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-bemoaning themselves under every little suffering, I have already taken notice. How to harden their tempers, and raise their courage, if we find them too much subject to fear, is farther to be considered. • True fortitude I take to be the quiet possession of a man's self, and an undisturbed doing his duty, whatever evil besets, or danger lies in his way. This there are so few men attain to, that we are not to expect it from children. But yet something may be done ; and a wise conduct, by insensible degrees, may carry them farther than one expects.
The neglect of this great care of them, whilst they are young, is the reason, perhaps, why there are so few that have this virtue, in its full latitude, when they are men. I should not say this in a nation so naturally brave as ours is, did I think, that true fortitude required nothing but courage in the field and a contempt of life in the face of an enemy, This, I confess, is not the least part of it, nor can be denied, the laurels and honours always justly due to the valour of those who venture their lives for their country. But yet this is not all: dangers attack us in other places besides the field of battle; and though death be the king of terrours, yet pain, disgrace, and poverty, have frightful looks, able to discompose most men, whom they seem ready to seize on: and there are those who contemn some of these, and yet are heartily frighted with the other. True fortitude is prepared for dangers of all kinds, and unmoved, whatsoever evil it be that threatens: I do not mean unmoved with any fear at all. Where danger shows itself, apprehension cannot, without stupidity, be wanting. Where danger is, sense of danger should be; and so much fear as should keep us awake, and excite our attention, industry, and vigolir; but not disturb the calm use of our reason, nor hinder the execution of what that dictates.
. The first step to get this noble and manly steadiness, is, what I have above mentioned, carefully to keep children from frights of all kinds, when they are young. Let not any fearful apprehensions be talked into them, nor terrible objects surprise them. This often so shat.ters and discomposes the spirits, that they never reco.ver it again; but during their whole life, upon the first suggestion, or appearance of any terrifying idea, are scattered and confounded; the body is enervated, and the mind disturbed, and the man scarce himself, or capable of any composed or rational action. Whether
this be from an habitual motion of the aniCowardice.
mal spirits, introduced by the first strong impression; or from the alteration of the constitution, by some more unaccountable way; this is certain, that so it is. Instances of such, who in a weak timorous mind have born, all their whole lives through, the effects of a fright when they were young, are every-where-to be seen ; and therefore, as much as may be, to be prevented.
The next thing is, by gentle degrees, to accustom children to those things they are too much afraid of. But here great caution is to be used, that you do not make too much haste, nor attempt this cure too early, for fear lest you increase the mischief instead of remedying it. Little ones in arms may be easily kept out of the way of terrifying objects, and till they can talk and understand what is said to them, are scarce capable of that reasoning and discourse, which should be used to let them know there is no harm in those frightful objects, which we would make them familiar with, and do, to that purpose, by gentle degrees, bring nearer and nearer to them. And therefore it is seldom there is need of any application to them of this kind, till after they can run about and talk. But yet, if it should happen, that infants should have taken offence at any thing which cannot be easily kept out of their way; and that they show marks of terrour, as often as it comes in sight; all the allays of fright, by diverting their thoughits, or mixing pleasant and agreeable appearances with it, must be used, till it be grown familiar and inoffensive to them. ,
I think we may observe, that when children are first born, all objects of sight, that do not hurt the eyes, are indifferent to them; and they are no more afraid of a blackamoor, or a lion, than of their nurse, or a cat. What is it then, that afterwards, in certain mixtures of shape and colour, comes to affright them? Nothing but the apprehensions of harm, that accompany those things. Did a child suck every day a new nurse, I make account it would be no more affrighted with the change of faces at six months old, than at sixty. The reason then, why it will not come to a stranger, is because, having been accustomed to receive its food and kind usage only from one or two that are about it, the child apprehends, by coming into the arms of a stranger, the being taken from what delights and feeds it, and every moment supplies its wants, which it often feels, and therefore fears when the nurse is away. · The only thing we naturally are afraid : of, is pain, or loss of pleasure. And be.""
