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Disagreeable toil.-Grafting of a Bartlet Pear.-Anxiety.
coat—threadbare and faded as it was-got caught, and before it could be disengaged, what an unsightly rent had been made! With pain I toiled on, for one of the unlucky thorns had pierced my thumb; and I might have been said to be working on the spur of the occasion !
The hop-vine, however, was removed from its boughs, the tansy and weeds from its roots, the scales and moss from its bark. The thorns were carefully pared from its limbs, and the caterpillars were all shaken from its leaves. The mould was loosened and enriched,—and the sun shined that day upon a long neglected, but now a promising tree.
The time for grafting was not yet passed. One reputedly skilled in that art was called to put the new scion upon the old stock. The work was readily undertaken and speedily accomplished, and the assurance was given that the BARTLET PEAR—that prince among the fruits of New England—would one day be gathered from my neglected tree.
With what interest I watched the buds of the scion, morning after morning, as the month grew warmer, and vegetation all around was “ bursting into birth !" With what delight did I greet the first opening of those buds, and how did I rejoice as the young shoots put forth and grew into a fresh green top! With tender solicitude I cherished this tree for two long summers; and on the opening of the third, my heart was gladdened with the sight of its first fruit blossoms. With care were the weeds excluded, the caterpillars
The pears ripen.-Chagrin and mortification.-A moral garden.
exterminated, the hop-vine clipped, the bark rubbed and washed, the earth manured and watered. The time of fruit arrived. The Bartlet pear was offered in our market,—but my pears were not yet ripe! With anxious care they were watched till the frost bade the green leaves wither, and then they were carefully gathered and placed in the sunbeams within doors. They at length turned yellow, and looked fair to the sight and tempting to the taste ; and a few friends, who had known their history, were invited to partake of them. They were brought forward, carefully arranged in the best dish the humble domicil afforded, and formally introduced as the first fruits of the "neglected tree." What was my chagrin and mortification, after all my pains and solicitude, after all my hopes and fond anticipations, to find they were miserable, tastelesschoke pears!
This pear-tree has put me upon thinking. It has suggested that there is such a thing as a moral garden, in which there may be fair flowers indeed, but also some neglected trees. The plants in this garden may suffer very much from neglect,-from neglect of the gardener. It is deplorable to see how many crooked, unseemly branches shoot forth from some of these young trees, which early might have been trained to grow straight and smooth by the hand of cultivation. Many a youth, running on in his own way, indulging in deception and profanity, yielding to temptation and overborne by evil influences, polluting by his example and wounding the hearts of his best
Many neglected trees.- Infancy.
friends as they yearn over him for good, has reminded me of my neglected tree, its caterpillars, its roughened bark, its hop-vine, its tansy bed, its cruel piercing thorns. And when I have seen such a youth brought under the influence of the educator, and have witnessed the progress he has made and the intellectual promise he has given, I have also thought of my neglected tree. When, too, I have followed him to the years of maturity, and have found, as I have too often found, that he brings not forth “ the peaceable fruits of righteousness,” but that he. disappoints all the fondly-cherished hopes of his friends-perhaps of his own teachers, because the best principles were not engrafted upon him, I again think of my neglected tree, and of the unskillful, perliaps dishonest gardener, who acted as its responsible educator.
From the above as a text, several inferences might be drawn. 1. Education is necessary to develop the human soul. 2. Education should begin early. We have too many neglected trees. 3. It should be right education. And 4. The educator should be a safe and an honest man; else the education
may -may be worse even than the neglect.
But especially we may infer that
be all wrong,
SECTION II. - THE TEACHER IS RESPONSIBLE.
It is the object of the following remarks feebly to illustrate the extent of the teacher's responsibility. It must all along be borne in mind that he is not alone responsible for the results of education. The parent
Extent of teacher's responsibility.-Bodily health.
has an overwhelming responsibility, which he can never part with or transfer to another while he holds the relation of parent.
But the teacher is responsible in a very high de gree. An important interest is committed to his charge whenever a human being is placed under his guidance. By taking the position of the teacher, all the responsibility of the relation is voluntarily assumed ; and he is fearfully responsible not only for what he does, but also for what he neglects to do. And it is a responsibility from which he cannot escape. Even though he may have thoughtlessly entered upon the relation of teacher, without a single glance at its obligations; or though, when reminded of them, he may laugh at the thought, and disclaim all idea of being thus seriously held to a fearful account,-yet still the responsibility is on him. Just as true as it is a great thing to guide the mind aright,—just as true as it is a deplorable, nay, fatal thing to lead it astray, so true is it that he who attempts the work, whether ignorant or skillful, whether thoughtless or serious, incurs all the responsibility of success or failure,—a responsibility he can never shake off as long as the human soul is immortal, and men are accountable for such consequences of their acts as are capable of being foreseen.
I. The teacher is in a degree responsible for the BODILY HEALTH of the child. It is well established that the foundation of many serious diseases is laid in the school-room. These diseases come sometimes from a neglect of exercise ; sometimes from too long confine
Laws of physical health.-Nervous excitement.
ment in one position, or upon one study; sometimes from over-excitement and over-study; sometimes from breathing bad air; sometimes from being kept too warm or too cold. Now the teacher should be an intelligent physiologist; and from a knowledge of what the human system can bear and what it cannot, he is bound to be ever watchful to guard against all those abuses from which our children so often suffer. Especially should he be tremblingly alive to avert that excitability of the nervous system, the over-action of which is so fatal to the future happiness of the individual. And should he, by appealing to the most exciting motives, encourage the delicate child to press on to grasp those subjects which are too great for its comprehension, and allow it to neglect exercise in the open air in order to task its feverish brain in the crowded and badly ventilated school-room; and then, in a few days, be called to look upon the languishing sufferer upon a bed of exhaustion and pain--perhaps a bed of premature death, could he say, “I am not responsible ?" Parents and teachers often err in this. They are so eager to develop a precocious intellect, that they crush the casket in order to gratify a prurient desire to astonish the world with the brilliancy of the gem. Each is responsible for his share of this sin; and the teacher especially, because by his education he should know better.
II. The teacher is mainly responsible for the INTELLECTUAL GROWTH of the child. This may be referred chiefly to the following heads :