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IV. EARLY TRAINING.
Education should be commenced with the first appearance of the child's mind, by the mother and the nurse; in order that the child may already be receiving useful training.
CarysIPPUS. Education must proceed by developing this impulse, (of imitation) which man feels by nature; and must endeavor to lead him by this road to virtue and happiness.
ARISTOTLE. It is not at the beginning of the seventh year, as Hesiod directs, but at the very earliest age, that the mental training must gradually and progressively begin, in the same way in which the mental faculties of the child themselves develop.
But again the child should not be urged too early to continuous effort, but must rather at first be carried forward in a method more like play.
Nurses should be chosen, having good moral character and correct habits of speaking; for the first impressions upon the child are the most lasting
In like manner should the child's play-fellows be of irreproachable morals.
The sense of honor should early be brought into activity, and be stimulated by rewards and emulation.
As there are some exercises to which the body can only be trained in youth, so the first elements of education must bring out its principal points. They will be more easily comprehended at that age.
Those parents whose own education was defective, must bestow the more care upon the education of their children.
Although scarcely so much can be taught in the first three years as in one of those which follow next after, still it is in them, that the foundation is laid.
What must sometime be learned should not be begun too late.
Precocious geniuses are of small account. Their knowledge is not firmly based; it is like a seed cast upon the surface of the ground, which withers before it grows up.
All children should in other respects be treated indulgently, and recreative plays should be provided for them; yet still this indulgence should not be carried too far, lest it produce indolence.
Whenever the pupil, from pride, bad disposition or selfishness, does anything wrong, he should be reminded of it; for as Virgil says, “Habit is important for tender youth.”
The educator and teacher should have paternal feelings for his pupil, because he supplies to him the place of parents.
The children should every day carry home with them some useful instruction from the mouth of the teacher; for the living voice gives richer nourishment than reading. The more thoroughly trained the teacher, the better he is.
Those cities which have bestowed most care upon gymnastics, bring their youth, it is true, to the apparent strength of an athlete; but they destroy the proper beauty and growth of the body. ARISTOTLE.
It is much better to row and dig, mow and throw the spear, run and jump and ride, hunt, fence, cut wood, carry burdens and cultivate the fields, in short to do whatever nature requires, than to practice gymnastics in palaces.
Since the body of men comes under our care before the mind, it should be attended to before it.
ARISTOTLE. Why do you nourish and discipline (quite too assiduously) your bodily strength ?
Nature has given it to beasts in greater measure.
When you have done all in your power, you will still be surpassed by the beasts.
Plato. A child has within its mind little or nothing; it therefore learns more easily during childhood; just as we can much more speedily remember the experiences of the morning, than those which happened at a later period.
In after years, accordingly, man does much more by means of his understanding and the developed powers of it.
Man is as it were endowed with two instruments; the hand for the body, and the understanding for the soul.
Both these need development and discipline.
The love of parents for their children is greater than that of the children for their parents, because the former is much increased by recollections and by hopes.
Especially unselfish is the love of a mother; who desires her children to live, not for her sake, but for their own; and who has a strong affection for her children although they have no corresponding one for her.
Mothers love their children more than fathers, because they bring them forth with pain. But parents should be cautioned lest this love be carried to excess.
ARISTOTLE. Pregnant women should eat healthful food, should not neglect moderate exercise, and should above all things keep from getting into a passion of any sort, since this would have a bad influence upon the character of the child.
Solon. A pregnant woman should keep herself as quiet and unexcited as possible.
The mother should nurse her own child when not absolutely impossible; as even she wolves and she bears do.
Spiced food and heating drinks are poison to children.
When the understanding of children awakens, the first foundation must be laid in everything which they will have to learn in after life; in physics, by beginning to learn to know stones, plants, trees, &c.; in optics, by distinguishing light, darkness, colors &c. ; in astronomy, by observing the sun, moon and stars, and their movements; in geography, by proceeding from the knowledge of the cradle to that of the room, the home, the street, fields, and so on.
