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I hold it incontestable, that if the history of all those men were fully known, who have distinguished themselves for uprightness or virtue, it would be found that nine out of ten of them owed these good qualities to their mothers.
It is not now sufficiently understood, how important for the future life is an innocent and blameless youth; how almost all those who have cnjoyed this advantage, have owed it to their mothers; and how universally the perfection and the good fortune of men is founded upon female intelligence and fumale virtue.
ISELIN. Parents are under obligations to educate their children, because they are required to do so by the voice of nature, regard for their own happiness, and their obligations to society and to the divine organization of the human race.
This education differs from the instruction which the children receive from others; but for this latter they must be prepared in the bosom of the family, and brought up to it.
Parents can therefore not be permitted to neglect this physical, intellectual, and moral and religious training, any more than the furnishing of that civic education which only terminates at years of discretion and fitness for an independent employment.
VON AMMON. He who can not perform the duties of a father, has no right to become a father.
Neither poverty, nor labor, nor regard for men, can excuse him from bringing up his children and from educating them himself
. I assure every one who has a heart, and who neglects these holy duties, that he will one day weep bitter tears over his fault, and will nerer escape remorse for it.
ROUSSEAU. To neglect the education of children, not to do all that is possible for this holy purpose, so far as parents may be able, in their circumstances, not to secure them the best teachers, not to keep them regularly at school, not to instruct them personally as far as possible, not to protect them from vice and by good examples to encourage them to goodness, is worse than to expose young children; it is the murder of their immortal souls.
Children are the most lovely bond of marriage; the best wool on the sheep.
When Dr. Jonas hung up over the table a beautiful bough of cherries in memory of the creation, and praised the magnificence and goodness of God in such fruits, Dr. Martin Luther said:
Why do you not think likewise of your children, the fruit of your bodies, which are more valuable, and more beautiful and wonderful creatures of God, than whole trees full of fruit ?
But men go their ways and think nothing of it; yea, are even blind and avaricious about such gifts; as very commonly happens, that people, when they have children, become more and more miserly, and pinch and rake and scrape, that they may leave them the more.
Do you not know that his own portion is set apart for every child even before he comes into the world, and what is to happen to him? And the proverb says, the more children, the better fortune.
Ah, dear Lord God! how great is the blindness and ignorance and vileness of a man who does not consider this, but who misuses the best and most valuable of God's gifts !
LUTHER. There are no greater benefits than those which parents confer upon their children.
But just as the husbandman renders useless the seed which he has sown, if he gives it no further care, so all the parental care of their children's
bodies is in vain, if they confine their solicitude to the period of childhood, and do not bestow long-continued care upon them.
SENECA. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive-plants round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be that feareth the Lord.
Bible. Ps. cxxxiii. Children's clothes should be neat, but not rich, even if the means of the parents will permit it.
For temporal wealth is transitory; while rich clothing usually infects a child's mind with pride.
To cure or hide bodily defects, and to let the soul remain ugly, is nothing but whitewashing a sepulchre full of fashionable bones.
To bring them to baptism, or to the Lord's Supper, and then not to instruct them any further in Christianity, is a dangerous custom. It quenches the spark of faith, and may destroy a soul, which at the last day will cry Ah! and Wol over the neglect of its parents.
As the years pass on, it is the duty of parents to see that their children learn something which may enable them to be of service to God and to the commonwealth.
Reasonable parents will consider not only for what their sons are fitted, but whether their own means will allow of it.
It is contrary to prudence to risk anything in hazards.
And in particular, it is an over-haste which deserves punishment, to undertake to devote children to a particular calling, even before they are born. Such destinations often have bad results.
It would be well if women were not merely made to stick fast to household affairs, but were to have their understanding cultivated and their moral nature developed, so that together with Martha's attainments in family management, they might with Mary choose the good part. Luke,
Moderate correction with the rod, in case of positive obstinacy is better than a foolish bugbear.
Fear and terror are injurious, and often may become impossible to be removed during the whole life.
As reason grows with years, it will be well for parents to instruct chil.' dren in their duties towards God, themselves, and their neighbors; to exhibit to them the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice, so that they may not go astray and fall into immorality.
Above all, parents should set their children a good example.
