BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Vanity Fair

William Thackery


The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


Hints on child-training

by Henry Clay Trumbull

Excerpt:

Too many parents seem to take it for granted that because their children are by nature very timid and retiring, or very bold and forward; very extravagant in speech and manner, or quite disinclined to express even a dutiful sense of gratitude and trust; reckless in their generosity, or pitiably selfish; disposed to overstudy, or given wholly to

play; one-sided in this, or in that, or in the other, trait or quality or characteristic,—therefore those children must remain so; unless, indeed, they outgrow their faults, or are induced by wise counsel and loving entreaty to overcome them.

"My boy is irrepressible," says one father. "He is full of dash and spirits. He makes havoc in the house while at home; and when he goes out to a neighbor's he either has things his own way, or he doesn't want to go there again. I really wish he had a quieter nature; but, of course, I can't change him. I have given him a great many talks about this; and I hope he will outgrow the worst of it. Still he is just what he is, and punishing him wouldn't make him anybody else." A good mother, on the other hand, is exercised because her little son is so bashful that he is always mortifying her before strangers. He will put his finger in his mouth, and hang down his head, and twist one foot over the other, and refuse to shake hands, or to answer the visitor's " How do you do, my boy?" or even to say, " I thank you," with distinctness, when anything is given to him. And the same trouble is found with the tastes as with the temperaments of children. One is always ready to hear stories read or told, but will not sit quiet and look at pictures, or use a slate and pencil. Another, a little older, will devour books of travel or adventure, but has no patience with a simple story of home life, or a book of instruction in matters of practical fact.

Now it is quite inevitable that children should have these peculiarities; but it is not inevitable that they should continue to exhibit them offensively. Children can be trained in almost any direction. Their natural tendencies may be so curbed and guided as no longer to show themselves in disagreeable prominence. It is a parent's privilege, and it is a parent's duty, to make his children, by God's blessing, to be and to do what they should be and do, rather than what they would like to be and do. If indeed this were not so, a parent's mission would be sadly limited in scope, and diminished in importance and preciousness. The parent who does not recognize the possibility of training his children as well as instructing them, misses one of his highest privileges as a parent, and fails of his most important work for his children.

The skilled physician in charge of a certain institution for the treatment of feeble-minded and imperfectly developed children, has said, that some children who are brought to him are lacking in just one important trait or quality, while they possess a fair measure of every other. Or it may be said, that they have an excess of the trait or quality opposite to that which they lack.

One girl, for example, will be wholly without a sense of honesty; will even be possessed with a love of stealing for stealing's sake, carrying it to such an extent that when seated at the table she will snatch a ball of butter from a plate, and wrap it up in a fold of her dress. If she should be unchecked in this propensity until she were a grown woman, she might prove one of the fashionable ladies who take books or dry goods from the stores where they are shopping, under the influence of "kleptomania."

Again, a boy has no sense of truth. He will tell lies without any apparent temptation to do so, even against his own obvious interests. All of us have seen persons of this sort in mature life. Some of them are to-day in places of prominence in Christian work and influence. Yet another child is without any sense of reverence, or of modesty, or of natural affection. One lacks all control of his temper, another of his nerves. And so on in great variety.


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