Imatges de pÓgina


40. 2. On the other side, if the mind be curbed and humbled too much in children; if their spirits be abased and broken much, by too strict a hand over them, they lose all their vigor and industry, and are in a worse state than the former. For extravagant young fellows, that have liveliness and spirit, come sometimes to be set right, and so make able and great men; but dejected minds, timorous and tame, and low spirits, are hardly ever to be raised, and very seldom attain to any thing. To avoid the danger that is on either hand is the great art, and he that has found a way how to keep up a child's spirit, easy, active, and free, and yet, at the same time, to restrain him from many things he has a mind to, and to draw him to many that are uneasy to him; he, I say, that knows how to reconcile these seeming contradictions, has, in my opinion, got the true secret of education.


41. The usual lazy and short way, chastisement, and the rod, which is the only instrument of government that tutors generally know, or ever think of, is the most unfit of any to be used in education; because it tends to both those mischiefs; which, as we have shown, are the Scylla and Charybdis, which on the one hand or the other, ruin all that miscarry.

42. 1. This kind of punishment contributes not at all to the mastery of our natural propensity to indulge corporal and present pleasure, and to avoid pain at any rate; but rather encourages it; and thereby strengthens that in us, which is the root from whence spring all vicious actions, and the irregularities of life. From what other motive, but of sensual pleasure and pain, does a child act, who drudges at his book against his inclination, or abstains from eating uuwholesome fruit, that he takes pleasure in, only out of fear of whipping ? He in this only prefers the greater corporal pleasure, or avoids the greater corporal pain. And what is it to govern his actions, and direct his conduct by such motives as these? What is it, I say, but to cherish that principle in him, which it is our business to root out and destroy? And, therefore, I can not think any correction useful to a child, where the shame of suffering for having done amiss, does not work more upon him, than the pain.

43. 2. This sort of correction naturally breeds an aversion to that, which it is the tutor's business to create a liking to. How obvious is it to observe, that children come to hate things which were at first acceptable to them, when they find themselves whipped, and chid, and teased about them? And it is not to be wondered at in them; when grown men would not be reconciled to any thing by such ways. Who is there that would not be disgusted with any innocent recreation, in itself indifferent to him, if he should with blows, or ill language be hauled to it, when he had no mind? or be constantly so treated, for some circumstance, in his application to it? This is natural to be so. Offensive circumstances ordinarily infect innocent things, which they are joined with. And the very sight of a cup, wherein any one uses to take nauseous physic, turns his stomach; so that nothing will relish well out of it, though the cup be ever so clean, and well shaped, and of the richest materials.

44. 3. Such a sort of slavish discipline makes a slavish temper. The child submits, and dissembles obedience, whilst the fear of the rod hangs over him; but when that is removed, and by being out of sight, he can promise himself impunity, he gives the greater scope to his natural inclination; which by this way is not at all altered, but on the contrary heightened and increased in him; and after such restraint, breaks out usually with the more violence; or,

45. 4. If severity carried to the highest pitch does prevail, and works a cure upon the present unruly distemper, it is often bringing in the room of it, worse and more dangerous disease, by breaking the mind, and then in the place of a disorderly young fellow, you have a low-spirited, moped creature: who, however, with his unnatural sobriety he may please silly people, who commend tame, inactive children, because they make no noise, nor give them any trouble; yet, at last, will probably prove as uncomfortable a thing to his friends, as he will be, all his life, a useless thing to himself and others.

REWARDS. 46. Beating, then, and all other sorts of slavish and corporal punishments, are not the discipline fit to be used in the education of those who would have wise, good, and ingenuous men; and, therefore, very rarely to be applied, and that only in great occasions, and cases of extremity. On the other side, to flatter children by rewards of things, that are pleasant to them, is as carefully to be avoided. He that will give to his son apples, sugar-plums, or what else, of this kind, he is most delighted with, to make him learn his book, does but authorize his love of pleasure, and cocker up that dangerous propensity, which he ought by all means to subdue and stifle in him. You can never hope to teach him to master it, whilst you compound for the check you give his inclination in one place, by the satisfaction you propose to it in another. To make a good, a wise, and a virtuous man, it is fit he should learn to cross his appetite, and deny his inclination to riches, finery, or pleasing his palate, &c., whenever his reason advises the contrary, and his duty requires it. But when you draw him to do any thing that is fit, by the offer of money; or reward the pains of learning his book, by the pleasure of a luscious morsel ; when you promise him a lace cravat, or a fine new suit, upon the peformance of some of his little tasks; what do you by proposing these as rewards, but allow them to be the good things he should aim at, and thereby encourage his longing for them, and accustom him to place his happiness in them? Thus people, to prevail with children to be industrious about their grammar, dancing, or some other such matter, of no great moment to the happiness or usefulness of their lives, by misapplied rewards and punishments sacrifice their virtue, invert the order of their education, and teach them luxury, pride, or covetousness, &c. For in this way, flattering those wrong inclinations, which they should restrain and suppress, they lay the foundations of those future vices, which can not be avoided, but by -curbing our desires, and accustoming them early to submit to reason.

