Children need play. Young people need entertainment. Old People need recreation. Everybody needs it. They can work better and longer for having relaxed a little. Play gives rest from toil and aptitude for labor. It re-creates, strengthens and puts joy into life.
There is an old tradition to the effect that when St. John the Apostle was on the Isle of Patmos, a hunter one day finding him in the forest playing with a tame bird, said: “I am surprised to find a holy apostle wasting his time in sport. It befitteth not thy calling.”
St. John replied to the hunter: “What holdest thou in thy hand?”
“A bow,” said the hunter, “by which I earn my living.”
“But I see that the bow is unbent and the cord loosened. Of what use to the is such a bit of wood and a string? Where is the power in it to send an arrow to its mark?”
“Knowest not, ” replied the hunter, “that if I kept the string tight and the bow bent all the while it would soon lose its power?”
“Thou has rightly answered,” said the apostle, “and in answering me thou has answered thyself concerning my bird and my sport. My bow must sometimes be unstrung.”
The story is most applicable, and in these days needs to be told over and over again. Overworked men and women, and overcrowded school children need to gain new power, new vitality.
There is a difference in entertainment; some give excitement, but not recreation. Some exhaust the nervous system. We must distinguish between the two. Moderate and healthy outdoor and indoor recreations should always be encouraged. The aim of this book is to stimulate development in a physical, mental and moral way through proper recreations. The author through experience has seen the need of just such helps as are herein contained.
No greater truth has been proclaimed than that of the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” That the mind may be kept in tune, enabling it to produce the highest possible attainment, the body must be healthful and active.
Cheerfulness and a good physique are man’s most desirable attainments. Nothing is more productive in bringing this about than wholesome amusement and judicious exercise.
The object of this book is first to place before its readers a series of healthful recreations, amusements and helps, such as may be carrie3d on with profit in the home. The center of all things is the home. Around it clusters the sweetest memories of life. From it come the strongest, deepest and most lasting impressions on the body and the soul. That subtle something that we all call character, so hard to define, so difficult to analyze is but the crystallization of the varied influences of the home.
The unique exercises for schools offered here produce a pleasing change from the daily routine. The volume contains nine books, each complete in itself. They are intended for all ages, all tastes, and all nationalities. It is for the girl and boy, the young lady and young man, the grown woman and grown man.
Our thanks are due to J. Ritchie Patterson, of the Western Avenue Epworth Bible Class of Chicago, and to the Superintendent of Moody’s Sunday School, to the University of Chicago, to the Editors of The Youth’s Companion, and many others whose helps have paved the way for the making of this volume.
That it may be found helpful to all, rich and poor, is the wish of