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Title: What Every Mother Should Know - or How Six Little Children Were Taught The Truth
Author: Sanger, Margaret H.
Language: English
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                                                      MARGARET H. SANGER


                     WHAT EVERY MOTHER SHOULD KNOW


                           MARGARET H. SANGER

                           THE RABELAIS PRESS
                       27–29 New Bowery, New York




  _Pinski-Massel Press_

_To Stuart, my first born, whose first heart throb led me into the
joyous complexities of motherhood._

Dedicated January, 1911.


The following articles were put into story form for the mother so as to
enable her to make the truth and facts just as interesting to a child’s
imagination as possible.

The idea is that the child be taught the process of reproduction and
absorb such knowledge without realizing he has received any “sex”

                                                                M. H. S.


      Chapter I. Mr. and Mrs. Buttercup, Their Home and Families.
      Chapter II. The Flowers.
      Chapter III. The Toads and Frogs.
      Chapter IV. The Birds and Their Families.
      Chapter V. The Birds and Their Families.
      Chapter VI. The Mammals and Their Children.
      Chapter VII. Man’s Development.
      Chapter VIII. Conclusion.



There is scarcely any subject which is of greater importance or of
greater interest to parents than this subject of teaching children the
truth about life and birth.

Every parent knows that at one day their little boy or girl will have
matured into the possessor of the powers of procreation, yet they fail
to teach the child how to care for, or how to regard these powers they

Biologically speaking, these creative powers are the most important
functions of the body, but they are the only functions of the human body
which are utterly ignored by both parents and teachers.

In order to perpetuate the species, nature has endowed all animals with
sexual instinct, and man is the only animal who is ashamed of this
instinct. Man is the only animal who voluntarily limits his offspring,
though he continues in his sexual relation. Man, and man alone, is the
only animal who is subject to disease directly inimical to the integrity
of the organs of reproduction.

So, with this last assertion before our eyes, we parents cannot help but
see that the danger signal is out. It is there and shows itself in the
death list, in statistics, in the hospitals, where thousands of innocent
girls and women are being operated upon. In fact, the danger signal is
everywhere about us, if we could but understand what it really is.

In the public schools all over this country there is a general cry for
help. Teachers are calling out for assistance to help them check the
degrading and immoral atmosphere which is pervading the school rooms
today. The words and language of the children (of all ages) found
whispering together, the writings in the notes and on the walls of the
buildings, all tend to show childrens’ thoughts. And in these actions
the teacher sees the danger signal. She realizes this is the first awful
step, and not knowing how to cope with these conditions, she calls for

The time comes to every mother when she first hears her child say: “When
I get big and have a little girl I’ll, etc.”—showing that the natural
average child takes it as a matter of course that at some future time he
or she will have children, too. Shortly after this, questions are likely
to begin, as when the parents speak of things they did, or places they
went to either before marriage or early after, and the child asks:

“What did I do, father?” “Was I there, too, mother?”

Then begins the mystery. And the lies told by the parents in answer to
these simple questions are shameful to hear. Father and mother smile
slyly at each other and reply:

“Oh, no, dearie, you were not there.”

“Where was I, then?” the child insists.

Another sly look passes between the parents and the lies begin.

“You were in heaven,” or “among the flowers, etc.”

“How did I get HERE, then?” continues the small questioner, who is in
quest of information concerning THE most important subject in the child
world, the “I.”

Then of course, the reply comes that the stork or the angels, or oftimes
the doctor brought him. However, any answer will do which will delude
the child’s mind and keep him, as the parents say, “innocent.”

Now let us see what happens. This little child is beginning to think. He
has received brand new information, something fully as wonderful and
mysterious as Santa Claus, and he loves to think about it and talk about
it, too.

He goes again to mother (father is not always around) and besieges her
with questions, and she all in ignorance of the harm she is doing him,
becomes so entangled in this mesh of lies that she becomes cross, or
impatient, and stops his eager questions by sending him out to play to
divert his attention to some other subject. But his attention is not
long diverted before he returns to this subject, and if his walk is
taken with an aunt or nurse he continues to ask questions, and to his
even greater surprise, the aunt or nurse, not knowing what the parent
has told him, tells him what she thinks. This will very likely be an
entirely different story from that his parents told him, and so he
begins to realize that there is some secrecy, which no one will explain,
and he becomes determined to find out the meaning of it all.

By the time this little fellow is one year in school he knows all about
who brought him from “heaven” and how the stork came, etc. He may have
been most carefully reared in the little things which help to make him
thoughtful and considerate of others; he may have been trained in every
way to make him upright, honest and truthful, but the vile words with
which this information thus received by him is clothed, the base and
foul idea of love and marriage, the distorted view of the creative power
which he receives, cannot help but stunt and deform his mind and leave
his conception of the beauty of birth and love forever scarred.

If, on the other hand, the child had been told the truth by his parents
and had the reasons explained to him for not talking to other children
on this subject; if he had had impressed on him what a trust was his and
how beautiful a gift to take care of, he would have been satisfied and
his curiosity would have ceased.

There are excellent parents who pride themselves and boast of never
promising their child anything from a toy to a spanking without keeping
the promise, but who find themselves most embarrassed and confused when
it comes to speaking about the facts of birth.

This attitude of mind comes from several reasons. One is that there are
parents, good, faithful and loving, who do not know the dangers and
results of street instruction, who think they are keeping the child
“pure and innocent” and prefer to give the child the impression of
“spiritual” birth, as implied in the answer “The angels brought you from

Again, there are parents who know the value of home instruction, but
know not how to tell them, and it is for these mothers that the
following articles are written.

The best method is to begin to teach the little child when it is very
young. At 4 years of age the first lessons of the flowers could be
begun. Keep it up. Then a little later, say six months, teach about the
fish or frogs. Then the next year the life of the birds should be
taught, and by the sixth year the child will be ready for the mammals
and humans. In case he asks questions before he has learned of the
mammals, refer him back to the flowers and you will find an answer.

Most children are safe from being polluted in thought after the study of
the flowers, but as the child’s mind keeps growing and developing, his
questions in order to be answered truthfully demand that he be taught
the higher stages of development.

Mothers, keep in mind, the beauty and wonder of it all, and as you
proceed in the study of the mechanism of the reproductive organs of
human beings you cannot but impress upon the child the beauty and wonder
of love. Help the child to realize the sacred trust of his organs, the
danger in misusing them. Help him to realize the physical and moral
development which awaits him in parenthood, but above all keep him close
to you in confidence _through the truth_.

My object is to help all mothers who wish to give their children the
right conception of the beautiful truths of reproduction, and we shall
begin our first lessons “The Flowers—Mr. and Mrs. Buttercup, their home
and their family.”

