|carving bow ends|
Friedrich Froebel was the son of a Lutheran minister, so his language may not fit with modern times, particularly for those in secular education. And yet, none would argue that children should not be encouraged to develop toward goodness, responsibility, and creativity, for these are aspects of character that allow for the child to grow toward adulthood in which societal concerns are met. Froebel used the artist as an analogy to describe God's presence in the world as follows:
"As no material part of the human spirit, of the artist, is in the work of art, and yet the work of art bears within it the whole spirit of its artist, so that he lives in it, expresses himself by it; and as the work breathes forth again his spirit even to others, is awakened, developed, improved, and formed by his spirit; as thus the man's spirit is related to the work produced by him, as the man (as a spirit) is related to that which he has produced, so is the spirit of God related to nature, and to all created things. The spirit of God rests, lives, and works in nature, expresses itself by nature, imparts itself through nature, continues to shape itself (to give itself visible form) in and by nature; but nature is not the body of God."The following (as was the preceding quote) is from H. Courthope Bowen's book, Froebel and Education Through Self-Activity, 1892.
General morality, as we have seen, is held by Froebel to depend largely on having the ideal side of the human being awakened and gratified from the very beginning of life, in order to afford a counterpoise to sensual desires, and to delay or prevent as far as possible the awakening of the lower appetites. The development of the sense of beauty, while the reflective powers are still slumbering in the child's soul, offers the best means for this. Therefore, from the earliest infancy onward, the eyes of the child are to be opened to forms, colors, etc., and its ear to music; and the weak, childish powers are to be prepared and used in the formation and creation of beautiful objects. Here again creativeness is to render the soul susceptible to the ideal. While, moreover, the principles which underlie the formation of beauty will, in this way, be brought home to the worker, and will be another experience in the beneficent results of law and harmony; for beauty is the perfection of a thing after its kind.In public education today, goodness is too often confused with inactivity. Managing a large classroom of students and getting them to sit quietly is considered the mark of a successful teacher. But according to Froebel, the child under such circumstances is "thus reduced to inaction—often mistaken for goodness." Froebel compared children under such circumstances "to the butterfly or beetle, which, from much handling, is feeble, and indeed also footless, and which the little boy pronounces to be 'quite tame now."
Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning likewise.