— John Locke, libro Some Thoughts Concerning Education
Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693)
Contesto: Begin therefore betimes nicely to observe your son's temper; and that, when he is under least restraint, in his play, and as he thinks out of your sight. See what are his predominate passions and prevailing inclinations; whether he be fierce or mild, bold or bashful, compassionate or cruel open or reserv'd, &c. For as these are different in him, so are your methods to be different, and your authority must hence take measures to apply itself different ways to him. These native propensities, these prevalencies of constitution, are not to be cur'd by rules, or a direct contest, especially those of them that are the humbler or meaner sort, which proceed from fear, and lowness of spirit: though with art they may be much mended, and turn'd to good purposes. But this be sure, after all is done, the bypass will always hang on that side that nature first plac'd it: And if you carefully observe the characters of his mind, now in the first scenes of his life, you will ever after be able to judge which way his thoughts lean, and what he aims at even hereafter, when, as he grows up, the plot thickens, and he puts on several shapes to act it.