Edmondo De Acimis
Yes, study comes hard to you, my dear Enrico, as your mother says: I do not yet see you set out for school with that resolute mind and that smiling face which I should like. You are still intractable. But listen; reflect a little! What a miserable, despicable thing your day would be if you did not go to school! At the end of a week you would beg with clasped hands that you might return there, for you would be eaten up with weariness and shame; disgusted with your sports and with your existence. Everybody, everybody studies now, my child. Think of the workmen who go to school in the evening after having toiled all the day; think of the women, of the girls of the people, who go to school on Sunday, after having worked all the week; of the soldiers who turn to their books and copy-books when they return exhausted from their drill! Think of the dumb and of the boys who are blind, but who study, nevertheless; and last of all, think of the prisoners, who also learn to read and write. Reflect in the morning, when you set out, that at that very moment, in your own city, thirty thousand other boys are going like yourself, to shut themselves up in a room for three hours and study. Think of the innumerable boys who, at nearly this precise hour, are going to school in all countries. Behold them with your imagination, going, going, through the lanes of quiet villages; through the streets of the noisy towns, along the shores of rivers and lakes; here beneath a burning sun; there amid fogs, in boats, in countries which are intersected with canals; on horseback on the far-reaching plains; in sledges over the snow; through valleys and over hills; across forests and torrents, over the solitary paths of mountains; alone, in couples, in groups, in long files, all with their books under their arms, clad in a thousand ways, speaking a thousand tongues, from the most remote schools in Russia. Almost lost in the ice to the furthermost schools of Arabia, shaded by palm-trees, millions and millions, all going to learn the same things, in a hundred varied forms. Imagine this vast, vast throng of boys of a hundred races, this immense movement of which you form a part, and think, if this movement were to cease, humanity would fall back into barbarism; this movement is the progress, the hope, the glory of the world. Courage, then, little soldier of the immense army. Your books are your arms, your class is your squadron, the field of battle is the whole earth, and the victory is human civilization. Be not a cowardly soldier, my Enrico.
The letter from my father
My dear Enrico,
Studying seems to be hard for you as your mother says. I would like to see you go to school with a determined mind and a smiling face, but I never do. If you did not go to school, your days would be empty. Tell me what you would do if you didn’t go to school? I am sure that you would be dying to return to school within a week.
Oh, my son! These days everyone must study. The workers go to school in the evening after having worked all day. The girls go to school on Sunday after having worked all week in factories. The exhausted soldiers go to school when they return from their drills. Even the deaf, the dumb, and the blind study.
When you go to school every morning, there are over 30,000 children in our city who go to school at the same time in order to open their minds and increase their knowledge. At that precise moment children all over the world are going to school.They walk along country roads and in noisy city streets. They go under the burning sun or in the freezing snow. They sail on wetland rivers. They ride on horseback through fields or they sit on sleds racing over the snow. They go down to the valleys and go up the hills. They traverse vast forests and they wade across tiny streams.
They dress in thousands of different ways. They speak in a hundred different languages. They go alone or they go in couples or in groups. They carry their books in hand or under their arms.
From the most remote schools in Russia to farflung schools of Arabia, there are millions of children who learn the same thing in different ways.
Imagine that the student’s nest includes hundreds of different ethnic groups. You have the honor to participate in this immense activity. If this movement were to cease, humanity would return to the barbarism and fall into darkness. Education is the progress, the hope, the glory of the world.
Have courage for you are a little soldier in a great army. Your books are your weapon, your class is your infantry, and your battlefield is the whole earth. Consider ignorance to be the enemy and civilization to be the victory.
You must always strive to be better. Do not be a cowardly soldier, my Enrico.
Đặng Hoàng Lan Summarized Chapter 9.