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sooner or later. A will, feeble for what is good, ardent and skilful for every other object, thus becomes a necessary consequence.
(Communicated for the Annals of Education.)
Those who treat upon female education are too apt to speak merely of the knowledge, and habits, and accomplishments which are to be acquired by young ladies. But they forget that their education, in order to be effectual, and complete, must begin in infancy—that failure here, will produce imperfection, and difficulty, and sufferiny, throughout the whole course. In considering this subject, therefore, we ought to think of those fundamental points which should be in view from the first moments of an infant's life; Or we may find ourselves erecting a building, without laying a solid foundation.
Where in the wisdom of the wise, can we find a better rule of education than these ;— Let the child be taught the practical duties of manhood,'— Let him learn while he is young, what he is to do when he becomes older.' These maxims are but a paraphrase of the Scripture precept, which reflection and repetition will only render more valuable to those who understand this subject— Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. This precept comprehends, in fact, the whole system of education. Whether we are to be called upon to labor or to study, to think or to speak, or to write, to govern or to obey, or to suffer, we must acquire the power
and the habit in early life, or we shall always feel the want of preparation. The truth of this has been attested by the experience of ages. It is confirmed by observation and common sense. The peace and prosperity of families, trained aright for life in their childhood, form a circle of evidence all around us.
The utter failure of all means to supply the defects of wrong early education, and the decay of families that have been educated in the way in which they should not go, present evidence equally striking, in a melancholy contrast. Even while rising into life, health and hope are blasted, and the children of dissipation are often carried to the family tomb before their parents.
Since there is no question that health and virtue are the only and the living fountains of enjoyment, and rational hope, so there
can be no dispute that every child should be so trained as to secure, at least, these great points. If these are not gained, all is lost. In females especially—the daughters of Eve, “the mother of all living,'—whose character will determine that of future generations, it is all important. It is, under Providence, the turning point of the salvation or the ruin of our country and the world.
Health then is one of the objects of primary importance to be aimed at in the education of females, from its commencement ; and be it remembered, that education commences with life.
The habit should be continued from the earliest infancy though childhood and youth, of plain, unseasoned food, in moderate quantity and at regular times, so as to secure, in the language of Heinroth, 'temperance and order—the great pillars of life.'* One thing only is necessary at once; and Providence bas so ordered it, that man, more than almost any other animal, can subsist upon any one of the great variety of articles of food.
Time must always be allowed for digestion. This will give a natural appetite which renders all high seasoning unnecessary. So long as it is keen, it is safe to indulge it; but when it begins to flag, when plain food is not good, it is time to stop. Additional appetite, produced by spices, or stimulants, or the temptation of a second or third course, is always wrong. It is only by maintaining the relish for a single dish of plain food, that the habits of temperance and self-command can be secured. And let it not be supposed, that this is a small point of virtue. Self-denial is the first step in the road of wisdom; and if we are not taught to practice it in ‘little things, as they are termed, in childhood, how can we expect to have strength for it in the greater trials of manhood. He that has no rule over his own appetite as well as passions, is like a city broken down and without walls.' And when we think of females, what greater miseries can we prepare for posterity, than a race of mothers, whose health is impaired by indulgence, and who have never learned to command, even their appetite.
It is obvious that regular sleep, in reasonable quantity, is necessary to health. The occupation or dissipation which leads to late hours, and breaks in upon the sleep of the young, saps the foundation of their constitution. On the other hand, feebleness, and inefficiency, and early decay, are the inevitable result of improper indulgence in morning slumbers; and form that most disgusting of characters, the half-living sluccard.
The necessity of pure air frequently changed, has been so fully exhibited in the Annals,t that it is unnecessary to say how impor
* Annals of Education, Vol. 4, p. 402.
tant it is, that the room which a child inhabits, should be thoroughly ventilated, and kept carefully free from all unhealthy vapors and exhalations.
But it is not enough to inhale even the purest air of a chamber or a house at all
seasons. The child should enjoy much of the open air, in connection with the next great requisite to health, -active exercise. The restless activity of childhood is wisely ordered by the Creator, to secure the young from being entirely restrained by any artificial system. It needs only a place free from danger, and a few simple objects which it can handle with safety; and it will find occupation and play for itself-provided, however, that it be not spoiled by too constant attendance, and thus be converted into a mere parasite—dependent on others for its strength and progress-a puppet, moving only at another's will. Let not this activity be restrained too much, in conformity with the notion and feelings of manhood; or checked too early by the artificial, sedentary habits of society.
It is not requisite to go at length into the subject of physical education here. The only object in view is to impress upon the minds of those who form plans of female education,—that it must begin, like all other education, in infancy; and that health, and vigor too, so far as their frame is adapted to it, should be aimed at more carefully even with girls, than with boys.
