페이지 이미지

and while many years are spent by a girl in “If the secret variances of a large class of ordinary fathers

were brought to light, and laid down as a plan of studies, and those decorative acquirements which fit her

reading catalogued for a moral education, they would run for evening parties; not an hour is spent by somewhat after this fashion:- In the first hour pure morality either of them in preparation for that gravest must be read to the child, either by myself or the tutor;' in

the second, .mixed morality, or that which may be applied of all responsibilities--the management of a

to one's own advantage;' in the third, do you not see that family. Is it that this responsibility is but a your father does so and so?' in the fourth, you are little, and remote contingency? On the contrary, it is this is only fit for grown-up people ;' in the fifth, 'the chief

matter is that you should succeed in the world, and become certain to devolve on nine out of ten. Is it

something in the state;' in the sixth, .not the temporary, but that the discharge of it is easy? Certainly the eternal, determines the worth of a man;' in the seventh, not: of all functions which the adult has to therefore rather suffer injustice, and be kind;' in the eighth,

I but defend yourself bravely if any one attack you;' in the fulfil this is the most difficult. Is it that each

ninth, do not make a noise, dear child;' in the tenth, a boy may be trusted by self-instruction to fit him must not sit so quiet;' in the eleventh, you must obey your self, or herself, for the office of parent? No: parents better;' in the twelfth, and educate yourself. So

by the hourly change of his principles, the father conceals not only is the need for such self-instruction

their untenableness and onesidedness. As for his wife, she is unrecognized, but the complexity of the sub- neither like him, nor yet like that harlequin who came on to ject renders it the one of all others in which the stage with a bundle of papers under each arm, and

answered to the inquiry, what he had under his right arm, self-instruction is least likely to succeed. No

orders,' and to what he had under his left arm, 'counterrational plea can be put forward for leaving orders. But the mother might be much better compared to the Art of Education out of our curriculum.

a giant Briareus, who had a hundred arms, and a bundle of

papers under each." Whether as bearing upon the happiness of parents themselves, or whether as affecting. This state of things is not to be readily the characters and lives of their children and changed. Generations must pass before any remote descendants, we must admit that a great amelioration of it can be expected. knowledge of the right methods of juvenile Like political constitutions, educational sys. culture, physical, intellectual, and moral, is a tems are not made, but grow; and within knowledge second to none in importance. I brief periods growth is insensible. Slow, This topic should occupy the highest and last however, as must be any improvement, even place in the course of instruction passed that improvement implies the use of means; through by each man and woman. As phys- and among the means is discussion. ical maturity is marked by the ability to produce offspring, so mental maturity is We are not among those who believe in marked by the ability to train those off- Lord Palmerston's dogma, that "all children spring. The subject which involves all other are born good.” On the whole, the opposite subjects, and therefore the subject in which the dogma, untenable as it is, seems to us less education of every one should culminate, is wide of the truth. Nor do we agree with the Theory and Practice of Education. I those who think that, by skilt

In the absence of this preparation, the children may be made altogether what they management of children, and more especially should be. Contrariwise, we are satisfied the moral management, is lamentably bad. that though imperfections of nature may be Parents either never think about the matter diminished by wise management, they canat all, or else their conclusions are crude and not be removed by it. The notion that an inconsistent. In most cases, and especially ideal humanity might be forthwith produced on the part of mothers, the treatment adopted by a perfect system of education, is near akin on every occasion is that which the impulse to that shadowed forth in the poems of Shelof the moment prompts: it springs not from ley, that would mankind give up their old inany reasoned-out conviction as to what will stitutions, prejudices, and errors, all the evils most conduce to the child's welfare, but in the world would at once disappear: neither merely expresses the passing parental feel- notion being acceptable to such as have disings, whether good or ill; and varies from passionately studied human affairs. hour to hour as these feelings vary. Or if Not that we are without sympathy with these blind dictates of passion are supple- those who entertain these too sanguine hopes. mented by any definite doctrines and meth- Enthusiasm, pushed even to fanaticism, is a ods, they are those that have been handed useful motive-power-perhaps an indispensdown from the past, or those suggested by able one. It is clear that the ardent politithe remembrances of childhood, or those cian would never undergo the labors and adopted from nurses and servants-methods make the sacrifices he does, did he not believe devised not by the enlightenment, but by the that the reform he fights for is the one thing ignorance of the time. Commenting on the needful. But for his conviction that drunkchaotic state of opinion and practice relative enness is the root of almost all social evils, to family government, Richter writes: the teetotaller would agitate far less energetically. In philanthropy as in other things such fathers is testified to us by an eye-witgreat advantage results from division of ness. Or, to take a still stronger case, also labor; and that there may be division of vouched for by direct testimony-what are labor, each class of philanthropists must be the educational prospects of the boy who, on more or less subordinated to its function-being taken home with a dislocated thigh, is must have an exaggerated faith in its work. saluted with a castigation? It is true that Hence, of those who regard education, intel- these are extreme instances instances exhiblectual or moral, as the panacea, their undue iting in human beings that blind instinct expectations are not without use; and that which impels brutes to destroy the weakly perhaps it is part of the beneficent order of and injured of their own race. But extreme things that their confidence cannot be shaken. I though they are, they typify feelings and

