Amazing articles on just about every subject...


Through Petulance to Poise

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

THIS striking quotation was recently sent me, "Why were the saints, saints? Because they were cheerful when it was difficult to be cheerful, and patient when it was difficult to be patient; and because they pushed on when they wanted to stand still, and kept silent when they wanted to talk, and were agreeable when they wanted to be disagreeable. That was all. It was quite simple and always will be."

In other words, the self-control of the saints gave them that indescribable thing poise. Now poise is, of course, a distinctly adult quality. In-deed, a petulant child rather attracts us, as a lack of self-possession seems to belong to childhood. So a grown person lacking in poise we term childish. We shall all agree that a petulant adult is distressing, and to secure our children from that possibility we must help them to gain a certain amount of poise during their two-years' stay with us.

1. Cultivating Poise in Ourselves. A teacher should be a rock for the children to cling to, never failing in calm self-possession. Without a word or an act her own poise quiets anger and fretfulness, and calms agitated little people. It not only serves as an example, but is contagious. It depends to a great degree upon good health and calm nerves. A long Saturday night's sleep will insure it in most teachers. It must be cultivated to the highest degree, for no teacher of little children dares be without it.

2. Public Opinion of Class. Again public opinion is a mighty factor. Little petulant new-comers soon find that they are ignored or ridiculed by their classmates, and so the inborn desire for popularity is a cure for petulance.

3. Interest. A child has no wish to be fretful when he is interested in a story or absorbed in play or drawing. Interesting teaching methods are therefore a means to give a child self-possession.

4. Something to Do. The gait of the peasant is free and dignified. Honest work gives poise. So we will provide plenty of things for our children to do.

A. Play. In group play the petulant child who destroys the quiet of a snowfall by angrily stamping is distinctly unpopular. So is the child who refuses to do the errand a child-mother re-quests. Group play demands abandon and cooperation and self-denial.

B. Handwork. In individual drawing a child works for a result satisfying to himself, and cannot waste time fretting. In cooperative drawing such as drawing one of six eggs in a nest, or a few of the snowflakes on a window-pane, he hates to spoil the effect. In pasting or coloring the same principle holds good.

C. Physical Movement. Clapping, marching, standing, sitting or turning about at the teacher's command, all necessitate self-control.

D. Combined Thought and Action. There is no chance for petulance when children are absorbed in pointing out in pictures people who are kind, animals God made, or the like. Connecting songs with pictures also requires intense thought which crowds out petulance.

E. Helpfulness in the Room. Assisting in giving out wraps, in fastening up pictures and in placing chairs all help to give self-possession.

F. Acts of Service. Any actual deed of love for another person gives the poise that is the result of happy work.

5. Stories. Stories that bring out the contrast of poise and petulance are "Jesus Stilling the Storm," "Jesus Loving Little Children," "Jesus and His Friends," "A Kind Uncle," and "Joseph's Coat of Many Colors."

6. Songs. "A Thought" and "The World's Music" give an ideal of happiness.

7. Increased Facility. As their power of re-telling stories, singing and expressing themselves through play increases, the children gain in poise. They feel themselves more and more masters of the situation, and act accordingly.



Home | More Articles | Email: info@oldandsold.com