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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Family, People and Relationships

Children

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -


ChildrenCHILDREN. – It is a mistake to think that children love the parent less who maintain a proper authority over them. On the contrary, they respect them more. It is a cruel and unnatural selfishness that indulges children in a foolish and hurtful way. Parents are guides and counsellors to their children. As a guide in a foreign land, they undertake to pilot them safely through the shoals and quicksands of inexperience. If the guide allows his followers all the liberty they pleas; if, because they dislike the constraint of the narrow path of safety, he allows them to stray into holes and precipices that destroy them, to slake their thirst in brooks that poison them, to loiter in woods full of wild beasts of deadly herbs, can he be called a sure guide. And is it not the same with our children? They are as yet only in the preface, or as it were, in the first chapter of the book of life. We have nearly finished it, or are far advanced. – We must open the pages for these younger minds. If children see that their parents act from principle – that they do not find fault without reason – that they do not punish because personal offence is taken, but because the thing in itself is wrong – if they see that while they are resolutely but affectionately refused what is not good for them, there is a willingness to oblige them in all innocent matters – they will soon appreciate such conduct. If no attention is paid to the rational wishes – if no allowance is made for youthful spirits – if they are dealt with in a hard and unsympathising manner – the proud spirit will rebel, and the meek spirit be broken. Out stooping to amuse them, our condescending to make ourselves one in their plays and pleasures at suitable times, will lead them to know that it is not because we will not, but because we cannot attend to them, that at other times we refuse to do so. A pert or improper way of speaking ought never to be allowed. – Clever children are very apt to be pert, and if too much admired for it, and laughed at, become eccentric and disagreeable. It is often very difficult to check our own amusement, but their future welfare should be regarded more than our present entertainment. It should never be forgotten that they are tender plants committed to our fostering care, that every thoughtless word, or careless neglect may destroy a germ of immortality – “that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” – and that we must ever, like watchful husbandmen, be on our guard against it. It is indeed little that we can do in our own strength, but is we are conscientious performers of our part – if we earnestly commend them in faith and prayer to the fostering care of their Father in Heaven – to the tender love of Him, the Angel of whose presence goes before them, and who carries these limbs in his bosom – we may then go on our way rejoicing - for “He will never leave nor forsake those who trust in Him.”