History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Education of Daughters;
Translanted from the French and Adapted to English Readers
With an Original Chapter, "On Religious Studies."
By the Rev. T. F. Dibdin, B. A. F. A. S
Albany; printed and published by Backus and Whiting, 1806.
Indirect Instructions: We Should Not Be Too Urgent With Children.
I THINK we should often make use of indirect instructions, which are not so tedious and uninteresting", as lessons and remonstrances, in order to excite their attention to certain examples which are placed before them.
A person may sometimes ask another, in their .presence, " Why do you do so"-and the other may answer-" I do it for such a reason." For example-" Why did you confess your fault ?" " Because I should have been guilty of a much greater one by disavowing it with a lye-and because nothing is more praiseworthy than to say frankly, " I am wrong." Then the first person should commend the one who has thus accused herself --but care must be taken that all this be done without art or affectation, for children have much more penetration than we are aware of-and as soon as they discover any finesse in their teachers, they loose that simplicity and confidence which is natural to their character.
We have before observed that the brain of children, from being at the same time moist and warm, produces continual motion. This softness or pliancy of the brain causes impressions to be easily made, and images, of every sensible object to be vividly and strongly imprinted ; hence we should be anxious to engrave, as it were, on their minds such characters as are easily formed. But great care must be shewn in the selection of such objects as we wish to impress : for in so small and precious a cabinet, none but the most exquisite furniture should be admitted. Let it be remembered, that at such a tender age, no knowledge should be engrafted but such as we wish to remain there for life. The first impressions that are made, when the brain is so soft and susceptible, are in general the most durable ; and in proportion as age hardens the brain, do such impressions become indelible. Hence it is, that in old age we remember distinctly the images of youth, however remote ; whereas as age advances we have a fainter recollection of such things as we progressively behold, because the impression has been made on the brain when it is gradually hardening, and filled with other images.
Although we understand how to reason in this manner, we have some difficulty in acceding to it : and yet we absolutely do make use of this very mode of reasoning. For instance, do we not say every day, " My habits are fixed, I am too old to change them, I have been brought up in this way."-Moreover are we not conscious of a singular pleasure in recalling to mind the images of youth ? are not the strongest propensities formed at that age ? Does not, therefore, all this prove that the first impressions and first habits are the strongest ? If infancy be the fittest period for engraving such images on the brain, it must he allowed that it is the least so for the cultivation of reason. That ductility of the brain which -causes impressions to be easily formed, being united with extreme heat, produces an agitation which sets all regular application at defiance.
The brain of children may be compared to a lighted wax taper, situated in a place which is exposed to the wind-its flame is perpetually flickering. A child asks you a question, and before you can answer, its eyes are directed towards the ceiling : it counts all the figures that are carved there, or all the bits of glass which compose the window : if you wish to bring it back to the first subject of discussion, you vex it as much as if you confined it in prison. Thus great care is required in managing the organs before they assume a determined inclination : answer every question promptly, and leave the child to put others as it pleases. Gratify only the curiosity which it evinces, and lay up in the memory a mass of sound materials. The time will come, when these impressions will be regularly arranged, and the brain having more consistency, the child will reason on the consequences. Nevertheless, be attentive to correct when the reasoning is fallacious ; and to convince it, without embarrassment, as an opportunity offers, in what a wrong consequence consists.
Let a child amuse itself freely, and mingle Instruction with amusement; let wisdom be introduced at proper intervals, and under an agreeable form; and take care not to fatigue it by a precision which is both formal and injudicious.
If a child entertains sad and dismal notions of virtue, if liberty and irregularity present themselves in a seducing manner, every thing is lost, and your labour is in vain. Never suffer: it to be flattered by little contemptible associates, or people without character or worth : we naturally love the manners and sentiments of those whom we regard ; and the pleasure which is sometimes taken in the company of disreputable people, begets, by degrees, a love of those pernicious habits which renders them so truly contemptible.
