Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/744

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children." Here is always the difficulty—to get hold of the motives which will influence men and women in such way that they may finally be possessed by the "love of symmetry in form" which has such "a deep moral significance." You may preach the doctrine to children, and your words will be like the idle wind. Even our young men and our maidens will prefer snug-fitting garments and handsome raiment covering a bad form, to the proportions of Apollo or the beauty of the Venus of Milo not clothed in the fashions of the day. Many men and women, staggering along under burdens of ill-health, self-imposed by neglect of the simplest natural laws, will give your beautiful theory small thought. They will pursue their phantoms of wealth and ambition, while they hug the delusion that they suffer by God's will in this "vale of tears." They do suffer, and deservedly, but only because they do not use their own wills to conform their conduct to His goodwill as revealed in the constitution of their own being. It is useless to set forth to such people the truths of health, the glad tidings of deliverance from many of their ailments by the natural remedies of air, exercise, and food. The doctrines of health have always been preached, and men have not heeded. Let us begin, then, with children, and educate them to these high truths. But with children we have to use authority or play upon motives. If we use authority merely, the idea of harmonious development will become distasteful to them. They will break away from authority and break with the theory at the first opportunity of liberty. Put them at what we elders call play, and they often accomplish of their own free-will what we with difficulty get out of them by force. Now I say that, by their various athletic organizations, young men are doing this very thing for themselves that children do in play. They establish in the colleges a system of training for their various sports which affects not only the members of the higher institutions of learning, but which reaches almost every young man in the land. To express the idea in Dr. Sargent's words, "the college clubs look to the academies, the academies to the schools, the schools to the homes and firesides, to furnish candidates for athletic honors." Dr. Sargent proposes this as one of his objections to making "excellence in achievement the primary object of athletic exercise." But it is the reward which this same "excellence in achievement" receives that brings forward good material and stimulates an increasing number of men to exercise, who would never think of doing so without this stimulus. One is at a loss to understand how this fact should account (as Dr. Sargent says it does account) for the "lack of active interest in athletics." On the contrary, it is one of the principal causes of that active interest; it keeps young men in training, holds them to regular, systematic exercise, in season and out of season, through an important and critical period of their growth; it sends them into the gymnasium when the season forbids practice in the field; it restrains them from excesses, from smoking and drinking, and from late hours;