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When the dawning intellect begins to unfold itself, the office of parental instruction commences. The dispositions of a child are susceptible of very early culture : and much trouble and much unhappiness may be prevented by nipping in the bud the first shoots of caprice, obstinacy, and passion. The twig, however young
and tender, may be bent and fashioned by the hand of gentleness. The mind soon learns by habit to expect discipline; and ere long begins to discipline itself. By degrees the young pupil acquires the capacity of understanding the general reasons of the parent's commands, denials, commendations, and reproofs: and they should be communicated in most cases in which they can be coinprehended. Perfe&t freedom from irritability and capriciousness, patience not weary
of attending to minute objects and minute opportunities, and steadiness never to be won by mere entreaty, or teased by importunity, from its original right determination, are among the qualifications at all periods, and
especially at the period of which we now dpeak, essential to the parent.
As childhood advances, the opening faculties are employed under maternal direction on the rudiments of knowledge. The parent in these days possesses, in the variety of elementary tracts of modern date, advantages of which, when she herself was a child, her preceptress was destitute. The first principles of religion are inculcated in a mode adapted to interest attention; and information on many other subjects is couched under the form of dialogue and narrative suited to the comprehension and amusing to the imagination of the pupil. A proper selection from the multitude of little publications, differing materially as to intrinsic worth, requires no large portion of time and trouble. Where caution is easy, negligence is in the same proportion reprehensible.
The time now arrives, when the regular business of education, in all its branches, is
to begin; and the great question, whether it shall be conducted at home or abroad, is to be decided. The grounds on which that point is to be determined have been sufficiently discussed already; and the degrees of attention respectively due to each of the various objects, to which youthful application is to be directed, have been explained. It is true that the chapter (?) to which I allude pertains exclusively to the education of girls. But the general principles there illustrated
may be transferred, without difficulty, to the case of boys; and will guide the mother in the part which she bears in settling the plan of their education. To fix that plan is an office which belongs jointly to both parents. But the superior acquaintance which the husband possesses with the habits and pursuits of active life, and his superior insight into those attainments which will be necessary or desirable for his sons in the stations which they are to fill, and the professions which they are to practise, will entitle his judgement to (1) Chap. iv.
the same preponderance in determining the scheme of their education, as, for similar reasons, he will commonly do well to give to the opinion of his wife with respect to the mode of bringing up his daughters.
If domestic circumstances be such, that the girls are to be sent to a boarding-school, let not the mother be influenced in her choice by the example of high life and fashion ; nor by the practice of her neighbours and acquaintance'; nor by a groundless partiality for the spot where she was herself placed for instruction. Let her remember what are the objects of prime importance in education, and give the preference to the seminary where they are most likely to be thoroughly attained. Let not the difficulty of ascertaining the seminary worthy of that description incline her to acquiesce in one which she ought not to approve. Her child's happiness in this world and in futurity is to be deemed at ftake. The secondary objects of education
may in a competent degree be obtained in almost
every place. And what is the importance of these when compared with that of the others? Be it remembered, that among the parents, who, in the hour of reflection, neither estimate accomplishments above their true value, nor forget the peculiar temptations attached to eminence in such acquirements, there are some whom the contagion of fashion, and an emulous desire of seeing their children distinguished, lead to a degree of earnestness and anxiety, respecting the proficiency of their daughters, which could be justified only, if skill in dancing, in music, and in French, ought to be the prime objects of human solicitude. Let the
oppora tunities which vacationsfurnish bewatchfully employed in supplying what is defective, in correcting what is erroneous, in strengthening what is valuable, in the instruction conveyed and the sentiments inculcated at the school. And let the instructors be encouraged to general exertion, and to the greatest exertion in points of the highest concern, by perceiving that the progress of the pupil in