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Begin early, with Children.
We have thus presented the prominent provisions of this important measure. It is believed that the law will secure, after next September, schools in every district in the State, for at least six months in the year. And should a majority of a township desire it, they have power by their vote, to raise means to continue the school a longer period.
The responsibility of carrying the law into effect, rests wholly with the people. The friends of the measure have greatly underrated the intelligence of the community, if the work, in future, is not well done.'
continue the schey have power And shoulde in the Statere, after
PARENTAL AUTHORITY EARLY ESTABLISHED.
(Extracted from Dr Witherspoon's Letters on Education.)
I would recommend to every parent to begin the establishment of authority much more early than is commonly supposed to be possible ; that is to say, from the age of eight or nine months. You will perhaps smile at this, but I do assure you from experience, that by setting about with prudence, deliberation and attention, it may be in a manner completed by the age of twelve or fourteen months. Do not imagine that I mean to bid you use the rod at that age ; on the contrary, I mean to prevent the use of it in a great measure, and to point out a way by which children of sweet and easy tempers may be brought to such a habit of compliance, as never to need correction at all; and whatever their tempers may be, much less of this is sufficient than upon any other supposition. This is one of my favorite schemes : let me try to explain and recoinmend it.
Habits may in general be early formed in children. An association of ideas is as it were, the parent of habit. If then you can accustom your children to perceive that your will must always prevail over theirs, when they are opposed, the thing is done, and they will submit to it without difficulty or regret.
To bring this about as soon as they begin to show an inclination by desire or aversion, let single instances be chosen now and then (not too frequently,) to contradict them..
For example, if a child show a desire to have any thing in his hand with which he is delighted, let the parent take it from him; and whenever he does so, let no consideration whatever, make him restore it at that time. Then, at a considerable intervalperhaps a whole day is little enough, especially at first-let the same thing be repeated. In the mean time, it must be carefully 222
How to preserve our Authority.
observed, that no attempt should be made to contradict the child in the intervals. Not the least appearance of opposition, if possible, should be found between the will of the parent and that of the child, except in those cases, when the parent must always prevail.
I think it necessary that those attempts should always be made and repeated, at proper intervals, by the same person. It is also better that it should be by the father than the mother, or female attendant; because the latter will necessarily be obliged, in many cases, to do things displeasing to the child, as in dressing, washing, &c.; which spoil the operation. Neither is it necessary that they should interpose, for when once a full authority is established in one person, it can easily be communicated to others, as far as it is proper. Remember, however, that the mother or nurse should never presume to condole with the child, or shew any signs of displeasure at his being crossed; but on the contrary, give every mark of approbation, and of their own submission to the same person.
This experiment frequently repeated, will, in a little time, so perfectly habituate the child to yield to the parent whenever he interposes, that he will make no opposition. I can assure you from experience, having literally practised the method myself, that I never had a child of twelve months old, but who would suffer me to take anything from him or her, without the least mark of anger or dissatisfaction, while they would not suffer any one else to do so, without expressing the bitterest complaints. You will easily perceive how this is to be extended gradually from one thing to another, from contradicting to commanding.
The parent who would preserve his authority over his chil. dren, when he has once acquired it, should be particularly watchful of his own conduct. You may as well pretend to force people to love what is not amiable, as to reverence what is not respectable. A decency of conduct, therefore, and dignity of deportment is highly serviceable for the purpose we have now in view.
Lest this, however, should be mistaken, I must put in a caution that I do not mean to recommend keeping children at too great a distance, by a uniform sternness and severity of carriage. This, I think, is not necessary, even while they are young; and to children of some tempers, it may be hurtful when they are old. But by dignity of carriage, I mean the parents' always showing themselves cool and reasonable in all their conduct, and prudent and cautious in their conversation with regard to the rest of mankind ; not fretful, nor impatient, nor passionately fond of their own peculiarities; and
Commanding Children—not begging of them. 223 though gentle and affectionate to their children, yet avoiding levity in their presence. I would have them cheerful, yet serene. Their familiarity should be evidently an act of condescension. That which begets esteem will not fail to produce subjection. Every expression of affection and kindness to children is proper when it is safe ; that is to say, when their behavior is such as to deserve it. There is no opposition at all between parental tenderness and parental authority. They are the best supports of each other. It is not only lawful, but will be of the greatest service, that parents should discover the greatest fondness for children in their infancy, and make them perceive distinctly with how much pleasure they gratify all their innocent inclinations. This, however, must always be done when they are quiet, gentle and submissive in their carriage.
