Emilee is a book about children’s education. Rousseau divides children’s development into 5 stages. First stage is called “early childhood”. It is a period from the birth to when the baby starts to speak. Babies express their feelings by crying. To stop the baby cry, we soothe or scold a crying baby. It is important to maintain neutrality. If we always soothe babies, they will think they could achieve anything by crying. On the other hand, if we always scold babies, they will obey other’s opinion with no free will.
To make an independent and autonomous human, it is important to educate them properly. Second stage is called “childhood”. It is a period when the child learns how to speak. Child can act independent, recognizes itself and be an ethical human. In this period, there should be a negative education. We should exclude humane and social influence that could hamper our revelation of implicit nature. Most importantly, parent’s should wait until the nature reveals. Third stage is “the seventeen period”. In this period, strength precedes desire and children are full of energy.
Because they have a full of strength, this period’s education focuses on how to use this strength effectively. They should be educated to recognize the usefulness of things. They need a knowledge that contributes to their profits but not the one that is abstract and ideal. Fourth stage is “adolescence”. Adolescents become conscious of sex and take an interest in the opposite sex. Education focuses on turning this sexual interest into love for humanity. When adolescents turn their interest to others, it’s important to teach them about pity.
Pity provokes conscience and conscience sakes adolescents know about what is right and wrong. To sublimate a sexual impulse, it’s good to exercise and have religious education or taste education. Finally, fifth stage is “adult”. In this period, they should be taught the importance of the passion of love. Physical sex should not exceed it and according to this concept they make a “family’. To have a happy married life, we should recognize there’s something more that we have to learn. We need to acquire the knowledge of social life and the knowledge of politics and law.
As we can see above, there are 5 stages in he children’s development and Rousseau suggested his educational viewpoints in each stage. I agree some of his viewpoints but do not agree also. First of all, I agree that in the first stage, parent’s should both soothe and scold baby to stop crying. I remember that when I was young, I liked pretty dolls very much. So whenever I saw those dolls, I begged my mom or dad to buy them. If my parent doesn’t get me one, I always cried. At first, they bought me a doll. However, as I begged whenever I went stores, my mom and dad didn’t buy it for me and rather scolded me.
From that time I learned that I couldn’t get everything even though I cry. I think the way my parent’s did was a proper way to teach me crying is not the best way to achieve things. However, I disagree with the “negative education”. Child cannot be a perfect ethical human. I believe if adults don’t teach their children properly, they will make many troubles. For example, when I was in the stage of childhood, I used to go to stationary store. There were many types of stationery that I liked. One day, I wanted to get a small eraser so I took it without paying money.
I went to home and told my mom without having any guilty. My mom was very surprised and told me I should not do such a thing and she told me to take it back to stationary store. I took the eraser back and from that time I learned that I should not steal anything and I never did. If my mom didn’t scold me, I probably would have stolen something again. Child is not perfect and they are not always kind and ethical. Parent’s and adults should teach them. We should not Just wait until they get nice. We should teach and scold them to act ethically.
I also disagree that in the third stage, a boy/girl should learn something that’s useful but not abstract and ideal. There are lots of lessons on abstract and ideal things too. For example, Newton found the law of gravity by thinking and keep on studying. First of all, his thought about why apple is falling was very abstract but at the end it proved us to understand the solar system. Lastly, I agree what Rousseau said in the fourth and fifth stage. Especially taste education, having an interest on something, is important. It helps us widen our vision and stops falling into love lindy.
It’s one of the procedures that make human more mature and get ready to love. Acquiring knowledge of social life is also important before getting married. Love is the most important element in the marriage but to have a family, we should be prepared to handle social problems. Furthermore, I agree that there are things to teach on each stage but we shouldn’t overly separate them. Some children learn pity, conscience and love earlier than others. So I think it’s more important to understand our child and help them to be an ethical and more proper person on all such occasions.