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His education informs the common mind. Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined. Lorax. With. This series the tender twigs proposes to bring together those best able to address themselves to the individual and social problems of youth in the twentieth century. It proposes to discuss a few of the most clearly recognized problems of our time. Mental health. Delinquency crime social pressures and human growth. And the practical steps that parents school community and church may take. In order to ensure youth development that is safe sane and straight.
The tender twigs is produced and recorded by W. K.. Our radio at Michigan State University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The tender twigs are youth the task to help them grow safe sane and straight. The title of this program The Greater Generation. This program features a single guest. Each week we present a distinguished person who we feel has left a mark on our time by his thought and by his work. As it relates to our youth our guest Dr. Ernest M. Legan professor of psychology Union College Schenectady New York director of the Union College character Research Project author of a Greater Generation their future is now the psychology of Christian personality. And most recently by mentions of
character our interviewer for the series is Ben Thompson Research sociologist with the Michigan Department of Corrections. Dr. Logan we hear so much about the fact that you can't change the spots on a leopard. People will not be something tomorrow that they were not yesterday and that human nature is just human nature and there isn't much you can do about it. You believe human nature can be changed. Well if you're going to define human nature as the biologist would define it no it can't be. But if you're thinking that the way in which we live can't be changed that is that our character traits our philosophy of life can't be changed. That's certainly not true. For example I think it's entirely possible for young people to learn for permanent knowledge five to ten times as much as they do it to present time using our knowledge of learning procedures. There is no reason
why a vast majority of our emotional energies shouldn't be channeled into positive emotions like faith and vision and love instead of the negative emotions the way we do the hate and anger and suspicion. You were just mentioning a moment ago of the story of a youngster who has kind of gotten classified as a juvenile delinquent and he had an experience I'd like to document a little bit the fact that human nature does change maybe this is a good case to do it with would you tell the story. Had there been two of them and I think of that I've told you one is of course a boy who will be here within a week. As a member of our youth Congress and for the third consecutive year. But the first time I heard of that boy I had just gotten out of juvenile court and he was at that time a sophomore in high school. He had just gotten into bad company. No one had come along to challenge him to something new. The pastor of his church recommended that he come up here and he did. He got a vision
for what he wanted to do. This year is a senior. He is president of the student body. He's captain was last fall captain of his football team. And he is president of the state use Christian conference. And just as fine a boy as you'll find anyplace. I might say a very nice looking young lady helped him a lot about the process but there's nothing unusual about that. I can think of another bar that I was telling about just a moment ago who's the son of a doctor. And he got into some trouble from a juvenile point of view and given Lincoln's a point of view. But his father in trying to give him something worthwhile to think about carried him into ever sick room that he went into during a serious flu epidemic in his city. After some weeks of that the boy had no further interest in juvenile delinquency. I'm convinced that one of the major causes of dealing with Lynn Quincy is that we just don't give youngsters the kind of a challenge that that makes goodness as exciting and as adventurous and challenging as badness. Matter of fact to call the average junior high boy a good boy comes under the
heading of almost an end zone. And that's a shame because goodness is much more challenging much more dangerous much more difficult and Bendis ever dreamed of being. I think those of us in our listening audience can begin to get a feel for the kind of man the doctor Ligon is in the kind of work which he has done. And we might say that we're recording this program right in the offices of Dr. legen at Union College in Schenectady. And you can hear some telephone bells ringing outside his own office door. How about Dr. Lee again. What is the central core philosophy of the character research project known as C R P. I became convinced very early in my life that there was a tremendous challenge in the Christian philosophy of life that loving your enemy is returning good for evil was quite a possibility in human nature that it wasn't just something that you read in church and forgot about. I became convinced also that for the most part we have taught our kids negative ethics. So that being good is something you
