I was a little troubled at first whether to call it dangerous or safety line; for on one side of the line is safety and on the other side is danger. So it is a matter of some importance as to which side of the line we are on. When we used to play marbles we had what we called a “dead” line; if we fell beyond that line we were all right, but if we fell behind the line we were dead for that game. Now society has a moral line that people are expected to live up to if they wish to be respected; and all the good deeds and good qualities of life are on one side of the line and all the bad deeds and bad qualities are on the other side. So that we can easily see which is the respectable side of the line and also which is the safe side. And yet it is not always easy to keep on the safe side as some may think; surrounded as we are with the evils and temptations of life. It requires a great deal of moral courage to keep to the right. And yet the love of God, the hope of happiness, and the desire to be respected all require that we do so. Now there comes a period in almost every life when we are more subject to temptation than we are at other times. There is a transition period when we pass from youth to manhood. When one has the size and assumes the importance of grown up people and yet lack the experience that is necessary to succeed in life. I might illustrate by a little comparison. One bright spring morning two pretty pigeons with their bright plumage of gold and silvery hue alighted in our yard. They were shy at first, but as we did not molest them they soon became tame (they had come to stay), and began to gather sticks and feathers and to carry them t a corner under the eaves of the house where they laid eggs and set and hatched two young pigeons. They were squabby looking things and they remained in the nest in perfect safety under the care and protection of the parent birds. But there came a time when the old birds thought them old enough to be set out. So they undertook to learn them to fly. Then is when the danger came; for with their first effort to fly they found themselves almost helpless upon the ground and it was all we could do to keep the old cat from getting them. I learned a lesson from all this and thought how often children are exposed to danger when first entering into society. The evil one is ever watching for such opportunities and many a one owes his ruin to some fatal time when he had not the wisdom and prudence to resist the first temptation. There are many things that people are expected to practice if they wish to be respected and useful. And people cannot be very useful unless they are respected. One of the first things children should learn is to be obedient to parents. They should also be truthful and honest so people may believe everything they say. But if they practice evil habits a tree is soon known by its fruits. Intemperance is another evil that is blighting so many youths of our land that I would love to give timely warning to avoid that. No youth ever begins to drink expecting to be a drunkard. And yet it is a habit that steals on its victim so stealthily that he sometimes finds that he has formed an evil habit even against his own will. Hence the importance of resisting the first temptation. The youth who never drinks can never be a drunkard. It would be impossible to mention all the good fruits one is expected to practice or all the evil ones we are expected to avoid. We have the Scriptures and also a conscience that will guide us aright if we will heed their timely warning. Let us be careful how we pass the danger line, it is sometimes very hard to get back. And yet I would not say anything to discourage those who have already erred, for many have repented and reformed and lead happy and useful lives. I would hold out the banner of hope to all. It is so sweet and safe to live with God’s blessing resting upon us that children should early learn to love, serve, and honor god who has done so much for us. C. W. R.
The Bullitt County News May 24, 1907 Children’s Corner
How to Write a Composition
There are but few things more trying on a child than writing his first composition. It usually takes him about a week to select his subject or rather to make choices among a dozen subjects already selected. The next thing after selecting his subject is to find something to write. He will dip his pen in the ink and sit and think while big thoughts pass through his mind, none of which seems to suit him, while he again and again dips in the ink. I seldom see a fellow fishing in the ink stand for ideas but I think of the city man who came out to the country to fish; he came as usual, well equipped with fine fishing tackle; he drove up to a nice pond and with a great deal of dignity arranged himself on the bank for fishing, he unrolled his line, sent his hook to the middle of the pond and waited for a bite. When the wind stirred the waves he would lift his line suddenly to see if he actually had a bite. A farmer passed that way and asked what he was doing. Fishing, sir, was the answer. When the farmer laughed outright, and said no use fishing there, there never was a fish in that pond. So there is no use in fishing in the inkstand for ideas, there never was an idea in the ink stand. I know that from experience. I have dipped in there many a time. The better plan is to write the first thoughts that present themselves, then others will come which he may continue to write, and the faster he writes, the faster the thoughts will come until he will not be able to write fast enough. The reason we do not write is not because we can’t think but because we want better ideas than we can think. The better way is to write the thoughts as they come and then go through and pencil such sentences as we do not want, leaving the better ones. When, after a little revision we will be surprised how well we have done. It is well after defining the subject to separate it into its different herds or branches and deal with each sub topic separately. For instance: he takes animals for his subject, he will see that it can readily be divided into two parts, domestic, or tame animals, and wild animals, naming each in turn and dwelling at length upon each species until he could almost spin his composition indefinitely. Almost any subject is capable of being divided into parts which will aid the writer very much in treating it. As for the Children’s Corner, you will pardon me if I name a few subjects that might be written up by way of practice. I would analyze several of them myself, but we are taking up too much of Mr. Barrall’s valuable space. Parents would do well to help the children a little along this line. These are easy subjects for beginners when divided into parts: Education, friendship, visiting, farming, teaching, city and country life, flowers, flowers, school life, pets, trees, etc. The children join me in thanking Mr. Barrall for the courtesy he has shown us. C. W. R.
