Every young mother must derive from these considerations a motive to discourage all unnecessary waste of time in sleep; while no one, as I trust, will forget that to sleep too little is also dangerous to health, and prejudicial to the general happiness.
All children naturally early risers. Evils of sitting up late at night. Excitements in the evening. The morning, by its beauties, invites us abroad. Example of parents. Forbidding children to rise early. Keeping them out of the way. How many are burnt up by parental neglect. “Lecturing” them. What is an early hour?
Some writer—I do not recollect who—has said that all children are naturally early risers. And I cannot help coming to the same conclusion. That they are not so, is no more proved from the fact that as things now are they are generally found addicted to the contrary habit, than the very general neglect of milk among the higher classes of our citizens, proves that they have not a natural relish for it—when every one knows that at our first setting out in life, milk is, almost without exception, the sole article of human sustenance.
One of the great difficulties in the way of early rising, as I have already had occasion to say, is late sitting up. If children are not accustomed to retire till nine or ten o’clock, nor then until they have been subjected to all the excitements pertaining to fashionable life—company, heated and impure air, stimulating drink, fruits, high-seasoned food, and perhaps music—and are become actually feverish, no one but an ignorant person or a brute ought to expect them to rise early. Indeed, whatever may have been the cause, and whether it have operated on high or low life, late retiring will inevitably result in late rising. The current may be turned out of its course a little while, it is true, but not always. It will ere long return to its accustomed channel; perhaps to renew its course with increased pertinacity.
Everything, in the morning, naturally invites to early rising. The pleasant light, the music, at certain seasons, of some of the animated tribes, and the joy which we feel in activity, and in the society of those whom we love, all conspire to rouse us. If we have retired late, however, and especially in a feverish condition, so that when we wake we feel wretched, and, as sometimes happens, more fatigued than when we lay down, other collateral motives may be needed.
I have said that everything invites us, in the morning, to rise early; but it was upon the presumption that our parents, and brothers, and sisters set us a good example. If parents and other friends lie in bed late themselves, can anything else be, expected of children? Admitting, even, that they rise early themselves, if they never speak of early rising as a pleasure, and connect along with it, in their children’s minds, pleasant associations, they would be unreasonable to expect otherwise than that their children should cling to the morning couch, till they are fairly compelled to rise as a relief from pain and uneasiness.