don't do. And so we set out then in the characters or project to see if we couldn't find a challenging kind of goodness. For example we set out some years ago and one of our research projects to see if we could discover on the basis of the parent and news reports that had turned in or had been turned into us and we've had hundreds of thousands of them turned in. How many different kinds of positive goodness not goodness in terms of what you don't do but in terms of what you do do. We could discover a research committee worked on that for some months and when they got through they had recorded more than forty thousand different kinds of positive goodness that junkman can do more than 40000 guide in our curriculum which we have. We have go objective is to be learned attitudes to be learned from each week. For all of the age levels from two year olds through Senior High School we do not have the same one twice and we don't have one single negative one. Not one of math tells Gibbs what not to do. All of them tell
them what to do. I wonder if you would tell our audience a little bit about CERP how widespread it is and how long it has been going. Well of course I've been working on the problem ever since my junior year in college. I wrote the book the psychology of Christian personality in the years beginning in college through graduate school and then even when I came to the Union College I published it in 1935. A church in Albany at that time in 135 asked me to use their church school as an experimental school in 1039. Another church came into the project in 1041 Mr. Eli Lilly became interested in the project financially and since then he and the lovely endowment have given us more than a million dollars in support of our work. Soon other churches and then YMCA zx and some private schools and some private groups came into the project. Today there are about 45 such groups in every section it is dates south one for West Pacific Coast
all over the country and about 20000 people are involved about 10000 children. I have no idea how many things we published hundreds upon hundreds of them. The four books are just my summaries of the many many different kinds of publication. The staff at the present time includes about 23 people. Some of them trained as psychologists and sociologists in education and in religion. Some of them of course as research assistants and clerical workers. Is that what you're looking for. And I think that gives us a feel. Can you tell us a little bit about how the curriculum. And you said a moment ago actually works. For instance I know that in the community from which I come Central Methodist Church of Lansing Michigan uses C R P. Yes the curriculum is quite different from the traditional curriculum. We don't argue our curriculum is what we call a research curriculum. It's not our job to compete with the
denominations by the way or the other. It's our job to serve we're done. We're trying to do research. But we do publish books that are looked upon as lesson books. And each of them includes at least four major elements. One is a statement we call it the introduction to the lesson but it's a statement of what the purpose of the lesson is. And also incidentally what they psychological facts are about the child of the age level to whom it's to be taught. And by the way through the years we've found that the learner is far more important than the teacher and right now we're spending more time writing articles telling learners how to learn than we are telling teachers how to teach. Then there's a churchgoer lesson which is they idea that the teacher is endeavoring to get over. Then there is the project in which the learners have an opportunity to practice the concept as it allows always for individual differences so that every child does what he's supposed to do it's not to traditional cutting and pasting and tearing type of thing but he actually has an opportunity to try out this concept that he's been studying
about. But most important of all. Then it goes into the home. We have not yet gotten one single measurable result where at the same time we did not have a home this nation. And you don't mind if I repeat that you know exactly what you mean. We've been working now for almost a quarter of a century and we have not yet gotten one single positive experimental result where we have not also gotten home participation. And so for us in the Sunday school the most important job of the Sunday school teacher is to lead into the home assignment. And when parents participate in when parents work with us then we get results and we don't unless they do it in connection with Congress by the way we've just completed a very interesting piece of research in which one hundred twenty eight high school young people were able to do a single research project. What it is and traditionally it would have taken two hundred fifty six separate experiments to do it. In studying the relationship between the parents in the heat high school young people with regard