                               CHAPTER I.
           _Mr. and Mrs. Buttercup, Their Home and Families._

Little 5-year-old Bobby sat playing in the sand pile one lovely
afternoon in May, and, judging by the glimpses his mother had of him
through the open door of their cottage, his mind was to all appearances
intent on making a sand fish perfect. For in and out the damp sand was
thrown from the pile to the fish mold many times, until at last being
perfect, at least to his satisfaction, he got up and ran to find his
mother, who was busy within the small two-room shack where they were
living for the summer.

He caught hold of her apron to attract her attention, and said: “Mother,
where did I come from?”

Needless to say, his mother was greatly surprised at this question, just
at that time, for she had not the faintest idea that his thoughts were
on anything but the perfection of that sand fish. However, she quickly
recovered from her surprise and taking his little face between her
hands, said:

“Bobby, dear, that is the most wonderful secret in all the world, and if
you are quite sure you can keep this secret and only talk about it to
father and mother, I’ll tell you all about it.”

The curly head bobbed up and down in answer to this and as his eyes grew
big and bright, he answered:

“Do tell me the secret mother, I’ll never tell.”

Then she said: “Let me ask you a question, dear. Do you know where the
baby flowers come from? Or the baby birds or chickens or all the baby
creatures in the world?”

“No, no,” he answered simply, but excitedly.

Then she told him that as soon as the dishes were put away, she would
take him for a walk in the woods where the baby flowers come from, where
the mother kept them when they were baby seeds and also tell him how the
father and mother flower gave life to the little baby seeds, which
afterward grew into the lovely flowers we see all about us. She would
show him that he was once a little seed like the flower seed and kept in
a soft little nest in the same way.

Bobby’s mother now regretted that she had not begun earlier to tell this
story of the flower to Bobby. For she realized that had she done this
then, now when he had reached the stage of development where he was
curious about his own being, she could at once have taken up the story
of his own creation, and, of course, referred back to the story of the
creation of the lower species. This would have simplified matters
greatly. However, she decided it could never be too late and the easiest
and quickest way even now, was to begin with the flowers.

It now occurred to Bobby’s mother that to teach her child alone the
truths of Nature would be a most fruitless task; for in playing with his
companions, they would undo all her work unless they, too, were taught
the truths, and in the same way.

She consequently set about gathering in the children of the neighborhood
with whom Bobby played. She explained to the mothers what she was about
to do. Most of them strongly objected to their boys learning these
things which they considered of interest only to grown-ups. But five of
the mothers consented, and seemed delighted to have their children
taught the truths in this most beautiful and interesting manner.

Accordingly, she took five little children, together with her own,
ranging in ages from five to six and one-half years, and started in the
woods to hunt for the common wild flowers. Soon they were scrambling
over boulders and fallen trees in search of mountain pinks, violets,
buttercups, anemones, etc., calling and shouting to each other at each
new find, their faces bright and happy with the glow of health. It was a
picture never to be forgotten; and as they gathered around Bobby’s
mother, who was seated on a moss covered, fallen tree, they received
their first lesson.

As the buttercup was a little early—those on this particular outing
being the first ones found of the season—they naturally made it the most
popular flower; and so it became logically the first family to be

They were told that the whole buttercup, as they held it, was the
Buttercup House, whose color was yellow, and that inside the house,
within the petals, was the Buttercup Family.

“Is there a father?” asked one; “and a mother?” asked another.

“Yes, indeed; there must be a father and mother if there are to be any
seeds,” was the reply.

Then they were told that all forms of plant life have but one object and
that object is to reproduce their kind—“to make more flowers.”

They were told that the flowers have reproductive organs—“parts that
make more flowers”—called pistils and stamens.

[Illustration: _A complete flower: st, stamen; pi, pistil; pe, petal; s,
sepal; ca, calyx; c, sorolia. After Bergen._]

[Illustration: _Pistil. sti, stigma; sty, style; ov, ovule. After

The pistils were called the “mothers” because at the bottom of the thin
tube are the ovules or seeds. The pistils were examined carefully and
the very top or stigma was found to be very sticky. “Why?” asked the
children. But they were told they must wait and find out about the
father before they found out why this part of the mother was sticky.

Now attention was again called to the seeds lying within the pistil of
mother, and the fact that they were not developed yet. “Why?” Again we
must wait to learn something about the father.

Now we come to the stamen, or “father.” This is a slender thread-like
fibre which has at its ends a little case or sac which contains a very
fine powder-like substance, called the pollen.

In most of the flowers there are several stamens and one pistil; but in
the buttercup there were several of each—so that the Buttercup House
contained several families, the children were told.

Now to come back to the fathers, or stamens, and the tiny sacs
containing the pollen. This pollen is a very important part of the
growing of all flowers. The children were asked to name some of the
flowers which they knew that had this powder on them. Answer came in the
name of golden rod, wild rose, cherry blossom and many others.

Now it was explained that this pollen from the stamen, or father, must
get into the pistil or mother, and reach the ovules or seeds, or the
seeds cannot grow and develop into new plants. This union of the pollen
with the ovules we called “mating” or “to mate.” And as this process of
developing the seeds is the one object of plant life, we shall see how
they go about accomplishing this object.

                              CHAPTER II.
                             _The Flowers._

We learned that that Buttercup family lived within the petals of the
Buttercup House. And we learned that the pollen from the stamen, or
father, must reach the pistil, or mother, before the little eggs or
seeds contained in the mother can begin to grow and develop into new
plants. But the flower cannot move about as can animals, so they must
depend on insects and outsiders to bring the pollen into the little nest
where the eggs are. But unless there is some object attracting insects,
bees, moths and butterflies, etc., to visit the flowers, they would not
come to them, so the flowers have many attractions, such as their color
and their odor. But the most important, and one which is sweet is the
little bag of nectar or honey contained in many flowers which all
insects love and will go far to get. When the insect visits the father,
it rubs against his pollen, the pollen sticks to his head or legs. Then
as he visits the mother, if the stigma (which is the top of the pistil,
or mother) is ready for the pollen, it shows this by becoming moist, and
sometimes sticky. Then the pollen clings to the stigma, and down it goes
through its tiny tube, to the little nest of ovules, or seeds, where it
mates and at once causes the seeds to become alive. Then they grow and
grow until their time comes to burst forth and develop new plants

Now, it is also important that the little visitors who come for the
nectar, or honey, should fly from flower to flower and not crawl,
because in doing so the pollen would drop off and never reach the mother
flower, who is anxiously awaiting this important substance, so that the
little seeds, or babies, may begin to grow. Consequently they have many
ways of keeping out the crawling insects. Mrs. Buttercup has a very
hairy stem, which makes a very hard journey for Mrs. Ant and others to
come into the Buttercup house for a little sip of honey. She often
starts there, but gets so tired out that she gives up the trip and
returns to her family without any honey for them. This plan of growing a
hairy stem is only one of the interesting ways the flowers have of
keeping out the insects who cannot help them carry out the one object
for which they exist—to make more flowers.

