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The Boy And The Sunday School by Alexander of Cappadocia


Five fundamental principles must be kept in mind when work with boys in the Sunday school is attempted, and without these five principles very little will be accomplished:

1. The first of these is the Fourfold Life. A boy lives physically, socially, and mentally, as well as spiritually. He lives seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, not merely an hour or an hour and a half on Sunday. His spiritual impulses are received and find their expression in the physical, social and mental activities in which he is engaged during the week. Any work that is attempted with a group of boys which ignores this fourfold life of the boy cannot be a success. The man, then, who plans to work with boys must plan to touch the various phases of the boys' lives as he works with them, and he must also do this work in proportion, not putting too much emphasis on any one phase, but allowing equal emphasis on all. The ideal for a perfect work with boys is that which is gleaned from a study of the boyhood of Christ, for the boy Jesus, |grew in wisdom| (mentally), |and in stature| (physically), |and in favor with God| (spiritually), |and with man| (socially). The secret of the life of the Christ as a boy lies in his symmetrical and well-balanced growth.

2. The second principle is Progression. In a successful church work with boys the activities must be graded and progressive. The public school could not command the presence of a boy if the work which it gave him today was the same as that of last week, and that of last week the same as that of a year ago. The inherent interest of the public school to a boy is that he is discovering new things for himself, or being taught new things all the while. This principle must be incorporated in church and Sunday school work to keep the continued interest of the boy. It must be observed, not only in Bible study (and this should be graded), but also in the physical, social, mental and service activities in which the boy finds himself engaged.

3. The third principle is Service. Too long has the church bribed her boys and expected them to remain with her and in her service after offering them wages for doing the thing which they ought to have done for sheer love of it. Socials and clubs and athletic organizations and other devices have been used as a bid to hold the boy, instead of being used because the church owed these things to the boy as part of his all-round development. |Where the treasure is, there will the heart be also|; and it stands to reason that the heart of the boy will be where he is giving most of himself. If he is investing himself heavily in the interest and service of the church, that is where his interest will be.

4. The fourth principle is Organisation.

The law of the boy life in adolescence is organization, or the gang. The church has its choice, either to let the boys organize themselves on the outside, under self-directed and therefore incompetent leadership, or to organize the boys on the inside of the church, provide a definite place for this organization, and so permeate the gang instinct with the spirit of Christian altruism. Every church organization for boys, the organized Bible class, the church club, and other church forms of organization, are aiming to do just this thing. The law of the boy's life is to associate with his fellows and the expression of his purposes is team work. The church, through suitable organization, can meet this need of the boy life.

5. The fifth and last principle is Leadership. Leadership is inseparable from organization, and organization is useless without leadership. The leadership which is necessary for a group of adolescent boys is that of a man, and the problem which is presented to a leader with a group of boys in the adolescent years is not that of teaching, but of awakening virile ideas and purposes in the boy life. The leader must be able to enter into sympathy with and in at least a partial way into participation with all the activities of the group. Everything that a boy does is just the thing that the man used to do. There is, therefore, little hardship, but instead the joy of living again, when a man becomes the leader of a group of boys.


Alexander (Editor). -- Boy Training (.75).

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

Robinson. -- The Adolescent Boy in the Sunday School (American Youth, April, 1911) (.20).

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