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ens a child's apprehension so'much as the discussion of themes in which he feels an interest. These themes are preëminently those which are broached at home, and which may be varied and increased in a thousand ways. Properly used they may be made of wonderful gain in enlarging and strengthening the youthful mind. If then the parent fails to use this opportunity for his child's advancement, if he closes this avenue of growth by repressing all inquiry, if he suffers it to be choked with weeds, if the explanation of familiar phenomena is an annoyance, it might be said that he is neglectful of the welfare of his child. But if in addition to this he represses the zeal of the child by indifference to his puerile studies; if he permits himself to quench enthusiasm by exhibitions of evident discomfort at its manifestation ; if he fails to engage the attention of the child in matters which every one ought to know, although outside of the academical curriculum, such topics, for example, as lie within the capacity of the child, which are found in the ordinary periodicals of the day, as regards changes in governments, at home and abroad, or great discoveries and inventions in science or great advances and achievements in the arts, or the doings of public assemblies, or the deeds of prominent men-he leaves undone that which no one else can be expected to do, and is open to the charge of shameful negligence.
It is shameful negligence not because the things specified are of themselves important to the youth; but because the consideration of such themes awakens thought, provokes inquiry, and tends to develop the full man; because the lack of such stimulus leaves the child to plod on in ignorance of all except that contained within the covers of his text-books. If any one doubts that such negligence is common, let him seek for general knowledge in boys just entered at college, before the stimulus of new associates has aroused them to efforts in a vein as rich as it is undeveloped.
But the freshmen are not the only ones that show negligence on the part of parents. A child who has been properly trained at home in the manner which has been just indicated, shows it in every utterance by an indefinable grace which we call culture. This culture is as distinct from the knowledge of mere text-books as light is from darkness, and can not be gained except by the friction of intelligent social intercourse. It can not be acquired at school-in fact, the tendency of school life is directly opposed to it; and if not fostered by the refinements of home, it either
will not be gained at all, or after long experience in the active life of the world.
If now we retract the concessions we have made, and consider that many parents are not merely exerting little good influence in the mental training of their children, but are, in this respect, a positive damage to them, the words shameful negligence will seem weak. What terms are strong enough to characterize those who, at heart, consider teachers as personal antagonists, and wrangle with them about the time wasted, the pitiful cost of textbooks—whose only comments on the labors of the teacher have reference to the tom-foolery of his notions, his arbitrary and unreasonable enactments, his petty regulations relative to regular habits and systems ?
If, on the other hand, the school is deficient, and can not be brought to its proper standard, how much the more must a parent labor to escape the imputation of negligence! Fortunate it is, that by the great law of compensation, children thus situated often make up by the increased care of their parents for their losses in the school.
The notion of educational training includes also physical culture and the formation of good manners. Of the first, we have little to say, but it exhausts the subject. Not one parent in ten pays the least attention to it. The child grows up haphazard, and learns much, little, or nothing, about the needs of his body, the care of his health. He is allowed to gorge himself to repletion, to be heedless in his sports, and if he survives in the face of this severe letting-alone treatment, no one would surely mention the word negligence in this connection.
Of good manners, a word might be said, if one had the courage to suggest that an improvement were possible in the ways of Young America. If parents take any heed to this matter beyond the repression of excessive lawlessness,-if they are systematic in inculcating the habit of formal politeness,—if the whole method of treatment is not a matter of chance, depending on the occasional wrath or nervous irritation of the parent, and consisting of a buffet or a cross and angry ejaculation now and then,-if, in a.word, the parent can declare that he has given the matter his earnest and constant attention for this is precisely what its importance demands); that he has studied to repress the tendencies to evil in his child, or endeavored to exalt good but wavering inclinations; that he has striven to make him habitually courteous, not by external formalism, but through the inner feel
ing of the rights of others,—then he is free from the charge of negligence.
But if not,—if his children are unmanly in society, rude and boisterous when out of restraint, impertinent to their superiors, and saucy to their parents,-why, then, there must have been negligence somewhere, perhaps shameful; and if such conduct is followed by its legitimate fruit, criminal.
It is undoubtedly to be expected that there are many parents whose consciences will clear them in each and every count; but we bear in mind the maxim—" The exception proves the rule,” and because every man's experience will assure him that these exceptions are marked examples, we believe that within our limits, educational training, our poposition holds good in a majority of families. There then remains nothing for the home to expend its treasures of love upon but the animal comforts of the familynothing higher than to fill the stomachs and clothe the backs of the children. This inevitable conclusion is so paltry and degrading, that our better nature refuses to accept it. No doubt the heart of the parent is full of earnest care and warmest love for the welfare of his children. Is it possible that he can be shamefully negligent of that which pertains to their highest welfare?