In order to conciliate children to people of real estimable character, make them reflect on their excellence and utility, their sincerity, their modesty, their disinterestedness, their fidelity, their discretion, but above all their piety, which is the foundation of the rest.
If a child has any thing about it revolting or offensive, you must observe to it that "piety does not produce such defects : when it is perfect, it destroys, or at least softens them."- But, after all, we must not persist in making' children admire certain pious characters whose exterior deportment is disgusting.
Although you are particularly anxious to regulate your own conduct with the utmost circumspection and nicety, do not imagine that children will fancy you faultless : oftentimes your slightest imperfections will be noticed by them.
St. Austin informs us that he had remarked, from his infancy, the vanity of his tutors. The best and most politic thing you can do, is, to know your own faults as completely as a child will know them, and to request some real friend to warn you of them. The generality of instructors pardon nothing in a pupil, but every thing in themselves ; this excites an inquisitive and watchful spirit of malignity m such pupils-so that whenever they detect any fault in their tutor, they are delighted, and eventually despise him.
Shun this error : do not be afraid to mention the faults which are visible in your conduct, and which may have escaped you before the child. If you find her capable of reasoning thereupon, observe that you set her an example of correcting her faults, by the detection of your own-by this means, your imperfections will be instrumental in edifying the child, and encouraging her to correct herself. You will also thereby avoid the contempt and disgust which your own faults may cause her to entertain against your person.
Meanwhile, try every method to make those things agreeable which you exact from a child. Have you any thing crabbed or difficult to propose ? convince her that this pain will be succeeded by pleasure : always shew the utility which results from your instructions ; and make her sensible of the consequences as affecting mankind, and the different orders of society. Without this, all study will appear as a dry, barren, and thorny path. " Of what use," will children sometimes say to themselves, "is it to learn those things which do not relate to ordinary conversation, and which have no immediate connection with what we are obliged to do ?"
We should therefore give them a reason for every thing we teach-" It is, we should observe, to enable you one day to do well in the world-it is to form your judgment, and to make you reason well on all the affairs of life." We should always represent to them some useful and solid end, which may support them in their application : and never pretend to keep them in subjection by a crabbed and absolute authority.
In proportion as their reason advances, we should discuss with them on the necessity of education ; not that we should implicitly follow their thoughts, but profit by them when they discover their real state of mind : so that we may try their discernment, and make them relish those things we are anxious for them to learn.
Never assume, without urgent necessity, an austere and imperious manner, which only causes children to tremble, and savours strongly of affectation and pedantry in those who govern : children are, for the greater part timid and diffident. By such means you shut out all access to the heart, and deprive them of a confidence, without which no benefit can be derived from instruction. Make yourself beloved : let them be free with you, so that they fear nothing in discovering their faults. In order to attain this, be indulgent to those who do not disguise themselves before you. Appear neither astonished nor irritated at their bad propensities ; on the contrary, bear with their foibles.- This inconvenience may, however, sometimes arise, that they will be less intimidated ; but, taking all things together, confidence and sincerity is far greater utility than a rigorous discipline.
Besides, authority will lose its proper effect, if confidence and persuasion are not equally strong. Always commence with an open and candid manner ; be cheerful and familiar without vulgarity, which enables you to see children conduct themselves in a perfectly natural state, and to know their inmost character. If even you should succeed in all your plans by the force of authority alone, you will not gain the proper end : you will disgust them in their search after goodness, of which you ought solely to endeavour to inspire them with admiration.
If the wisest man has recommended parents to hold the rod continually over the heads of their children, if he has said that a father who " spareth his child" will repent it hereafter-it does not follow that he has censured a mild and lenient mode of education. He only condemns those weak and inconsiderate parents who flatter the passions of their children, and who only strive to divert them in their infancy, so that they are guilty of all sorts of excess. The proper conclusion seems to be that parents ought to preserve authority sufficient for correction ; for there are some dispositions which require to be subdued by fear alone ; but let it be remembered that this should never be enforced unless every other expedient has been previously applied.
