Many of the suggestions made in this little book come from my own memories of early school life; and my own experience since of the methods used in Occult training has shown me how much happier boys' lives might be made than they usually are. I have myself experienced both the right way of teaching and the wrong way, and therefore I want to help others towards the right way. I write upon the subject because it is one which is very near to the heart of my Master, and much of what I say is but an imperfect echo of what I have heard from Him. Then again, during the last two years, I have seen much of the work done in the Central Hindu College at Benares by Mr. G.S. Arundale and his devoted band of helpers. I have seen teachers glad to spend their time and energies in continual service of those whom they regard as their younger brothers. I have also watched the boys, in their turn, showing a reverence and an affectionate gratitude to their teachers that I had never thought possible.
Though many people may think the ideals put forward are entirely beyond the average teacher, and cannot be put into practice in ordinary schools, I can thus point at least to one institution in which I have seen many of the suggestions made in this book actually carried out. It may be that some of them _are_, at present, beyond most schools; but they will be recognised and practised as soon as teachers realise them as desirable, and have a proper understanding of the importance of their office.
Most of the recommendations apply, I think, to all countries, and to all religions, and are intended to sound the note of our common brotherhood, irrespective of religion or caste, race or colour. If the unity of life and the oneness of its purpose could be clearly taught to the young in schools, how much brighter would be our hopes for the future! The mutual distrust of races and nations would disappear, if the children were trained in mutual love and sympathy as members of one great family of children all over the world, instead of being taught to glory only in their own traditions and to despise those of others. True patriotism is a beautiful quality in children, for it means unselfishness of purpose and enthusiasm for great ideals; but that is false patriotism which shows itself in contempt for other nations. There are, I am told, many organisations within the various nations of the world, intended to inspire the children with a love for their country and a desire to serve her, and that is surely good; but I wonder when there will be an international organisation to give the children of all nations common ideals also, and a knowledge of the real foundation of right action, the Brotherhood of Man.
I desire to thank my dear mother, Mrs. Annie Besant, for the help she has given me while I have been writing this little book, and also my dear friend, Mr. G.S. Arundale--with whom I have often talked on the subject--for many useful suggestions.