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it is still necessary to select the stories with great care. Stories that present some historical characters, and thus become a center in the memory for locating other events of an age, are good bait for a child without taste for reading. It is true that the parables are inventions, but they partake more of the character of high moral instruction than of amusement.
Provide a good supply of pictures and toys for very young children. It is not extravagant, as it may seem. It fills their time, keeps out bad thoughts, quickens their faculties, and prevents evils that can be cor rected only with great labor and pains.
Enter into the sports of your children. Lyman Beecher was a champion racer on all fours with a child on his back.
Lead the children to cultivate fruits and flowers. It develops the love of the beautiful, and gives opportunity and means for blessing other people.
Cultivate music, instrumental and vocal. It cheers the home.
Collect shells, plants, and specimens in geology and mineralogy. Not to weary as a study, but to interest the children in studying the specimens, and learning all about them. Encourage all sorts of harmless games, which tend to quicken the observation, strengthen the memory, or develop the body. Tableaux and charades give much amusement, and call forth a good deal of ingenuity and intelligence, and there are various games invented-literary, historical, geographical, and so forth-which are very cheap, and which convey a good deal of useful information. It is amusing to give out a word, and call upon every one to make two or more rhyming lines containing that word. Spelling matches are very lively and profitable, and when the company is disposed to be grave, a word such as “tree” or “water” might be given out, and every one be asked to mention where it is found in the Bible.
Give the boys boxes of tools. It develops their mechanical skill and ingenuity.
Give little girls dolls, and nice large dolls to larger girls. With this incentive they will speedily be introduced into the intricacies of dressmaking, millinery, and housekeeping more easily than in any other way.
Interest the children in decorating the home. It is a good investment to furnish them materials with which to make little ornaments for the house. Put emphasis on the value these things possess because made by themselves.
Celebrate birthdays and holidays and anniversaries. It adds to home's attractiveness for a child to feel that there is one place where they are glad that he ever came.
As far as possible let each child have a companion near its own
age, with congenial tastes. It gives a chance to draw upon some forces outside of the family.
Use hospitality. Keep your home open to the good and wise. Your children and yourself will gain much information by meeting people at your table. The unwritten history in things is always the most instructive. God urges hospitality more than any other social duty. It combines the benevolence of the Church with the instruction of the university.
Establish a reading circle. Have this meet in your home if you can, or in the Church or some home of the Church. A dozen or more young men and women of congenial tastes, habits, and social belongings, can easily meet once during every week through five or six months of the year. With a small fund they can buy good books, and over these, read aloud by one and another of their number, they can spend an hour and a half most pleasantly and profitably. They will find in these books topics of conversation for the remainder of the time they spend together. These gatherings may be varied with music and the use of the various gifts of the members-original compositions, declamations, and the like.
Keep up family relations after leaving the home. Some have adopted the following practice: On the first day of each month some member of the family, at the extreme point of dispersion, fills a part of a page. This is sealed and mailed to the next member, who reads it, adds another contribution, and then mails it to the next. Thus the family circular once a month goes from each extreme to all the members of a widely dispersed family, and each member becomes a sharer in the joys, sorrows, plans, and pursuits of all the rest.
HOW AND WHAT TO READ.
We live among books to find the good, the beautiful, and the true in them, and by them to be inspired and led into the heart of nature and into the soul of mankind. A few hints in this labyrinth is better than a master. Indiscriminate reading will give much information and lose more. It fixes no centers around which future acquisitions crystallize.
A course of reading should develop all the intellectual faculties.
A few books may give culture. Poverty, preventing you from buying many costly books, need not keep you from undertaking the culture of your mind. Lincoln read chiefly the Bible and Shakspeare. Good books can be frequently re-read with profit.
Choosing books is important business. A single book may make or mar a life. Voltaire learned an infidel poem when he was five years old, and
it molded his life. Hume, when a boy, took the infidel side of a question in a debating society, and cast his die. What books will you let come into the place of your parents and friends?
