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THE CHILD’S DAY
First digital edition 2017 by Gianluca Ruffini
GOOD MORNING I. Waking Up II. A Good Start III. Bathing and Brushing
GOING TO SCHOOLI. Getting Ready II. An Early Romp III. Fresh Air - Why We Need It IV. Fresh Air - How We Breathe It
IN SCHOOLI. Bringing the Fresh Air In II. Hearing and Listening III. Seeing and Reading IV. A Drink of Water V. Little Cooks VI. Tasting and Smelling VII. Talking and Reciting VIII. Thinking and Answering
‘ABSENT TO-DAY?’I. Keeping Well II. Some Foes to Fight III. Protecting Our Friends
WORK AND PLAYI. Growing Strong II. Accidents III. The City Beautiful
THE EVENING MEAL
A PLEASANT EVENING
GOOD NIGHTI. Getting Ready for Bed II. The Land of Nod
GOOD MORNING I. Waking Up II. A Good Start III. Bathing and Brushing
I. Waking Up
If there is anything that we all enjoy, it is waking up on a bright spring morning and seeing the sunlight pouring into the room. You all know the poem beginning, ‘I remember, I remember the house where I was born; The little window where the sun Came peeping in at morn.’ You are feeling fresh and rested and happy after your good night’s sleep and you are eager to be up and out among the birds and the flowers. You are perfectly right in being glad to say ‘Good morning’ to the sun, for he is one of the best friends you have. Doesn’t he make the flowers blossom, and the trees grow? And he makes the apples redden, too, and the wheat-ears fill out, and the potatoes grow under the ground, and the peas and beans and melons and strawberries and raspberries above it. All these things that feed you and keep you healthy are grown by the heat of the sun. So, if it were not for the sunlight we should all starve to death. While sunlight is pouring down from the sun to the earth, it is warming and cleaning the air, burning up any poisonous gases, or germs, that may be in it. By heating the air, it starts it to rising. If you will watch, you can see the air shimmering and rising from an open field on a broiling summer day, or wavering and rushing upward from a hot stove or an open register in winter. Hold a little feather fluff or blow a puff of flour above a hot stove, and it will go sailing up toward the ceiling. As the heated air rises, the cooler air around rushes in to fill the place that it has left, and the outdoor ‘drafts’ are made that we call winds. These winds keep the air moving about in all directions constantly, like water in a boiling pot, and in this way, keep it fresh and pure and clean. If it were not for this, the air would become foul and damp and stagnant, like the water in a ditch or marshy pool. So, the Sun God, as our ancestors in the Far East used to call him thousands of years ago, not only gives us our food to eat, but keeps the air fit for us to breathe. In still another way the sun is one of our best friends; for his rays have the wonderful power, not only of causing plants that supply us with food, the Green Plants, as we call them, to grow and flourish, but at the same time of withering and killing certain plants that do us harm. These plants, the Colorless Plants, we may call them, are the molds, the fungi, and the bacteria, or germs. You know how a pair of boots put away in a dark, damp closet, or left down in the cellar, will become covered all over with a coating of gray mold. Mold grows rapidly in the dark. Just so, these other Colorless Plants, which include most of our disease germs, grow and flourish in the dark, and are killed by sunlight. That is why no house, or room, is fit to live in, into which the sunlight does not pour freely sometime during the day. The more sunlight you can bring into your bedrooms and your playrooms and your schoolrooms, except during the heat of the day in the summer time, the better they will be. The Italians have a very shrewd and true old proverb about houses and light: ‘Where the sunlight never comes, the doctor often does.’ So, you see that Nature is guiding you in the right direction when she makes you love and delight in the bright, warm, golden sunlight; for it is one of the very best friends that you have indeed, you couldn’t possibly live without it. In one sense, in fact, though this may be a little harder for you to understand, you are sunlight yourselves; for the power in your muscles and nerves that makes you able to jump and dance and sing and laugh and breathe is the sunlight which you have eaten in bread and apples and potatoes, and which the plants had drunk in through their leaves in the long, sunny days of spring and summer. So, throw up your blinds and open your windows wide to the sunlight every morning; and let the sunlight pour in all day long, except only while you are reading or studying, when the dazzling light may hurt your eyes, and for six or seven of the hottest hours of the day in summer time. Perhaps your mothers will object that the sunlight will fade the carpets, or spoil the furniture; but it will put far more color into your faces than it will take out of the carpets. If you are given the choice of a bedroom, choose a room that faces south or southeast or southwest, never toward the north.
II. A Good Start
When you are really awake, and have had a good look to see what kind of morning it is, you will feel like yawning and stretching, and rubbing your eyes four or five times, before you jump out of bed; and it is a good plan to take plenty of time to do this, unless you are already late for breakfast or school. It starts your heart to beating and your lungs to breathing faster; and it limbers your muscles, so that you are ready for the harder work they must do as soon as you jump out of bed and begin to walk about and bathe and dress and run and play. When you jump out of bed, throw back the covers and turn them over the foot of the bed, so that the air and the sunlight can get at every part of them and make them clean and fresh and sweet to cover you at night again. Though you may not know it, all night long, while you have been asleep, your skin has been at work cleaning and purifying your blood, pouring out gases and a watery vapor that we call perspiration, or sweat; and these impurities have been caught by the sheets and blankets. So, after a bed has been slept in for four or five nights, if it has not been thrown well open in the morning, it begins to have a stuffy, foul, sourish smell. You can see from this why it is a bad thing to sleep with your head under the bedclothes, as people sometimes do, or even to pull the blankets up over your head, because you are frightened at something or are afraid that your ears will get cold. Your breath has poisonous gases in it, as well as your perspiration; and the two together make the air under the bedclothes very bad. Now you are ready to wash and dress. But before you do this, it is a good thing to take off your nightdress, or turn it down to your waist and tie it there with the sleeves, and go through some good swinging and ‘windmill’ movements with your arms and shoulders and back.
(1) Swing your arms round and round like the sails of a windmill; first both together, then one in one direction, and the other in the other.
(2) Hold your arms straight out in front of you, and swing them backward until the backs of your hands strike behind your back.
(3) Hold your arms straight out on each side, clench your fists, and then smartly bend your elbows so that you almost strike yourself on both shoulders, and repeat quickly twenty or thirty times.
(4) Swing your arms, out full length, across your chest five or ten times.
(5) Swing forward and down with your arms stretched out, until the tips of your fingers touch the floor.
(6) Set your feet a little apart, swing forward and downward again, until your hands swing back between your ankles.
When you come back from these down-swings, bend just as far back as you can without losing your balance, so that you put all the muscles along the front of your body on the stretch; and then swing down again between your ankles. This will help to tone up all your muscles, and limber all your joints, and set your blood to circulating well, and give you a good start for the day.
III. Bathing and Brushing