So saying, she led the way on tiptoe, followed by the children out of the room, and round by a circuitous route to the piazza.
“There!” said she, pointing to the playthings; “see! all your playthings left out! Put them away quick before Andella and Rosalie see them. I would not have them know that their mothers leave their playthings about in that way for any consideration. They would think that they might do so too, and that would make you a great deal of trouble. You teach them, I have no doubt, that they must always put their playthings away, and they must see that you set them a good example. Put these playthings all away quick, and carefully, and we will not let them know any thing about your leaving them out.”
So the children went to work with great alacrity, and put the playthings all away. And this method of treating the case was much more effectual in making them disposed to avoid committing a similar fault another time than any direct rebukes or expressions of displeasure addressed personally to them would have been.
Besides, a scolding would have made them unhappy, and this did not make them unhappy at all; it amused and entertained them. If you can lead children to cure themselves of their faults in such a way that they shall have a good time in doing it, there is a double gain.
In due time, by this kind of management, and by other modes conceived and executed in the same spirit, Bella gained so great an ascendency over the children that they were far more ready to conform to her will, and to obey all her directions, than they would have been to submit to the most legitimate authority that was maintained, as such authority too often is, by fault-finding and threats, and without any sympathy with the fancies and feelings which reign over the hearts of the children in the little world in which they live.
SYMPATHY:—1. THE CHILD WITH THE PARENT.
The subject of sympathy between children and parents is to be considered in two aspects: first, that of the child with the parent; and secondly, that of the parent with the child. That is to say, an emotion may be awakened in the child by its existence and manifestation in the parent, and secondly, it may be awakened in the parent by its existence in the child.
We are all ready to acknowledge in words the great power and influence of sympathy, but very few are aware how very vast this power is, and how inconceivably great is the function which this principle fulfills in the formation of the human character, and in regulating the conduct of men.
Mysterious Action of the Principle of Sympathy.
There is a great mystery in the nature of it, and in the manner of its action. This we see very clearly in the simplest and most striking material form of it—the act of gaping. Why and how does the witnessing of the act of gaping in one person, or even the thought of it, produce a tendency to the same action in the nerves and muscles of another person? When we attempt to trace the chain of connection through the eye, the brain, and the thoughts—through which line of agencies the chain of cause and effect must necessarily run—we are lost and bewildered.