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be given to whole classes and not to individual scholars. Your chil. dren receive their school knowledge in this way. It is very essential for the progress of a class, and its individual members, that no scholar be absent from a single recitation,-for, frequently, the loss of a single lesson may impair a scholar's interest and advancement for a whole term. Let me take an instance to illustrate this. I have a class in Arithmetic, and it is often necessary for me to explain some principles, the clear understanding of which, by the pupil, will serve as a key to subsequent lessons. To-day I occupy some time in explaining some principles to a class of twenty, of which your child is a member, but, unfortunately, an absent one. To-morrow he comes to school, but is unable to comprehend and perform the exercises of the day, on account of his absence the previous day. What therefore must be done ? Certainly one of two things. I must either devote time and strength which belong to the whole school, (and which the school needs) and repeat the explanations given in his absence, or I must leave himn to grope along in the dark, as best he can, and, probably, to become disgusted with his school and its studies. He will not only droop himself, but will exert a withering and disheartening influence upon the whole school. And is it not true that a teacher's ability and devotion are often called in question on account of a want of interest and progress in scholars, when the true and sole cause for such indifference and languishing, is to be traced to their frequent absence? Is it not also true, that truantism, that most pernicious and destructive habit, sometimes has its origin in the trivial importance which is attached to constancy of attendance, as manifested in the slight causes which occasion absence, and by which children are induced to believe that the loss of a school day is of no consequence ? If this is ever the case, let the dangers which cluster around the truant's path-dangers neither few nor small,-urge you seriously to reflect, and wisely and seasonably to act. But I must leave this head for your more extended consideration, and proceed to notice one or two prominent objections to unseasonable attendance: this I will do with much brevity.
1. If children are allowed to be tardy in their attendance at school, they will be prone to undervalue punctuality in other affairs. Children should be taught to look upon their school as of paramount importance, and regard the school room as their work shop—the place of business for them, and no concern of a secondary nature should be allowed to interfere in the least degree. It is extremely desirable that you impress strongly upon the minds of your children the fact, persons, and
that whatever is worth doing at all, should be done well, and at the proper time. Teach them that punctuality in the discharge of every duty is of the highest importance,—and if you train them to observe it punctiliously in relation to their school, they will be likely to do, the same in every duty of subsequent life. In this way they will form a habit of inestimable value.
But I have considered the evils of unseasonable attendance only in relation to its effect upon him who trespasses. I will briefly allude to another objection to that habit, which is,
2. That children who enter the school room at a late hour, interrupt the order of the school, and interfere with some passing erercises, in which, perhaps, they should have a part. Thus a whole school is often made to suffer from the deviation of a few. In some schools much time is actually lost on each half of the day by the dilatoriness of individual members. You have, doubtless, noticed the effect upon a congregation at church, caused by the late entrance of I will leave this point by merely suggesting the analogy between the two to your own mind,-being convinced that due reflection will induce you to regard the whole matter in its true light, and act accordingly
Before closing this subject, I will call your attention to one more evil, similar, in its effects, to that we have just considered. I allude to the habit of leaving school before the regular hour of dismission. Children very frequently bring notes from their parents requesting their dismission at an early hour, and if all such requests, in some schools, should be complied with, the exercises of the last hour would be constantly interrupted by those who should thus leave.
I wish, now, to suggest a few other particulars in which I earnestly and respectfully solicit your hearty cooperation. When you send your children to school it is your wish, doubtless, that they make as much improvement as possible. That they may do so they need all the encouragement and assistance which our united efforts and wisdom can render. If either of us is negligent or indifferent, the children must suffer for it. I will therefore proceed to designate a few of the points in which you can do your children good, and greatly aid me in the discharge of my school duties.
II. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO RESPECT AND OBEY THE RULES AND REQUIREMENTS OF THEIR TEACHER.
This is highly necessary for their proper advancement and happimess while at school. Jaduce them to look upon their instructor as your and their friend, and to regard all his regulations as designed for their good. If in any of my arrangements, or in the execution of my plans, you shall think I have erred, or that your children have suffered, or been neglected, you will confer a favor by making known to me, freely, your feelings or apprehensions. Come in the spirit of kindness, and I will promise to receive you kindly, and answer every reasonable inquiry. I may sometimes err; it will be strange if I do not. Perhaps you feel that you sometimes misjudge, or act unwisely in the management of your own children. Will you consider that I am called upon to control and instruct the collected families of the neighborhood ? I have, under my care, a multitude, whose home influences and discipline are widely different. The children from no two families are alike. Yet they must be united and governed as one large family. Some are mild, kind and affectionate ; ever anxious to know and ready to obey every wish of their teacher; while others are rough, uncourteous and obstinate ; apparently most pleased when they are doing wrong, interrupting the school, and annoying their instructor. These opposite characters and elements actually exist in most schools, and it would be wonderful, indeed, if teachers could decide and act upon every occasion and in every emergeney, in such manner as to meet universal approval. I feel that I may sometimes do wrong. Let us remember that “to err is human,--to forgive divine.” But so long as you have sufficient confidence in the school and its operations, to induce you to send your children, let me beseech you to teach them to regard every rule and requisition with conscientious strictness. In this way you may do much for me and much for them. If you hear reports from your children, (and this should be done with much caution,) or otherwise, reflecting upon the management of the school or treatment of individual members, do not, too readily confide in all you hear. If however, you really think there is good ground for such reports, call upon me and ascertain all the particulars, remembering the somewhat trite sayings that “there are two sides to a question,” and that “circumstances alter cases.” If you pursue this course in the spirit of love and kindness, you will in most cases find that great exaggerations and perversions have been made ;-sometimes, perhaps, intentionally, but more frequently from the misunderstanding or misconception peculiar to childhood.
III. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO BE ORDERLY, AND STUDIOUSLY TO REGARD RIGHT.
Youth are, frequently, tempted by the example of vicious associates, to violate the rules of good behavior and spend their time in. idle mischief or vain pursuits. As you cannot always keep them removed from pernicious influences and depraved companions, do all in your power to form in them an abhorrence of all that is evil, and a deep regard for every thing that is “ lovely and of good report.” So train them that they may come in contact with vice without being contaminated; nay, more than this, that their own upright conduct and pure conversation may exert a salutary influence upon those who manifest no love for virtuous acts. Improve every fit opportunity to bring before their minds the ruinous consequences of vice and idleness, and at the same time show them that “wisdom's ways are pleasantness and all her paths are peace.” Teach them to avoid trifling deviations,—to do right at all times and on all occasions, because it is right, and because by so doing they will be more happy and useful. Teach them that it is better to “ suffer wrong than to do wrong," and that the fact, that wrong has been done to them, is no reason why they should do wrong in return. Tell them that kindness will allay wrath, and thai it is more noble and manly to return “good for evil,” than to give "reviling for reviling."
As you meet your children at the close of the day, occupy a few minutes in conversing with them respecting the manner in which they have spent the day. Ask them to reflect and consider if they have not done some works which “need to be repented of,” and direct them to the author of their existence for pardon, and to the fountain of all wisdom for future guidance and support. Then may you hope to see them become an honor and a blessing to you and to the community.
IV. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO BE STUDIOUS BY MANIFESTING
AN INTEREST IN THEIR LESSONS.
Improve every suitable occasion to converse with them concerning their studies, and do all you can to convince them that the more diligent and faithful they are now, the brighter will be their prospects for future usefulness and happiness. Do all in your power to inspire them with a love for knowledge as a source of gratification and improvement. In the morning, enjoin upon them the great importance of diligence during the hours of school, and at night, inquire respecting the studies of the day, and ascertain what new ideas have been acquired, what facts have been stored up, what difficulties overcome. Induce them to examine, to investigate, to think. In a word, do all you can to cause them to feel the great advantages of education and the necessity of patient application to obtain it. You will thus increase their interest and cause them to regard with pleasure, exercises that would otherwise appear dull and unimportant.
In this way you can do much to stimulate and cheer
children and their teacher. I do not ask you to come that you may assist in conducting the exercises of the school, but come to see and to hear, and thus give some real evidence that you feel an interest in the subject of education. Children often attend school month after month, and see no parent within the room.
The teacher urges upon
their consideration the great value of knowledge day after day, and repeats his earnest desire for their improvement, but often his words and interest are almost neutralized by the indifference and inattention of their dearest friends. They begin to think that education is of little consequence, and that it matters not whether they are industrious or idle. As they never see their parents within the school room, they begin to think that their teacher is the only individual interested in their progress, and that he is so because it is in the “ way of his business." Hence a teacher's injunctions and example often fall powerless for the want of the quickening influences of a parent's interest and a parent's endorsement.
If, therefore, you have never been in the habit of visiting your children's school, let me affectionately invite you to begin. It will increase your own interest and re-double theirs. Whenever you may have a leisure hour, will you not come and spend it with your children, and listen to their recitations ? Depend upon it, if you will adopt this habit, their zeal and studiousness will be greatly increased, and they will cheerfully apply themselves to their daily exercises, when they feel that their father or their mother may be present when they are called upon to recite,-for what child will not be ambitious to do well at such a time? But I must leave this subject with you, hoping that you will carefully consider its importance.
Before I close, allow me to repeat the points I have placed before you,—the observance of which will be most beneficial to your chil. dren, and, through them, to the community.
1. Send your children constantly and seasonably.
2. Encourage them to respect and obey the rules and requirements of their school.
3. Encourage them to be orderly, &c. 4. Encourage them to be studious,