Our School-Girls

Growing Girls.

Mothers of growing girls have many an anxious hour. The young things feel so bright, so strong, so full of energy, that it is difficult for them to listen to the voice of prudent counsel which bids them take care of themselves, and mothers often give in when a word of warning is received with laughing heedlessness. And how frequently they have to regret the giving in! When girls are growing very fast, even if they keep up their strength and look strong and well, there is much risk in any over-fatigue. The heart is sometimes outpaced by the rest of the frame, and if care be not taken there is a possibility of inducing strain, which may result in permanent mischief. Girls want to run, play sett after sett of tennis, or go on pulling a boat on the river when they are already hot and tired, and it is only natural that they should fancy that their capacity for enjoyment is as inexhaustible as their taste for it.


But the doctors will tell mothers to restrain the young creatures from damaging their health by over- exertion, and if we fail to do so we may some day feel agonies of remorse. It is easy enough to manage this so long as they are quite young and under our own eyes all day, but when school-time begins matters are very different. The spirit of emulation awakes, and the keenest anxiety to equal other girls in progress spurs on the young spirit. Teachers are anxious, too, and the mother often has to do battle on behalf of her daughter, not only with the school authorities, but with the girl herself. Firmness with both is the only method, and this in face of protests on one side and tears and expostulations on the other. The teachers think the mother “ridiculously fussy,” and condole with the girl, stirring her up to rebellion in a most injudicious way; but after all the mother is in the right and must be firm. What is the use of class successes if they are won at the expense of health? And though scholarships are very pleasant things in more ways than one, they may cost too dear. If the money they save has to go in doctors’ fees, of what earthly use are they?

Too much study.

At the same time mothers must not sacrifice the young ones to nervous or morbid fears, as some are inclined to do. The only way to be sure that precautions are really necessary is to have advice from a doctor, and if a girl is growing very quickly he is almost sure to say that she must not do too much. As a rule girls spend far too many hours a day in study. School-days come just when they are very busy growing, and it is also the time when habits are formed. With all these contradictory considerations influencing the mother, she is often afraid to trust her own judgment as to whether this or that course shall be pursued. If the girl is worked too hard she may become nervous or anæmic, and if she is allowed to rest too much she may grow up lazy and self-indulgent. So what is one to do? With our limited powers all we can do is to watch the growing daughters from day to day, and if they show any signs of failing energies, or of weakening health, at once take steps to lessen the number of hours devoted to study. At each succeeding term the school programme should be carefully gone through, with a view to seeing if the lessons that follow consecutively may not be too trying, and, if so, arrangements should be made with the head of the school to spare the girl a long run of monotonous subjects.

Meal hours.

The school authorities, naturally enough, arrange the hours to suit themselves and their teachers, and sometimes with the result that a girl has to rush back to school after a hasty meal, her food actually doing her harm instead of good in consequence. It is in cases like this that the mother comes in—not always, you may be very sure, to the unmitigated delight of the teachers, or even of the girl herself! In fact, the poor mother often gets blamed all round. The members of her own family are profuse in criticism, as a rule, of everything that she does in connection with her children. The best thing she can do is to ignore their opinion completely, for, whatever she does, she is sure to be blamed. If two diametrically opposite courses are open before her, whichever she chooses is sure to be condemned by somebody. It is the old story of the old man and his donkey. When it carried him the people found fault, and when

  By PanEris using Melati.

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