COLUMN: The genesis of forming a child’s (country’s) future

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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By J. Edward Howell Jr.
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A little child’s future, as a good, God fearing and productive citizen, in most cases, sadly not all, begins in its mother’s arms, nestled close to her heart. The mother will speak words like, here comes daddy! Mommy loves you, rock-a-by baby, and anything that comes to her mind. The little one starts to connect those words with certain actions and visual stimuli. This is the primitive beginning of learning. Usually, around the age of 3 years old, little folks will begin to RETAIN some of the things that they see and hear. This is called MEMORY. For myself, my first memories were that I could reach onto the top of the table in Mom’s kitchen, but I could not see the table top. I remember my mom giving me a bath in the kitchen sink, where it was warm in the kitchen. The rest of the house was cold. I also remember my dad giving my mom a big hug when he arrived in the kitchen. That ole woodstove was hot from early in the morning until after nine o clock at night. Dad never came home for supper (dinner) until around that time and Mom always had a hot supper ready for him, and us children.

Until a child is at the age that he or she can enroll in pre-school, it learns from the things it experiences. Things like, the stove is HOT!, Daddy is good to me. (or the opposite) I can eat when I am hungry.(not in all homes). We carry them to church and in in the Beginner’s class they learn that “Jesus loves me and ALL the little children of the world’; then comes school. That is when we turn our children over to someone else. We trust them to do what they say they will do- teach our children the difference in right and wrong, how to spell, how to write, how to calculate numbers, and continue what we started ,in teaching proper manners and courteous behavior. We also expected them to continue teaching them about God’s Word.

From the late 1600s to around 1830 little children were taught reading from The New England Primer. In this manual the alphabet was taught using biblical words. There were biblical phrases to learn. There was nothing racial or gender compromising in it. Phonics was not an issue either. This was followed by The McGuffey Readers, which taught “whole word” recognition. Children were introduced to “Phonics.” This meant sounding out a word. We see that in spelling bees today when the contestant is given his or her word to spell. They sound it out before they attempt to spell it. About this time, our country was experiencing a surge in immigration from Mexico. Because of the diverse religions coming into the country, The McGuffey Reader was stripped of any reference to religion. The McGuffey Reader was followed by the ‘Dick and Jane” series. This is what I was exposed to. The “Dick and Jane” series introduced children to be aware of the different races. There was no mention of any superior race or victimized race. Everyone was equal. I can remember receiving my “Weekly Reader” during the summer months. My reading skills have given me many hours of enjoyment-being able to read proficiently is a blessing in itself. I am thankful to all those people and teachers that insisted that I learn how to read well. Even with the Locker training my handwriting could stand some improvement. That is why I use the computer to express my thoughts and opinions on paper.

In today’s schools very few children can read or write at grade level! Neither can they solve arithmetic problems- even in the higher grades. What they HEAR is “There is no God,” all white people are bad, if you are black you don’t have a chance and there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG. Stealing is a good thing. Assaulting a stranger is OK if you want what he has. Work is stupid. The government will give you phones, food, money housing. These people are already in leadership positions. The corruption and outright treacherous conduct that we witness in our government, both state and federal, is proving to be disastrous to our Republic and the character of our nation. There is NO WAY it can survive; we need to return to God, the mother’s breast and The New England Primer.

J. EDWARD HOWELL JR. is a native of Southampton County. He can be reached via email at