Some of the flowers have a little trap door to their sac of honey, which
only the weight of the bee can open. Others keep their nectar in long
tubes, so that only bees with long tongues can reach it. An example of
this is in the Orchid of Madagascar, which has a nectar tube eleven
inches long, and depends upon one certain kind of moth for its

It is related that when Darwin was confronted with the evidence of this
flower as against one of his theories he insisted that such an insect
must live—even before it had been discovered! Again, other flowers keep
their petals closed, and the petals must be forced apart in order to get
the honey by a strong bumblebee. The flowers that are fertilized by the
insects are called “insect loving.” Those that are fertilized by the
wind are called “wind loving,” etc.

The buttercup was thought not to need the insects to carry its pollen to
the stigma—it was for some time thought to be what is called
self-fertilizing. But the discovery of the small sac of nectar shows
that it must have a purpose, and that purpose to attract insects to
bring pollen from other father flowers to fertilize the tiny seeds.

The stigma is not always ready to accept the pollen, but when it is
ready it becomes moist, and in some flowers sticky, which shows it is in
condition to accept the pollen or is ready to mate and that the seeds
are ready for their development. This condition often lasts only a few
hours, but sometimes a few days.

The boys had now been taught and had seen how the pollen reaches the
baby seeds. They had been taught the importance of the pollen for the
growth of the seeds. They had seen that after the pollen reaches the
seeds, that they are given new life, that they remain right in their
little nest and are nourished by the pistil or mother flower, until they
are full grown or matured. Now as this process is the whole object of
the individual plant, what happens then?

The boys were shown that as soon as the seeds begin to grow, the petals,
on the mother flower, begin to wither, and it seemed as if the flower
gave of its beauty, form and youth in order that the baby seeds should
grow and mature.

The boys were then taught that the plant depends on the earth and air
for its nourishment, and as the various flowers have various ways of
keeping the crawling insects out of their honey sac, so have they
different ways of spreading or scattering their seeds after they have
matured. If all the seeds of all plants fell right down near the parent
plant there might not be nourishment enough to provide all the seeds
with food.

So again the outsiders assist them as they did in carrying the pollen.
This time it is the wind which does much to assist them in this work.
The birds, too, eat of the seeds and drop some of them on other ground.
The wind serves the milkweed and dandelion; the birds help the fruits,
berries, and the “burrs,” help themselves by catching on the clothing of
passersby, or the fur and hair of animals.

Then there are those seeds which are in pods—sweetpeas, beans, peas,
etc. Some of these dry and curl up, and as this is done, it throws the
seeds in various places. Then there are those seeds which are in burrs,
nuts, chestnuts, etc., which also burst open at a certain time, some of
them explode, and this process scatters the seed over an area of several
yards. But the wind seems to be the most important messenger in helping
the flowers scatter their seeds.

The boys were also taught that the plants breathe and need care; that
their struggle for existence is intense. They are also taught of the
beautiful development of the flower under cultivation, and Mrs.
Buttercup and Mrs. Daisy were both taken from the field and cultivated,
given plenty of light, water and the proper soil, best suited to the
needs of each, and the results were wonderful.

The boys each were given small gardens of wild flowers, which they cared
for themselves, and the following year they each had small vegetable

Every flower had a life story, they were told, and each a different
story—interesting, intense and true.

Bobby’s mother found that the boys absorbed this information readily and
very quickly. Although they studied the flowers for an entire year, they
also studied the frogs and birds, together with the flowers. The mammals
and humans were taken up during the winter.

They were also told that every baby seed continued this life of
producing more flowers, that every girl was like the mother flower who
had the little seeds hidden within her ever since she was born, while
every boy is like the father flower and has the sac of pollen like him.

That the seeds are hidden way back in the abdomen and when she grows big
enough the seeds will grow also and she too may be a mother of little
boys and girls.

That the pollen in the boy is kept in the scrotum until he grows up big
and strong, when it too will be ready to add life to little seeds and
then become the father of strong boys and girls.

On a later occasion when Bobby was taking his bath, he felt greater
freedom now to ask all kinds of questions. He pointed to the umbilicus
and asked his mother what that was for. He was told that that was the
navel, so called, and it was where the cord had been which had tied him
to mother when he was a little seed, and through which he had received
all his air, food and drink. This caused great surprise, so much so that
upon the first occasion in talking with the boys he gave this
information in his own way, which led one to understand all boys were
interested and curious about this depression in the abdomen.

This information had a most marvelous effect in establishing the truth
in their minds; it seemed as if they needed proof and here, indeed, it

Much more time could have been spent on the flowers, but once the idea
is given that each child is like the flowers, and that the flowers are
like people, the rest is simple.

The frogs then took their attention, but never wholly, for on every
occasion when a new flower appeared, it was examined as to its color and
possibilities of family rearing.

                              CHAPTER III.
                         _The Toads and Frogs._

The next order of life to study should have been the fishes, but as
Bobby’s mother upon investigation found that the nearest stream which
contained fishes was five miles away, she decided to go on to the next
highest order, the frogs, and point out, as she went, the difference in
the two.

Of course, there was no difficulty in getting toads, but just where to
obtain and how to keep frogs puzzled the community for a few days, until
at last it was decided first to make a pond for the frogs to live in,
and then go to the nearby ponds and capture some.

They were especially fortunate in finding in their locality what at one
time had been a reservoir, which had a pipe leading into it from a
nearby spring, and another pipe leading out of it into a nearby stream.
That the pipe connecting the reservoir with the stream, it was found,
could be corked, and in a few days there appeared a delightful pond of
clear, clean and fresh water.

Their delight knew no restraint when the afternoon came for them to go
in search of some occupants for this nice new home. Accordingly, they
started out a little late in the afternoon, with pails in their hands,
and eager, expectant and happy faces.

As they came within sight of the pond, they need search no further for
frogs, for the air was filled with sounds—queer, croaking, unmusical
sounds, but unmistakably sounds of the joy of the existence of frogs.

As they came nearer, there was one gulp—“Chu-u-ug”—after another, one
splash after another. Then silence reigned supreme and not a sound could
be heard.

The youngsters entered into the spirit of the hunt and scattered about
the place. Some sat silently on logs or stones waiting patiently for a
frog to appear on the edge of the pond; others crouched near the water
waiting, with pails in hands, ready to catch a frog the moment he should

It was great fun catching them, for no sooner was the word passed that a
frog had been captured, when, lo! he was gone.

It was not long, however, before the little procession was marching
homeward with frogs a-plenty.

This new pond made a fine place for them to live in, and they thrived
and grew.

For a few days the children made a daily excursion to the pond upon the
hill, and brought more frogs to the new home; they brought frogs’ eggs,
too, which they carried carefully in their pails.

