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The Education of Example.
nous one, it is because we cannot make it so. We are fully employed-head, heart and hands-about that which we deem more important than laying plans for the education of our children, or attempting to carry those plans into execution.
Let the customs, in this respect, be changed. Let christianity be applied to the regulation of our families. Let provision be made for training up our children, not for ourselves, not for themselves, but for God. Let every thing else, in our arrangement, our business, our very diversions, all tend to this. On this let our first thoughts of the morning, next to our thoughts of God, be fully employed. Let the council' be often called to consult what to do, and how to do it. Young parents, of twenty, twenty five or thirty-nay, of forty, even-who have not yet perceived any want of counsel and co-operation, have never yet felt as they ought, their responsibilities.
How shall the child be educated physically? What is best in regard to his air, dress, temperature, exercise, food, sleep, &c.? Every article of food he eats, every garment he wears, his bed clothing, the quantities of all these—and a thousand things we cannot now name, demand attentive consideration. His companions, at home and at school ; his books ; his pictures; his lessons ;: his exercises ; his recreations-are not these of as much importance as the news from Spain, from London, or even from Washington? Are they not of as much consequence as the last novel, the last public execution, the last marriage, the last seduction, the last failure, the last dress of Victoria, the rise or fall of bank stock, and the last news from Fletcher the phrenologist?
We wonder, when we think of it, what parents mean in overlooking the vanity of their children. Here they are consigned to their care--their minds active, their bodies growing, their moral characters forming—and of what are the materials? We do not so much care whether the breakfast consists of flesh, fish, soup, or bread—though even this is a matter of no little moinent—as whether the mental and moral food which is taken be wholesome. Who are the persons at breakfast table? What are their habits? Are they vulgar, slovenly, gluttonous; and are they likely to make the children so, by their example? Is their conversation slanderous, abusive, worldly, selfish, polluting? Is it even unimproving? For we have no right to suffer it to be so. We are bound to make it what it should be. Better our children should be solitaries—almost so--than to sit at table, or go to school, or play with companions where they will inevitably be spoiled. And yet if the society about them is what it should be, the more there is of it-to a reasonable extent- the better. 402
Commom Error of Young Parents.
How happy then the parents who can control this matter! How happy when they can be much in their children's presence themselves! When this is impossible, however, how happy when they can leave their aged parents, with heads full of practical wisdom, and hearts full of love, to act in their stead? And are these aged and experienced teachers to be overlooked, when they are so much needed? Is the best school in the world to be vacated, because we are determined to place no confidence in the teachers ?
For what purpose has the Father of all given to the young such an unconquerable delight in hearing stories from the old, and to the old such an irrepressible desire to relate them to the young? Is there no meaning in all this? Are not here our teachers, and lessons, and scholars? Are not the united efforts of parents and grandparents the very means which God has designed for the world's education ? Are there any substitutes for it? Has not all our education-physical, moral and inteilectual-hitherto fallen so infinitely short of what it should be, because the foundation has not been properly laid in the familybecause natural monitors, teachers and professors have not done their duty?
We do not speak without reflection when we say that the value of the aged as teachers—mere teachers of knowledge-in conjunction with the efforts of parents, have never yet begun to be estimated by the community at large. It is not long since we heard a lawyer of some distinction say that no man was able to teach after he was forty years old. Such a sentiment is quite too common. Mankind tend to become what they are taken to be. The old are taken to be good for nothing, and good for nothing they soon become. Let us take them to be our teachers sent down to us from heaven as such, and it will not be long ere they will become so, and prove themselves worthy of their profession.
It is still objected that people, as they grow old, whether parents or grandparents, do, after all, become more indulgent; and that the younger children in a family are not brought up with the same strictness as the elder. But granting it were so, it is easily accounted for; and instead of forming an objection to the views we entertain, only serves to confirm them and enhance their importance.
The truth is that young parents begin too confident in themselves, when they set out in life. The world grows wiser they suppose, and they wiser than those around them-are sure of governing their children better. They are by no means going to have them behave as many other children do. So they go
Great Value of Experience. to work, and what is wanting in real wisdom, they make up in zeal.* But their zeal soon cools; and after a few years, it is ten to one but they go to the opposite extreme, and instead of being too strict with their children, become too indulgent. But this only shows the necessity of grandparents. Let these be called in to aid us, when we set out. Let their experience and prudence temper our zeal. It would be the very means of preventing our going to the other extreme, that of too much indulgence, and is therefore an argument in favor of the very system of education we are recommending.
Ten or twelve years ago, a worthy judge of probate whom we knew, was dismissed from his office without the shadow of a real cause, and an inexperienced boy' appointed, in his stead. Twenty or thirty years had given the old gentleman a fund of experience which worlds of money cannot buy, but which he could not transfer to his successor. It was impossible. He could have used it fifteen or twenty years to great public good, but it was not transferable. It was therefore buried to the worldrather we should say knocked on the head. Is this right? Have we any business to squander such valuable property-such long and hard bought experience ? Yet this we do in regard to our aged parents. When twenty or thirty years have been spent in acquiring a fund of the most valuable knowledge in the world, what do we, by the customs of society, but bury them, or what is worse, knock their experience on the head.
