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Ways in which Lying is Taught.
99 child grows older, are imposed on him. We tell him of many things which, we say, will injure him ; which yet he sees us do, or use. Sometimes, indeed, what we say may be true. There are articles of food and drink, as well as modes of conduct, more proper for adults than for children. In general, however, a parent would be wise in doing nothing in the presence of a child, which the latter has power to do, which it would be unsafe for him to repeat. The child cannot often discover the soundness of our objections, or the correctness of our discriminationshowever reasonable. He concludes, as is too often the fact, that we are deceiving him. And when he has learned the sad lesson, that he cannot trust those whom he most loves, how dreadful the consequences ! And what, on earth, can hinder his imitating their example ?
You have something on your table or about your person, which your child manifests a desire to obtain. You tell him it is not fit for him, or attempt to conceal it. How long will it be ere he will begin to conceal from you something which it is not very convenient for him to yield ? And when he has reached this stage of lying, how long will it be before he will take another degree in the same craft, and attempt to deceive you in words? It is but a step from the lie in countenance to the lie in action; and but another step from the lie in action to the lie in word or in deed.
We will give another example. The child is ill. We wish him to take nauseous medicine. He is assured that it is agreeable to his taste. We sip a little, and assume a cheerful appearance and countenance. But he soon learns that he has been deceived ; and how long will it be ere he loses all confidence in our veracity ; and not only so, is encouraged to repeat, in his way and sphere, our own unhappy example ?
As a child grow's older, and becomes more and more acquainted with society, especially that part of society which ought to be known to him most favorably, does he find a more strict adherence to truth in those around him ? Rather does not every thing, in this respect, wax worse and worse ? Does he not find falsehood current every where, and on almost all occasions ?
The parent makes promises to him or to some other member of the family, and does not perform them. Brothers and sisters promise, and, if not convenient, do not perform. He soon learns the lesson and imitates.
Parents, brothers and sisters smile and look kindly to visiters, and urge them to stay longer or call again soon; with a thousand of the like assurances of friendship; and yet how common is it, as soon as they are out of hearing, not only to criticise their
Mrs Opie's Practical Lying.
character and manners, but to show by our looks and actions, if we do not say it in words, that we are 'glad they are gone.' Of lying, by saying 'not at home,' when we are so, and requiring children or domestics to say the same, it is scarcely necessary that we should speak ; so obviously evil are its consequences.
A guest is invited ; and is seated at our table. The food is served with a thousand apologies at almost every dish or course, for its being no better ; but urged to eat beyond his ability notwithstanding. He praises the food, whether he likes it or not. How soon does a child see through all this 'game!' How soon does he find, when the guest is gone, that the food was the very best in its kind ; and that the guest, though urged so anxiously to eat more, is regarded as a very glutton !-How often do children hear a lady's furniture, or dress, or work, praised to her face, and as soon as she is absent, hear her abused and perhaps laughed at for her negligence, her slovenliness, or her credulity! How often do they hear the pleasing yes—even though they know it as hollow as it can possibly be—to such questions as · Is not my dress pretty ? Is not my bonnet becoming ? Is not the color beautiful? Is not this a fine child ?'
One sort of lying remains to be mentioned, which, in some of its forms and degrees, is almost or quite universal, even among the better sort of the community. According to Mrs Opie, it is practical lying. But whether it deserves this name or not, we know its tendency on the young is most unhappy. He has but half lived in the world, who cannot see that if it be not lying, it leads to it. Mrs Opie thus describes it.
• It has been said that the great art of dress is to conCEAL DEFects and HEIGHTEN BEAUTIES ; therefore, as concealment is deception, this great art of dress is founded on falsehood; but certainly, in some instances, on falsehood, comparatively, of an innocent kind.
"If the false hair be so worn, that no one can fancy it natural; if the bloom on the check is such, that it cannot be mistaken for nature ; or, if the person who "conceals defects and heightens beauties,” openly avows the practice, then is the deception annihilated. But, if the cheek be so artfully tinted, that its hue is mistaken for natural color; if the false hair be so skilfully worn, that it passes for natural hair ; if the crooked person, or meagre form, be so cunningly assisted by dress, that the uneven shoulder disappears, and becoming fulness succeeds to unbecoming thinness; while the man or woman, thus assisted by art, expects their charms will be imputed to nature alone; then these aids of dress partake of the nature of other lying, and
Lying taught in Schools.
become equally vicious in the eyes of the religious and the moral.
• While men hide baldness by gluing a piece of false hair on on their heads, meaning that it should pass for their own, and while a false calf gives muscular beauty to a shapeless leg, can the observer on human life do otherwise than include the wiser sex in the list of those who indulge in the permitted artifices and mysteries of the toilet? Nay; bolder still are the advances of some men into its sacred mysteries. I have seen the eye-brows, even of the young, darkened by the hand of art, and their cheeks reddened by its touch.
'I do not wish to censure any one for having recourse to art to hide the defects of nature; and, I have erpressly said, that such practices are comparatively innocent; but, it seems to me, that they cease to be innocent, and become passive and practical lies also, if, when men and women hear the fineness of their complexion, hair, or teeth commended in their presence, they do not own that the beauty so commended is entirely artiticial, provided such be really the case.'
