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Instilling Independent Thought in Children

A habit of independent thought and action should be encouraged in children from quite early times, and when we are in the holiday season and lesson-books are set aside for the time being, the training of the moral character may be attended to by the parents themselves. Encourage children to take the initiative in their games; let the elder ones help the younger ones in constructing plans of sand castles, fortifications, rivers, etc., and impart to them such knowledge as they may have acquired of woodcraft, the names of birds, flowers, and trees.
Let the elder children have a certain amount of responsibility in looking after the younger ones, and while, of course, you keep an eye upon them to see that no serious mischief is got into, do not let them know that you are observing them, but quietly watch the action of one towards the other.
Never keep a boy " tied to his mother's apron strings." Allow him to gain quickness, and self-confidence by sparring, wrestling, and rough and tumble play with companions of his own age, as long as the little fights are not-allowed to develop evil tempers and malice. Make your boys firm and self-reliant if you can, for true courage is one of the best of all possessions. A timid man may be afraid to do what he knows is right, and may not dare to do his duty if beset by dangers and difficulties.

Adapted from a 19th Century magazine


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