This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
A child at birth is a highly sensitized lump of protoplasm--human clay--which is made up of cells. A cell is composed of a central spot, or nucleus (small nut), and a body. This cell is the protoplasm out of which the human body is built.
At birth a child is an undifferentiated lump of protoplasm, possessed of ancestral form which binds it to its genus, which is animal, and species, which is man. It is no more a thinking man than the young sprout or twig is a tree with developed fruit.
The lump of protoplasm is potentially a human being. Whether it is to develop ideally or not depends upon the artificer--home and society.
A lump of potter's clay has all the potentiality needed to be brought into the most exquisite forms; yet, if it falls into the hands of a bungler, it may end in some grotesque shape with neither order nor reason.
If there are few expert artificers in the field of art who can send out perfect specimens, when in the privacy of their studios they may try and try again, we certainly should not expect that people without the slightest knowledge of man-building could mold a lump of human clay--protoplasm--into a perfect human being. Indeed, should we not expect just what we see-namely, nearly every finished product misshapen in some way?
If the molding is started wrongly, it may be gone over and covered-up; but the scars are left.
Why should the majority of human beings know how to rear children successfully, when they have but little common-sense in matters of far less importance?
The bungling work of stupid parents and teachers is charged to Providence. That a child inherits its faults and failures is accepted by law and society; yet that same law and society give themselves the double cross by holding the victims of heredity responsible for their inheritance.
When the best intellects of the day confuse facts as they do, what hope can we have that we shall ever evolve out of our chaotic state?
If children evolve undesirable traits, is there not more prospect of bringing about a reform with beliefs and actions based on the hypothesis that every child is a new and perfect being at birth, than by acting on the old hypothesis that they are cursed before birth by an inheritance out of which they can never be trained?
If training is worth anything, it should be started at birth. What kind of training can a child get at the hands of a father and mother who lack training, and whose stockin-trade is a lot of bad habits, kept at white heat by a cultivated sensualism? When the offspring of such unions go to the bad, it is from inheritance! Is that so? Then training has nothing to do with these degenerate children?
We must accept or reject the idea that children can be taught. If we accept it, then we must not excuse our failures and charge them to Providence.