Coleridge was once talking with a man who told him that he did not believe in giving little children any religious instruction whatsoever. His theory was that the child’s mind should not be prejudiced in any direction, but when he came to years of discretion he should be permitted to choose his religious opinions for himself.
Coleridge said nothing; but after a while he asked his visitor if he would like to see his garden. The man said he would, and Coleridge took him out into the garden, where only weeds were growing. The man looked at Coleridge in surprise, and said, “Why this is not a garden! There is nothing but weeds here!”
“Well, you see,” answered Coleridge, “I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way, I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself and to choose its own production.”