The Renewal of Life; How and When to Tell the Story to the Young
by Margaret Warner Morley
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In the course of a few years he grows out of these difficulties, but the suffering he underwent may have made such an impression upon his excessively sensitive nerve centres that he never entirely recovers from it, and may be controlled by it in ways he does not suspect all the rest of his life.

It is needless to say that a large part of this suffering could be averted by knowledge on the part of the parents and of other adults with whom the youth comes in contact, as well as on the part of the youth himself. What he most needs in his "awkward age" is sympathy, patience, firmness, and instruction, and his physical defects should never be ridiculed. Perhaps nothing is more helpful to youth at this stage than to have its vagaries treated seriously. Wonderful dreams of future glory and accomplishment, remarkable theories of the universe, astounding schemes for impossible inventions, new Utopias, wild adventures, and at times even questionable escapades are the natural and luxurious growth of the newly stimulated imagination. They do no harm, and are a safety valve which should be understood. Honest sympathy, where sympathy is merited, will give weight to warning and disapproval, which would have no weight at all if the whole fabric of the imagination, which is so real and so precious to the imaginer, were condemned without discrimination. These dreams of youth are often the real stuff out of which the fabric of life is later to be woven, taking new forms it may be, but getting their inception there. Some one has said that if the facts could be known, the thought germs whence finally came the steam engine and the electric telegraph were probably conceived in the brain of an adolescent; and we know that poets are born at that age.

Many of the dreams of the youth may seem fantastic and ridiculous, but if the adult can only remember that they are not so to the dreamer and that this is a phase through which he is passing,—a phase which in most cases will pass entirely, leaving only, so to speak, a glow behind,—he will be more sympathetic and thus more helpful. If he can also realize that these dreams of the youth are an expression on the highest plane of the creative instinct which is in a sense controlling his body, mind, and soul, these vagaries, far from being ridiculous, will be recognized as worthy of the deepest respect. Now, too, the parent who has won the full confidence of the child through confidential talks on sex matters can without difficulty instruct him in the meaning and control of the new forces that are at work upon him.

The whole subject now changes. It becomes personal, and his thoughts are clouded by new problems and by the imperious demands of the body. According to the nature, inheritance, and previous habits of the youth these demands assert themselves. And now is the time of greatest danger from ignorance. Even though the boy has been well taught up to this age, if he is cast adrift now on the turbulent sea of desire and allowed to gather information from the sources all too available, there may occur a split between the thought of his childhood on this subject and the thought of his adulthood. If he is not allowed to drift, however, but given a chart and compass, the knowledge he has already of how to sail his ship will enable him to make straight for the right port, which he will have a good chance of reaching, no matter how stormy the seas he may have to traverse. With the right knowledge now, the idea and the ideal of his childhood may become the idea and the ideal of his manhood. If the child's thought of the subject has been unworthy, the danger of forever enshrining a wrong image in the soul of the adult is greater, and the difficulty of placing there the right one is enhanced.

The outward signs of the girl's development are usually explained beforehand sufficiently to enable her properly to care for herself. It is unnecessary to add that this should always be done, as nothing is more unjust than to leave her in a state of ignorance where the natural expression of her maturity may fill her mind with fears which may affect her nervous system ever after, even if they do not lead her to do acts which may permanently impair her reproductive vitality, and injure her health in other ways. All that she needs to know about the proper care of her person should be told her in the most considerate yet explicit manner, as should whatever is told her upon any part of the subject. It is a mistake to be vague now. Whatever is told concerning the reproductive processes should be said with the greatest clearness, leaving no room for brooding and imagination. And here, too, the wise parent will take into account the phenomenon of desire, which, so far from being abnormal in the girl, is normal in the truest sense. It may not play an important part in her life at this time, and often it does not, but again it may. Nor is the girl of whom this latter is true in any sense less fine or less worthy; perhaps on the contrary she is the best product of her race. Nor should she be afraid or ashamed of her nature, but only helped to understand and take care of herself and of her powers.

With the youth at this period the changes that fit him for his new place in the world are generally ignored. He does not know what is normal and what abnormal in his physiological development, and is often the victim of groundless fears that use up his strength or send him in despair to seek assistance from the most easily available sources of information, those baleful writings and despicable quack practitioners everywhere soliciting and alarming youth, and whose career forms one of the saddest commentaries on the state of our civilization.

The young man should know the truth about himself. He should understand the vast range of the change that is taking place in him, and that no two individuals necessarily develop just alike, either physically or mentally; and he should understand what are its normal phenomena, and how without fear to recognize and control deviations from them. Many parents direct the boy to go at once to the family physician if he is troubled or puzzled in any way. A few moments' talk with a wise doctor may save much useless worry. The more nervous and sensitive the boy at this time the more likely he will be to suffer from imagined troubles, and the greater his danger of falling into real ones.