to the ticket or kind of home development. I can't tell you the results of that because we haven't even got them all in yet but we are getting young scientists as well as young people who do things that they feel are right. Where you see there are so many new methods now being developed for evaluation scientific techniques. We can do things now that experiment could be done in a single experiment with techniques that didn't exist 20 years ago and 20 years ago it would take in two hundred fifty six separate experiments and what they would have been almost impossible to do. So there are scientific techniques available now that make this kind of research very fruitful. The heart of the week passes that we don't have some new insight that we didn't have before. Not very long ago I made a speech I made a trip around the country in which I made three major speeches this was in October. I think I talk to you as a matter of fact in Lansing in July. And when I talk to you in Lansing I could not have made any one of those three speeches which I made in October of three major speeches. The data for every one of those three speeches had been
discovered after I left Lansing. This is a new kind of science actually. Sometimes we somehow feel that the social scientist and we may broadly term all of us who work in the social field do not have the techniques that the man who manufacture jet engines does or whatever else it may be but I think maybe we're gaining on them. We must certainly are and I my feeling is that we now have techniques available by which we can make progress in this area 10 times as fast as we could have a generation ago. I wonder I want to welcome back to kids here for a minute before I get lost in a scientific discussion about the new techniques I think you're talking about factor analysis but I want to talk about it actually. I wonder. You talked a moment ago about potential instead of need. We had a psychology based upon need and we've even had a sociology I think based essentially upon need. And you were turning the emphasis to one of the
potential we talk about in a moment. Yes I think that many of my psychological colleagues who have argued with me extensively on this. However when we talk about it long enough we find that they include under the term need. Almost what I include under the term potential is sometimes. Now I think that need ought to be restricted to its basic meaning which is related to necessity. That is you need food to stay alive. You need a certain amount of social contact to stay alive you used to say stain your hands over it. Now I think that when you have created a an environment which satisfies all of a person's basic needs You've hardly scratched the surface in this but tension. That is there are many things he can do. Let's take this scientific method there's no basic need in man makes anybody have to become a scientist. He doesn't have to learn factor analysis but he does have to eat and he does have to learn enough to live. So the difference between need and potential is enormous I think. And I don't think we've even scratched the surface on human potential. Just just think socially. That is everybody in the world
practically would vote against war and yet we find it virtually impossible to keep them. That's simply because we're social imbeciles. As I think I mentioned before I haven't set out to make anybody angry since I can remember but I make a lot of people angry. In homes a study was made not very long ago in which a number of people who'd been married five years or longer were asked Are you as happy in is your marriage as successful as you thought it was going to be when you said I do. And only one in twenty seven could say yes. A third of a break up in divorce court. A third of momos might as well and most of the rest of it degenerate into sort of a dishwater marriage. I saw a rating scale on a newspaper not very long ago and finding out whether husbands are good husbands and one of the scales said. Do you kiss your wife everyday every week. Once a month or frequently frequently was no Lol once a month. Now we're one of the things we're doing with our young people is training them for marriage. I have in mind two young people right now who are in high school just seniors in high school. They've asked me if I will perform their ceremony four years from now and I
imagine I will. But they're taking French as their testing results and they're trying to plan what kinds of things they can do as a team what they can do with their marriage that no other couple that ever got married before could possibly do. We have one of our most extensive studies as a home dynamics study in which we have been able to isolate more than 300 different dynamic forces that influence the climate of the family. That'll be the next book by the way as a user port of that study. But of all the something over 400 couples that have worked with the findings of that study only one has reported complete failure. Somebody could say we want to do is what the record told us long ago to do accentuate the positives and you read the post. That's certainly one of our major Otto's is no question about that. You mentioned a moment ago to the realism idealism dichotomy in some of the things that you had learned concerning these two ideas about men and women for instance especially the one that intrigued me was the fact that fathers are more
