But for Boomers and ‘old folks’ we learned how to write by copying ‘sage’ advice, over and over again for those of us with poor handwriting, in workbooks or worksheets. In his day, that was unnecessary. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all. Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place, Formerly a Dean at the University of Texas and a Democratic candidate for governor in Massachusetts, Silber served as president and, later, chancellor of BU for more than 30 years. AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Rudyard Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” was published in London in 1919, and in the United States in Harper’s Magazine in January 1920—just over 100 years ago—as “The Gods of the Copybook Margins.” It is sometimes referred to as “Maxims of the Marketplace.”. Copybooks were in main use for schools in the 19th century up until the first quarter of the 20th century. Who are the current gods of the marketplace? Despite having spent decades and billions of dollars increasing salaries and reducing class sizes, public education continues to slide. With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch, Seeing the chaos and division currently in our culture, how many of us can possibly be confused? But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe, “We ill serve ourselves and our children by preparing ourselves and them for a life of freedom and easy living that may never come and most certainly will never last. ( Log Out /  The student was required to copy the heading down through the lines on the page, attempting to reproduce it faithfully. Copybook Wisdom provides a variety of sources that you can ponder and hopefully pass down to the next generation. Pacifism became popular, patriotism unpopular, and religious beliefs and their attendant morality suffered a serious setback.”. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. Kipling’s poem does not include any exact examples of these copybook headings. How do we pass on to future generations the promise that was passed to our parents and for which they worked so tirelessly on our behalf? Civics and citizenship disappeared long ago. His first verse pays some obeisance to “the Gods of the Market Place”—undefined, but in brief terms, the worship of business and material gain—but notes that the contrary Gods of the Copybook Headings have always outlasted them. If you are a millennial or younger you seldom practiced handwriting in school. Our hope has to be in the restoration of our families, our churches, and our schools, providing the education and discipline that children need to be prepared to make the most of their lives and their communities. Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew Inasmuch as moral education and citizenship were features of education at that time, the copybook headings often reflected that focus. Copybooks in Kipling’s day—in the UK and, perhaps, in the United States—were books with lined pages, similar to a “yellow pad” today, but at the top were short sayings: aphorisms, maxims, verses from Scripture that drilled into the young student’s perception the rules for life, the things that mattered, ostensibly given not as moral instruction but as examples for penmanship. As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), English writer and Nobel laureate. AS I … Kipling includes three examples in the poem: "Stick to the Devil you know." When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, Copybook Wisdom provides a variety of sources that you can ponder and hopefully pass down to … Each verse provides another example of what happens when society makes that fateful choice. I’m sure we could name quite a few in business, media, academia, and government. When it comes to public education, the issues usually relate to more money and less work for teachers. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

He pointed out that early schools had produced the likes of Abraham Lincoln and now (in 1984) were turning out millions of functionally illiterate graduates deprived of any cultural heritage. They showed us each in turn The Copybook publishers hoped that in the course of copying these phrases classic wisdom, virtue, leadership, excellence and stewardship would be passed along to the next generation. This includes personalizing content and advertising. They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch; We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. ( Log Out /  A university faculty (Ph.D. University of California 1967, political science) and freelancer in his early career, Ted Hayes moved into full-time journalism and is now retired. And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”, In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; Having abandoned the demands of our historical and spiritual traditions, by what are we now guided? We were living in trees when they met us. The next verse offers a further viewpoint on contemporary values: “On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life / (Which started by loving our neighbor and ended by loving his wife) / Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith / And the Gods of the Copybook headings said: ‘The Wages of Sin is Death.’” Isn’t the birthrate in the Western world, for reasons unknown to experts, in decline? That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

We moved as the Spirit listed. In his address, he referred to our “social compact” and noted that “we now receive it as a precious inheritance from those to whom we are indebted for its establishment, doubly bound by the examples which they have left us and by the blessings which we have enjoyed as the fruits of their labors to transmit the same unimpaired to the succeeding generation.”, As John Silber put it, “these copybook headings were the efforts of an earlier generation to pass on their moral heritage to their children, to acquaint their children with nature, not merely physical, but moral and spiritual.”, Tiffany Madison, a solutions strategist and writer, did an analysis of the poem, and she came to this conclusion: “The Gods of the Marketplace peddle promises and ideas, various schemes for “social progress”, and fallacious ideologies based on defying basic truths. I can’t say it better than John Silber did: “If we have the courage to face reality, we will know and proclaim these harrowing truths: that the degenerate society consumed in pleasure-seeking will not survive (“the wages of sin is death”), that the society that will not defend its freedom will lose it (“stick to the Devil you know”), that a society that consumes more than it produces will go bankrupt (“if you don’t work, you die”). A copybook was used to teach penmanship in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because it was considered an important business skill. 5) declining ability to compete in world markets, We were living in trees when they met us. Furthermore, we are no better at teaching reading or math, though the gods of the education marketplace continue to tinker and market new strategies. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. A few examples of copybook headings are as follows: But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come Kipling had lost his son in the first world war, which had ended on November 11, 1918. Unlike the bulk of post-World War I poets, who, from Bloomsbury to Greenwich Village, became utterly disillusioned with warfare, his fifth verse offers the following: “They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease / But when we disarmed, They sold us, and delivered us bound to our foe / And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: ‘Stick to the Devil you know.’” Weren’t Mr. Churchill for his “Iron Curtain” speech, and America for the blood, sweat, tears, and treasure spent on NATO and U.S. defense, fully vindicated, as explained by Mr. Kipling, when Ronald Reagan called on a dictatorship to “Tear down this wall!” and freedom returned—or bloomed for the first time—in Eastern Europe? Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind. A student’s copybook had a different, perfectly handwritten phrase or statement at the top of each blank, lined page–thus, copybook headings. He was the first who had not been a member of the founders. Imagine if today’s elementary school graduates, raised in our throwaway culture, had been required to write at least a dozen times—and with great care—the saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Perhaps our national debt, and people lying homeless in the street, would be reduced problems. And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. Rudyard Kipling wrote “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” in 1919. When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. In order to improve their handwriting Victorian children would copy out sayings, principles and proverbs from the top of a page, thus copybook headings. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account.

Eight-thousand-dollar handouts to first-time home-buyers, $7,500 tax credits … He opened the book with this: “Our society is in trouble and we all know it.” In the first chapter, he introduced the poem.

Every teacher and parent surely expected that, by the time a child had written, “A stitch in time saves nine,” down the entire page, they would have internalized the lesson. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. "The Wages of Sin is Death."


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