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right, that is in relation to the uncontrollable and leaves them scattered about the floor. children of ill-controlled adults: and right in Or a handful of flowers, brought in from a relation to a state of society in which such ill-morning walk, is presently seen dispersed controlled adults make up the mass of the over tables and chairs. Or a little girl, makpeople. As already suggested, educational ing doll's-clothes, disfigures the room with systems, like political and other institutions, shreds. In most cases the trouble of rectifyare generally as good as the state of human ing this disorder falls anywhere but in the nature permits. The barbarous children of right place: if in the nursery, the nurse herbarbarous parents are probably only to be re- self, with many grumblings about “ tiresome strained by the barbarous methods which such little things," etc., undertakes the task; if parents spontaneously employ; while submis- below stairs, the task usually devolves either sion to these barbarous methods is perhaps the on one of the elder children or on the housebest preparation such children can have for maid; the transgressor being visited with the barbarous society in which they are pres- nothing more than a scolding. In this very ently to play a part. Conversely, the civilized simple case, however, there are many parents members of a civilized society will spontane- wise enough to follow out, more or less conously manifest their displeasure in less vio-sistently, the normal course that of making lent ways—will spontaneously use milder the child itself collect the toys or shreds. measures: measures strong enough for their The labor of putting things in order is the better-natured children. Thus it is doubtless true consequence of having put them in distrue that, in so far as the expression of parent-order. Every trader in his office, every wife al feeling is concerned, the principle of the in her household, has daily experience of this natural reaction is always more or less fol- fact. And if education be a preparation for lowed. The system of domestic government the business of life, then every child should ever gravitates towards its right form. also, from the beginning, have daily experi
But now observe two important facts. In ence of this fact. If the natural penalty be the first place, observe that, in states of rapid met by any refractory behavior (which it transition like ours, which witness a long- may perhaps be where the general system of drawn battle between old and new theories moral discipline previously pursued has been and old and new practices, the educational bad), then the proper course is to let the child methods in use are apt to be considerably out feel the ulterior reaction consequent on its of harmony with the times. In deference to disobedience. Having refused or neglected dogmas fit only for the ages that uttered to pick up and put away the things it has them, many parents inflict punishments that scattered about, and having thereby entailed do violence to their own feelings, and so visit the trouble of doing this on some one else, the on their children unnatural reactions; while child should, on subsequent occasions, be deother parents, enthusiastic in their hopes of nied the means of giving this trouble. When immediate perfection, rush to the opposite next it petitions for its toy-box, the reply of extreme. And then observe, in the second its mamma should be—“The last time you place, that the discipline on which we are in- had your toys you left them lying on the sisting is not so much the experience of pa- floor, and Jane had to pick them up. Jane rental approbation, or disapprobation, which, is too busy to pick up every day the things in most cases, is only a secondary. conse- you leave about; and I cannot do it myself. quence of a child's conduct; but it is the expe- So that, as you will not put away your toys rience of those results which would naturally when you have done with them, I cannot let flow from the conduct in the absence of pa- you have them.” This is obviously a natural rental opinion or interference. The truly in- consequence, neither increased nor lessened; structive and salutary consequences are not and must be so recognized by a child. The those inflicted by parents when they take penalty comes, too, at the moment when it is upon themselves to be Nature's proxies; but most keenly felt. A new-born desire is balked they are those inflicted by Nature herself. at the moment of anticipated gratification; We will endeavor to make this distinction and the strong impression so produced can clear by a few illustrations, which, while they scarcely fail to have an effect on the future show what we mean by natural reactions as conduct; an effect which, by consistent repecontrasted with artificial ones, will afford tition, will do whatever can be done in curing some directly practical suggestions.
the fault. Add to which, that, by this methIn every family where there are young od, a child is early taught the lesson which children there almost daily occur cases of cannot be learnt too soon, that in this world what mothers and servants call “making a of ours pleasures are rightly to be obtained litter.” A child has had out its box of toys, (only by labor.