A cliild who merely follows the capricious impulse of imagination, and who confounds every thing which presents itself to her mind, detests application and virtue, because she has taken a prejudice against the person who speaks to her concerning them.
Hence arises that dismal and frightful idea of religion, which she preserves all her life : and which, alas ! is often the only wretched remnant of a severe system of education. We must frequently tolerate many things which are deserving of immediate punishment, and wait for the opportunity when the feelings of a child dispose it to profit by correction.
Never rebuke a child in the first moments of passion, whether on your side or hers. If on yours, - she will perceive that you conduct yourself according to caprice and resentment, and not according to reason and affection : you will, in consequence, irretrievably lose your authority. If you correct in the first gust of her passion, her mind is not sufficiently collected to confess her fault, to conquer her feeling's, and to acknowledge the importance of your advice : such a mode may even hazard your pupil's respect for you. Always let the child see you are mistress of your own feelings ; and nothing can effect this so much as: patience. Watch every moment, each day, when correction may be well timed. Never tell her of a fault, without, at the same time, suggesting some mode of redressing it, which will induce her to put it in practice ; for nothing is more to be avoided than that chagrin and discouragement which are the consequence of mere formal correction. If a child is discovered to be a little rational, I think you should win it insensibly to wish to have its faults disclosed, as this would be the way of making it sensible of them, without causing affliction : never, however, recount too many faults at a time.
We should consider that children have a tender intellect, that their age makes them .susceptible chiefly of pleasure, and that we often expect from them a correctness and seriousness of deportment, which their instructors are sometimes incapable of evincing. A very dangerous impression of ennui and sadness is produced on their mind, by perpetually talking to them of words and things which they do not understand : no liberty, no amusement! always lesson, silence, constraint, correction, and threats !
Our ancient forefathers knew better. It was by the charm of verses and music that the Hebrews, Egyptians, and Greeks, introduced the principal sciences, the maxims of virtue, and the politeness of manners. Without reading, people scarcely believe these things, so distant are they from present custom ! nevertheless, little as history is known, there is not a doubt but that this was the common practice for many centuries. However, let us so far correct our own age, as to unite the agreeable and the useful together, as much as lay in our power.
But although we can hardly hope to lay aside awe with the generality of children, whose dispositions are headstrong and intractable, we should, nevertheless, not have recourse to it without having patiently tried every other experiment. We should even make them distinctly understand the extent of our demands allowing a certain medium with which we should be satisfied : for good-humour and confidence should be their natural disposition-otherwise we damp their spirit, and daunt their courage ; if they are lively, we irritate ; if dull, we stupify them.-Fear may be compared to violent remedies employed in extreme cases-they purge, but they alter the temperament, and reduce the I organs to extremity. A mind governed by fear, is generally the weaker I for it.
We should not-always menace without chastising, for fear of rendering menace of no avail ; but we should menace more frequently than we chastise. As to chastisement, the pain inflicted ought to be as slight as possible-but accompanied with every circumstance which can prick the child with shame and remorse. For example, shew her every thing you have done to avoid coming to this unpleasant extremity-appear to be even affected at it -speak to her, in the presence of others, of the melancholy state of those whose want of reason and good conduct have forced correction upon them ; and keep back the ordinary marks of reconciliation, till you see she stands in need of consolation. This chastisement may be either public or private, as it may benefit the child-either in covering her with shame, or shewing her how she has been spared such a .mortification-a public exposition should, however, never be resorted to but in the last extremity. It may be as well sometimes to make use of a rational person to perform the office of mediator-who might console the child, and mention such things which would be improper for yourself to do-who might cure her of false shame, and induce her to come to you for reconciliation-and to whom the child, in the emotions of her heart, would open herself more -freely than she would dare to do to yourself. Above all, let it be manifest that you never exact from a child more than necessary submission : endeavour to effect it so that she may pass her own condemnation, and that you have little else to do but assuage the anguish she has herself inflicted.