There are subordinate considerations which urge this attention• Tell the pale ladies,' said a great physician, that plain food and much exercise only can give a supply of pure blood; and pure blood only can give the bloom of beauty. If you would have the milk maid's glowing cheek, use her simple food, and frequent exercise in the open air.'
Intimately connected with health, are the habits of industry which forin the basis of other virtuous habits. A moral—a virtuous—a pious idler !—where can such a paradox be found? Let females be taught from their childhood the habit of industry ; and if we begin early it is not difficult to teach. It is only to direct aright the activity of childhood. Children will be busy, and go on from one thing to another, until their fickleness leads them round the circle of their little movements and occupations. They will be constant in nothing but change. They are untiring, until their curiosity is gratified, or their strength or patience exhausted. When they are refreshed by rest, the routine again begins. But 'It is vanity!' at length the young experimentalist in life concludes; *I am tired of this; it is not pleasant.' Curiosity invents something new, in the objects or the arrangement,—the means of attaining, or the manner of using them. But experience opens her school, and continues her instructions. They are led on,
step by step, until vanity of vanities' is inscribed upon all that they have found or tried, in their little sphere of observation.
This curiosity and activity are fountains, that may be drawn off into such channels as parental care may open; and like streams in the hands of a skilful gardener, may be made to fertilize and quicken every part of the character. It is only necessary to direct aright, that love of action which never sleeps. Work is his delight; but he must be taught when, where, how, and how long to employ himself. His activity must be made regular-continued prudently—changed when necessary, and alternated with proper periods of rest. In this way it may gradually be formed into the habit of diligent employment-directed to some useful end,“and when he is old, he will not depart from it.'
A habit thus formed, is the basis of happiness and health, as well as virtue. What is more painful to the active, than idleness ? What more fatal to health and morals ? What more pleasant, even for the time, or more happy in its consequences, than regular employment.
An idle moment nature never made or meant;
But good in act, intent, or plan, should fill up all.' It is unworthy of one who aims at doing good to say, that it is an irksome, a tiresome task, to direct aright the incessant activity of infancy and childhood. Read again the worn out lines of the excellent poet-practice on them in the spirit of him who went about doing good—who took little children in his arms and blessed them and the more they are read and practised upon, the more true and beautiful will they appear.
• Delightful task to rear the tender thought,
And plant the generous purpose in the glowing breast.' Who without pity, and almost indignant disdain, can behold an accomplished mother neglecting the plants of paradise, to employ all her maternal energies on a cage of birds, or a garden of flowers, or upon a dress for the party, or the amusements of society, or the gaiety and late hours of the ball room and the theatre !a mother-resigning an office worthy of an angel Sand for what? Think-for words cannot describe the insignificance of the object or the occupation. Wretched triflers ! 't is heaven-daring thus to neglect the little immortal stranger, sent to be educated for a higher, better world!
But it would be inconsistent to censure such mothers thus severely, and pass unnoticed those, (we hope they are few) who complain of the little, tedious cares' of watching childhood, be
VOL. V.-NO. VI.
causes it interferes with the improvement of their minds, or what they call, the great duties of life,'—with doing good.' "Great duties!' _Doing good!' And is there a greater duty, than training up a candidate for immortal happiness ? Is there any mode of doing good,' more important than preserving and educating those who are to do good? Or is the whole work to be accomplished by the burning zeal and activity of the present generation, so that we may safely leave the next untrained, or unprepared for this great duty ? Can it be a mother who reasons thus ? If natural affection be indeed wanting, we cannot impart it ; we can only pray that her helpless children may somewhere find a mother. But if this best of human feelings be only concealed, or buried by an excessive appreciation or love of other objects, we beg the erring mother to remember, that this little being is committed to her care—that she, and she only, is responsible for its life with her own—that she has assumed this responsibility voluntarily—that she has given it existence, and she is bound to devote herself to the task of making it good and happy, until all that human effort can accomplish is secured. Let her remember the Great Shepherd, who said to the chief of the Apostles— Feed my lambs,' and who carried them in his bosom. While she looks with pity upon the mother who deserts her children for the amusements of life, while she repeats over her, the sad sentence of Paul,— She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth'let her beware, lest she herself is seeking the same personal gratification, at the expense of her first duties, though it may be in another and higher sphere of pleasures. Let her tremble, lest she should receive her punishment at last in the loss of those which are, after all, dearer to her; or in that sword which shall pierce through her own soul,' when, by her neglect, life, or health, or character shall have been destroyed. Let her not expect the • Well done good and faithful servant, if she neglects the appropriate duties assigned her, to perform those which her own wisdom has devised, or her own taste selected. She
hear the echo of her own sentence, in the judgment of the world around her.
The wise man seems to have provided no maxim for such a case; but to have chosen “a bird that wandereth from her young,' as the strongest image to reprove the impropriety and the folly, of the man that wandereth from her place.'