Take another case. Not long since we had commonly forthwith buy him another; not frequently to listen to the reprimands visited seeing that, by doing this, a valuable lesson on a little girl who was scarcely ever ready is lost. In such a case, a father may properly in time for the daily walk. Of eager disposi-explain that penknives cost money, and that tion, and apt to become thoroughly absorbed to get money requires labor; that he cannot in the occupation of the moment, Constance afford to purchase new penknives for one never thought of putting on her things until who loses or breaks them; and that until he the rest were ready. The governess and the sees evidence of greater carefulness he must other children had almost invariably to wait; decline to make good the loss. A parallel disand from the mamma there almost invaria-cipline may be used as a means of checking bly came the same scolding, Utterly as this extravagance. system failed it never occurred to the mam- These few familiar instances, here chosen bema to let Constance experience the natural cause of the simplicity with which they illuspenalty. Nor, indeed, would she try it when trate our point, will make clear to every one it was suggested to her. In the world the the distinction between those natural penalpenalty of being behind time is the loss of ties which we contend are the truly efficient some advantage that would else have been ones, and those artificial penalties which par gained: the train is gone; or the steamboat ents commonly substitute for them. Before is just leaving its moorings; or the best things going on to exhibit the higher and subtler apin the market are sold; or all the good seats plications of this principle, let us note its in the concert-room are filled. And every many and great superiorities over the princione, in cases perpetually occurring, may see ple, or rather the empirical practice, which that it is the prospective deprivations en- prevails in most families. tailed by being too late which prevent people In the first place, right conceptions of cause from being too late. Is not the inference ob- and effect are early formed; and by frequent vious? Should not these prospective depriva- and consistent experience are eventually rentions control the child's conduct also? If Con- dered definite and complete. Proper conduct stance is not ready at the appointed time, the in life is much better guaranteed when the natural result is that of being left behind, good and evil consequences of actions are raand losing her walk. And no one can, we tionally understood, than when they are think, doubt that after having once or twice merely believed on authority. A child who remained at home while the rest were enjoy- finds that disorderliness entails the subse ing themselves in the fields, and after having quent trouble of putting things in order, or felt that this loss of a much-prized gratifica- who misses a gratification from dilatoriness, tion was solely due to want of promptitude, or whose want of care is followed by the loss some amendment would take place. At any or breakage of some much-prized possession, rate, the measure would be more effective not only experiences a keenly-felt consethan that perpetual scolding which ends only quence, but gains a knowledge of causation: in producing callousness.
: both the one and the other being just like Again, when children, with more than usual those which adult life will bring. Whereas carelessness, break or lose the things given to a child who in such cases receives some repthem, the natural penalty-the penalty which rimand or some factitious penalty, not only makes grown-up persons more careful-is the experiences a consequence for which it often consequent inconvenience. The want of the cares very little, but lacks that instruction lost or damaged article, and the cost of sup- respecting the essential natures of good and plying its place, are the experiences by which evil conduct, which it would else have gathmen and women are disciplined in these mat- ered. It is a vice of the common system of ters; and the experience of children should artificial rewards and punishments, long since be as much as possible assimilated to theirs. noticed by the clear-sighted, that by substiWe do not refer to that early period at which tuting for the natural results of misbehavior toys are pulled to pieces in the process of certain threatened tasks or castigations, it learning their physical properties, and at produces a radically wrong standard of moral which the results of carelessness cannot be guidance. Having throughout infancy and understood; but to a later period, when the boyhood always regarded parental or tutorial meaning and advantages of property are per- displeasure as the result of a forbidden acceived. When a boy, old enough to possess ation, the youth has gained an established aspenknife, uses it so roughly as to snap the sociation of ideas between such action and blade, or leaves it in the grass by some hedge- such displeasure, as cause and effect; and side, where he was cutting a stick, a thought- consequently