Friday, June 30, 2006

Happy 60th Birthday to Highlights Magazine

Highlights started publication in 1946. Some of my earliest memories are of searching for the hidden pictures, and sternly judging the malfeasance of Goofus.

When Offspring #1 was of age, I found several boxes of old Highlights from the early '60's for sale at a dollar a box, and by themselves they came close to providing a homeschool education for my young daughter. Back then they contained pretty challenging articles on history, geometry, arithmetic, geometry, and science--often written by university professors--as well as diverse religious (which at the time meant both Jewish and Christian) content: Bible stories, prayers, and seasonal stories. Their Editorial Advisory Board included rabbis, nuns, priests, and ministers. Most issues included a biography of a famous composer, together with a page of corresponding sheet music, with the charming instruction for the child to play it himself, or (if the child is too young) to have his mother play it for him. "Goofus and Gallant," as well as other features like "Let's Talk Things Over," taught such retro ethical principles as stoicism (big boys and girls don't cry) and the need for internalizing obedience, so that parental punishments can be replaced with self-control.

Though it's still a fine magazine (we subscribed for a while), I prefer the old issues. Even if I have to resort to iTunes to play the music for me.

(HT to Rod Dreher)


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