Even were it true, however, that by some conduct daily observable in many families. possible system of moral government children who has not repeatedly seen a child slapped could be moulded into the desired form; and by nurse or parent for a fretfulness probably even could every parent be duly indoctrinated resulting from bodily derangement? Who, with this system; we should still be far from when watching a mother snatch up a fallen achieving the object in view. It is forgotten little one, has not often traced, both in the that the carrying out of any such system, rough manner and in the sharply-uttered expresupposes, on the part of adults, a degree of clamation_“You stupid little thing!”-an intelligence, of goodness, of self-control, pos- irascibility foretelling endless future squabsessed by no one. The great error made by bles? Is there not in the harsh tones in which those who discuss questions of juvenile disci- a father bids his children be quiet, evidence pline, is in ascribing all the faults and diffi- of a deficient fellow-feeling with them? Are culties to the children, and none to the par- not the constant, and often quite needless, ents. The current assumption respecting thwartings that the young experience the family government, as respecting national injunctions to sit still, which an active child government, is, that the virtues are with the cannot obey without suffering great nervous rulers and the vices with the ruled. Judging irritation, the commands not to look out of by educational theories, men and women are the window when travelling by railway, entirely transfigured in the domestic relation. which on a child of any intelligence entails The citizens we do business with, the people serious deprivation-are not these thwartwe meet in the world, we all know to be very | ings, we ask, signs of a terrible lack of symimperfect creatures. In the daily scandals, pathy? The truth is, that the difficulties of in the quarrels of friends, in bankruptcy dis- moral education are necessarily of dual origin closures, in lawsuits, in police reports, we -necessarily result from the combined faults have constantly thrust before us the pervad- of parents and children. If hereditary transing selfishness, dishonesty, brutality. Yet mission is a law of nature, as every naturalist when we criticise nursery management, and knows it to be, and as our daily remarks and canvass the misbehavior of juveniles, we current proverbs admit it to be; then on the habitually take for granted that these culpa- average of cases, the defects of children mirble men and women are free from moral de- ror the defects of their parents ;-on the averlinquency in the treatment of their offspring! age of cases, we say, because, complicated as So far is this from the truth, that we do not the results are by the transmitted traits of rehesitate to say that to parental misconduct is moter ancestors, the correspondence is not traceable a great part of the domestic disorder special but only general. And if, on the avcommonly ascribed to the perversity of chil-erage of cases, this inheritance of defects dren. We do not assert this of the more sym-exists, then the evil passions which parents pathetic and self-restrained, among whom we have to check in their children imply like hope most of our readers may be classed, but evil passions in themselves; hidden, it may We assert it of the mass. What kind of moral be, from the public eye; or perhaps obscured discipline is to be expected from a mother by other feelings; but still there. Evidently, who, time after time, angrily shakes her in- therefore, the general practice of any ideal fant because it will not suckle her, which we system of discipline is hopeless: parents are once saw a mother do? How much love of not good enough. justice and generosity is likely to be instilled Moreover, even were there methods by by a father who, on having his attention which the desired end could be at once efdrawn by his child's scream to the fact that fected, and even had fathers and mothers its finger is jammed between the window sash sufficient insight, sympathy, and self-comand the sill, forthwith begins