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.
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.