A favorite quote of many is found in the section titled "Our Aim in Education is to Give a Full Life":
The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him? (Vol. 3 p. 171)She mentions this "large room" idea in other places. Vol. 3 p. 231 reads:
Our aim in education is to give children vital interests in as many directions as possible––to set their feet in a large room because the crying evil of the day is, it seems to me, intellectual inanition.The "large room" concept is drawn from Psalm 31:8 : "And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room." David found protection and safety from the wrath of Saul through God's protection. The largeness signifies comfort and safety as opposed to straightness which represents sorrow and peril.
So, in thinking about this large room, we think of the wide variety of studies, the freedom to explore the world and the genuine interest in our surroundings that lead to a full life. But there is a caveat to all of this. It's found in the third use of the large room phraseology and beautifully reflects the comfort mentioned in Psalm 31:8. Without it, we are in danger of having our student become a "free thinker, an agnostic". Here, Mason explains:
But once the intimate relation, the relation of Teacher and taught in all things of the mind and spirit, be fully recognised, our feet are set in a large room; there is space for free development in all directions, and this free and joyous development, whether of intellect or heart, is recognised as a Godward movement. (Vol. 2 p. 275)Once a person understands his relationship to God, there is comfort, safety and freedom. Oh, that all children could have the opportunity, the freedom and the joy of setting their feet in that large room - that place where both their heads and hearts are directed towards God and they can explore their world as it truly is.