While the youth must know the physiological and anatomical facts and must know in a general way the consequences of vice, he will seldom be restrained or helped by the methods of the alarmist. It is far better that his mind at this time dwell upon the normal and noble side of sex life than on its abnormal and ignoble side. The value of diet, cold water, exercise, and occupation should be understood by the young people themselves, and also the tremendous value of thought in helping or hindering. Faith in one's power to win is the first requisite in any contest, and fortunately science to-day is saying what the inner heart of man must always have told him was true, that a chaste life is both possible and safe. Indeed the scientists of to-day declare it to be advantageous, heightening the power of the individual in all directions, and particularly at the growing age.

Every parent has an ideal as to how he wishes his daughter to be treated by young men, and how he wishes her to conduct herself toward them. That this ideal be reached in the case of the daughter, it is necessary that the son be trained to a chivalry and respect for all women, which will make it impossible for him to take liberties with any woman. A right knowledge of the real meaning and the responsibilities and duties of their lives at this time would be a better safeguard for most young people than any amount of chaperonage. Nor will such training in any way lessen the joy of life, or the charms of courtship, but on the contrary, will enhance all that is most precious.

When the youth goes finally into the real battle of life, into the world of business, of competition, and temptation, he will need all his fortitude and all his knowledge to guide him aright in his personal life. And then it is that he will begin to realize what his parents have really done for him, and to appreciate their forethought and care. Then, too, he not infrequently expresses in the strongest terms his gratitude to the mother, the father, who have guided his course safely over the dangerous shoals.

The life battle of the youth who has been carefully instructed and preserved clean in mind and body is very different from that of him who has been weakened in will and perverted in mind from lack of such preservation; he knows that purity is both possible and good, and desires it above all things for his sons, both for their happiness and for their material success in life.

Habits of thought and action have an incalculable influence upon the body as well as upon the mind; and here as everywhere else, the ideal, whether it be high or low, will control the destiny of the man.





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The Bee People


Price $1.25

It is the story, told in most fascinating style, of the honey bee, how it is born, how it lives, how it gathers honey, and all about it, not omitting its sting. The bee is credited with powers of reasoning, and the troubles of the queen bee in retaining her throne are set forth in a delightfully fairy-story-like way which will win every child that reads it.—The Times, Philadelphia.

Probably no branch of natural history is more interesting than the bee people, and when told by an appreciative student is doubly so. Miss Morley carries out the human idea suggested in the title; and the worker, the drone, the queen, and all the inmates of a hive are given a life-like personality. Many illustrations aid in telling the story, and many wonderful things concerning the habits of these little people are constantly revealed.—The Detroit News Tribune.

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The Honey Makers


Price $1.25

Unlike Miss Morley's other works, this book is intended for older readers. The first part of the book is devoted to the scientific exposition of the bee's structure, habits, etc., and it is surprising how much interest and humor the author has managed to infuse into the subject. The second part performs an original and valuable service to literature. To the bees more than to any other portion of the animal kingdom has attention been devoted by poets and thinkers seeking inspiration, and from this wealth of allusion and anecdote Miss Morley has culled the choicest and most striking parts.

* * * * *

A Song of Life


Price $1.25

With simple, beautiful phrases, with pure and admiring words to describe the process of life, and with scores of gracefully outlined forms of plant and bird and beast by a helpful artist, has this song of life been sung and illustrated to delight and instruct in the happiest way many a wondering child concerning the mystery of life.—The Churchman, New York.

The plan of the work is novel, and the narrative is accurate and interesting to an unusual degree. Few writers on life's history give so much of it in a space so limited.—The Nation, New York.

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Life and Love


Price $1.25

Margaret Warner Morley has written in "Life and Love" a book which should be placed in the hands of every young man and woman. It is a fearless yet clean-minded study of the development of life and the relations thereof from the protoplasm to mankind. The work is logical, instructive, impressive. It should result in the innocence of knowledge, which is better than the innocence of ignorance. It is a pleasure to see a woman handling so delicate a topic so well. Miss Morley deserves thanks for doing it so impeccably. Even a prude can find nothing to carp at in the valuable little volume.—Boston Journal.

It is an agreeable and useful little volume, explanatory of the mysteries of plant and animal life,—such a book as parents will do well to place in the hands of thoughtful, or, better still, of thoughtless children.—Philadelphia Press.

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Little Mitchell



Price $1.25

Miss Morley's own words give the best idea of this most engaging little book:

"Baby Mitchell was an August squirrel. That is, he was born in the month of August. His pretty gray mother found a nice hole, high up in the crotch of a tall chestnut tree, for her babies' nest; and I know that she lined it with soft fur plucked from her own loving little breast,—for that is the way the squirrel mothers do.

"This chestnut tree grew on the side of a steep mountain,—none other than Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak in all the eastern half of the United States. It is in North Carolina, where there are a great many beautiful mountains, but none of them more beautiful than Mount Mitchell, with the great forest trees on its slopes."



[1] A great deal of confusion exists in many minds as to the origin of pollen and ovule. There seems to be a general and almost ineradicable impression that fertilization has something to do in creating the ovule. This is not so. The ovule is a part of every ovary just as the pollen is a part of every anther. Each will be produced whether they ever come together or not; only if they do not come together, both perish, while if they do, development of the ovule continues.


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