This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
Sufficient evidence has doubtless been adduced to show that social changes do run in cycles more or less, although there is lacking the precision of astronomical cycles. The subject is one to which the sociologists have not given much attention so far; greater precision will doubtless be attained in the future. One great principle which the teacher, the statesman, or the social worker of any kind, needs to hold in mind is that there are other cycles besides those set down in the calendar or on the program. There are some which will appear after a short experience, and others perhaps after a long experience. There are probably still others which will remain undiscovered; sometimes all we can do is to look for change of some kind, giving what help we can to have it of the right kind, but having faith that the great underlying forces will do the real work. We must accustom ourselves to look for opposites: on a day when the pupils in school are especially bright and attentive, it is well for the teacher to reflect that some future day will find them listless or mischievous; in a year when the social surroundings seem to be about as bad as possible, we may assure ourselves that they will change sometime and change for the better, though of course they may change for the worse first. The changes which the secular cycles portend may seem too far away to be of practical importance. But with the coming of large-scale organization the range of adjustments for the future has been greatly increased, and we may expect it to be increased still more. Bonds now run for a hundred years and leases of land are made for a thousand years. Statesmen plan for future centuries, and they will plan for future millenniums as soon as science provides a sure basis of knowledge. Educators should be equally far-sighted. When the secular changes come great praise will be given to those persons who began in due time to make adjustments for them. Furthermore, the habit of looking ahead is worth cultivating even though some of the particular forecasts by which it is cultivated may lack practical importance.