Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/428

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qualities, physical and moral, which their proper nurture and culture demand of the mother. The woman who is not called to he a mother may be called to he an aunt, and as such may have a large share in the education of children. We are not all called upon to rescue or resuscitate drowned persons; but most of us would willingly possess the knowledge necessary for such a purpose. It may be said, Why teach the duties of motherhood more than those of fatherhood? If so, the answer is, We should teach them more because they are more comprehensive than those of fatherhood, and because the relation between mother and child is so much closer than between father and child. But we fully recognize the necessity for teaching the duties of fatherhood also; and, when moral culture receives due attention in our schools, the duties which a father owes to his children will not be overlooked.

Meanwhile, however, let us consider the other and more important question. Surely it would be a most suitable thing to impress upon every girl of proper age the sacredness of the maternal function. How impressively might we apply to the expectation either of fatherhood or of motherhood the words, "He that hath this hope purifieth himself." What stronger argument for purity of life could be urged than that derivable from the duty of giving sound and cleanly parentage to one's offspring? Why are so many marriages unhappy? Mainly because they are entered upon without any thought of duty or responsibility, or any sense of the restraints upon individual caprice and impulse which are essential to subsequent happiness. It would not be difficult to show in a forcible manner the actual misery which ignorance or disregard of physiological laws entails not alone on the offenders but on their progeny as well. Passing to the important question of the hygiene of the nursery, there is much that could be taught on sure grounds of science; and the subject, in the hands of a competent teacher, could hardly fail to prove most interesting. What more satisfying object can there be to a normally constituted woman than a healthy, wellconditioned, intelligent child? The result of due instruction in matters pertaining to a mother's duties would be to make the mothers of the future happier in their children and the children happier in their mothers. It is science, as we more and more see, that is chiefly required in the household. It is the lessons of experience that need to be gathered, collated, sifted, systematized, and brought home to the minds of both fathers and mothers. We constantly hear of young couples who start off with theories of their own on the subject of the treatment of children, just as if there were no established principles available for their guidance. Surely this is folly: the very last matter to which wild experimentation should be applied is the bringing up of children; and we pity most sincerely the children whose parents think that it has been left for them to originate the true principles of child-education.

That thousands of children suffer from the over-indulgence of their parents and thousands more from their over-severity, does not admit of dispute. In any course of instruction such as we have hinted at a considerable place should be given to the psychology of the child, and a considerable place also to the commoner defects of parents. It is a wise mother that does not unduly stimulate the self-consciousness of her child, and thus lay the foundation for life-long habits of affectation. If clever children do not always make clever men and women, a partial reason may be found in the way they are commonly treated. They find grown-up people constantly on the watch to hear, and most industrious in repeating, their original speeches; and soon they exchange the gift of originality which consists in seeing and expressing things in an uncon-