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of the little playfellow to say how much he likes the haughty tone, overbearing command, ungovernable wishes, unreasonable requests and peevish complaints of the spoiled child.
And, last of all, ask the mother if her injudicious affection, thus fatally shewn in false indulgence, brings back peace, comfort, and joy to her bosom? Does her child improve upon this indulgence ? Let her reflect; and she will be obliged to answer, “ on the contrary, he grows less pleasing as a child. As my child, he becomes more and more troublesome to me; opposes me more frequently; grows bolder in his demands, and more peremptory in insisting on them. I am sure he cannot have a higher respect for me, since he more frequently than ever sets me and my opinions and advice at nought. In proportion as respect falls off, may not love decrease? How then shall I be esteemed by him ten years hence? And what sort of comfort and satisfaction may I expect he will afford me for all my trouble during his infancy and childhood ?" A mother, too, might add to these inquiries, what kind of man will he be, when these arrogant habits, which are now young in him, shall be settled, formed, and strengthened ?
The answer is very obvious : he will be a disobe. dient son, and a disagreeable man, unless he be early taught to think of himself with the humility of a weak dependant creature, which has no right to favour or protection but through the kindness of his parents, and the consideration of those about him : no title to notice, or indulgent attention, but through that of obedience and meritorious behaviour.
The making the child think humbly of himself, when the care and training of him up is a matter of such primary importance to the parents, is a nice point to manage, and requires all the zeal of an affectionate mother to accomplish. Let such a mother not despond, however; she may and shall attain her object, if she only persevere steadily, aided by good sense, and command over herself. Distinguished abilities or great talents are not requisite, happily, for the management and good training of infancy and child. hood. Very ordinary capacities, common sense, zeal, firmness, patience, and unwearied activity, with some general knowledge on the works of art and nature, and a great deal of good principle and unaffected piety, are the only qualifications absolutely necessary to make the best mother in the world, and to secure, if any thing can secure, the foundation of the best education that ever man was blessed with. Thus it will appear that, of all the learning and acquirements of the present age, none but that of reading is immediately useful to the mother of a little child ; and as it is of no consequence whether the child read or not till five or six years have passed him, even this humblest of acquirements is only so far of utility, as the mother may have profited by it to lay up a store of information, which she may deal out in small parcels to her beloved pupil, scholar, and child, as opportunity offers. CHAPTER xxiv.
"AS A CAGE FULL OF BIRDS, SO ARE THEIR HOUSES FULL OF
Decert.” “ BEFORE HIM INNOCENCY WAS FOUND." “ INNOCENCY AND GOODNESS." "LET THY SPEECH BE SHORT, COMPREHENDING MUCH IN A FEW WORDS : BE AS ONE THAT KNOWETH AND YET HOLDETH HIS TONGUE." « THOU SHALT HONOUR THE FACE OF THE OLD MAN.”
A Child requires daily, hourly care and attention. Custom will make him consider this a thing of course. But that he may not grow arrogant, supercilious, and haughty from this consideration; a prudent mother will qualify her attentions so as to give a counter impression. I never would allow any thing to a child who would not say, “ if you please;" “ thank you ;" and use other forms of civility, without which man is worse than uncivilized. If a child is not taught to say he is obliged, he never will think he is so; and if his heart be not opened to obligation towards man, who can say that it will not be shut towards God ? Besides, these forms are a test of obedience. A little one often rebels on being told to say, “ thank you," or other such sentence ; especially, we may remark, if it be to a servant, or, as he thinks, an inferior. The feeling which induces a hesitation ought to have no place in a child's breast. He must be made to submit, and, if it so be, to condescend. At meals the youngest child should be served the last, to teach him
what is due to his age. If grown persons are taking their meals at the same table, I should always recommend the attending to the children the last ; with this observation to them : “ You know you are very little ; those who are older must be helped before you.” The good old custom of making children sit still, and not teaze for any thing before them, would be revived with great benefit in these times, when, if there are any little ones admitted to our tables, their forward and pert manners, their greedy longings, and incessant remarks of “ Mamma, I don't like this; mamma, may I have that ?” make them a perfect nuisance. Should a mother ever have to say to her little darling, when she takes the liberty of setting him at the table with two or three friends, “ My dear, you must not be helped before this or that lady or gentleman; a little child should wait ?" No, the lesson ought to be known before that day, and company or no company should make no difference, in the sense of inferiority which a child ought to have when associated with his elders. This doctrine may seem harsh in a proud age, an age when years are not respected, and a hoary head has no claim to veneration from the young ; when infants are taught the airs of affected maturity, and childhood argues over a question of simple duty with a parent, whose word should be to him as law ; when impertinent forwardness is called infantine art, and a slight glitter of accomplishment, which is wholly useless to a little child, is extolled before him as though it were an act of virtue or the wisdom of sages.* But let the parent who here scans this page in displeasure only consider, whether the youth of all times have not been virtuous and worthy in proportion as they have been taught to revere their elders, and to listen to the lessons of experience with deference; and whether workings of genuine modesty and true diffidence on ingenuous features be not a strong appeal to the indulgence of strangers, and a cementing tie when esteem has begun to kindle into regard ?
* Much as our children depart from simplicity, they are far exceeded by those of a neighbouring nation. The fine lady airs of a
little little Parisian child are truly comie. Sitting, walking, standing, dancing (or essaying to do so), the little creature seems to be studying “ les grâces." And even the very little flower girls in the streets seen adepts in the language and manners of affectations Surprise is the first emotion one has on noticing this total absence of simplicity, pity follows, and then a feeling less pleasing, at wanners so unnatural,
But this virtue, like others, may be pushed to ex. tremes, when, instead of an engaging and prepossessing modesty, and an unfeigned, well-principled humility, we only see a wild and fearful bashfulness, which produces a spurious kind of shame, which only belongs to guilt. Thus the well born youth not only disgusts by awkwardness, which we do not expect to find in one of his rank in life, but he leaves us to suppose, from his confusion and trepidation, that conscience will not bear him out in his commerce with the world. He stands self-condemned before he has even learned what crime is; and his friendship is unsolicited, be. cause it seems to be inadequate to repay the trouble of seeking it. Children should be made humble and modest, but all absurd bashfulness should be discouraged with firmness: not by laughter, as is too