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a small measure of prudent enforcement. No estraint, however, should be imposed upon childhood but such as is salutary, and of obvious necessity. All and every needless restraint is tyrannous in its nature, and hurtful in its consequences. The child should be habituated to passive obedience, and at the same time be permitted to enjoy freedom of action in things indifferent;-to speak as a child, to act as a child,—to be lively and playsome as a child. One, whose childhood is closely held in trammels, whose merely childish things incur rebukes and frowns, is full likely to make a licentious use of freedom when it arrives, or else to be a mopus all his days.
Children should be carefully guarded against every species of useless vexation.
“ Provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Lay upon them none but necessary and wholesome restrictions. Never cross them for the mere sake of showing your authority. Reclaim with a lenient hand their involuntary errors. Mark not against them, with a severe eye, their trivial abberations. Be no less ready to commend their well-doing, than to blame them for doing ill. Otherwise, the obedience paid you, will be uncheerful, constrained, and slavish. If you are of a fault-finding temper, you will occasion the
you seek after. Your children, out of despair of pleasing you, will become regardless both of your pleasure and displeasure, except in so far as they are influenced by servile fear.
As to stubbornness, or obstinate disobedience, '“ this kind goeth not out,” but by severe discipline. It must be mastered by blows if nothing else will do, and the earlier the better. But for the rest ; mild and persuasive methods are far preferable.
Over young minds, the law of love might be made to have a much more powerful influence than penal law.
Much more easily are they drawn and guided by their affections, than driven by their fears ; the tenor of the former being spontaneous, steady, and uniform ; while the latter operate only by occasional excitement. You have the fastest hold of the child that
hold by “ the cords of love." By these cords you can draw him with ease. Delighting to please, and of course dreading to offend you, it is in your power to imprint in his mind indelible characters ; to weed out his wayward propensities; to awaken his emulation; to stimulate his industry. ; and to mould him to sentiments and habits preparatory to excellence in after-life. But fear alone, is an unnatural and odious tie, which the child is ever desirous to break loose from. It stimulates indeed, but not in the manner to produce those ingenuous sentiments and feelings, which are the foundation of excellence in character.
Experience abundantly evinces, that infamous punishment has rather a pernicious, than a salutary effect, upon the minds of full grown persons. Few culprits, if any, were ever made better by means of the whipping-post and the stocks, or by cropping their ears, or infixing a brand of infamy upon the forehead or hand. Instead of being led to amendment by these means, they generally are made the more desperate and abandoned, by reason that they view their characters as irretrievably lost. So that, after having gone through one of these ordeals of shame, they ever after are utterly shameless.
Now it should be remembered, that children are as men and women in miniature ; possessed. of the like passions, and particularly of the like feelings of honour and disgrace. Moreover, in children the most promising, these feelings are the most acute. They have a keen sensibility to shame, whereof a good use may be
made by prudent management ; but if this sensibility be put to hard proof, and that frequently, it becomes blunted, and their minds grow callous. And a child that is lost to shame, and to all self-respect, is in peculiar danger of being a lost child. And besides,
none are more unpitiful and cruel than those who have been bred up under the cruellest discipline, which seldom fails to blunt their feelings, and produce hardness of heart and ferociousness of temper. The cruellest of slave-drivers, are those that had been bred slaves, and had daily felt the smart of the lash. And, by parity of reason, children that are trained up under parents or governors who carry punishment beyond the bounds of kind correction into those of vengeance, and who delight to inflict such punishment as attaches infamy; must needs possess more than a common measure of native amability, if, in the end, they turn out sweet tempered, humane, and of a nice sense of honour.
I will conclude with the words of the great Locke :66. To break the spirits of children by too severe usage, is to them a greater injury than the opposite extreme of indulgence, for there is more hope, that a wild undisciplined spirit will become orderly, than of raising up one made abject and heartless by serverity of discipline."
of drawing and fixing the attention of children.
The great Locke, a man of almost unrivalled depth and acuteness of understanding, in his excellent trea
tise of education, expresses himself as here follows: “ He that has found a way how to keep up a child's spirit easy, active, and free, and yet, at the same time, to restrain him from many things he has a mind to, and to draw him to things that are uneasy to him ; he, I say, that knows how to reconcile these seeming contradictions, has, in my opinion, got the true secret of educa
This is a sentiment of no ordinary importance. No less just than profound, it is entitled to the strict regard of parents, of preceptors, and of all who have the management of children.
The true power over children, is that of swaying their inclinations; the power of withdrawing their inclinations from one direction, and settling them down in another. It is not hard words, nor hard blows, that can gain this point. The will is wrought upon by other methods. Of many examples which might go to illustrate this matter, I will adduce one, and a notable one.
Horatio Nelson, se famous in naval history, had at first an utter aversion to the sea ; for which, in no long time he came to be extravagantly fond. And what miracle, or magic, wrought this change in him ? It was wrought neither by miracle, nor by magic, but by a very natural process. The captain, who was his uncle, caressed the boy, treated him with familiarity and confidence, and not unfrequently consulted him as if he were a man, and his equal. This
management enkin dled in him the dormant sparks of genius and emulation, and changed as it were his inward frame. He was quite another boy. From diffident and sheepish, he at once became most active and enterprizing; and from loathing the service, his whole inclination was bent upon excelling in it. Had his boyhood fallen into different hands, he might probably have turned out a very
different character. Nor would it perhaps be too much to assert, that the victory of the Nile, was an event in connection with the impressions made on the tender years of Nelson by captain Suckling.
In whatever you would learn children, the main thing is to bring their minds to it in good earnest ; after which, the rest is easy. In their play they are all alike active, because they all love it; and so it would be as to their learning, if they could be once brought to love that as well as they love play. For it is generally, for want of attention, rather than of sufficient faculties, that children are dull to learn ; and in exciting and fixing their attention, the great art of the teacher lies.
Now the habit of attention, that is, attention of the, genuine sort, is seldom, or never, wrought in them by operating merely upon their fears. The dread of pain might indeed force them on to the performance of their task, but still they would perform it as a task, and with any other feelings than those of delight : whereas the proper attention springs from a real delight in the thing they are about. This is wrought in them by awakening the more generous feelings of their nature the love of esteem, and the desire of excelling. It is what requires skill, patient industry, and able management; while, on the other hand, to make children attentive, after a sort, to their learning, by means of menaces and stripes, is a short, easy, and lazy method, requiring as little of trouble as of talent; but always fal. ling wofully short of the true mark.
And, as in learning, so in whatever reputable and useful employment else, the young mind, by skilful management might be made to prefer it, and to take more pleasure in it, than in doing nothing. The busi. est age
is that of childhood, It is then they are most