General rules ought to be adopted as particular occasions may justify: men, and especially children, do not always resemble themselves-that which is good today, may be bad tomorrow ; a conduct stubbornly uniform can never be advantageous.
The fewer formal lessons that are inculcated, the better. A thousand modes of instruction may be adopted in the freedom of conversation, more useful than lessons themselves. I have known many children who have learnt to read during their play ; we need only relate to them some diverting story from a book opened in their presence, and make them insensibly become acquainted with their letters ; after this, they will themselves be anxious to arrive at the source which has afforded them such amusement.
There are two circumstances which spoil every thing ; namely, teaching them at first to read in a foreign tongue--which takes away all pleasure in heading ; and making them read with a forced and ridiculous emphasis. Give them a book handsomely bound, with neat cuts, and printed with a fine type ; every thing which delights the fancy, facilitates study; we should even let them have a book full of short and marvellous stories.- After this, do not be uneasy about the child's learning to read-do not fatigue her by requiring too great a precision; let her pronounce naturally as she speaks : other tones are always bad, and partake of the declamation of the stage. When the tongue has acquired sufficient volubility, the chest strength, and the habit of reading bees
* Fenelon says the Latin tongue; but this is not practised in England.
confirmed, she will then read without pain, and with more grace and distinctness.
The manner of teaching to write should be pretty nearly the same.- When children can read a little, one may amuse them in making them sort the letters ; and if there are several pupils, emulation may be kindled.- Children are naturally inclined to make figures on paper : and if this propensity be encouraged, without teasing them too much, they will form letters during their play, and accustom themselves by degrees to write. One may also encourage them by the promise of a reward adapted to their taste, and which has no unpleasant consequences. " Write me a note," you may say, " inform your brother or cousin of such and such things:" all this (varied as you like) pleases a child, provided that no sad idea of a formal lesson intrude. " A free curiosity," says St. Austin, from his own experience, "excites the mental faculties of a child, much more than the formality of rules, or a constraint imposed by fear."
Observe this grand defect in ordinary educations-all pleasure is placed on one side, and pain on the other; the latter is attached to study, the former to play. What then can be expected from a child, but that, in supporting one of these maxims, she will eagerly fly to her amusements ?
Let us try to invert this order : let us make study agreeable, concealing it under the form of liberty and pleasure ; the dull routine of continued application may be sometimes broken in upon by little sallies of amusement. Children require these relaxations to preserve the elasticity of their mind.
Let their imaginations roam a little. Permit occasionally some game or diversion, so that ample bounds be given to their spirits ; then bring them gently back again to the principal object you have in view. Too rigid or too long continued an application to study, is productive of much injury ; those who affect this regularity, act more from the convenience of stated hours of discipline, than from wishing to seize every favourable moment of instruction. At the same time, do not suffer any amusement which may agitate the passions of children : on the contrary, every thing which can unbend their faculties, produce an agreeable variety, satisfy a curiosity for useful things, and exercise their body in healthful recreations, should be recommended and practised in their diversions. The amusements which they like best, are those that keep the body in motion; they are happy if they can but skip from place to place; a shuttle-cock or a ball is sufficient.- We should not, however, be uneasy about their diversions ; they invent quite enough themselves-it is sufficient if we leave them to their own inventions, watch them with a cheerful countenance, and moderate them when they become too violent. It would be prudent just to make then sensible, as much and as often as we can, of the pleasure which results from the cultivation of the mind ; such as conversation, news, histories, and many industrious games which include instruction. All this will have its proper effect in due time : but we should not force the feelings of children on this subject ; we should only make overtures to them. The period will arrive when their bodies will be inclined to move less, and their minds, more.