The eggs were watched, and each day saw a change, so that within a week
the pond was swarming with tiny tadpoles or “polly-wogs,” as the
children called them. These, too, they carefully observed while they fed
them, and as the tiny legs and feet developed, while the tail became
absorbed and disappeared—they were told that now the tadpole had changed
into a frog and needed air. Then stones were placed into the pond, so
large that their surfaces protruded from the water, and upon these the
baby frogs hopped and croaked their thanks. The tadpole can be kept in a
tadpole state a long time if he is not properly nourished. Also, if his
tail is bitten off by an enemy it will grow again.

The toads were found to be more interesting, because they did more
actual service to mankind. The children were told that toads live on
land almost all of the time, only going to the water to lay their eggs;
that they feed on insects from the garden, such as the grub, cut worm,
slug, caterpillar, worms, etc. Anything alive he will eat. The toad is,
therefore, a great help to the farmer, and no little boy would ever harm
a toad if he but understood what a helpful creature he is in the garden.

The frog labors under many disadvantages, as well as having many
enemies. The first great disadvantage is that he is neither a water
creature, like the fish, nor a land creature like the reptile; so that
his struggle for existence is very hard. Should he decide to leave one
pond, where the enemy is overwhelming, his only chance is to start on a
rainy day to discover a new home for himself, and if he has the good
fortune to find one before the sun comes out and dries things up, he is

At first the children showed a dislike to touch the toad on account of
getting warts, but they soon learned that the fluid which the toad
expels when he is picked up suddenly is harmless—and produced no
warts—but there is a liquid which exudes from the toad when he is in
severe pain (his means of self-defense) that burns the mucous membrane
and causes stinging pain.

Animals, generally speaking, are aware of this fact, and if you watch a
dog play with or tease a toad, you will see that he does not bite him,
but simply puts his paw on him. The skunk, too, is most careful, and
rolls the toad on the grass to wipe off this caustic fluid.

Toads during the process of development shed their outer skins every
four or five weeks. Adult toads shed theirs about four times a year.
This skin is shed in one piece, much as a man removes his shirt, and is
then swallowed.

The tongue of a toad is fastened in front of his mouth, which helps
greatly to catch his food, as he shoots his tongue out and seizes it. He
does not drink like other creatures, but absorbs water through the pores
of his skin. If kept in a dry place for even a few days, he will grow
thin and die; but if a toad has proper environment he will live to be
very old.

Toads do not breed, or produce their kind, until they are 3 or 4 years
old. When at this age Miss Toad, or Frog, awakens from her long winter’s
sleep, she feels hungry, and glad, perhaps, that she has lived through
the winter, for she feels life within her. Undoubtedly she is glad and
happy to be awake, and off she goes to search for food and friends.

Perhaps she finds Mr. Toad, who, too, feels life stirring within him; he
also feels the joy of spring, so together they go to the breeding pond.

Like Mrs. Buttercup, Mrs. Toad has within her body a little nest where
little seeds or eggs have been kept and have been growing, and now that
the time has come when they need awakening to a new life, they need life
from the Father Frog just as the buttercup needed pollen from the

Mr. Toad (or Frog), too, is stirred by this new and wonderful life
giving desire within him—this desire to mate—and when Mrs. Toad (or
Frog) feels the eggs are to be expelled, he comes very close to her, and
in order to fertilize every egg before it goes into the water, he holds
her fast behind the arm, and as they are expelled he pours over them his
life giving fluid, which enters every tiny egg and gives it life—a new

In a few days the eggs begin to grow; they are all incased in a
colorless, transparent jellylike substance, which serves as food for the
tadpole while forming, and also for protection. They are spherical in
shape, and in ten days the pond will swarm with tiny tadpoles.

Mrs. Frog lays between 500 and 1,000 eggs at one time; Mrs. Fish,
however, is still more prolific, for she lays 1,000,000 eggs. Mrs. Fish
lays her eggs in the water. She cleans a place by blowing all rubbish
away with her fins, and there she deposits her eggs. Many of these float
away before they can be fertilized by Mr. Fish.

Impress the child with the knowledge that here is one of nature’s
earliest signs of motion.

That the flowers could not move about to seek their mates, but the
fishes, frogs and all higher forms of life do this, and are more
particular as they ascend the scale of life.

Thus, the children were taught that the higher in the scale of
development living creatures go, the greater care must be given them.
Not only to the undeveloped seed within the mother’s body, but also to
the egg after it has passed from her to the nest, for as creatures
develop and ascend the scale, their eggs and offspring become fewer. And
emphasis was laid on the care Mr. Frog took to fertilize the egg BEFORE
it went into the water—one step higher than Mr. Fish.

There is no doubt that the words “cold-blooded,” as applied to frogs and
toads, hit the mark, for there is not the slightest affection or
sympathy shown or felt for their own kind. They give no care or concern
to the eggs after they are deposited, and the “polly-wog” has to depend
on himself.

Nature seems to have given them but one instinct relative to their kind,
and that is the one blind impulse or instinct of reproduction.

Early in the summer months, the frog orchestra seems well tuned, but as
the cold days come on the toads crawl into a hole, making it as they go,
while the frogs go into the mud to sleep through the winter, out of
reach of frost and snow, where they lie dormant until the spring air
shall again inspire them with the joy of living.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                    _The Birds and Their Families._

The next step to be taken was the study of the birds. Everywhere could
be seen father and mother birds busy making their house for the babes,
which were soon to come to live with them.

Great fun it was to hunt for nests and count the number each one
discovered. First, right in Bobby’s yard was a young horse chestnut
tree, and here in this tree Mr. and Mrs. Thrush had already built their
nest, or house, and were even now waiting for the first egg to come.

Again the children were told that Mrs. Bird was more active and more
intelligent than Mrs. Frog or Toad; that altogether she was a _higher_
creature than either the flower, the fish or the frog; that all father
birds and all father creatures on up the scale of development use
greater care to fertilize the egg than either Mr. Buttercup, Mr. Fish,
Mr. Toad or Mr. Frog. For, instead of fertilizing it in the water, or
with the help of the insects or wind, the egg of the higher creatures is
fertilized while still in the mother’s body.

Just like the flowers, Mrs. Bird has an ovary, where the little seeds or
eggs are kept. This ovary is attached to a tiny tube, and this tube has
no separate opening directly out of the body, but runs into the
intestine very close to the outer opening of the body, where the
intestines throw off the waste food.

Now, these little eggs have been within the Mother Bird’s body _always_,
ever since she herself came out of the egg, and they have been growing
slowly all the time until a time comes when, like the stigma of the
pistil (which at a certain time is ripe for fertilization and becomes
moist and sticky), they, too, are ripe for fertilization.