to beat the child mand to employ these methods consistently, instead of releasing it? Yet that there are it might still be contended that it would be of no use to reform family discipline faster than “But does not this prove too much?" some other things are reformed. What is it that one will ask. “If no system of moral culture we aim to do? Is it not that education of can forthwith make children altogether what whatever kind has for its proximate end to they should be; if, even were there a system prepare a child for the business of life-to that would do this, existing parents are too produce a citizen who, at the same time that imperfect to carry it out; and if even could he is well conducted, is also able to make his such a system be successfully carried out, its way in the world? And does not making his results would be disastrously incongruous way in the world (by which we mean, not with the present state of society; does it not the acquirement of wealth, but of the means follow that a reform in the system now in requisite for properly bringing up a family) use is neither practicable nor desirablet" -does not this imply a certain fitness for the No. It merely follows that reform in domesworld as it now is? And if by any system of tic government must go on, pari passu with culture an ideal human being could be pro- other reforms. It merely follows that methduced, is it not doubtful whether he would be ods of discipline neither can be nor should fit for the world as it now is? May we not, be ameliorated, except by instalments. It on the contrary, suspect that his too keen merely follows that the dictates of abstract sense of rectitude, and too elevated standard rectitude will, in practice, inevitably be subof conduct, would make life alike intolerable ordinated by the present state of human naand impossible? And however admirable the ture—by the imperfections alike of children, results might be, considered individually, of parents, and of society; and can only be would it not be self-defeating in so far as soci. better fulfilled as the general character beety and posterity are concerned? It may, we comes better. think, be argued with much reason, that as in “At any rate, then," may rejoin our critic, a nation so in a family, the kind of govern- “it is clearly useless to set up any ideal ment is, on the whole, about as good as the standard of family discipline. There can be general state of human nature permits it to no advantage in elaborating and recommendbe. It may be said that in the one case, as in ing methods that are in advance of the time.” the other, the average character of the people Again we must contend for the contrary, determines the quality of the control exer- Just as in the case of political government, cised. It may be inferred that in both cases though pure rectitude may be at present imamelioration of the average character leads practicable, it is requisite to know where the to an amelioration of system; and further, right lies, so that the changes we make may that were it possible to ameliorate the sys- be towards the right instead of away from tem without the average character being it; so in the case of domestic government, first ameliorated, evil, rather than good, an ideal must be upheld, that there may be would follow. It may be urged that such gradual approximations to it. We need fear degree of harshness as children now ex- no evil consequences from the maintenance perience from their parents and teachers, I of such an ideal. On the average the constiis but a preparation for that greater harsh- tutional conservatism of mankind is always ness which they will meet with on entering strong enough to prevent a too rapid change. the world; and that were it possible for par- So admirable are the arrangements of things ents and teachers to behave towards them that until men have grown up to the level of with perfect equity and entire sympathy, a higher belief, they cannot receive it: nomiit would but intensify the sufferings which nally, they may hold it, but not virtually. the selfishness of men must, in after life, And even when the truth gets recognized, inflict on them.*

