In regard to the formation of habits of self-denial in child-hood, it is astonishing to see how parents who are very sensible often seem to regard this matter. Instead of inuring their children to this duty in early life, so that by habit it may be made easy in after-days, they seem to be studiously seeking to cut them off from every chance to secure such a preparation. Every wish of the child is studiously gratified; and, where a necessity exists of crossing its wishes, some compensating pleasure is offered in return. Such parents often maintain that nothing shall be put on their table which their children may not join them in eating. But where, so easily and surely as at the daily meal, can that habit of self-denial be formed which is so needful in governing the appetites, and which children must acquire, or be ruined? The food which is proper for grown persons is often unsuitable for children; and this is a sufficient reason for accustoming them to see others partake of delicacies which they must not share. Requiring children to wait till others are helped, and to refrain from conversation at table, except when addressed by their elders, is another mode of forming habits of self-denial and self-control. Requiring them to help others first, and to offer the best to others, has a similar influence.

In forming the moral habits of children, it is wise to take into account the peculiar temptations to which they are to be exposed. The people of this nation are eminently a trafficking people; and the present standard of honesty, as to trade and debts, is very low, and every year seems sinking still lower. It is, therefore, pre-eminently important that children should be trained to strict honesty, both in word and deed. It is not merely teaching children to avoid absolute lying, which is needed: all hinds of deceit should be guarded against, and all kinds of little dishonest practices be strenuously opposed. A child should be brought up with the determined principle never to run in debt, but to be content to live in a humbler way, in order to secure that true independence which should be the noblest distinction of an American citizen.

Quite as important in family and school training is enforcing the law that protects character, which is more precious than gold, while the most cruel sufferings result from want of honor and care in this respect. Especially is the enforcement of this law important at this period, when there are such constant and destructive examples of its violation both by the press and by general practice.

This law of benevolence and rectitude is this: every person who has established a fair character in any direction should have it upheld by all, as a protection against unproved rumors that impeach this character. Such rumors should always be met with the question, Is it proved by proper evidence? If it is not, then it is a slander, and whoever aids to circulate it should be treated as an abettor of slander.

To illustrate this, take a not uncommon case: A lady, who for thirty years held the highest character for purity, propriety, and good principles, was accused by a man of high position of following him with repeated solicitations for marriage. He offered no proof but his assertion, which was nullified by her denial. In this case, the man should have been treated as a slanderer, and those who aided in circulating his story as abettors of slander.

Every woman is especially interested in sustaining this law, for it is a dreadful mortification and disgrace to a delicate and refined woman to have certain questions even connected with her name. Not less so is it to a clergyman of keen sensibilities. And it is an insult to ask a person thus abused to furnish denials and defense. Established character should protect both the person thus maligned and also their nearest friends from hearing, much less from noticing, such mean and disgraceful assaults.

There is no more important duty devolving upon an educator than the cultivation of habits of modesty and propriety in young children. All indecorous words or deportment should be carefully restrained, and delicacy and reserve studiously cherished. It is a common notion, that it is important to secure these virtues to one sex more than to the other; and, by a strange inconsistency, the sex most exposed to danger is the one selected as least needing care. Yet a wise mother will be especially careful that her sons are trained to modesty and purity of mind.

The rule which should guide on this subject is this: Whenever health, life, or duty demand it, all connected with such topics and duties should be spoken of and done without embarrassment or restraint; but in no other circumstances. Thus in the Bible, instruction on the dangers and duties connected with our bodily organization are set forth in plain and simple language, to be read in public worship and in private by all. So, in medical, surgical, and nursing duties, the same freedom is demanded, and disapproval or opposition are deemed false modesty and foolish fastidiousness. But where there are no such demands for health and safety, then conversation, poetry, pictures, jokes, and coarse allusions are vulgar, indecent, and sinful.

Few mothers are sufficiently aware of the dreadful penalties which often result from indulged impurity of thought. If children, in future life, can be preserved from licentious associates, it is supposed that their safety is secured. But the records of our insane retreats, and the pages of medical writers, teach that even in solitude, and without being aware of the sin or the danger, children may inflict evils on themselves which not unfrequently terminate in disease, delirium, and death.

There is no necessity for explanations on this point any further than this, that certain parts of the body are not to be touched except for purposes of cleanliness, and that the most dreadful suffering comes from disobeying these commands. So in regard to practices and sins of which a young child will sometimes inquire, the wise parent will say, that this is what children can not understand, and about which they must not talk or ask questions. And they should be told that it is always a bad sign when children talk on matters which parents call vulgar and indecent, and that the company of such children should be avoided. Disclosing details of wrong-doing to young and curious children, often leads to the very evils feared. But parents and teachers, in this age of danger, should be well informed and watchful; for it is not unfrequently the case that servants and school-mates will teach young children practices which exhaust the nervous system, and bring on paralysis, mania, and death.

But there are social dangers during and after childhood which demand from mothers and teachers such instructions as are rarely given; and yet, for the want of it, the most dreadful vices and sufferings ensue.

The evils and dangers here indicated can never be under-stood or appreciated till mothers and teachers gain that knowledge of the construction of the body, and the dangers connected with duties of the family state, which is now confined almost entirely to the medical profession, while physicians, by false customs and false modesty on the part of women, are constrained to a reticence which is dangerous and often fatal. The difficulty can be wisely met, not by public lectures or by pulpit ministries. It is in the privacy of the nursery and the school-room that well-instructed mothers and teachers must train the young to meet these dangers, by all needful knowledge and habits of intelligent self-control.