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The Boy And The Sunday School by Alexander of Cappadocia


A great deal of material has come from the pens of various writers on boy life in the last few years. Quite a little, also, has been written about the Sunday school, and a few attempts have been made to hitch the boy of the teen years and the Sunday school together. Most of these attempts, however, have been far from successful; due, in part, to lack of knowledge of the boy on the one hand, or of the Sunday school on the other. Generous criticism of the Sunday school has been made by experts on boy life, but this generally has been nullified by the fact that the critics have had no adequate touch with the Sunday school or its problems -- their bread-and-butter experience lay in another field.

|The Men and Religion Forward Movement,| in its continent-wide work, discovered not a few of the problems of the Sunday school, and attempted a partial solution in the volume on boys' work in the |Messages| of the Movement. It was but partial, however, first, because the volume tried to deal with the boy, the church and the community all together, and second, because it failed to take into account the fact that there are two sexes in the church school and that the boy, however important, constitutes but a section of the Sunday school and its problems.

In view of this, it may not be amiss to set forth in a new volume a more or less thorough study of the Sunday school and the adolescent or teen age boy, the one in relationship to the other, and at the same time to set forth as clearly as possible the present plans, methods and attitude of the Sunday school, denominationally and interdenominationally.

In the preparation of this little book I have utilized considerable material written by me for other purposes. Generous use has also been made of the Secondary Division Leaflets of the International Sunday School Association. A deep debt of gratitude is mine to the members of the International Secondary Committee: Messrs. E.H. Nichols, Frank L. Brown, Eugene C. Foster, William C. Johnston, William H. Danforth, S.F. Shattuck, R.A. Waite, Mrs. M.S. Lamoreaux, and the Misses Minnie E. Kennedy, Anna Branch Binford and Helen Gill Lovett, for their great help and counsel in preparing the above leaflets. Grateful acknowledgment is also made to Miss Margaret Slattery, Mrs. J.W. Barnes, Rev. Charles D. Bulla, D.D., Rev. William E. Chalmers, B.D., Rev. C.H. Hubbell, D.D., Rev. A.L. Phillips, D.D., Rev. J.C. Robertson, B.D., and the Rev. R.P. Shepherd, Ph.D., for their advice and suggestions as members of the Committee on Young People's Work of the Sunday School Council of Evangelical Denominations. The plans and methods of these leaflets have the approval of the denominational and interdenominational leaders of North America. I wish, also, to make public mention of the great assistance that Mr. Preston G. Orwig and my colleague, Rev. William A. Brown, have rendered me in the practical working out of many of the methods contained in this volume. Two articles written for the |Boys' Work| volume of the Men and Religion Messages, and one for |Making Religion Efficient| have been modified somewhat for this present work. The aim has been to set forth as completely as possible the relationship of the Sunday school and the boy of the teen years in the light of the genius of the Sunday school.

No attempt has been made in this volume to discuss the boy psychologically or otherwise. This has been done so often that the subject has become matter-of-fact. My little volume on |Boy Training,| so generously shared in by other writers who are authorities on their subjects, may be referred to for information of this sort. |The Sunday School and the Teens| will, likewise, afford valuable technical information about the Sunday school, it being the report of the International Commission on Adolescence.

This book is largely a volume of method and suggestion for leaders and teachers in the Sunday school, to promote the better handling of the so-called boy problem; for the Sunday school must solve the problem of getting and holding the teen age boy, if growth and development are to mark its future progress. Of the approximately ten million teen age boys in the field of the International Sunday School Association, ninety per cent are not now reached by the Sunday school. Of the five per cent enrolled (less than 1,500,000) seventy-five per cent are dropping from its membership. Every village, town and city contributes its share toward this unwarranted leakage. The problem is a universal one.

The teen age represents the most important period of life. Ideals and standards are set up, habits formed and decisions made that will make or mar a life. The high-water mark of conversion is reached at fifteen, and between the ages of thirteen and eighteen more definite stands are made for the Christian life than in all the other combined years of a lifetime.

It marks the period of adolescence, when the powers and passions of manhood enter into the life of the boy, and when the will is not strong enough to control these great forces. Powers must be unfolded before ability to use them can develop, and instincts must be controlled while these are in the process of development. The importance of systematic adult leadership during this period of storm and stress cannot be too strongly emphasized.

The teen age boy is naturally religious. Opportunity, however, must be given him to express his religion in forms that appeal to and are understood by him. In other words, his religion, like his nature, is a positive quantity, and will be carried by him throughout the day, to dominate all of the activities in which he engages.

The problem also reaches through the entire teen years and must be regarded as a whole, rather than as a series of successive stages, each stage being separate and complete in itself.

The great problem, then, which confronts us is to keep the boys in the church and Sunday school during the critical years of adolescence and to bring to their support the strength which comes from God's Word and true Christian friendship, to the end that they may be related to the Son of God as Saviour and Lord through personal faith and loyal service.


Alexander, Editor. -- Boy Training (.75). The Sunday School and the Teens. (The Report of the International Commission on Adolescence) ([USD]1.00).

Alexander, Editor. -- The Teens and the Rural Sunday School. (The Report of the International Commission on Rural Adolescence.) In preparation.

Boys' Work Message (Men and Religion Movement) ([USD]1.00).

Fiske. -- Boy Life and Self-Government ([USD]1.00).

Hall. -- Developing into Manhood (Sex Education Series) (.25)

Hall. -- Life's Beginnings (Sex Education Series) (.25)

Secondary Division Leaflets, International Sunday School Association (Free).

1. Secondary Division Organization.

2. The Organized Class.

3. State and County Work.

4. Through-the-week Activities.

5. The Secondary Division Crusade.

Swift -- Youth and the Race ([USD]1.50).


Three institutions are responsible for the education of the adolescent boy. By |education| is meant not merely the acquisition of certain forms of related knowledge, but the symmetrical adaptation of the life to the community in which it lives. The three institutions that cooperate in the community for this purpose are: the home, the school, and the church. There are many organizations and orders that have a large place in the life of the growing boy, but these must be viewed solely in the light of auxiliaries to the home, school and church in the production of efficient boyhood and trained manhood.


Draper. -- American Education ([USD]2.00).

Payot. -- Education of the Will ([USD]1.50).

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