The tendency to evil already exists, and if parents nourish it by a bad example, the result is an unreasonable life, and one unpleasing to God.
If parents are God-forgotten and vicious, their children will readily be led into the same vices.
Parents should punish their children for all evil deeds, but should seek prudently to avoid the two harmful extremes of too great rashness and too great indulgence.
For the former banishes love from the child, and the latter fear.
He is rather a devil to his children than a father, who denies them necessary food, clothing and maintenance, or who strikes or drives away from him those of them who are silly or deformed or lame.
And he shows a foolish and shallow love, who gives up to all their willfulnesses, and winks at their bad habits.
A middle path is best.
the book which brings the just to true wisdom and prudence. (Ps. cxix; civ; cii: 2 Tim. iii; 15: 1 Tim. iv; 6: Prov. xxii ; 19.
CHRISTIAN BUCHNER. If you are blessed with children, so act that your children shall be carefully trained to the knowledge of God.
If a prince had honored you by presenting you his portrait, and you, out of folly or lack of respect, had permitted it to become covered with dust, cobwebs and dirt, could you hope to receive any further favors from him, if he should become aware of your carelessness, or should see it?
But your children are the image of God. If you act wrongly by them, the Omniscient will not leave you unpunished,
Men must consecrate to God the firstlings both of their thoughts and of their youth.
Then He will bestow his blessings on the rest.
When your children have arisen, and are clean, washed and dressed, let them come to you and bid you a good morning.
Then you can see if there is anything wrong about them, and how to adjust it.
Then place them before you, and with uncovered head pray the prayer for parents over them, and bless them with laying on of hands; so that they may hear and understand how the eternal well-being of children is earnestly desired by their parents ; so that they may not only be made more obedient, but may in the subsequent management of their own children do the like.
Watch that no wicked habit comes upon the children; for their depraved nature will otherwise always be before their better nature.
Boys and girls should always sleep in separate rooms; and brothers and sisters should not see each other without clothes, after they can go alone.
Wherever possible, each child should have a separate bed.
A child's Bible with pictures, to be explained by you, picture by picture, is the best book for children.
Christian parents should be very careful what sort of persons they have about their children; for from these, if they are immoral or vicious persons, they often learn tricks, improper speeches and curses, which they would otherwise never have heard, much more learned.
Children are, so to speak, like apes; they will imitate what they see. The children should not understand that their parents are man and wife.
The rod should only be used on important occasions.
Children should be made to give brief and intelligent answers. Permit no obscurity and no conceit of cunning to appear in their words. Do not praise witty children, but rather God-fearing ones.
They should be carly cured of coarse and awkward habits.
The love for their children of many parents is a really foolish mere animal instinct.
Many parents admire the foolish and apish gestures and tricks, and even the improper speeches and wicked actions of their children; and thus do not love them as human beings, but amuse themselves with them as if they were young apes.
Many parents, if they have a nice morsel in their dish, give it to their children out of their own mouths, as a hen does to her chickens, and thus accustom them to lickerishness and to dainties, in a way that can produce nothing but corruption.
The more economically children are brought up, the more safely. Many parents beat and abuse their children for being so rude, ill-trained and boorish.
But the fault is with those who brought them up.
How can your children be well conducted, if you yourself are an uncultivated boor?
If you are a dirty fellow, how can your children be well trained ?
It is as the fable reports of the crab, who told her young one not to walk backwards, but forwards. But the young one answered, “Show me the way and I will follow in it."
And that is a very foolish expression of those who say, “My children do not need to make bows. They are not going to be gentlemen.”
They are not, truly!
But understand, you blockhead, that decent conduct is appropriate to all. (Sirach, xix; 26; Prov., xx; 11.)
Parents should not treat their own children with more respect than those of others.
To do so causes jealousy, however young they are.
It displeases them; and their dissatisfaction grows as they grow older; and will in the end cause dislike, anger, enmity and revenge, even if it is not until the parents are dead.
MOSCHEROSCII. Parents are indisputably most immediately called, and most naturally bound, to provide for the cultivation of the bodily and intellectual powers of those to whom they have given lise.
An instinctive impulse makes them fittest and most skillful to attend to the first necessities of their children, and to endure their weaknesses with patience.