The parent is responsible for every thing which pertains to the temporal and spiritual welfare of his children: and he is shamefully negligent of his trust if he permits it to pass beyond his control and direction, or fails to do any thing which may advance them in this life, or fit them for the life that is to come.
CONDUCT AND CHARACTER.
BY T. W. H.
Character is man's selfhood—what he is, in contradistinction from what he may seem. It has its source in the inner life, of which it is a true exponent. If this be pure, holy, lovable, and Ioving, or impure, gross, sensual, such will be the character. There is, invariably, a positiveness about it. Such an anomaly as a negative character never had and never can have an existence. It may be good or bad: it can not be neither. Its signatures, though often obscure, are never illegible. He who can read and interpret them knows the real man, stripped of all the sham and tinselry of place and condition. It can be transformed from bad to good, or from good to bad, but not without there being a corresponding change in the inner life. A new birth of the soul precedes its reformation.
Conduct is the reflected image of character-a portraiture of the inner life in outward, visible action. It may be hypocritical, but if it is there is the stamp of hypocrisy upon it, and it can not be otherwise than truthful. There are those who can tell the age, occupation, temperament, even the nationality of a person, from his handwriting-never being deceived by the most graceful curves or artistic flourishes. Shrewd observers of conduct can also tell, from signs not patent to all, whether actions be the result of honest purpose or of mere pretense. The covert design can not be completely masked, even by the most laborious painstaking. It forms a part of every deed—for cause, effect, and end, are inseparable.
Moral power, ability to influence and govern men, depends upon character. Men jeer at and deride the most imposing presence, when it is not supported and sustained by the unseen yet essential elements of greatness. While we willingly obey him who can govern, we rebel, without remorse, against him who would, but can not. Like the frogs in the fable, we have a hearty dislike for King Log. We want to see evidences of the existence of innate force in our rulers. We may grumble at their sternness and severity, but can not avoid paying them homage. Napoleon, quelling a mob with grape and canister, commanded respect : Louis Phillippe, singing the Marsellaise to please a clamorous rabble, merited and received derision and contempt.
- Modern science tcaches that heat is a shivering or tremulous motion of the molecules of matter-its intensity depending upon the rapidity of these vibrations. Matter at rest, asleep, dead, is cold. Heat, therefore, is not a substance, though it be a reality : it is matter's mode of motion. Quite similar is the relation between conduct and character. Conduct is character's mode of being. Its manifestations depend much upon temperament. In some, the current of life flows sluggishly. It may be deep and broad, but it is not swift. The influence of such will not be widespread, but it will be all-powerful among a small circle of intimate friends. Its calm, even, unruffled flow will carry them whither it pleases. We call such characters undemonstrative, and sometimes wish there was more of the dash and whirl of the torrent in them—forgetting that all great forces do their work
silently. Any flippant chatter-box could outshine Hawthorne in society; Artemus Ward can draw” a larger crowd than Agassizbut who would exchange the weird, strange fancies of the one, or the profound erudition of the other, for all the small talk, puns, and jests, that have been perpetrated since Adam fell.
- Though a hidden, unused wealth of innate power is desirable, out of which character is to be formed, success in professional life demands that none of it be idle. If we choose occupations which bring us in contact with mind, especially with its development, we must not live wrapped up in ourselves. Innate power must become active, creative force. This is especially true in the profession of teaching Education is thought kindling itself at the altar fires of living thought,” says Carlyle, and truthfully. A dull, sleepy drone, cold, passionless, has no business in a school-room. The fires of thought and feeling must burn brightly on the altar of the teacher's heart, or no answering glow will illumine those of his pupils. The predominating quality of his character must be intensity. His" thoughts must have a rapid, even flow; his emotions a lively play. His business is to teach immortal beings how to think rapidly and logically, and lead them to feel keenly and deeply. If he be too cold, too intellectual, too critical, he will repel instead of attracting. If he be too impulsive, too much under the control of his emotions, a morbid sentimentality will spread among his pupils, like an epidemic. Noble, manly natures grow up only under the nurturing care of nobleness and manliness."
Many engage in teaching thoughtlessly, without any previous self-examination whatever, without even questioning themselves to ascertain whether they are fitted, by nature or education, for their calling. They adopt the popular belief that almost any one can teach children. Though some give tolerable satisfaction as instructors, most of them fail as educators of the noblest elements of character, simply because they themselves are destitute of the very elements they vainly attempt to develop. They soon begin to dislike their employment, because they are all the time haunted by a painful consciousness of incapacity for the performance of its highest duties. To such we would say, “Quit the profession at once, or by a course of rigid self-discipline develop in yourselves what you know to be wanting. All makeshifts, such as assumed dignity, pretended erudition, will avail nothing. The world has grown too shrewd to be duped long by the mere semblance of worth. Your conduct, however guarded, will unmask