The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
By The Way--

Volume 2, 1891/92, pg. 877-878

The children are beside themselves with pleasure at the pretty country and the scrambling walks, but above all at the wild flowers, in which they are getting quite learned. I find them in a book for them, * and even Ernie, aged six, knows some names, and never calls them wrong. All my children are great lovers of Nature, and I develop this as much as I can. It makes life so rich, and they can never feel dull anywhere if they know how to seek and find around them the thousand beauties and wonders of Nature. They are very happy and contented, and always see the less people have, the less they want, and the greater is the enjoyment of that which they have. I bring up my children as simply and with as few wants as I can, and, above all, teach them to help themselves and others, so as to become independent.

* [See "Talking Trees," by James Neil, published by Woodford Fawcett, London. One Penny. Illustrated. And "Our Country's Flowers, and How to Know Them." Publishes by Simpkin, Marshall. Six Shillings.]

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The day passes so quickly, when one can do good and make others happy, and one leaves always so much undone. I feel more than ever one should put nothing off, and children grow up so quickly and leave one, and I would long that mine should take nothing but the recollection of love and happiness from their home with them into the world's fight, knowing that they have there always a safe harbor and open arms to comfort and encourage them when they are in trouble.

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People (and children vera) with strong feelings and of nervous temperament, for which one is no more responsible than for the color of one's eyes, have things to fight against and to put up with unknown to those of quiet, agreeable dispositions, who are free from violent emotions, and have consequently no feeling of nerves--still less of irritable nerves. One can overcome a great deal, but alter oneself one cannot.

The greatest maxim of all is that children should be brought up as simply and in a domestic a way as possible, and that (not interfering with their lessons) they should be as much as possible with their parents, and learn to place the greatest confidence in them in all things.

If evil companions can lead astray those who have had the opportunity of profiting by years of teaching, experience, failure, and suffering, how much more then will your children, simple, untaught, and inexperienced as they are in wrong doing and its consequences, inevitably be corrupted if you foolishly permit them to associate with children who are evil and corrupt? Do not allow the devil, or anyone else, to deceive you on this head. If you permit the means of corruption to be employed, nothing can prevent the natural result. It is as certain as anything very well can be.

What course do parents ordinarily take to discover the moral character of the companions of their children? I am afraid they have little concern, if any at all, about the moral and spiritual character of their children's companions. In many instances they are quite satisfied if these belong to families of their own standing, and if there is no particular stain upon their character--and even concerning this they will not put themselves out of the way to enquire. Other parents will allow their children to pick out their own companions themselves, or at most get up an acquaintance with the children of neighbors. In view of this, and what we have said in answer to the last question, is it not strange that anyone should wonder where the bad qualities come from, which are unexpectedly developed in their children?

If those parents knew that their children had been associating with some of their school-fellows who had just recovered from small-pox, or some contagious malady, they would not be in the least surprised to see symptoms of the same disease show themselves. Indeed, they would be much astonished if such manifestations did not appear. Why, then, should parents be amazed when their children grow up to lie, deceive, teach, and practice all manner of uncleanness, when they, the parents, have allowed them to associate with others who regularly do these things?

But how are parents to know the real character of those whom they allow to be companions with their children?

They must be at THE TROUBLE to ascertain it. As we have already recommended with regard to servants, enquire for yourselves. Watch them with your own eyes and ears--examine your children about any new playmates and comrades that may have turned up, before there has been time for any harm to be done by their influence or example. Do not be taken off your guard by being informed that the new-comers are religious, or that they "love Jesus". What you want to know is whether they are PURE, TRUE, and obedient.

Some children, as well as grown-up people, are possessed nowadays, with the false and dangerous notion that if they hold certain opinions and believe certain statements in the Bible, moral character--that is, truth and goodness--are not of too much importance. But this must not satisfy you. You want faith and works. Faith without works, whether in children or grown-up people, will be held by you, we suppose, in about the same estimation as it was by the Apostle James, who pronounced it "dead". We all know something of the uselessness and corruption of death. --From The Training of Children, by the General of the Salvation Army.

Typed October 2013; Proofread Nov 2023 by LNL