« AnteriorContinuar »
TEMPERANCE AND INDUSTRY.
& A VERY LITTLE IS SUFFICIENT FOR A WELL NURTERED MAN."
“ RISE UP EARLY IN THE MORNING.” “THE SLEEP OF A LABOURING MAN IS PLEASANT, WHETHER HE EAT LITTLE OR MUCH."
These two virtues are very rarely found separated; for an acquaintance with and culture of the one usually forwards an introduction to the other. The temperate man is generally industrious, and the votary of true industry is almost always a favourer of temperance. They are consequently joined in this chapter; and on another account also : temperance having been of necessity considered in a former part of this work, need here be only slightly mentioned.
In the virtue of temperance are included those of moderation, sobriety and regularity. Temperance is a freedom from all excess; it allows the use of com. forts, and even luxuries, but not the abuse of them .A child who is to know this virtue, must be prepared in early infancy, as has been already shewn, by daily ablutions, neatness of person, wholesome and nutritious food, in sufficient but not immoderate quantities, rather frequent than too plentiful. By dry and warm, but not luxurious sleeping, much of air and exercise, and clothing which will not have enervated, but have braced the constitution and limbs, and rendered them vigorous, sprightly, and sound. To these may be added rational amusements, which recreate the mind, and give an elastic spring to the body, producing cheerfulness and content, and the inclination to employ both the powers of the mind and body.
But it is not sufficient to make good rules, unless they are by continued repetition formed into habit and principle. Accordingly we find that regularity is eminently required to fix the virtue of temperance in the soul, and to give it an influence over our being, frame, and actions.
An early retiring to sleep, and early rising ; meals of simple preparations, at those times when nature generally craves them with the keenest appetite; exercise of all kinds for amusement and for health out of doors, active sports and improving recreations within ; affectionate but steady treatment, kind encouragement, but none of that which is falsely called indulgence, which too often is seen to be but a weak retracting of rules laid down, an unravelling by the parent's own hand of his web of authority ; these united will in a very short time produce the best effects, work themselves into the existence, become a principle, and fully prepare the head and the hand for the practice of industry; or the exertion of head or hand, or both, to some beneficial end.
When a little child in perfect health, with buoyant spirits, lively, animated, and full of hope, is seen to look eagerly about him, his hand extended to grasp at any thing, so that he may but do something, an injudicious person may call out, “ Observe the child, now; he is considering what mischief he shall do next.” Such a child is not seeking out mischief
for mischief's sake, but employment; and if this be not provided for him, he will search some of a kind which may be injurious to himself or others, which shall really be mischief; and for which, when punishment follows, however it may grieve him at first, he will surely afterwards disregard, and relapse into the same fault, for the very reason that his healthy body and active mind will not let him rest in indolence and inactivity. Such a child will at length be careless of reproof and correction altogether, and, persevering in chance occupation, fairly establish its character for a mischievous girl or boy in the nursery, and of a Pickle in the drawing-room.
A mother's first care should be to provide resources and amusement for her infant, and employment for her child, as soon as he is old enough to be what is called mischievous: which is, when he can use his legs and carry his hand to whatever is within its reach. It is very fatiguing, undoubtedly, to attend to such a child, and it may be puzzling to find what is exactly suited to his age and taste ; but as to children every object is a novelty, the very simplest and rudest is received by them with delight. A bit of wood, strip of leather, a pencil, sheet of paper, or pasteboard, or a few plain or coloured rags, given one at a time, will amuse and occupy an infant in the arms, as well as a child who can run alone. But it must be a very extraordinary little child who will amuse himself with one or all of these resources during a longer period than twenty minutes or half an hour ; before that time he is completely tired, and his weak powers are quite exhausted. His delicate brain can endure no more; his attempts at self-entertainment can go no further ; the objects cease to have any charm. Some effort must now be made by another to amuse him, he can do no more for himself; he frets, cries, or mourns, and either falls asleep, or looks pitifully towards any person near him, to be noticed, comforted, and assisted. Nature in this materially assists her own ends : for by making the child incapable of much self-amusement, and by furnishing him with the means of forcing the attention of others, his frame has every chance for improvement; since a change of position, and a refreshing of his limbs, by lifting, tossing, or caressing, is one of the many natural expedients of the nurse to quiet or soothe the child, whose only complaint may be weariness of the mind. Children will not sit inactive. If they are in health, they must be engaged, either through the eye, in gazing upon fine and wonderful objects, such as the streets or fields will afford; or through the ear, in listening to sounds from vocal or instrumental music; and by the taste, in eating and drinking; or by the touch, when they handle every object they can grasp.
The ideas of a child do not separately remain for more than an instant in his mind; he cannot pursue one ; nor does he feel any sensible pleasure at a new one, unless it also present a new prospect of gratification, after his peculiar habits and disposition. For instance; a good-natured child may be shewn a tame bird, and may have a piece of sugar to hold, which the little animal would peck at and eat; the sight would fill a gentle bosom with joy, and the new idea that the child would conceive, that he was able, and
allowed too, to feed a creature so much less than himself, and could make it happy, would be exqui. sitely delightful. But the idea thus conceived would presently vanish, while the feeling of complacency, which an act of kindness done always imparts, would remain undiminished. Something else to look at ; or an object to touch or taste; or a sound to hear, he soon craves by his gestures, cries, or plaints. To lie, or sit still, and silent, unless asleep, with no one sense amused, as a man or woman will apparently do for even an hour, is impossible to a child. The little one, it is true, is not unfrequently found by its mother awake in its bed, and quiet, in a morning; but in this case it has either been soothed and coaxed into silence by the whistling of the wind, or the loud breathing of its sleeping companions; by the handling of its bedclothes, or, if it be daylight, of any trifle it may have discovered; or else it has been attracted to the pattern on the curtain, the papering of the room, or the fies on the ceiling. If there be total darkness, the child is almost sure to cry for amusement, or soothing, unless he chance to be amused by sound or touch; for in all and every case the mind of a little child can do very litte towards its contentment or gratification. “Mind, to me, a kingdom is,” says the refined and educated being arrived at maturity. To the infant, however, or little child, this part of his possession is to himself of the least importance; nor does he ever attain to the knowledge of its inestimable value and godlike use, but by gradual steps, steady .care, and the most judicious watchfulness, to assist the development of its powers.