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means of the district school only for the education of their children. Many of these parents, not having been privileged with good schools, or leisure to attend such while they were young, do not so readily perceive the advantages of knowledge, and consequently are apt to neglect a better provision for the education of their children. To such, particularly, we hope that what may be said will be both acceptable and useful.
The first duty which parents owe to their children is self-examination. Are you what you wish your children to be? Have
that evenness of temper, that government over your own heart, thoughts, and actions which you would like to see in your children? Have you that justice, industry, and frugality which you desire your children to possess? Do you consider yourself at all times a proper example to your family ? Such questions, or similar ones, should you put to yourself before you assume the responsible duties of forming the character of others. To educate your children, in the full sense of the term, is to form their characters,—to give them a character which will last, not only through time, but through eternity.
Parents are the natural guardians of their children. To you is committed the protection and education of those whom God has given you; and you will be accountable for the faithfulness or unfaithfulness in which you perform this duty. You
have strong obligations and high duties to society, to your country, and to your friends; but much stronger, and infinitely higher ones to yourselves, to your children, and your Creator. Every man and woman has the care of his or her own heart and ways, and the hearts and ways of those who are helpless and ignorant, but yet committed to their trust. Parents may receive liberty and protection from government,--they may receive comforts and enjoyments from society, but from these sources they can receive but little aid in the primal education of their children. This is a work which belongs to themselves exclusively. To parents is entrusted the infant mind when it begins its immortal career.
But, from the supposed insensibility and incapacity of the child, during the three or four first years of its existence, parents often neglect the education, or the formation of the character, at that early but susceptible age. Many parents seem not to observe, that the infant commences acting and learning from the first moment of its existence. They see not that every look from its mother, every notice from its father, every animate and inanimate object which gets its attention, every sound and tone of voice, and family circumstance, are forming a character in the child, making impressions which will control and endure, and giving some kind of an education, either good or bad, which will influence the after-life.
Parents who do not perceive the wakeful attention and deep susceptibilities of early childhood, are not careful how they order their own conduct before their offspring, nor are they guarded in their expressions, and thus insensibly form a character which all their after-instruction and good example will never change. Parents should know the capacities of their children,-ascertain what passion or propensity is acquiring undue strength, and how far the child is capable of receiving wholesome restraint and moral instruction. They should see that circumstances, apparently fortuitous, often have great influence; if not carefully observed and diligently counteracted, they will give to the early character a strong bias, which will be unhappy in its tendency.
The mother has the whole education of her chil. dren till they are three or four years old. During this time she may stamp a character, which will remain through life. She may so moderate the passions, restrict the appetites, correct the desires, and obtain such a government over the child's mind and affections, as to form the most decided character. After the child commences going to school, much of its time is still spent with the parents. The duties of parents are relieved by the teacher but a short time. The watchfulness and care of the parent, at this period, when the child is meeting with new companions, new modes of government, and an increased number of objects, which are exerting a strong influence, should be greater than before. Even if the privilege of a
school be enjoyed, the education of the children belongs, in a great degree, to the parent. By the parent it must be commenced, carried forward, and completed.
Parents leave the education of their children too much with the schoolmaster. You appear to think, that providing your offspring with food and clothing is all that is required of you: the education, the formation of the character, you say, belongs to the teacher. This cannot be so. Your example, companions, opinions, a nd expressions, will all unite with the teacher's instructions. You should, instead of trusting all to the teacher, cooperate with him, unite your labours with his, and ascertain the influence of the teacher and the influence of the school upon the child. Do not speak unfavourably of the teacher before your children, but teach them to love the instructer and the school-room, and at all times to be obedient. If your children are under good government at home, it will greatly aid the teacher in managing them at school; but, if the government at home is bad, it will be difficult for the instructer to control their conduct, or establish any government over them during the school hours. You often complain of the defective government of the teacher, yet do not perceive that the children are under no restraint at home. You, perhaps, have indulged them in every whim and desire ; subdued but few of their vicious inclinations; suffered them to grow up disobedient and inattentive : and now, how can you expect the teacher to bring them under an orderly, respectful behaviour at school ? Do not find fault with the teacher till you have examined your own government, and ascertained how far you have fitted them for obeying or disobeying others.
In your family government, during the stated times you may appoint for instructing your children, during the leisure moments you may get from your labours, in all your conversation and in your daily walk, you should unite with your influ. ence and instructions in aiding the teacher of your school. Let the studies of your children while at school be their principal business. Do not send them to school one day, and keep them at home the next; do not divert their minds in any manner ; at all times feeling that the education of your children is the greatest duty you owe to them. Cooperate with the teacher of your school, by furnishing the children with suitable books, and an appropriate school-room, well supplied with every necessary. If your teacher is not qualified, you should counteract his bad influence and supply his defects. You should often visit the school and see its condition, and examine the progress of the children. Ascertain for yourselves the real qualifications of the teacher and the government of his school, and do not trust to the accounts your children may give of either; and, at all times, let the school have your attention and your aid.
. After your children have ended their school