Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

$ 127. If you have not hold enough upon him this . way, to stir up vigour and activity in him, you must employ him in some constant bodily labour, whereby he may get an habit of doing something: the keeping him hard to some study, were the better way to get him an habit of exercising and applying his mind. But, because this is an invisible attention, and nobody can tell when he is, or is not idle at it, you must find bodily employments for him, which he must be con. stantly busied in, and kept to; and, if they have some little hardship and shame in them, it may not be the worse, that they may the sooner weary him, and make him desire to return to his book : but be sure, when you exchange his book for his other labour, set him such a task, to be done in such a time, as may allow him no opportunity to be idle. Only, after you have by this way brought him to be attentive and industrious at his book, you may, upon his dispatching his study within the time set him, give him, as a reward, some respite from his other labour; which you may diminish, as you find him grow more and more steady in his application; and, at last, wholly take off, when his sauntering at his book is cured.

$ 128. We formerly observed, that variety Compulsion. a

on. and freedom was that which delighted child. ren, and recommended their plays to them; and that therefore their book, or any thing we would have them learn, should not be enjoined them as business. This their parents, tutors, and teachers, are apt to forget ; and their impatience to have them busied in what is fit for them to do, suffers them not to deceive them into it: but, by the repeated injunctions they meet with, children quickly distinguish between what is required of them, and what not. When this mistake has once made his book uneasy to him, the cure is to be applied at the other end. And since it will be then too late to endeavour to make it a play to him, you must take the contrary course; observe what play he is most delighted with ; enjoin that, and make him play so many hours every day, not as a punishment for playing, but as if it

were the business required of him. This, if I mistake not, will, in a few days, make him so weary of his most beloved sport, that he will prefer his book, or any thing, to it, especially if it may redeem him from any part of the task of play is set him; and he may be suffered to employ some part of the time destined to his task of play in his book, or such other exercise as is really use. ful to him. This I at least think a better cure than that forbidding (which usually increases the desire) or any other punishment should be made use of to remedy it; for, when you have once glutted his appetite, (which may safely be done in all things but eating and drinking,) and made him surfeit of what you would have him avoid, you have put into him a principle of aversion, and you need not so much fear afterwards his .. longing for the same thing again.

§ 129. This, I think, is sufficiently evident, that children generally hate to be idle: all the care then is, that their busy humour should be constantly employed in something of use to them; which if you will attain, you must make what you would have them do, a recreation to them, and not a business. The way to do this, so that they may not perceive you have any hand in it, is this proposed here, viz. to make them weary of that which you would not have them do, by enjoining and making them, under some pretence or other, do it till they are surfeited. For example; Does your son play at top and scourge too much? Enjoin him to play so many hours every day, and look that he do it; and you shall see he will quickly be sick of it, and willing to leave it. By this means, making the recreations you dislike, a business to him, he will of him. self, with delight, betake himself to those things you would have him do, especially if they be proposed as rewards for having performed his task in that play which is commanded him. For, if he be ordered every day to whip his top, so long as to make him sufficiently weary, do you not think he will apply himself with eagerness to his book, and wish for it, if you promise it him as a reward of having whipped his top lustily, quite out all the time that is set him? Children, in the things

they do, if they comport with their age, find little difference, so they may be doing: the esteem they have for one thing above another, they borrow from others; so that what those about them make to be a reward to them, will really be so. By this art, it is in their go, vernor's choice, whether scotch-hoppers shall reward their dancing, or dancing their scotch-hoppers; whether peg-top, or reading, playing at trap, or studying the globes, shall be more acceptable and pleasing to them; all that they desire being to be busy, and busy, as they imagine, in things of their own choice, and which they receive as favours from their parents, or others for whom they have a respect, and with whom they would be in credit: A set of children thus or, dered, and kept from the ill example of others, would, all of them, I suppose, with as much earnestness and delight, learn to read, write, and what else one would have them, as others do their ordinary plays; and the eldest being thus entered, and this made the fashion of the place, it would be as impossible to hinder them from learning the one, as it is ordinarily to keep them from the other.