47. I say not this, that I would have children kept from the conveniences or pleasures of life, that are not injurious to their health or virtue: on the contrary, I would have their lives made as pleasant, and as agreeable to them, as may be in a plentiful enjoyment of whatsoever might innocently delight them: provided it be with this caution, that they have those enjoyments, only as the consequences of the state of esteem and acceptation they are in with their parents and governors; but they should never be offered or bestowed on them, as the reward of this or that particular performance that they show an aversion to, or to which they would not have applied themselves without that temptation.

48. But if you take away the rod on one hand, and these little encourage

ments, which they are taken with, on the other, how then, (will you say,) shall children be governed ? Remove hope and fear, and there is an end of all discipline. I grant that good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature; these are the spur and reins, whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided, and, therefore, they are to be made use of to children too. For I advise their parents and governors always to carry this in their minds, that children are to be treated as rational creatures.

49. Rewards, I grant, and punishments must be proposed to children, if we intend to work upon them. The mistake I imagine, is, that those that are generally made use of, are ill chosen. The pains and pleasures of the body are, I think, of ill consequence, when made the rewards and punishments, whereby men would prevail on their children: for as I said before, they serve but to increase and strengthen those inclinations which it is our business to subdue and master. What principle of virtue do you lay in a child, if you will redeem his desires of one pleasure, by the proposal of another? This is but to enlarge his appetite, and instruct it to wander. If a child cries for an unwholesome and dangerous fruit, you purchase his quiet by giving him a less hurtful sweet meat. This perhaps may preserve his health ; but spoils his mind, and sets that farther out of order. For here you only change the object; but flatter still his appetite, and allow that must be satisfied; wherein, as I have showed, lies the root of the mischief: and till you bring him to be able to bear a denial of that satisfaction, the child may at present be quiet and orderly, but the disease is not cured. By this way of proceeding you foment and cherish in him, that which is the spring from whence all the evil flows, which will be sure on the next occasion to break again out with more violence, give him stronger longings, and you more trouble.


50. The rewards and punishments, then, whereby we should keep children in order, are quite of another kind; and of that force, that when we can get them once to work, the business, I think, is done, and the difficulty is over. Esteem and disgrace are, of all others, the most powerful incentives to the mind, when once it is brought to relish them. If you can once get into children a love of credit, and an apprehension of shame and disgrace, you have put into them the true principle, which will constantly work, and incline them to the right. But it will be asked, how shall this be done?

I confess, it does not, at first appearance, want some difficulty; but yet I think it worth our while to seek the ways (and practice them when found) to attain this, which I look on as the great secret education. 51. First

, children (earlier perhaps than we think) are very sensible of praise and commendation. They find a pleasure in being esteemed and valued, especially by their parents, and those whom they depend on. If, therefore, the father caress and commend them, when they do well; show a cold and neglectful countenance to them upon doing ill; and this accompanied by a like carriage of the mother, and all others that are about them, it will in a little time make them sensible of the difference, and this if constantly observed, I doubt not but will of itself work more than threats or blows, which lose their force, when once grown common, and are of no use when shame does not attend them, and therefore are to be forborne, and never to be used but in the case hereafter men. tioned, when it is brought to extremity.

52. But, secondly, to make the sense of esteem or disgrace sink the deeper, and be of the more weight, other agreeable or disagreeable things should con, stantly accompany these different states; not as particular rewards and punishments of this or that particular action, but as necessarily belonging to, and constantly attending one, who by his carriage has brought himself into a state of disgrace or commendation. By which way of treating them, children may as much as possible be brought to conceive, that those that are commended and in esteem for doing well, will necessarily be beloved and cherished by every body, and have all other good things as a consequence of it; and, on the other side, when any one by miscarriage falls into digesteem, and cares not to preserve his credit, he will unavoidably fall under neglect and contempt; and, in that state, the want of whatever might satisfy or delight him, will follow. In this way the objects of their desires are made assisting to virtue; when a settled experience from the beginning teaches children, that the things they delight in, belong to, and are to be enjoyed by those only, who are in a state of reputation. If by these means you can come once to shame them out of their faults, (for besides that, I would willingly have no punishment,) and make them in love with the pleasure of being well thought on, you may turn them as you please, and they will be in love with all the ways of virtue.