We are in earnest in this matter; we beg our readers to be so. Let the matter be thoroughly canvassed ; and if we are wrong, let it be shown. Either we are wrong, in this matter, or the world is. If we are wrong, we shall certainly rejoice to be set right. If the world is wrong, the importance of bestirring ourselves on the subject is still more obvious than if the error was only that of a single individual.
* Just as it is with the young physician. He goes to work with lancet and drugs, and thinks he shall be able to cure every thing. But after a few years, compelled like his predecessors to learn the uncertainty of medicine-he passes over to the other extreme ; and is apt to become more indolent and skeptical than the nature of the case justifies.
Story of Uncle Caleb.-Childish Attachments.
EARLY ASSOCIATIONS, OP, MY UNELE CALEB AND THE FRCIT TREES. When I was a child, from the age of five to twelve years, my mother's elder brother Caleb lived not more than two miles from us, on a retired road; and near him, in a little hut, was my grandmother and her youngest daughter. At this period of my life, custom had not declared for many holidays. If I could go a fishing once a year, attend twice in a year the military muster, and visit once or twice in a year at my uncle Caleb's and my grandmother’s, it was all I expected-1 had almost said all I desired. I valued the visits to my uncle's, however, much more than all the rest; and I will tell you why.
My uncle Caleb had an interesting little boy about my own age, of whose company I was exceedingly fond ; and another two years younger. I was also peculiarly attached to my aged grandmother, and my aunt. Indeed, both families were exceedingly pleasant to me, and had there been nothing else to allure me there but their society, I think a visit every spring and fall would have been quite delightful.
But their society was not all. My uncle was one of the most thrifty farmers in all that region. His crops were always excellent and abundant; his cattle and sheep large and beautiful ; and he had great numbers of turkeys, geese and hens, with their numerous progenies, together with a bee house and many hives of bees. I seldom made a visit, without enjoying the sight of lambs, calves, pigs, goslings, chickens, &c. Again, my uncle had taken great pains about fruits. In his garden were to be found various kinds of currants, gooseberries, plums, peaches, and damsons, and in the fields adjacent thereto, a multitude of excellent apples, strawberries, raspberries, &c.
This variety of interesting objects, so gratifying both to the eye and the taste, attracted my attention the more, as I now suppose, from the contrast. In the neighborhood where I was brought up, no bees were kept, and seldom any geese or turkeys. Or, if these were to be seen—or any calves, lambs, pigs, chickens, &c.,--they were as much inferior to those of my uncle Caleb, as you can well conceive. The difference was also greatly increased by the interest my uncle contrived to infuse, respecting his possessions. He seemed always so happy, so proud of his house, his family, his domestic animals, his garden, fields, crops, fruits, &c., and so confident that they were superior to those of every body else, that others would almost be led, were it only from sympathy, to the same conclusions with him
Ground Work of Infidelity.
self, especially simple, warm and light hearted children. To this conclusion, at any rate, I came; and I verily thought there was not on earth another such a man as my uncle Caleb ; nor quite so excellent a family, with such excellent possessions. This was indeed my paradise, and I do not believe the garden of Eden holds a more conspicuous place, at the present time--compared with the pleasant places of earth generally-in my own mind than did at that time, the garden, fields, &c., of my uncle Caleb, amid the surrounding farms and gardens of that region.
How powerful are these early associations! How lasting is their influence on our seelings and character! For many years, my very future world, in its aspect, bordered quite closely upon the scenery and enjoyments at my uncle's. I verily believe that my whole view of heaven and the employments of heaven was greatly influenced, if not shaped, by the occasional enjoyment of the earthly paradise of which I have spoken, and by its almost constant presence, in my childish imagination and in my dreams.
There was one peach tree, and one plum tree, which were particular favorites. I would no more have missed a visit to these, in the proper season, every year, than I would have submitted to a temporary banishment from my country. For though friends occasionally presented me with peaches, in their appropriate season, there were none, I thought, which were worthy to be compared with those of my uncle. And as to his plums, I did not know there were any such to be found elsewhere in New England. Perhaps I ought to have observed, ere now, that like many other children, I began life with exceedingly narrow conceptions of the dimensions of the world in which we live. My father's, and my uncle's, and the adjacent farm houses, I supposed were in the centre of the world--which was like a vast amphitheatre, or rather concavity, spread around us, bounded by the horizon.
No child, I apprehend, ever had more exalted notions of felicity associated with a little spot of the earth's surface, than I with the little spot of which I have been speaking. IndeedI repeat it—this was, for the time, my heaven. It filled completely my eye.' It embodied my highest conceptions of that which was desirable. I was indeed told something about a heaven of heavens; but it was to me a mere abstraction. It is not too much to say, that in so far as any heaven had influence on my mind, controlled my affections, or affected my character, it was that of my uncle Caleb.
And now let me say, most distinctly, these are the influences, -precisely these—which lay the ground work for practical infidelity. Men are worldly-earthly-because they are made so ;