THE WOODCRAFT LEAGUE
By ERNEST THOMPSON SETON
F ATHER doesn't understand me. He thinks I am a fool because I want to be in the woods and see all its fish and animals. I am just like Yan, I hate indoors. Would you advise me to run away from home?"
That is the sort of letter I get from time to time. The boy is craving the delights of outdoor life, the joys of Woodcraft. The father is thinking about the boy's future and cannot see how the overpowering instinct to run wild and the need for education are to be brought into harmony.
It has been my pleasant task many times to bring these two, and at the same time father and son, together.
My first letter always has insisted that the boy owes absolute obedience to his parents. Then I proceed to show that the outdoor life has always produced the best kind of man, both body and brain. 1 point to Washington, Lincoln, and a host of others to sustain this view. I am careful to make the letter one which will win the father when he sees it, and I make sure that he does see it.
I point out that most boys are born good; that all are possessed of overpowering instincts which sometimes lead them astray; but only when the teacher or guardian assumes that these natural impulses are for evil.
I assume that all human energy should be conserved. If it is going wrong, direct it; never, never crush such a precious thing as human energy. I do not know of any instinct that is deeper rooted or *more productive of creative energy than the love of outdoor things; this is the sum of all woodcraft. "Something to do, something to think about, something to enjoy and remember in the woods." Woodcraft was the first science known to man; therefore, it is the most basic.
The boy was hankering for education. The father was