Teachers of schools are frequently as much involved in the guilt of lying as parents. "How many a time, have we seen them express the highest satisfaction at the call of a visiter ; urge him to remain ; and then request him to call again; when almost every pupil of the school knew that his pretensions were ali hollow; and that he was not only sorry at heart to receive visiters at his school-room, but most profoundly glad when they were gone?
How, many a time, moreover, have we seen a reading lesson introduced as a fair specimen of the pupils' progress, which had been read over and over till it was at the tongue's end of every pupil! We have not only seen this done, without any remarks on the part of the teacher, in which case it was a lie, even ; but we have also heard teachers state, again and again, before selecting the lesson, that they had no choice in regard to place; that the class would read, for aught they knew, about as well in one place as another!
But it is not in regard to the reading lesson alone, that we have witnessed these falsehoods. The whole business of exhibiting' in schools, so far as more than thirty years of observation and experience warrant us in expressing an opinion, is but a tissue of deception and falsehood; and when we reflect on the combined influence of family and school to teach this form of depravity, we marvel not that there is so little truth remaining among us, but rather that there is any at all. We wonder not
“ Lying to Cure Lying."
that the whole head of the community is sick, and the whole heart faint ;' but that there is any moral soundness of body, head or limb among us.
We are driven, on every hand, to similar conclusions; 1. that there is little, if any, conscientiousness among us; and 2. that there is an universal neglect of the command, Train up a child in the way he should go.'
he should go. The love of gain is the predominating passion. Mammon reigns supreme, we had almost said
sole monarch. The tongue is educated, but it is to falsehood, in one form or another.
Children are not only trained to lying, almost as soon as they are born; but to expect those around them to lie. We know of individuals who expect nothing from those around them in the state of simple truth; and who no more think of hearing a statement without finding it necessary to interpret it, than they expect to witness a miracle. Every where they expect to find insincerity, duplicity, falsehood, and hypocrisy. No person means, they suppose, what the plain language he uses would seem to mean, uninterpreted ; no person, they believe, is what he appears to be. This is a sad condition ; but it is that of many an individual among us; and every successive generation, increases the number of such persons. Where is this state of things to end ?
What seems most shocking of all is, that in both farnilies and schools, we often employ'lying to cure lying. There is an article on this subject, in Vol. VI. of this work, at page 167, which may serve as a tolerable illustration of the principle we now advance, to which we beg leave to refer the reader. But not only do we employ direct falsehood in our efforts to cure it, we teach it indirectly, and, in some families perpetually. For falsehood, among other crimes, the threat is continually heard, 'I 'll whip you, if you do so again.' •If I ever find you telling another wrong story, I'll lick you.' And yet, though the crime is repeated by scores or hundreds, the threat is seldom, if ever, executed. Children who hear this sort of threatening, seldom expect it to be executed ; and they are not only emboldened to tell lies as before, with impunity, but even to go on from strength to strength, in a habit which parental example, with almost every breath, tends to enforce. Surely, the tongue is educated, but it is bad education. Surely, if any department of education needs reform, it is this. What can be expected, where the education of the tongue to lying is so common as scarcely to arrest public attention ?
Early Education of Dr Dwight.
PREPARATORY STUDY OF HISTORY.
A GREAT proportion of the instruction which President Dwight received before he arrived at six years of age, says his biographer, was at home with his mother. Here he had his regular hours for study, as in a school; and twice a day she heard him repeat his lesson.
In addition to his stated task, however, he watched the cradle of his younger brothers.
When his lesson was recited, he was permitted to read such books as he chose, until the limited period was expired. During these intervals, he often read over the historical parts of the Bible, and gave an account of them to his mother.
At eight years of age, after he had now been something like two years at the grammar school, he again fell under the sole instruction of his mother. His attention was now directed to Josephus and Prideaux, and the more modern history of the Jews. After this, he read Rollin, Hooke's History of Rome, Histories of Greece and England, and accounts of the first settlers of New England, and their wars with the Indians. Often was he heard to say, that almost all his knowledge of geography and history was acquired at this period ; and it is believed that few persons have possessed a more extensive or more accurate acquaintance with either of these sciences.
Now there is nothing in the nature of the human constitution to prevent a mother from accomplishing the same thing, in the education of a son, in 1838, which was done by the mother of Dwight in 1760. Children now, as then, are full of curiosity, and nothing gratifies this curiosity more readily, than the events of history and the facts of geography. We do not, of course, undertake to say that the precise plan of Mrs Dwight should be followed out by every mother. What we wish most strongly to enforce is, the idea that these studies should be commenced at home; and that it is the scholar who commences his studies in this way, who makes the most important and permanent acquisitions.
By commencing the study of history at home, however, we mean something more than was done in the case of Dr Dwight. We would, indeed, that every child should have his set hours of study and his regular recitations under the paternal roof, especially when he attends no other school. These habits of study and recitation must be acquired ; and that, too, as early in life as the circumstances may admit. But until a great deal of preparatory work is done, they should be very short. And even