the obstacles to conformity with it are so persistent as to outlive the patience of philanthro

pists and even philosophers. We may be * This is the plea put in by some for the rough treatment quite sure, therefore, that the many difficul. experienced by boys at our public schools; where, as it is said, they are introduced to a miniature world whose imperfections

ties standing in the way of a normal governand hardships prepare them for those of the real world; and ment of children, will always put an adequate it must be admitted that the plea has some force. But it is a very insufficient plea. For whereas domestic and school discipline, though they should not be very much better than the

With these preliminary explanations, let us discipline of adult life, should at any rate be somewhat better; go on to consider the true aims and methods the discipline which boys meet with at Eton, Winchester,

of moral education-moral education, strictly Harrow, etc., is much worse than that of adult life-much

so called, we mean; for we do not propose to more unjust, cruel, brutal. Instead of being an aid to human progress, which all culture should be, the culture of our public schools, by accustoming boys to a despotic form of exists. And chiefly recruited as our legislature is from among government and an intercourse regulated by brute force, those who are brought up at these schools, this barbarizing in. tonds to fit them for a lower state of society than that which fluence becomes a serious hindrance to national progress.

enter upon the question of religious education read the first newspaper leader, or listen to as an aid to the education exclusively moral. any conversation touching social affairs, to This we omit as a topic better dealt with see that acts of parliament, political moveseparately. After a few pages devoted to the ments, philanthropic agitations, in common settlement of general principles, during the with the doings of individuals, are judged by perusal of which we bespeak the reader's their anticipated results in multiplying the patience, we shall aim by illustrations to pleasures or pains of men. And if on looking make clear the right methods of parental be- on all secondary superinduced ideas, we find havior in the hourly occurring difficulties of these to be our ultimate tests of right and family government.

wrong, we cannot refuse to class purely phys

ical actions as right or wrong according to When a child falls, or runs its head against the beneficial or detrimental results they prothe table, it suffers a pain, the remembrance duce. of which tends to make it more careful Note, in the second place, the character of for the future; and by an occasional rep- the punishments by which these physical etition of like experiences, it is eventually transgressions are prevented. Punishments, disciplined into a proper guidance of its we call them, in the absence of a better word; movements. If it lays hold of the fire-bars, for they are not punishments in the literal thrusts its finger into the candle-flame, or sense. They are not artificial and unnecesspills boiling water on any part of its skin, sary inflictions of pain; but are simply the the resulting burn or scald is a lesson not beneficent checks to actions that are esseneasily forgotten. So deep an impression is tially at variance with bodily welfare-checks produced by one or two such events, that in the absence of which life would quickly be afterwards no persuasion will induce it again destroyed by bodily injuries. It is the peculto disregard the laws of its constitution in iarity of these penalties, if we must so call these ways.

them, that they are nothing more than the Now in these and like cases, Nature illus- unavoidable consequences of the deeds which trates to us in the simplest way, the true they follow: they are nothing more than the theory and practice of moral discipline-a inevitable reactions entailed by the child's theory and practice which, however much actions. they may seem to the superficial like those Let it be further borne in mind that these commonly received, we shall find on exami- painful reactions are proportionate to the denation to differ from them very widely. gree in which the organic laws have been