when parents and tutors have less parent, or some indulgent relative, will | abdicated, and their displeasure is not to be feared, the restraint on a forbidden action is system. Instead of letting children expein great measure removed: the true re- rience the painful results which naturally folstraints, the natural reactions, having yet to low from wrong conduct, the usual course be learnt by sad experience. As writes one pursued by parents is to inflict themselves who has had personal knowledge of this short-certain other painful results. A double missighted system:-“Young men let loose from chief arises from this. Making, as they do, school, particularly those whose parents have multiplied family laws; and identifying their neglected to exert their influence, plunge into own supremacy and dignity with the mainevery description of extravagance; they know tenance of these laws; it happens that every no rule of action-they are ignorant of the transgression comes to be regarded as an reasons for moral conduct-they have no offence against themselves, and a cause of foundation to rest upon-and until they have anger on their part. Add to which the furbeen severely disciplined by the world are ex-ther irritations which result from taking upon tremely dangerous members of society." themselves, in the shape of extra labor or
Another great advantage of this natural sys-cost, those evil consequences which should tem of discipline is, that it is a system of pure have been allowed to fall on the wrong-doers. justice; and will be recognized by every child Similarly with the children. Penalties which as such. Whoso suffers nothing more than the necessary reaction of things brings round the evil which obviously follows naturally upon them-penalties which are inflicted by from his own misbehavior, is much less like-impersonal agency, produce an irritation that ly to think himself wrongly treated than if is comparatively slight and transient; wherehe suffers an evil artificially inflicted on him; as, penalties which are voluntarily inflicted and this will be true of children as of men. by a parent, and are afterwards remembered Take the case of a boy who is habitually reck- as caused by him or her, produce an irritation less of his clothes-scrambles through hedges both greater and more continued. Just conwithout caution, or is utterly regardless of sider how disastrous would be the result if mud. If he is beaten, or sent to bed, he is apt this empirical method were pursued from the to regard himself as ill-used; and his mind is beginning. Suppose it were possible for parmore likely to be occupied by thinking over ents to take upon themselves the physical his injuries than repenting of his transgres- sufferings entailed on their children by ignosions. But suppose he is required to rectify rance and awkwardness; and that while bearas far as he can the harm he has done to ing these evil consequences they visited on clean off the mud with which he has cov- their children certain other evil consequences, ered himself, or to mend the tear as well as with the view of teaching them the improhe can. Will he not feel that the evil is one priety of their conduct. Suppose that when of his own producing? Will he not while a child, who had been forbidden to meddle paying this penalty be continuously conscious with the kettle, spilt some boiling water on of the connection between it and its cause? | its foot, the mother vicariously assumed the And will he not, spite his irritation, recognize scald and gave a blow in place of it; and simmore or less clearly the justice of the arrange- ilarly in all other cases. Would not the daily ment? If several lessons of this kind fail to mishaps be sources of far more anger than produce amendment—if suits of clothes are now? Would not there be chronic ill-temper prematurely spoiled-if pursuing this „same on both sides? Yet an exactly parallel policy system of discipline a father declines to spend is pursued in after years. A father who punmoney for new ones until the ordinary time ishes his boy for carelessly or wilfully breakhas elapsed--and if, meanwhile, there occur ing a sister's toy, and then himself pays for a occasions on which, having no decent clothes new toy, does substantially this same thing to go in, the boy is debarred from joining the -inflicts an artificial penalty on the transrest of the family on holiday excursions and gressor, and takes the natural penalty on féte days, it is manifest that while he will himself: his own feelings and those of the keenly feel the punishment, he can scarcely transgressor being alike needlessly irritated, fail to trace the chain of causation, and to If he simply required restitution to be made, perceive that his own carelessness is the ori- he would produce far less heartburning. If gin of it; and seeing this, he will not have he told the boy that a new toy must be bought that same sense of injustice as when there is at his, the boy's cost, and that his supply of no obvious connection between the transgres-pocket-money must be withheld to the needful sion and its penalty.
