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Those Juniors, Part 1: The Story Simply

by Eric B. Hare

 “Tell me the old, old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love;
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
            And helpless and defiled.”

So sang Kate Hankey many, many years ago, and in these modern times multitudes of parents and teachers join her in her prayer for simplicity.

Knowledge has increased. Scientists have discovered astounding intricate laws of nature. But all too often these fascinating secrets have been couched in such technical language that we common folk have seen but dimly beyond the high-sounding words, and have therefore been robbed of the help and benefit that should have been ours. 

Not the least of these offenders is the science of psychology, which explains the laws of the mind and demonstrates how we think, reason, learn, and remember.

As a young man in college, I studied psychology. But, in common with my classmates, I found the study of purposive behavior, central and peripheral stimuli, external compulsions, native impulses, facilitation, and inhibition hard slogging. On the flyleaf of my textbook I copied a jingle that some wag who had gone the same way, through the same course, had handed down to comfort those who followed:

“If there should come another flood,
For refuge hither fly.
Though all the world would be submerged,
This book would still be dry.”

I am ashamed to confess now the hard feelings I had then toward the men who wrote that book. But years later something happened, and I am now ready to bless the men who worked so hard and spent so many years discovering these principles, which, as tools in our hands, help us mold character, and, as beacon lights, show us the way by which small feet may ascend the heights.

What opened my eyes? Listen! Into our home, while missionaries among the Karens in Burma, was born a little girl who at the age of ten months was smitten with a severe attack of meningitis. For ten days she hovered between life and death, and then while the boys and girls of our jungle school prayed earnestly that her life might be spared, she rallied, and before long was playing around again, but not as usual. We noticed that she did not look up when we spoke; she seemed so absorbed in her play that unless we walked right in front of her, she did not look our way. We commented on this strange behavior, but thought it was just another stage in her development. However, when she was fifteen months old, and not yet even saying, “Dad—Dad—Mum—Mum,” we became alarmed. Her elder brother and sister had spoken a number of words at this age. Could there be something wrong?

During our furlough in 1931 we took her to Dr. Leslie Trott, in Glendale, California, and after a great deal of careful testing and earnest consultation, one day he called us into his office and told us that our little two-year-old girl was deaf—hopelessly deaf! For a moment our hearts were turned to stone. Then we heard his cheery voice saying, “Don’t shed any tears. Hearing is the least necessary of all the special senses. With proper instruction your little girl will be able to live a normal life. She can learn to speak and lip-read, and you can be very happy that it is her hearing and not her sight that is gone.” He filled our hands with addresses and booklets, and filled our hearts with hope.

In a month or two we had paid $100 for a preschool correspondence course in lip reading, from the Wright Oral School in New York, and had begun what has turned out to be the biggest adventure of our lives. As the lessons began to come, we found to our surprise that the course was for the parents rather than the child. It told us what to do, and then explained why. It told us what not to do, and explained why. We discovered that we were studying psychology again, but this time how plain it was! How practical! How easy to understand! In our hands were the books; our home became our laboratory; our baby girl, the experiment and the proof.

Today our little girl is sixteen years old, and has just completed her first year in the academy, where she is holding her own with normal children. She can carry on a conversation with anyone, and since obtaining a hearing aid, is teaching her one ear that had thirty per cent sound perception, to recognize sounds so well that she can now take music lessons, and is learning to hear over the telephone. She has done for me what the learned professors could not do—she has taken the veil from the high-sounding words and demonstrated the laws of the mind, till they shine all the more brilliantly in their simplicity.

In order that you might share with me the joy of applying these secrets of psychology to the teaching and training and saving of your children and your pupils, I have penned the following chapters and attempted to “tell the story simply.”

(Next week: “Secret of Power.”)

Copyright © 1973 by Eric B. Hare. Used by permission.

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