[continued from yesterday]
...From the foregoing principles there follow some practical conclusions. Parents will first strive to realize that, since the education of children primarily belongs to them, and only by delegation to the teachers, they, the parents, have the obligation of seeking out the most suitable school for their children. The nearest school Is not necessarily the most suitable. Nor is the cheapest. The school must first of all be Catholic. Then, In the case of elementary education, the school of the parish or mission will generally be found to be efficient. The elementary school of one's own parish, therefore, has the first claim upon a parent's consideration.
In the case of middle class or higher education, the parents will choose by preference a day high school or college. Then, if the circumstances of the family require a boarding-school or college, the idea of home life will receive the chief consideration. If the future circumstances of the children are such that they can dispense with examinations, then a school which is exempt from public examinations is better than one subject to them. The majority of children, however, require paper qualifications for their start in professional studies. The Catholic parent need have no fear whatever as to the proficiency of Catholic schools In securing excellent results at examinations.
Having used their utmost discretion in the choice of a school, the parents will do well not to meddle with the teacher. An obvious irregularity may arise, in which case it is the parents' duty to act. But, generally speaking, the head master or the head mistress of the school must be trusted to do what is best for the child. To change the school, even once, unnecessarily, is to set back the child's education. To be ever taking the child's part against the teacher is simply to ruin the child's character. Nevertheless the parent should exercise a supervision over the child's school career. If the child is backward and there does not appear sufficient reason to account for that, it should be medically examined for adenoids.
Lastly, if the children are to be educated by a private governess, then the parents must form the habit of mind, and the children and the governess herself must feel it, that she is, as a member of the family, strictly in loco parentis, entitled to deep respect and consideration. She is not called in as a household drudge, but as one even more qualified than the parents themselves to fulfill their high vocation of forming the characters of children, of making them Catholic in mind and in heart, of leading them to their eternal destiny.
The same principle of parental responsibility holds good with regard to ecclesiastical authorities, who undertake the burden of providing a Catholic education for Catholic families. If the State so far neglects its duty that the Church has to provide elementary schools, then the parents ought to support these schools generously. It is not right to allow the priest to go and beg, beg, beg, to support a work which is essentially the work of parents.
So, too, with the high schools and colleges. It ought to be quite unnecessary to say it, yet under the circumstances one must say it, parents ought to pay their school bills regularly and promptly. The work done by such schools and colleges is infinitely more valuable than the money outlay for their material support. It is the least that parents can do to see that the work is not hampered by what so frequently happens, the accumulation of bad debts. The work is God's work, and those who are primarily responsible for it are the parents of families. They have received the Sacrament of marriage. They have received the graces to bear its burdens. It is not an easy state of life. But with the graces which the Sacrament confers the married pair are made strong for all exigencies, temporal as well as spiritual.
[End of Chapter XII]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.