extent, there would be much less cause for Again, the tempers both of parents and ebullition of temper on either side; while in children are much less liable to be ruffled the deprivation afterwards felt, the boy under this system than under the ordinary I would experience the equitable and salutary consequence. In brief, the system of disci-perience of the good and bad consequences pline by natural reactions is less injurious to caused by them. Second. That the child, temper, alike because it is perceived on both suffering nothing more than the painful efsides to be nothing more than pure justice, fects brought upon it by its own wrong acand because it more or less substitutes the tions, must recognize more or less clearly the impersonal agency of nature for the personal justice of the penalties. Third. That, recagency of parents.
ognizing the justice of the penalties, and reWhence also follows the manifest corollary, ceiving those penalties through the working that under this system the parental and filial of things, rather than at the hands of an inrelation will be a more friendly, and there- dividual, its temper will be less disturbed ; fore a more influential one. Whether in par- while the parent occupying the comparaent or child, anger, however caused, and to tively passive position of taking care that the whomsoever directed, is more or less detri- natural penalties are felt, will preserve a commental. But anger in a parent towards aparative equanimity. And Fourth. That child, and in a child towards a parent, is es- mutual exasperation being thus in great pecially detrimental; because it weakens that measure prevented, a much happier, and a bond of sympathy which is essential to a be- more influential state of feeling, will exist beneficent control. In virtue of the general law tween parent and child. of association of ideas, it inevitably results, both in young and old, that dislike is con-| “But what is to be done with more serious tracted towards things which in our experi misconduct?” some will ask. “How is this ence are habitually connected with disagree- plan to be carried out when a petty theft has able feelings. Or where attachment origi- been committed? or when a lie has been told? nally existed, it is weakened, or destroyed, or or when some younger brother or sister has turned into repugnance, according to the been ill-used?" quantity of painful impressions received. Before replying to these questions, let us
Parental wrath, with its accompanying repri- consider the bearings of a few illustrative · mands and castigations, cannot fail, if often facts. repeated, to produce filial alienation; while Living in the family of his brother-in-law, the resentment and sulkiness of children can- a friend of ours had undertaken the educanot fail to weaken the affection felt for them, tion of his little nephew and niece. This he and may even end in destroying it. Hence had conducted, more perhaps from natural the numerous cases in which parents (and es- sympathy than from reasoned-out conclupecially fathers, who are commonly deputed sions, in the spirit of the method above set to express the anger and inflict the punish- forth. The two children were in doors his ment) are regarded with indifference, if not pupils and out of doors his companions. with aversion; and hence the equally numer. They daily joined him in walks and botanizous cases in which children are looked upon ing excursions, eagerly sought out plants for as inflictions. Seeing, then, as all must do, him, looked on while he examined and identhat estrangement of this kind is fatal to a tified them, and in this and other ways were salutary moral culture, it follows that par- ever gaining both pleasure and instruction in ents cannot be too solicitous in avoiding oc- his society. In short, morally considered, he casions of direct antagonism with their chil-stood to them much more in the position of dren-occasions of personal resentment. And parent than either their father or mother did. therefore they cannot too anxiously avail Describing to us the results of this policy, he themselves of this discipline of natural conse- gave, among other instances, the following. quences—this system of letting the penalty be One evening, having need for some article lyinflicted by the laws of things; which, by ing in another part of the house, he asked his saving the parent from the function of a nephew to fetch it for him. Deeply interpenal agent, prevents these mutual exaspera- ested as the boy was in some amusement of tions and estrangements.