The care which is taken to season study with amusement, will operate favourably in abating the ardour of youth for dangerous diversions. It is subjection and ennui that beget an impatience for amusement. If a daughter felt less restraint in the presence of a mother, she would not be so anxious to steal away in search of indifferent society.
In choosing diversions, care must be taken to avoid all suspicious companions. Boys must not mingle with girls; even girls of an unruly and forward disposition must be rejected. -Games which excite passion and thoughtlessness, or which produce an improper attitude of the body-frequent visiting abroad, and conversations which give rise to such visits- should be uniformly avoided. When a child is not spoilt by any rude diversion, or is not stimulated by any ardent passion, it will easily find pleasure and content: health and innocence are the sure sources of both : but those who have been accustomed to violent amusements, lose all relish for moderate pleasure, and weary themselves in a restless search after happiness.
There may be a satiated taste for amusements, as well as for food : one may be so accustomed to high-seasoned dishes; that a simple and common diet will become flat and insipid. Let us, therefore, be on our guard against those violent exercises, which in the end produce ennui and disgust: above all, they are to be particularly dreaded in regard to children ; who are less capable in suppressing their feelings, and who wish to be in perpetual motion. Let us manage them so as to excite a taste for simple things : that great preparations of food be not necessary for their nourishment, nor violent diversions for their amusement. A moderate fare always creates a sufficient appetite, without being obliged to pamper it with made dishes, which produce intemperance. " Temperance," says an ancient writer, " is the best contriver of luxury : with this temperance, which begets health of body and mind, one always enjoys a soft and tranquil emotion-there is no need of trick or public shew, or expense, to make one happy: some little, diversion, or -reading, or labor-a walk, or innocent conversation, which relaxes after toil-all or any of these produce a purer delight than is felt from the most exquisite music."
It is true, simple pleasures are less lively and interesting than violent ones, which elevate the soul, and affect all the sources of passion. But simple pleasures have a better tendency ; they produce an equal and lasting joy, without any bitter consequence. They are always of real service, whereas violent ones may be compared to adulterated wine, which pleases at first, but which eventually injures the health. The very temperament of the soul, as well as the taste, is affected by seeking after such violent and seductive pleasures. All that you can do for children who are under your regulation is, to accustom them to such a simple life as has been just described ; to fortify them in such habits as long as you can, to make them foresee the evil consequences attached to other amusements, and not to abandon them to themselves ; as is too commonly the case, at an age when their passions begin to be shewn, and when, consequently, they stand in need of greater restraint.
It must be allowed, that of all the vexations incidental to education, none can be compared with that which is experienced in the rearing of a stupid child. Those who' have strong lively natural capacities are, indeed, liable to terrible irregularities-passion and presumption master them entirely ; but, on the other hand, they have great resources, and may be easily checked, however turbulent. Education is, in them, a concealed but vegetating germe, which sometimes bears fruit when experience comes to the aid of reason, and when the passions begin to cool. At least we know how to make them attentive, and awaken their curiosity: they have something in them which makes them take an interest in their lessons, and stimulates their sense of honour-- whereas one has no sort of pleasure or gratification in the instruction of stupid children. All their thoughts are [distracted : they are never where they ought to be : the most poignant correction has no effect on them : they hear every thing, and feel nothing.- This indolence and stupidity makes a child negligent and disgusted with every thing she does. She is in such a case, that the best mode of education runs a risk of miscarrying, if we do not guard against the evil, from earliest infancy. Many people who have little depth of penetration, conclude, from this bad success, that nature does every thing in the formation of men of merit, and education nothing- instead of remarking that there are dispositions, like barren soils, on which cultivation produces little. It is yet more lamentable when these knotty systems of education have been thwarted or neglected, or badly regulated at the beginning.
