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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
For the Children
By Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852)
From ‘Froebel’s Letters on the Kindergarten’: Translation of Michaelis and Moore

I WISH you could have been here this evening, and seen the many beautiful and varied forms and lovely patterns which freely and spontaneously developed themselves from some systematic variations of a simple ground form, in stick-laying. No one would believe, without seeing it, how the child-soul, the child-life, develops when treated as a whole, and in the sense of forming a part of the great connected life of the world, by some skilled kindergarten teacher—nay, even by one who is only simple-hearted, thoughtful, and attentive; nor how it blooms into delicious harmonies like a beautifully tinted flower. Oh, if I could only shout aloud with ten thousand lung-power the truth that I now tell you in silence! Then would I make the ears of a hundred thousand men ring with it! What keenness of sensation, what a soul, what a mind, what force of will and active energy, what dexterity and skill of muscular movement and of perception, and what calm and patience, will not all these things call out in the children!  1
  How is it that parents are so blind and deaf, when they profess to be so eager to work for the welfare, the health, and peace of their children? No! I cannot understand it; and yet a whole generation has passed since this system first delivered its message, first called for educational amendment, first pointed out where the need for it lay, and showed how it could be satisfied.  2
  If I were not afraid of being taken for an idiot or an escaped lunatic, I would run barefoot from one end of Germany to the other and cry aloud to all men:—“Set to work at once for your children’s sake on some universally developing plan, aiming at unity of life purpose, and through that at joy and peace.” But what good would it do? A Curtman and a Ramsauer, in their stupidity or maliciousness, make it their duty to stigmatize my work as sinful, when I am but quietly corresponding with just my own friends and sympathizers; for they say I am destroying all pleasure in life for the parents: “Who could be so silly as I,—amongst sane men who acknowledge that parents have a right to enjoy life,—I who perpetually call to these parents in tones of imperative demand, ‘Come, let us live for our children!’” (Kommt, laszt uns unseren Kindern leben!)  3

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