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A Father's Lesson

A Father's Lesson image
Parent Issue
Day
29
Month
September
Year
1865
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

" What do you mean by such cureessness ?" exclaimed John Doring to bis son VVilliam, a fine lad of twelve years. " Take tbat !" he added, stri kicg tbe boy a heavy blow on tho side of the head, " and that, and that," repeating the blows the last of whieh knockud the boy over a plow that stood by his side. " Get up now and go into the house," continued the father, " and eee if vnu caü't keep out of mischief for a while, and stop thai crying, or I'll give you something to cry for." The boy started for the house, struggling to suppress his sobs as he went. " It is astouishiug," said Doring, addressing a neighbor named Hanford, who was standing near the barn, and of oourse had seen and heard what had passed, " how troublesome boys are. Just see these oats now that I've got to piek up just for that boy's carelessness," and he poinled to a measure of oats whieh William bad accidentally overturncd. " And it was for that trifle that you assaulted your ehild and knocked him down !" replied Mr. Hanford in a sorrowful tone. Doring looked up from tho oats in surprise, and repeated. " Assaulted my child and knocked hiindown? Why, what do you mean, oeishbor Hanford ?" "Juut what I said. Did you not knock the child over that plough ?" " Why - wcll - no. He kiud of stumbled and feil over it," doggedly replied Doring. Do you go against parental autbority ? Haven't I a right to punish my own children ?" "Certainly you have," responded Mr. Hanford, " In a proper manner and in a proper spirit, but not otherwise. Do you think that a father has a right to revenge hiinself upon his child ?" ■' Of course not ; but who'b talking about reveuge ?" " Well, friend Doring, let me ask you another question !" For what purpose should a child be puniched f" " Why to make it better, and do it good, of course,1' quxkly answered Dor.ng. " For any other purpose ?" quietly asked Mr. Hanford. " Well, no, not that I can think of just now," replied Doring thoughtfully. " And now, my triend," kindly continued Mr. Hanford, "do you suppose that your treatment of your son a few inoments ago did hira any good, or has made him any better, or has incroased his respect and affection for you ? The boy, I venture to say is utterly uneon sciousof having done any wrong, and yet you suddenly assaulted him with violence and anger, and gave him a beating whieh no penitentiary convict can be subject to without having the outrage inquired into by a legislative committee. But let me teil you a story. You know my son Charles ?" " The one that is preaching in Charlestown V" "Yes ." " You have probably noticed that he is lame V" " I have noticed it," said Doring, " and he told me he got hurt when he was a boy." " Yes," responded Mr. Hanford, with emotion, " the dear boy could never be mad6 to say that it was occasionod by his father's brutality. But listen," he continued, as he saw that Doriug was about to speak. " Wheti Charles was just about the ago of your sou William, he was one of the most active and intelligent boys I havo ever seen. I was fond of him and especially prerod of his physieal beauties and powers. But unfortunately, I was ouiMd with an irritable and violent temper, and waa in tho hiiliit of puninhing my children under the impulse of pas i bíoii and veugeunce, instoad of from tho ! dictatos of reasoa, duty and enlightened affectiou." ' " One day Charles offended rao by sorae boyish and tritíiug misdemeanor, and I troated hitn almost cxaotly as you had trvated your son a few minutes ago, I struck him violently, and hef'oll upon a pilo of stones by his side, and injurecl his tuft hip so badly the result was - he was crippled fpi life," said Mr, Hanford, ia tones of deepcst sorrow and remorse, aud eovering his fuco witb his hands. A period of oppresgive silcuce followod, wiiicb was at last broken by Mi Hanford's saying : " When I found that my poor boy did not rise from whero lie had fallen, I seized him by the arm and rudely pulled him to his feet, nnd was about to strike him agaiu, whon soinething in his tace - his look - arrested my arm, and I askod him if he was hurt. " I am afraid I am, pa," he mildly answered, clinging to my arm for support. " Whoro ? I asked in groat alarm, for uetwithstanding my brutality I iairly idolized the boy." " Here," he replied, laying his hand upon his hip. " In silence I took him in my nrsas and oarriod him to his bed, frorn which he never roso the saine bright, active boy that I had so cruelly struck down on that pile of stones. But after rnany months he carne forth a pille, saddened little icllow, hobblin;? on a cruteh " Ilere Mr. Haniord broke down, aud wept like a child, and the lears also rolled down Doring's cheeks. When he resumed, Mr. Hanford said : " This is a bamiliatine narrative neighbor Doring, and I wouid not have related it to y du, had I not supposcd that you needed the lesson which il contains. It is impossible lor me to give you any adequate notion of tbe sufifering which I have undergone on ac count oí my brutal rashness to my boy. But, íortunately, it has been overruled to my own good and to that of my ily also. Tbe remedy, though terrible, was complete, and no other child of mine has ever beun punished by mo except when I was in the full possession and exerciao of my best faculties, when rny sense of duty had been chastened and softoned by reason and affectiun. " I devoted myself to my poor Oharley, irom the time ho left bis bed, and we carne to understnud each other as I thiuk but few father's and sona ever do. The poor boy uover blaniod me for blighling so much happiness for hitu, aDd I havo sometimes tried to think that perhaps bis life bas been happier on the whole than it would have been had I not been taught my duty through bis sacrifice. Still, Deighbor Doring, I should be sorry to have you and your son Williarn pass through a similar ordeal." " I trust that we shall not," emphatically and gravely ï'esponded Doring. I thank you for your story, friend Hanford, and I shall try to profit by it." " And he did prolit by it. And we hope every parent who is capable of striking his child in petu'ance, that reada t his sketch irom life, wil! protit by

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus