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- Community Civics and Rural Life - 3/88 -


While going to school enables us to associate with others, the principal reason for going is to gain KNOWLEDGE. Whether we always like our studies or not, we certainly want knowledge, and seek it in many ways. We read the newspaper or magazine that comes to the home. We ask questions of parents and others who have had more experience than we. We may travel to see new sights. We examine with curiosity a new machine for the farm. The discoveries and inventions that mark man's progress in civilization are the result of his unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

Mention some of the different ways in which you seek knowledge.

Mention some geographic and scientific discoveries that have been made through man's search for knowledge.

What is science? Name some sciences.


Besides health and knowledge and association with other people, we want surroundings that are pleasant and beautiful. The want for BEAUTY is sometimes more neglected than other wants, but it is important, and we all have it and seek to satisfy it in some way or other. It may be at one time by a walk in the woods or fields, or at other times by cultivating flowers, by keeping our room tidy, by looking at pictures, or by exercising good taste in clothing. We also enjoy beauty in sound, as the song of birds or music in the home or school.

In what ways do you provide for this want?


Very likely we go to church on Sunday. It affords opportunity to enjoy association with others, to add to our knowledge, and to hear beautiful music. But the church service is one of the chief means by which people satisfy another of the great wants of life --the RELIGIOUS want. Individuals differ in their religious ideas and in the depth of their religious feelings, but in every community there are certain things that men do because of it.

What are some of the great religions of the world?

Is religion a strong influence in your community?

Can you mention any great historical events that were due to religious causes?


Perhaps after school, or on Saturdays, or in vacation time, we work at tasks to earn money, or at least help in occupations that contribute to the "living" of the family. Doubtless we have thought more or less about what we are going to do for a living after we leave school. We all have a desire to own things, to have property, to accumulate WEALTH. This also is one of the great wants of life. We have perhaps already experienced the satisfaction of raising our own first crop of corn or potatoes, of acquiring our first livestock, of putting away or selling our first supply of canned fruits or vegetables, of buying a set of tools, a bicycle, or some books, of starting a bank account. But after all the chief reason why we want wealth, or to "make money," is because of what we can do with it. It enables us to satisfy our wants. Earning a living simply means earning the things that satisfy our wants in life.

Make a blackboard list of the occupations by which the parents and other members of the families of the pupils in the class make a living.

Make a blackboard list of things done by members of the class to earn money.

What is your choice of occupation by which to make a living in the future? Why? Make a blackboard list for the whole class.


The six kinds of wants that we have indicated clearly account for many of the things that we do. In fact, ALL of our wants are of one or another of these kinds and EVERYTHING we do is important because of its relation to them. We may not be ready, yet, to accept this statement. We may think of wants that seem at first not to fall under any of these six kinds. It will do no harm to add other kinds to the list if we think it necessary. But, at all events, the six kinds of wants mentioned are common to all of us. We live in communities in order to provide for them, and a community is good to live in proportion as it provides for all of them adequately. It is these wants that give COMMON PURPOSE to our community life.

Make as complete a list as possible of the things you did yesterday (outside of school as well as in school). Then extend the list to include the more important things done during the entire week.

Write the six wants across the top of a page of your notebook or a sheet of paper:

Health Knowledge Association Beauty Religion Wealth

Arrange the activities in your list in the six columns according to the wants which they satisfy. If any activity clearly satisfies more than one of the wants, write it down in EACH of the proper columns.

Which column is the longest? which comes next? which is the shortest?

Is your longest column also the longest in the lists made by other members of your class? Compare your other columns with those of your classmates. Which wants seem to keep you busiest?

Which do you think is most important? Why? Discuss this question in class. Do you all agree in regard to this point?

If any of the activities in your list are for the purpose of earning money, tell for what you expect to spend the money. Show how the things you expect to buy with your money will help to satisfy your other five wants.

For which of these six wants do you spend the most time in providing? your father? your mother? If there is a difference in the three answers, why is it?

Do you have difficulty in classifying any of the things you do, or that you see others do, under any of the six heads? Make note of these things and, as your study proceeds, see if the difficulty of classification is removed.

Suppose a boy is a BULLY: what wants does he satisfy by his bullying conduct? Suppose a boy or a girl is ambitious to become a LEADER, either among present companions or later in social life, business, or politics: under which head or heads would you place this ambition?

A boy wants to enlist in the army, or a girl as an army nurse: do these wants come under any of the six heads?

Would you, after your discussion of these topics, add any other group or kind of wants to the six mentioned? If so, what would you call it?

Every one wants HAPPINESS. Why is it not necessary to make a special group under this head?

Make a list of things done in your home to provide for each of the six wants.

What is done in your school to provide for the want for health? for beauty? for association with others? for the religious want? Has your school work any relation to your desire to make a living? Is it the business of the school to provide for all these things as well as for the want for knowledge?

Make a list of a few things done in your community outside of the home and school to provide for each of the six wants.

Think of something in which your entire community is deeply interested, such as the improvement of the roads, or the building of a new high school, or a county fair, and explain what wants it provides for.

What wants do the following things provide for: rural mail delivery; weather reports; a corn club (or a similar club); a school garden; a library; the telephone; a hospital; a parent- teacher association?


We may often hear our common purposes as communities or as a nation stated in different terms than those suggested in the paragraphs above. For example, Franklin K. Lane, the Secretary of the Interior during the war, said, "Our national purpose is to transmute days of dreary work into happier lives--for ourselves first and for all others in their time." Again, President Wilson said that our purpose in entering the world war was to help "make the world safe for democracy." Although these two statements read differently, they mean very much the same thing; and they both refer in general terms to the things this chapter discusses in more familiar and express terms. For "happier lives" can only result from a more complete satisfaction of our common wants. Our own happiness comes from the satisfaction of our own wants AND FROM HELPING TO SATISFY THE WANTS OF OTHERS. And "democracy" means, in part, that the COMMON WANTS OF ALL shall be properly provided for.

In the Declaration of Independence we read:


Community Civics and Rural Life - 3/88

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