We must not forget that there are many dispositions among children, in which we are likely to be deceived. They appear at first interesting, because there is attached to early youth a certain fascinating lustre which covers every thing : we, at first, perceive nothing but what is tender and amiable, and this prevents a closer examination of the features of the mind.- Every sally of their wit surprises us because we do not expect it at such an age ; every error in judgment is permitted, and it has, moreover, the charm of ingenuity : they assume a certain vivacity of deportment, which never fails to pass for sprightliness land intellect. Hence it is, that childhood often promises much, but realises little. Such a one was celebrated For her wit at five years of age, but now, in proportion to her growth, she is fallen into obscurity and contempt ! Of all the qualities which children possess, there is but one on which you can calculate with certainly, and that is, good sense : this grows with their growth," provided it be well cultivated. The graces of infancy fade away -its vivacity diminishes-and that tenderness of heart even becomes blunted, in proportion the passions and an intercourse with designing men harden young people their entrance into the worlds.- Strive, therefore, to discover midst the graces of childhood, whether the disposition you have to manage be deficient in curiosity, and insensible of honest emulation. If this should be the case, it is almost impossible for every one concerned in her tuition, not to be disgusted with so rugged and ungrateful an occupation. Every qualification of a child should be roused and brought into action, in order to extricate it from so fatal a lethargy. If, however, you foresee any such consequences about to follow, do not at first be anxious to urge any serious application : take care not to overcharge her memory, for it is that which stuns and stuplfies the brain : do not harass her with unpleasant regulations : make her as cheerful as you can, because she labours under the opposite extreme, of presumption ; do not be afraid of shewing her, with discretion, the extent of her powers : be satisfied with little at a time : make her remark the smallest success : shew her how absurd it is to be afraid of not succeeding in that which she really does well : set her emulation to work. Jealousy is more violent among children than we are aware of : we often see some who are absolutely fretting and wearing away, because others are more beloved and caressed than themselves. Mothers are often cruel enough to fan this jealous flame, which, however, is of service in extreme cases of indolence and stupidity-but then you should set before the child the examples of those who are but very little superior-for disproportionate examples of those who are greatly superior, serve only to discourage and dismay.
Let her, occasionally, gain some little victories over those of whom she is jealous : make her, if you can, laugh heartily with yourself at her timidity : and set before her those, equally timid with herself, who have conquered their disposition to fear: make her sensible, by indirect instructions, and the example of others, that timidity and idleness destroy all the mental energies ; but be careful not to give these instructions in an austere and impetuous manner : nothing wounds the inmost feelings of a mild and timid child so much as boisterous treatment : on the contrary, let the application which becomes indispensable, be seasoned and relieved by such little circumstances of amusement and recreation as are suited to her disposition. Perhaps it will be sometimes necessary to check her by reproaches; but this should not be done by yourself : employ some inferior person, or another child, without appearing yourself to be acquainted with it.
St. Austin relates, that his mother was once reproached by a servant for drinking pure wine ; an ill habit which she had contracted from her infancy, and of which she was cured by the servant's reproach, though all the vehemence and severity of her governess was unable to effect it. In short one should endeavour to excite a taste in the minds of such sort of children, in like manner as one tries to excite it in the palate of those who are sick. They are permitted to have any thing which may cure their loathing ; they are indulged in many whims at the expense of certain prescribed rules, provided it be not carried to a dangerous excess. It is much more arduous to create a taste in those that are void of one, than to regulate the taste of those who have not a correct one.
There is another kind of sensibility extremely difficult and important to impress them with, and that is, friendship. As soon as a child is susceptible of it, there can be no doubt but that you should turn her heart towards those who may be useful to her. Friendship will give her every accomplishment that you desire ; you have then a certain tie on her, if you know how to regulate it : excess, or a bad choice, are the only things you have to dread. There are, however, some children who are born cunning, reserved, and callous, and who bring every thing home, as it were, to their own bosoms : they deceive their parents, whom fondness has made credulous : they appear to love them; they regulate their inclinations to conform to them : they seem more docile than other children of the same age, who indulge, without restraint, in all their humours and follies : their suppleness, or rather hypocrisy, which conceals a savage temper, assumes a softness of character ; and their real disposition does not discover itself till it is too late to reform it.
