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THE MICROCOS M.

VOL. I.

MAY, 1835.

No. 8.

DECEPTION TOWARDS CHILDREN.

The influence of example is so powerful, that we may well nigh despair of success in any reform, where example as well as precept is not enlisted on the right side. One of the earliest faults which parents are called upon to correct in their children is deceit. In correcting this propensity and instill. ing the love of truth, perhaps more direct effort is used, and more injunctions laid down, than in the establishment of any other principle of action. Yet we have been led to fear that parents are very unmindful of many of the causes which make their efforts frequently so unavailing. While they are laboring on the one hand to build up a fair fabric of truth and integrity in the characters of their children, they are on the other destroying it by practices directly at variance with their instructions. Parents are shocked and grieved by the discovery of falsehood and deceit in their children ; but they lose sight of many things in their own conduct which have a tendency to degrade and confound the principle of truth in the minds of their children, so as to destroy its power and efficiency. All that class of deceptions used in managing children when very young is of this nature:-such as promises of punishment or reward that are never intended to be fulfilled—extravagancies of expression which have no foundation in reason or truth. Many sensible and pious parents indulge these practices to a most pernicious extent. They are indulged from a thoughtlessness of their tendency, and an insensibility to their effects. Nothing is more common than to hear children threatened with unnatural punishment for some trifling offense :-such as being deserted by their parents, or given to some monster, whom they have been taught to dread. Children are often induced to retain their food, by the threat of having it given to the dog, or thrown into the street. Thus teaching them not only deceit, but the sin of wasting their food, or of retaining it on principles of opposition and selfishness. A father and mother journeying in a stage with a little daughter, between two and three years old, on the child's becoming a little restless and refractory, threatened to throw her from the stage door and drive on without her. In many other respects these were remarkably wise and judicious parents. So long as the child believes these threats, it is impossible for the parent not to suffer by the imputation of injustice and barbarity—and when they are no longer credited, from the frequency of their repetition, or the child's maturity, a conviction of the parent's duplicity and unkindness must succeed. When we have seen the expression of dismay on the countenances of the little culprits thus threaten

ed—the silent shrinking within themselves while they pondered the meaning of the sentence—we have wondered that parents did not feel the pang in their own hearts, which they were thus wantonly and injuriously communi. cating to their children. We have known a mother enlist the agency of a little servant. id in a system of deception :-bidding her from behind some concealment, imitate the growl of a beast of prey, and when her child clung terrified and shrieking to her bosom, she would turn comforter and protector on condition of the child's compliance with her requisitions. And that mother dared resign her child to the care of the girl thus instructed, without knowing how far the parental example was improved upon in secret! This is not a picture of fancy—“we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen,"_with this reservation—that the half is not told. We have all seen such things. Numberless instances might be cited, involving not only the principle of deceit, but of injustice and injury to the moral characters and sensibilities of children. We need but leave individuals to recall scenes and events of this nature which have come under their own observation, to enlist their testimony and voice against this dreadful evil.

Deception in its grosser forms, may be condemned by many who indulge it under more subtle and popular aspects, Children are accustomed to see truth sacrificed to fashionable usages and the forms of etiquette. The ser. vant is given the answer “Not at home," when it is inconvenient to see a visitor ; false excuses are pleaded for not fulfilling fashionable engagements; yet these parents are often very strenuous for the establishment of integrity in their children: but they should not wonder if their lessons on the principles of truth are held in slight respect, or regarded as “sounding brass" by their auditors. The only result we should expect in minds thus balancing between principles and practices so contradictory, would be the repetition of Pilate's question, “ What is truth ?

One of the greatest abuses of the present age is found in the relinquish. ment of children to the care of domestics and nursery-maids. We do not allude to those long-tried, faithful and well-principled nurses, whose assistance is one of the greatest privileges a mother can possess; but to those un. steady assistants, picked up from among the ignorant, and not unfrequently the abandoned and the vicious and changed every few weeks, for the single reason that they are too bad to keep. In our large cities, and in the more fashionable part of community, where the chief dependence for domesa tics is on those emigrants who crowd to our shores, this evil falls most heavily. Those, with whom the claims of fashion are so imperious as to make the care and education of their children a secondary consideration, abandon them almost wholly, during the most pliant and important years of their lives, to the influence of such instructors. The consequence is, they learn every variety of trick and chicanery, and come out of the nursery vete. rans in duplicity and artifice :-fitted to become ready pupils in the world of temptation and vice to which they are introduced. Oh! that such mothers saw the fearful accountability which rests upon them—that they knew the happiness thus lost to them, in the luxury of that maternal enjoyment which is the reward only of faithful personal attention.

The cruelty and injury of frightening children might be made a separate topic of remark from its importance ; but it is so connected with the deceits practiced upon children, that it will not be out of place here. The fears of

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childhood are produced by early impressions on the mind, from tales of robbers, monsters and hobgoblins, usually communicated by servants. These fears are not the less real for their unsubstantial foundation. We should think parents need only recall their own early sufferings in this particular, to use every means of guarding their children from the like sufferings. Ridicule and severity only increase the disease, by inducing secrecy and reserve, and thus leading children to a prolonged indulgence of their fears. The only cure is to be found in maturity of mind, with the aids of reason, and the more intimate the confidence between parents and children, the greater will be the facilities for leading them to a renunciation of these fears. When parents will superintend all the conduct of their children, and know what influences are exerted upon them, they will be spared much labor and sorrow, and possess the enjoyment of seeing their children grow up in the ways of virtue and happiness. “ Prevention is better than cure.".

LINES SUGGESTED BY A BUST OF MADAME DE STAEL.

BY MRS. EMMA C. EMBURY

Madame de Sinel was not only the most remarkable woman of her time, but is in one respect strikingly distinguished shore all her sex. She is, perhaps, the only woman who can claim an admission to the first order of manly talent. She Wes Obe whom listening senates would bave admired, as though it had been a Burke, a Chatham, a Fox, or a Mirabeau. Gre was one whom legislators nright consult with profit. She was one whose voice and pen were feared; and, because feared, unrelentingly persecutell, by the absolute inaster of the mightiest empire that the world has witnessed since the days of Charleroagne."--- Foreign Quarterly Review.

There was no beauty on thy brow,

No brightness in thine eye,-
Thy cheek wore not the rose's glow,

Thy lip the ruby's dye :
The charms that make a woman's pride

Have never been thine own,-
Heaven had to thee those gifts denied,

In which earth's bright ones shone.

Far higher, holier gifts were thine,

Mind, intellect, were given,
Till thou wert as a holy shrine,

Where men might worship heaven.
Yes,—woman as thou wert, thy word

Could make the strong man start,
And thy lip's magic power has stirred

Ambition's iron heart.

The charm of eloquence,—the skill

To wake each secret string,
And from the bosom's chords at will

Life's mournful music bring,
The o'ermastering strength of mind, which sways

haughty and the free,
Whose might earth's mightiest one oboys,

These, these were given to thee.

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