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TREATMENT OF PARENTS.
- Charles is the best and kindest of sons, and always was: he is truly a treasure and a blessing.” These were the words of the widow Barton, as she folded a letter her son had written, to say that he had prepared a comfortable home for herself and two dependent grand children, to which he wished their immediate removal." A treasure and a blessing !” Is there a child who would not rejoice to deserve such a commendation ? Perhaps not one. How is it that so enviable a reputation is to be secured ? Not always by administering to the temporal necessities of our parents; for there is not always need, and when there is need, not always ability to bestow, and when there is both, something else is always needed.
In dollars and cents, the debt of filial gratitude can never meet its full discharge. Mrs. M.aged and infirm widow living in Boston, formerly in affluence, but now in circumstances comparatively reduced, and almost without friends. She has a son enjoying the height of prosperity, who it is true, does not allow her to suffer; but then, he is not affectionate or considerate--not what a son ought to be. Recently a considerable remittance was ceived from this son. “I am thankful for this," said the widow to a friend who happened to be present when the money was received," I am thankful for this,” she said with tears; “ but oh ! if Edward would ever come near me, to enquire how I do, or to speak a single kind word to me, it would do me more good than every cent of his fortune.”
- is an
single kind word! What mother would not believe her ?
It is to be hoped there are few sons like the last mentioned one; but, it is not to be feared too that there are few like the first one ?-few of the kind. est and the best ?
But, not to speak of sons alone, or of either daughters or sons, who have come to an age or condition to be independent of parents, or to stand their partners—their supporters or their solace; let us look after the class who are as yet, themselves the cherished, the supported, the dependent. Let us look among them for the “ treasures and the blessings”—for the daughters we will say to begin with, who are every thing that daughters should be,—the affectionate, complying, deferential. We pass by of course, the undutiful, rebelling, ungrateful, -standing out, or distinguished as such. And whom have we left ? Has not the parent of each a blessing and a treasure, in an amiable, and excellent daughter ? Let us ascertain.
First, look into that parlor,-almost any one you please, and let me introduce you to some of the scenes which will be sure to be somewhere acting. Not extraordinary ones, but very common- -very trifling ones, so considered,—which latter, howbeit, is the point we are set to contest. You may happen to see somewhere, a girl somewhat advanced in her teens, with aspect of intelligence and not unamiable. She has been fondly cherished, and well instructed. She has been taught her duty; let us see how well she can perform. It is the hour of school, we will suppose in the morning, and she is preparing to set out. Her kind and careful mother is lending her assistance, to pack the luncheon basket, to search for the mislaid book or exercise; and finally, to see that her out-of-door equipment is such as health and comfort demand. But now comes a contest. The mother seems to be urgently pressing some point, and the daughter as urgently resisting. What requirement may it be which is deemed by the daughter 80 unreasonable ? Why, the mother insists that the state of the weather demands a cloak instead of the shawl, and over-shoes instead of slippers. The daughter insists to the contrary. Eloquence is exhausted on either side. The daughter finally conquers, and as she steps abroad, it may be that the mild air and dry walking decide herself to be in the right and her mother's apprehensions groundless.-A trifling matter this to be sure—a trifling question whether should be worn a shawl or a cloak, over-shoes or none. But was that the question ? was it not rather this !-shall I act the yielding, complying daughter in this case, and save the kindest of mothers from any unnecessary anxiety or disquiet; or shall I cause her trouble or apprehension for my health,-even though I believe my own way to be best?
In taking leave of this imaginary case, we are led, by the way to observe, what an almost universal source of anxiety to parents is the alınost universal proneness of young persons to neglect or abuse their health. Where is the mother who does not find it necessary to watch against some imprudent practice, or the habitual inconsiderateness of a child—to caution against careless exposures, or, in the case of injurious consequences, to urge,-perhaps to enforce, the application of remedies. Not long ago, as we were sitting in the room with a young friend, her mother entered, and observing that she was seated
in the air of the window, requested her to remove; saying to her—"you know Julia that it is by sitting with your back to the air, that you are so continually taking cold. I always feel anxious when you are out of my sight.” Julia removed, though evidently with reluctance, remarking at the same time “oh ! mother, how afraid you always are.” In less than fifteen minutes, she was back at the window again. Julia, for once, had her mother's fears very fully to realise. She took a violent cold, and was severely
At the commencement of her sickness, some nauseous herb drink, at the direction of her mother, was brought her to take. A little of the tea was tasted, and the rest, as the attendant left the room,thrown out of the window. This part of the story was disclosed by herself after her recovery, as a piece of very witty ingenuity.
Now Julia was in the main an amiable girl; she certainly loved her mother; her manners too were usually affectionate and never indecorous. To have had the character of a undutiful daughter would have shocked her. How then will you explain these specimens of her doings ? We will charge the whole to inconsiderateness, with the hope that some time or other, Julia will have learned to consider.
We will leave Julia and proceed a little farther upon our tour of inspection. Consider again an imaginary case, which may stand for ten thousand real ones.
About six months ago, Mr. A. delightfully surprised his daughter Ellen, by the purchase of an elegant and expensive piano for her use. A teacher was engaged; and the novelty was enchanting. Every spare moment was spent at the piano. But practising has become at length an old story. No
thing in the world is now so dull and tedious, as to practise. The mother urges the importance of persevering attention to the lessonsbegs her each day to be prepared for her teacher. But oh ! what a trouble is the whole business! The task is neglected, or carelessly performed, and there is impatience and complaint, and fretting without end. She has learned a few tunes, and occasionally her father requests to hear one. But she may not happen to feel like it, as she says, and then her compliance is reluctant or declined altogether, or some other piece must be taken than the one he chooses, or there is some trouble or other.
Ellen loves her parents. She would not directly disobey their commands;-she would not, for the world, wilfully and deliberately pursue any course for the purpose of giving them trouble. How is it then that she will cause them so much ?-It must be that she does not consider. She does not appreciate filial obligation. She thinks herself excusable for neglecting a duty though required by her parents, because it is a dull and tedious.” But when did ever her parents neglect a needed attention to her, because it was dull and tedious? What will not her parents sacrifice for her ? What can she do that is too much for her parents ? What did any reasonable parent ever require that was too much, for a child to render.