Management of Boys
A CLERGYMAN of much observation recently remarked that the experience of sixty years had taught him, that if boys had a faithful and judicious mother, they were pretty sure to turn out well, whatever may be the character of the
father. There are mothers, who from various causes, in rearing their sons are deprived of the co-operation of the father. The following hints are intended for the assistance of such mothers:
1. Keep your boys by all means out of the street.
At the proper times for play, allow them to invite some of the neighbor's children into the yard, or permit them to visit those of your friends with whom you are willing they should associate.
But let it be an unalterable law that they are not to rove the streets in freedom, to play with whatever companions chance may throw in their way. By commencing early and firmly with this principle, you will have no difficulty in enforcing it. Turn a boy loose into the streets to associate with the vicious and profane, to lounge at the corners of streets and stables, and he will almost certainly be ruined. Therefore, at all hazards, keep them out of the streets.
2. Do not allow your boys to play out of doors in the evening. There is something in night exposure and night plays which seem to harden the heart.
You never see such a boy possessed of a gentle and modest deportment. He is always forward, self-willed, unmanageable. There is always temptation in the darkness of the evening, to say and do things which they would not be willing to do in the open blaze of day. The most judicious parents will never allow their children to be out at such hours; consequently the only companions he can be with are the unmanageable. There is something almost fiendlike in the shouts which are occasionally heard from such troops of boys congregated at the corners of the streets. If you would save your son from certain ruin, let him not be with them. Keep him at home in the evening, unless by special permission he is at the house of some judicious friend, where you know he will engage in fireside sports.
3. Do all you can to keep your sons employed. Let play be their occasional privilege, and they will enjoy far more highly. Employ them in the garden, if you have one, at work, not at play.
It will do them no harm to perform humble service. It will help you, and help them still more, to have them bring in the wood or the coal, to scour the knives, to make their own beds and to keep them in order. You may thus render them useful, and greatly contribute to their future welfare. If you are sick it is more important you should train up your sons in these habits of industry, for they stand in need of this moral and physical discipline. Louis Philip king of France, though the son of the proudest noble of France, was in childhood and youth required to wait upon himself in the performance of the humblest offices. It was through this culture that he was trained up to be one of the most remarkable men of the present age.
4. Take an interest in your children's enjoyment. A pleasant word, an encouraging smile from a sympathizing mother rewards an affectionate boy for many an hour of work; and the word and the smile reach his
heart, and make a pliable, gentle, mother-loving boy. How often will a boy, with such a mother, work all the afternoon to build a play house, or a dove cote, cheered with the anticipated joy of showing it to his mother
when it is done. And when he takes her hand, to lead her out and show her the evidence of his mechanical skill, how greatly can his young spirit be gratified by a few words of encouragement and approbation."