Water the rose, put it in the sun, keep the insect enemies away, and then enjoy it for itself. Give the child everything that is consistent with its best growth, but neither force the growth nor limit it; and stand far enough off to see the individuality, to enjoy it and profit by it. Use the child’s imagination to calm and strengthen it; give it happy channels for its activity; guide it physically to the rhythm of fresh air, nourishment, and rest; then do not interfere.
If the man never turns to thank you for such guidance, because it all came as a matter of course, a wholesome, powerful nervous system will speak thanks daily with more eloquence than any words could ever express.
As far as we make circumstances guides and not limitations, they serve us. Otherwise, we serve them, and suffer accordingly. Just in proportion, too, to our allowing circumstances to be limits do we resist them. Such resistance is a nervous strain which disables us physically, and of course puts us more in the clutches of what appears to be our misfortune. The moment we begin to regard every circumstance as an opportunity, the tables are turned on Fate, and we have the upper hand of her.
When we come to think of it, how much common-sense there is in making the best of every “opportunity,” and what a lack of sense in chafing at that which we choose to call our limitations! The former way is sure to bring a good result of some sort, be it ever so small; the latter wears upon our nerves, blinds our mental vision, and certainly does not cultivate the spirit of freedom in us.
How absurd it would seem if a wounded man were to expose his wound to unnecessary friction, and then complain that it did not heal! Yet that is what many of us have done at one time or another, when prevented by illness from carrying out our plans in life just as we had arranged. It matters not whether those plans were for ourselves or for others; chafing and fretting at their interruption is just as absurd and quite as sure to delay our recovery. “I know,” with tears in our eyes, “I ought not to complain, but it is so hard,” To which common-sense may truly answer: “If it is hard, you want to get well, don’t you? Then why do you not take every means to get well, instead of indulging first in the very process that will most tend to keep you ill?” Besides this, there is a dogged resistance which remains silent, refuses to complain aloud, and yet holds a state of rigidity that is even worse than the external expression. There are many individual ways of resisting. Each of us knows his own, and knows, too, the futility of it; we do not need to multiply examples.