Page:Home Education by Isaac Taylor (1838).djvu/40

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home education:

the felicity of childhood under circumstances the most a verse--or adverse in our view. Particular instances of ill health, ill treatment, or ill temper excepted, children ar as happy as the day is long, although grimed and grovelling about the gutters of the courts and lanes of London or Manchester: much more certainly are they happy--tattered, dirty, and, ruddy at the door of a hut on a common or road-side :--they are happy, more than might be believed in .the ce!,la or the garret of the artizan,. or in a jail or even in a poor-house ! 1Yay it must be granted by atentive and impartial observers, that the balance of jyousness would sometimes, and perhaps often, be on the side of children i. some of thee luckless positions if put in comparisor w'ah those who, with golden ringlets and brilllast skins make groups for the painter upon trim lawns, in front of sumptuous mansions; for it is true that while, on the one hand, the spontaneous happiness of childhood requires only to be defended from positive disturbance, on the other i.t may be curtailed, or totally dissipated, by an excessive and anxious' nterference, intended to promote it. The happiness of children is not a something to be procured and epared f6r them, like their daily food; but a some- thing which they .rur.rr rossrss, and with which we nee not concern ourse]-yes, any further than to see that they are not despoiled of it. This simple principle, i-f under* stood, trusted to, and constantly brought to bear upon the arrangements of a family, would at once relieve the minds of parents from an infinitude of superfluous cares. Those laws of the human mind whence the spontaneous felicity of childhood results, it may be well for a moment to advert to. It is common to say, or to assume that chil- dren derive the principal part of their enjoyments from the freshness and novelty of every thing that surrounds them; and that objects which have long ceased to awaken the slightest pleasurable emotion in the m.iod of the adult, giw