« НазадПродовжити »
SOME OF LOCKE'S
THOUGHTS CONCERNING EDUCATION.
“A sound Mind in a sound Body" — is a short, but full Description of a happy State in this World. He that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be but little the better for any thing else. Mens Happiness or Misery is most part of their own making. He, whose Mind directs not wisely, will never take the right Way; and he, whose Body is crazy and feeble, will never be able to advance in it. I confess, there are some Men's Constitutions of Body and Mind so vigorous, and well framed by Nature, that they need not much Assistance from others; but by the Strength of their natural Genius, they are from their Cradles carried towards what is excellent; and by the Privilege of their happy Constitutions, are able to do Wonders. But Examples of this Kind are but few; and I think I may say,
that of all the Men we meet with, nine Parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their Education.) 'Tis that which makes the great Difference in Mankind. The little, or almost insensible Impressions on our tender Infancies, have very important and lasting Consequences: And there it is, as in the Foun
tains of some Rivers, where a gentle Application of the Hand turns the flexible Waters into Channels, that make them take quite contrary Courses; and by this little Direction given them at first in the Source, they receive different Tendencies, and arrive at last at very remote and distant Places.
Health. - I imagine the Minds of Children as easily turned this or that way, as Water itself; and though this be the principal Part, and our main Care should be about the Inside, yet the Clay Cottage is not to be neglected. I shall therefore begin with the Case, and consider first the Health of the Body, as that which perhaps you may rather expect from that Study I have been thought more peculiarly to have applied myself to; and that also which will be soonest dispatched, as lying, if I guess not amiss, in a very little Compass.
How necessary Health is to our Business and Happiness; and how requisite a strong Constitution, able to endure Hardships and Fatigue, is to one that will make any Figure in the World, is too obvious to need
The Consideration I shall here have of Health, shall be, not what a Physician ought to do with a sick or crazy Child, but what the Parents, without the Help of Physick, should do for the Preservation and Improvement of an healthy, or at least not sickly Constitution in their Children: And this perhaps might be all dispatched in this one short Rule, viz. That Gentlemen should use their Children as the honest Farmers and substantial Yeomen do theirs. But because the Mothers pos
sibly may think this a little too hard, and the Fathers too short, I shall explain myself more particularly; only laying down this as a general and certain Observation for the Women to consider, viz. That most Children's Constitutions are either spoiled, or at least harmed, by Cockering and Tenderness.
Warmth. The first Thing to be taken care of, is, that Children be not too warmly clad or covered, Winter or Summer. The Face, when we are born, is no less tender than any other part of the Body. 'Tis Use alone hardens it, and makes it more able to endure the Cold: And therefore the Scythian Philosopher gave a very significant Answer to the Athenian, who wondered how he could go naked in Frost and Snow. How, said the Scythian, can you endure your posed to the sharp Winter Air? My Face is used to it, said the Athenian. Think me all Face, replied the Scythian. Our Bodies will endure any thing, that from the Beginning they are accustomed to.
Give me Leave therefore to advise you, not to fence too carefully against the Cold of this our Climate. There are those in England, who wear the same Clothes Winter and Summer, and that without any Inconvenience, or more Sense of Cold than others find. But if the Mother will needs have an Allowance for Frost and Snow, for fear of Harm, and the Father for fear of Censure, be sure let not his Winter-Clothing be too warm: And amongst other Things, remember, that when Nature has so well covered his Head with Hair, and strengthened it with a Year or two's Age, that he can run about by Day without a Cap, it is best that by Night a Child should also lie without one; there being nothing that more exposes to Headach, Colds, Catarrhs, Coughs, and several other Diseases, than keeping the Head warm.
I have said He here, because the principal Aim of my Discourse is, how a young Gentleman should be brought up from his Infancy, which, in all Things, will not so perfectly suit the Education of Daughters; though where the Difference of Sex requires different Treatment, it will be no hard Matter to distinguish.
Swimming.- I shall not need here to mention Swimming, when he is of an Age able to learn, and has any one to teach him. 'Tis that saves many a Man's Life; and the Romans thought it so necessary, that they ranked it with Letters; and it was the common Phrase to mark one ill-educated, and good for nothing, that he had neither learnt to read nor to swim. Nec literas didicit, nec natare. But besides the gaining a Skill which may serve him at need, the Advantages to Health, by often bathing in cold Water, during the Heat of Summer, are so many, that I think nothing need to be said to encourage it, provided this one Caution be used, That he never go into the Water, when Exercise has at all warmed him, or left any Emotion in his Blood or Pulse.
Air. - Another Thing that is of great Advantage to every one's Health, but especially Children's, is, to be much in the open Air, and very little as may be by
the Fire, even in Winter. By this he will accustom himself also to Heat and Cold, Shine and Rain; all which, if a Man's Body will not endure, it will serve him to very little Purpose in this World; and when he is grown up, it is too late to begin to use him to it. It must be got early, and by Degrees. Thus the Body may be brought to bear almost any thing. If I should advise him to play in the Wind and Sun without a Hat, I doubt whether it could be borne. There would a thousand Objections be made against it, which at last would amount to no more in Truth, than being Sunburnt. And if my young Master be to be kept always in the Shade, and never exposed to the Sun and Wind, for fear of his Complexion, it may be a good way to make him a Beau, but not a Man of Business. And altho' greater Regard be to be had to Beauty in the Daughters, yet I will take the Liberty to say, that the more they are in the Air, without Prejudice to their Faces, the stronger and healthier they will be; and the nearer they come to the Hardships of their Brothers in their Education, the greater Advantage will they receive from it all the remaining Part of their Lives.
Habits. Playing in the open Air bas but this one Danger in it, that I know; and that is, that when he is hot with running up and down, he should sit or lie down on the cold or moist Earth. This I grant; and drinking cold Drink, when they are hot with Labour or Exercise, brings more people to the Grave, or to the Brink of it, by Fevers and other Diseases, than any thing I know. These Mischiefs are easily enough