53. The great difficulty here is, I imagine, from the folly and perverseness of servants, who are hardly to be hindered from crossing herein the design of the father and mother. Children, discountenanced by their parents for any fault, find usually a refuge and relief in the caresses of those foolish flatterers, who thereby undo whatever the parents endeavor to establish. When the father or mother looks sour on the child, every body else should put on the same coldness to him, and nobody give him countenance, till forgiveness asked, and a reformation of his fault, has set him right again, and restored him to his former credit. If this were constantly observed, I guess there would be little need of blows or chiding: their own ease and satisfaction would quickly teach children to court commendation, and avoid doing that which they found every body condemned, and they were sure to suffer for, without being chid or beaten. This would teach them modesty and shame; and they would quickly come to have a natural abhorrence for that which they found made them slighted and neglected by every body. But how this inconvenience from servants is to be remedied, I must leave to parents' care and consideration. Only I think it of great importance, and that they are very happy, who can get discreet people about their children.

54. Frequent beating or chiding is therefore carefully to be avoided, because this sort of correction never produces any good, farther than it serves to raise shame and abhorrence of the miscarriage that brought it on them. And if the greatest part of the trouble be not the sense that they have done amiss, and the apprehension that they have drawn on themselves the just displeasure of their best friends, the pain of whipping will work but an imperfect cure. It only patches up for the present, and skins it over, but reaches not to the bottom of the sore. Ingenuous shame, and the apprehension of displeasure, are the only true restraints; these alone ought to hold the reins, and keep the child in order. But corporal punishments must necessarily lose that effect, and wear out the sense of shame, where they frequently return. Shame in children has the same place that modesty has in women, which can not be kept, and often transgressed against. And as to the apprehension of displeasure in the parents, they will come to be insignificant, if the marks of that displeasure quickly cease, and a few blows fully expiate. Parents should well consider what faults in their children are weighty enough to deserve the declaration of their anger; but when their displeasure is once declared to a degree that carries any punishment with it, they ought not presently to lay by the severity of their brows, but to restore their children to their former grace with some difficulty, and delay a full reconciliation till their conformity, and more than ordinary merit, make good their amendment. If this be not so ordered, punishment will by familiarity become a mere thing of course, and lose all its influence; offending being chastised, and then forgiven, will be thought as natural and necessary as noon, night, and morning, following one another.

55. Concerning reputation, I shall only remark this one thing more of it; that, though it be not the true principle and measure of virtue, (for that is the knowledge of a man's duty, and the satisfaction it is to obey his Maker, in following the dictates of that light God has given him, with the hopes of acceptation and reward,) yet it is that which comes nearest to it, and being the testimony and applause that other people's reason, as it were, by a common consent, gives to virtuous and well-ordered actions, it is the proper guide and encouragement of children, till they grow able to judge for themselves, and to find what is right by their own reason.

56. This consideration may direct parents how to manage themselves in reproving and commending their children. The rebukes and chiding which their faults will sometimes make hardly to be avoided, should not only be in sober, grave, and unpassionate words, but also alone and in private; but the commendations children deserve they should receive before others. This doubles the reward, by spreading their praise; but the backwardness parents show in divulging their faults, will make them set a greater value on their credit themselves, and teach them to be the more careful to preserve the good opinion of others, whilst they think they have it; but when, being exposed to shame, by publishing their miscarriages, they give it up for lost, that check upon them is taken off, and they will be the less careful to preserve others' good thoughts of them, the more they suspect that their reputation with them is already blemished.


57. But if a right course be taken with children, there will not be so much need of the application of the common rewards and punishments as we imagined, and as the general practice has established. For all their innocent folly, playing and childish actions, are to be left perfectly free and unrestrained, as far as they can consist with the respect due to those that are present, and that with the greatest allowance. If these faults of their age, rather than of the children themselves, were, as they should be, left only to time and imitation, and riper years to cure, children would escape a great deal of misapplied and useless correction, which either fails to overpower the natural disposition of their childhood, and so, by an ineffectual familiarity, makes correction in other necessary cases of less use; or else if it be of force to restrain the natural gayety of that age, it serves only to spoil the temper both of body and mind. If the noise and bustle of their play prove at any time inconvenient, or unsuitable to the

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