Thursday, June 25, 2009

3 Quotes from Luther Burbank on Raising Children

I've been working on a review for The Garden of Invention: Luther Burbank and the Business of Breeding Plants by Jane S. Smith.

The book should be interesting to those who want to know more about the person who created faster growing trees; larger, sturdier, better-tasting fruits and vegetables; and more beautiful, better-smelling flowers.

One of the main points that I will probably make in my review is that, if you want to say justice (as opposed to grace) this Thanksgiving, you should raise your glass to Luther Burbank. That's because his innovations deserve acknowledgement on a day when we enjoy a bounty of delicious treats that he (in many respects) made possible.

A part of the book that I won't be mentioning in the review, except possibly as an aside, is his view on raising children--which many homeschoolers (and unschoolers) follow. For those interested, however, here are three quotes by Burbank on the subject:
1. "If we paid no more attention to our plants than we have to our children, we would now be living in a jungle of weeds." (p. 189)
2. "'Don't feed children on mauldlin sentimentalism or dogmatic religion,' he urged his listeners. 'Give them nature. Let their souls drink in all that is pure and sweet. . . . Let nature teach them the lessons of good and proper living, combined with an abundance of well-balanced nourishment. Those children will grow to be the best men and women. Put the best in them by contact with the best outside. They will absorb it as a plant does sunshine and the dew.'" (pp. 191-92)
3. "'Every child,' Burbank wrote, 'should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who is deprived of these has been deprived of the very best part of his education.'" (p. 193)

Update: my review of The Garden of Invention made its way into the Fall 2009 issue of The Objective Standard. You can read the opening paragraphs of it here.

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