$ 130. Play-things, I think, children We should have, and of divers sorts; but still to be in the custody of their tutors, or somebody else, whereof the child should have in his power but one at once, and should not be suffered to have another, but when he restored that : this teaches them, betimes, to be careful of not losing or spoiling the things they have; whereas plenty and variety, in their own keeping, makes them wanton and careless, and teaches them from the beginning to be squanderers and wasters. These, I confess, are little things, and such as will seem beneath the care of a governor; but nothing that may form children's minds is to be overlooked and neglected ; and whatsoever introduces habits, and sets tles customs in them, deserves the care and attention of their governors, and is not a small thing in its consequences.

One thing more about children's play-things may be worth their parent's care: though it be agreed they

tharning the would be as imand this madePlays; and

should have of several sorts, yet, I think, they should have none bought for them. This will hinder that great variety they are often overcharged with, which serves only to teach the mind to wander after change and superfluity, to be unquiet, and perpetually stretching itself after something more still, though it knows not what, and never to be satisfied with what it hath. The court that is made to people of condition in such kind of presents to their children, does the little ones great harm; by it they are taught pride, vanity, and covetousness, almost before they can speak; and I have known a young child so distracted with the number and yariety of his play-games, that he tired his maid every day to look them over; and was so accustomed to abundance, that he never thought he had enough, but was always asking, What more? What more? What new thing shall I have? A good introduction to moderate desires, and the ready way to make a contented happy man !

How then shall they have the play-games you allow them, if none must be bought for them? I answer, they should make them themselves, or at least endea. your it, and set themselves about it; till then they should have none, and till then, they will want none of any great artifice. A smooth pebble, a piece of paper, the mother's bunch of keys, or any thing they cannot hurt themselves with, serves as much to divert little children, as those more chargeable and curious toys from the shops, which are presently put out of order and broken. Children are never dull or out of humour for want of such play-things, unless they have been used to them: when they are little, whatever occurs serves the turn; and as they grow bigger, if they are not stored by the expensive folly of others, they will make them themselves. Indeed, when they once begin to set themselves to work about any of their inventions, they should be taught and assisted; but should have nothing whilst they lazily sit still, expecting to be furnished from other hands without employing their own: and if you help them where they are at a stand, it will more endear you to them, than any chargeable toys you shall buy for them. Play-things which are above their skill to make, as tops, gigs, battledores, and the like, which are to be used with labour, should, indeed, be procured them : these, it is convenient, they should have, not for variety, but exercise; but these, too, should be given them as bare as might be. If they had a top, the scourge-stick and leather-strap should be left to their own making and fitting. If they sit gaping to have such things drop into their mouths, they should go without them. This will accustom them to seek for what they want in themselves, and in their own endeavours; whereby they will be taught modera. tion in their desires, application, industry, thought, contrivance, and good husbandry ; qualities that will be useful to them when they are men, and therefore cannot be learned too soon, nor fixed too deep. All the plays and diversions of children should be directed towards good and useful habits, or else they will introduce ill ones. Whatever they do, leaves some impression on that tender age, and from thence they receive a tendency to good or evil: and whatever hath such an influence, ought not to be neglected.

§ 131. Lying is so ready and cheap a cover Lying.

for any miscarriage, and so much in fashion amongst all sorts of people, that a child can hardly avoid observing the use is made of it on all occasions, and so can scarce be kept, without great care, from getting into it. But it is so ill a quality, and the mo. ther of so many ill ones, that spawn from it, and take shelter under it, that a child should be brought up in the greatest abhorrence of it imaginable: it should be always (when occasionally it comes to be mentioned) spoken of before him with the utmost detestation, as a quality so wholly inconsistent with the name and character of a gentleman, that nobody of any credit can bear the imputation of a lye; a mark that is judged the utmost disgrace, which debases a man to the lowest degree of a shameful meanness, and ranks him with the most contemptible part of mankind, and the abhorred rascality; and is not to be endured in any one, who would converse with people of condition, or have any

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »