Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 276 pages of information about Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young.

THE ART OF TRAINING.

It is very clear that the most simple and the most obvious of the modes by which a parent may establish among his children the habit of submission to his authority, are those which have been already described, namely, punishments and rewards—­punishments, gentle in their character, but invariably enforced, as the sure results of acts of insubordination; and rewards for obedience, occasionally and cautiously bestowed, in such a manner that they may be regarded as recognitions simply, on the part of the parent, of the good conduct of his children, and expressions of his gratification, and not in the light of payment or hire.  These are obviously the most simple modes, and the ones most ready at hand.  They require no exalted or unusual qualities on the part of father or mother, unless, indeed, we consider gentleness, combined with firmness and good sense, as an assemblage of rare and exalted qualities.  To assign, and firmly and uniformly to enforce, just but gentle penalties for disobedience, and to recognize, and sometimes reward, special acts of obedience and submission, are measures fully within the reach of every parent, however humble may be the condition of his intelligence or his attainments of knowledge.

Another Class of Influences.

There is, however, another class of influences to be adopted, not as a substitute for these simple measures, but in connection and co-operation with them, which will be far more deep, powerful, and permanent in their results, though they require much higher qualities in the parent for carrying them successfully into effect.  This higher method consists in a systematic effort to develop in the mind of the child a love of the principle of obedience, by express and appropriate training.

Parents not aware of the Extent of their Responsibility.

Many parents, perhaps indeed nearly all, seem, as we have already shown, to act as if they considered the duty of obedience on the part of their children as a matter of course.  They do not expect their children to read or to write without being taught; they do not expect a dog to fetch and carry, or a horse to draw and to understand commands and signals, without being trained.  In all these cases they perceive the necessity of training and instruction, and understand that the initiative is with them.  If a horse, endowed by nature with average good qualities, does not work well, the fault is attributed at once to the man who undertook to train him.  But what mother, when her child, grown large and strong, becomes the trial and sorrow of her life by his ungovernable disobedience and insubordination, takes the blame to herself in reflecting that he was placed in her hands when all the powers and faculties of his soul were in embryo, tender, pliant, and unresisting, to be formed and fashioned at her will?

The Spirit of filial Obedience not Instinctive.

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Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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