Dani's Niche

Family history. A novel idea.

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Imagination overcomes willfulness, thanks to a wise grandmother

When your boy or girl grows up and goes out to face the world, success will largely depend upon self control acquired at home. Thus says the ad for RC. Beery’s book series, “Practical Child Training” published in 1917. 

“Book 12: Easy Lessons for Developing Body and Mind” is filled with practical wisdom from over 100 years ago. I have no idea how my copy came to be in a box of inherited old books. This month, as I contemplate becoming a grandmother, I share one of its lessons about a wise and imaginative grandmother.

Imagination overcomes willfulness.

There was once a little boy too tired to walk, or at least he thought so. He was at his grandmother’s house and it was time to go home, but he sat down on the doorstep and felt very sure that he could not go a step farther.

“Somebody will have to carry me,” he said; and his eyes filled with tears.

“Dear me, said his mother, who had the baby in her arms. “What shall we do?”

I am sure I don’t know what they would have done if the little boy’s grandmother had not come out just then to see what was the matter.

“If he cannot walk he must ride,” she said; and she went into the house and got the old hearth broom and the mop handle and one of grandfather’s walking sticks, and brought them all out to the little boy.

“Now,” she said, “will you ride a slow and steady gray horse or a sleek-as-satin bay horse, or will you ride a black horse that is spirited?”

“I like black horses best,” he said, wiping away the tears, “and I will ride that one, please.”

“Very well.” The grandmother tied a red ribbon bridle on grandfather’s walking stick and gave it to the little boy. “This is a very fast horse. I should not be surprised if you got home before your mother and the baby; but do be careful.”

“I will,” promised the boy, and away he rode on the stick horse, gallop, gallop, gallop!

By the time that mother and the baby came out of grandmother’s gate the little boy was at the corner. When they reached the corner he had passed they caught up with him; but when they went down the other side he was far ahead.

Gallop, gallop, gallop-almost before he knew it he was at home; and when mother and the baby got there the stick horse was hitched to the red rosebush and he was sitting on the doorstep laughing.

“I got home first! I got home first! I can ride fast on my black horse,” said the little boy.

Story attributed to Maud Lindsay in the book “Practical Child Training Part 12 Easy Lessons for Developing Body and Mind”

by Ray C. Beery, published in 1917

Practise in smiling while another frowns. Principles involved: approval and expectancy. (This is the one illustration in “Practical Child Training, Part 12 Easy Lessons for Developing Body and Mind, published in 1917)