That this time has arrived is shown by many outward signs—such as
beautiful plumage and charming songs. Especially in the male bird does
this show itself. His whole nature seems bubbling over with the desire
to mate and the knowledge that at last he, too, has developed. For
though there are no eggs within his body, there is something else there
just as important to the creating of new little birds, and he feels the
time has come when this fertilizing substance is ready to do its work.
His color becomes bright, even brilliant, and his voice becomes
enchanting. Thus he tells the world of this glorious happiness.

This period is called the mating season—the time when both father and
mother birds awaken to the desire of building their nest and creating

The egg has become as developed as Mrs. Bird alone can make it. For,
like the flower seed, the fish and frog egg, it needs the fertilizing
substance from the father bird to complete its development.

As has been said before, the father bird knows that there are so few
eggs that he and Mrs. Bird cannot afford to lose even one, so _great,
very great_ care must be taken to fertilize every egg.

There is an instinct in all creatures implanted there for millions of
years to preserve or perpetuate their species, and this instinct shows
itself when the father creature, like the father bird, places himself in
such a position that the fertilizing fluid can get into the mother’s
body as near as possible to the undeveloped eggs. And as every atom of
this substance is alive, it moves on, on and on, until it reaches the
egg, where it mingles with it and the two different substances have
become one. Now after the two substances have mingled, the egg passes
down the little tube on through the opening out of the body into the
nest. While it is passing through the tube, however, it accumulates a
food substance called the “white” of the egg. This is not the _living_
part of the egg, but simply food just as the frog eggs were incased in a
soft substance, which served as food for the tadpole—so in the yolk, is
the new baby bird, incased within the “white” of the egg.

At the bottom of the tube, through which the egg passes to its opening,
is a fluid which also incases the whole egg and hardens into a shell,
and it is then ready to go into the little nest.

After the fertilization takes place the egg is soon ready to be laid,
and so the nest must be ready, soft and cozy. And this is what Mrs.
Thrush was now waiting for in the nest she and Mr. Thrush had built in
the horse chestnut tree.

But even this was not all. For, though the eggs were here, the new
little birds were not yet here. And again it was shown that while the
frogs and toads left the eggs in the water to care for themselves, Mr.
and Mrs. Bird do not and can not do this. The eggs must be kept warm
almost constantly, and so Mrs. Bird gathers them close to her warm body
and sits on them day after day, until they are ready to burst the shell
open, and come out—the real new birds.

                               CHAPTER V.
                    _The Birds and Their Families._

Now that the nest in the horse chestnut tree was completed, Mr. Thrush
sat near by waiting to hear the glad news that one egg had come. So the
next time Mrs. Thrush went away from the nest for her bath the children
peeped into the nest and there saw one speckled egg! The next day
another was there, and the next day still another.

Mr. Thrush was a most interesting father for the children to observe,
for he fought off any bird who ventured too near Mrs. Thrush’s nest. For
birds there are who are too lazy to build their own nests, and boldly
take possession of any nest they can. Father Thrush knowing this, was
ever on the defensive and ready to fight to protect his “wife” and
little ones. He watched when she went for food—and when at sundown she
went to the stream to bathe, he also watched.

The Thrushes seemed to do most of their love-making at sundown in song.
The song consists of four notes, which the children interpreted as
saying, “Do you love me?” And the answer came in three notes, “I love

If singing meant happiness, Father Thrush was certainly very happy these
days. For he seemed to sing more than any of the other birds, except,
perhaps, Father Song-Sparrow, who, too, was overjoyed at the arrival of
four youngsters.

Mother Thrush never answered Father Thrush’s musical song while she was
waiting for the eggs to hatch—she was very still then always—but he must
have taken her love for granted, for he sang on just the same.

One day some time later when the children took their usual place under
the tree, the air was rent with shrieks and cries from both birds, who
flew at them and scolded so shrilly that the children decided it was
best to go away, but on watching from a distance they saw Mrs. Thrush
bring food in her mouth, and three tiny heads, with open bills, stretch
themselves above the nest. They knew now why Mr. and Mrs. Thrush
objected to their going so near the nest that day. The children were so
excited that it was difficult to keep them from going to the nest to
see. But when they were reminded of the great care Mr. and Mrs. Thrush
had given the eggs, so that they might hatch into little birds, and were
told that it would trouble them greatly and excite them to have any one
touch the nest, they decided to wait for a better opportunity.

It did not come for several days, for Mr. Thrush was a most watchful
father. But these Thrush youngsters were developing so fast and had such
husky appetites it took both Mr. and Mrs. Thrush busy to keep them fed.
So when the parents were off on their hunt for food the children
carefully looked into the nest. There they were, three featherless,
fearless, funny things, with only knowledge enough to stretch their
necks for food.

The day that Mrs. Thrush first hurriedly told Mr. Thrush that one
scrawny “imp” had come out of its shell, he seemed overjoyed, for he
sang all day long—even into the night. This was, perhaps, the most vivid
example of a father’s joy the children saw. But another case came to
their notice of a father bird’s devotion—and that was when Mrs. Sparrow
deserted her little ones.

There was an old apple tree at the back of the house, and in the trunk
of this tree Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow had made a home for their children.

One morning there was a call of distress from Mr. Sparrow. The children
watched him as he flew from tree to tree, and limb to limb,
calling—calling in the most plaintive tones. All day he called until the
sun went down behind the Palisades, but no mother returned to her
children. It was quite decided that Mrs. Sparrow was hurt, or even
killed, and great was the excitement over this terrible possibility.
After two days of calling and calling Mrs. Sparrow returned—but not
alone. The guilty partner of her flight came along, too, and Father
Sparrow promptly chased him away, but every time Father Sparrow flew at
him and chased him off, Mrs. Sparrow would fly away with him. Then poor
Father Sparrow would call and coax and tease and plead with her to
return, and she would return just long enough to see the little
fledglings, and off she would go with the other sparrow. Each day she
returned to see the little ones and trouble the poor father, who was
trying so hard to provide for the motherless family.

The other birds seemed most sympathetic, and on one occasion Mr. Robin
watched the sparrow house while Mr. Sparrow chased the wooer of his
wife. This was the last time, for Mrs. Sparrow never again returned to
her family.

No other birds ever went near that tree wherein the lone “widower”
dwelled. He seemed greatly respected by the other birds. He taught his
little ones to fly and where to find the choicest food in Bobby’s
garden. The children insisted on caging the cats for a few weeks so that
Father Sparrow would not have this extra burden on him. They were of one
decided opinion that father love and devotion saved that family, and all
agreed that it was a most important factor in bringing up a family.

This was a most unusual case, and the boys were made to realize its
unusualness, for it is _very seldom_ that a mother ever deserts her

It was funny to watch the sentiments of these small tots. As soon as
Mrs. Sparrow returned for her short intervals the children got bread and
worms and all kinds of tempting food in hopes that she would remain with
her family. They were willing like Father Sparrow to forgive her, but as
soon as she made her preparations to go away, instinctively they picked
up stones to throw at her, so intense was their interest, and it is
feared that had not a grown-up been with them something would have
happened, for the air was full of whispers, and words like bean
shooters, air rifles, etc., were heard occasionally.

