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the district; and to affect an entire change, it only remains for the teachers, “the white gloved aristocracy” of the land, to take hold of this custom without " mittens," and utterly destroy it, with other kindred“ relics of barbarism."
D. M. C.
" A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY." Man, created in the image of his Maker, should be strong; created with a three-fold nature, he should be strong in body, strong in mind, and strong in heart.
We ask, are our present educational influences making strong men and women ?
We boast of our schools, and of the improvements constantly going on in them. Every gray-haired man who speaks on the subject of education, fails not to dwell on the present advantages for “ schooling," compared with " what they were in his day.” He tells of the three months of school in the year; of the log school-house, with the wind whistling through the cracks; of the great operi fire-place, with more wood than heat, and more smoke than either; of the single arithmetic in school, and that belonging to the teacher; of the big ferule, and long birch; and of the stern, unbending authority of the master.
Now, behold the change! The school-rooms comfortable and attractive; the multitude of books; not only plenty of arithmetics, but keys to them; and the gentle sway of the teacher, not master.
The changes have been great, and no wonder we look complacently on the contrast.
Our grand-mothers tell us, too, that, instead of the costly church, with its rich carpets and soft cushions, and its soothing, sleepy warmth, their houses of worship knew no fires but those of devotion, and the bare boards on which they sat, never tempted to a sitting posture in prayer. Instead of the Sabbath School, where we are taught good things, they were obliged to learn them, and who dared incur a father's displeasure by a miss in the Catechism on
Sunday night? That Catechism !-never-to-be-forgetten! It cost too many hours hard study, and was too thoroughly learned.
“Old things have passed away"; but we are tempted to ask, are all these changes improvements? We are raising no new question, and we make no new assertion, when we say that the men and women of those days were stronger, physically, mentally, and morally, than tho men and women of our times. True, the boys and girls did not know half as many things as boys and girls know now, but they had stronger physical frames,—the foundation of all strength ; and every day of exposure, and hard work, and subjection to wholesome law, made them stronger and stronger; and, with hands ready to labor, and eyes open to Nature's teachings, and hearts obedient to her laws, they came to be men and women of iron constitutions, and their minds were capable of vigorous, independent thought.
They knew little of books, and would commit errors in the use of their mother tongue, that would afford amusement for modern young ladies and gentlemen by the hour; for, alas ! reverence for age is not one of the lessons taught in our day! But these men and women secured the end of all study by observation and reflection.
We are not disposed to complain of the age, nor to indulge in ill-natured reflections on the present generation ; but the fact has been for a long time forcing itself upon us, that our strong men and women are passing away, and there are none to fill their places. Not one in twenty of the young of either sex, have well-developed frames and sound health. Our young ladies are pretty, interesting, gentle, amiable, lovely. These epithets we hear constant. ly applied to them ; but active, energetic, persevering, benevolent, self-sacrificing spirits among our young women, are, literally, “like angel visits.”
Our boys,-or, rather, young men,—too many of them, are forward, foppish and frivolous. Too much of their time is spent in trifling conversation, in useless, if not hurtful reading, and in amusements that have little tendency to cultivate a pure and elevated taste. "Since these things are so," we ask, what are
are the causes at work to produce such results ?
Ages ago, the sentence was pronounced upon man: In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread.” Men called it a curse, and ever since that time they have been striving to evade it. All the knowledge, and skill, and ingenuity in their possession, have been brought to bear upon the invention of labor-saving machines; and these contrivances, good or bad, have accumulated till there is hardly room to bestow them. We do not condemn this spirit. On the contrary, the achievements in science and art, which have been made in our day, we deem the glory
of the age.
But the mania for saving work has spread far and wide, and even in the groves of academies are found restless spirits, seeking, not for wisdom, but for the “ royal road to Learning.” And it seems to be almost, if not quite found; for very many of our teachers, at the present day, are merely labor-saving machines. They are employed to lift the pupil over obstacles; to make rough places smooth; to level the Hill of Science; anything to make learning easy. Then we hear that French, Spanish, and Italian,and for aught we know, Latin and Greek,-may be learned " in six easy lessous, without a master.” Yes, these languages will long be without a master, if they are attempted in this way. When will parents and teachers learn that they defeat their own ends when they spare their children mental labor? That it is the process of gaining knowledge, and not the knowledge itself that educates the man?
It is a truth not to be gainsayed, that there is no mental growth without mental labor.
Who would think of planting the mountain oak in a green-house, of rearing the cedar of Lebanon in a lady's flower-pot? Yet this is often attempted, and woful mistakes are the result.
Especially in the training of our young women are . these evils seen.
From their earliest infancy they are watched and guarded, “ that the winds of heaven may not visit them too roughly.” They are literally “killed with kindness"; for, from want of exercise, and from constant mistakes and habitual errors in clothing and diet, the foundation is laid for a weak, sickly, nervous constitution, and a short, miserable life. But such treatment alone can be tolerated in good society. No other course would be sufficiently delicate for the present state of refinement. Indeed, it has come to be considered really vulgar for a young lady to have perfect health! It is so much more lady-like to be pale, delicate, “ fragile flowers !”
Then these dear young ladies are sent to school,-for they must be educated,(?)—to be carried gently along, the passive receivers of a little knowledge of this branch, and a smattering of that; they learn to say pretty things, and to multiply extravagant epithets. Especially are the af. fections cultivated, as they suppose. They caress, and are caressed, and they form the most violent friendships ;
one ever loved so devotedly before,-no love was ever so undying!
These school-girl friendships are usually considered harmless; but we hazard the opinion that the indulgence in such feelings, and the constant use of exaggerated language arising from it, tend to produce a weak, sickly, state, and often a morbid sentimentality which affects the whole being,-deadening everything healthy and vital therein.
Let teachers beware how they encourage this evil, or suffer it. Let them lead their pupils, by precept and example, to stand up in the simple dignity that God has given them, to cherish all the noble vitues of which they
are capable. Then will their friendship be worth possessing, and it will be undying.
Our young men and women should be trained, from infancy to mature age, by healthy, vigorous exercises of body, mind and heart. Every power should be developed carefully, yet effectually, even if severity be necessary to ensure it. Better “suffer and be strong;” for “to be weak is miserable, doing or suffering !"
I have spoken of a few evils at work in the education of the young. Many more, of a similar nature, will occur to those who turn their attention to the subject.
And when our parents and teachers awake to the deep responsibilty resting upon them,--when they see their duty clearly, and perform it thoroughly,—then, indeed, will“ our young men be as plants, grown in their youth, and our daughters as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.”—Mass. Teacher.
PICTURE OF A VERMONT VILLAGE.
In robes of purple, gold and brown,
Which, nestling in their bosom lies ;
Their depths, like Aerial Argosies!
As quiet is the Village street,
How different from yon City's roar!
At noon and eve, when scbool is o'er.
And near is many a wood and glen,
May loiter through the live-long day;
Where rainbows gleam mid foam and spray.