Observe, in the first place, that in bodily transgressed. A slight accident brings a injuries and their penalties we have miscon- slight pain, a more serious one, a greater duct and its consequences reduced to their pain. When a child tumbles over the doorsimplest forms. Though, according to their step, it is not ordained that it shall suffer in popular acceptations, right and wrong are excess of the amount necessary, with the words scarcely applicable to actions that view of making it still more cautious than have none but direct bodily effects; yet who- the necessary suffering will make it. But ever considers the matter will see that such from its daily experience it is left to learn the actions must be as much classifiable under greater or less penalties of greater or less erthese heads as any other actions. From rors; and to behave accordingly. whatever basis they start, all theories of mor- And then mark, lastly, that these natural ality agree in considering that conduct whose reactions which follow the child's wrong actotal results, immediate and remote, are ben- tions, are constant, direct, unhesitating, and eficial, is good conduct; while conduct whose not to be escaped. No threats: but a silent, total results, immediate and remote, are in- rigorous performance. If a child runs a pin jurious, is bad conduct. The happiness or into its finger, pain follows. If it does it misery caused by it are the ultimate standards again, there is again the same result: and so by which all men judge of behavior. We on perpetually. In all its dealings with surconsider drunkenness wrong because of the rounding inorganic nature it finds this unphysical degeneracy and accompanying moral swerving persistence, which listens to no exevils entailed on the transgressor and his de-cuse, and from which there is no appeal; and pendents. Did theft uniformly give pleasure very soon recognizing this stern though beboth to taker and loser, we should not find it neficent discipline, it becomes extremely carein our catalogue of sins. Were it conceiva- ful not to transgress. ble that benevolent actions multiplied human Still more significant will these general pains, we should condemn them should not truths appear, when we remember that they consider them benevolent. It needs but to hold throughout adult life as well as throughout infantine life. It is by an experimentally-mated their régime to the method of Nature gained knowledge of the natural consequences, —which have done little more than administhat men and women are checked when they ter the natural consequences of criminal congo wrong. After home education has ceased, duct: the natural consequences being, that by and when there are no longer parents and imprisonment or other restraint, the criminal teachers to forbid this or that kind of con- shall have his liberty of action diminished as duct, there comes into play a discipline like much as is needful for the safety of society; that by which the young child is taught its and that he shall be made to maintain himfirst lessons in self-guidance. If the youth self while living under this restraint. Thus entering upon the business of life idles away we see not only that the discipline by which his time and fulfils slowly or unskilfully the the young child is so successfully taught to duties entrusted to him, there by and by fol-regulate its movements is also the discipline lows the natural penalty: he is discharged, by which the great mass of adults are kept in and left to suffer for awhile the evils of rela- order, and more or less improved; but that tive poverty. On the unpunctual man, failing the discipline humanly-devised for the worst alike his appointments of business and pleas- adults, fails when it diverges from this diure, there continually fall the consequent in- vinely-ordained discipline, and begins to succonveniences, losses, and deprivations. The ceed when it approximates to it. avaricious tradesman who charges too high a rate of profit, loses his customers, and so is Have we not here, then, the guiding princhecked in his greediness. Diminishing prac- ciple of moral education? Must we not infer tice teaches the inattentive doctor to bestow that the system so beneficent in its effects, more trouble on his patients. The too credu- alike during infancy and maturity, will be lous creditor and the over-sanguine specula- equally beneficent thoughout youth? Can tor alike learn by the difficulties which rash- any one believe that the method which anness entails on them, the necessity of being swers so well in the first and the last divisions more cautious in their engagements. And of life will not answer in the intermediate diso throughout the life of every citizen. In vision? Is it not manifest that as “ministhe quotation so often made à propos of these ters and interpreters of Nature" it is the cases—"The burnt child dreads the fire"-we function of parents to see that their children see not only that the analogy between this habitually experience the true consequences social discipline and Nature's early discipline of their conduct — the natural reactions: of infants is universally recognized; but we neither warding them off, nor intensifying also see an implied conviction that this disci-them, nor putting artificial consequences in pline is of the most efficient kind. Nay more, place of them? No unprejudiced reader will this conviction is not only implied, but dis- hesitate in his assent. tinctly stated. Every one has heard others. Probably, however, not a few will contend confess that only by "dearly bought experi- that already most parents do this—that the ence" had they been induced to give up some punishments they inflict are, in the majority bad or foolish course of conduct formerly of cases, the true consequences of ill-conduct pursued. Every one has heard, in the criti- --that parental anger, venting itself in harsh cisms passed on the doings of this spendthrift words and deeds, is the result of a child's or the other speculator, the remark that ad- transgression and that, in the suffering, vice was useless, and that nothing but “bitter physical or moral, which the child is subject experience” would produce any effect: noth- to, it experiences the natural reaction of its ing, that is, but suffering the unavoidable misbehavior. Along with much error this consequences. And if further proof be needed assertion, doubtless, contains some truth. It that the penalty of the natural reaction is not is unquestionable that the displeasure of only the most efficient, but that no humanly- fathers and mothers is a true consequence of devised penalty can replace it, we have such juvenile delinquency; and that the manifesfurther proof in the notorious ill-success of tation of it is a normal check upon such deour various penal systems. Out of the many linquency. It is unquestionable that the methods of criminal discipline that have been scoldings, and threats, and blows, which a proposed and legally enforced, none have an- passionate parent visits on offending little swered the expectations of their advocates. ones, are effects actually produced in such a Not only have artificial punishments failed parent by their offences; and so are, in some to produce reformation, but they have in sort, to be considered as among the natural many cases increased the criminality. The reactions of their wrong actions. And we only successful reformatories are those pri' are by no means prepared to say that these vately-established ones which have approxi- modes of treatment are not relatively right

« 이전계속 »