However, their attention was diverted to Miss Oriole, who had two young
Oriole attendants. Each asked for her love—and she would not decide. How
she teased them both, and how desperately she flirted. Of course, the
lovers despised each other, but how wonderfully they told her in song of
their great love for her, each trying to outdo the other.

When no one was about she must have made up her mind to accept one, and
it was noticed it was he with the sweetest voice rather than the one
with beautiful plumage who won her. He was a most daring and fearless
lover and took beautiful care of her while they were waiting for the
eggs to hatch.

The summer was one lovely long day watching the birds. As the cold
weather came on, the birds became fewer—new and strange birds on their
way to the South came for food and flew away again.

There was no more interesting and charming lesson of paternal love to be
learned than among the birds, and it was noticed that no longer was the
mother of sole interest, but the father’s habits and life became of
interest. The children received their lesson of father love, through the

Where the father flowers, fish and frogs gave themselves no concern over
the young, here was a higher creature, whose love of offspring was not
purely physical, but represented something higher in his makeup. This
was not only the desire to procreate, but to protect and care for his
offspring after their creation.

This is perhaps one of the best times to begin to talk to the child of
its own body, if one has not done so before.

The study of the birds gives the boy particularly a beautiful impression
of the father’s part in life, so that it is quite natural for him to
think of himself in this relation too.

Teach the child that there is no shame in nature. Mothers should never
say “shame on you” when a child exposes any part of its body.

Always allow perfect freedom in his acts and affections. Teach him that
love and affection are beautiful, and let him follow his impulses in
these. Never make children kiss people for “form’s” sake, either aunts
or uncles or any others; let them alone in this for their instincts are
keener, often, than ours.

It was not until all the familiar birds had gone that their thoughts
turned to the higher stage, the mammals.

                              CHAPTER VI.
                   _The Mammals and Their Children._

The first question one of the boys asked was, “What is a mammal?” It was
explained to the children that a mammal is an animal with a hairy
covering, who breathes with lungs, and has warm or quick circulating
blood. They have little ones, which when born are not in the form of
eggs, like the frogs or birds, but have the same shape as their parents,
though smaller and weaker. The mother mammal nurses these little ones
with milk secreted from glands, called mammary glands. And that is why
they are called “mammals.”

Their instincts are highly developed, and they are considered the
highest animals.

Many instances were shown them of the meaning of instinct, as that of
the mother bird turning over her eggs every day. In fact, from the first
the word was explained in every stage to enable them to know the
difference between _instinct_ and _reason_ later on.

There was no one creature taken up this time, but all together, and some
pictures were shown them of lower tribes of man, and it was decided that
man must be classed with the mammals, for he is partly covered with
hair, gives birth to young in his own shape, and feeds the young from
mammary glands. They were told that there is a mammal, the spiny ant
eater, covered with hair, which, however, lays eggs like the birds in
nests. They were told about the kangaroo and opossum, who give birth to
their little ones very early, and carry them in a pouch until they are
able to help themselves. As soon as the little opossum is born, Mother
Opossum picks him up in her mouth and places him in her pouch, where he
sucks away at the milk which is secreted there, until he is strong and
able to get food for himself—which is about the same length of time that
other mammals carry their young before giving birth to them.

They were told of the bats and the flying squirrels. They were told that
Bobby’s cat must be given a new clean box, or bed; that she must not be
handled roughly or chased, because she was going to have little kittens.
To the utter astonishment of Bobby’s mother there was a chorus of, “How
do you know?” and she realized that she might have omitted a most
important piece of information.

They were again reminded of the birds and the undeveloped eggs coming
from the ovary of mother bird, which at a certain time become ripe for
fertilization; of how the father bird at a certain time feels he has
developed (since the fertilizing principle within him has developed) so
that in coming in contact with the undeveloped egg within the mother’s
body, these are quickened into life. The same process goes on with the
mammals, but as the instinct becomes more developed as they go higher in
the scale of life breeding becomes more complex.

They were told that where in birds the whole egg, shell and all passes
out of the mother’s body into the nest, with the mammal the shell
becomes a thin skin, which envelops the little one, but remains within
the mother’s body until it is grown enough and strong enough to live on
the milk from the mother. While it is within the mother’s body it is fed
from the blood of the mother, and all the food she eats helps to make
the little ones within her strong.

It is of great assistance for a mother to have some knowledge of the
processes of assimilation so that the children will learn how the food
products in the blood, instead of supplying the mother, go to the child
to build up bone, muscle, nerves and tissues.

They were told that as the mammal grows and develops within the body of
the mother her shape becomes changed—becomes larger in the region where
the new life lies, and that is how one could tell that Mrs. Pussy Cat
was going to have a family.

It was dwelt upon at great length that it was necessary to know this,
because every mother needs protection from worry, excitement, cruelty,
overwork, starvation at such a period; that she needed kindness, rest,
good food, sunshine, in order that she give the little ones strength and

They were told that in smaller animals many more eggs develop at a time
and are fertilized but in the larger animals such as cows, horses,
elephants, etc., only one egg develops and one animal is born. In man,
too, this is true. One egg develops at a time, and if it is fertilized
it remains in its little nest (or uterus), and grows until it is ready
to stand the changed conditions into which it must come after it is
born. If it is not fertilized it passes on out of the body and is lost,
but when it is fertilized by the father, it remains in the uterus and
grows until it is grown enough to withstand a different life and
different surroundings.

At first the new being is only the size of a pea (that is, in a week
after it is fertilized). In a few weeks (eight) it is the size of a
lemon, and its shape is complete. In four months it begins to move
about, to kick, to move its little hands, and in nine months Mother
Nature can develop it no more. It is time to change, if it is to live,
so she sends it along the passage, enlarging the passage and stretching
it as it goes—which causes much pain and suffering to the mother, until
it reaches the outside world, where it is taken and cared for and loved,
and all the mother’s pain is forgotten in the joy of having her little
one alive and strong and well.

One of the mothers was expecting the arrival of a little one, and great
care and tenderness was shown her after the children knew of this event.
She was assisted up the hills, brought flowers and all the tenderness of
which children are capable was bestowed upon her.

They anxiously watched and waited for its arrival, looked over the small
clothing which was being prepared for it, and seemed as interested as
any grown-up could ever be.

The most interesting questions were asked her each day. At first the
young mother was rather embarrassed, but they were asked with such
simplicity and frankness that she realized the prudery was in herself
alone, she soon entered the talks and answered their questions. These
were mainly of the little one’s movements, etc. Can it see? said one.
Does it kick? said another. Does it like ice cream? etc., etc., all
perfectly innocent questions which can be answered, and makes the
reproductive act the natural and beautiful part of life that it really
is. Soon the young mother and the children were on the most friendly
terms. They would come to her and confide their secrets to her, tell her
words other boys had used and asked her about these words. They came to
her in preference to telling their parents, which shows again the
necessity of every mother being the first one to tell the child this sex
knowledge, for the one who does tell it usually holds a strong influence
over the child for some years to come.

