The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
"En hoexkens ende boexkens."
Do many of your readers know the interesting "Revelation of Childhood" in Mrs. Jameson's "Commonplace Book"? If not, I think they would find in her remarks many suggestive thoughts. I do not like to give many extracts, as mothers should read it all, but the following passage from the opening pages will show the writer's earnestness and depth of insight. Speaking of childhood, Mrs. Jameson says: "But as in the sight of God childhood was something for its own sake--something holy and beautiful in itself, and dear to Him. He saw it not merely as the germ of something to grow out of it, but as perfect and lovely in itself, as the flower which precedes the fruit. We misunderstand childhood, and we misuse it; we delight in it, and we pamper it; we spoil it ingeniously, we neglect it sinfully; at the best we trifle with it as a plaything which we can pull to pieces and put together at pleasure. . . . . What do we know of that which lies in the minds of children? We know only what we put there. The world of instincts, perceptions, experiences, pleasures, and pains lying there without self-consciousness--sometimes helplessly mute, sometimes so imperfectly expressed that we quite mistake the manifestation--what do we know of all this?"
"Sacred Pictures for our Little Ones," a beautiful series by a German artist. Scenes form the Life of Our Lord from infancy upwards. To be obtained from Ackerman, Publisher, 191, Regent Street. Fourteen pictures for 25s.
"General Gordon, the Christian Hero," by Major Seton Churchill, 3s. 6d. (James Nisbet & Co.) "It was his complete forgetfulness of self, his entire willingness to sink his own individuality, his own comfort, his own position, his own good name, that made Gordon so Christ-lie, and lifted him above the level of his fellows." In these few words of the preface we have the key-note of Major Churchill's timely and valuable work. He exhibits Gordon as he was, in his childlike simplicity, his enthusiastic entire Christianity, and thinks we shall be the better for reading of these things, because a faithful biography is the next best thing to personal contact. We think he is right, and it is well that such a work should come from a soldier, though perhaps it is as an author that Major Churchill is better known. The work is written for and dedicated to young men, but doubtless it will be as widely read by women, who like to draw strength and inspirtation from the lives of strong men. The author shows ample "cause why" for another life of General Gordon: we should like to add that the mere fact of keeping fresh in our memories this hero of our generation is sufficient justification, were any needed, for this work.
"The Training of CHildren," an address to parents, my Mrs. Booth, 1d., 6s. 6d. per 100 (Jno. Snow & Co., Ivy Lane, E.C.) No parents should allow themselves to be without these strong, brave, wise, true words of one who was pre-eminently a mother in Israel. "Do it, do it, do it," is the note throughout. It is not fine theories about education, but practical effort, that has results; not teaching, but training, that matters; and training is not talking; it is strenous effort; it is making the child do the thing he should; making him do it in the first, making him like to do it in the second, place. In so far as the world is "a failure," it is so for lack of good mothers. "I am sometimes asked: 'What do you consider the secret of good training?' I answer: 'BEGINNING SOON ENOUGH." That is, with the child's first consciousness. Here, again, is a word of spiritual insight: "Because, in the case of those who have had no previous light or training, conversion is necessarily sudden, and followed by a great outward change, is that any reason why, in the case of a child, carefully trained 'in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,' the Holy Spirit should not work together with such training, adapting His operations to the capacity and requirements of the little ones who are already 'of the Kingdom of Heaven,' thus gradually installing them in al lthe privileges, duties, and enjoyments of that kingdom."
"Education from the Cradle" (2s. 6d., George Bell & Sons) is the title of a charming little volume by Princess Mary Ouroussov, and very well translated by Mrs. E. Fielding. We can only wish that every educated English mother entered as fully as does the author into the rationale of education. Excellent common sense, practical ability, and scientific knowledge mark every page. The chapter on "Trained Nurses" is especially interesting. What, for example, can be wiser than this--"The little ones make a noise; they are roguish, mischievous; they tire you; you order them to be quiet, to sit still, in fact, to be the contrary of everything required at their age for their health. Go away from the Babel if it tires you, but do not allow yourself to grow irritable, and to find in what is annoying to you a subject for scolding or punishment. 'Model children,' who do not like noisy games, are either ill or victims. . . . For this reason, I should like children to have young nurses, for they are less worried by this exuberance of spirit . . . are more in harmony with the child, than an elderly woman worn out with the fatigues of life." We have not space to exemplify the insight, delicacy, and refinedment of tone which, added to its practical usefulness, make this dainty little volume one fit in every way to be "put into the hands of mothers and young girls."
We cannot help quoting a few words germane to our subject from a work ("In Darkest England"), which is stirring many hearts. "But, it will be said, the child of today has the inestimable advantage of education. No; he has not. Educated the children are not. They are pressed through 'standards,' which exact a certain acquaintance with A B C and pothooks and figures, but educated they are not in the sense of the development of their latent capacities so as to make them capable for the discharge of their duties in life. The new generation can read, no doubt. Otherwise where would be the sale of "Sixteen-String Jack," "Dick Turpin," and the like? . . . . What, then, is the ground for hope that, if we leave things alone, the new generation will be better than their elders? To me it seems that the truth is rather the other way. The lawlessness of our lads, the increased licence of our girls, the general shiftlessness from the home-making point of view of the product of our factories and schools, are far from reassuring. Our young people have never learnt to obey. The fighting gangs of half-grown lads in Lisson Grove, and the scuttlers of Manchester, are ugle symptoms of a social condition that will not grow better by being left along."
"Confidential Chats with Mothers," by Mrs. Bowdich (London, Ballière, Tindall & Cox) should be, as the author proposes, "a handy and helpful little guide to young wives." It is, on the whole, up to date, and is full of practical hints on the management of babies. For example, "Never try and teach (!) baby to walk. Nature is by far the best instructor, and knows just when a child should begin to use his legs. Leave it, then, entirely to her, and neither attempt to hasten nor retard the process; but, above all, avoid holding a child while he endeavours to toddle, or even steadying without supporting him; . . . . any assistance, or rather interference, often results in that dreadful deformity, bandy legs."
We chanced the other day on a curious illustration of the results of our "Education" in forming literary taste. A group of well-dressed little girls were waiting for a train. They spoke of a certain "society" paper.
"A Few Hints to Nursemaids," by a Mother, 3d. (London, Elliot Stock). This is a collection of such hints as an educated and thoughtful mother naturally gives to her nurse from time to time. To have them in a little book, which a good girl will read through occasionally, will surely save some of the mishaps which are accounted for by "I forgot."
"Female Education from a Medical Point of View," by J. Clouston, M.D. "The Education of Girls," by James Oliphant, F.R.S., two sixpenny pamphlets (published by Macneven & Wallace, Edinburgh). Very good, both containing most excellent advice; especially the former, as it sounds a warning to mothers in these days of over-pressure. E.A.
Typed by happi, June 2017
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