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to which I most affectionately invite your attention. 1 will endeavor not to ask for anything which shall not be for your good,
and I will promise to do all I can for your improvement and happiness.
1. BE CONSTANT IN YOUR ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOL. This is very important, for if you are often absent you cannot make much progress and will fall behind those of your classmates who are always at school. But, perhaps, you say, “ I am never absent from school unless I am unwell, or wanted by my parents.” I hope this is true. It would occasion me much pain to know that you, or any other pupil in our school, was in the habit of “playing truant,”—for a truant is not only in great danger of ruining himself, but he exerts a bad influence upon all with whom he associates. Therefore I earnestly entreat you to shun the truant's path and the truant's habits,-and, if you cannot persuade him to abandon them, shun the truant as you would a destructive enemy. First, however, do all you can to induce him to forsake his evil ways and walk in wisdom's paths. Convince him that, while you dread and despise his practice, you have a strong desire to reclaim hiin and do him good.
But see to it, my dear young friend, that you are always in your place at school, unless prevented by sickness, or by some unavoidable circumstance. Probably, you are often called upon to render some assistance to your parents. This you should always do promptly and cheerfully. You can never do too much for your kind parents. Let them see that it is a pleasure to you to assist them, and thus convince them of your gratitude for their numberless acts of attention and kindness to you. Can you not, however, do all they may require, or wish, between the hours of school ? That you may be enabled to do so, are you not willing to rise early and work diligently? Let your parents see that you feel a strong desire to avoid absence from school, and, I think, they will require of you the performance of no duties which will encroach upon the hours which are set apart for the school room. If you are absent you not only lose the lessons that are recited during your absence, and thus become less able to advance with the lessons which follow, but you will also, I fear, feel much less interest in your school and in all its exercises. Therefore, I again ask you to attend school with as much constancy as possible.
2. ALWAYS ENDEAVOR TO BE AT SCHOOL IN SEASON. The habit of punctuality is a very desirable one. If we wish to accomplish much, we must not only have a time for every duty, but we must also be careful to perform every duty at its proper time. If you agree to meet several of your companions at a certain hour, in order to engage in some favorite amusement, you will think it very desirable that all assemble at the appointed time. You cannot conveniently, commence your sport until all, who are expected, shall have arrived. The tardiness of a single individual disturbs your plans, and perhaps, for the time, prevents your amusement. If the hour appointed for meeting is 2 o'clock it would be wrong for you, or any other one, to delay until 2 or 3 o'clock. By so doing you would cause all who were punctual to suffer from your dilatoriness. I presume, however, that you are always punctual in attending to engagements of this kind. But are you equally anxious to be prompt in meeting your school engagements? Have you ever considered that, when you are late at school, you do an injury to all who are in season? They will either have to await your arrival, or they will be disturbed by your unseasonable entrance. If all should be late much valuable time would be lost to the whole school. If then, it is important that all be present at the appointed time for commencing school, will you not see to it that you are never late, unless for some very particular and unavoidable cause ? By being constant and punctual you can do much for yourself and much for our school ; but if you are not so, you cannot make much progress yourself and you will greatly impair the order and improvement of the whole school. Let it, therefore, be your fixed determination, so far as possible, to meet all your school engagements punctually,--for by so doing you will not only accomplish more while in school, but you will also form a habit which will be of great service to you in the business of after life.
3. HAVE A STRICT REGARD TO ALL THE REGULATIONS OF
In all well managed communities and associations it is necessary to have certain rules which shall be observed by the individuals for whose good they were made. Every state makes certain laws and requires its citizens to obey them; every town imposes certain restraints upon its inhabitants and provides for their enforcement; every family has, or should have, certain regulations, and demand their observance by its members. So every school, in order to afford the greatest benefits to those who attend it, should have certain wholesome regulations and secure a strict obedience to the same, I wish, however, at this time to give you only one rule. This is very short and you can readily commit it to memory, and if you, and
all other members of our school, will remember it, and regard it faithfully, we shall indeed have a delightful school. The rule I wish you to remember is simply this: DO NOTHING THAT IS WRONG. The principal question, for you, is to decide what is wrong. Some things may be wrong in school, which would not be so elsewhere. In many situations talking or whispering, laughing, playing &c. may be innocent and proper ; while in others they would be wrong
and improper. In school they would be wrong because they would tend to interrupt the appropriate exercises of the school room. In order to study profitably we should be free from all annoyances. Therefore it is wrong to do any thing in school that will disturb your teacher, or interrupt your fellow pupils, and draw off their attention from their lessons. I will name a few practices which you should refrain from, as wrong : whispering, laughing, playing, enting, unnecessary noise or movement, and whatever may interrupt or displease your fellow pupils, you should strictly guard against I may make particular regulations respecting these and other troublesome habits, and if so, I trust you will observe them very faithfully. If, however, you conscientiously obey the short direction given above, I shall have no occasion to make any other. That you may strive to do right at all times and under all circumstances, is my earnest desire. Remember that a boy or girl of true and noble courage will always fear to do wrong, and dare to do right. 4. Be studIOUS AT SCHOOL, AND IMPROVE ALL YOUR TIME TO THE