COMENIUS. As good bodily health in youth is the necessary condition of a healthy old age, the bodily exercises of children should not be neglected, and care should at the same time be taken that they are not made to lose their strength; which, according to Plato, is produced by sleep, and hard work.
As we prepare in good weather whatever will be needed in a storm, so in youth must we lay up orderly habits and moderation, as savings against time of age.
Children should be led to industry in useful learning by persuasion and admonition; but never by blows and disgraceful treatment.
But such things only make them disinclined to effort and disgust them with their labor.
Blame and praise should be used alternately; but care should constantly be taken that the former does not discourage, and that the latter does not render over-confident and careless.
As a piant is nourished by moderate watering, but is drowned by too much, so are the mental powers of children strengthened by labors judiciously imposed, but are destroyed by excessive tasks.
Children should never be refused their necessary recreation; it should be remembered that nature has divided our whole lives into labor and recreation.
Thus we slacken the strings of the bow and the lyre, that we may be able to tighten them again.
Children must also be accustomed not to live effeminately, to restrain their tongues, and to overcome their anger.
Yet fathers should remember their own youth, and should not judge too harshly the transgressions of their sons.
As physicians mingle bitter drugs with sweet confections, and thus make what is agreeable a means of administering to the patient what is healthful, so should fathers unite the severity of their punishments with kindness; should sometimes give the reins to the impulses of their sons, and sometimes check them; should be forbearing to a mere error, and even if they suffer themselves to become angry, should recover again froin it.
It is often well to pretend not to have observed some action of children.
When we overlook the faults of our friends, should we not sometimes do the same for those of our children?
Children should be taught to be communicative and open; to avoid all that savors of secrecy, which tends to lead them away from uprightness, and to accustom them to wrong.
The understanding is not a vessel, that needs filling; it is fuel, that needs kindling. It is kindled to truth by the faculty of acquiring knowledge, and by love.
He who listens to the speech of another without kindling his understanding at it, as at a light, but contents himself with merely hearing, is like one who goes to a neighbor for fire, but only sits still thcre and warms himself.
He only receives an appearance of wisdom, like the red color from the shining of a flame; but the inner rust of his soul is not heated; nor is its darkness driven away.
PLUTARCH. He who disciplines his body is healthy and strong, and many persons have thus rescued their lives from danger, served their friends, been useful to their country, gained fame and glory, and lived a happy life.
The body becomes accustomed to whatever occupation is pursued; and accordingly it should be trained to the best exercises.
Forgetfulness, despondency, ill temper and even frenzy, often assail the mind, in consequence of neglect of bodily discipline, with so much power, as even to cause the loss of what knowledge is already gained.
SOCRATES. As the power of speech is easily misused, so are gymnastics; for superiority in bodily exercises can easily be abused to the injury of others.
He who practices nothing but gymnastics, is liable to run into barbarous and violent ways, and produces towards himself that slavish state of feeling which does its duty only out of fear.
Where mental training is wanting, the position of man is infinitely low; he becomes like a beast.
PLATO. Childhood and youth ought to be the period of cheerfulness, of bodily exercises, of enjoyment and pleasure.
Do not destroy this happiness, ye otherwise tender parents, by too early employing them in the business and duties of a subsequent age, to which they may never attain.
BASEDOW. Happiness of the human race by means of education.
Man has, corresponding to his threefold home—the mother's womb, earth, and eternity-a threefold life ; vegetative, animal, and spiritual.
All men are in need of instruction; by which the image of God is restored within them.
Every man is a world in little-a microcosm.
All instruction will meet with easy success, in proportion as its method is according to nature.
Instruction should begin in early youth, and should proceed gradually, according to the development of the capacities. It should begin, not as is common, with languages, but with things.
Kind and loving parents and teachers, cheerful school-rooms, playgrounds, and a stimulating and natural method of instruction, must all be united, in order to make learning pleasant.
COMENIUS. Mother's milk is the best nourishment for the child, both food and drink; for it nourishes it well.
