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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 276 pages of information about Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young.
bowed down by the terrible burden of her bereavement, and wanders over the now desolated rooms which were the scenes of his infantile occupations and joys, and sees the now useless playthings and books, and the various objects of curiosity and interest with which he was so often and so busily engaged, there can, of course, be nothing which can really assuage her overwhelming grief; but it will make a vital difference in the character of this grief, whether the image of her boy, as it takes its fixed and final position in her memory and in her heart, is associated with recollections of docility, respectful regard for his mother’s wishes, and of ready and unquestioning submission to her authority and obedience to her commands; or whether, on the other hand, the picture of his past life, which is to remain forever in her heart, is to be distorted and marred by memories of outbreaks, acts of ungovernable impulse and insubordination, habitual disregard of all authority, and disrespectful, if not contemptuous, treatment of his mother.

There is a sweetness as well as a bitterness of grief; and something like a feeling of joy and gladness will spring up in the mother’s heart, and mingle with and soothe her sorrow, if she can think of her boy, when he is gone, as always docile, tractable, submissive to her authority, and obedient to her commands.  Such recollections, it is true, can not avail to remove her grief—­perhaps not even to diminish its intensity; but they will greatly assuage the bitterness of it, and wholly take away its sting.

CHAPTER IV.

GENTLE PUNISHMENT OF DISOBEDIENCE.

Children have no natural instinct of obedience to their parents, though they have other instincts by means of which the habit of obedience, as an acquisition, can easily be formed.

The true state of the case is well illustrated by what we observe among the lower animals.  The hen can call her chickens when she has food for them, or when any danger threatens, and they come to her.  They come, however, simply under the impulse of a desire for food or fear of danger, not from any instinctive desire to conform their action to their mother’s will; or, in other words, with no idea of submission to parental authority.  It is so, substantially, with many other animals whose habits in respect to the relation between parents and offspring come under human observation.  The colt and the calf follow and keep near the mother, not from any instinct of desire to conform their conduct to her will, but solely from love of food, or fear of danger.  These last are strictly instinctive.  They act spontaneously, and require no training of any sort to establish or to maintain them.

The case is substantially the same with children.  They run to their mother by instinct, when want, fear, or pain impels them.  They require no teaching or training for this.  But for them to come simply because their mother wishes them to come—­to be controlled, in other words, by her will, instead of by their own impulses, is a different thing altogether.  They have no instinct for that.  They have only a capacity for its development.

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