the moment, he, contrary to his wont, either · Thus we see that this method of moral cult- exhibited great reluctance or refused, we forure by experience of the normal reactions get which. His uncle, disapproving of a cowhich is the divinely-ordained method alike ercive course, fetched it himself; merely exfor infancy and for adult life, is equally ap- hibiting by his manner the annoyance this plicable during the intermediate childhood ill-behavior gave him. And when, later in and youth. And among the advantages of the evening, the boy made overtures for the this method we see-first. That it gives usual play, they were gravely repelled—the that rational comprehension of right and uncle manifested just that coldness of. feeling wrong conduct which results from actual ex- | naturally produced in him, and so let the boy experience the necessary consequences of his be established between parents and children; conduct. Next morning at the usual time for on the existence of this relation depends the for rising, our friend heard a new voice out successful treatment of these graver offences. side the door, and in walked his little nephew And as a further preliminary, we must now with the hot water; and then the boy, peer-point out that the establishment of this relaing about the room to see what else could be tion will result from adopting the system we done, exclaimed, “Oh! you want your boots," advocate. Already we have shown that by and forthwith rushed down stairs to fetch letting a child experience simply the painful them. In this and other ways he showed a reactions of its own wrong actions, a parent in true penitence for his misconduct; he endeav. I great measure avoids assuming the attitude ored by unusual services to make up for the of an enemy, and escapes being regarded as service he had refused; his higher feelings one; but it still remains to be shown that had of themselves conquered his lower ones, where this course has been consistently purand acquired strength by the conquest; and sued from the beginning, a strong feeling of ache valued more than before the friendship he tive friendship will be generated. thus regained.
| At present, mothers and fathers are mostly This gentleman is now himself a father; considered by their offspring as friendacts on the same system; and finds it answer enemies. Determined as their impressions completely. He makes himself thoroughly inevitably are by the treatment they receive; his children's friend. The evening is longed and oscillating as that treatment does between for by them because he will be at home; and bribery and thwarting, between petting and they especially enjoy the Sunday because he scolding, between gentleness and castigation; is with them all day. Thus possessing their children necessarily acquire conflicting beliefs perfect confidence and affection, he finds that respecting the parental character. A mother the simple display of his approbation or dis- commonly thinks it quite sufficient to tell her approbation gives him abundant power of little boy that she is his best friend; and ascontrol. If, on his return home, he hears that suming that he is in duty bound to believe one of his boys has been naughty, he behaves her, concludes that he will forth with do so. towards him with that comparative coldness “ It is all for your good;” “I know what is which the consciousness of the boy's miscon-proper for you better than you do yourself;" duct naturally produces; and he finds this a “You are not old enough to understand it most efficient punishment. The mere with- now, but when you grow up you will thank holding of the usual caresses, is a source of me for doing what I do;”—these, and like asthe keenest distress-produces a much more sertions, are daily reiterated. Meanwhile the prolonged fit of crying than a beating would boy is daily suffering positive penalties; and do. And the dread of this purely moral penal- is hourly forbidden to do this, that, and the ty is, he says, ever present during his absence: other, which he was anxious to do. By words so much so, that írequently during the day his he hears that his happiness is the end in view; children inquire of their mamma how they but from the accompanying deeds he habituhave behaved, and whether the report will be ally receives more or less pain. Utterly ingood. Recently, the eldest, an active urchin competent as he is to understand that future of five, in one of those bursts of animal spirits which his mother has in view, or how this common in healthy children, committed sun-treatment conduces to the happiness of that dry extravagances during his mamma's ab- future, he judges by such results as he feels; sence-cut off part of his brother's hair and and finding these results anything but pleaswounded himself with a razor taken from his urable, he becomes sceptical respecting these father's dressing-case. Hearing of these oc- professions of friendship. And is it not folly currences on his return, the father did not to expect any other issue? Must not the child speak to the boy either that night or next judge by such evidence as he has got? and morning. Not only was the tribulation great, does not this evidence seem to warrant his but the subsequent effect was, that when, a conclusion? The mother would reason in just few days after, the mamma was about to go the same way if similarly placed. If, in the out, she was earnestly entreated by the boy circle of her acquaintance, she found some one not to do so; and on inquiry, it appeared his who was constantly thwarting her wishes, utfear was that he might again transgress in tering sharp reprimands, and occasionally inher absence.
| flicting actual penalties on her, she would pay We have introduced these facts before reply- but little attention to any professions of anxieing to the question—"What is to be done with ty for her welfare which accompanied these the graver offences?" for the purpose of first acts. Why, then, does she suppose that her exhibiting the relation that may and ought to boy will conclude otherwise?