idealistic and non realistic actually about their children than our mothers. Jane and Iman I fall in that boat I'm sure. That was very interesting because they were so unexpected to study in general had shown that maturity that young people growing up mature in two different directions of course they also mature biologically just growing up and I only saw it but they also mature in two different directions one you might call realism and that is the young child reaches for the moon. It for long he has to learn to live in a realistic world. They me and he becomes more realistic. But he also is born totally and idealistic. His motto in life if he stated it would be I WANT WHAT I WANT WHEN I WANT IT. As he grows up we hope he develops idealism. Now in general we found that girls tend to grow idealistically faster than boys in a part of their education especially at the high school level has to be to make that idealism realistic not to compromise it but to make it realistic. Boys tend to grow up realistically
and our job with them is to give them some idealism along with that realism. But the unexpected finding was that that gets reversed in the homes in there and when people operate as parents and the fathers tend to be over idealistic with respect to their youngsters and mothers tend to be over realistic with respect to their youngsters a very interesting thing if you have any way to account for this. Well we can do some guessing at it but we haven't done any research do that as the mother courses home of the child and faces the the real problems day in and day out in the child's Desson she she maybe knows that you know better do she. She certainly does that by the way we've done a study which we're just now completing on father's role and mother's role in the home. It was generated by a group of fathers who said. They wanted to know what they were supposed to do besides just pay the bills and support mother. And so we did a pretty extensive study that was done by the way at Lansing last summer when I met you there and found some very interesting ways and we've just now completed the mother's role of
study. So that now we see a great many very different ways in which fathers and mothers can contribute to the ongoing work of the home Freston it's one of the popular notions is that fathers the best disciplinary and that's not true fathers the worst disciplinary mothers much the best disciplinary. Father Francis is better at teaching and like to all things. Father works best when he deals with the family as a whole and does not request when he takes a single child off to one side. Mother deals works best when she deals with the individual child and not when she worked for the family's home. And there are about I'd say 50 or 60 different ways in which father and mother. Have to work together. We'll be publishing that in the very near future on that fathers and mothers Rose study and yes these are the kind of things which people when they give speeches month in and month out are always asking for the practical kinds of answers about what they can do. So often of course you get this from the PTA in the child study club and such organizations as this of mothers who
are then amicably interested but we did the father show a study Incidentally we found that there were some areas in which one father tried didn't he use it usually turned out badly. We found some other things which when father tried to do they used it or not well we found there's a third group of things the white father had better ask mother. And of course because the things in which father had better asked a child and on the mother's roast it we found the same thing that there are some things that mother usually does badly something she usually does well something she better ask father in some things you better ask the child how is this going to be published and when we're not sure yet whether we'll publish it as a separate item or hardware publish it as part of this home dynamics book which ought to be out around Christmas. They all are all your books published by McMillian press he had a dental farm. I wonder you also mentioned something about learning process and one of the experiments that you've been able to conduct here in conjunction with the character research project about the speed of learning. Learning in a week for instance what they might have learned here.
That's right and it is there. There's been an enormous amount of research done in the field of psychology and education on learning. And yet the average student who enters college goes about learning about the same way as grandpa did it in other words he ignores that great body of research almost completely. So we know a great deal about learning skills. For example if you should review or learn some material and review it as say once every 30 days at your own 30 day artist type of idea you'd forget it just about as well as if you never refuted the tone. You could learn it and then learn every do it four times in succession there to days and forget it within the next 30 days. If on the other hand you took those same four views and spaced them this way you learned it today. He reviewed it two days laughter later. Day after tomorrow. Then if you reviewed it five days after that then or viewed it 10 days after that then reviewed it 20 days after that. In all probability you'd remember the rest of your life. That's what happened on that hundred hours of history that I once took. That's right.
