Since we live in the modern Freudian era, dreams and the psychological interpretation of dreams have become quite a fad in scientific as well as in lay circles. While formerly certain vivid dreams were supposed to refer to future events in the dreamer’s life or the general life of his nationâ€”who does not remember the dreams which Joseph interpreted while in prison, and the equally brilliant explanation of the Pharaoh’s dream?â€”the modern savant recognizes rather the unassimilated vestiges of the past in our dreams, and explains the inconsistencies of our daylight behavior out of the irrational pictures the sleeping mind creates.
Whether or not we are disciples of the Viennese sage and believe in the potency of dream symbols, every mother will be interested to learn of the results of an investigation a young lecturer of the Sorbonne has undertaken in regards to dreams of children. He chose two groups of children, practically identical as far as age and general intelligence are concerned, but very different in their respective economic status. The one group consisted exclusively of children of the poor, the other group exclusively of children of the rich. Each child was questioned over a period of several weeks about its dreams and the answers were noted and tabulated. What were the results?
The rich children who possessed every possible advantage: books, amusements, toys in profusion, dreamed either not at all or confusedly and unimaginatively. The poor children, on the other hand, whose joys were scanty and whose possessions negligible, often merely a rag doll or a battered picture book, had vivid and colorful dreams, dreams which sometimes showed an almost poetical imagination. And our investigator concluded that a surfeit of material possessions at too young an age is apt to have a dulling influence on the mind.
This is a truth which was known ages ago. When Jacob sleeps on a stone he dreams of the golden ladder which connects earth and heaven and on which angels pass up and down in all their marvelous glory. A Jacob at home on a soft featered pillow, pampered and spoiled by Rebekah, had never such visions. Any child that is over-pampered loses in intellectual vitality and imaginative power. A child that is brought up simply, whose pleasures are limited, retains a freshness of mind and fancy and is able to create for itself an inner world of beauty and delight. A wise mother will protect her children from the dangers of surfeit rather than from the inconveniences of having too little.