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themselves to the impulse of their passions, and neglect to cultivate their reason. Thus, without forming the habit of mimicry, their taste may be cultivated, and they may be made sensible of what constitutes propriety; we should not be deterred from apprising them in general of certain faults, even by the fear of opening their eyes to the foibles of some whom they ought to respect; for, beside that it is not to be expected, and is not just, that they should be kept in ignorance on these subjects, the surest method of retaining them in their duty is to convince them that we must tolerate the defects of others,—that we should not decide upon these on slight grounds, that they often appear greater than they really are, that they are counterbalanced by good qualities,—and that, as nothing on earth is perfect, we should admire what is most free from imperfection. In fine, though such instructions should be reserved till required by necessity, we should impart to them correct principles, and preserve them from imitating the evil that is before their eyes.
We should prevent them from mimicing those who render themselves ridiculous; for this species of farce and burlesque has in it something mean and contrary to noble and generous sentiment. Children are in danger of contracting this habit, because the warmth of their imaginations and the pliancy of their bodies, as well as their natural gaiety, make it easy for them to assume every variety of form to represent what appears to them ludicrous. This proneness to imitation, common in children, is productive of countless evils, when they are consigned to the charge of persons destitute of virtue, who feel scarcely any constraint in their presence. But, by means of this propensity in children, God has given us the power of easily inclining them to the practice of every virtue which is placed in their view. Often, without even speaking, we have only to make them observe in another, what we wish of them.
I BELIEVE that it is often useful to have recourse to that indirect instruction, which is not so wearisome as lessons and admonitions, simply for the purpose of awakening the attention of children to the examples which are placed in their view.
Some one might occasionally in their presence ask another, "Why do you do this?" and the other might reply, "I do it for such a reason." For instance,-"Why did you confess your fault?"-"Because I should have committed a greater one, if I had basely disclaimed it by a falsehood, and because nothing is more honorable than to say frankly, I have done wrong.' Then the
first might commend the one who accused herself; but it must all be done in a simple and natural manner, for children have more penetration than most are aware; and from the moment that they discover anything of artifice in those who have the management of them, they lose their natural simplicity and} confidence.
It has been already remarked that children are very susceptible of impressions, and that the most lively images of sensible objects are formed in their minds. This favorable opportunity for fixing impressions should be seasonably improved; but in a receptacle so narrow and yet so precious, nothing should be deposited that is not of the choicest kind; we should remember that at this age we ought not to instil any thing into the mind, that we are not desirous should continue there during the whole life. The deepest impressions upon our minds are those which are made in early life; hence it is, that the aged remember distinctly the events which occurred in their youth, although remote, while their
recollections of recent occurences are less vivid, because, when they took place, the mind had already lost its first quickness of perception, and was also replete with other ideas.
Though reasonings of this kind are listened to, they scarcely gain assent. It is however true that men often, though unconsciously, reason in precisely the same manner. Is it not said every day, "I have formed my habits, I am too old to change them,-I was brought up in this way of thinking"? Beside, do we not derive a singular pleasure from the remembrances of our youth? Are not our strongest inclinations those which were contracted at that tender period? Now all this proves that the earliest habits are the most deeply rooted. Although infancy is peculiarly impressible, it is not equally adapted to reasoning. Constant motion effectually prevents all close application.
The mind of a child is like a candle lighted in a place exposed to the wind. Its light is always wavering. The child puts a question