“For myself, soon after I took my kindergarten training, which I did with three babies creeping and playing about the schoolroom, I read George Meredith’s ‘Ordeal of Richard Feveril’ (referred to on p. 33, Part I) and felt that that book was an excellent counter-balance, saving me, in the nick of time, from imposing any system, however perfect, upon my children. Perhaps you will enjoy reading it, too.”
THE EMOTIONAL APPEAL
“Doing right from love of parent may easily become too strong a factor and too much reliance may be placed upon it. There are few dangers in child training more real than the danger of over working the emotional appeal. You do not wish your child to form the habit of working for approval, do you?”
THE FOOD QUESTION
“The food question can be met in less direct ways with your young baby. No food but that which is good for him need be seen. It is seldom good to have so young a child come to the family table. It is better he would have his own meals, so that he is satisfied with proper foods before the other appears. Or, if he must eat when you do, let him have a little low table to himself, spread with his own pretty little dishes and his own chair, with perhaps a doll for companion or playmate. From this level he cannot see or be tempted by the viands on the large table; yet, if his table is near your chair you can easily reach and serve him. It is a real torment to a young child to see things he must not touch or eat, and it is a perfectly unnecessary source of trouble.
“My four children ate at such a low table till the oldest was eight years old, when he was promoted to our table, and the others followed in due order.”
“What a wonderful reader you were as a child! and certainly the books you mention were far beyond you. Yet I can not quite agree that the habit of air-castle building is pernicious. Indeed I believe in it. It needs only to be balanced by practical effort, directed towards furnishing an earthly foundation for the castle. Build, then, as high and splendid as you like, and love them so hard that you are moved to lay a few stones on the solid earth as a beginning of a more substantial structure; and some day you may wake to find some of your castles coming true. Those practical foundation stones underlying a tremendous tower of idealism have a genuine magic power. Build all you like about your baby, for instance. Think what things Mary pondered in her heart.
“No, I’m never worried about idealism except when it is contented with itself and makes but little effort at outward realization. But the fact that you are taking this course proves that you will work to realize your ideals.
“I don’t think it very bad either to read to ‘kill time.’ Though if you go on having a family, you won’t have any time to kill in a very little while. But do read on when you can, otherwise you may be shut in, first you know, to too small a world, and a mother needs to draw her own nourishment from all the world, past and present.”