Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


June 27, 2013

Adams left a conservative mark on Phillips


On Nov. 22, 1832, John Adams, then 61 years old, read a formal letter of resignation at a meeting of the Board of Trustees. He pointed out “with due modesty my achievements,” and presented unimpeachable statistics regarding the general growth and development of the school.

While principal at PA, Adams wrote the following rules “to aid parents and teachers in the government of children:”

As children must have recreations and companionships, be a child yourself among children. A great thing it is for a man of thorough culture to be himself simpler in tastes and natural in manner. In other words, to be a “Little Child” after the method of Christian greatness.

Avoid opprobrious epithets and mock names.

Avoid partiality. Remember the “coat of many colors.”

Never deceive a child. If a nauseous medicine must be given, never say that it is sweet when it is bitter.

Be careful as to the motive presented to children. You may foster a revengeful spirit, or its opposite, in a very young child. A child has been hurt by hitting himself against a chair or table. An injudicious nurse bids the child to strike the chair and so has taught a lesson of retaliation not to be forgotten.

Never indulge in ridicule or irony referring to the faults of your children. By this, you cut not to heal and cure, but to hurt.

Never threaten. He who puts a child under a menace is himself bound and committed.

Never punish a child who criminates himself rather than utter a falsehood. If an offender has frankly confessed the wrong he has done, and that confession is followed by chastisement, the boy will always be tempted to reason that if he had denied the charge, he would have escaped the punishment. Never expose a child to such a temptation.

Everything must look to the securing of entire and cheerful obedience. The Fourth Commandment is the foundation of the whole social code.


Andover Stories is a recurring feature in The Townsman, submitted by the Andover Historical Society.

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