The Bullitt County News July 19, 1907 Children’s Corner
There are almost as many ways of being useful as there are people to be useful; and almost every one may be useful in some way if he desires to be. People are not always useful according to their ability. Some people who possess every means of being useful are perfect drones, and spend a life of idleness and dissipation that makes them a burden rather than a blessing to society, while others who seem to be cut off from every means of usefulness are a perfect blessing to every one they meet. It has been well said that the rich know nothing of the pleasures of the poor and I am proud to say myself that happiness is more equally divided than prosperity. And there is no pleasure like that of doing one’s duty under trying circumstances. I have known people who have cheerfully gone down into the very dregs of poverty and hardships that they might be useful to the dear ones who were dependent upon them for support and comfort. There is a virtue in necessity, and the person who apparently sacrifices his own happiness and pleasure that he might be useful to his loved ones increases his own pleasure ten fold. Many a mother has washed all day and with the greatest of pleasure has carried home her scant earnings to her expectant little ones with a pleasure that the rich have never known. Many a mother has trimmed the midnight lamp while bending over the sewing machine with her little ones sweetly sleeping around her, possibly dreaming of the good things papa used to bring. Don’t tell me there is no pleasure in performing the most ardent tasks if prompted by the pure spirit of love. Nothing is difficult beneath the skies Act well your part, there all virtue lies. Many a father has gone to the hardships of life with that pure, noble, and manly feeling that makes even drudgery a pleasure, looking beyond the hardships to where his sweet wife and happy children are deeming nothing too hard that be useful to his dear dependent ones; such a man is the noblest work of God. He can tread the earth with a buoyance that the sluggard never knows. Even little children can be useful in increasing the happiness of those around them. Many little children are perfect little sunbeams scattering light and pleasure everywhere they go. “Agnes came into the room smiling, her mother said, where have you been, dear? At the Brown’s; and oh, mother, Walter was cross, but I happied him up so that he got all over it, and the baby cried and I had to happy her up too!” I tell you, I love little children who can happy people up. Johnny said to his mother one day, “ I do not want to wear my good clothes today, Tommy Blake is coming over to play with me and he has no good clothes, and he will be happier if I dress common. Johnny wore his common clothes, and when Tommy came they had such a nice time playing together. That was good, sweet charity on Johnny’s part, and made a happy evening for both; for we generally increase our own happiness when we try to add to the happiness of others. Sometimes an apple that is hardly enough for one, when divided becomes plenty for three. Some children are called upon so early in life to be the staff and support of the family. I know a young man only fourteen years old whose father died and left a widow and three girls almost entirely dependent on him for support. When the neighbors came together to consider what might be done, some thought the mother could take in washing and that the little girls might find homes among the neighbors. The young man, with tears in his eyes while his lips quivered, said: “While this willing arm can find anything to do, that shall never be.” He kept his word, and the people were good enough to employ him, and boy as he was they gave him mans wages, and the family is all together yet. There are times when even slavery itself is a pleasure. I will not trouble you to mention all the useful callings in life, for every person who follows an honest calling is useful in his time and generation. See how the world is pressing to the front, each one desiring to be useful in his own particular calling. We should be thankful that we live in this enterprising age. Not only the public spirited and high pressure people are useful, but many of the humble and retired people are quite as useful. Many of the good old mothers who save garden seed for the whole neighborhood and gathers her simple remedies for the sick, who can cook meals and make nice, sweet butter, and who don’t talk about her neighbors, who dresses modestly when she goes to church, who has good advice for the boys and girls; such women as that are more useful than the high-flying kind who keep the whole neighborhood in a stew by their wonderful news packing propensities. C. W. R.