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Atticus believes in allowing his children as much independence as possible, but he also wants them to get a good education and learn to behave in a proper manner. The children seem to recognize this, since
Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment. (Chapter 1)
Atticus knows it is best to allow the children plenty of time for themselves, and they respect his need for a bit of privacy each evening when he contentedly reads his paper in silence. Scout trusts Atticus completely, and when he talks her into returning to school after her awful first day in the first grade, he entices her with a "compromise."
"If you'll concede the necessity of going to school, we'll go on reading every night just as we always have. Is it a bargain?"
"We'll consider it sealed without the usual formality," Atticus said, when he saw me preparing to spit. (Chapter 3)
Knowing that Scout is still upset, "Atticus kept us in fits that evening," entertaining the children with a story about a man who had decided to climb a flagpole and remain there for "no discernible reason." Although Scout's school days didn't get much better, she is quick to see that "Atticus was right" in suggesting their compromise.
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