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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 expressly 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 artificial, 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 all 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. 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 families 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 ihat 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
First Lesson in Studying History.
then they should, in our view, be conducted on a plan somewhat different from that which is usually adopted.
The best and most practical students in history we have ever known, had their attention first directed to this science, by tales of olden time,' related by parents, grand parents, and neighbors. Sometimes the work is begun with one event, sometimes with another. Perhaps the grandfather has been, at some time of his life, a soldier. Perhaps the father or the mother has visited Yorktown, or Saratoga, or Bunker Hill. Or a neighbor, who is a frequent visiter in the family—an aged person and a famous story-teller-has been a traveller, or fought battles, or read the history of wars and revolutions. Or, lastly, perhaps some spot in the neighborhood has a name which reminds us of important events in history; as "Annawon's Rock,' Cornwallis' Cave,' - Washington Street,' French Hill,' • Dutch Point, the Charter Oak,' &c. It is scarcely possible to live in New England, and not be reminded, in some such way, of the events of New England's history. The Indian names of towns, too, around us are sometimes preserved. Thus we were early told of Naugatuc, Quinnipic, Panthorn, Magunkum, &c.—the Indian names of places in the neighborhood.
Suppose a family resides in the neighborhood of a place called French Hill-and such a place and such facts as we are going to suppose, have existed. The name French Hill was applied to the place because a portion of the French troops, in the days of the American Revolution, once encamped on it. Now the natural course to be pursued is, to begin a familiar conversation with the child about French Hill, and introduce him gradually to a knowledge of the events connected with it. The child inquires, or may be led to inquire, who the French were ; where they were marching from when they encamped on French Hill; where they were going ; who the general was ; how they were dressed; what finally became of them, &c. The conversation, 'without being forced, may be gradually extended by any ingenious parent or teacher who is himself a historian, to the principal events of the American Revolution; to the principal characters concerned in it; to the history of our country prior to the revolution ; and to the history of England. We shall also be led inadvertently, or rather imperceptibly, to the history of Lafayette and the French revolution and history. Then will follow, in a natural connection, the history of other nations ; for the history of no nation or country can be completely isolated. And thus, as we see, the topic, French Hill, may serve as the starting point—the nucleus-whence we proceed to the study of all history.
History of the United States.
Something like this, we believe to be the true method of introducing all children to the study of this important branch of human science; and it is only on a plan which, if not like this, is at least natural like it, that we believe it possible to secure, in our pupils and children, the love of this study. It is only a course of familiar conversational instruction of this kind, moreover, that we deem worthy the name of preparatory history.
A thousand objections, we are aware, will be brought against the methods we here propose, of acquiring the keys to a knowledge of history. But many of these objections, after all, amount to little more than mere apologies for indolence, pleasure seeking, or money making. The greatest real, solid objection is the want of topics, as we have called them. For after all, it is not every family nor every school, that is familiar with a Charter Oak,' or indeed with any considerable clue to the Indian or the American history. There may be, here and there a family, of whom not a member has ever been inade familiar with any such starting point' at all. What, then, shall be done?
We have alluded to Lafayette, and to the characters concerned in the American revolution. Now every child has heard of Washington. Let him be told, then, of Washington. Let the father or the mother, or both of them, in their respective turns, relate anecdotes of that comparatively great and good man--of his childhood, of his youth, of his maturer years, of his prudence, of his boldness, of his dangers, of his victories, of his hair breadth escapes, of his conduct as chief magistrate of the United States, and of his management of his farm at Mount Vernon. Let all this be done as soon, almost, as he is able to speak; and whenever he is able to read, let one of the best biographies of Washington be placed in his hands. Conversation or reading on the subject would inevitably lead any child, whose virgin curiosity had not been repressed by parental indifference and coldness, to make frequent inquiries; which should always be attended to. The parent should ever meet him more than half way ; he should be constantly leading him, and not merely following him. For the discharge of this great duty, however, the mother, were she not, as too often is the case, the slave, either voluntarily or involuntarily, of fashion, would be most happily situated and adapted; but the father could also do much, at least as an assistant.
These childish inquiries, to which we have adverted, would lead, almost inevitably, to the more prominent events of the revolution; and if the mother were prepared in the manner it is highly desirable she should be for her task, might be made to involve the whole history of the United States. Then the history