If there really be any child on whom education is incapable of producing a good effect, it is one of the foregoing description ; and it must be allowed that the number is greater than we imagine. Parents bring themselves with difficulty to believe that their children have a bad heart : when they shut their own eyes upon them, no other person will have the courage to convince them of it; and thus the evil is hourly augmenting. The principal remedy is, to place children, from their earliest infancy, in such a situation where their tempers may be discovered without disguise. Always know the very bottom of their heart, before you correct them. They are naturally simple and open ; but as soon as you plague them, or give them an example of disguise, they will no longer return to their original simplicity. It is true, that a good and tender-hearted disposition comes from God alone ; we can only endeavour to excite it by generous examples, by maxims of honour and disinterestedness, and by a contempt of those people who set too high a value on themselves. We must endeavour to make children betimes sensible of the most natural modes of conduct, and of the pleasure arising from a cordial, and reciprocal friendship. Nothing so much conduces to this end, as an intercourse with people who have nothing about them harsh, severe, low, or selfish : children might better associate with those who have other faults, than with those who possess the foregoing ones. We should praise them for every thing they do on the score of friendship, provided it be not misplaced or too violent. Parents must likewise appear to them to be animated with the sincerest friendship towards them ; for children oftentimes learn of their parents to have no affection for any one object. In short I would check, before friends, all superfluous compliments, all artificial demonstrations of esteem, and all feigned caresses : for by these things you teach them a great deal of deceit towards those whom they ought to regard.
There is a very common fault among girls, the opposite to what we have been mentioning ; namely, the affecting to be uncommonly struck and delighted with the most insignificant things. They cannot see two people who are both equally bad, without taking the part, in their hearts, of one against the other. They are full either of affection of aversion, without the least cause : they perceive no defect in what they esteem, and no one good quality in what they despise. You must not, at first, make a formidable opposition to all this-for contradiction will only fortify them in their vagaries : but observe, by degrees, to a young girl, that you know better than herself what good there is in that which she likes, and what evil in that which she detests. Take care also, occasionally, to make her sensible of certain defects which are sometimes found in the object of her regard, and of certain good qualities which are discernible in that of her hatred ; do not be too urgent : press her not too much, and you will find that she will come to herself, and coincide with your sentiments. After which, make her reflect on her past caprices, and the most unreasonable circumstances attending them: tell her, gently, that she will by and by see those of which she is not yet cured, when they cease to act. Recount to her similar errors of your own when you was of her age. Above all, shew her as clearly, and as sensibly as you can, that good and evil are inherent in every object of our love and aversion ; this will repress her ardour in the indulgence of either the one or the other.
Never promise children, by way of reward, fine clothes or dainties ; this has two direct evils attending it : the first will teach them to set a value on what they aught to despise ; the second deprives you of an opportunity of establishing other rewards which would facilitate your labour. Be on your guard against threatening- them to make them study, or subjecting them to any formal rule. Make as few rules as possible : and when there is an absolute necessity for one, make it pass lightly under the child's notice, without giving it such a name ; and always give some reason why a thing is done at one time and in one place, rather than in another. You run a risk of disheartening children if they are not praised when they have done well. Praise may sometimes be apprehended on account of its exciting vanity ; but it should nevertheless be employed to animate, not to intoxicate children.
We find that St. Paul has often made use of it, in encouraging the weak, and in softening his reproaches, The Fathers have also made the same use of it. It is true, that to make it serviceable, it must be so tempered that it take away all exaggeration, and flattery, and that the good resulting from it be attributed to God alone, as the source. Children may be recompensed by innocent and industrious games; by walks and recreations, in which conversation may take a useful turn : by little presents which may be a kind of prize-as pictures, prints, medals, maps of geography or gilt books.
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