Dr P T Freeman, the new President, asked at the annual meeting of the Incorporated Association of Headmasters in London yesterday whether all the “fuss” being made about youth nowadays was really a good thing.
Did all the things being done for youth, he asked, constitute, on the whole, a somewhat harmful pampering, tending to induce an undesirable arrogance and lack of humility?
If the only possessions a person really valued were those he had had to make a real effort to obtain by self-denial and self-discipline, then heavily subsidised youth organisations, in which everything was laid on, would not be really valued. He felt that the need to instil the spirit of service into pupils was more urgent and more difficult than ever before.
“I hear on all sides and in every kind of school,” he said, “that petty pilfering is far worse than it has ever been, as is lying to escape the consequences. How far this is due to the effect of two world wars, to the disappearance of religious sanction, and to the removal from schools of the right to impose certain other sanctions, I do not know, but it is certain that most parents do not concern themselves with the moral training of their children at an early age, as once they did.”
Almost the only obligation remaining to parents, he added, was to provide clothes and a morning and evening meal.