I often make a statement and being a college professor and having on school all my life I've learned an enormous amount in forgotten almost the same amount from free I've had the same experience. How about you would mentioning oh a moment ago about your actual experiment here oh yeah and campus done to him that are pretty interesting in that regard one of the one to which you're referring was the US Congress two years ago in which we were able to get 46 high school young people to use all that we knew about the learning process for one solid week. They worked very hard not one of them let down. And then we tried to estimate how much they had learned some of them subjectively said that they thought they had learned as much as they had in the last three years. Well that wasn't true. But we did estimate that some of them had learned as much as they had in the last year. Now we had them were learning in terms of six different learning dimensions. One of the most useful was their learning technique of which I have given you one. But by far the most important and this is valuable in a great many places what we
call a learning goal. My guess is that the average sermon that a person that a member of the corrugation does nothing about for the next week is water under the bridge. Nothing is going to happen right. But when we had them learn something say any kind of a concept we needed then had them set some learning go which they actually practiced in daily life after that and that was the thing that made them remember the Boy Scout idea of doing a good deed. This is the precept for Monday. You do it each day Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday said it immediately not as soon as not next Monday or something. My dentist another experiment we did little while ago I was making a speech in Cincinnati a couple years ago and I said that it was time we quit talking about teaching teachers how to teach and started teaching learners how to learn and I said that I dare say I could write an article telling junior highs I'd learn that they would do more good than teaching junior high teachers how to teach so someone called me on it and said he would publish it in a national magazine. So when I came home I invited some junior highs to come in here and get me
for Wednesday afternoons and I'd teach them how to learn. And 60 of them came in for four Wednesday afternoons and the results of that which are tremendous. One of the girls in my thought of being rather modestly endowed in intelligence made straight aids me in my potential in learning is tremendous. You see the amount that there is to be learned I read in a magazine I can't vouch for that. But I read a magazine lately that they amount there is to be learned doubles now over three years. That means that we've got to find some new ways to learn if we're going to survive. Which brings me to the point I would like you to close with actually. We have a couple of minutes left and that's the fact that so many people ask me the question. Well I don't know what to do with my job I don't know what to tell Johnny to do anymore. I mean he doesn't have the chores to do we doesn't help that he doesn't help with the farming it doesn't help with whatever it may be. There's very little that I can find for him to do how do we keep him busy. And you gave me an
idea which I certainly did not have which I think is worthwhile would you tell us about. Yes it's a very or fairly recent finding in the in our research and that is that the moderately modern counterpart of the old chores idea of teaching a child responsibility is making decisions. The child has a great many decisions to make that we didn't have to make when I was young I could do everything there was to do and still have time left over. But I recently asked jet pilot how large an error could you make in a fast jet plane by just one hard sneeze. And he said that he could lose or gain a half a mild amount of good. And DNR enough right to left to be 50 miles off his course in five minutes if he didn't direct for it. Now that's the kind of a world Johnny is living in today. And he needs to learn decisions how to make decisions because almost every decision he makes whether to read this comic book or whether to study this arithmetic lesson may be a decision that will influence the whole nation. There are some efforts at the reason why Russia put Sputnik up first was because too many Johnnys chose to read comic books instead of studying arithmetic
books in our country. Said decisions are tremendously important in our spiritual and moral decisions and social decisions are of that kind. So that probably they the job that Johnny's got to do now in his growing up is to learn to make decisions. Get time perspective. So he thinks what will be the result of this. Five minutes from now a year from now 20 years from now socialization is what will be its influence on on other people. Go perspective. A great many other kinds of perspective that he needs to take to make all these decisions and that takes skill and lots of them and their words. Let's try to help you think about what he's going to do now and then and that actually takes the place of the chore that takes the place of that you are probably a much more difficult task than the chore ever dreamed of being. Our guest has been Dr. Ernest M. Ligon professor of psychology at Union College Schenectady New York director of the Union College charactor research
project next week. That which divides destroys our guest will be Robert H Scott assistant director in charge of the U.S. division Michigan Department of Corrections. You have been listening to the tender twigs a series devoted to ensuring youth development but a safe sane and straight. We invite you to join us next week at this time by the tended to A. Our interviewer was Ben Thompson. Research sociologist by the state of
Michigan was Department of Corrections. The tender twigs was produced and recorded by Wayne C. Wayne or WKRN radio at Michigan State University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. And is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the NOAA E.B. Radio Network.
Tender twigs
The greater generation
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Dr. Ernest Ligon, Union College, Schenectady, New York, describes the unlimited potential of youth, and how church and/or parents can aid youth in understanding and utilizing their potential.
Series Description
This series discusses problems affecting today's youth, such as mental health, delinquency, crime, social pressures. It also considers solutions for parents and youths to employ.
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Social Issues
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: Ligon, Ernest
Interviewer: Thompson, Ben
Producer: Wayne, Wayne C.
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-43-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:57
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Chicago: “Tender twigs; The greater generation,” 1958-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
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APA: Tender twigs; The greater generation. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from