They were taken to a farm some miles away to see a calf a few days old.
Stories were read to them at this time about the habits of these animals
and the care of their young. They were taken to the Museum of Natural
History in New York and to Bronx Park, and such excursions were red
letter days in their book of childhood.

They were told of the freedom of the animals in choosing their
mates—that beauty and strength seemed the greatest qualifications. The
story of the bees was briefly told. How the queen bee leaves her home
amidst the hundreds of male bees who are all anxious to be the father of
the future hive. How she rambles about for a little while, then up she
flies—up, up, straight into the clouds with hundreds of male bees
following. Gradually the weakest bees drop off and return, but the
stronger ones still follow until there are often only two male bees left
in the race. The weaker of the two returns and the strongest bee of the
whole hive wins the queen bee, and fertilizes the eggs within her body.
After this act of reproduction he dies, and Mrs. Bee returns to her hive
and lays thousands of bee eggs. The strongest gave his life that the
future bees should be given his great strength.

The children were sad about this. They wanted the strongest to live, and
it was now the place to teach them of their own bodies, what cleanliness
and strength means to the future race of man.

To give the children an idea of the shape of the uterus, Bobby’s mother
took a pear, turned the large side up, letting the stem part hang down,
it was then cut open lengthwise, the seeds, core and stem removed. Both
halves were fastened together again with thin sticks just to get an idea
of the shape of the baby’s nest.

The part where the stem was is like the passage where the little one
comes out into the world after the seeds have grown.

                              CHAPTER VII.
                          _Man’s Development._

The great object which Bobby’s mother had in mind was to make these
teachings of such a nature that the children would be impressed with the
truth that they are only _part_ of nature’s great and wonderful plan.

They were reminded again and again of the stages of life—plants, frogs,
birds and mammals; of the millions of years it took to bring about these
wonderful creatures and that at the top of the list, perfect,
intelligent and supreme, stands man. Man, the most complex of all and
the most perfect.

It was most natural for the children to consider nutrition and
reproduction as the two most important essentials of any form of life.

Up to this point this was quite sufficient. The animals had instincts to
nourish their bodies and also to procreate their offspring. This seemed
their life object, but since man being the more intelligent, there must,
of course, be other and broader outlets for this great intelligence.

Their own bodies was a subject which took months to cover in study. They
were shown charts of the human figure (both sexes) and all parts of the
body were named in the same way as parts of the flower were named. Parts
of the organs of reproduction were called by their names in telling of
the works each part performed. No special stress was laid on the naming
of these parts, but simply, casually, as one would speak of the various
parts of the eye, or any other organ. In the same manner they were told
of the harm done to their bodies in handling or touching any one part
unnecessarily. If the eye, ear or nose was dug into, we would surely
greatly injure ourselves, perhaps losing the use of that organ for the
rest of our lives. The generative organs are no exception in this. To
tamper with this most wonderful part of nature’s machinery, means not
only sickness, dullness of intellect, stupidity, physical and mental
weakness, but oftimes disables a little child for life.

In order to grow into perfect manhood or womanhood, all parts of the
body must be developed naturally. If a little bud of a flower were to be
roughly opened, it fades and dies long before it can carry out the great
object of its life, namely, to develop the baby seeds within it.

So with a boy or girl who carries within their bodies the making of a
human life. How terrible to cause that little life to be shattered, just
through ignorance and neglect.

The children were taught that there was one beautiful time to come to
them—to look forward to and to hope for that time when they can look
into a tiny baby face, clasp two tiny baby hands, and feel this
wonderful and beautiful creation a part of their being—the expression of
their souls.

They were told to keep in mind this time which should come, and to keep
their minds and bodies clean for this wonderful gift.

As all the children were still too young to go into the details of
either menstruation or venerea diseases, it was considered best to dwell
on the early tribes of man on up to marriage, and wait for future
developments before going further. The tree dwellers and cave dwellers
were already familiar stories to them. The fact that people lived
together very closely; that the woman had great freedom in choosing the
man whom she wished to be the father of her child, even as freely as the
animals chose their mates; that in this freedom great mistakes were
often made, such as that for a period some mothers chose their sons or
brothers, or fathers to be the father of the new little one; that after
a time it was found that this was very injurious to this new little
child, for he often could not walk, or talk, and was weak, and sometimes
a cripple—and more often died very young.

So the chiefs of these tribes got together and said this must not be,
for if this continued there would be no strong young men or women to
till the soil or fight off the animals, wild beasts or the enemy. Then a
law was made that only those of the different tribes or families should
choose each other for the parents of the future children, and here the
lesson of the Buttercups came in—that often Mrs. Buttercup would reject
the pollen from the stamen in her own house, but would accept the pollen
from another buttercup house and become fertilized with that.

The part the two sexes took in different ways to strengthen and develop
the race seemed of great interest to the children.

The work of hunting and fishing was left to the men of the family, while
equally important work, that of cleaning and cooking the food, was for
the women. Men spent much time in making tools and weapons. They were
able to save much time and energy when the bow and arrow was invented,
for, instead of taking all the time to creep upon a beast or enemy with
a knife or sharp stone, he could remain at a distance and do the same
work. Thus, men got a little more leisure time. With every new invention
their labor and energy was saved, but it took much longer for
labor-saving inventions for the women to come into use.

Gradually the marriage form came into existence, as these new tools and
weapons became more valuable. Men wanted these to go to their very own
children, so it came to pass that the man could choose any woman he
wanted to have for the mother of his children by getting consent from
the captain or chief of the tribe. If he received this consent then she,
the woman, must live with him, love him, honor him (no matter what he
did), and obey him in everything. Absolute submission was the law for
the wife. If she objected to this and ran away she was cast out and was
beaten. Other tribes had the same laws and dared not take her in, so she
was left to die. If she did not like her husband and took another for
the father of her child she was often not only cast into prison, but
either stoned to death or burned at the stake.

Naturally, after years of this treatment, she became submissive and so
dependent on man for her living that she dared not express herself
aloud, merely as her husband allowed her to do so. If she was very
beautiful she was not made to work, but the prisoners of other tribes
who had been captured, were made to work for her. Often the captain or
chief had several wives, but the wife was allowed only one husband.

As the children had been taught the lives of the mother flowers, frogs,
birds, bees and mammals, there was no reason why the history of woman
should not be taken up until they were ready for older work.

They loved to hear about this, and it seemed just as interesting to them
as the other stories.

It is important that mothers teach children the true history of the
race, and get the seed of truth planted for future cultivation.

