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Education Reporter

The Way They Used to Be -  
Excerpted from the June 30, 1922
Report of Public Schools of the State of Missouri

Issued by Sam A. Baker,
State Superintendent of Public Schools,
Jefferson City, Missouri

Young people must come in contact with that which lifts the mind higher. They must learn that it is a sacred privilege to live and have the opportunity of exercising the highest usefulness . . .

Is it not possible to impress the young people of today with the thought that they are really spiritual beings; that they are endowed with a human soul of substantial quality which has the power to live forever; that when we look upon an individual we do not really see the true person, but only the external body within which the soul is hidden? Is it possible that a real, good, earnest, faithful teacher can explain that our thoughts and feelings weave the quality of the soul? Can the living teacher show vividly that low and vicious ideas harbored in the mind cause the growth of an ugly looking soul; and when pure, honest, useful, noble thoughts are nourished in the mind, then the soul acquires a beautiful appearance? These are realities that are universally true. When the soul yearns for that which is good and useful and pure and uplifting, corresponding qualities will be attracted to it, thereby awakening a new tendency of growth that is capable of bursting forth in genuine enthusiasm.

True character growth is a matter of every day business. The process must not be separated from our necessary duties. All school work must have inherent in its performance the influence of moral and religious qualities. The schools will never rightly succeed unless there is a constant and inseparable relation of all our thoughts and acts with the acknowledgment of the goodness of our Creator. The loving warmth of our hearts toward the Giver of all our opportunities must never be chilled by the cold blasts of materialistic tendencies. The world cannot afford to have the avenues for spiritual reception closed. The enlargement of life and true happiness will cease whenever that will take place . . . There must never be an absence of this influence. It is the deepest and most valuable current in the process of human growth and success. There can be no worthy citizenship nor lasting civilization without it. The schools must be permeated with the essence of this life-giving spiritual potency.

To rightly enjoy proper human development there must be an interior and willing conjunction with the creative force. This is the divine unchangeable law. There is no escape. Being well grounded in these life principles opens the way for the free and spontaneous growth of all the useful virtues that pave the way for human happiness.

In the growing beauty of this new life it is easy to be sincere, politeness will be natural, the gifts of charity will flow wherever needed, kindness will do its duty and cheerfulness will touch its responsive chord, honesty will prevail because it is right and optimism will bloom everywhere, sympathy will lighten a brother's burdens and justice will be meted out to the rightful recipient, generosity will stretch out its helpful hand while patriotism throbs in every heart, courtesy will never forget to give its joys, and appreciation will stimulate a thousand good deeds. Love, loyalty, and toleration will rise high in every soul and have respect for age, regard for authority, and reverence for God.

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