Of Parents and Children by Francis Bacon
With Regard to Parents and Children – Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon was heavily influenced by Montaigne, the French essayist. Bacon’s essays cover a wide range of issues, including materialistic and metaphysical ideas. “Of Parents and Children” is a persuasive essay in which Sir Francis Bacon offers advice to parents on how to raise their children. There are some prevalent child-related habits that exist in every community, and the author wishes to rectify them. For instance, some believe that children should choose a career based on their interests. Bacon believes the contrary and believes that parents should choose a career for their children. Bacon has also included some smart phrases to bolster his argument. Indeed, it serves as a guidance for parents who are unsure how to raise their children in such a way that they will achieve success in the future.
Parents’ Griefs and Joys
Children are God’s greatest gift, but they also make parents’ lives miserable, Sir Francis Bacon believes. However, all parents keep their joys and sorrows hidden. He illustrates this circumstance epigrammatically with the following words:
“Parents’ joys, as well as their sorrows and fears, are private.” Parents labour tirelessly for their children and strive to ensure their happiness. They desire for their children to enjoy happy lives, and as a result, parents eagerly fight for them. On the other hand, they worry their misfortune since it has the potential to affect the lives of children. Children are God’s blessings, yet they exacerbate parents’ fears, according to Sir Francis Bacon.
Nonetheless, the parents are overjoyed to see their children and hope that they will continue to live their children through them. Thus, children can bring both joy and sorrow.
Difference Between Human and Animal Species
Each species has the ability to reproduce in our planet, however there are some distinctions between humans and animal species. Humans possess memory; they are capable of creating and remembering history. Ancient Roman and Greek history, for example, can still be found in libraries. Additionally, humans are smart; they are incapable of swimming but are capable of building submarines; they are unable of flying but are capable of building aeroplanes. They are capable of surviving in any situation: by hook or by crook. Additionally, they are recognised not only for their reproduction but also for their good deeds. For instance, Homer is still remembered for his poem Iliad. Likewise, Aristotle is still remembered for his expertise. Indeed, the human and animal species are worlds apart.
Bacon believes that married people with children are incapable of performing great deeds. They devote their time and energy to their family and children. Thus, Sir Francis Bacon refers to children as a hindrance to parents’ achievement.
Unequal Affection of Parents
Certain parents distinguish their children. Many households have children that are more affectionate than others. According to Sir Francis Bacon, this attitude of parents toward their children is unjustifiable. He counsels parents to love all of their children equally. Particularly, the mother’s attachment should be proportionate to each child. He quotes Solomon’s fabled words, “A wise son rejoices his father, but an ungracious son humiliates his mother.” Even now, these words ring true. When a child does something nice, his father is lauded; nevertheless, when he does something bad, his mother is accused of being responsible for his actions. Additionally, in the majority of families, the youngest and oldest children are respected, while middle children are ignored. This widespread practise is likewise unacceptable; in the majority of situations, middle children establish their worth and bring renown to their family.
Suggestions to Parents
Bacon makes several recommendations for both parents and children. He advises parents not to fix their children’s pocket money. If a child’s pocket money is insufficient, he or she will attempt to discover any means of earning money. He would begin spending his time at a poor company, where he would pick up new methods of deception and profit. Finally, he will succumb to greed and will go to any length to obtain a significant sum of money. As a result, parents’ attitudes should be neither strict nor liberal, particularly when it comes to pocket money.
Additionally, parents should avoid inciting competitiveness among their children. Brothers, in particular, should not be encouraged to compete for one another. This strategy will develop their dislike for one another; they will get jealous of one another, and eventually, they will regard one another as adversaries. Sir Francis Bacon illustrates this point in “Of Parents and Children” with an example of Italians who make no distinction between son and nephew. He promotes such tactics. Occasionally, a nephew gets more regard for his uncle than a legitimate child does for his parent.
Children Cannot Decide Their Future
According to some parents, it is the child’s responsibility to choose a profession for himself. Bacon does not believe this is the correct decision. Children cannot make their own choices about their future. They, in the majority of situations, just have temptations; thus, it is the responsibility of parents to show them the way. Parents should help their children choose a career. However, under extraordinary circumstances, a youngster may be permitted to make a choice. For example, if someone possesses strong sentiments for a particular field, he may be permitted to adopt it. Nonetheless, the choice should be taken expeditiously.
Finally, Bacon illustrates another encounter. He asserts that children are fortunate. They are also adept at establishing careers. This is not true, however, if they are going to inherit a large sum of money.
Bacon was an astute observer of children’s and parents’ activities. He does not favour anyone; rather, he seeks equilibrium. He instructs parents by examples and actual quotations from ancient people. In plain English, he persuades the parents to atone for their wrongdoings. The text also contains numerous epigrammatic sentences. He employs epigrammatic sentences whenever he creates a comparison between two items. However, they are devoid of ambiguity; rather, they dispel readers’ uncertainties. Philosophically, this essay is a treasure trove. Every piece of advice offered by the author is still relevant in this day and age. Bacon’s essay “Of Parents and Children” assumes global importance as a result of these characteristics.