Timorousness. cause these are not annexed to any shape, colour, or size of visible objects, we are frighted with none of them, till either we have felt pain from them, or have notions put into us, that they will do us harm. The pleasant brightness and lustre of flame and fire so delights children, that at first they always desire to be handling of it: but when constant experience has convinced them, by the exquisite pain it has put them to, how cruel and unmerciful it is, they are afraid to touch it, and care. fully avoid it. This being the ground of fear, it is not hard to find whence it arises, and how it is to be cured in all mistaken objects of terrour: and when the mind is confirmed against them, and has got a mastery over itself, and its usual fears in lighter occasions, it is in good preparation to meet more real dangers. Your child shrieks, and runs away at the sight of a frog, let another catch it, and lay it down at a good distance from him: at first accustom him to look upon it; when he can do that, then to come nearer to it, and see it leap without emotion; then to touch it lightly, when it is held fast in another's hand; and so on, till he can come to handle it as confidently as a butterfly, or a sparrow. By the same way any other vain terrours may be removed, if care be taken that you go not too fast, and push not the child on to a new degree of assurance, till he be thoroughly confirmed in the former. And thus the young soldier is to be trained on to the war: fare of life; wherein care is to be taken, that more things be not represented as dangerous, than really are So; and then, that whatever you observe him to be more frighted at than he should, you be sure to toll him on to, by insensible degrees, till he at last, quitting his fears, masters the difficulty, and comes off with applause. Successes of this kind, often repeated, will make him find, that evils are not always so certain, or, so great, as our fears represent them; and that the way to avoid them is not to run away, or be discomposed, dejected, and deterred by fear, where either our credit or duty requires us to go on.
But, since the great foundation of fear in *** children is pain, the way to harden and fortify children against fear and danger, is to accustom them to suffer pain. This, it is possible, will be thought, by kind parents, a very unnatural thing towards their children; and by most, unreasonable, to endeavour to reconcile any one to the sense of pain, by bringing it upon him. It will be said, it may perhaps give the child an aversion for him that makes him suffer ; but can never recommend to him suffering itself. This is a strange method. You will not have children whipped and punished for their faults; but you would have them tormented for doing well, or for tormenting's sake. I doubt not but such objections as these will be made, and I shall be thought inconsistent with myself, or fan, tastical, in proposing it. I confess, it is a thing to be managed with great discretion; and therefore it falls not out amiss, that it will not be received or relished, but by those who consider well, and look into the rea. son of things. I would not have children much beaten for their faults, because I would not have them think bodily pain the greatest punishment; and I would have them, when they do well, be sometimes put in pain, for the same reason, that they might be accustomed to bear it without looking on it as the greatest evil. How much education may reconcile young people to pain and sufferance, the examples of Sparta do sufficiently. show: and they who have once brought themselves not
to think bodily pain the greatest of evils, or that which they ought to stand most in fear of, have made no small advance towards virtue. But I am not so foolish to propose the Lacedæmonian discipline in our age or constitution : but yet I do say, thạt ipuring children geptly to suffer some degrees of pain without shrinking, is a way to gain firmness to their minds, and lay a foundation for courage and resolution in the future part of their lives in -- Not to bemnoan them, or permit them to bemoan themselves, on every little pain they suffer, is the first step to be made. But of this I have spoken elsewhere. : The next thing is, sometimes designedly to put them in pain; but cạre must be taken that this be done when the child is in good humour, and satisfied of the good. will and kindness of him that hurts him, at the time that he does it. There must no marks of anger or displeasure on the one side, nor compassion or repente ing on the other, go along with it; and it must be sure to be no more than the child can bear, without repining or taking it amiss, or for a punishment. Managed by these degrees, and with such circumstances, I have seep a child run away laughing, with good smart blows of a wand on his back, who would have cried for an unkiąd word, and have been very sensible of the chas, tişement of a cold look from the same person. Satisfy a child, by a constant course of your care and kind. ness, that you perfectly love him; and he may by de grees be accustomed to bear very painful and rough usage from you, without finching or complaining: and this we see children do every day, in playing one with another. The softer you find your child is, the more you are to seek occasions at fit times thus to harden him, The great art in this is to begin with what is but very little painful, and to proceed by insensible degrees, when you are playing and in good humour with him, and speaking well of him : and when you have once got him to think himself made amends for his suffering, by the praise given him for his courage; when he can take a pride in giving such marks of his manliness,