All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
--Cecil F. Alexander
But there are times when the "relations are strained"; and of these, the moment when the child feels himself consciously a member of the school republic is one of the most trying. Now, all the tact of the parents is called into play. Now, more than ever, is it necessary that the child should be aware of the home authority, just that he may know how he stands, and how much he is free to give to the school. "Oh, mither, mither why gar ye no' mak' me do it?" was the cry of a poor ne'er-do-weel Scotch laddie who had fallen into disgrace through neglect of his work; and that is just what every schoolboy or schoolgirl has a right to say who does not feel the pressure of a firm hand at home during the period of school life. They have a right to turn round and reproach their parents for almost any failure in probity or power in after-life. But no mere assertion of authority will do: it is the old story of the sun and the wind and the traveller's cloak. It is in the force of all-mighty gentleness that parents are supreme; not feebleness, not inertness––there is no strength in these; but purposeful, determined gentleness, which carries its point, only "for it is right." "The servant of God must not strive," was not written for bishops and pastors alone, but is the secret of strength for every "bishop," or overlooker, of a household. --Vol. 5 p. 200-201, "The Relations Between School and Home Life"
"Anyone can improve his memory: the best way is by learning by heart––no matter what––and then when you think you know it, say it or write it. After two or three days you are sure to forget it again and then instead of looking at the book 'strain your mind' and try to remember it. Above all things always keep your mind employed."
They ran an intellectual race across a ploughed field after heavy rain and the marvel is that they made way at all.
These letters are pathetic documents and, that they are reassuring also, let us be thankful. They do go to prove that the desire of knowledge is inextinguishable whatever schools do or leave undone; but have these nothing to answer for when a pursuit which should yield ever recurring refreshment becomes dogged labour over heavy roads with little pleasure in progress?
Perhaps the youth addicted to sports usually fails to appreciate delicate nonsense; sports are too strenuous to admit of a subtler, more airy kind of play...
We have to face two difficulties. We do not believe in children as intellectual persons nor in knowledge as requisite and necessary for intellectual life.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?
By this time her old disposition had begun to rouse again. She had been doing her duty, and had in consequence begun again to think herself Somebody. However strange it may well seem, to do one’s duty will make any one conceited who only does it sometimes. Those who do it always would as soon think of being conceited of eating their dinner as of doing their duty. What honest boy would pride himself on not picking pockets? A thief who was trying to reform would. To be conceited of doing one’s duty is then a sign of how little one does it, and how little one sees what a contemptible thing it is not to do it. Could any but a low creature be conceited of not being contemptible? Until our duty becomes to us common as breathing, we are poor creatures.
--from "The Wise Woman" by George MacDonald