Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/104

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
98
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

best years of one's life spent in the company of noble thoughts and high ideals cannot fail to leave their impress. To be wise, and at the same time womanly, is to wield a tremendous influence, which may be felt for good in the lives of generations to come. It is not forms of government by which men are made and unmade. It is the character and influence of their mothers and their wives. The higher education of women means more for the future than all conceivable legislative reforms. And its influence does not stop with the home. It means higher standards of manhood, greater thoroughness of training, and the coming of better men. Therefore let us educate our girls as well as our boys. A generous education should be the birthright of every daughter of the republic as well as of every son.

It is hardly necessary among intelligent men and women to argue that a good woman is a better one for having received a college education. Anything short of this is inadequate for the demands of modern life and modern culture. The college training should give some basis for critical judgment among the various lines of thought and effort which force themselves upon our attention. Untrained cleverness is said to be the most striking characteristic of the American woman. Trained cleverness, a very much more charming thing, is characteristic of the American college woman. And when cleverness stands in the right perspective, when it is so strengthened and organized that it becomes wisdom, then it is the most valuable dowry a bride can bring to her home.

Even if the four K's, 'Kirche, Kinder, Kuchen and Kleider,' are to occupy woman's life as Emperor William would have us believe, the college education is not too serious a preparation for the profession of directing them. A wise son is one who has had a wise mother, and to give alertness, intelligence and wisdom is the chief function of a college education.

 

2. Shall we give our Girls the Same Education as our Boys?

Yes, and no. If we mean by the same, an equal degree of breadth and thoroughness, an equal fitness for high thinking and wise acting, yes, let it be the same. If we mean this: Shall we reach this end by exactly the same course of studies? then the answer must be, No. For the same course of study will not yield the same results with different persons. The ordinary 'college course' which has been handed down from generation to generation is purely conventional. It is a result of a series of compromises in trying to fit the traditional education of clergymen and gentlemen to the needs of a different social era. The old college course met the needs of nobody, and therefore was adapted to all alike. The great educational awakening of the last twenty years in America has lain in breaking the bonds of this old system. The