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not made the whole family selfish by being too unselfish. She had taken her share of the picnics, if only to be · stronger for her home duties. She had taken time to read, that neither husband nor older children might find anywhere a more intelligent comrade than mother. And so I said: “I see it is a picnic for you, and it ought to be for anyone to whom God has given such a flock as that."
It would not give a truthful impression if I spoke only of intelligent and faithful parents. We read of parents poisoning their children to get the insurance-indeed it is considered dangerous to allow children to be insured. And societies for the prevention of cruelty to children and crusaders against child labor have many stories to tell of unnatural parents. An ignorant mother came into a probate court shyly and said to the man on the bench, “Are you the judge of reprobates?” “I am the judge of probate." "I specs that's what I want. My husband died detested and left me two little infidels, and I want to be appointed their executioner.” Alas, there are fathers who die "detested," and mothers who through ignorance or drunkenness, or through social ambitions that cause neglect of home duties, become the “executioners” of their own children, body and soul.
Mothers May Love Too Well But there is also a danger that good mothers will do too much for husband and children. Mother, you will serve your family best if you restrain your natural altruism by a cultivated egoism, "loving your neighbors" in the home-the father and children—"as yourself," as God commands, lest your motherly excess of unselfishness
shall make husband and children selfish. That mother "loves not wisely” who lets her grown-up daughter lie abed while she does morning work for two, training the daughter for the divorce court while the mother flatters herself that her course is one of commendable selfsacrifice.
In one such home, a father and mother and four children had six hens to lay the eggs for breakfast, one each, which were boiled to furnish the one chief item in the morning meal. The only trouble was that on many days the daughter who hunted the eggs would have to report that “one of the hens stood around all day doing nothing." What happened in that family of six when there were only five eggs for breakfast ?
I see you all know. Mother gave father an egg, and he took it. She gave one each to the children, and each took it. They all “took it” that mother was the self-sacrificing member of the family, regularly appointed to that part. But one day they suddenly discovered themselves. The little girl was learning to count. She came into the breakfast room and counted the chairs. Then as the family sat down she counted the plates. Then after the grace she counted the eggs : "One, two, three, four, five, six-goody, now mother can have one." They saw then, as by a flashlight, how mother's unselfishness had made them all selfish.
I'll tell you what that mother ought to have done when she found there were only five eggs for breakfast. She should have made them into scrambled eggs and divided them into six equal parts. Better than the State House or the White House for teaching citizenship is your house if in it law and love are king and queen.
Parents must be made to feel they are the lieutenants of the State.
You remember that the young men of the American Revolution who came to Concord and Lexington to join the Army were many of them so unschooled that they did not know the right foot from the left and so could not obey the drill-master's, "Right-left." The disgusted officers said, "Send these greenhorns home, for if they cannot keep step they will be of no use as soldiers.” But there was one officer there who used his head for something besides a hat rack. He used his grey matter on the problem, and presently evolved this solution: “These farmer boys do not know right from left, but they do know hay from straw. Tie a little hay on every right foot, and a little straw on every left foot, and send them to the awkward squad to be drilled.” “Hay-foot-straw-foot, hay-foot-straw-foot" they drilled, very awkwardly at first, and then more firmly, and at last they marched to victory at Yorktown. Fathers and mothers, that's what you are—lieutenants of an awkward squad. Getting the family up on time, getting breakfast on time, and getting the family to breakfast on time, all of which takes generalship in these days, is the hay-foot-stray-foot drill to train children to keep their engagements. Many a boy loses his place when he starts to work because in boyhood he did not have a place for everything and everything in its place. Even in a home where there is no special necessity that meals and other home appointments should be on the hour, they should be on time and the family on time to meet them if there be children and youth in the home, to teach them punctuality and system as prime essentials of success in almost every branch of business, just as punctuality is taught by time appointments in the schools, for a good home is a good school, and might and should be the very best of all the branches of education by which children are developed.
Wife means weaver, 'tis said,
Through the warp of heart chords
Through the changes of life
As she weaveth the beauty of home.
WILBUR F. CRAFTS.