“Poor little pussy,” said she, “I am glad you have come. You never scratch any body, I am sure, if they are kind to you. Jennie will give you some milk some day, and she and I will like to see you lap it up with your pretty little tongue. And we will give you a ball to play with some day upon the carpet. See, Jennie, see! She is going to lie down upon the rug. She is glad that she has come to such a nice home. Now she is putting her head down, but she has not any pillow to lay it upon. Wouldn’t you like a pillow, kitty? Jennie will make you a pillow some day, I am sure, if you would like one. Jennie is beginning to learn to sew, and she could make you a nice pillow, and stuff it with cotton wool. Then we can see you lying down upon the rug, with the pillow under your head that Jennie will have made for you—all comfortable.”
Such a talk as this, though it could not be expected entirely and at once to dispel Jennie’s unfounded fears, would be far more effectual towards beginning the desired change than any arguments or reasoning could possibly be.
Any mother who will reflect upon the principle here explained will at once recall to mind many examples and illustrations of its power over the hearts and minds of children which her own experience has afforded. And if she begins practically and systematically to appeal to it, she will find herself in possession of a new element of power—new, at least, to her realization—the exercise of which will be as easy and agreeable to herself as it will be effective in its influence over her children.
SYMPATHY:—II. THE PARENT WITH THE CHILD.
I think there can be no doubt that the most effectual way of securing the confidence and love of children, and of acquiring an ascendency over them, is by sympathizing with them in their child-like hopes and fears, and joys and sorrows—in their ideas, their fancies, and even in their caprices, in all cases where duty is not concerned. Indeed, the more child-like, that is, the more peculiar to the children themselves, the feelings are that we enter into with them, the closer is the bond of kindness and affection that is formed.
If a gentleman coming to reside in a new town concludes that it is desirable that he should be on good terms with the boys in the streets, there are various ways by which he can seek to accomplish the end. Fortunately for him, the simplest and easiest mode is the most effectual. On going into the village one day, we will suppose he sees two small boys playing horse. One boy is horse, and the other driver. As they draw near, they check the play a little, to be more decorous in passing by the stranger. He stops to look at them with a pleased expression of countenance, and then says, addressing the driver, with a face of much seriousness, “That’s a first-rate horse of yours. Would you like to sell him? He seems to be very spirited.” The horse immediately begins to prance and caper. “You must have paid a high price for him. You must take good care of him. Give him plenty of oats, and don’t drive him hard when it is hot weather. And if ever you conclude to sell him, I wish you would let me know.”