The marriage laws have had many changes for the man, they were told, but
few as far as the woman is concerned. The different customs of women in
different countries can be told them, and the general development of
both men and women can occupy a great deal of time until the children
are more ready to understand the true or real significance of the
studies to be later dwelt on.

The children were never talked _at_, but always _with_. They were
allowed to talk freely. Once or twice the older children seemed a little
conscious on taking up the matter of their own bodies, yet after a few
minutes as the other children joined in the conversation, they, too,
forgot and overcame the embarrassment, and all went well.

The children were told frankly that some mothers did not like their
children to know these things; that like the fairy tales and the story
of Santa Claus, the mothers liked their children to believe that the
stork brought them, or some other fairy tale. They were told that these
things are _not to be talked about with other children_, and any time
any child wished to know anything about himself or any question
whatever, to come to the mother or father, but _never_ to other boys or
girls. These children were taught the necessities for the excretions of
the body—that in order to have good health this used up waste food must
pass out of the body or it would become poison and the boy or girl
become sick and die. There was no hurry in telling anything to the
children. Most of this information was told on walks in the woods, or at
times when they seemed to want to know. One story leads to another, and
before long the children’s questions will bring everything from you
which you wish to tell.

The result of these teachings has been commented on by the school
teachers of these children, who say they are so truthful, clean-minded,
frank and open about all things that it is a pleasure to know them.

Every mother can teach her children the truth if she only knows it
herself, and has the right attitude toward it. She can elaborate on this
plan or outline as much as she wishes, but she must get down to the
child’s world in order to make her teachings impressive and successful.
The one unpardonable sin on the part of a mother is to let her children
learn the truth elsewhere than from her own lips.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

One of the most important things which a mother must keep in mind is to
give only such information and in the manner suitable to the child’s
age. Children differ so greatly, that it is impossible to lay down any
rules as to what and how much should be told at any age.

Some children are very curious, and very receptive always, while others
have little curiosity and even when told sex truths, pay little
attention to the telling, or seem little impressed by it.

It is for each mother to do as she finds advisable. Children will often
ask a question very seriously and before one can formulate an answer,
another question has been asked on another entirely different subject.
But the fact that he has asked the question shows that the mind has
awakened to this curiosity, and he will no doubt ask it again.

_Mothers, be prepared!_ Do not force any thing; it will all come in time
if you keep close to the child in confidence. Just be prepared. When
children are very young get them accustomed to the naked body. Let them
run about naked at night, perhaps while undressing for bed. Let them
bathe together or with you. If this is done very early at any early age
you will soon find that his thoughts are clean regarding the naked body.
You can then tell him the names of the different parts, for he will most
likely ask, and his curiosity will often entirely cease. This is the
type of boy who looks back upon life and feels he has “always known” the
clean and beautiful of life.

This is the opportunity to tell how to care for the body. The teeth and
nose should be cleansed morning and night. When there is any itching of
the rectum or sexual organs this is often caused by uncleanliness and
washing of these parts at once will often relieve the irritation.

Teach that no part of the body should be touched unnecessarily by any
one, and when there is any discomfort of any kind to come to the mother,
who will attend to it. See that no clothing on the child is tight or
causes irritation, for this often leads a child to touch and handle
himself and forms the habit of masturbation.

This is often acquired innocently, even at the creeping age, and the
child becomes a victim and slave to the habit.

Keep a close watch over children for this habit, without making them
conscious of it, especially if the child prefers to be alone or remains
long in bed in the morning. These are by no means positive symptoms of
the habit, only when these signs are present keep your eyes open.

If you do find this habit is formed, keep him up at night until he is
sleepy, or at least do not send him off to bed alone when he is not
sleepy, to lie and toss about with this temptation. Let someone read to
him or tell him interesting stories which will divert his mind so he can
fall asleep.

The same in the morning; do not allow children to remain in bed after
they have awakened; do not have the bed too soft or the coverings too
heavy; the room should be cool and he should lie on his side rather than
on the back. Keep his mind busy with interest. Get him to call you
whenever he feels the temptation, or to come where others are. If he
will trust the mother and together fight this habit, he will soon be the
victor. Always it is the same—confidence, confidence, is such a
necessary part of the child’s life.

When a child is under four years of age is the ideal time to gain this
confidence, for then there is nothing personal in anything you say; all
interests are general. There is no shyness or consciousness of sex. If
this has been done, when they take up the study of the birds more could
be told them of the sexual parts; that as some day he was to be a father
he was made differently than mother or sister because he had a different
part to do in life’s work. That he must keep well and grow strong in
order to do this work. There need be no mystery about the sexual truths;
impress upon it the sacredness of the process. There is no greater crime
against a child than for a parent to allow a child to flounder about
with half truths, gathered from polluted and corrupt associates.

Be deliberate in giving the child the truth, as much of it as he can
take at a time, or as little _but have it the truth_.

You will be confronted with questions concerning the vilest words of the
street. Tell him frankly their meaning in your own clean way, and the
correct word to use in its place. You will find when his curiosity has
been satisfied he will no longer be curious or have any special desire
to use these words.

Every child first turns to its mother in confidence for all these
questions. Never turn him off with a slight or embarrassed answer; just
rely upon your knowledge, your natural knowledge, and answer him. Every
mother can do it. Do not make a Sunday School lesson of these teachings,
only to be taught once a week on very solemn occasions. Children hate
being talked at; just be natural, simple, interesting, informal, and as
often as the opportunity arrives.

This confidence and early understanding will bind you together far
beyond that most difficult period, puberty, and enable you to strengthen
the child’s ideals of manhood and womanhood.


                      WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW


                           Margaret H. Sanger



              Physical Growth
              Mental Development

              Generative Organs, Uterus, Ovaries, etc.
              Menstruation and its Disorders

          =Sexual Impulse=—
              Sexual Impulse in Animals—in Men. Its
                  significance in Love

              Growth of the Life Cell in the Uterus
              Hygiene of Pregnancy—Miscarriage

          =Some of the Consequences of Ignorance and Silence=—
              Continence in Young Men

                          50 cents cloth bound


=The Woman Rebel, 34 Post Avenue, N. Y. City=

                            THE WOMAN REBEL

                        NO GODS       NO MASTERS


An uncompromising, unapologetic, clear cut, revolutionary paper, dealing
with sex education, and advocating a militant attitude toward all things
which enslave the working woman.

=Study=, =think=, =reason=, learn thoroughly the elements of a science
that all women ought to know: the knowledge of means to prevent

           Published monthly.       =Subscription $1 a Year.=

                     =Address: MARGARET H. SANGER=

                 =34 Post Avenue=       =New York City=


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. CONTENTS added by transcriber.
 2. Removed “Part I.” header on p. 29 as there is no Part II.
 3. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 4. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 5. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 6. Enclosed bold font in =equals=.

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