Youth should be left to themselves in the selecting of books no more than in the selecting of companions.
The desirableness of books depends upon their truth to nature, their euphony, language, ideas, and vigor. The best books are those that elevate the character by moving the heart.
Some books should be read, whether we like them or not, because they are necessary to education and culture.
Some books should be read because they are so often alluded to by other writers and in general conversation.
One should be thoroughly acquainted with the books and names of the authors of his own land. Patriotism should lead a man to know the glory in the midst of which he lives.
Read occasionally good essays, biographies, standard books of travel, and a little standard fiction. Sometimes too protracted reading of heavy histories wearies the purpose of the uncultured, and the mind refuses to hold the results. Change of diet is good for body and mind.
Let each prominent fact become a center of arrangement for other facts. When the piles are thus driven, it is wonderful how soon the sea washes in a new formation and foundation for future building. Every book, and almost every paper, will add something to the stock of knowledge.
Some find a blank book and a pencil good companions in reading. Thus, marked passages can be retained for reference, or impressed on the mind by the work of writing.
If convenient, read with a friend. Discussion clears and fixes in the mind what you read.
Read aloud portions of every book. It enables you to test the style of the author.
Never read second-class stories. They steal the time and weaken the mind.
Never read what you do not wish to remember.
HEALTH AT HOME.
Health is Wealth.-Health is one of the foundation pillars of happiness in the home. It is a condition of the best instruction and the best education. It is an essential preliminary to the best success in the best work, and to the highest attainment in the widest usefulness. Without it there is sadness at the hearth-stone, silence and sorrow, instead of cheerful words and happy hearts.
What are fortunes and honors in the absence of the future health and vigor of our loved ones? What is home itself, where disease abides as a permanent visitor, and poisons every perfume with a malarious infection?
Special Home Ministry.—An eloquent French author correctly says that the whole maternity is comprised in these four words: "Blood, food, care, devotion." Paternity is an equal sharer here, both as to privilege and responsibility. What ministry is more delicate, more difficult, and more sublime? What work is greater than to give to coming parent and citizen a sound body, a strong mind, and a good heart?
This Ministry Must Begin Early.-There is an old Spanish proverb that “What enters with swaddling, comes out only with the shroud." Wordsworth truthfully wrote in rhyme, "The child is father of the man." Manhood inherits childhood. Parentage is responsible for the character and value of the inheritance.
This Ministry Illustrated.-"Behold a man!" said Napoleon to his officers when he first met Goethe, who was the embodiment of physical and mental vigor. The great poet lived to a great age, working on beyond his fourscore years, and remaining "robust and energetic to the last," says his biographer, after he had seen three generations swept by him to the grave. When he died-at eighty-four-the medical authorities at Weimar, being curious to learn the physiological problem of such great work at such an advanced age, made a post-mortem examination, which showed that all the internal as well as the external organs of the body were in "perfect condition." And yet Goethe was feeble and sickly in childhood. Parental care, in the direction of thorough hygienic culture, with his own resolution to indulge in not a single sinful habit superadded, brought strength, and life, and usefulness.
Another Illustration.-Alexander von Humboldt was another example of the good fruits of early and wisely directed health training. Hence it was that his biographers were able to present him to the world as "the Corypheus of physical science, and a man of universal culture; a man also of 'society,' and of courtly life." He crowded into his ninety years of successful life whole centuries of the life and toil of other men with equal natural endowment, but less carefully and less wisely trained. On the 3d of May, 1859, the journals of Berlin announced: "Alexander von Humboldt has been confined to his bed the last twelve days; his strength has been gradually failing, his mind retaining all its clearness." In three days more, writes Dr. Abel Stevens, as the sunlight poured into his window, he exclaimed, "How grand those rays! They seem to beckon earth to heaven!" and died. For twenty years or more of the time in which men are usually said to be beyond "the allotted period of life," when they usually decay mentally, he was