Suppose you are a lazy boy. Your father advises you to study hard. Tell about what he talks.
Yes, study comes hard to you, my dear son. You don’t set out for school with that resolute mind and that smiling face which I should like. But listen; reflect a little! How poor and pitiable your days would be if you did not go to school! 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! The dumb and the blind study nevertheless; and last of all, the prisoners also learn to read and write. Reflect in the morning, when you set out, that at the same moment, in your own city, thirty thousand other boys are going, like yourself, to shut themselves in classrooms for three hours of study. Think of all the boys who, at nearly this precise hour, are going to school in all countries of the world. Behold them with your imagination, going through the lanes of quiet villages, through the streets of noisy towns, beneath the burning sun or amid fogs, on the far-reaching plains, millions and millions, all going to learn the same things in different forms of languages.
Imagine this vast throng of boys of different races, this immense movement in which you take part, and remember 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 weapons, your class is your squadron, the field of battle is the whole earth, and the victory is human civilization. Go ahead! Be not a cowardly soldier, my dear son.