Early habituation to the company of their children makes it almost indispensable to parents in whom the voice of nature is not silenced by unhappy circumstances or by corruption of morals.
They ihus learn to feel that these beings, at first so helpless, depend entirely upon their strength and their will; and this feeling which no other person can have so strongly as parents, except, (during their carliest years,) a nurse, strengthens their interest in their little ones.
The home, the family, will always be the most appropriate place for the growth of a child.
A child is like a young plant, to which a too early transplantation is injurious, even if the new soil is the best.
It is only in the family that certain impressions can be received, and certain feelings awakened, which, as being those most distinctively human, should be deeply and strongly rooted in the human breast; such are love of parents, sense of domestic happiness, early sympathy in all that relates to the family; pure susceptibilities, which contain the germ of those feelings for universal humanity, which are so easily quenched for ever.
Children who by accident or convenience, or perhaps the mistaken views of their parents, are thrust too soon out of their homes among strangers, usually cease to be children too soon, and perhaps even to have childish faults, but without becoming for that reason any better.
They omit a step in their experience which, according to the wise arrangements of nature, should not be omitted.
But the advantages above mentioned can only be expected where the parents, by their own example, awaken and nourish the germ of a pure humanity in their children ; for this means is undoubtedly more efficient than all possible positive instrumentalities and institutions.
It is entirely natural that children should respect and value nothing so much as what is commended to them by the words and actions of those whose offspring they are, under whose protection they grow up, and who are thus the first objects of their reverence and love.
The influence, moreover, of constant association, and the tone of family life which proceeds from the character and spirit of parents, have so uninterrupted and strong an influence, although it is imperceptible, that this cause alone will serve to explain all the peculiarities of children, not only the resemblances, but also—for they are not all brought up under the same circumstances and the same time, if they are by the same parents -the dissimilarities of brothers and sisters.
It is true, however, that not even the highest degree of morality and education in parents can of itself protect their children from injuries ; for the world and actual life, work along with them, and join in the work of education.
NIEMEYER. Whoever has a father, or mother, or both, must be educated by him, her, or both; and no one, neither father nor mother, can for gold or good words hire another mother and another father for their children,
Parents can infinitely lighten their duties in this respect, by apportioning to themselves such parts of the child's training as are most proper for each of them, and at the same time a corresponding part of the enjoyment arising from every advance in knowledge or usefulness.
The mutual instructive affections of teacher and pupil, in this care also diminish by at least half, the labor of the occupation.
But what is it that people of rank—the question is worth consideringsecure by employing all sorts of nurses for their children?
If the question is rightly answered, this is it:-nurses' stories and all manner of vulgarisms in specch and action.
HIPPEL. And whether a father or a mother be ever so much absorbed, one in business and labor, the other in domestic affairs, time enough in evenings and unoccupied days to instruct their children in what they themselves know —whether the treasure of their lives and experiences be great or smallto set before them examples from the Holy Scriptures and from life, to impress good advice and pious principles upon their hearts--time cnough for this can be commanded even by those who have to earn their daily living by their daily labor.
I recommend my children, O God, to Thee: Thou gavest them to me, and I praise and thank thce therefor with my wholc soul. Be their protection; forsake them not; bless and watch over them, so that they inay easily walk in thy ways, to Thy satisfaction.
Father! Ah how inany dangers await them in this world! Who could escape them unless supported by Thy hand! Let them be free from the dominion of all lusts, pure and pious; let them act only as shall be well pleasing to Thee, and disregard the impulses of vice.
I do not and vught not to pray Thee to preserve them from all allictions here on earth; nor to reward their virtue here with constant happiness, the granting of every wish and the fulfillment of every hope; nor for such treasures as vanish away.
Give them during the journey of their lives, O Lord, only what to Thy wisdom shall seem good; only what shall render them wise and fit for heaven. If they should turn away from Thee, not all the treasures of earth could compensate for the loss of their soul's happiness.
Let but one petition from me meet a gracious car;--Let not all their days be entirely joyless. If they are to be proved by Thee, let it be in a paternal manner; and let not their souls be deprived of faith and strength.
Let none of my children, O God, be made miserable by vice. Let none of them be a vexation to his neighbors, nor the sport of his enemies.