Reading 1

Every American boy, a hundred years ago, lived either on a farm or in such close touch with farm life that he reaped its benefits. He had all the practical knowledge that comes from country surroundings; that is, he could ride, shoot, skate, run, swim; he was handy with tools; he knew the woods; he was physically strong, self-reliant, resourceful, well-developed in body and brain. In addition to which, he had a good moral training at home. He was respectful to his superiors, obedient to his parents, and altogether the best material of which a nation could be made.

We have lived to see an unfortunate change....It is the exception when we see a boy respectful to his superiors and obedient to his parents. It is the rare exception, now, when we see a boy that is handy with tools and capable of taking care of himself under all circumstances. It is the very, very rare exception when we see a boy whose life is absolutely governed by the safe old moral standards....Degeneracy is the word. To combat the system that has turned such a large proportion of our robust, manly, self-reliant boyhood into a lot of flat-chested cigarette-smokers, with shaky nerves and doubtful vitality...[we need to substitute] the better, cleaner, saner pursuits of woodcraft and scouting.

Boy Scout Handbook, 1910

Reading 2

Out of School Activities of 14,683 Children Cleveland, June 23, 1913

Where they were seen:

On streets

7,799

In yards

3,581

In vacant lots

883

In playgrounds

1,869

In alleys

551

What they were doing:

Doing nothing

5,961

Playing

7,358

Working

1,354

What games they were playing:

Baseball

1,638

Kites

531

Sand piles

471

Tag

153

Jackstones

325

Dolls

282

Sewing

144

Housekeeping

244

Horse and wagon

113

Bicycle riding

92

Minding baby

60

Reading

52

Roller-skating

47

Gardening

27

Caddy

6

Marbles

2

Playing in other ways,Mostly just fooling

3,171

 

Questions for Discussion

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