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that this was not unfrequently the case. They imagined that everything in them was extraordinary and worthy of admiration. Children then should receive proper attention, without being led to discover that we are constantly observant of them. Show them that your attention to their conduct arises from friendship, and the need of care to keep them from what is wrong, and not from admiration of their genius. Be content to instruct them gradually, whenever opportunities naturally arise; for even if you could greatly advance the education of children without tasking their powers too severely, it should still be remembered, that the danger of their becoming vain and presumptuous is always greater than the fruit of these premature educations which are so much extolled.
We should be content to follow nature, and to assist her operations; children know little, they should not be pressed to talk; but as they are ignorant of many things, they have many questions to ask; and, in fact, they are naturally inclined to be inquisitive. It is
enough to answer their questions correctly, sometimes adding certain little comparisons, so as to render your explanations more easily understood; if they form a judgment of any thing without a good knowledge of it, it would be well to puzzle them with some new question, that they may see their fault without being too rudely confounded; at the same time, show them, not by unmeaning flattery, but by some real mark of esteem, that you approve them, when they doubt, and when they inquire into what they do not know, much more than when they make even the most correct decisions. This is the true method of fixing in their minds, together with great politeness, an unaffected modesty, and a contempt for those disputes which are so common among young persons who have very little information.
As soon as their reasoning powers appear somewhat strengthened, it is proper to make use of their experience to guard them against presumption. You may say to them, "You see that you are wiser now than you were a
year ago; a year hence, you will know many things that you are not capable of understanding now. If last year you had wished to judge of things that you know now, but were ignorant of then, you would doubtless have formed a very incorrect opinion of them. You would have been very unwise, had you attempted to understand what was entirely above your capacity. Now there are many things of which you are still ignorant. At some future time you will perceive how imperfect are your present judgments. You should therefore place the greatest confidence in the counsels of persons who judge now as you will yourselves, when you come to possess their age and experience."
The curiosity of children is a natural propensity which opens the way, as it were, for their instruction; do not fail to take advantage of it. For instance, while riding in the country, they may chance to see a mill, and they wish to know what it is; you can then show them how the food that nourishes us is prepared. They observe some reapers, and
you can explain what they are doing, how wheat is sown, and how it multiplies in the ground. In the city, they see shops in which various trades are carried on, and where different articles are sold. Never be tired of their questions; these are the openings that nature offers you to facilitate the work of instruction; show that they give you pleasure; in this way, you will insensibly teach them how all those things are done, that are useful to men, and that lie at the foundation of commerce. By degrees, without any particular formal study, they will be acquainted with the proper method of doing necessary work, and the ordinary price of different articles ;— a kind of knowledge which is the true basis of economy. Information of this kind, which ought not to be despised by any one, (since all need to avoid being deceived with respect to their expenses,) is especially necesssary for females.
EVILS TO BE APPREHENDED FROM IMITATION.
THE ignorance of children who have as yet formed no habits, renders them susceptible of every impression, and disposes them to imitate every thing which they see; it is therefore of the highest importance that good models should be before their eyes. None should be permitted to approach them, but those whose examples are worthy of imitation; but as it is impossible that they should not see some improprieties, they should seasonably be led to observe the folly of certain vicious and profligate persons, whose reputations are already irretrievably lost; we should show them how miserable, how despised, and how worthy to be so, are those who abandon