Some have found fault with giving them for doing well, little rewards of sweetmeats, playthings, &c., as tending to make them mercenary; but this is refining too much. The great point is that they be rewarded for doing good, and not for doing evil. When they are cross and froward, I would never buy peace, but force it. Nothing can be more weak and foolish, or more destructive of authority, than when children are noisy or in ill humor, to give or promise them something to appease them. When the Roman Emperors began to give pensions and subsidies to the northern nations to keep them quiet, a man might have foreseen, without the spirit of prophecy, who would be masters in a little time. The case is exactly the same with children; they will soon avail themselves of this easiness in their parents, and command favors instead of begging them, and be insolent when they should be thankful.
The same conduct ought to be uniformly preserved, as cbildren advance in understanding. Let parents try to convince them how much they have their real interest at heart. Sometimes children will make a request, and receive a hasty or forward denial; yet upon reflection, the thing appears not to be unreasonable, and finally it is granted; and whether it be right or wrong, sometimes by the force of importunity, it is extorted. If parents expect either gratitude or submission for favors so ungraciously bestowed, they will find themselves egregiously mistaken. It is their duty to prosecute, and it ought to be their comfort to see the happiness of their children, and therefore they ought to lay it down as a rule, never to give a sudden or hasty refusal ; but when any thing is proposed to them, consider deliberately and fully whether it is proper, and after that, either grant it cheerfully or deny it finally.
A Beautiful Theory.
HOW TO SECURE UNIVERSAL EDUCATION.
[The bearing of the following article, extracted from the Christian Advocate and Journal,' of New York, on the subject of Universal Education, will, we think, be obvious. We present it, without note or comment.]
There is a beautiful theory, based upon the doctrine of human equality, which contemplates every man as the performer of his own labor. By distributing the whole amount of labor necessary for human happiness, among all who come in to share in its results, it proposes to take away a part at least of their time for idleness, from all who indulge in it, and to extend to all who are deprived of them, opportunities for leisure and mental improvement. It does not interfere with the division of labor into distinct departments, by which every man has his peculiar occupation. Nor does it regard nothing as labor which is not performed by the hands.
Labor of the mind is as necessary for the well-being of society, as labor of the body. Its chief difference from other systems of political economy, consists in its not regarding wealth as the great object of labor and of life. It looks upon all men as having interests other than pecuniary-higher and more sacred interests—which demand some part of every day's attention.
Facilities for securing these, it would offer to all. It sees no justice in any man's so overworking himself or his laborers, as to unfit them for mental and religious improvement. And it se. verely reprobates that policy by which hundreds and thousands are confined to unremitting service in the sickly atmosphere of manufactories, shutting out from them every thought of intellectual elevation, all for the sake of enriching the lordly few,' who abound in splendor and idleness.
It would by no means discountenance or hinder improvements in art, which seem to have become almost dependent on the monopolists by whom, in so many cases, they have been brought forward, lest it would rather accelerate invention by calling into activity that mass of intellect which is now chained down to the monotonous jar of machinery, without knowing a principle on which it acts. It proposes to equalize the benefits arising from discoveries in nature and in the arts, not among speculators, but by conferring their results upon the world in reducing the amount of manual labor, and increasing the time for intellectual and moral. It would see mechanical invention turned to the advantage of operatives, in furnishing them leisure and facilities for improvement, instead of diminishing their wages, and making
Present Condition of our Schools.
them labor more hours a day, for the sole result of turning a greater tide of gain into the hands of employers.
However such a theory, which has been rather hinted at than sketched, may be regarded with respect to its being practicable, it must be acknowledged to wear something more than plausibility upon its face. At any rate it conflicts not with the idea of giving men an understanding of their physical nature, and in claiming this as necessary for all.'
NEW SYSTEM OF COMMON EDUCATION. In a late number of this work, we took occasion to refer to a system of American Education, proposed by Mr Josiah Holbrook, of Philadelphia. The following are the remarks of Mr H., introductory to the presentation of his plan.
Chaos is evidently a more appropriate term than system, to express the present state of American Education. A more chaotic mass of materials can probably not be found in the physical, intellectual or moral world, than in the seventy thousand American schools. Numerous plans are adopted for expending and wasting large sums of money, but there is nothing in America that deserves the title of System of Education.
In Prussia, the modes of instruction and plans of conducting schools constitute a system, somewhat complete, so far as juvenile and elementary education is concerned. Some particular schools in America, may have something like a system of operations. The public schools in the city of New York, also those in Hartford, Conn., and a few other places, are comparatively well organized, and upon the immediate subjects of instruction in those institutions, the results are certainly valuable. But, for American schools generally, or for those in any particular State, there is a general chaos, and of course the most lamentable de. fects. They are evidently wholly inadequate to the purposes of of a Republican Government. Whatever may be the cause or causes of this general chaos of education, or whoever may be in fault for these defects, it certainly cannot be laid to the charge of teachers.
Under this dark cloud, a light begins to dawn; in the midst of this chaos, some signs of order appear. For Pennsylvania, a system of education is digested, decidedly preferable, in some points, to the Prussian ; and what is still better, there is a strong probability, if not a certainty, that it will go into full operation.