are very suggestible without hypnotism, and easily come under any influence by those who have their confidence.
In one of our large cities a revival meeting was conducted by an advertising revivalist under the auspices of several of the leading orthodox churches, and his text for seven days was, "Hell, the kind of place it is and who is going there." The physicians of that city were more than ordinarily busy during this period on account of the psychoneurotic condition induced by the fear that such preaching had implanted in the minds of unthinking men and women.
At one of their special services for children, held by the revivalist during the latter part of his stay in that city, only "workers" were invited besides the children, thus securing such an environment and suggestive influence that hundreds of children, who were incapable of thinking and reasoning for themselves, were coerced into joining the church. Under these circumstances children are unconsciously molded into a particular line of religious belief which reflects the opinions of their parents or the makers of their church creed, and under this influence they are reared and educated. The power of choice is denied them, and they grow into manhood and womanhood stamped as if they were so many bricks.
We might as well expect to make a race horse out of a colt that had been imprisoned in a stable all his life, as to expect children reared under such an environment to become broad-minded, truth-loving men and women. As self-conscious, independent entities, they are not allowed to think for themselves, and, failing to exercise their intellectual faculties, their minds become dwarfed and useless. How many people are born and reared under such an enforced environment, from which they are never able to extricate themselves! They acquire a one-sided way of seeing things, and such mental processes, continuously indulged in, form habits, and such mental habits form fixed psychophysiological complexes in the brain plasm to the extent that it becomes impossible for the individual to think or believe any other way.
Mental faculties are mainly acquired, and are the product of environment and education. Chief among these are memory, imagination, speech, knowledge, conception, judgment, will, and reason. Reason is mankind's highest, truest, noblest faculty, but it is able to draw conclusions only from the light of experience.
Many advanced thinkers believe that "the will is higher than the mind, and that its rightful prerogative is to govern and direct the mind just as it is the prerogative for the mind to govern and direct the body." This seems to be true when we see an individual using his entire mental equipment at a given salary to promulgate a fixed religious dogma, or when "a lawyer receives a retainer and commands his mind forthwith to busy itself with all its re-Sources of reasoning and persuasion for the party who pays him. Even his emotions from the extremes of pathos to those of indignation may be pressed into the service as well." 1
There are others who deny that there is such a faculty as " will," who take the position that mankind is impelled to action by desire and held in restraint by fear, and between desire and fear each human being stands.
Yet even will, desire, and fear are only qualities of the individual body and mind, and they conform to the general law of evolution, being the outcome of heredity, environment, and education. The logical conclusion, then, is that each human being is what he is by the operation of the same infallible law that moves the earth around the sun and that controls the stars.
People mean to do well. They are seeking happiness as best they know how, according to their instinctive impulses inherent within the protoplasmic mechanism of the physical organism, modified or guided by knowledge and experience.
Some of the greatest, noblest, truest characters that exist in the world today are clergymen, who are so far in advance of the creed of the church under whose jurisdiction they are laboring that they have become a law unto themselves. They have been impelled by desire to do that which is right, and useful, and true until they are found standing in orthodox pulpits, fearlessly doing all within their power to liberate men and women from the tyranny of creeds and dogmas, ignorance and superstition," through which all creeds have been evolved. They are interpreting the problems of life in the light of present-day knowledge, and eagerly seeking the contributions shed upon the pathway of human endeavor and achievement by the light of science.
"To live by science requires intelligence and faith, but not to live by it is folly." Men stand where they are in the world today held by the tyranny of fear and ignorance, unless liberated by knowledge and experience. Frequently physicians who stand high in the medical profession have said to me frankly and honestly that they felt the necessity of a more thorough knowledge of the theories and methods of using psychotherapeutics, but they "were afraid their practices would be ruined if the people should find it out." When such men are teachers in our medical colleges, their pupils bear the stamp of moral weakness upon their professional characters. They are the legitimate product of weakness and fear as manifested in the personality of a physician.
1Thompson: Brain and Personality.
A most valuable part of education is the incentives and intellectual ideals implanted through personal association.