Mother's milk is best and healthiest for the child, because it is accustomed to it from birth upwards.
Children who have low nurses turn out like them, as experience shows.
It is therefore unkind and unnatural for a mother not to nurse her child, for God gave her her breasts and her milk for that purpose; unless shc is unable to do it. Need breaks iron, says the proverb.
It was a thing very well imagined and cnacted by the ancients, that they caused all persons to have and practice some useful and honorable occupation, so that they might not fall into habits of drunkenness, vice, gormandizing, guzzling, and gaming.
Therefore these two exercises please me best of all, namely, music, and knightly exercises, including fencing, wrestling, &c., of which the first drives care and melancholy thoughts away from the heart, and the second gives handsome and symmetrical proportions to the body, and keeps it in good health by exercise.
Poor people's children, who have only bread and water to eat, are handsomer and more perfect and strong in body, than those of the rich, who have every day their full of all manner of delicacies to eat and drink, and yet are meagre, bony and yellow.
LUTHER. If you follow nature, the education you give will succeed without giving you trouble and perplexity; especially if you do not insist upon acquiroments precocious or over-extensive.
Great care must be taken of the body. Moderate exercise is very strengthening; and therefore ought nurses-who should be selected with care-to be diligent in carrying children about in fresh air, to the temples, and to visit their relations.
The dispositions of children, instead of being made touchy, irritable or froward by indulgence, or cowardly and slavish by excessive harshness, should be made as open and cheerful as possible, and they should be taught to use either hand alike.
Beginning with the third year, when the intelligence and the power of speech awake, the child should be occupied with plays appropriate to its age. From these plays a judgment may be formed of the child's adaptedness to a future calling.
Changes of toys should not be made too rapidly, for fear of developing instability of character.
From the third to the sixth year, suitable stories should be told the child; and these should be such as to furnish him with ideas of God and of virtue.
Parents and teachers must seek occasion of securing and maintaining influence over children by means of personal respect.
Bodily punishment is only admissible where children or pupils violate the respect due to age, or a law of education.
On the other hand, the sense of shame and of honor should early be awakened.
Parents should be more anxious to instill into their children a deepseated youthful modesty, than to leave them a pile of gold: and therefore they should carefully keep from the sight of the young all that can injure their modesty or morals.
For where the old are immodest, the shamelessness of the young is increased.
Plato. To the mother belongs the bodily nourishment and care of children; to the father, their instruction and education.
The distinction of sexes must carly be observed.
Milk is the most natural and therefore the best food for children. Wine injures them by heating them and causing sickness.
Even children at the breast should be accustomed to suitable exercise. Children should early be accustomed to heat and cold, to confirm their health; and all habits should be taught from as early an age as possible.
Children should not be obliged to do actual labor, nor to be instructed, before the fifth year, for fear of stunting them.
The loud crying of children-unless it is caused by sickness--is their first gymnastic exercise.
Their plays should be in the similitude of what they are afterwards to practice in earnest.
ARISTOTLE. Since children are always possessed of great liveliness and susceptibility, since their powers of observation grow keener and stronger as their consciousness develops, and their impulses to activity are stronger in proportion as their character is nobler, therefore proportionately greater care should be taken to preserve them from immoral influences, to protect and direct the growth of the mind, and to accustom them to proper modes of speech.
Parents and teachers should show to their children and pupils a truly virtuous example; and punishments should be proportioned to faults, and should be so administered as to produce improvement.
Although the virtues of good nature, mildness and placability are high ones, still they must have their limits; and must not interfere with the strictness necessary to maintain the laws.
Man must early be trained to the conviction that the gods are the directors of all things, and that they see the inmost thoughts of men.
It is only by this means that men will be preserved from foolish presumption and from wickedness, as Thales says: That men must live in the consciousness that all around them is filled with the gods. This will keep them more chaste than if they were in the holiest of temples.
From religion, which is a holy fear of the gods, proceed the virtues of modesty, and filial piety.