BEST POSSIBLE ADVANTAGE. You are sent to school by your parents, that you may acquire knowledge, and become prepared for the business of life. They know, in some degree, the great value of an education, and they are willing to work hard, that they may have the means of sending you to school, and supplying you with books. All they wish in return is, that you will be diligent and faithful in the improvement of your time and privileges. Therefore I hope you will form a decided resolution to give strict attention to every lesson that may be assigned you. Be willing to study diligently, and if you have a difficult lesson, be patient and persevere. You will feel much satisfaction in overcoming obstacles, and in performing a hard task. If you meet with a question which at first appears too difficult, do not abandon it and feel discouraged. “Persevere and you will succeed.” Be willing to “try, try, and try again,” and to do so cheerfully; and when you finally succeed, you will feel a real pleasure, and what you shall have acquired you will not readily forget. But sometimes, doubtless, you will meet with difficulties which you cannot overcome without assistance. When
you have done all you can and without success, make known the particulars that trouble you, and I will cheerfully lend you aid. Make it a fixed rule never to pass over a lesson, without gaining a clear understanding of it. When your class is reciting, do not be satisfied with the mere repetition of words. Endeavor to comprehend every exercise, and then you will grow in knowledge and increase inwisdom. When you go to school never allow your plays, or the thought of them, to enter the door ; and while there, regard it as the place for study, and be constantly studious, and then you can engage heartily and cheerfully in amusement, when the hours of school shall have passed, and you go upon the playground. A good scholar is industrious in school, and animated at his play,—but never allows his love for amusement to interfere with his studies.
5. BE HONEST IN REGARD TO YOUR LESSONS.
Dishonesty in one particular, will often lead to dishonesty in other particulars. An honest man is one who regards the laws of God and man, respects the rights of his fellow men, makes the best possible use of his time and privileges, does all in his power for his own improvement, for the good of mankind and for the glory of his maker; fears to do wrong and delights in righteous acts. Such a man is the noblest work of God. I hope you may become such, and, that you may, you must now be honest in all you do, and you will then grow up with a sincere and deep-rooted love for honesty. Be honest in small things, and then you will be so in those of more iinportance.
Some pupils resort to improper aids in getting their lessons, and are willing to have their teacher and classmates think they have been very industrious, and that they thoroughly understand their lessons, when in reality, they have spent their time in idleness, and have but a very imperfect knowledge of the exercises required of them. But they practice deception and dishonesty. A boy who is strictly honest will not deceive in any particular, nor will he be willing to have his instructor think he has been diligent, unless such is the fact. Sometimes scholars prompt each other, and by assistance thus given and received, they contrive to answer questions which, unaided, they could not answer. This is wrong. It is really dishonest for one pupil to give, as his own, an answer which has been slyly commuricated to him by another. A dull and idle scholar can derive no real benefit from such assistance, while one who is diligent and conscientious, will neither need nor receive prompting from any one. Study that you may understand, and so understand, that you may communicate in a plain and distinct manner. To know a thing, without being able to use it and make others see and feel that you know it, is but little worth. Therefore, be not satisfied unless you have a full and clear conception of every thing you meet in your lessons. If, during the recital of a lesson, any thing is said or done which you do not thoroughly comprehend, be ready to make known your doubts, and ask such questions as you may wish. I shall be glad to have you, and every other pupil, ask me one or more questions relating to your lesson during its recital. That you may be prepared to do so, study your
lessons with great care, and seek for some point about which you would like to get a clearer understanding. Whenever you meet with a word, at school or elsewhere, of whose meaning you are ignorant, look for it in your dictionary, or ask its signification of some friend. By pursuing this course, faithfully, you will soon acquire the import of most words with which you meet. Therefore I again entreat you, as your friend and teacher, to be honest in regard to your acquirements. Have a strong desire to study, that you may gain knowledge, and to gain knowledge, that you may pass through life prosperously, usefully and happily. 6. BE NEAT AND ORDERLY IN YOUR PERSONAL APPEARANCE AND
I am sorry to
pay little or no regard to this direction, either at home or at school. They seem quite willing to appear in an untidy condition, and they thus make themselves disagreeable to all who have any respect to order and cleanliness. I trust you will always possess that commendable pride which will cause you studiously to cultivate habits of neatness and order in regard to your person, your clothes, your books, and every thing with which you have to do. “ Have a place for every thing and every thing in its place," is an excellent rule. It is not only important to have things in their proper places, but to have them neatly and orderly arranged.
Before leaving home for school, a few minutes, devoted to brushing and arranging your hair and dress, will enable you to appear at school in a neat and respectable condition. Do not forget the cleansing and refreshing effects of pure cold water. The running brooks and sparkling fountains would almost cry out against you if you should enter