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you have a sincere desire to do your children good, you need not measure every step, you need not deal out your words by the balance, you need not labor to repress your own innocent peculiarity; but let the current of your affections flow free, and it will certainly bear their character and your own to virtue and happiness.
About a mile from my grandfather's, over on the other road, there lived a family, of whom every body foretold the children would be spoiled. They had a host of them; Mrs. Bumblebee having borne her husband sixteen children, all of them as dirty as pigs, and as hale and hearty. She was a woman of a good easy disposition, and the most consummate slut I ever knew! nor was her husband of a very different spirit. They never whipped their children; hardly ever frowned on them; and, when they went to school, it was more by coaxing than by authority or force. When the children were about twelve years old, I must confess they did appear about undone-certainly they comported with no theoretic perfection that I ever saw sketched by any book-making philosopher. But after all, Mr. Bumblebee and his wife were people of principle. They were always familiar with their children; they talked and laughed and romped and joked and read and prayed with them; and, in the latter part of their juvenile years, there was a recovering power. They all became eminently pious; ornaments to their country and blessings to their parents;
and what is very remarkable, the four daughters of this queen of the sluts, were the neatest young ladies in all Bundleborough. I have seen them walk to meeting, when their well-crisped vandykes seemed to be too white and spotless to be emblems of any thing but the purity of their hearts.
Of all the miserable beings, whom God in his inscrutable providence has submitted to the dominion and caprice of others, I pity, most, the child who is brought up by that parent, whose views never extend beyond the surface, and whose hand and heart move only in obedience to a superficial system. The child must come in before company with just such a step, put his hat in just such a place, sit in just such a posture, return premature answers to premature questions, repress all the generous, spontaneous impulses of nature; and, in short, become a little hypocrite in order to be good. I have seen such children, they go like clock-work, and must be wound up once a day in order to go. At the age of twelve or fourteen, such a child, especially if it have no passions and is a great dissembler, is all that aunt Betty or Kitty could wish. Every one praises, though nobody can
He speaks, behaves, and looks just as he ought,
I have seldom known such children turn out well. They are little machines, wound up for the
occasion; and are wholly worthless when they pass into this world of voluntary vice and virtue.
One of the great impediments to a good education is, that separation in interest and feeling, which arises between the hearts of children and parents, when the former first begin to mingle with the world. This is sure to be the case when the parent is distant and austere. To influence your children to aught that is good, you must retain their confidence; they must fly to you as a friend; they must see in a parent a grave companion, and must have no joys or sorrows, in which they are not willing to allow you to share a parental part. You must make home the happiest place they can find; and your presence a restraint on their vices, without being a restraint on their joys. Such a habitation is like a skilful orchard with the trees set wide apart-they have room to drink the luxuriance of nature; to follow her promptings and grow in her strength; to toss their branches in the air, and feel the quickening fire of the sun.
The captious reader will pervert these remarks, if he infers they are intended to discountenance all severity. I cannot distrust experience; I dare not contradict Scripture. A rod is as necessary an implement of discipline in a family, as a prison is in a community; and to exclude it professedly in theory, only makes it more necessary in practice. But in domestic discipline, always let the moral go before the coactive and forceable; let punishment begin when persuasion
Never build on fear when you can work
The main design of these remarks is to show that so far as subordinate things are concerned, (the chief things which fill up our pretty volumes on this subject,) there are multitudes of ways which, regulated by the general spirit of virtue, will be equally successful; that much must be left to voluntary reason; and that no mind can be worse educated than that which is educated too much. I abhor the tree that grows, like a fan, nailed to a wall.
If the reader will take the trouble to go up to the lantern of our State House, he will find in the prospect an apt illustration. There he will see many roads all leading to the heart of the city; and which you should choose, depends on your position and place, and the style you design to enter it. If you are in Brookline, and intend to ride in, in your elegant barouche, you will probably roll along, in stately grandeur, through the western avenue to the bottom of Beacon street. If you are at Newton, you will be likely to take the rail-road. At Chelsea, you may find a sail in the steam-boat; but rather than not reach the city at all, on a pressing occasion, you had better hobble over the rotten bridge, that adorns the waters and overlooks the mud-scows at the South End.
And Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father.
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES.
Just one mile, two furlongs and seven rods from my grandfather's house, on a sightly hill called Mount Pleasant, stood the abode of Jonathan Oldbug, my father; in whose spacious but decaying mansion, I spent part of my time; for I would not have the reader imagine that my parents were always so negligent as to leave me perpetually to write rebusses with my uncle Gideon, or to eat turn-overs from the hand of my aunt Hannah.
My father was a tall, stately man, with one good coat, which he kept to wear to meeting; one decent pair of shoes, which lasted, in my memory, seven years; one cotton shirt, with a linen collar to it,