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OUR BOYS AND GIRLS.

['■ What shall we do with our boys ? ' j is an old question and is almost as ! puzzling to parents sometimes as its complement "What shall we do with our girls ? " The question has many aspects, beginning from the tune of " knickerbockers " and Lardly eudiDg with that of dress suits. As to their career when they reach man's estate it is apparent that the professions are going to'be altogether overcrowded, and almost every other schoolboy seeiris to be destined either for medicine or the law. In connection with the Dunedin University alone there are said to be something like a hundred and fifty embryo bone-setters and draught dispensers, and our large towns are positively swarming with sucking lawyers. There isn't much of a rush for the Church, and Army and Navy we have none, but there are thousands of young pedagogues so that there will soon be more doctors, lawyers) and teachers than can pofsibly find remu-r nerative employment. The answer to the question then obviously is to teach the boys trades and handicrafts, or to bring them up m a way to fit them tor rural occupations. That implies teaching them to work, and not to despise what are regarded as humble avocations. Parents would do well to bear this m mind, and to seek rather the useful than the " genteel." And it is well, also, to begin early, and no better means can be taken towards bringing up the boys to be useful men than to make them useful about the home. Anent this we have come across some very sensible remarks clipped from " The Household," by a contemporary, m which the writer says : — " Why is it that boys are allowed to sit m the house doing nothing, while their over-wof ked mother is struggling against nature and fate to do about half the work waiting for her hands ? Only the other day we saw three large ablebodied boys lounging about the house, not knowing what to do with themselves, while their mother, tired and pale, was trying to do the work of a large family and company alone. Not a boy's work to help about the house? Why not ? I Is there anything about washing disheß that will injure him, or which he cannot learn to do well, about making beds, or sweeping, or setting the table, or ironing, or cooking a plain meal of victuals ? On the contrary, there is much to benefit him m such work, the most important of which is to gain the idea that it isn't manly to letTtheYj weaker vessel ' carry all the burdens, when it is possible for strong young hands to help. Most boys would gUdly help m the house if they were asked to do so, and were taught to < do the work properly. Many a smart boy wants to help his tired mother, bat doesn't know how, beyond bringing m the wood and water. That done she tells him to go out and play, while she plods wearily on. Not a boy's work? For shame I It is a positive harm to a boy's moral character to allow him to think it right to be idle, while big mother is staggering under her hardens. Let the boys help, and those who can't get help 'for love, or money 'will see their troubles disappear." To this we would add that the boy who learns to be helpful at home is pretty gure to grow up a useful man. Ap'oposto that other question " What are we to do with our girls ? " we think it is undeniable that a grave mistake is being made m bringing up too many of ihe.gentler sex with a view to their also entering professions, particularly that of teaching. The thing is being overdone altogether, and m part perhaps arises from the complete bouleversement which has generally taken place -with regard to the popular view- of -the relation of the sexes. Undoubtedly the old-fashioned notion of the inferiority of women to men m respect of all mental characteristics was grossly wrong— women who have .been given equal educational advantages having proved to be m some departments quite the equals, if not the superiors of the other sex, while their superiority m matters of morals has never been questioned. But it is, we think, equally erroneous to assert that even under precisely similar training the female intelleot is m all oases the brighter and better, the fact being that there «re departments m which men will always excel women, as there are departments m which. w v will excel men. Upon this subject' the writer of World" has the following apposite remarks :— " As to the statement that 'ignorance of the standards and modes ,of thought accepted m the learned world » has ' made women diffident '-.what man has not been both amused and astounded at hearing different opinions boldly ventured by would-be advanced women on subjects with regard to which the more scientific the culture of a man the more diffident would certainly be the expression of his opinion? Mrs M'Laren speaks of ' the unworthy jealousy with which they (men) have too often greeted

[lemimne acnievements.' But it is, J think, on the contrary, the pretension to talent or genins so often met with now adays that cultivated men naturally resent. And so far as my experience goes, and that I believe of most literary women, men not only aid women m every sort of 'way without a particle of unworthy\jealousy, but as is instanced by Abelard and Heloise m past, and by John Stuart Mill and his wife m our own timefc, men are only too generously appreciative m their estimate of women's work, for how often are we called upon to read m magazines and newspapers articles— poor m substance and weak m con^truation-r-which, did they bear a man's instead of a woman's name, would undpubtedly have been 'returned with thanks? or consigned to the wastepaper basket. 'It is acknowledged;' says Mrs McLaren, ' that women can, fy modern literature, compete on equal terms with men/ But she does not tell us by whom this is acknowledged, nor how it could be acknowledged, seeing that m no branch of modern save navel-writing could a single woman be instanced as standing m the first rank." The truth; is that Mature designed woman to be intellectually, as m other respects, the complement of man, and that there are branches of knowledge m which each will excel, as there are vocations m life to which each is specially fitted, and that to attempt to reverse their positions is to undertake a task as futite as it ia foolish.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890105.2.17

Bibliographic details

OUR BOYS AND GIRLS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2029, 5 January 1889

Word Count
1,112

OUR BOYS AND GIRLS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2029, 5 January 1889

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