Fitting A Child, Or Making A Child Fit
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IT is a general belief, and in most cases a well-founded one, that children show pretty early some indication of what they are fitted to do. Parents will do well to look for these indications, and pay more attention to them than often is given. It would not only set a good many careers right, but it might save a lot of wasted money and tears. "There ought," exclaims Zelia M. Walters, "to be a protest raised against the slavery to the piano that is practised in many American homes. Almost every mother who can buy the piano and pay for the instruction wishes to make musicians of her children. Long, weary hours of practice are imposed on the children, and any love of music that they may have had in the beginning is turned to loathing. The result is a performer who, though she may play anything, as is proudly claimed, can never be a musician. We are overrun with such performers. Mothers should learn that it takes something more than the skill to strike the right key to make a musician."
On the other hand a young person's fancy must not be allowed to run away with good judgment, as often happens, especially in the case of a bright child who thinks he or she can paint or write or sing his or her way to fame and fortune in a few short years. What millions of money and years of lost effort and soul-searing disappointment have been due to this species of mistaken notion. Let the "budding genius" try a flight near home-in a newspaper office, or a scene-painter's studio, or a church choir, and get some idea of the work to be done and hard conditions met, before launching out. If the trial fails, the gain of knowledge is worth all the cost and delay.