Page images
PDF
EPUB

do

[ocr errors]

their obligation to obey.-For example.-Well, my dear children, what you make yourselves you call your own,

you not? Very well, it is your work, and you like to keep your own things, and not let them be spoiled. Now you may see that what God has made, is his own. God loves his own work because all God's works are good. We all, are a part of God's works. He made us and we are his. And he has a care for us, and watches us all our days. Now if we are God's we must do as he commands us.

One of God's commands is, that we must obey those who have the rule over us. As I am placed over you as your teacher and ruler, the command of God requires, that you

should obey me. I have engaged to take care of you and teach you. I love you very much, and shall do everything I can to keep you from evil and make you happy.

Now I must tell you, what you must do to be happy, and to make others And if you will all remember what I tell you, and obey me, this school will be a happy place, you will love to be here, and I shall love to be here. And if we all do right, our ways will please the Lord, and he will be with us, and take care of us, and he can make us happy at all times.

Next, the rules of the school may be given out, which should be simple and few, that they may be well understood and remembered by both teacher and scholars.

When all this is done in a serious affectionate manner, the foundation of government is laid; and if the deportment of the teacher shall be invariably consistent with the principles here advanced, the children will respect her rules, and commit themselves to her care with the utmost confidence.

The necessity of the various rules should be carefully explained to the little ones, and they may be questioned whether they do not choose to have such regulations as will make the school a delightful place; and whether they will not all resolve to remember and obey the rules. Every act of disobedience must be attended to in season, and not passed over hastily with a shake or thump, and the offender left in sullen silence, to justify himself and

accuse his teacher of severity. This would destroy their confidence in the teacher, and weaken their resolutions for future obedience.

Neither reproach, or ridicule should ever be resorted to. Their effects are equally pernicious.

Perhaps few are aware of the extent of influence which children exert on each other. I believe it is a fact that the united voice of their little school fellows will bear more weight upon the feelings of children, than that of a parent or teacher. In the infant school, this is turned to a good account. When it is discovered that a child, has become guilty of any misconduct, the cause is laid before the whole school, the nature of the crime, explained, the evil passion, which induced it, pointed out, the particular command of God, which is broken by the act, is repeated; and they are told what course of conduct would have prevented all this evil. This is done by questions put to the whole school, while all are permitted to answer at once; and experience proves that the most stubborn child will seldom stand against the public voice, but will be in haste to yield that concession, which the case requires, and at the same time will be more affected with shame and contrition for his fault, than he could have been by a course of severity.

When a child is seen committing some irregularity in school, it is usually found that the questions, Is doing right? What ought she to do? when asked to, and answered by, the whole school, proves a sufficient correction.

In case of obstinacy the teacher does not desist from her fixed purpose of bringing the child to a right temper, and obtaining from him, cheerful obedience. But this is not effected by opposing passion to passion; so far from that, the teacher expresses a tender concern and pity for the obstinate child, and presents to his view the unhappy effects of such conduct.

While the obstinacy is persisted in, the child is considered in a state of discipline, whether it continue an hour, or a longer time. During this time the child is frequently reminded of

his fault, and of his duty, invited to yield, and taught that he is doing himself a great injury, that he cannot be happy in such a course, or receive the approbation of the teacher until he resolves to submit. Every proper motive is explained and urged upon the conscience, and though all means may appear ineffectual and ready submission not obtained, yet it will often be found that the conscience, enlightened by the instruction communicated, will, after the heat of passion has subsided, perform its office and produce submission.

Proper attention to delinquents is an important part of the system, and will justify the teacher in dispensing with the ordinary exercises for the time required, as the judicious trial of such causes affords a favorable opportunity to make lasting impressions on the minds the children, of the unavoidable evils, which result from bad conduct. It is necessary to avoid the least

appearance of

anger or resentment. However provoking a child, or however disobliged or injured the teacher may be by his conduct; she should rather commiserate his case and sympathise with him who has brought guilt upon himself; and on the appearance of penitence, cheer his sorrowful heart with the story of the Saviour's love and suffering for sinners.

For His sake alone we may expect forgiveness from God, for the least as well as the greatest crime. It is true this is a great subject; still it :nay, and should be brought to the view and comprehension of little children. The infant mind more readily comprehends divine truths when inculcated in a language it understands, than one of maturer years, blinded by prejudice and hardened by sin.

Every real want of the children should be attended to, and even anticipated, when practicable.

Imaginary wants are also to be noticed, so far as to convince them of the unreasonableness of them. When they are not easily pacified, the case may be laid before the school, and the children asked, Would it be right to give this child that, which will do him no good, or that which will hurt him? Is it right for him to wish

for that, which it is not best for him to have? or that which he cannot have?

It is the resolution of the teacher to persevere from day to day in a course of conduct grounded on love, patience, gentleness, and unwearied forbearance, to support which, she will need a daily supply of that wisdom which is from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good works, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

EXAMPLES OF DISCIPLINE.

Suppose two children have been striking each other. The delinquents are placed before all the children.

( The teacher with solemnity and feeling. )-You see these children, do you know what they have been doing? C. We do, they have been fighting.

T. You may hold out your hands. (They all hold them out.) Now can you tell me who made your

hands? C. God made them.

T. Do you see how wonderfully they are made? when you wish them to open, they open; and as quick as you wish them shut, they are closed; and you can move them any way you please. Why did God make such curious hands for you?

C. So that we may learn to work with them, and do good to each other.

T. Yes, these hands are of great use to you now. God has been very good to you, to give you such hands, and do you wish to disobey nis holy commands with them?

C. We don't wish to disobey God.

T. What does God command you to do to one another.

C. God commands us to love one another.

T. If you love one another, will you strike and hurt each other?

C. We shall not. If we love each other, we shall try to please and make each other happy.

you do?

T. What bad passion was it, that induced these children to strike?

C. Anger.

T. It is dangerous to be angry, it is wicked. Do you know what anger will lead to? What will it make

C. It makes us hurt each other. It makes us unhappy. It makes us disobey God.

T. You see it will bring you into great trouble to be angry, and God cannot love to see an angry child. What must you do to keep from being angry?

C. We must love one another, and pray to God to keep us from being angry.

T. Are you not sorry for these children who have disobeyed God and made themselves unhappy? What can you do for them?

C. Pray to God to forgive them.

T. (To the delinquents.) Do you wish ever to do so again? Do you wish to be forgiven?

We will forgive you and pray God to forgive you also. (Delinquents to repeat-)

God saw the sudden blow we gave,
He noticed every angry word ;
And every wicked thought we have,
His eye has seen, his ear has heard.
Oh thou, who wast so meek and mild,
Thou gentle Saviour, hear our cry,
And help a weak and sinful child,
Each rising passion to deny.

SECOND EXAMPLE.

It is discovered that a child has told a lie. She is placed before the school.

T. You see this little girl. Which of God's holy commands has she broken by telling a lie?

C. The 9th, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

T. Who hath said, The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped, and he that speaketh lies shall perish?

C. God has said it, in his holy Bible.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »