Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/94

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pelling for a limited period and under suitable stimuli. Postponement from prudential motives and the general conditions of modern life lead readily to their atrophy. This occurs first in the dominating and super-educated classes, and the model they set is followed in widening circles. Further it is noteworthy that there is no primitive instinct to have children; the instincts of mating, home-building and the care of the young suffice in the earlier stages; later the chief sanctions have been religious and tribal, and these are waning, largely through the influence of our educational methods. The reinforcement of instincts and impulses by rationally devised sanctions appears to be the only hope there is for the family and so far as can be seen now for the race.

Next after the rationalistic attitude implanted by our present methods of education and the diversion of the interests of children and young people from home life, the most serious injury to the family from the school is probably economic in character. It is said that a boy is legally of age at twenty-one, because for the first seven years of his life he is a charge to his parents, for the second seven years he is self-supporting and during the third seven years he repays the outlay for the first period. However this may be, there is no doubt but that children are more welcome when they add to the family income than when they take from it. A definite relation exists between the economic demand and the supply of children. A leading economist has argued that the population of the United States would be the same had there been no immigration. There are more children in farming communities and in factory towns than elsewhere; laws against child labor decrease the number of children.

As sentimental vegetarianism, if general, would exterminate most of the domestic animals, so humanitarian efforts for the welfare of children tend to exterminate them. The school is the most potent factor. When the well-to-do and professional classes must support their boys until the age of twenty-five and their daughters until twenty-two—a thousand dollars a year for each is not regarded as an excessive allowance—the limit of economic possibility is soon reached. And the burden on the poor is relatively as great when they send their children to school to the age of twelve or sixteen, after which they go off to shift for themselves. It looks as though the state would need to add to free schools not only free books, free sports, free transportation, free food and free clothes, but payment to parents for the time of their children—an ominous outlook for society. Charitable and state institutions other than schools, such as hospitals and old-age pensions, make children less desired. It is an old saying that a father can support seven children, but seven children can not support one father; still every father does believe that his children will come to his aid when needed. If he sends them off to school to be taken care of